Title: Old and Dying

"Remember me when you lay old and dying..." -Jadis, the White Witch to Digory Kirke.

Old Professor Kirke was now old indeed- even older than when we met him in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. He hadn't enough energy even to keep up his brusque mask, though he tried.

Peter Pevensie came into the room he was lying in, saying, "I brought you some tea, sir."

Peter said he was there because it was hols; but the Professor, while knowing it was, also happened to know that Peter Pevensie was actually missing his sister Susan's wedding to stay with him, and the Professor knew that it was because Peter wanted to be with him when he died.

Edmund and Lucy had also come. They now stayed quieter and let Peter do all the talking; they respected the fact that he had once been High King in Narnia.

"Peter, I need to talk to you." Peter, when he saw the expression on the Professor's face, quietly put the tea down on the small table by the bed and sat down on a nearby chair.

"Peter, you already know the story about how Polly and I went to that Other World using the magic Rings. What I perhaps did not tell you was that- I still have those Rings!"

His voice was hoarse and came with effort, and his breaths were raspy, but he continued.

"Get Lucy and Edmund. They need to hear this too."

Peter nodded and left quietly.

He returned soon, leading Lucy gently by the arm, Narnian court style. Edmund followed mutely, looking thoughtful and steady, and you could see the meditation in his deep dark brown eyes.

Digory looked on fondly as they came in. He realized sadly that they were growing up quite quickly; Lucy was practically a woman now, a very pretty woman, with long blond hair that she refused to 'bob' and laughing blue eyes. Peter resembled her, having a similar fair makeup, but Edmund more looked like Susan, with his dark hair and eyes and rock-solid nature. Peter and Lucy were more the type of people that had, if you know what I mean, fiery, yet lighthearted natures.

Digory shook himself and reminded himself that they had something to deal with at hand.

"Now, you all know that, as I told Peter, Polly and I once went to Narnia even before it was created, using four Rings, two green, two yellow. But what I have not told you is that I still have those Rings! Oh, yes, I have them- in a sort of a way. They are buried around the roots of an old, old tree back in my old home- the one that my parents sold. So I can no longer get them back."

He fell back on the bed, gasping at the effort it took to say all this. Peter ventured to say, "But what does this have to do with anything, sir? Not to be rude, sir," he added hastily, "but I just don't really see what this has to do with us."

The Professor smiled softly. "I have not thought of it till this day, but you could use those Rings to go back to Narnia!"

All three children sitting there gasped aloud and their eyes began to shine with hope and excitement as they saw the possibility that had been laid before them.

Then Peter, Peter the High King, Peter the leader, whom they would follow to the ends of the earth, slowly shook his head. "No." He said firmly, "No. I want to go just as much as you do," he added, seeing the other's crestfallen faces. "But I think that if Aslan had wanted us to go back to Narnia, he would've told us so. Or called us back himself. In any case, I just don't feel that Aslan wants us to go. I feel he has a better plan for us here."

They were all silent for some time, thinking over what Peter had said. Then Edmund spoke. "I agree with Peter." He said in a quiet, steady voice that matched his appearance. "Thank you for the offer, Professor, but I think it would be best for us to decline."

The Professor nodded, although barely visibly, and his face hinted at a smile. "I thought that's what you would say."

They sat for awhile in silence, just enjoying each other's company. Then Mrs. Macready came in, saying that supper was served. A maid (Peter thought he remembered her name being Ivy, or some such thing) was with her, and ducked her head shyly at them as a sign of respect. Mrs. Macready thought that the children were very different after having gone to Narnia (even though she did not know that is where they had gone) and was slightly fearful of them, thinking it 'uncanny'. The maids, Ivy, Betty, and Margaret, were, however, delighted with the change in the children; they though that it was, to use their own words, 'simply splendid' because the children were incredibly kind and polite and even respectful, yet everyone knew their place. They especially noticed a difference in Edmund, who had once stuck out his tongue at Ivy, and insulted Cook and her meals.

They went up to the dining room, laughing and talking, and ate, drank, and were merry, trying to forget, for the moment, that the Professor was near death.

SO- like it? Hate it? Spelling errors? What do you think?

-AA.