"This moment contains all moments."
― C.S. Lewis
“I was wondering who could be up here at this hour.”
Lucy looked over her shoulder briefly and recognized her older brother’s tall silhouette against the reddish torchlight of the corridor inside. Unbidden, the ocean wind rose up about her and blew her hair into her face and she winced slightly, pushing it out of her eyes and turning back towards the sound of the crashing waves.
“I thought you had gone to bed,” she said in a low voice, smiling lightly as he joined her on the soft woolen blanket she had spread out on the floor at the top of the tower, exposed to the night sky.
“Almost,” he replied, leaning back on his arms. Glancing at him, she could see his damp hair, darkened by the water of the bath from which he had obviously only emerged some minutes ago. Even from where he sat, Lucy could inhale the fresh scent of dryad soap from the simple tunic he wore. The hard, tense lines on his face that still remained from a week of intense anxiety were evidence of his exhaustion, and though his blue eyes shone clearly in the moonlight, she could tell recent times had nearly worn him out completely. “I saw the stairwell door open and curiosity got the best of me.”
She refrained from advising him to sleep. There were times, Lucy knew, when the soul needed to find rest before the body.
Peter took a deep breath and closed his eyes, nose upturned towards the sky. Lucy wondered if she should point out that he had missed a spot on the corner of his jaw while shaving; she decided against it and allowed herself a small grin of amusement.
“It’s so nice here,” he murmured drowsily.
She said nothing, but drew her knees up to her chin as if she was a small girl again, hugging her legs and relishing in the feel of the velvet gown against her skin. It wasn't the sort of dress she would wear anywhere public; it was much too worn out to be the raiment of a Queen of Narnia, but it brought her an unusual, indescribable sense of security. Maybe the texture was somewhat similar to another from her childhood and triggered some hidden memory of comfort.
Her mind still clouded when she tried to think of that place too much. She knew the same happened to her siblings. As the years passed it had become harder and harder to think of the years before the battle against the Witch, and she might have even forgotten about it completely, had she not retained some odd habits that were so inexplicable that she knew they must have been born from wherever it was they had once lived. She had learned to dismiss those habits, though she still couldn't quite understand why she sometimes tried to fold parchment instead of rolling it, or why she had the odd notion that the world was round sometimes, even though she knew that it was a ridiculous thought.
She took a deep breath of the salty ocean wind. The Eastern Tower was the closest to the sea. If they had been down on the sand at that moment, Lucy knew it took less than ten steps to move from its rough, sand-colored stone wall to the thin line of foam left behind by the waves. She also knew that when seated on the sand one could hear all manner of scraping and scuttling at this hour; small nighttime animals tended to take advantage of the dark to go scouting for food in safety when no one roamed the shore. But at the top of the tower none of the small noises could be heard; only the distant whistling of the wind through the citadel and the roar of crashing waves below. Beyond the silvery line of the moonlit shore there was only darkness, broken now and then by white ripples of the water in the Moon’s reflection and the twinkling lights of lanterns hovering over the distant harbor.
“How do you think they’ll remember us, Peter?”
He opened his eyes and looked at his younger sister. Her long auburn hair, now unbraided, was fluttering around her head in the breeze as she kept her eyes fixed on the now invisible horizon.
“Ages from now,” she continued. “When we’re all dead. How will they remember us?”
“Probably as the saviors of Narnia,” he answered, his voice empty of any pride. The words escaped him with pronounced, almost wry reluctance. “An age of victories.”
She sighed softly, repeating his words slowly. “An age of victories.”
Peter gazed at her soberly, straightening and reaching out to take her hand in his. She stirred reluctantly, but allowed her brother to examine the cruel reddish scars that lined her wrist and forearm. As he pushed the sleeve up to examine the skin just below her elbow, she shuddered in the cold wind and pulled her arm away, letting the fabric fall back into place.
“It’s all right,” she said, turning away. “That’s not what I meant.”
But Peter’s eyes lingered on the lines that reached down to her hand, the tiny trails of congealed blood still stark against her pale skin. His jaw tightened.
“If we did things right today, then these days won’t be what history will remember.”
They fell silent, and Lucy’s eyes roamed the dark eternity that reached out before them between the rippling lines of moonlight on the water and the stars that barely peeked out from behind the phantomlike clouds. Somewhere in the darkness slept the line of the horizon, and beyond it, a great emptiness yet unexplored.
Beside her, Peter fidgeted. “Do you think we should have killed her?”
He spoke the words quietly, with the kind of insecurity that he would only ever let show in front of her.
Lucy shivered in the night air and hugged her knees tighter, lowering her gaze to the rough stone floor. If she leaned forwards a bit more, she would be able to look down the side of the tower: a steep line that disappeared into the silvery sand. “I don’t know,” she said in barely more than a whisper.
“She deserved it,” Peter muttered. “It’ll take years before the tunnels can be filled in again and the dwarves can return to their digging in peace. And…” he sighed, frustration seeping into his tone. “I can’t… I just can’t be comfortable with keeping all of this a secret.”
“You know it has to be.”
“I know,” he said grimly. “But is panic really that much worse than the sort of blissful ignorance that makes our people even more vulnerable?”
“I don’t know,” she said again. “But I don’t think I could have killed her, even if I had been able to after she-” she gestured towards the cuts on her arms and the graver wounds at her ribs that were now wrapped carefully in bandages, hidden beneath her clothes. “-I wouldn't have felt like I had a right. So many have already died. I can’t find comfort in the idea of a monarchy based on murdering each of our enemies.”
They suddenly turned as they heard heavy footsteps making their way up the narrow staircase just beyond the corridor inside. Edmund’s tired figure made its way towards them, rubbing the sleep out of his expression as he came to stand near them, pulling off his heavy cloak and belt along with his sword, which he dropped on the floor rather unceremoniously. Unlike Peter, he hardly looked clean and fresh.
“Well, it’s done,” he said by way of greeting, spreading out his cloak beside their blanket and falling onto it tiredly, his back against the floor. “Iodargyrite and Brickmace have seized control of the tunnels and will inform us of the funeral hours tomorrow when the preparations conclude. The moles have cleared out most of the blood and are already beginning to build barriers so that nothing can get back in… at least not without letting us know.” He grimaced. “Honestly, brother, I’m unsure of how quiet this operation is truly going to be.”
“Few people other than the dwarves wander so near to Ettinsmoor,” Peter replied reassuringly, leaning back on his arms again. “You ought to take a bath, brother.”
Edmund shot him a look. “I scarcely have the strength to lift up my own arm, Peter. I doubt I could muster enough of it to actually bathe at the moment. I must say,” he added in a more serious tone. “If it weren't for Borik, I don’t know how we might have gotten through the day. The traditions of Elder Black Dwarves will never cease to perplex me.”
“I think they’re quite fascinating, actually,” Lucy put in, her tone brightening somewhat. “Imagine spending centuries underground. Hornud was telling me that they can hardly see at all in sunlight now; one hundred and thirty three years of mining has made caves their only world.”
“And one hundred and thirty three years of that knowledge was lost with Ekanar’s death,” Edmund said gravely.
They fell into silence again, but presently Edmund reached out and touched Lucy’s shoulder lightly. She turned and looked down at his tired eyes, bloodshot from exhaustion but alive with concern. “How are you feeling?” he asked.
“I’m all right,” she murmured. “The cordial worked wonders.”
Edmund kept his eyes on her even as she turned away, his mind still alive with the memory of cradling her dying body in his arms as they rode back to Cair Paravel, hoping desperately that there would be enough time to save her. He would never forget the sight of her unconscious, deathly-grey face, the warm, sickly feeling of her blood steadily soaking through his armor, the despair he had felt as he tried to keep her awake to no avail.
Even Lucy had not said much about it afterwards, and he knew that was the greatest testament to how shaken she still was by the memory of the situation. It was Brickmace’s son who had explained to him how it had all come to pass; how the serpent had struck at her repeatedly, cornering her at the far end of the tunnel where the others could not get to her, leaving her a bloody, crumpled body among piles of loose earth, though her pale hand still clung to her short sword with a valiance that had impressed the dwarves to no end.
“I’m sorry I wasn't there, Lu.”
Evidently, Peter had shared his train of thought.
Lucy looked at him reproachfully. “Don’t be, Peter,” she said gently. “None of us could have known.”
“We should have,” he said grimly. “It’s not the first time the Black Dwarves have felt the stirring of Dark Magic and Narnia has not responded swiftly enough.”
“But it’s over now,” she responded. “It’s Ekanar, Revan and the others who should be mourned now; not me. The threat has left us.”
“We ought to have killed her,” Peter mused darkly.
“But we didn’t, Peter,” Edmund retorted suddenly. “There’s no use in lamenting it now.”
“Oh, for Aslan’s sake!”
Again, their heads turned in unison to look at Susan’s slender outline which had appeared at the door leading out onto the tower, her beautifully braided hair now somewhat disheveled as she stared at them reprovingly.
“I was wondering where you all had gone off to,” she chided with mock exasperation, lifting her skirts to step on the cold stone floor with her bare feet and nudging Edmund’s leg slightly with her toes so that he made space for her on his cloak. There was something clutched in her right hand. “It’s awfully desolate downstairs.”
“Everyone’s tired,” Edmund said with a wry smile, his eyes searching the stray clouds above.
“Well, then, I would expect everyone to be in bed,” Susan said, a teasing smile playing at her lips. Her eyes flitted towards Lucy with veiled concern. Her younger sister had once more turned to the sea. Susan met Peter’s gaze for a short moment and then leaned sideways onto one of her arms, moving to straighten the crumpled sheet of parchment she had now set on her lap.
“What’s that?” Edmund asked sleepily.
“A letter,” she replied, though he could tell she was trying to hold back a smile from her tone.
“From which of your admirers is it this time?” Lucy said teasingly, though rather distantly, her eyes were still fixed on some distant point ahead.
“Oh hush,” Susan shot back, her cheeks reddening slightly. She glanced at the letter in her hand and then watched them expectantly. “Prince Rabadash has expressed his earnest hope that someday your royal brothers may invite his humble person to experience the renowned pleasures of Cair Paravel’s Narnian beauty.”
“Are we referring to the castle or to the Queen?” Edmund said mischievously. It earned him a swat on the shoulder from his sister.
“You can invite him, if you want,” Peter said seriously in midst of the mirth around him. “I’d advise against doing so this month, however. There’s still a lot on our hands, and I don’t think we can judge if the threat is truly past until some amount of time has gone by.”
Susan nodded, her cheerful expression fading slightly as she lowered the letter onto her lap. “So it escaped, then.”
“She escaped,” Edmund said grimly. His eyes looked up at the sky unblinkingly.
Susan seemed to hesitate before she finally spoke. “Was she a Witch, then?”
“Only a Witch would be able to turn herself into a serpent at will, and… sing… the way she did.”
The others remained silent; their gazes averted from Edmund as he spoke coldly, his tone emotionless. It was Susan who asked the question they had been mulling over for days now, but hadn't dared ask of the only one among them who could know the answer.
“Was she the same one?”
It seemed an eternity before he responded.
“I don’t know.”
Some minutes later, Peter’s tired sigh broke the uncomfortable silence and he nudged Edmund’s leg with a fist, pointedly eyeing the space his brother was occupying. “I think you’re forgetting who spent the past few days riding back and forth between Ettinsmoor and the Cair.”
Edmund rolled his eyes but sat up with surprising swiftness, leaning over Lucy’s shoulder even as Peter rearranged his body to lie down halfway across the blanket and Edmund’s cloak, while Susan laughed at his nerve.
“Look,” Edmund told Lucy, starting her out of her reverie. He pointed towards the harbor that lay north of the castle, its orange lanterns bobbing up and down with the wind and the water as the largest Narnian ships and the small fleet of boats slept on the water, patiently awaiting the activities of the next day. “If you squint slightly, you can almost convince yourself that the water is just void, and that we and the castle are all on a vast, floating island, and the lights of the harbor are just more stars in a universe of darkness.”
Lucy smiled as she squinted at the lights, imagining that the roaring waves were nothing but the wind sweeping over and below a hovering mass of earth, imagining that all the stars that had begun to appear in the night sky as the clouds parted were only the lights from harbors and cities far away, moving in the sky above them. The constellation of the Leopard bounded in between the stars with such vivid liveliness that she almost felt as if she might touch it, if she could only reach far enough.
She leaned back against her brother’s shoulder in satisfaction and looked away towards the shoreline again, catching glimpses of flying spray in the moonlight, and she reminded herself of the truth.
“What do you think lies beyond?”
Even Susan and Peter fell silent in their playful banter, and their eyes moved to look towards the distant horizon as the wind swept past them with a particularly forceful gust, leaving them almost breathless.
“Galma, Terebinthia, the Seven Isles, the Lone Islands…” Edmund recited slowly, though they all knew that wasn’t what she had meant.
“Beyond that,” she said, narrowing her eyes again as if effort could show her what hid in the distant darkness.
“Maybe nothing,” Susan said quietly.
“There’s always something,” Lucy said softly.
“Did you go?”
Lucy didn’t turn and look at him. She had been afraid that he would scold her if he found her here, sitting on the roof of the Professor’s old house, which wasn't really the Professor’s anymore… but she couldn't help calling it that.
Now, as she leaned back onto the rough blanket she had extended over the hard tiles of the roof, she knew she shouldn't have worried. She could feel his eyes on her and knew exactly how he must be feeling.
“I did,” she said, looking up at the starry sky. She could hear the sound of some violin concerto playing on a gramophone through an open window beside the grassy lawn below, almost drowned out by the sound of rustling leaves and the insects of the countryside. She had missed this.
He said nothing, and for a moment she wondered if he had left, before she heard the window scrape slightly as it opened wider and heard him crawling down the tiles to where she was.
“How was it?” Peter asked, lying down beside her, his hands folded on his chest. He looked surprisingly small beside her, despite the stiff collar of his shirt and the distinct adult air it bore.
Lucy didn’t bother looking at his face. She didn’t need to; she could feel the very same emotions in herself.
“It was…” she searched in vain for the right word to describe it. “Old.”
He said nothing for what felt like an eternity, and then nodded. “I suppose it would be.”
She didn’t tell him how she had crawled into the Wardrobe, no longer small enough for her to get lost inside it, and pressed her face to the coarse wood. The old fur coats that had once hidden the back from view were now gone, but she had closed the wardrobe door the way she had never dared to when she was younger, and in the darkness she could almost believe that it was the same as it had been before. The wood was rough against her cheek and her lips as she breathed in the musky scent of the room that still haunted her dreams.
She didn’t tell him how she had been able to pick up, distantly, the faded scent of pinecones.
She didn’t tell him how long she had sat inside the Wardrobe wishing she was eight years old again, wishing in equal parts that she was in Narnia and that she had never even set foot in it.
She didn’t tell him how guilty she felt for feeling both feelings.
Perhaps the Wardrobe wasn't old: perhaps she was.
Maybe Peter understood, because he asked no more questions.
Presently, they heard Edmund’s voice behind them.
“Ah, a family reunion, I see,” he said in a low voice, smiling in an almost melancholic way as he crawled down the tiles much as Peter had, coming to sit beside them.
Lucy smiled up at him and he nudged her amiably with his elbow before looking up at the tops of the trees that surrounded the house, their boughs swaying slowly in the autumn breeze, leaves twirling here and there as they detached themselves from the trunks. Somewhere in those trees, they all knew, there was a small stream near where they had once played hide-and-seek, but it was too distant form the house for them to hear its tinkling waters.
“I’m glad the Professor was able to bring us back here, even if just for one night,” Peter said.
“I don’t want to leave,” Edmund said under his breath.
The other two said nothing, because there was no use in agreeing with the obvious.
“I don’t want to go back to school,” Edmund added with disgust.
“Oh, poor you,” Lucy said, some sarcasm slipping into her voice, though there was no malice in it. “At least it’s your last year. I still have two years to go.”
Peter turned his head to look at both of them. “Well, truth be told, finding a job isn't that much more pleasant…” He grinned wickedly. “But at least it’s not school.”
“That’s such a comfort,” Edmund said dryly, but couldn't help a grin.
As they fell silent and the only sound left around them was the rustling of the leaves and the intermittent chirping of crickets, Lucy lost herself in the clear nighttime sky, with its stars twinkling brightly, the constellations so different from the ones she had become accustomed to in Narnia. In this world, Lucy had had a much harder time learning their names; her mind refused to let go of the Leopard and the Hammer, and she kept finding herself looking for them even when she didn’t mean to.
But she had learned the new constellations anyway. As soon as they had returned from Narnia she had gone mad for knowledge, acutely feeling the gaps that her childish mind was not able to fill. Her adult self in Narnia had once been vastly proficient in many different fields, and it was unbearably hard to readjust to a body so ignorant of the habits she had built up during the adulthood she had lived before. It wasn't only the constellations; she often found herself ignoring the fork set beside her plate, her hand straying towards the spoon, for forks had not existed in Narnia. When walking down a staircase she still instinctively reached down as if to lift the hem of her gown, though her dresses in England were shorter, and she had to remind herself even as she began to hum Narnian lullabies in a language she no longer understood, that things had changed.
If she kept her eyes fixed on the void of darkness beyond the stars, now, she could almost will the sound of the waves on the shore beside Cair Paravel to come back to her, the sound of rustling leaves could become the soft shower of spray from the crashing waves, and the tiles could become the stones at the top of the Eastern Tower…
“Where’s Eustace?” Peter asked quietly from beside her.
“I think Polly forced him and Jill to have tea and go to bed,” Edmund said with quiet amusement. “I think she’s heard too many stories about their school and is terrified of letting them go without enough rest.”
“Jill’s a nice girl,” Lucy said, in a halfhearted attempt to dispel the grieving silence that fell over them like a heavy blanket. There was a strange sense that maybe if they didn’t speak of it, it wouldn't have really happened…
“I hate myself so much right now,” Peter murmured viciously all of a sudden.
Lucy averted her eyes from the stars and turned her head to look at her brother, whose jaw was clenched tightly, eyes glistening as he looked straight ahead. Beside her, Edmund said nothing, staring onward towards the distant trees, his silhouette almost merging with the darkness behind him.
Lucy wanted to say something, but there was nothing she could say. She found her hand straying to her arm, reaching underneath the sleeve of her sweater in search of the scars a serpent had once left on her skin; scars that no longer existed.
“We should have killed it,” Peter said. “If we had killed it Caspian’s wife wouldn't be dead, and he wouldn't have died the way he did.”
“You don’t know that,” Lucy said in a low voice she was sure betrayed her.
“But at least I wouldn't have this feeling…” he gulped and sat up, his grief-stricken voice coming out choked. “At least I wouldn't feel like if I had only swung my sword properly that night, when we were in the tunnels, if I hadn't doubted, then she never would have been able to come back-”
“I should have done it,” Edmund interrupted. His voice was lower in volume than Peter’s, but it shook strangely and filled Lucy with a strange sense of dread she couldn't bear. “We met her; his wife. She was…” he sighed. “I should have known better. I should have gone into those tunnels instead of Lucy and beheaded it while I had the chance.”
“Oh, shut up, both of you,” Lucy exclaimed, sitting up as well, her eyes wide. “Peter, you know perfectly well why we didn’t have it killed. We didn’t know it could return. We didn’t know it was a Witch until after it had already left. We wouldn't even have been able to tell had it not been for Edmund.”
Edmund shut his eyes to try and repress the memory of the serpent slithering its huge, monstrous body past them, its thick green skin pierced by hundreds of arrows, oozing dark blood that filled the tunnel with a rancid smell. He tried for what felt like the thousandth time, to forget the sudden sickening whisper of a voice as it enveloped his mind, whispering, tempting, murmuring the same songs it had once sung into the ears of the dwarves in the deepest caves of Ettinsmoor.
He opened his eyes again to look at Lucy; Lucy, who had always been uneasy in caves afterwards, who had always shrunk away from the darkness in ways she had never done when she was a small child. Lucy, who had carried the burden of the secret they couldn't possibly share with the rest of the Narnians, hiding her scars, preferring the Golden Age to be remembered as such without the taint of the terrifying, secret battle that had been waged for a week in the depths of Narnian soil against an unknown horror which had left so many dead behind in the dark. There’s no use in frightening them now, she had said.
They all started as the window behind them scraped open once more, and Susan’s pale face looked out into the windy night, her eyes reproaching.
“What are you three doing here?” she asked. “It’s late.”
“Come join us, Su,” Peter said, and Lucy admired him for not letting any of the unease she could sense in him show towards their sister. How long had it been since Susan had sat among them and truly been invested in the conversation? The distance between the three of them and her hadn't truly been bridged in what felt like years.
For a moment Lucy thought Susan was going to leave, but suddenly there was a series of low noises as she kicked off her shoes on the hardwood floor, and then she was climbing out onto the roof with some awkwardness, treading carefully with her bare feet, trying not to slip down over the tiles.
Edmund reached over to offer a helping hand and she came to sit beside him, looking slightly windswept as she joined them.
“It’s nice here,” she said in a rather breathless whisper as she looked at the countryside that spread out below.
“You can almost forget about the lack of furniture inside,” Edmund said. The house hardly held any furniture now except in the first few floors and, as Lucy knew, the Wardrobe room.She had already wordlessly thanked the absent new owners of the old house for leaving it untouched; it was too large to fit in Professor Kirke’s new home. She wondered if they had thought to open it.
She wondered if they would be able to smell the pinecones in the corners where the wood panels met.
“We ought to have written it down somewhere,” Susan said suddenly. They all turned to look at her in surprise, but she kept her gaze steady on the trees below and Lucy suddenly realized that her eyes were red from crying. “Then they would have known.”
“Whatever we wrote would have been destroyed anyway,” Edmund replied presently. “When the Telmarines invaded.”
“We still should have written it down,” Peter said obstinately. “Even if it frightened people.”
“But how would we have known?” Lucy looked at him with some exasperation. “Peter, how many threats did we face when we ruled? How many enemies did we have? We can’t even count them! We couldn't possibly have known. At the moment all that mattered was not making Narnians think there would be another century of winter!”
Edmund seemed to accept it, suddenly, because lay back on the tiles somewhat stiffly, an expression of resignation on his face. “If it wasn't her, then there could have been another one.”
He turned his head to look at Peter, who had suddenly stopped his heated musings and was looking at him questioningly. “What?”
“Before you and I reached the tunnels,” he said, and it seemed an odd thing to speak of on the roof of an English house in the English countryside, but when they looked at him properly, the thin moonlight mixing with the yellow light from the windows below and throwing distant rays onto his golden hair, he almost seemed the King he had once been. “After Lucy had been attacked… we chased it down into one of the holes as soon as you realized she was the serpent; we didn’t give her enough time to strike first. I think that was what ensured our victory. But how did you know?”
“How did you know she was a Witch?”
Edmund looked away, a small mirthless smile on his lips. “She told me exactly what I wanted to hear.”
Lucy lay back down as soon as he finished speaking, hugging herself in the cold breeze and trying to find some comfort in the white light of the stars. She couldn't bring herself to imagine that more than seventy years had passed since they had last been in Narnia; and yet, at the same time, she could feel the seventy years weighing down in her mind. When she had stepped into the Wardrobe, it had creaked with a weakness she didn’t remember feeling years before.
At least, she thought, Caspian had had a chance to see his son before the end.
“Do you think Aslan knew how many mistakes we would make?” Peter broke the silence in a low voice.
“I think he meant for them to happen,” Edmund replied, and there was something about his tone that nobody dared dispute.
“The funny thing, though,” said Susan in a quivering voice that didn’t sound like she found it funny at all. “Is that our time is still remembered as the Golden Age.”
“But that is how I remember it,” Lucy said quietly. “The Dancing Lawn and the festivals and walking in the forest and the ships and the jokes… and Aslan…” She sighed. “It’s just sometimes…”
Susan looked at her with a gentleness that suddenly made her look like the Queen she had once been. “People always glorify the past,” she said simply.
The wind receded somewhat and now Lucy could hear the sound of the gramophone more clearly from the window below, though she could tell that most of the lights were now off, as the stretched squares of golden light that had been thrown across the grass some time before had now disappeared. The window behind them led into a dark, sleeping house.
“Susan,” Peter asked presently. “Where’s your ring?”
She glanced at him and then looked away, lowering her hand almost with embarrassment, and she didn’t look at him. “I took it off,” she said quietly. “He wrote yesterday; he’s going off to France and has… different things in mind now.”
“It’s all right,” she said in a tone that suggested that it wasn't right at all.
“At what time do you leave tomorrow, Pete?” Edmund asked, in an attempt to bridge the silence.
Peter’s eyes were still on Susan. “At eight a.m.”
Susan fixed him with a look of surprise. “Peter, your train doesn't leave until five tomorrow.”
“I know,” he replied. “But I’m going with you to London.”
“You’ll have almost six hours of waiting!” Susan exclaimed. “I start work only two hours afterwards-”
“I know,” he said simply. “But I’ll go with you. You shouldn't be alone.”
“You’re ridiculous,” Susan said, but as she looked away, Lucy could see a smile on her lips and tears brimming in her eyes.
She wondered, suddenly, if any of the other three had gone into the Wardrobe room yet.
She wondered if any of them had dared.
“It’s late,” Edmund said, suddenly channeling their mother. “We should go inside. It’s getting cold.”
“Oh, let’s stay a bit longer,” said Susan suddenly, and she fell back onto the tiles just as Edmund and Lucy were, her hair becoming even more disheveled on the rough blanket. “Please.”
They said nothing, but Peter lay down as well and all four of them looked up at the distant stars glimmering overhead, tiny constellations in the distance, and if Lucy squinted hard enough she could almost see the Leopard growling down at them from above as he sped past the orange lanterns of the Narnian harbor.