Perfect (Part One of Perfect/Broken), A Chronicles of Narnia Fanfic
A/N: I was not happy with the ending of the Dawn Treader movie because I felt that there were too many loose ends left. This is to try to give some closure and tie up those loose ends. Also, I wanted to get inside of Edmund and Lucy’s heads for a while because this is not done much in the movie either. This is part one of a two part story. This story is in Edmund’s Point of View.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Narnia or anything in it. All rights belong to C.S. Lewis. Movie rights belong to Walden Media and Disney.
No one understood, especially not her. She was always the believer, always the perfect one. She forgave quickly, loved much, and held every quality that any perfect person should have. We always looked up to our brother Peter, but maybe we should have been looking up to Lucy instead. Peter was a natural leader and a gentle big brother, but Lucy, Lucy was just too perfect in every way. She never blinked an eye when she trusted Aslan. She flew through anything that could have even come close to drawing her astray.
I clenched my fist unconsciously as my thoughts began to drift inevitably to my failures. There were so many of them. Sometimes I think I might drown in them. Maybe Aslan made a mistake by saving me. Maybe I was better left a dead traitor. I’m sure my siblings would have ruled just fine in my place. Sometimes I wondered how they could even look at me, or worse still, what did they see when they looked at me. I still see glimpses of hurt in their eyes, and it was getting harder and harder to bear. Maybe they will never get over my treachery. After all, even Lucy, the perfect one, sometimes gave me that look despite being the quickest to forgive and still love me after what I’ve done. I snorted and shook my head sadly. Maybe she put on a front. She probably was secretly disgusted with me.
“Edmund?” I heard Lucy quietly question. “What’s wrong? Are you all right?”
I turned to look at her, mildly surprised that I did not hear her enter the room that Eustace and I shared. Eustace had offered to go buy groceries earlier and Lucy had graciously accepted his offer to help. He was being incredibly nice and polite since he got back.
“I’m fine,” I replied automatically. I shifted my eyes away from hers because that look was in them again. That hurt look. Maybe I could never do anything right. I always seemed to hurt her whether I wanted to or not. I was never the older brother she could look up to. I was the older brother who had betrayed my sweet innocent baby sister. How much more horrible could it be? Oh perhaps the fact that I unknowingly betrayed her again and again, endangering her life countless times. Some older brother I was.
“I know you’re lying Ed, I can always tell.” Her voice broke through my thoughts. I looked up at her sharply.
“I said I’m fine!” I snapped. When would she ever take the hint that I was no good for her? What if I somehow tarnished her perfection? I could hardly bear to live with myself as it was. I watched her face fall and her nose scrunch up the way it always did when she was trying not to cry. She had been overly sensitive since we left Narnia for good. Even Eustace noticed and took care to not upset her. I don’t think any of us missed Narnia as much as she did.
I wanted to apologize. I did not mean to upset her; after all she had done nothing wrong. She was blameless. I was the one who deserved to be suffering, not her. Before I could open my mouth to apologize, she took a deep breath and repeated her question even more quietly if that was possible.
“What’s wrong Ed?” I saw her trembling as she bit her lower lip. She seemed to be forcing herself not to cry. I stared unseeingly at the bedroom wall as I thought of how to answer her. There had to be some silly explanation I could use to make her go away and not hurt her further.
Suddenly I had the insane notion to actually tell her what was on my mind. I dismissed that thought as soon as it came. I could not imagine my sins laid bare before her, even though she knew most of them. She did not need to be reminded of my failures or told of my daily torment. I did not want her to know how flawed I really was. I did not want to face her, to hear her finally admit that I was beyond anyone’s love, beyond anyone’s grace. Maybe I deserved that.
I could not hold back the mental onslaught of my sins and the images that often accompanied as they came rushing through my head. I squeezed my eyes shut tightly, willing and praying the mental torment to stop, but knowing every second I deserved such torment. It was then that I felt her arms encircle me and she pulled me close to her.
I laughed bitterly. Here she was again, Lucy the comforter, Lucy the nearly instant forgiver, forgiving and comforting me when all I ever did was hurt and disappoint her. “Edmund?” she questioned uncertainly.
I looked up into her eyes with a bitter smile. “Why are you always perfect?” I questioned softly. I felt her arms tense around me, but she did not pull away.
“What do you mean?” she asked somewhat bewildered. I instantly regretted my words, but there was no going back now. I suppose this day was as good as any to receive condemnation from my baby sister.
“You always know what to say, what to do. You always believed when everyone else didn’t, and you were right. You never even came close to giving in to the things the rest of us were tempted by. You always saw Aslan even when we didn’t. You were always perfect.”
I paused and took a deep breath before continuing on. “I’ve never been like you or the others. I betrayed you all to the White Witch, more times than you know. I actually lost count it was so many. I lied to you all countless times. I never argued with Peter about following Aslan when I knew we should have at the gorge. I never tried to stop the taking of Caspian’s castle when I knew it would not work well in our favor. I was so blinded by wanting to be acknowledged and followed instead of always being in the shadows that I fought Caspian over a river that turned things to gold.”
Unbidden tears filled my eyes. “Why couldn’t I just have been perfect like you? How much blood must be shed, how many lives must be lost, how many people must I hurt before I learn? Maybe I’m just a lost cause Lu. I know I certainly don’t deserve to be your brother. I always hurt you; I always disappoint you.” I lowered my head to her shoulder, hiding my face from her. I didn’t want to see her shame and disappointment. I silently waited for the blow to come, for Lucy to run off disgusted or finally affirm what I knew all along: that my sins were too great.
I looked up at her startled when I felt something wet strike my cheek. Lucy was crying softly. The moment their eyes met however, she began sobbing. I didn’t really know what to do. This was definitely not the reaction I was expecting. I did not comfort people often; therefore I had trouble doing it. Peter was always way better than me at things like this.
Seeing her sobbing like she was, I knew I just couldn’t sit there idle. I slowly reached forward and wrapped my arms around her, much like she had just done for me and gave a gentle but insistent tug forward. I felt Lucy resist slightly and draw in a sharp breath. I wondered what I had done wrong again; maybe I was supposed to do something else for her? She met my eyes again for the briefest of moments before practically throwing herself into my chest, sobbing uncontrollably.
I slowly and somewhat awkwardly rubbed her back as I tried to mimic what Peter would do in this situation. Lucy’s grip on the front of my shirt loosened and she shifted so that she could put her arms around me. In a few minutes her sobbing lessened and she took a few deep shuddering breaths before looking up again.
She tried to sit up, but I held on tightly to her. She was still crying, and Peter never let her go before she stopped crying. She didn’t resist and instead laid her head back against my chest. “Oh Edmund,” she murmured, “I’m not as perfect as you may think.”
I waited, still stroking her back, for her to continue. I could not think of a thing in the world that Lucy had done wrong. “There were so many times I doubted. So many times where I let my fears guide me instead of my heart.” Lucy could be quite hard on herself sometimes. I wished that my list of sins only included secretly doubting and fearing.
“You are not the only one at fault Edmund,” she said closing her eyes momentarily. “I could have followed Aslan at the gorge despite Peter and Susan not believing me. I was simply too scared to go by myself. I should not have given into my fear.” She opened her eyes and looked up at me. “I too knew that Peter should not have led a takeover of Caspian’s castle, but I didn’t do enough to stop him. I doubted myself, that my judgment was somehow wrong. After all, I figured Peter knew what he was doing, even if his plan made no sense. If I was being honest with myself though, I knew it would not please Aslan to act without him, and that should have been enough to get me to try harder to stop him. I didn’t though.” She said sadly.
“You can’t really blame yourself Lu,” I said with a sigh. “If I were in your shoes, I would have been afraid too. I could have gone against Peter and Susan and helped you get to Aslan, but I didn’t. I had no excuse either, because I wasn’t really afraid. I guess I thought that I had no right to argue with Peter, even though in that case I probably did.” I paused for a moment. “As for Peter’s decision to take Caspian’s castle, I don’t think that anything you would have said would have changed his mind. I don’t know if I could have knocked some sense into him, but I didn’t even try. You at least tried to make him see reason. You are not as much at fault as I am. I could have taken the chances you kept offering me to agree and follow your lead, but I didn’t. I am so sorry Lu.” She squeezed me gently.
“Still Ed, it doesn’t change the fact that I am partially at fault for everything that happened.” I sighed again.
“But you never knowingly betrayed your family and Narnia,” I said softly.
“No,” she replied, “but I almost betrayed myself.”
I was confused and intrigued by her answer. “What are you talking about? I don’t remember anything wrong that you did, unless it happened when I was with the White Witch.” Lucy shook her head.
“No it was in our last time to Narnia aboard the Dawn Treader, but it started long before that. Remember when I asked you if I looked anything at all like Susan before we left for Narnia?” I thought for a moment and realized that I did remember and that I didn’t answer her at the time.
“Yes, I remember.”
“That question meant more to me than you thought it might have at the time. Ever since our first trip to Narnia and we grew up, Susan was always the one who got all of the attention. She was the one with all the suitors, the one people praised for her beauty beyond compare. Nobody noticed me, not when she was around. It was the same way when we got back, everyone fawns over Susan, but no one notices me. I know I am younger than her, but I wondered if I was not beautiful enough to be noticed. No one ever told me I was beautiful. They only tell Susan how beautiful she is. I began to wish that I would grow up and look just like Susan, that people would praise my beauty and notice me too.” She looked up into my eyes. “I almost lost myself to that wish.”
I stared at her surprised. I had no idea that she had been worrying so much about her beauty. Thinking back, I saw countless signs that pointed to what she was saying. How stupid and blind could I be? I had no idea she was struggling so much.
“Remember when I was on the island with the Dufflepuds and they took me?” her voice broke through my thoughts.
“Yes,” I replied softly. How could I forget? I was frantic with worry for her. Maybe I never told her, but even though I was not the brother she deserved, I loved her a lot. It was impossible not to love Lucy. That is why all this talk of her not being beautiful was absurd. Everyone loved her and she didn’t even realize it.
“Well, when they told me to go recite the spell that made all things visible, I had to find it in the spell book. There were so many spells, spells to cure ailments, spells for snow,” she giggled through her tears. “I really liked that one, the whole room filled with snow.”
I almost smiled. Lucy always loved snow. Her voice turned hard. “But then I found a spell for beauty. It made you into the beauty you wanted to be.” She clenched my shirt again in her hand. “There was a magical mirror beside the spell that showed you what you would look like if the spell was cast. You had to recite half of the spell though. I recited it and looked in the mirror in the book. I would have looked just like Susan, an exact copy of her. At first I thought it was her, but then I realized it was me. Even though I knew how wrong it was, I tore the page for the spell out of the spell book so that I could recite it later.”
I listened trying to comprehend what she was saying. Lucy, my sweet, lovable sister stole a spell out of a spell book with the clear intent of using it because she was jealous of Susan? That just didn’t fit Lucy.
“Everything went crazy for a few moments,” she continued, unaware of my thoughts, “wind came gusting in from nowhere and blew the spell book pages really fast. I thought I heard a lion roar and the candles suddenly went out. Then I heard Aslan call my name. It sounded like he was right over my shoulder. I turned, but he wasn’t there. I still took the page Edmund, I know Aslan was trying to stop me, but I took it anyway. I hid it under my tunic.”
She began sobbing again and I held her tighter trying to digest what she was saying. Even after Aslan’s warning, she still took the page? It was hard to believe Lucy would do that. She always listened to Aslan, didn’t she?
“Coriakin tried to warn us we all would be tested remember?” I remembered well. My testing almost caused their downfall again, but this time I had fought and resisted the White Witch. “He stared at me the longest, if you remember. I think he knew what I had done and was giving me another warning. I still didn’t listen Ed.”
Now that she mentioned it, I did remember Coriakin giving her a long look. I had been so engrossed in our quest that I didn’t think much of it. I couldn’t believe that Lucy had hid her feelings so well, normally she was much easier to read.
“That night on the Dawn Treader when I came into your and Caspian’s cabin because I couldn’t sleep, that was the night I was tempted.” I remembered her face when I woke up from my waking nightmare of the White Witch. She looked downright awful. I had understood that she probably was having bad dreams and told her as much, since Caspian and I were having them too. She had nodded, her face pale. I had no idea what her temptation was until now.
“When I went to bed that night, I had laid awake until Gael had fallen asleep. I then took out the page and was going to recite it. Somehow I had fallen asleep staring at the page and I dreamt I was in the ship’s cabin, with golden sunlight shining in the windows. There wasn’t a storm anymore. I walked up to the mirror in the cabin and saw my reflection change so that I looked just like Susan. As I watched my reflection, my dress changed into one Susan would wear in America and the mirror opened up to the party Susan told us about in her letter. All of these handsome men greeted me and I was introduced to the entire party as Ms. Pevensie. Everyone clapped and I heard people whispering to each other over my beauty.”
She looked up at me. “You were there and greeted me by calling me your beautiful sister. You took my arm and then Peter showed up and took my other arm.” She turned to stare at the wall unseeingly. “There was a photographer there and he asked us if we wanted a picture together. Peter said that our mum would love it because all of her children were together in one picture. I didn’t understand. I asked them what about Susan, then I thought maybe I was Susan, so I asked where Lucy was. It was all so confusing to me, I didn’t know if I was actually Susan or Lucy. Peter asked me who Lucy was and you didn’t know about Narnia when I asked you about it. I then struggled with you both because you wouldn’t let me go and then I found myself back in the cabin with Aslan.”
She looked back up to me with tears in her eyes again. “Oh Edmund, it was awful and I told Aslan so! I didn’t exist in that world I saw.” She averted her eyes. “Aslan told me that I doubted my worth. He said that if it wasn’t for me, none of us would have gone to Narnia, because I discovered it. He reminded me that I had my own place and worth in this world Ed, and I forgot all about that because I was so jealous of Susan.”
I sat there stunned as she spoke. I almost lost my little sister to her jealousy of our older sister? She honestly didn’t see how special she was? I sighed and shook my head slightly at the thought before looking down at Lucy. Her face paled considerably as she gazed at me. What was wrong with her?
“Lu,” I said slowly.
“Oh Ed, please don’t say it!” she cried sitting up and pushing away from me. Say it? Say what? I wondered. “I know it was the wrong thing to think in the first place; I know I shouldn’t have done it! I am so sorry!” she said as she began sobbing again into her hands.
Startled, I realized that she had mistaken my head shake and sigh as one of disappointment. “Lu, I wasn’t going to say that at all.”
Her sobbing didn’t lessen and I wondered what to do. Why couldn’t I be better at this like Peter was? I tried to stop that thought. Apparently, thoughts like that could get people into trouble as it certainly had in Lucy’s case. I tried again. “Lu, what I meant to say was that I was surprised you didn’t think you were beautiful and special yourself.”
Slowly, Lucy looked up at me, her eyes conflicted. Didn’t she believe me? I wondered. But then again, no one had told her something like that before, so it probably would take more than telling her just one time for her to believe it. I thought for a moment still looking at her. “Didn’t you believe Aslan when he said that you were special?”
“Y-yes,” she stuttered, “but He loves everyone and thinks everyone is special. I guess sometimes it’s hard to believe when no one else tells you too.”
My heart clenched painfully. I knew the feeling all too well. To think that she had those feelings and she wasn’t even a traitor like I was. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t see the signs in her before. She would have never had to go through what she did if I had just seen.
“Lu, I’m so sorry. I never knew you thought about yourself like that. You are beautiful in more ways than you know.”
Lucy smiled through her tears and leaned back against my chest, putting her arms around me again. “Thank you Ed,” she whispered. A few moments passed before she took a deep breath and continued her story. “Well I woke up in the middle of the night with the page still in my hand,” she said, “I immediately got up and burned it in the cabin’s fireplace. Right after that, I went to see you because there was no way I was going to get back to sleep.” She gave me a squeeze. “No offense Ed, but when you woke up you looked awful, like you had seen a ghost.”
I did not want to tell her that it was because I had. I kept seeing the White Witch, no matter what I did; I could never seem to escape her. I tried not to dwell on that thought. “You didn’t look much better,” I joked weakly. She gave me a small smile before looking up at me sadly.
“What is really bothering you Ed? It isn’t really about me is it? You should know by now that no one is perfect, not even me.” I gave her a small hug. I felt horrible for wallowing in my own self pity and not even realizing that she needed me. Worse off, I had accused her of being perfect, while she was struggling. Add that to the list of my sins. I already had so many.
She must have sensed the change in my mood, because she pulled away slightly to look directly at me. “Ed?” she questioned softly as she placed a gentle hand on my cheek. I didn’t know why, but something inside me broke and I realized, horrified, that I was starting to cry. I hadn’t cried in so long. Lucy just held me tightly, whispering gentle words. It made me cry even harder. I didn’t deserve her tenderness, her love.
“Why can’t any of you just say it?” I sobbed into her shoulder.
“Say what Ed?” she asked gently.
“Say that you are still disappointed in me. Say that I don’t deserve to be your brother. Say that it was better that I had died a traitor, because that is what I am. Say that Aslan shouldn’t have died in my place because I deserved to die instead.” Lucy’s gentle grip tightened immediately until it was almost painful.
“Never Ed,” she whispered with such ferocity that I was taken aback, “Never would I say that you are a disappointment or that you are not worthy of being my brother. And, never, ever would I say that you should have died.”
“But none of you can bear to look at me!” I cried. “I am so sick of seeing you all look at me like it pains you just to see me here, that I am too much of a disappointment to you!” Lucy sat back and nearly shook me tears streaming down her face.
“Honestly Ed, is that what you think? That we are so hurt and disappointed in what you did that it pains us to look upon you? You don’t understand!”
“There’s nothing to understand!” I nearly shouted interrupting her.
“Yes there is Ed! You don’t understand what we see when we look at you.” This time I didn’t interrupt her. I simply waited for her to voice the truth: that my treachery had cut too deep; that I had hurt my siblings too much.
“All we see when we look at you Ed is you lying in the grass dying before our very eyes. We see your struggles as you try to pretend that you are alright, when you have done nothing but suffer. We see our brother hurting, both back then and now.” She titled my head and forced me to meet her eyes. They were so full of emotion. “We do not look hurt because we cannot stand to see you Ed; we are hurt because we knew what it was like to almost never be able to see you again. We are hurt because you are hurting and we don’t know how to help you. We are deathly afraid of losing you again because we love you too much to ever want to lose you.”
I stared back at her in stunned silence. It seemed too difficult to process that my siblings were hurting because they were afraid of losing me? How could they not be disgusted with me? How could they forgive my treachery? Lucy spoke up seemingly able to read my thoughts.
“I know you may not understand Ed, but you are our brother. We may not like what you did, but we know you were sorry for it and you have spent your whole life trying to repay a debt that has already been erased, sins that have already been forgiven. We forgave you because you are our brother and we love you.” She smiled. “And Aslan forgave you and gave his life for you because he believed in you and loved you too.”
“It’s not that easy Lu,” I said sadly, “I cannot escape from her no matter what I do or where I am.”
“You mean the White Witch?” she asked. I simply nodded. She sighed softly. “Did you ever think the reason that you cannot escape her is that you cannot seem to let her go?”
I gritted my teeth angrily. “You think I like being tortured by her in my life and in my dreams? Why would I not want to let her go?”
“You are letting her still have control over you Edmund because you cannot forgive yourself.” Lucy replied calmly. “You have spent every day since her death feeling guilty and unworthy of being alive, and in doing so, you couldn’t let the past be past. By clinging to it, you also cling to her. If you try to move on from the past and forgive yourself, you may find that her hold on you lessens too.”
I didn’t know what to think, could the answer really be so simple and yet so hard? How could I find it within myself to actually forgive myself? I didn’t know if I could do that. I did want the power that the White Witch still had over me to be gone, but I didn’t think I was strong enough to forgive myself. “I don’t know Lu, I don’t think I can forgive myself that easily. So many people suffered and died because of me. How can I forgive myself for that?”
Lucy looked towards the window in the room. “I asked Aslan once if I had followed him at the gorge if things would have turned out differently. He told me that we could never know what could have happened.” She turned back to me. “But I do know Ed what did happen. What did happen is that Narnia had a king that knew how to handle and fairly treat disputes because you truly understood the meaning of justice. Narnia had a king that knew what it meant to extend mercy because mercy was first extended to you. Narnia had a king that knew how to forgive and earn the trust and respect from his subjects. Narnia had a king that showed the people that redemption was possible and that good can always overcome evil.
You were a living reminder Ed of everything good that could come out of bad. Our subjects didn’t look at you and see a traitor, or else they would have never followed you. Our subjects looked at you and saw their living, redeemed, merciful and just king.” She smiled again. “I can guarantee you that Aslan saw the same, and that is why he did what he did. He died not only to spare your life, but he died to make you the king he knew you would become. Peter, Susan, and I would never have been able to rule like you did Ed, because we never experienced what you did. It was your experiences that made you the amazing king that you were and still are.” She closed her eyes still smiling. “Once a king or queen of Narnia,” she recited.
“Always a king or queen of Narnia,” I finished softly. She opened her eyes and gazed at me. She looked more happy and alive than I had seen her since we had returned from Narnia. I smiled. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had smiled, but I smiled. Lucy looked positively elated. I sighed, the lingering wisps of the smile still on my face. “It is still hard Lu, but I’ll try to remember all of that. It is so easy to remember the wrongs instead.”
“You don’t have to forget the wrongs Ed, just don’t dwell on them. The only reason you should remember them at all is to remember the type of person that they helped you to become.”
I nodded. “I will try that Lu, and I’ll work on forgiving myself too, but it won’t happen overnight.”
Lucy looked at me, her eyes pleading. “I don’t expect it to, but I do want you to try, please! I don’t want to see you hurting anymore.” Overcome by her love, understanding, and forgiveness, I leaned forward unexpectedly and pulled her into a hug earning a startled gasp from her.
“I’ll try,” I promised. As she pulled back with a smile on her face, I remembered the earlier part of our conversation. How could she ever think that she wasn’t beautiful? When Lucy smiled, the entire room became happier. I would make it a priority to remind my little sister just how amazing she really was, starting right now.
“For future reference,” I stated in a reprimanding tone that immediately caught Lucy’s attention, “you should know that if anyone deserved to be a queen in Narnia, it was you. You may think Susan is beautiful, and she is in her own way, but she could never compare to your joy, your kindness, your compassion and love for others. That makes you more beautiful in spirit than she could ever be. I know that of all of us, the Narnians favored you most, and spoke of you often. You should never forget that, especially if you find that you start to feel jealous of Susan again.”
Lucy smiled joyfully. “Oh Edmund, I will do my best not to forget, thank you!” I chuckled earning an even wider smile from Lucy if that was possible.
“Don’t worry, I’ll remind you if necessary.”
She giggled. “I too, will remind you not to think so hard when you start to dwell on things in the past again.”
I snorted, but also smiled. “I know.”
Eustace hollered up the stairs that he was home just then. Lucy smiled at me and we both stood. She gazed at me for a moment before giving me one last hug and bounding out of the room to go help Eustace put away the groceries. I watched her go with a smile, enjoying seeing her happy after her being so upset.
I made a silent promise to Aslan to try to move on without guilt and live the life I knew he wanted me to live. I also thanked him. I had never really expressed my thanks to the great lion for what he had done for me, mainly because I had felt undeserving and could not comprehend such a sacrifice on my behalf. I still could not; I just hoped that Aslan knew I was grateful and thankful. Somehow, I felt that Aslan probably knew without words ever needing to be expressed. I smiled again before slowly following after Lucy.
May peace be with you, son of Adam, came the great lion’s voice in my head. I closed my eyes briefly and nodded.
“Thank you,” I whispered. Even though Aslan was not here with me, I just knew that he would hear me. I descended the stairs, following Lucy’s laughter with my heart lighter than it had been in years. Somehow I knew everything would be okay.
“If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as has grieved all of you. . .The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him, Now instead you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed with excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.” 2 Corinthians 2:5-8 NIV