Choices, Change and Challenges

By dustlight126

Romance / Adventure

Iris

Song suggestion: Iris-Goo Goo Dolls


Before any of us could move, a howl from what was unmistakably a wolf disturbed the stillness of the night, shattering the once peaceful silence. Lucy's eyes grew wide in terror and she clung to me, much to Peter's annoyance. He didn't have time to argue, however, as Mr. Beaver was now scampering down the slope with Susan hot on his heels.

"Save it," I warned him, glancing down at Lucy before running with her back towards the dam.

"Hurry mama, they're after us!" Mr. Beaver rapidly informed his wife as we burst through the door.

Mrs. Beaver immediately sprung into action, grabbing jars and parcels from various cupboards and shelves around the room. Susan and I quickly went to help her, grabbing anything that looked remotely edible and shoving it in a little rucksack.

"What's she doing?" Peter asked, eyeing us as we darted around the room.

"Oh you'll be thanking me later. It's a long journey and Beaver gets pretty cranky when he's hungry!" she explained, much to her husbands chagrin.

"I'm cranky now!"

I could hear movement outside the dam and I knew the wolves would be here by now.

"Do you think we'll need jam?" Susan asked no one in particular, lifting up a jar and examining it.

"Only if the Witch serves toast!" Peter said incredulously, staring at his sister in disbelief for even asking such a question.

"Lucy, grab those blankets," I motioned to the girl to take the bundles sitting on the Beavers beds.

She nodded and did so, but returned to me also carrying the coat Edmund had left behind. "Here, you might get cold." I smiled and pulled the coat around me, knowing I would be glad of it later.

Everyone in the room stopped as we heard the wolves attempts to dig their way into the dam.

"Quick, in here!" Mr. Beaver whispered, motioning to a narrow cavity that had now appeared in the wall. I went first, followed by Susan, Lucy, Mrs. Beaver, Peter then Mr. Beaver, who sealed the entrance to make it harder for the wolves to follow us. Peter grabbed one of the torches from it's holder and began to lead the way with Mr. Beaver.

"Badger and me dug this, comes out right near his place." he explained, sounding rather proud of himself.

"You told me it lead to your mums!" Mrs. Beaver called ahead to him, a little put off.

We raced through the seemingly never ending labyrinth, I knowing that Maugrim and his troop would not be far behind. I felt something tug on my arm before I realised that Lucy had fallen over whilst trying to steady herself on me. Peter was by her side in an instant, taking his time to send a glare at me.

Arrogant little...

That last thought was cut off by the distinct sounds of the wolves howling in the tunnel, and little Lucy looked at us all with wide, fear filled eyes. "They're in the tunnel," she whispered, absolutely petrified.

Ignoring the look of murder that her brother shot me, I grabbed Lucy's hand and pulled her along the tunnel with me, everyone else following behind. It would obviously come as no surprise that Peter ended up running next to me and Lucy, his jaw set in a hard line and his stormy blue eyes determined. But eventually, we came to a dead end.

"You should have brought a map!" Mrs. Beaver yelled at her husband, clearly very nervous.

"There wasn't room next to the jam!" he retorted quickly before proceeding to jump up to the exit just above us, Mrs. Beaver following him.

"Come on Lu," I encouraged her, noting Peter's obvious dislike of me using her nickname.

Deal with it Pevensie, because you're going to have to live with it for quite a while.

After ensuring Lucy had managed to get outside safely, Susan went next, leaving Peter and I alone in the tunnel.

"Need some help?" he asked innocently, but I received the distinct impression that he was attempting to be condescending.

"No thanks," I replied, my tone even, before finding my grip and easily pulling myself up and out. It took Peter a little longer, and he was obviously annoyed at this.

Serves you right.

Peter and Mr. Beaver quickly rolled a barrel over the exit to the tunnel, in the hopes of further staying the wolves. We all turned around when Lucy gave a small yelp as she fell over the stone animals. She quickly picked herself up and ran to me, throwing her arms around my waist and burying her face into my coat. I didn't bother to look at Peter's reaction this time. Poor Mr. Beaver had just discovered Badger when Fox appeared.

"This is what becomes of those who cross the Witch," he said gravely from his position on top of the badger hole.

An incensed Mr. Beaver stepped forward, only to be restrained by his wife. "You take one more step traitor and I'll chew ya to splinters!" he bellowed angrily.

"Relax. I'm one of the good guys," Fox replied soothingly, jumping to the ground.

"Yeah? Well you look an awful lot like one of the bad ones," Beaver retorted, still enraged at the death of his best friend.

"An unfortunate family resemblance," Fox answered easily. "But we can argue breeding later, right now we've got to move."

Forever wanting to be the almighty leader, Peter was quick to speak, "What did you have in mind?"

Two minutes later and we were all sitting up a tree. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate heights?

As Fox covered our tracks that lead to the tree, the wolves finally managed to break free from the tunnel. They quickly circled him, but Fox remained completely calm.

"Greetings, gents! Lost something, have we?"

Maugrim looked infuriated. "Don't patronise me!" he snapped. "I know where your allegiance lies. We're looking for some humans."

Fox feigned a look of innocent surprise and chuckled. "Humans? Here in Narnia?" he asked in mock disbelief, "That's a valuable bit of information, don't you think?" Maugrim was running out of patience and motioned for one of his pack to grab Fox. He did so, and I couldn't help but wince at his yelp of pain, despite knowing it was coming.

That was another bad thing about being here. I knew when people were going to get hurt, but I was totally powerless to stop it. Peter's attack on me earlier had hurt a lot more than I had let on. I had desperately wanted to prevent Edmund from going to the Witch, but I was aware of how big a part it played in the story line, and knew it was one I should most definitely not tamper with.

I was brought out of my depressing analyses of the situation by Susan shaking my arm and telling me we could come down. Mrs. Beaver had already started to tend to Fox's wounds and Peter and Mr. Beaver were gathering wood to make a fire. It was then that I realised it wasn't going to be easy for me to get down.

"Uhhh, small problem there," I said, laughing nervously.

It was at that point Peter chose to look up. "What's wrong?" he called to us, and I was surprised at the genuine concern he seemed to exude.

"I think Anna's afraid of heights," Susan called back. Peter raised an eyebrow, looking mildly surprised at the revelation.

"Don't worry about it, just leave me and I'll come down...eventually," I tried to reassure them, but they weren't having any of it.

"I'll help you," Peter offered, walking towards the base of the tree and beginning to climb it. I started to protest, but he had already reached me.

Ah, feck.

"You can get down Su, I've got her," he said to his sister, who obeyed with a strange twinkle in her eye.

"Just look at me, and I'll tell you where to put your feet," Peter instructed me, holding back a gasp as he placed his free hand around my waist. When his eyes caught mine, I searched them for any hints of amusement or mockery, but I found none; only concern and compassion. We slowly but surely navigated our way down the tree and before I knew it, my feet were back on the snow.

"Thanks," I said quietly, feeling myself blush a little.

"Anytime," he shrugged before walking off into the trees in search of more wood.

"He likes you, you know," Lucy said solemnly as I sat down next to her on one of the logs Mr. Beaver had rolled up.

I turned to Lucy, my eyes wide in shock at her bold statement. "I think you're wrong, Lucy."

Then Susan joined in. "No. She's right," she stated triumphantly, that strange twinkle I had seen in her eyes earlier returning again.

"How are you so sure?" I asked, looking from one sister to the other.

"We're his sisters, we know when he likes someone," Susan stated in a tone that implied it should be obvious.

"But he-" I began, before Susan cut me off.

"The only reason he said those was because he was angry with himself for Edmund running off and being captured. He doesn't hate you," she said firmly, Lucy nodding in agreement.

"And he just helped you down from the tree," she pointed out.

"Yes, that's called being friendly Lu," I told her patiently.

Lucy gave me a look of frustration but chose not to pursue the matter as Peter and Mr. Beaver returned with their piles of fire wood. Mr. Beaver moved to light the fire, while Peter handed out blankets to everyone.

"What happened here?" Lucy asked quietly, surveying the stone animals as she leaned against me. The poor girl was exhausted, and had to stifle a yawn as she spoke.

"They were helping Tumnus. The Witch got here before I did," he replied sadly, looking at the frozen creatures the same way Lucy was observing them. "Ow!" he yelped when Mrs. Beaver hit a particularly tender spot.

"Are you all right?" Lucy asked Fox, concern lighting her eyes.

Where's that fire flower juice when you need it?

"Well, I wish I could say their bark was worse than their bite," he chuckled darkly before crying out in pain again.

"Stop squirming!" Mrs. Beaver scolded him. "You're worse than Beaver on bath day!"

Mr. Beaver shuddered before whispering to us, "Worst day of the year."

We all smiled before Fox began to slowly stand up. "Thank you for the kindness, but I'm afraid that's all the cure I have time for," he said graciously, bowing deeply to us.

"You're leaving?" Lucy asked, unable to hide her disappointment.

Fox nodded his head before bowing reverently to her again. "It's been a pleasure, my Queen, and an honour. But time is short and Aslan himself has asked me to gather more troops."

At this the Beaver's eyes lit up and they gasped in excitement.

"You've seen Aslan?" exclaimed Mr. Beaver.

"What's he like?" queried Mrs. Beaver.

Fox laughed at their enthusiasm. "Like everything we've ever heard," he replied softly, "You'll be glad to have him by your side in the battle against the Witch."

"But we're not planning on fighting any Witch," Susan explained, glancing to her two remaining siblings.

Fox looked appalled, and turned to Peter. "But surely, King Peter, the prophecy!" he pleaded.

"We can't go to war without you," Mr. Beaver added, looking panicked at the thought of doing such a thing.

"We just want our brother back," Peter told them, looking from one animal to the other. But I could see the fear in his eyes at the mention of war.

Fox left soon after that, seeing that it would be futile to try and persuade us otherwise at this point in time. It wasn't long before we all decided to try and settle down for some sleep. It was far too cold to sleep outside, and quite frankly too dangerous. Mr. Beaver led us inside the Badgers now empty dugout. It was very similar to the Beavers dam, except much more tidy and organised. We set about clearing a large enough floor space for us all to lie on, and we soon settled down amidst our blankets and coats. I, however, couldn't fall asleep.

I sat up from my position on the floor and leaned against the nearest wall, unable to stop thinking about home. It wasn't my family that I missed though, it was my friends that I longed to see. I had never really gotten along with my mum and my dad left us when I was four, never to be heard from again. But I missed my best friends; Emma and her constant flirting with anything that had a heartbeat and two legs and Josh's random acts of well...randomness. They were more than my best friends, they were my family, and I hated not being able to see them.

I then began to wonder what had happened back home. There was no doubt that I was dead, Aslan himself had said so. But had I vanished without a trace or had my body been left lying in that alleyway? Had Bradley been caught for it, or walked away free like he always managed to do?

"You should be asleep," a voice whispered softly next me, causing me to jump. I then realised it was Peter who had spoken. From the dim light given off by the few candles we had found and lit, I could see he was leaning on his side from his place on the floor, just watching.

"So should you," I countered after recovering from my initial shock. He laughed quietly, running a hand through his tousled blond hair.

"Too busy making sure the wolves don't come back," he replied easily. "What's your excuse?"

"Just...thinking," I whispered reluctantly.

"What about?" he asked, seeming genuinely curious.

"You ask a lot of questions," I replied, slightly annoyed at his perseverance.

"You avoid a lot of questions," he countered. We both laughed quietly before an oddly companiable silence settled over us.

"But seriously," Peter said, "What were you thinking about?"

I sighed, knowing I would eventually have to talk about this at some point, because it looked like the poor Pevensies were going to be stuck with me for quite some time.

"Home, my friends, what the hell I'm doing here," I supplied.

"I'm the same I guess," Peter replied thoughtfully. Another silence ensued, before Peter spoke again, "I'm sorry for being so snappy with you earlier, I usually am when I get worried," he apologised, and I was surprised at the sincerity in his voice. Heck, I was surprised we were having a conversation without screaming at each other.

"And there I was thinking you didn't like me," I joked, but Peter seemed horrified at the very idea.

"No!" he said almost too quickly. "I do like you...I mean...It's not that I..." he trailed off, frantically searching for something to say that wouldn't make him sound even more silly than he already did.

"It's fine, I know what you mean," I laughed. I had to admit I enjoyed seeing Peter, soon to be High King Peter, struggling to string together a coherent sentence. It was kind of adorable.

Woah. Did I really just think that?

Get a grip on yourself Anna; and be realistic while you're at it.

'He likes you, you know.'

"Anna?" Peter's voice broke through my reverie, and I mentally shook myself.

"Sorry, daydreaming, happens a lot," I responded quickly before continuing, "Thanks for helping me down from the tree by the way. I don't even know how I managed to get up it."

Peter only shrugged. "You needed help, I didn't mind," he said, seemingly nonchalant, though I could detect something in his voice that sounded a little more than just friendliness, but what? "I've been meaning to ask you this, but how did you end up in Narnia? I suppose you know that we got in through the wardrobe; was it the same for you?" he asked curiously.

'What's the hurry, little girl?'

It was as if Danny Bradley were in the room, sitting right next to me and whispering in my ear, that cruel and cold knife pressed to my side once more. His dangerously soft voice seemed to fill the room, reverberating from every dark corner and crevice; the sinister undertones still as evident as they had been that night. For the first time since I'd stepped into Narnia, I felt real fear.

'Don't worry little girl, I'm not going to hurt you.'

I hadn't even realised I'd begun to cry until Peter was kneeling in front of me, his eyes displaying his concern. "Anna?" he whispered gently. I wiped away the few offending tears quickly and regained my composure.

"Sorry," I mumbled, not able to look him in the eyes. I hated crying in front of people, especially when it was unnecessary. Peter didn't say anything, but just watched me and waited until I was ready to continue.

"You'd better sit down, it's a long story," I told him, expecting that he would return to his makeshift bed on the floor. Instead, he sat next to me, leaning against the wall in a similar fashion to me. Deciding to say nothing about it, I began my story.

I explained why I had been out, my rush to get home and what can only be described as my unfortunate encounter with Bradley and his gang. Then how I met Aslan, the choice he gave me and how it eventually led to my being here. Peter didn't interrupt me or ask questions, except for making a noise of disgust and horror when I told him what Bradley had done.

"And he gets away with that sort of stuff?" Peter seethed. I hadn't been expecting him to be so angry.

"Bradley's dad's a high ranking police officer. As far as he's concerned, he's untouchable," I shrugged.

We continued to talk for a while. I wasn't sure for how long, but I enjoyed it never the less. Strangely, I found myself opening up to Peter easily and told him things that I had even struggled to discuss with Emma and Josh. He was very easy to talk to, and to my surprise, completely non judgemental.

"So...you're dead back home then?" he asked quietly.

I nodded in confirmation. "It would seem so."

Peter looked at me sympathetically. "That's horrible," he whispered.

I noticed he was leaning closer to me, looking straight in to my eyes. He was intoxicating, and I found myself wanting more. My heart beat picked up, and I could have sworn I heard his do the same. We stayed frozen in this position, much like the animals turned to stone by Jadis. I could only look back into his eyes, not entirely sure what I should do. There was a certain intensity to his gaze that no one had ever directed towards me before, but for reasons I couldn't fathom, it didn't make me feel uncomfortable. Peter was the first to pull back.

"It's late, we should probably try to get some sleep," he whispered, standing up to move back to his spot on the floor.

"Yeah, probably," I agreed, almost reluctantly, before lying back down on my own improvised bed.

"Good night, Anna," Peter said quietly.

"Good night, Peter. And thanks," I replied. Yes, I know, it's not the usual reply but that doesn't mean I'm not grateful.

"For what?" he asked quizzically, turning to face me again.

"Just...thanks," I told him.

Peter didn't pursue the matter any further, and it wasn't long before my world went dark and sleep finally claimed me.

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