If the Pevensie's father had died in the war, what kind of life will Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy face once their main income had stopped? Post-PC, rated for mature themes, language in later chapters, no incest.

Ages: Peter: 16 Susan: 15 Edmund: 13 Lucy: 11

I wanted Su to be around my age (lol) so I made this story a little after Prince Caspian, because during that book they were 14, 13, 11, and 9 (according to my Beyond the Wardrobe book by E. J. Kirk). Susan hasn't tried to forget about Narnia yet, in this fan fic. Oh, and the mother's name is Helen because that's what she was called in the movie (random, I know).

Enjoy!

Prologue

The mail carriage was taking slower then usual to get to the Pevensie household. The tired horses hooked up to the cart were plodding like turtles down the dusty road as the post man got out from his seat, sorted through several telegrams and letters, and handed the post to various people waiting anxiously outside their fences. By the time Susan was able to run out her door and rush to the man delivering—for some—their fates, the cart had been on their street for a good ten minutes.

"Pevensie…Pevensie…Pevensie…" the man muttered as the horses halted outside the house, before Susan could speak. "No letters today. Sorry."

"Oh," Susan said quietly. Nothing yet again. "Thank you, sir."

The horses started on again and Susan leaned on the fence gate and watched them go. Well. At least it hadn't been a telegram.

"Su?"

Susan turned around and saw Edmund walking toward her. She was able to put a small, sad smile on her face as he approached. "Nothing?" her younger brother asked.

She shook her head. He shrugged and rubbed the side of his head with his palm, a tired look in his eyes.

"It could have been worse," Susan offered, hating to see her brother so disappointed. It could not have been helped, however. They all had been disappointed every day for the last three months. "We could have gotten a wire."

Edmund winced. Just two weeks ago their neighbor three doors down had received the fatal telegram, in doing so letting out a mournful, heart-breaking shriek that caused Mrs. Pevensie and several others on the block to throw their windows up in alarm and watch the elder woman sink to the ground, sobbing hysterically. Several people of their block had run over as fast as their legs could carry them, women to wrap soothing arms around their now-widowed neighbor, men to gather and shake their heads. Susan had watched on in dismay. The war had taken one more man….

It was this image of the woman that stayed in Susan's head as the carriage rolled away onto the next street. It was an image that she did not want to see ever again.

She and Edmund walked back into the house. Lucy and Peter were at the kitchen table, working on an English essay (at least Lucy was, Peter was helping her). Their mother was downtown, making buttonholes on shirts and hemming dresses to feed the five of them, having flat-out refused Peter's offer of going to work himself.

"We're not poor and you're only sixteen; focus on your schoolwork instead," she had suggested after Peter finally gave in. "When school starts you should be ready. Plus your father sends home his earnings every now and then."

Now as Susan and Edmund came into the kitchen Peter was working on not only his schoolwork but also seemed to be writing Lucy's summer essay without touching a pen.

"Use the word 'devastating' instead of 'sad'," he was suggesting as they walked through the doorway. "It's better vocabulary."

"How do you spell that?" Lucy asked, hand scribbling across the paper.

"D-e-v-a…" Edmund started, looking over her shoulder as Susan sat down across from them. Peter looked up at her.

"No letter?" he asked softly so Lucy wouldn't hear.

Susan shook her head again. Peter gave her the small smile she had just given Edmund.

"One will come," he said. "You'll see."

"I know," Susan sighed, brushing her hair out of her face. "But it's been so long."

"It'll turn out okay, things always do," her elder brother said soothingly. "Besides, we didn't get a wire."

Susan thought of their neighbor and felt a chill gather at the base of her spine. "That's true," she said, trying to smile.

"We didn't get any post today?" Lucy asked, having looked between Peter and Susan and pieced things together.

"No," Susan said. "But Dad's busy right now. He'll write us as soon as he gets another chance." Lucy looked slightly deflated and Susan added, "You'll see. A letter always comes."

"Yeah, a letter always comes," Edmund repeated, more to fill the silence rather then to have his words signify any meaning.

It was quiet for some time before Susan got up again and said brightly, "I'm going to see if Mum's room is clean for her when she gets home." Her siblings nodded dully and she walked out of the kitchen and up the stairs. She had a lump in her throat.

Dad had not written for three months now. It had never been that long since a letter for each of them came and warmed each of them over with their father's words of comfort.

Susan sighed and walked through the door to hers and Lucy' room. She pulled out her father's last letter to her from underneath her pillow and gazed at it silently.

My beautiful Susan,

Well, my captain has hope that this war will be over soon. Our troops are doing great in numbers and so are our small battle wins. I know how much you must be going through now, and how hard everything is getting for you all, and my love, believe me when I tell you how sorry I am. Things will get better soon, for you and for us as well.

Your mum has told me how much you and Peter are helping her, and for this, Susan, I thank you dearly. It is a small comfort to her to have you two on her side and taking care of Ed and Lu for her as she works. Summer will be ending soon, and perhaps by the next we will be able to send you to America as promised. But in the meantime, you know how much I appreciate your help with your younger siblings. Make sure they do okay in the upcoming school year. I know and trust you have the faith to keep up your hope for them in addition to yourself. Perhaps seeing your strength can encourage the others as well.

All my love to you, my gentle daughter. Remember that things are not always easy, but with love and courage you will always get through.

Love,
Dad

My gentle daughter. Susan felt the lump in her throat grow as she reread these words…

The Gentle….

The tears started falling from her dark blue eyes at that thought. Somewhere deep inside her she hated that she was so weak; she wanted herself to be strong like her father willed her to be.

Peter had been banned from the land they had loved, too. Why should she be crying while he was helping little Lucy with her summer homework? Why should she be showing her pain while he offered to help provide income for their hard-working mother?

Because I'm not magnificent, Susan thought as she tried to brush her tears away angrily. I'm nothing but gentle.

And now as she gazed at her father's letter she thought of how much she missed him, he and Narnia both, and she started to cry harder. Why did London have to fight in the war? And what had she done to cause her permanent ban from Narnia?

Susan buried her face in her pillow so her brave, faithful siblings would not hear her and sobbed. The four of them didn't talk too much about what had happened in Narnia the last time—she preferred it that way. But she didn't know whether or not they felt her pain; if they did not, she would rather keep it to herself.

Somewhere in the distance she heard footsteps on the stairs. She clutched the letter harder in her fist and tried, unsuccessfully, to stop her tears as she heard her bedroom door open. Susan sniffed and closed her eyes against the pillow.

A few moments later she felt the springs of the bed go down as someone sat down next to her, then she felt a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"Susan?" she heard Peter say.

She slowly lifted her head from the pillow and sat up, already furious at herself. She wiped the wetness from her cheeks. Peter waited beside her.

"I'm…I'm fine," she managed to say, putting the same plastic smile on her face. "I just…really, I'm—"

"Oh, Susan," Peter said despairingly, eyes stricken. He pulled her close to him and Susan relaxed against her will into his arms.

"Susan," her brother said softly, "You try so hard to not show how you feel. Can't you see what you're doing to yourself?"

Susan felt the lump in her throat getting bigger and her eyes started melting with tears once again. She fought to hold them back as Peter stroked her hair.

"It's okay," he whispered. "You're allowed to be sad."

She tried to restrain herself. She really did. But both the presence of someone who understood and the misery in her heart took over, and Susan began to cry again, on Peter's shoulder.

"It's okay, Su," he murmured. "I'm here…."

"It's so hard…" she cried, her voice muffled. "I'm j-just…so scared…I don't think a l-letter is ever going to come…."

"I know," Peter said, moving his fingers across her cheek. "I know."

Susan sniffed again, weeping miserably. Peter hugged her close. They stayed that way for an hour, not talking, as the smell of dinner seeped through the open door into the room, as Peter gently fingered her hair and Susan cried until she had no water left in her eyes to cry with. Then she laid her head on his shoulder, feeling somewhat better yet a little ashamed.

Some time later they heard the front door open and their mother's call of, "I'm home!" Susan wiped her cheeks to make sure she was still not crying for what seemed like the thousandth time and Peter swept her hair back from her face.

"I miss him, too, Susan," he said quietly as Edmund and Lucy greeted Helen downstairs. "It's okay to let it show."

"I…" Susan started, then trailed off. "It's hard."

"Don't worry, Su," Peter told her, a real, encouraging smile spreading across his face. "You can always come to one of us. Me, or Edmund, or Lucy. Even Mum, sometimes. You know that."

Susan nodded. She opened her mouth again but her mother's voice echoed upstairs.

"Peter? Susan? Where are you, loves?"

"Coming," they both shouted down at the same time, getting up. Susan brushed down her unkempt hair.

"What were you going to say?" Peter asked her as they walked down the stairs.

Susan shook her head. "Just…thank you," she said softly, sliding her arm through his. "So much."

Peter nodded in his turn and kissed the side of her head as they strode into the kitchen. Their mother hugged them and instantly went into a chatter of her usual questions

"How was your day, dears? Find things to do?"

"Yeah, it was great, Mum," Peter replied. Their mother did not pick up the sarcasm in his tone, but Susan did. "I made sure our shelter was replenished."

"Did you? Thank you, Peter…and Susan, did the bedding get washed?"

"Yes, Mum," Susan answered her.

"Oh, good, you know that's been bothering me…Did Lu do her essay okay?"

"Yes, Mum, I helped her a bit," Peter said.

"That's all right, then. I suppose…Susan, dear, you look terrible! Did you get enough sleep last night? Your eyes are ever so red."

"I'm fine, Mum, really," said Susan cheerfully.

"Are you sure?" Her mother put a hand to her cheek. "Were you crying, dear?"

"I just hit my wrist on the bedpost," Susan lied carefully. "It hurt a lot. It's fine now."

"All, right, Su. You know where the bandages are if you need them."

"Okay."

"But I want you to go to bed early tonight. You do look like you need it."

Susan didn't hear what she responded. She didn't notice the good stew she had taught Lucy to make that was already at the table with cut up bread slices and glasses of water (they only got milk once a week); she didn't notice the dying sunset outside that shed golden light across the lightly furnished kitchen. She was too focused on her worries and Peter's words.

Three months. Not one letter from their father.

Yet for the rest of the night she was thinking that Peter, understanding of her as he was, somehow knew that it was not only the issue of their father that was bothering her. Why hadn't he mentioned Narnia?

Susan only snapped out of her troubles when they were halfway through dinner and Helen looked up and asked them all another question.

"So, dears," she said as her eyes swept across them all. "Did we get any post today?"

You all know that the summary says that their father dies, so don't be surprised in the next chapter!
This is my first fan fic so please review, even if it is to flame (respectable criticism, please)!!!