Portraits of the Past

by Val Evenstar

Author's Note: I'm finally posting it! I doubt anyone was waiting for it, though. It's all rather over-sentimental, I think. This piece is gráce à floppyearsthebunny whose story ''Not on the Train" first got me to thinking about what happened to Susan after the crash.


Tears fall from my face, raindrops from the cloud of sorrow gathered around me. I stare at the picture, so real and lifelike. It shows a young man in his scholarly robes, smiling gravely as he holds his diploma.

He's my brother, and he's dead.

I can see him now, just as he was on that day – face full of a noble gladness as all his dreams came true. He graduated with top honors from Oxford, and all of us – family, friends, classmates – had been so happy for him.

I'll always remember him this way.

Tears blur my eyes, and suddenly the picture changes.

He's a young man still, but a golden crown now rests upon his dark head; there's a shining sword in his hand.

I gasp.

This is my brother of long ago – Peter, the High King of Narnia.

I swallow back bitter, bitter tears as memories so long forgotten flood my mind.

Peter, defeating the wolf.

Peter, crowned King by the Lion himself.

Peter, lying bloody and still on the field of battle, his still bright eyes trying to tell me that it will be all right.

Peter, riding his stallion into Cair Paravel, victory riding in from the North.

Peter, dancing with the fauns under the Narnian sky.

Peter, my king and my brother, a warrior through and through, a wise man of courage who sought justice and truth.

Peter dead.

I sob, looking at the portrait of the university graduate, seeing even there a echo of a long lost land.

All I can hope is that, wherever he is, it's some place like Narnia.

Because now I know that I will always remember him as he was then – High King of a magical land.