Title: Autumn Leaves
Disclaimer: The Chronicles of Narnia and all characters and lands found therein belong to C.S. Lewis, not me.
Note: The answer to challenge 34: Autumn. Another Susan point-of-view, but remember that, unless stated otherwise, all the challenges are separate from each other so this has nothing to do with my other stories.
To make it more interesting, some of the words, including the title, have double or even triple meaning.
You know, Su, you really don't have to keep checking up on me like this.
Susan smiled at the warm, if slightly annoyed, tone in her brother's voice. "I know, Ed. But as your older sister, it's my prerogative to watch over you."
Humph. It's not healthy, if you ask me. You have plenty of other, better things to do in life that sit there and chat with me.
The smile faded slightly. "Don't talk like that, Edmund. You're one of the most important people in my life." Susan shifted so that she was sitting more comfortably in front of her brother. "And of course I like talking to you. You understand me. More than Peter, or Lucy, or even any of my friends at school. I remember, someone once told us that you and I were autumn to Lucy and Peter's spring."
That was Stormbrew, the centaur in the southern mountains.
Susan frowned. "Stop that. You can't still believe that all that Narnia nonsense was real! Not after everything that's happened since then."
Edmund's displeasure was tangible as he twisted her words to his own use. He was always very good at that. You can't still believe that Narnia was a game! Not after all we went through there. He paused, swiftly moving the subject to what he really wanted to talk about. Do you remember why Stormbrew called us Autumn?
"It wasn't a centaur, Ed. It was…some friend of Mum and Dad's, maybe even the Professor."
Do you remember? Edmund's desperate persistence hit her heart.
Susan pulled her knees up to her chin and sighed. "I remember," she said softly, her eyes shadowed by the past.
He told us that Lucy and Peter were the light of the Spring sun and the Spring rain that brings new growth to Narnia. But we were Autumn. We were the heralds of the coming winter, the time when the sun was dimmer and the nights longer. Stormbrew told us that we were bearers of darkness in Narnia.
Susan's voice was a whisper. "I was so angry at him. I left the cave."
She could practically hear Edmund smile. You did. It was quite rude and it completely shocked Peter and Lucy. You didn't hear the rest of what he said, though. I've tried to tell you so many times, but you would never listen to me.
Will you let me tell you now?
Resting her forehead on her knees, Susan took a deep breath and nodded. That was all Edmund needed.
He told me that I had already borne my darkness. I had fallen to Winter, as Autumn always does, and I had walked the darkness.
"The White Witch."
Obviously. Susan had to smile at his wry tone of voice. Even with her head still pressed against her knees, she could still picture his deep, brown eyes sparkling with inner mirth and that joy he gained when Aslan forgave…Susan pushed that thought away. She could not think of Aslan, not now, maybe not ever. Edmund continued, He said I was only Autumn in memory now, that because I rose from where I fell, because Aslan saved me, I no longer had to fear the Fall. Then he sent Peter and Lucy away. I think they went to go bug you about leaving.
Susan's smile widened. "They did. It's was very annoying."
I believe you. Edmund grew solemn as he continued. After they left, Stormbrew gave me a message for you. He said you needed to know the reason you were Autumn. I am Autumn redeemed. You are…
As Edmund's voice cut off, Susan lifted her head sharply, a dark frown replacing her smile. "I am what? I am what, Edmund? Ed?" There was no answer. She moved so that she now sat on her knees. "Tell me, Edmund! Tell me why I'm Autumn!" Susan pounded her fists against the ground, grass covered with faded leaves. "Why won't you tell me?"
Weeping now, Susan buried her face in her hands. She would never know why she was Autumn, if there was any hope for her to escape the darkness, escape the Fall. Because she had never let Edmund deliver his message, his gift. And now he never would.
With a broken sob that was half a scream, Susan jumped to her feet and ran, leaving behind the cold, stone marker that was her only solace to sit silently as around it golden leaves fell.
As Lewis did, so I also leave Susan's fate unknown. However, I personally believe she eventually finds her way back to Narnia: she is Autumn's leaves, the beauty that falls, but that is also a reminder that new life will come forth again.
No, that was not Edmund's ghost coming from beyond the grave. Susan created the conversation in her own mind from bits of memory. (And at least I didn't kill Edmund this time. That was solely C.S. Lewis's doing in 'The Last Battle'.)