Alright. I'm back. I can't guarantee anything, but I'm going to try to make this SusPian (the name stuck btw) a little longer. It'll deal a lot with Susan and her disbelief of Narnia. I first want to say thanks to all the people who reviewed my other SusPian fic; A Feeling was the first fanfiction I got a lot of great feedback from, so again thanks. And I also want to thank those who've also been writing other SusPian fics. I enjoy them very much and they give me a lot of inspiration.
A side note..I recently discovered that C.S. Lewis was planning on writing more about Susan, once stating to a fan that "Susan's story was not done yet.." but he died before he got the chance to write it. So I wish to take back what I said earlier about him being sexist and all that. (although it probably would have still been disappointing considering he probably wouldn't have done a SusPian) lol.
Summary-- Susan has returned to Narnia; alone this time. With her old and new friend's guidance, can she learn to believe in the mystical land?
Disclaimer-- I do not own the characters and/or places of Narnia.
"It is time to right what is wrong" said the Great Lion.
(thunk) The arrow slammed into the target dead-center. Susan smirked. It was nice to know she still had some memory of her dreams. She knocked another arrow into the bow and drew back. Taking aim, she let the arrow fly to its mark; buried next to the first arrow. From this distance it would seem as if it was just one arrow jutting from the target. Susan began to reach for another arrow when a voice called to her.
"Susan!" Lucy called. "I thought I'd find you here."
The archery fields were set on campus grounds, next to a small wooded area. The distance was intended so that no stray arrows hit any innocent bystanders. It was a quiet place to think for Susan. The Girls Academy that Susan and Lucy attended was their home for the next 9 months. And although they enjoyed being with friends, the endless gossip and teen drama often got tiring for the Queens of Narnia who were past such things. Summer vacation was over and the leaves were beginning to change color. Soon it would be winter, the Pevensie's least favorite season. Susan was dressed in coat and scarf, her hair was tied back in a braid. Her hands were red from the cold and from the use of a bow.
Lucy ran over the dirt path toward her sister. The practice field was set over a hill so the accent often left the climber slightly out of breath. The tiny clouds of steam that hovered around her mouth were a sign that the season was definitely changing. Lucy was dressed in a long coat with a hat, her hair also pulled into a braid. "Keeping in practice I see." Lucy smiled with a small laugh.
Susan sighed. "For what?" she huffed. "Don't you remember Lucy?" she knocked the arrow into the bow and took aim. "Aslan said I can never go back to Narnia again." She let the arrow loose and it 'thunked' into the target, a foot from the center.
"Well yes, but-" Lucy frowned.
"But nothing!" Susan scolded. "You get to go back and see hi- everyone." She corrected herself. "And I will stay here for the rest of my life." Taking the last arrow, she aimed and fired, only getting the edge of the middle circle. "Such is life; Narnia is nothing but fantasy, a dream." The tears that fell from her eyes were hidden as she quickly walked over to the target. The wind blew across the field and the dark brown color of the leaves only reminded her more of what she had left behind in her dreams. His eyes haunted her.
Suddenly she felt arms wrap around her waist and for a fleeting half-second she dared to hope it was him; but then quickly realized that it was only Lucy giving her a hug from behind her. Lucy had obviously sensed her pain and was trying to console her. In a small way it did, but Susan was not the optimistic young girl anymore, she had finally reached the stage of life in which one must accept reality. And you know what? She thought. It sucks. Smiling she hugged Lucy back. "Sorry for snapping at you Luce. Guess I just miss it." She gave a wet laugh. "It sure was more interesting than here, huh?"
Lucy's widened. "Oh I forgot! The reason I came here to find you! Peter got into another fight! Caitlin told me."
Susan rolled her eyes and sighed. Any more fights and she knew Peter would be getting a one-way ticket back home. Apparently the trip to Narnia had only worsened his attitude toward his fellow students. "Alright, let me get my stuff and I'll meet you at the gate." With that Susan gave her a quick hug and let go to walk back over to the archery target. She tugged the arrows out, counted them and put them back in their tube with the, now, unstrung bow. She slung it over her shoulder and reached toward her bag.
Susan whipped her head up. That lithe tone was so familiar to her ears. So many times she had imagined his voice in her ear, but they had all been that, imaginings. Yet this time, it was so real, she could have sworn he was just beyond the trees. It was so tempting to run toward the woods to see where the voice led. No she thought I have to move on. With that thought she set her shoulders, got her bag and trotted down the hill to the front gate of the school.
"I'm sorry Caspian."
King Caspian X stood amidst the ruins of Cair Paravel. His eyes told him where he stood was once a great hall. War and time had done its work on this once beautiful place. A year had passed in his land since the Narnian Revolutiion. And Caspian was as proud as he could be of his new kingdom. Although some Telmarines were…upset….about the recent events; King Caspian easily kept them in line and saw that the native Narnians were treated well.
As he stood among the ruins, he remembered the time of the battle against his uncle. He grinned at Reepicheep's honor and Edmund's sarcasm; Lucy's faithfulness and Trumpkin's pessimism; Peter's stubbornness and Susan's…..Susan. he thought. One word could not sum up the beautiful Queen of Old. She was brave and kind; clever and understanding. And like him she knew what had to be done. Her absence had left him with pain and he missed her above the other 3 royals the most.
Caspian wandered through the ruble only coming to a stop at a wooden door. It was ajar and inviting. The daylight created enough illumination that he only needed his eyes to see down the passage way. After about 5 yards, he came into a room. He gasped at the wonder that lay before him. This room was almost untouched next to the rest of the castle. Dust covered everything and spider webs hung from the ceiling. But Caspian could tell that someone had been here not long ago. Light filtered in through the ceiling giving the room a dark golden glow. Four chests sat around the room, each one in front of a statue. Caspian gazed into the marble faces and his eyes widened. He was looking at none other than an older version of Peter. Caspian backed away looking at all four statues. Edmund, Lucy and….his breath caught.
Susan's statue was the perfect image of her, yet as he gazed at it, it held none of the kindness in her eyes, the set of brow that came with knowledge. She was only a shadow of the Susan he remembered. Caspian sighed. He looked at the chest in front of him. Slowly he lifted the lid to see what was inside. He smiled at Susan's treasures. A scarf from fauns, a necklace from the dwarfs, gryphon feathers for her arrows; all these items were priceless now. Caspian was about to close the lid when he spotted a painting. It was maybe the length of his hand and forearm. The painting was a bit cracked and obviously old, but depicted Susan as she was when she was crowned Queen of Narnia. The shot was painted from the bust up. Caspian smiled at the portrait. There were the eyes he recalled and small smile he could only draw forth on a rare occasion. Feeling selfish he took the painting from the chest and closed the lid. Taking quick strides he climbed up the staircase and back out into the daylight. The sun was just beginning to set as he emerged from the passage.
"You're Highness!" a voice called.
Caspian turned toward the voice. "I've told you, my friend, we are not among nobles, you may call me Caspian." He laughed at Reepicheep's formalness.
The knight was most perturbed. "Very well. Caspian! Where were you!? I was about to send the whole army after you. 'Oh I'll just be a minute' he mocked. Repeating what Caspian had said as the king turned off the road toward the coast. "hmpf," his eyes fell on the painting in Caspian's grip. "What's that?"
Caspian smiled and showed the picture to the mouse.
Reepicheep gasped. "Queen Susan! My, my, what a find. It looks exactly like her."
Caspian nodded and turned the frame back around so it was once again facing him. His eyes took on a melancholy glaze that said he never wanted to look at another thing besides this canvas.
Reepicheep looked at the ground in embarrassment, feeling as if he were intruding on something private. "You're Highness?" That didn't get a reaction out of him. "Caspian?" he said a little louder.
The king shook himself out of the daze and smiled toward his friend. Caspian tucked the treasure under his arm and began walking back toward the forest. "Come my knight, we must return, else they send a whole army after me." He laughed and trotted down the hill.
Reepicheep rolled his eyes and turned to follow his lord back to where Caspian's horse sat waiting for them. Sometimes that man was just a mystery to him. Melancholy one moment and in a hurry the next, Reepicheep felt he would never understand.
Caspian once more held out the portrait to himself. His fingers gently traced the curve of her cheek. "Susan.." he whispered to himself "Come back…." Crossing the bridge over to the mainland he could have sworn he heard her voice on the wind.
I'm sorry Caspian
Caspian looked back toward the island of Cair Paravel and for a moment imagined her standing on the hill looking back at him, but quick as a blink, she was gone; just a whisper in the wind. With that he mounted his horse, paused for Reepicheep to hop on in front of him and then galloped back into the forest.
"Oww!" High King Peter, for now just Peter, exclaimed. But he knew that no matter what he said, Susan would still scold him, the same as she always did. And she would still tend to his scratches and bruises with the same gruffness as always. Both Susan and Peter were in Peter's room. He had already been scolded by the principal and was again on probation.
"Stop moving!" Susan snapped as she slapped a giant band-aid on his upper arm. "There. Done." She stood up from the floor and put the box of band-aids back into the tin First Aid Kit. "I assume you already have the 'Fighting is Wrong' speech memorized." She began to put the First Aid Kit away. As she walked back toward Peter, she lit the bed-side lamp. Night was just falling outside.
Peter nodded and tried to look guilty. But inside he still felt as if he was in the right and that kid deserved a good punch to the jaw.
Susan sighed "What happened this time?"
Peter grumbled and readjusted the ice pack to his head. "He was picking on a younger kid, and I tried to make him stop. As I was walking away with the kid, he called me…." Peter paused. "He called me a coward."
Susan shook her head sadly. She knew what happened after that. "Peter, this can't keep happening. We've only been back a week and already you've gotten into two fights.
Peter's widened at her.
She tilted her head with a glare. "Yes, I know about the other one."
Peter smiled sadly. "There never was anything I could put past you." He gave a small laugh. Experimentally he stretched out his arm. "Do you think we'll ever see Narnia again?" Peter asked warily. He wasn't really expecting an answer.
"Lucy does." Susan replied. "She tells me that one day we'll all be together again in Narnia, like it used to be." Susan gave a small smile as she sat down on the bed next to Peter.
"I didn't ask what Lucy thinks. I asked what you think."
Susan looked away. "I wish I did believe that one day we'll be back again in Narnia, but….." she trailed off, not wanting to finish the sentence.
Peter nodded. "I know what you mean." He put his arm around her shoulders and gave her a quick hug. "Well, for now all we can do is wait and see." He stood up with only a slight wince to show of his pain. "Come on, you have to get back, they'll be wondering where you are."
Susan nodded and stood up from the bed.
Suddenly an earthquake shook the small dormitory and both Peter and Susan fell to the floor. Peter managed to crawl forward and lean over Susan in protection. Dust and pieces of plaster rained down on them. They both closed their eyes and covered their heads.
The earthquake subsided and both looked around warily. All the lamps had obviously gone out and the darkness made it hard to see what damage had been dealt. Slowly they stood, wary of after-tremors. "Are you alright?" Peter asked.
Susan nodded. But then she figured he couldn't see her. "Yes, I'm fine. You?"
"Yeah, yeah I'm fine. Let me see if the lights still work." He let go of Susan and began to walk forward.
thunk "Ow!" Peter grunted. "Where did that come from?" he kept moving forward.
Susan began to wonder why the room was so dark. Maybe the curtains had closed. 'In an earthquake?' The logical part of her mind said. But thinking of no other explanation; she put her hands out in front of her and walked forward cautiously. Finally her hands found cloth. She moved the curtains away and let the moonlight seep into the room. Turning around she gasped. The beds were all gone save for one that was definitely not meant for a boy's school. It was fit for a Prince. Peter looked up to Susan. They were definitely no longer in Peter's dormitory.
Both Peter and Susan looked around the room in astound. Susan stood by the window opposite the door, still clutching the curtain. The wall and floor was flagstone covered with tapestries and carpet. To her left was the magnificent four poster bed and to her far right was a great fire place with swords crossed over the mantel. The moonlight only illuminated so much of the room. Most of the area was still in shadow.
Susan couldn't stop looking around the look and blinking. This couldn't be happening her mind told her. Something must have hit her head during the earthquake. Yes that's it. Her mind resoned. She was aslee--her train of thought was interupted as she spied an open book on a desk which read
The History of the Kings and Queens of Old
High King Peter, Queen Susan...
Susan gapped at the open book and all she could hear was her pyschcology teacher's voice. Short and old, Mr. Mench was one of Susan's favorite teachers; he had known how to keep the class interested. "Although you may go anywhere you want in dreams, you cannot read. The left side of the brain controls dreams, the right side of the brain which gives you the ability to read is asleep during REM." he had firmly stated this during a lecture.
"This isn't a dream." Susan whispered.
"I'll..um...go get some..uh...light." Peter offered. The change of scenery still had him a little shocked. He walked out the door and down the hall. Soon his footsteps faded, leaving Susan behind.
She was still in shock over the events. Hadn't Aslan told them they wouldn't be returning to Narnia? And yet what other place could this be.
She wandered across the room to the table Peter had tripped over. A frame was knocked forward, the picture inside hidden from view. Susan, being the good girl she was, righted the picture. Her eyes widened as she looked at the portrait of…herself. It was the painting she had sat for when she had first become Queen of Narnia. She furrowed her brow in confusion. But how did it get here? She thought. She put the painting down back onto the table, still contemplating how it originally got there.
An arm snaked around her waist and she could feel the cold touch of a blade on her throat. Susan froze her body, and grimaced. Stupid she thought Stupid. Of course the owner of the room was here. It was night, why wouldn't he suspicious of strangers in his room.
"Who are you?" the voice demanded. 'Why are you in my quarters at such an hour?" his strong, lithe tone held a bit of humor at his prisoner's predicament.
Susan felt as if she had gone numb. A slight tremor went through her chest.
"Caspian?" she whispered.
The knife against her throat dropped to the floor and the hand at her waist spun her so that she and the man were face to face. Suddenly she was in one of her dreams again. Those deep brown eyes she had been imagining were now before her along with his soft brown hair framing his face. Her heart caught in her throat and tears of joy floated to her eyes. She even gave a small laugh as she studied his face. His expression only appeared calm. Many said that Caspian was a hard man to read for his expression rarely changed. But Susan could look into those deep brown eyes and discern all the emotions he was feeling.
Now looking up at him she saw confusion, happiness and….fear? The last one left her bewildered. Why was he afraid of her? Normally her dreams were much surer than this. Half of Susan's mind was telling her firmly this was no dream and the man she had been fantasying about for the past week- had it only been that long; was indeed standing before her, one hand on her waist and the other the other raising up to cup her cheek.
Her eyes closed at the warm feel of his smooth palm on her skin. Just his touch on her face seemed to give her breath.
"It is you." Caspian said in a rush. "You're here with me. This isn't just a dream." He pulled her closer pressing her body against his. His head bent down as if he was smelling her neck. After countless nights dreaming of her return, he could finally feel her breath, smell her scent, (old books and flowers) even run his fingers through her hair.
Without a thought, Susan wrapped her arms around his waist returning the touch. She could feel his muscles beneath the thin cotton. God, how she had missed this man. They fit so perfectly together, how could she have left him. The sound of his voice was like a lullaby one never got tired of hearing.
Pulling away she looked at him again. "It isn't a dream." she assured him. "And even if it were dream, I don't care." She said softly. Seeing him again was like breathing again after being underwater, like a cool drink in the desert; Caspian had given Susan hope. She softly put her hand on his cheek and leaned toward him.
Susan pressed her lips against his in a kiss. He quickly returned the favor, moving his mouth against hers. This embrace was different from their first; there had been sadness, then, and surprise on Caspian's part. But now there was only passion and the happiness of reunion. Deep warmth spread throughout Susan. Finally she managed to pull away; but stayed in the circle of his strong arms. "How long was I away?" She leaned into him, resting her head on his chest.
Caspian cradled her head to him; running his fingers down the length of her soft brown curls. "Too long." He said. Susan's smile was felt against his collarbone. "A year had passed since you and your brothers and sister left. I've missed you."
Footsteps sounded outside and before either could do anything, the door opened to Peter holding a torch. "Sorry it took so long Sue. I-" he stopped as he took in the image of his sister wrapped in the arms of his friendly one time rival. "I see you've found better company."
Peter couldn't help but grin at the situation. He had realized his and Susan's whereabouts when he had come upon Trumpkin walking down the corridors.
Peter was trotting down the hallway still looking for a light, but finding none nearby, kept going. He was about to turn back when around the corner came Trumpkin sword in hand. He was the same as always, blond beard down to his waist and decorated with beads. The familiar face looked ready for battle. And by the looks of it against Peter.
But then Trumpkin had recognized him and quickly sheathed his sword. The dwarf, in his own way, was glad to see the King of Old. 'It's about time you showed up. How's my little friend doin?" he had greeted him. For a while Peter kept Trumpkin entertained with the tellings of Lucy. Then he had finally remembered what he had been searching for. Trumpkin pointed him in the right direction. He gave thanks to the dwarf and explained that he must be going back to Susan.
Trumpkin gave a rare smile. "I see she's returned to Caspian. Bout time. He's been a broodin ninny all year long."
Peter laughed with him and thanked him before going to get the torch and returning to Susan.
Susan blushed at being caught in such an intimate position.
But Caspian was not as easily flustered. "It is good to see you, Peter." He still held onto Susan. "I'm glad you two have come back. he said, looking at both of them with a happy grin. Then a frown crossed his face and he looked back over to Peter. but I'm afraid to ask why." His voice changed showing the guilt. As happy as Caspian was to see his friends again, war usually arrived soon after them. "In my experience and knowledge of the Old Tales, you don't show up until something bad is happening in Narnia."
Peter frowned. It was only partly true. In the beginning he had indeed fought the White Witch in war, and then fought beside Caspian in the Narnian revolution. But his rule as High King Peter was quite peaceful. "It does seem that way doesn't it. Well truthfully we never ask for trouble. In this case we were hoping to just come back without the cost of war on our hands. We weren't even ever expecting to come back to Narnia, especially so soon after the last time."
Caspian nodded in understanding. He knew they would never bring him or his kingdom strife on purpose. But they still obviously had a reason for being here. Only Aslan could summon them, and The Great Lion always had a plan in mind for them.
For a few moments silence reigned over the three, each in their own thoughts. Caspian began to worry that the peace of his kingdom was in jeopardy, but at the same time he thought of what would happen between Susan and himself. Did she still feel for him? Could it be true it wouldn't work out?
Susan finally broke the silence. "Let's not speak of war. It's late and we need to rest."
Caspian widened his eyes. "Of course! I'm a terrible host." He pulled a cord next to the door. Half a minute later, a very rumpled and tired, servant arrived at the door. "Yes you're Majesty?" she yawned. It was obvious she had not been expecting a call this late at night.
"Please show my guests to the visiting royalty's chambers." Caspian told her "Make sure they are very comfortable." He walked both Peter and Susan to the door. He gave a nod to Peter then turned his gaze toward Susan, they locked eyes for a moment. As they crossed the threshold, Susan turned back to Peter.
"Wait." Susan said. "Peter go ahead, I'll be there in a minute."
He nodded in understanding and followed the servant down the hall. When they were out of sight, Susan turned toward Caspian. He was using his forearm to lean against the doorway, smiling down at her. "What?" she asked, blushing.
"I've missed you." He stated.
She smiled back at him. "You already said that."
"I know." He leaned in again. "I'm glad you have returned." He tilted his head to kiss her again but she pressed two fingers against his lips, stopping him.
"Caspian," she paused, hesitant to go on. "I have feelings for you. I can't deny that. But I need time to sort everything out, being here again and seeing you…" she trailed off.
There were traces of confusion and hurt in his eyes. He tried to remind himself that she was being sincere and did in fact care for him, but his emotions were a bit raw from the whole evening and Susan's reluctance hurt him.
Susan felt a pang knowing she caused this, but she bravely moved forward. "Please know that I've missed you" she continued. Now she understood the fear she had seen earlier. He was afraid she was going to disappear again or worse reject his feelings for her. She smiled at him reassuringly. "And I'm beyond glad to see you again. I hope that this time we can make something of this."
Caspian gazed at her and knew what she said was right. He nodded but the hint of hurt didn't leave his eyes. She began to turn away but he caught her wrist. She looked up at him in question.
"Keep in mind." He added. "That what you've only had a week to think over, I've been thinking of it for a whole year. I already know where my heart and soul is." he brought her hand to his chest over his heart.
She smiled at his words, comforted. She admired him for being understanding and giving her space while at the same time reassuring her that he still had feelings for her. Susan reached up to kiss him gently on the cheek. "Goodnight." She whispered in his ear. "And thank you."
With that she left him alone in his doorway; gliding down the hallway to catch up with Peter. She didn't have to go that far. Both Peter and the servant were just around the corner, obviously pretending that they hadn't been listening in on their whole conversation. Susan rolled her eyes. "Enjoy the show?" she said with sarcasm.
"What show?" Peter replied innocently. But he knew that he couldn't fool Susan. He pushed away from the wall and laughed. "Aww, you know I have to protect my little sister. I mean he was obviously more excited to see you than me." He grinned trying to hold more laughter back.
Susan blushed and stormed off, only waiting for the servant to catch up and show her to their rooms.
After dressing into a spare night shirt, Susan eagerly climbed into the comfy bed. Drawing the covers up, she smiled to herself. Softly she touched her lips, the memory of his kiss was still fresh and it filled her with warmth. She slipped into slumber still smiling.
End Chapter 1
Okay, I changed it up a little cause I wanted to add a new scene to the 2nd chapter. I tried to even it out. Please don't hate me for the change.