Hi all. Sorry for the delay. I can't help it; I got into a huge Zutara phase. It happens every once in a while. Don't worry I'm still a huge Suspian lover. Ben Barnes and William Moseley 33 Anyway, on with the story. Oh to warn you, I have made a few changes to previous chapters. Chapter 2 I believe had a major corny revamp that I might edit again. To make matters simple, I'll be coming back to the story and revamping a lot of stuff.
I also plan on doing one more Suspian, this time it'll just be Susan and Caspian; no Peter. And there won't be any battling; it'll be focusing more on emotional stuff, the stuff I like writing. ^_^
Susan's Story Chapter 9
Holly was swimming up the river in fear of what lay in front of her and behind her. Lately fear seemed to be her only emotion.
First arriving in this…place…'Narnia'; The name still felt weird on her tongue. Then being captured by something she had set free……a deep guilt filled her heart again as it had been for the past few weeks. She'd seen the terror the Witch invoked in the creatures and people of Narnia and she'd been the one to unleash that terror.
And now she was….traveling with Narnia royals...was "traveling' the right word? She thought.
No, traveling with someone included a little trust. She might as well be their prisoner and wear shackles. She could still see the glances they all gave her, as if waiting for her to do something. Well she couldn't blame them; she had done a horrible thing. But if Susan could give her a little trust, why couldn't Peter?
King Peter. She'd heard such wonderful stories about him. When she had finally met him in the cave, he had been the most glorious sight. Blue eyes, shining up at her, although now that she thought about it, his eyes had been dark….empty almost. She realized his eyes had been carrying that same hollowness for the entire journey.
Perhaps some else had betrayed him…..if she helped him, maybe he'd trust her……
Sighing, she kicked her legs and swung her arms through the water trying to beat the small current that she was going against. Either way she was heading up river with no Susan…and no clothes…..
Going around the bend she saw Peter standing on the bank where they had left him. His back was to her so he didn't see her. Thank the heavens for that, she thought.
Spying a rock that could serve as cover, she quickly ducked behind it and raised herself so just her head was sticking up. "Peter!" she called.
He whirled around at the voice, unsheathing his sword. Seeing it was Holly he only lowered it an inch. "What are you doing? Where's Susan!?" he became suspicious and took a step toward her.
Reepicheep stood by him with his sword ready. But his eyes were unsure and kept flicking toward Peter as if asking if this was the right thing to do. "Sire, I don't mean any disrespect, but I don't think this girl is our enemy."
"Reepicheep, follow the river down-current. Find Susan and bring her back. If you can't locate her within the next 15 minutes, come back and report." Peter ordered.
The knight hesitantly looked from boy to girl, knowing that it could be a mistake to leave the lady with Peter.
"Now, Reepicheep!" Peter commanded.
"Hoping that the honorable King Peter would at least stay his blade till his return, he ran into the forest in the direction Susan and Holly had first left by.
When he was gone, Peter took another step toward Holly's rock.
"Wait!" Holly cried. "Don't move!"
"Why?" Peter asked.
"Umm, I'm not…uh…well, during the swim…..something….uhh, let's just say my dress was lost in the process." She stuttered in embarrassment.
Peter listened in confusion for a moment but his cheeks reddened as he realized what she meant. As a reflex, he turned his back toward Holly, even though the rock still covered her. "Oh" was all he could say. He tried to think of something he could give her. Quickly he removed his outer tunic, leaving him in his white under-shirt, and threw it toward her. "Here" he grunted. He didn't know why he was helping the possible spy. She could have Susan tied up somewhere and be lying to him. But the helplessness of the situation got to him.
What was he thinking!? Letting his guard down would only get more people killed, something he couldn't deal with anymore.
"Where is she!?" he asked Holly again.
"I…I don't know. She's still..." Holly could only stutter as she pulled the tunic over her head. "We went swimming and something was coming toward us……"
"You left her to die didn't you?" Peter concluded. "Traitor, I knew we couldn't trust you!" He brought his sword point up again.
"No, I didn't!" Holly defended. "She told me to come get you. I swear!"
"I could never trust the words of someone who set free the White Witch." Peter stated. "I've lost too many friends to the Witch, I won't lose my sister!"
Holly could see it now; a deep wound in his eyes. It was heartbreaking. "I would never hurt you, or anyone else I care about." Her voice was strong now and clear. She kept her eyes on Peter, waiting for anything.
"Please, Peter, listen to me. I never wished to free such a monster upon Narnia. I was lost and afraid." She started. "I didn't know what to do. I was just trying to get home." Tears began to leak from her eyes. "And believe me, I've paid for it. Those creatures at the camp, the things they did to me…" she averted her eyes, unable to look at him. Her voice was becoming hysterical. "And then the one person, the brave King Peter that everyone says great things about, whom I thought would be my hero, my savior; calls me a spy and traitor. And now this! I'm exposed and you're pointing a sword at me and Susan's probably dead because I couldn't get help in time."
Peter's sword began to lower. Either she was a great actress, or he was a great fool.
Against his will, the memory of when he had almost fallen under the White Witch's spell came to the front of his mind. Even now he could recall the persuasive tones that had captivated him. It sent shivers down his spine how easily he had been hypnotized. Only Edmund's intervention had saved him. And here he was, putting all the hate he felt inside on someone who had never done anything to deserve it. His blade touched the ground.
For what seemed like an eternity, both remained silent. Finally Peter sheathed his sword. "I'm sorry." He said in a quiet voice. Holly almost didn't hear him. But as she gazed at his posture, she realized that he no longer wished her hurt. Quickly she swam the small distance to the bank and pulled herself out of the water.
Walking tentatively, she closed the space between them and slowly placed her hand on his shoulder.
An initial flinch almost made her back away, but his hand flew to catch her wrist. She patiently waited as he raised his eyes from the ground to her face.
Finally his eye opened to the true person Holly was. Her hair was plastered against her head and mud was spattered on her face, but clean and soft green eyes gazed back at him with such hope, he was suddenly reminded of Lucy and all the innocence and faith she had carried. "Forgive me?" he asked.
Giving a small smile she hugged him around his shoulders. "There is nothing to forgive. Thank you for accepting me." She whispered.
And that was how Susan, Caspian, Trumpkin and Reepicheep found them. Holly crying into Peter's shoulder and him holding her.
On his way to find Susan, the mouse had almost passed them all together as the three were running back toward the resting point, but he had quickly backtracked and while running alongside them, filled them in on what had happened.
It seemed such a private moment that none of them wanted to disturb them.
For a little while they let them be, but when Susan stomach began to rumble, the moment was broken.
Susan colored with embarrassment and began to walk toward Holly and Peter.
"Susan!" both Holly and Peter cried in relief.
"Yes, I'm alive. Does anyone have any food? And what is going on here?" she put her hands upon her hips to assume the motherly position. After all the worrying she'd gone through for the both of them, and then to find them both fine and actually getting along. It was almost a let done rather than a relief.
Both Holly and Peter looked at each other, asking if the whole story needed to be told. Peter looked back up at Susan. "Let's just say Holly and I have…come to better terms."
Susan wished she could see the novel between the lines but decided to be happy with what she saw. A happy and trusting brother with a happy girl.
"Well if nobody minds, I'll just be cooking up the rabbits that I bagged." Trumpkin interceded. He unclipped the two dead rabbits that had been hanging from his belt and began to set up a campfire.
"Seein as you lot don't seem too interested...I'll just have to eat them me'self." He smirked as the others gathers around him; quickly assuring him that they indeed did have interest in his catch. Reepicheep was the only that declined the rabbit meat, sticking to his nuts and fruits.
They quickly set off again after their stomachs had been placated. Time was still short and none of them could shake off the feeling that they were being followed. But although the fear of being caught still hung over them, the eased tension between Peter and the rest of the group put everyone in a better mood.
No one could miss the bond that had appeared between Holly and Peter. He'd help her over obstacles as she avidly listened to all his stories of his time as King Peter. Susan even caught a real smile at one point. She hung on to Caspian's hand and smiled up at him. Wordlessly she motioned over to her brother and Holly.
"You're happy that Peter and Holly are getting along." He stated more than asked.
She thought about it for a moment. "I'm glad….that Peter is happy." She finally said. "I guess I think of him as a younger brother a lot of the time rather than an older one. He needs to be taken care of, even though he'll never admit it." She smiled. "After all the years of me being the one he talks to and comes to for advice, it's nice knowing that someone else can be there for him.
"Don't get me wrong, I still love Peter and will always worry about him. It's just he's never really had a female friend that's not a sibling. I guess in short, I was worried that there might not be a girl out there for him. And now Holly appears and they're getting close. And she's even from England. They might have a future together."
Susan pursed her lips, realizing what she'd said. Caspian stopped in his tracks, pulling Susan to a stop too. "Are you saying that we might not?" He held the upper parts of her arms and bent his head so they were eye level.
"Caspian, this isn't the time." She argued and pulled away.
"And when will be a good time. Don't say after the battle." He caught her wrist and held on firmly, once again stopping her in her tracks. "I would hate to die, knowing that this-" he pulled her hands over his heart. "-wasn't even worth fighting for. And that is what I'm fighting for Susan. I fight not only for Narnia, but for you." He pressed a hand to her cheek begging her to look into his eyes. "I fight so that we can be together. Aren't you fighting for that too?"
She finally looked up into those eyes. She'd be able to pick out those eyes from any other Telmarine. All the emotions they held; strength and hope as well as fear and sadness. She loved those eyes, and the man behind them. She couldn't explain why Caspian was the one for her, but he was. No other person made her feel safe and secure, warm and strong. She loved him; that much was certain. But did she really believe that they had a future together. Either she left England or he left Narnia. There could be no between for them.
"I…..I don't know Caspian." was all she could say. She pulled out of his arms as a tear escaped. She ran ahead to the rest of the group unable to look into those sad eyes, not wanting to know why she couldn't be as faithful as he was.
As the sun began to set, they realized that they'd have to spend one more night outdoors. After Caspian caught up with them, he assured they'd reach the castle by tomorrow afternoon. They walked until finally Susan had tripped over the root that broke the camel's back.
"That's it! I can't even see what's in front of me, we're stopping for the night!" she finalized grumpily.
Wisely, no one argued and they began to set up camp.
Susan sat by the fire gazing into the dancing flames. Trumpkin sat across from her whittling a pit of wood to look like a gryphon. Reepicheep and Peter were sword fighting with Holly as a wonderful audience leaving Caspian to find firewood. He had asked her to come with him, but when she turned away from him, he angrily stalked into the forest alone. Now she regretted the action, but her thoughts were too chaotic for the long discussion which she knew was coming. She needed to sort out her thoughts.
The sensible part of her was making a list of good futures and bad ones. The thought of leaving England was giving her guilt. She wanted to be with Caspian and knew that she'd really only be happy with him. But leaving Peter, Edmund, Lucy and her parents behind….
Her parents. They could never be told where she was. After all she'd done for them, all the support and help, she'd just disappear out of their lives. No explanation, no note. They'd investigate, but obviously never find her. What would happen to them? She'd never watch them grow old. They'd never meet her children.
In the fire's glow she imagined her father holding up a baby boy looking so proud. The little boy looked up into Susan's eyes and she gasped to herself.
They were Caspian's eyes looking back at her.
The image of the little boy was imprinted in her mind's eye. A warmth from her heart spread through her body as she thought of the child. Of rocking him to sleep, singing him songs, and taking him horseback riding. Through all these dreams she imagined Caspian there as well, showing their son how to set up a campfire, throwing him ten feet into the air and scaring her to death.
The thought of leaving England was unbearable, but what future awaited her there. Living as a housewife to a man she'd always compare to Caspian? Sighing, Susan wiped away the tear that had been crawling down her cheek. No matter which world she chose, someone ended up hurt in the end.
The self-sacrificing part of her felt it was her duty to return to England and live out her life as best she could.
But………isn't there a point when all the self-sacrificing is supposed to make you happy in the end? During her reign as Queen of Narnia, every time she'd gone to a meeting instead of horseback riding with Lucy, or listened to the complaints of the Narnians instead of playing chess with Edmund she'd miss her siblings yes, but she knew she'd done the right thing by her people and the kingdom was a happier place for it.
But now? Sacrificing Caspian? Movement in the corner of her eye made her look up. Caspian had returned with a heavy load of small logs and twigs for the fire. He immediately looked to her, but after having eye contact, looked away. She watched him move to the fire slowly he placed his finds around the circle of the fire so that they'd dry out and not cause smoke.
For a fleeting moment she imagined no war, no fight, no England, no one else here but them. Caspian would finish putting the wood down around the fire and then he'd smile and sit next to her. Then he'd ask what she was thinking while casually putting his arm around her waist. She would lean into him, saying nothing, only putting her arms around him. Asking for support without words. Then he'd calmly wait for her to tell him everything, which she would, no doubt.
A sob which she hadn't even felt coming came out of her. Now she could feel the hot tears flowing down her cheeks. And that was if she even had a choice. Aslan was all powerful, with a breath he could place Susan back in England whether she wanted to go or not. A small part of her argued that Aslan would never do that. But he'd look at her with those eyes and know she was making a horrible decision or a good one. So was there any use in even trying to decide? Was there even a small chance for a future with him? Why? Why couldn't they be together?!
Caspian quickly looked up and saw the raw pain in her eyes. Needing no other hints, he sat down next to her and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her against him.
This only caused her to cry harder from her imaginings. He pulled away thinking he was the cause, but she clung to him. It's not fair! Her mind cried. "I need this, I need him! Aslan please don't take me away from him!" She continued to cry against him until she slowly fell asleep, all cried out.
Caspian cradled her against him. He'd never seen Susan so…so vulnerable. She was always strong and brave. And now………
He didn't know what to make of it. He knew she had been thinking of their future. Seeing her in such pain over it…..he had no idea what she was going through. He couldn't imagine life in England, but from what little the Pevensies had told him it was a dark place in war. What could be giving her so much torment inside? He carefully picked her up and placed her on the grass. As he tried to let go and move away, she clung harder to his shirt.
"I don't want you to go." She whispered in her sleep.
Caspian stared at her, wondering if she'd awoke. But after a moment realizing she was only talking in her sleep. Fearing her waking or having nightmares. He lay down next to her and pulled her close feeling a little awkward. She snuggled closer. "I love you Caspian." She whispered again in her sleep.
He smiled. That much he knew was true. When she'd first arrived back in Narnia, he'd been afraid that her affection for him had died, but she'd run back into his arms and had in fact returned his feelings. Caspian knew that Susan was the woman for him. Strong and caring, she'd be the one he could tell everything. A loyal advisor and best friend. He couldn't imagine life without her. But he only had one life to give. Susan had a whole other place away from Narnia that she'd grown up in. What was life like for her there? He sighed, wishing he could figure out all the answers.
Peter walked past and after giving a warning glance to Caspian sat across the fire and lay down. Holly lied down next to him not as close as Caspian and Susan were.
Which left Trumpkin and Reepicheep to stand guard.
"Seems we've been doin a little more than our fair share of guard duty." Trumpkin complained.
"Their highnesses have been shirking their duties a bit lately but you can't blame them really." Reepicheep defended. "It seems relationships are harder than I imagined. Ha! Just another challenge to master in my opinion."
Trumpkin chucked at his friends naivety.
End of Chapter 9
Howdy folks. I've been saying that a lot lately. *shrug* anyway. Glad to be back, it's been a chaotic semester. And the next one starts on the 20th. I'm takin Intro to Technical Theatre, which I'm psyched about! I 3 Stage Crew.
So yeah, only one or two chapters to go. I've already written down a little of this great scene between Caspian and Susan. I hope you'll like it. I thought it was quite hilarious. Poor Caspian. Lol. Tune in next time. ;)