Disclaimer: I own nothing. Everything belongs to C.S. Lewis, Disney and Walden Media.
Author note: Wow! I was beginning to think this chapter would never get here. And I'm sure most of you who have been following my story thought the same thing too. Lol! I hope all of you have enjoyed reading this story as much as I have written it. I know it's not the best Suspian fic out there on the net, but your support has made this one of my favorite fan fics ever to write and I really hope you will all enjoy the last chapter.
I dedicate this final chapter to two of my strongest supporters, Scooby Lady and mae-E. Thank you both so much for all of your wonderful words of encouragement to keep the story going.
Chapter Eight: Changing Destiny
The Gentle Queen of Old Narnia could do nothing except stare remorsefully at her beloved King. The pleading look in his forest brown eyes broke her heart, leaving her at a complete loss of words. She wanted so much to end his anguish; she wanted to wrap her arms around him and never let him go, but what could she possibly say now that would ease his pain? Aslan had made his decision. He was sending them back to England, just as Susan always knew he would. Just like he did before. Only this time Peter and Susan would never return because they were too old; their adolescence was almost over. The High King and Queen's reign was finished, and as soon as they left Narnia, this world would only be a childhood memory to them. A magical adventure they partook with their younger siblings for fifteen years but came and gone in the blink of an eye. No matter how much it hurt to say goodbye to the only place she had ever considered to be home, Susan could not defy Aslan's wishes. She would leave Narnia and never return, for it was her fate. And fate could not be changed.
"Stay with me," he pleaded once more, caressing her pale cheek with his thumb.
"Caspian, it isn't that simple. I have to—"
"Yes, it is," he spoke in a firmer tone. "You and your siblings have a choice here. You shouldn't have to be returned to your home world if it isn't what you want."
"But this isn't about what we want. I know it's difficult for you to understand now, but in time you'll learn as King that not everything in the world is black and white. Sometimes there are shades of gray where you'll have to make compromises, make difficult decisions for the good of your people."
"A decision such as this should not be so gray, Susan," he countered passionately, pulling her into his arms. "I know where your heart truly lies. I can see it your eyes. I feel it everytime we kiss or hold onto one another. It lies with me, with our friends, and with this world. Narnia is your real home, my love. Don't turn your back on it because Aslan believes you belong somewhere else."
Susan opened her mouth to speak, however, the sound of the door opening beside them stopped her and she pulled away from him. A middle-aged woman appeared in the doorway. It was Lena.
"Afternoon, Your Majesties," the handmaiden bowed in respect to the royals. "High King Peter has asked me to inform you that the horses and carriages are ready for your departure."
"Thank you, Lena," the Gentle Queen smiled in appreciation. "King Caspian and I will be ready to leave shortly."
"As you wish, my Queen," the Spanish woman curtsied and left.
Even after she was gone though, Susan continued to stare at the door, unable to look at her Telmarine prince-turned-king in the eyes again.
"That's why you won't agree with me," Caspian finally realized why his beloved was shutting him out. "That's what you and Peter were talking to him about earlier, wasn't it? Aslan's sending you back to your home world, isn't he?"
"Yes," she replied honestly in a soft tone, still unwilling to look at him. "He's sending us back to England."
Bowing his head in defeat, Caspian could not believe the majestic Lion was sending the love of his life and her family away. How could he do such a thing? They were the Kings and Queens of Old! The Pevensies belonged in Narnia. They were the two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve who came from the city of War Drobe in the land of Spare Oom to the fulfill the ancient prophecy by helping Aslan to defeat the White Witch and brought peace to the magical land after a hundred years of endless winter. Their Golden Age at Cair Paravel, although a fairy tale to most Telmarines, was historic and heroic. How could Aslan do such a thing?
"When is he sending you back?"
"I don't know."
"But it will be soon, won't it?"
"I don't know," Susan repeated, finally turning her head to meet him in eyes once more. "Aslan said Peter and I would know when the time came."
"Then everything I've said to you was for nothing, wasn't it?" he asked in a cold tone, stepping away from her.
"Caspian, please try to understand how hard this is for me. I want to be with you as much as you want to be with me, but I have to think about—"
"Everything I've said to you since last night, everything I felt for you and know you felt for me since the moment we met, everything I've dreamed of sharing with you—does it all mean nothing to you now? Can you really walk away from it all and never look back?"
She sighed in defeat, closing her eyes shut until she opened them up again a few seconds later. "Caspian, you know I love you. I love you with my whole heart, but—"
"No!" he abruptly lashed out in anger. "I don't want to hear you make another excuse for why you must follow Aslan's orders and leave Narnia. I have heard them all before."
"It's the truth, though."
"It doesn't have to be."
Still holding the white rose in her hand, the Gentle Queen stepped forward, and placed the other hand behind his neck.
"Someday you'll learn to trust Aslan's wisdom the way I do. It may not be today, tomorrow, or even a year from now, but I promise someday you will."
Susan then reached up to kiss him softly on the lips. However, when she felt nothing in return, she broke off the kiss, turned around, and walked towards the door until she heard the sound of Caspian's voice and stopped in her tracks.
"You don't believe destiny can be changed, do you, Your Majesty?"
Without making a single move, she replied in just above a whisper, "I will do what I must."
"Narnia belongs to the Narnians just as it does to man," Caspian said to his people once everyone in the city was present for Aslan's offer. "Any Telmarines who want to stay and live in peace are welcome to. But for any of you who wish, Aslan will return you to the home our forefathers."
"It's been generations since we left Telmar," one older Telmarine man spoke out.
"We're not referring to Telmar," Aslan cut in. "Your ancestors were seafaring brigands. Pirates run aground on an island. There they found a cave, a rare chasm that brought them here from their world. The same world as our kings and queens."
Telmarines began to chatter and stare at the Kings and Queens of Old, as the four siblings looked at each other until the Great Lion spoke up once more.
"It is to that island I can return you. It is a good place for any who wish to make a new start."
"I will go," said another Telmarine in the crowd. His eyes leaving Susan, Caspian turned his head, immediately recognizing the voice of the man who spoke.
"I will accept the offer."
The young King bowed his head in respects to his deceased uncle's general, who in return bowed his head to Caspian, and watched him step forward.
"So will we," Lady Prunaprismia declared, following Glozelle up the steps with her infant son in her arms and father by her side.
Caspian was surprised to hear that his aunt wanted to leave Narnia. It was upsetting, but understandable after Miraz's death. She wanted a fresh start, a new life with her family, so he could not protest when she—the closest thing he had to a mother growing up—wanted peace and deserved it. Caspian moved a few steps backwards as he heard the magnificent Lion speak to Glozelle, his beloved aunt and her father.
"Because you have spoken first, your future in that world shall be good."
Aslan exhaled deeply and when he stopped, the single tree that stood behind Caspian began to unwind itself until an archway had opened up; a portal for the Telmarines to pass through into the next world.
This surprised everyone, however, Lady Prunaprismia, her father and Glozelle all stepped forward. Once they reached the tree, their bodies immediately disappeared through the portal, gone in less than a blink of an eye. People in the crowd began talking to one another, some wondering where they went, while others jumped to conclusions, believing Aslan might have killed them.
"How do we know he is not leading us to our death?" a skeptical Telmarine cried out.
"Sire," Reepicheep said to the Great Lion, "if my example can be of any service, I will take 11 mice through with no delay."
It was at the very moment when the noble Mouse made his offer that the oldest Pevensie children knew it was their turn to leave the magical land. They looked to one another, silently acknowledging the end of their journey. Aslan, who sensed their acceptance to leave, turned to the High King and Queen as they looked to him before Peter stepped forward.
"We will?" Edmund asked, bewildered by his brother's announcement.
"Come on," he replied, turning to his younger siblings. "Time's up. After all..." Peter said while he walked towards Caspian and pulled out his sacred sword to give him. "...we're not really needed here anymore."
Caspian reached out to grab the sword, Peter's most prized possession from Father Christmas. He almost couldn't believe the High King was giving it to him. It was an honor. The greatest honor the eldest Pevensie had ever given him. As both kings held onto it, he said, "I will look after it until you return."
"I'm afraid that's just it," Susan interrupted. He turned to her as Peter began walking back over to where he was standing before. "We're not coming back."
"We're not?" Lucy inquired, her voice and eyes full of saddened innocence, looking her to older sister for a more clear answer.
"You two are," Peter told her and Edmund, then turned around to look to Aslan. "At least, I think he means you two."
"But why?" the Valiant Queen wondered. "Did they do something wrong?"
"Quite the opposite, dear one," the Great Lion informed her. "But all things have their time. Your brother and sister have learned what they can from this world. Now it's time for them to live in their own."
"It's all right, Lu," Peter said so she wouldn't worry. "It's not how I thought it would be, but it's all right. One day you'll see, too. Come on."
Susan watched as her siblings went on to say goodbye to their closest friends. Peter bowed and shook hands with Glenstorm, Lucy hugged Trumpkin—upset to be parting ways with her D.L.F., but knew in her heart that they would see each other again someday. And now it was time for the Gentle Queen to bid final farewell to her love.
"I'm glad I came back," she finally admitted.
"I wish we had more time together."
"It would never have worked, anyway."
"Why not?" he inquired, surprised Susan would say that.
"I am 1,300 years older than you," she grinned, trying her best to not make their goodbye a tearful one.
Caspian smiled in return, but only for a brief moment. It faded away just as quickly as it came. Nothing she could say would make him feel any less heartbroken by the fact that she was leaving Narnia—leaving him.
She knew this.
Giving him one last smile, a weak one at that, Susan turned away and started walking back over to her siblings. Caspian watched her leave with remorse, then turned away slightly, believing there wasn't any possible way to convince her to stay now. Aslan had made her choice for her. She would not disobey his wishes. She could not. But then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Susan walk towards him again. She reached out to place her hand at the back of his neck, got on her tippy toes, and without even thinking about it, he leaned down slightly to her level so she kiss him. And she did. A bittersweet kiss, which took everyone in the crowd by surprise, but lasted only for a few short seconds before she ended it. Caspian leaned down to kiss her bare shoulder, his arms wrapped around her frame with Peter's sword still in his right hand while her arms wrapped around his back and face buried in his silky sweater.
"I'm sure when I'm older I'll understand," Lucy said to her older brothers, a little grossed out by the couple's affectionate but bittersweet goodbye.
"I'm older and don't think I want to understand," Edmund told her.
Peter only smiled at his youngest siblings, knowing that one day they'll learn what means to be in love too.
It took all of his inner strength to finally release Susan from his embrace. She wasn't even gone yet and Caspian already missed her. Her acceptance in leaving made it feel like she was already gone. He knew this wasn't what she truly wanted. How could it be when they loved each other so much? If she walked through that portal, Susan would regret it for the rest of her life. Perhaps it was selfish of him to want her to stay, especially knowing that she would never see the rest of her family again, but she was his whole life's happiness. And without the Gentle Queen in his life, he would never that kind of happiness again. He couldn't lose her.
"Don't go," he begged in a soft whisper, catching her arm when she turned to leave. "I can't lose you."
Telmarines and Narnians alike all began to talk in the crowd as they watched their new King with the legendary Queen of Old.
Susan, unsure of what to say, remained silent when Caspian let go of her arm and watched him approach the magnificent Lion.
"I am sorry if this disrespects you in any way, Aslan, but I love Queen Susan and can't bear the thought of losing her."
"But this is not her world as you well know, Your Majesty."
"Narnia may not be the world she grew up in nor be the world where her parents live, but this is her world. This is the world she and her siblings all wish to live in. And after everything they have done to help bring peace to our land, shouldn't they be given the choice to stay?"
Aslan gazed upon the young Telmarine, studying him carefully for several moments until he looked to the eldest Pevensie sister.
"It was always my intention to send you back to the world you come from, yet after hearing King Caspian's admission of love, I realize this is a decision I cannot and should not make for you. I know it has been a difficult journey for you to decide where you belong since you were brought back by the Deep Magic, dear one, but I must know where your heart lies now. Do you wish to live out the rest of your days in Narnia?"
"Susan—!" Peter called out, but stopped when he suddenly felt Lucy tug on his sleeve and shook her head at him.
"This decision must be made by Queen Susan alone," Aslan concurred. "No one else can make it for her."
Feeling exposed yet at the same time seeing a ray of hope in remaining where she desired to stay, Susan could hardly believe the choice that had been laid out in front of her. Aslan was actually giving her the choice to live in Narnia permanently...! At last, this was her chance to finally have everything she wanted. But what would become of her siblings? Would they be given a choice to stay as well? As much as she wanted to be with Caspian and live with him in Narnia, the thought of losing her closest family members forever was too much bear. The four of them had been through too much together to be split up now.
"There is no need to fear, Susan. Just as I have given the choice to you, your brothers and sister will also be given the chance to remain here. You will not be separated from them if it is not their wish to leave."
"So that means we don't have to go back after all?" Lucy inquired, showing off a toothy grin from her excitement. "We can stay?"
"The choices you have been given are not to be taken lightly, Your Majesties, for once you've made a decision, there is no way to reverse the spell. And if this is where you choose to live, your family and friends shall never know you existed. Your memory will be taken away from every person you ever came in contact with in that world. I implore you all to search your feelings and choose wisely, because once you have, there's no going back."
It was a quiet, peaceful night. The air was cool and calm, the stars were shining brightly across the dark sky. Susan, still wearing in her light blue and white dress, stood out on Caspian's balcony, overlooking the woods. She wanted to take a few minutes to be by herself and reflect on the day's events. The Gentle Queen could hardly believe she was here—living in Narnia permanently. The reality of it didn't seem quite real just yet. It probably wouldn't for a small while. But she was here, nevertheless, living in the magical land with Caspian and all of her siblings. Everything was perfect. No one could ask for more.
"Deep in thought, my love?" she heard the sound of a Spanish accent whisper in her ear, almost causing her to shiver.
"Thinking of you," she replied, smiling when he wrapped his arms around her waist, gently pulling her into his warm embrace.
"Happy thoughts of me, I hope."
Caspian planted a featherlight kiss on her neck before resting his head against hers, inhaling the faint, sweet fragrance of jasmine and lavender in her hair.
"Do you miss them?"
"Who? My parents?"
"And the rest of your family."
"I will always miss them, but I've lived without my family once before. Why should this time be any different? Besides, Narnia isn't like England when it comes to children leaving the nest."
"Leaving the nest?" he repeated the phrase in confusion. "What do you mean?"
Susan almost giggled at him and his lack of knowing what the expression meant. She'd sometimes catch herself saying things like that to the Narnians, forgetting that they didn't know what phrases like that meant. Nevertheless, it was still quite humorous to see their reactions and leave them guessing.
"What I mean is most children eventually leave the family home once they've finished their education. They find jobs, get married and start families of their own. In a way, I suppose my decision to live in Narnia isn't much different from that."
"Is that what you want?"
"What?" she asked, surprised he would ask her such a thing, especially when he should know the answer now better than anyone.
"Come, my love," Caspian said, smiling as he let her go and watched her turn around to face him. "I have something I want to show you."
"At this time of night?"
"Yes. Everything's already been prepared."
"I can't tell you, or then it wouldn't be a surprise."
Without protest, Susan followed Caspian through the torch-lit corridors of the castle. She had no idea where he was taking her, especially at this late hour, but still made no attempt to guess what he had planned for her. It would have been a fruitless task to try and achieve anyway. When they finally stopped at their destination, the Gentle Queen gasped out in surprise, her right hand over her heart. Caspian had brought her to the very same courtyard where they met the night before—only this time her siblings were present, all of them smiling at her, still wearing the same attire they wore that afternoon and each was holding a large white candle in their hands. The courtyard was filled with flowers from Caspian's private garden. Acting as an aisle for them to walk down, candles and red rose petals led straight to the stone bench where they kissed for the very first time. On it, Susan saw a small golden jewelry box studded with emeralds and rubies. A single tear of pure joy rolled down her cheek when she finally realized what was happening. After Caspian bent down on one knee, he took the jewelry box from off the bench.
"I never got an answer to my question when I asked the first time, so I wanted to ask you the right way this time."
Lifting the case open, inside it was the most stunning ring Susan had ever seen, with one large diamond between two smaller ones on top of a silky white pillow. She wiped another tear away from her pale cheek, utterly speechless at not only the ring but what her sweet darling had done to make his proposal more beautiful than she ever thought possible. Filling the courtyard with candles and flowers, inviting her siblings to watch him ask her hand in marriage—it was the sweetest, most romantic dream come true.
"Susan Pevensie, will you marry me?"
Covering her hand over her mouth, which hid her smile, she looked up at her siblings, who all stood only a few feet away from them. Lucy nodded with a bright grin, silently telling her older sister to say yes. Edmund, her one sibling who rarely ever cracked a smile, gave Susan a sweet, simple one. Then she looked to Peter, half-wondering if Caspian had actually asked her older brother for permission first. But seeing as how he gave her a small nod and smile of approval, she took that as a yes. Each of her siblings had wordlessly given her their blessing to accept his proposal, something that had never happened during their Golden Age when suitor after suitor came to Cair Paravel, desiring her hand in marriage. It felt so surreal, yet all so perfect at the exact same time.
"Yes," Susan spoke in just above a whisper, so close to tears streaming down her face, once she uncovered her mouth. "Yes, I will marry you."
Smiling, Caspian took the ring from inside his mother's antique jewelry box and slipped it onto her left ring finger. A perfect fit.
As soon as he stood up, the young King took his future bride into his arms and kissed her passionately. Edmund quickly closed his eyes in disgust at the scene, while Lucy giggled when Peter tried to cover her eyes. Not to gross them out for too long, Susan broke the kiss a few moments later, then wrapped her arms around his neck.
"I love you," she whispered in his ear.
"And I you, my love. Forever."
"May I see it?" Lucy asked after they let go of each other.
"Of course," she laughed, holding out her left hand to show her the ring.
While she was admiring it, Peter and Edmund welcomed Caspian into their family. And as hugs and kisses in congratulations to the engaged couple went around, the Gentle Queen couldn't believe it actually happened. Destiny had been changed because of her love for Caspian and his love for her. The impossible made possible. The unimaginable turned into reality. Who would've thought fairy tale dreams do come true? That true love can conqueror all if you really believe it in? Susan smiled to herself, already knowing the answer to those questions. Caspian did. He knew that with their love, anything was possible.
And now, at long last, she did too.
Should I write a sequel?