A/N: I just want to say thanks so much to those of you who have added me or any of my stories to your Favorites list. I get such a smile on my face when I see that in my inbox.
I've become inspired to write Narnia fanfic again, and this is the result. It's a story about Peter and Susan, non-incestuous, and will be chaptered. I will still continue to upload all of the fanfic I've written in the past (and believe me, there's a loooot of them), but I'm enjoying working on something new. I hope you forgive me for any mistakes in the writing, and if it seems a little rusty. It's been awhile. But I hope you enjoy, and I'd love to know what you think!
What's In a Kiss
Chapter One - Dictionary Games
In a person's life, there are several scattered moments when realization comes upon them, when something is finally noticed. Susan Pevensie has had several of these moments over the years, and they all have come upon her suddenly, in dawning, life-defining times.
When she was four years old and Margaret Lowenstein bit her on the arm for hoarding her toy blocks, for example, Susan realized it is better to share. When she was six and her brother Edmund's lollipop fell into the mud and he started to cry, she realized that the happiness of her siblings comes before her own, and it is for this reason that she gave him her lollipop.
But there is one particular realization that did not come upon her suddenly, but quietly over time, and if you were to ask her when it came to her, she would not be able to tell you.
She realized that she can always tell when her brother Peter is going to leave her. It is never because he says so, or because of a particular expression on his face, but because of a simple act.
He always leaves her with a kiss.
Not a soft smirk like Edmund or a fierce hug like Lucy, but with a kiss. There is a meaning behind each kiss, something that he is trying to tell her, but cannot put into words. Above all, his kisses are a reassurance that even though he is leaving, he will always come back, and he is leaving a part of himself with her until her returns.
The large Oxford dictionary her father gave her when she was seven is placed on her lap, open to the letter R. She closes her eyes and flips a few pages, then moves her index finger blindly down the page. Then, once her finger is in place, she opens her eyes and glances down at the word she has landed on.
Susan looks up at Peter, seated in an armchair next to her. "Rudimentary," she says.
"Rudimentary," repeats Peter, and she tries to ignore the bored note in his tone.
She nods, looking down at the word again.
"R-u-d-i-m-e-n-t-a-r-r-y?" he guesses.
"Close, but there's only one 'r'," she corrects him.
"Oh." He pauses. "I hate this game."
Susan purses her lips. "Well, it's not as if there is anything else to do," she points out, trying not to sound snooty.
Money is scarce nowadays, and there is hardly the opportunity to go out and buy things that will entertain. Susan is too old for dolls and Peter is too old for toy soldiers, so the options left to them are bleak. They've already solved all the puzzles their father used to bring home, and read all the books in their home library twice. However, she rather fancies the idea of playing a game based on a book, thus her newly invented dictionary game.
"We could play chess," he reminds her, a smile crossing his face, and there is definitely a singsong quality to his voice.
"I don't think so." Susan always loses at the game.
"Oh, come on," he says. "You know you want to."
"Peter!" exclaims a small voice, and it is little Lucy. She's wearing a dress that is too small for her and holds a slice of apple in one hand. The juice dribbles down her pudgy chin.
"Hi, Lu," says Peter, extending his arms to her. He pulls her onto his lap and takes a tiny bite of her apple, which makes her giggle. "What can I do for you today?"
"You can play with me," says Lu, holding his large hand against her small one.
"You can play with us, Lucy," offers Susan, smiling brightly. She lifts up the dictionary so Lucy can look at it. Lucy scrunches up her face, in an annoyingly cute way that only five-year-olds can muster.
Peter grins over at Susan, while Lucy attempts to play patty-cake with him. "Su, she can't even read yet. She won't understand any of the words."
Susan straightens in her chair and peers at him through slightly narrowed eyes. "Well," she says, "it is never to early to start her education."
Peter shakes his head, as Lucy scrunches her face up again at the word 'education'. "Susan Pevensie," says Peter with mock awe, "ever so logical."
Lucy has never been a patient girl, and she yanks on Peter's hand, clearly tired of all this talking. "Peter, please!" she whines, and Susan can see that Peter's breaking. Their little sister is impossible to say no to, and Susan doesn't think Peter's ever used the word around her.
"What do you want to do, Lucy?" he asks.
"I want you to meet my new doll," she says. "We can name her, and braid her hair like Susan braids mine sometimes, and we can read to her!"
Lucy's new doll isn't really new, but Lucy does not know this. Susan, upset at the fact that her sister had hardly any toys to play with due to the country's money crisis, had gone through the attic to find her old toys, hoping to come across something Lucy would like. She had found one of her old dolls, dirty with tattered clothes, but she had brought it down anyway. It took a day to soak off the dirt and grime that had covered the doll, and three weeks to save enough money to buy fabrics for new doll clothes, but the smile on Lucy's face had been worth all her trouble.
She looks at the too-small dress Lucy is wearing now, and wonders if she should visit the attic again and find one her old dresses as well.
"Lu, I'm playing a game with Susan right now and having so much fun," Peter tells their rosy cheeked sister. "Did you ask Edmund to play with you?"
"Edmund's mean," pouts Lucy. "Please, Peter, won't you play?"
Peter turns toward Susan, his face pleading. Susan smiles in spite of herself. "Oh, alright, go," she says, waving them off. She looks down solemnly at her underappreciated dictionary as Lucy grabs Peter's hand and drags him out of the room, practically bouncing with joy.
Susan closes the dictionary with a snap and sighs to herself. Her brother's bond with Lucy is truly extraordinary. Most boys she knows would never desire to play dolls with their little sisters, but Peter will do anything to see a smile on her round face. Ever since he had locked eyes with her, he had loved her. As a result, Lucy had him wrapped around her tiny finger. Susan recognizes this and finds it endearing, even though it means Peter will always choose dolls over dictionary games.
She opens the dictionary again, shuts her eyes, and flips the pages. She has just opened her eyes, ready to look down at the word her finger has landed on when she hears someone call her name. She looks up to see Peter framed in the doorway. "You're not coming?"
"No," she says with a gentle smile. "She wants you. Go on and spend time with her."
She looks down at the word before her, 'Relinquish', and smiles. "What are you still doing here?" she asks Peter, who still has not left the room. "Go on!"
He grins and walks over to her quickly, then seizes her face with his hands, laying an enthusiastic kiss on the top of her head. She laughs at the display of affection, loving her older brother even more.
"You're truly the best, Susan," he tells her.
He kisses her to say thank you.