Author's Notes: There are spoilers for The Last Battle and various other books in the Narnian series. No spoilers for the Harry Potter books.
Disclaimer: Lucy and Susan Pevensie belong to C. S. Lewis. Hermione Granger belongs to J. K. Rowling. I'm just playing in their sandboxes.
Lucy was born on an early fall morning, thrust into the bustle of London when Susan was four years old.
Mother let her hold her baby sister only two days later, and Susan had to marvel at how small she was, at how bright her hair was. She wasn't at all like the doll Mother and Father had given Susan last Christmas, she was heavier and squirmy, and her face was red.
But she snuggled against Susan like a trusting kitten, and she didn't yell the way Peter and Edmund always did.
Susan always loved Lucy, right from the start.
Lucy was always far more willing to believe in things than Susan. Maybe that's why it was Lucy who found the way through the wardrobe. Maybe that's why Lucy was always the one who understood Narnia and Narnians, because she took them on faith and their word.
And maybe, a lifetime and a year later, that's why Lucy was the one who saw and understood Aslan, while Susan felt hopelessly trapped in her own troubles.
Or maybe it was just that Lucy had that undefinable Lucy-ness that meant you couldn't help but love her, and not even Aslan was immune.
Lucy died in summer, one month shy of her fifteenth birthday. And for a long, bitter winter, Susan was sure that she'd died as well. It was too easy by far for her to dwell on the regrets, the petty arguments and snippy words she'd never truly meant. Too easy, and too wrong.
Bitterness had never been Lucy's way. Nor had she ever been capable of bearing a grudge. In the moments when Susan found herself most ready to beat her breast in remorse, she'd remember Lucy's laugh, her easy grace and simple forgiveness.
Lucy's memory was Susan's best redemption.
The platitudes ring hollow and false, but eventually, Susan found them to be truthful. Time did ease the pain, to something manageable, at least. One day, she found that she no longer cried every time she thought of them, of Peter's strength and compassion, of Edmund's thoughtful wisdom, of Lucy's joy.
Weeks later, she felt herself laugh at a joke from a man with warm brown eyes and curly hair. Months later, he made her feel things she'd thought lost forever, love and family and comfort in another's presence. He made her start living again.
She thought Lucy would approve.
She didn't name her daughter Lucy. It surprised her, at first, because she'd thought she would do so throughout the pregnancy, convinced it was a girl from the moment she knew she'd conceived. She didn't name either of her sons after Peter or Edmund, though she'd argued long and hard for those names before their births.
It hadn't felt right. Not for any of them. She looked at their faces, and what she saw were new possibilities, new ideas. The old names would have felt wrong on her tongue.
Helen was a name with far fewer expectations built into it.
When Helen had Hermione, Susan found herself laughing at the name. She had, perhaps, read her daughter too many stories out of Greek Mythology when she was young.
She knew better than to play favorites, but she found herself closer to Hermione than she was to her other grandchildren. Hermione was the one who would sit close to her as she told fairytales of a wise and beneficent lion, of talking beasts and fauns who wore scarves, of ridiculous donkeys and graceful dryads, of stubborn dwarves and loyal badgers, of kings and queens who were just, magnificent, gentle…