Brought on by extreme fury at the ending. Even though I knew it was coming, I still wanted this to happen.
It was so brief a time. Susan couldn't possibly be in love. She hardly spoke to him, had shared only one kiss. Her first kiss...it felt like her last kiss. Her heart, her soul, her entire being felt stretched—one half here, with her family in England. The other half back in Narnia, in the fantastical land she loved and fought for, a place she would never return to. This other half back with him.
So little time—she hardly knew Caspian. She only knew he was brave, and loyal. Kind and just. Sweet and caring. Laughing and loving. A perfect King for Narnia and for his people, the Telmarines. His sons and daughters would be great rulers as well, born by some faceless woman she despised, although she had no right to.
The boy spoke behind her, calling her Phyllis. Still holding on to the futile hope she had a better reason for lying to him. The train smelled of cigarettes and damp shoes. Like the faceless woman, she hated it. It was pulling her away from the last traces of Narnia, the only connection she had left. Jealously swelled up in her against her younger siblings. They return to Narnia and not her? She believed, she had learned her lesson. She always knew, deep in her heart Aslan was there. But her fears overcame her faith, her fear of hope and losing it. But Susan knew better now.
I wish, she thought mournfully, I wish I could have stayed. I wish Peter had not offered us to go through. I wish I was with Caspian. That we had more time together. I want to go back.
Lucy took her hand gently, squeezing on it. "It's alright," she said kindly. "There will be others."
Susan smiled for her, amazed as ever at Lucy's child perceptiveness. "I don't think so. Not like him."
"Well, maybe not," her younger sister conceded. "But you won't be forgotten."
"I wish that were enough."
King of Narnians, King of Telmarines. He was the Son of Adam that would lead them into their next golden age, just as the Penvensie had done eons ago. Just like Queen Susan had.
He held the Professor's book now, the one telling the tale of the fall of the White Witch. Peter with his sword, charging in a battle cry. Edmund being healed by Lucy. And Susan, blowing her horn. The same gift from Father Christmas that was once handed to her, he held now. It stayed at his side, a reminder of the hardships fought to take back his throne and free Narnia. A token of Susan.
A year since she had departed to her world, since he had shared that kiss with her, and the only kiss he had had since. He remembered vividly pressing his face into her shoulder, inhaling her for the last time. She would never return to Narnia.
And he knew he must marry. He needed an heir, and to have an heir he must have a wife. There were good candidates, beautiful, noble, even good and kind women who would be fit Queens of his land. He supposed it would be like the signing of a treaty. Formal, cut and closed. It wouldn't require that he loved her, that he kiss her or that he do anything more than what was necessary. He imagined he would be a rather insufferable husband. Perhaps it would be better to marry an ambitious woman rather than a kind one: a cunning woman would not care if he didn't love her.
It was night now, and the stars were bright and beautiful. In his mind, he saw her eyes staring back at him, sharing volumes of meaning in just one glance. He didn't have to question he loved her. It was as real to him, as easy to him as sitting on his throne. As right, as perfect.
"What troubles you, King Caspian?"
A voice he heard many times, and wasn't surprised to hear now. "Aslan," he said reverently, turning and kneeling before the Great Lion.
He rumbled, "Rise, your Majesty, and tell me what is wrong."
Standing slowly, Caspian pursed his lips. "You know already."
The great lion laughed, tossing his mane. "I do. But I would like to hear it from you besides."
"Queen Susan, Aslan, is what troubles me."
Aslan sat on Caspian's fine carpet. He wondered vaguely if Aslan ever shed. "And what of Susan?" the lion questioned further.
Caspian knew it was inevitable and braced himself as he said, "I love her."
The savior of Narnia nodded his majestic head, mane shaking and glowing faintly in the candlelight. "You wish to be with her." Caspian nodded. "Susan has made her choice. Do you wish to change it?"
"If I may, Lord Aslan," he started slowly, turning away from the lion to stare at the stars that sparkled as her eyes. "Susan will always choose where she belongs. That's something I can never change."
"Wisely said, your Majesty. She always will choose that. It is only the matter of another choice."
"Aslan?" he inquired, moving to see him again. The lion was gone. "Another choice?" Caspian whispered to still air.
"You might need to call me again..."
"Well," Peter said, "two more stops and we're there."
The Pevensies swayed with the train, silent and contemplative. Susan thought about her gown, lovely and comfortable. She'd never wear another like it again. She thought about riding on the back of a centaur, frightening and exhilarating at the same time. It had been only ten minutes since she had seen Caspian, but already her memory was growing dim. Were her arrows fletched red or gold? Red. They were red, she knew.
A sharp twist on her side made her jump forward. She stared surprised back at her siblings. They looked at her questioningly, strange curiosity in their gaze. They don't feel anything? she wondered. It felt like magic. It felt like Narnia. Maybe it was a rowdy boy.
She returned in line with Edmund and Lucy, feeling strange still. A feeling that felt familiar to her, and still very distant. In her ears, she heard a horn, powerful and clear. It was beckoning her.
The train rumbled as it slowed. Susan smiled. "Here's where I get off."
"What?" It was Peter, who still looked at her strangely. In a sudden burst of shock, she realized what this meant, if she so chose. Susan threw her arms around her brother. "I think this is the last time I'll see you again for a long time."
Her brother held her gingerly. "You...you're going back? You can go back?" he whispered.
"Yes. That's my choice," she breathlessly spoke. "Maybe you'll have a chance too, if you don't stop remembering." Peter nodded, shock still in his eyes. Susan pulled away from him to look at her younger brother and sister.
"I know where you're going," Lucy said happily. "We'll see you again, I know it. All of us."
"Wait," Edmund shot in. "What's happening?"
"I'm going back, Ed. It's where I—it's where we—all belong. Once you get things sorted here."
The two rushed in to embrace her, and Peter joined held them all, hugging them tightly. "We're a family," he said. "We'll see each other."
"And maybe a few additions next time," Lucy said mischievously. Susan slapped her lightly on the shoulder.
"Can't we go now?" Edmund said quickly. Susan shook her head.
"I don't think so. I think this one is just for me." Her younger brother accepted this with an adult's grace.
The train stopped. "I love you all." Tears broke over her face as she took a step away from them. They waved, and they knew it wouldn't be the last time. Just remember, Peter thought.
Susan stepped off the train.
It was days until he saw Susan when he had first blew the horn. Still, a week had passed and he hadn't seen her. She hadn't come. He couldn't go to Cair Paravel to seek her out: his throne was too new. He wondered if the horn had lost its magic, if Susan really was trapped in England forever.
Maybe not trapped, Caspian thought. Maybe her choice really was her homeland. It would make sense. She had not chosen to stay in the first place. He hadn't had too long a time with her. He first blamed Peter, and then circumstance, and now himself. Perhaps if I wasn't so distant...
"You look troubled."
Another voice broke his reverie. This time, though, it was high and sweet, and it brought tremors to his body just to hear it reverberate. "Susan." There she was, just as he remembered her.
He rushed to her, and she only had to take a few steps to meet him. He embraced the Queen, smelling a scent he thought would never grace him again. "When I blew the horn, I thought you wouldn't come..."
"Sorry. I had to say goodbye first, and it was quite a journey. But I'm here now," she smiled gently.
"You are. You're here." He face was split in two with a smile, and he pressed his lips to her freckled cheek. He pulled away slightly, troubled. "For now."
"No," Susan corrected softly. "Forever," and kissed him.
It was never again said the Kings and Queens of old abandoned Narnia. Instead it was written, like 1300 years before, Queen Susan took the throne once more. But now it was King Caspian who ruled by her side.
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