A/N – So I was having difficulty nailing down my next chapter for my other story and decided to write this instead. It's amazing what Procrastination will do for you.
This story takes place during the Pevensie's first trip to Narnia but the characters are all from the Prince Caspian movie.
Disclaimer: I still don't own the character's from C.S. Lewis.
Susan had had enough. As much as she loved Cair Paravel she could not stand one more insolent suitor trying to win her heart with foolishness. The latest pair had been the absolute worst, two brothers strutting about like peacocks boasting about the prosperity of their fathers kingdom telling her exactly how much each of the jewels in their treasury would be worth. She couldn't take it anymore.
So like any sane human being Susan had faked near death (for when she faked regular illness they attempted to comfort her with even more stories of their wealth and their obviously imagined greatness on the field of battle) and fled the castle.
As she rode through the wood on her favorite steed and good friend Laurencia she felt freer than she had in years. She was tired of the streams of men that seemed to flock to call on her. She realized most of them were doing their duty, bound by their birth to marry someone of royal blood, in which case Susan was considered quite a catch being not simply a Princess but a Queen.
In fact as things go Susan was the catch these days and it seemed as if she had been thrown in the path of nearly every eligible royal from age 15 to 75. She cringed when she thought of all the men old enough to be her father or even grandfather who had come to "visit" with Peter in the last few years.
Although royal, Susan had not been born to it and thus put very little stock into marrying for the prosperity of a kingdom or to ensure a proper bloodline. She knew in her heart she would eventually marry and knowing herself she would probably be logical about it choosing someone who she thought was morally good and whose kingdom was near that of her brothers and sister where she could raise a family and travel often.
However, the thought of marrying just because each and every one of the men who entered the castle seemed to think that the earth revolved around them was absolutely out of the question. She had survived the teenage years of Peter Pevensie and would not condemn herself to the threat of that particular attitude for the rest of her life. There was simply no way that would ever happen.
As she thought about it there had been some nice young men who had come her way but who would want to marry someone who was just nice? Susan smiled though as she thought of the rigorous sorting process that had developed in Cair Paravel since she had become of age. Most of the time she didn't even have to meet the young men to know if they were right for her since her siblings had developed the talent of doing much of the work for her. Peter was always weeding out the weak, Edmund the weak brained, and Lucy the weak hearted.
The two ridiculous men who were currently invading her home had only been invited as a peace making measure with their father who needed appeasement after his plans for land expansion were quashed in favor of maintaining balance in their homeland. She couldn't wait until they could just go home and leave her alone. She knew she would never marry either of them and until they got that message she would be doomed to a constant headache.
It was because of these thoughts that occupied her so completely that she didn't see the man in the middle of the wood waving his arms and calling out to her. Well… she did see him but not until it was nearly too late to avoid running him down.
Susan pulled on the reins as hard as she could and Laurencia whinnied and rose up on his back two legs in an effort to stop. Susan's surprise had left her unprepared for this circumstance and she was thrown roughly from her saddle hitting her head on a small rock nearby. Her vision blurry, Susan watched as the stranger tried to calm the overly excited horse before the blackness overtook her.
Sometime later Susan awoke to find a dark haired man sitting near her with his hand on her ankle. From this angle she could only see that he had dark hair and dark clothing but the foreignness of such a thing was enough to make her weary. She slowly grabbed her dagger that had been at her waist and held it to the man's throat.
"Declare yourself immediately." She demanded in her most authoritative voice.
The man slowly lifted his arms in surrender but Susan did not relinquish the dagger that she held at his pulse.
A soft voice answered her with the flavor of lands far away. "I mean you no harm my lady. I am Prince Caspian of Telmar and I am here to seek an audience with High King Peter."
Susan rolled her eyes and dropped the dagger from his neck. Surely this was yet another suitor. A suitor from Telmar no less…she had not thought that news that she was of marriageable age and a reputed beauty had gotten that far.
The man still kneeled near her with his hands in the air.
"Put your hands down. I will not hurt you…yet. Although I may have to take you prisoner since you spooked my horse and caused me to fall and hit my head." Susan said now in a joking tone.
The man laughed as he turned around looking at her for the first time.
Susan was astonished by the man in front of her. He was slightly older than she, probably no more than 23 but this was not the look of the barbarian that she expected. He was quite handsome with long dark hair and soft yet powerful dark brown eyes.
"I am truly sorry for spooking your horse my lady. I did not mean for any harm to come to you." He replied with the sultry accent that Susan had admired seconds before. "I was lost and was hoping you could point me towards the castle."
Caspian then lowered his eyes to her ankle and went to claim it again in his hands. Susan was so taken off guard by the feeling of his hands on her in such an intimate setting that her dagger went again to his neck.
"Unhand me Telmarine! I shall suffer no tricks. You shall not bind my feet in an effort to keep me captive!"
The prince let out a small breath and a laugh at the same time turning to look at her . "I have no intention of either situation my lady I was merely checking to see if your ankle was broken or merely twisted."
Susan looked down at the offending ankle to see that it was clearly swelling. "Oh." She said blushing and slowly nodding to him to continue.
Caspian shifted so that he was now kneeling at her ankle down by her feet and quite tactfully out of range of the small dagger. He looked up at her with laughter in his eyes enjoying the spirit of the woman before him. "May I ask my lady why you thought I was trying to capture you?"
Susan looked slightly cross to be spoken to in such a way by a stranger no less. "Well you wouldn't have been the first suitor to come to Cair Paravel and attempt to compromise me in some way to force Peter to marry me off."
Caspian's eyebrows raised the shock of her statement evident in his features. "Suitor?" Caspian asked with a questioning tone. He did not understand why she had thought he was a suitor regardless of how beautiful she was.
Susan waved him off. "Why yes of course. You may not be trying to capture me to secure my hand but it has not been beyond the thoughts of many of the others." She said with distaste in her mouth.
Caspian let go of the woman's ankle, his eyes widening even further. "Others?" He asked with even more shock. He had not traveled for the last week to be among a horde of princes vying for the attentions of a woman who had nearly decapitated him a moment before.
"Why yes. You do not think you are the first Prince to come and seek my hand do you? I'm sorry to disappoint you but you are certainly not the first." She replied with a hint of boredom to her voice.
Caspian's mouth hung open in surprise. He shook his head slightly knowing that he should try and put this misunderstanding behind them quickly. "I mean you no disrespect my lady but I have not come here to marry anyone. " He said in the same soft voice that he had introduced himself with.
Susan was now the one in shock. Her eyes narrowed. "But…but you are a Prince here to seek an audience with the High King. What else would you be here except to offer for me? "
Caspian smiled slightly again at the boldness of the beautiful woman. There was no doubt that she knew exactly how beautiful she indeed was. " I … I was not even aware that Narnia had a Princess when I rode from Telmar. I am here to ask for the help and advice of the High King due to a terrible drought
that has affected my people. We have all suffered and I fear we may not be able to control the commoners much longer. I came here to see if there was any way to avoid a very ….desperate situation."
The soft tone of his voice and the sadness that was reflected in his eyes as he talked about his people touched Susan's heart. She would make sure that Peter helped him if at all possible.
Despite the fact that his plight touched her, Susan's pride had been injured with his admission that he had never even heard of her. Saving her dignity she decided not to show this Prince her weakness to him…it had served her well before. Susan narrowed her eyes as she sat up. "My name is Queen Susan. There are no Princesses here."
Caspian now looked slightly shocked. "Queen? The king allows suitors to his own wife?"
Susan rolled her eyes at his lack of knowledge. "High King Peter is my brother. Have you heard nothing of Narnia? We have two Kings and two Queens here, my two brothers and my younger sister."
Caspian shook his head. "I am afraid my knowledge of your country is slightly older than the current rulers. I have only heard that it is Peter who rules this land and that is why I have come to seek him out."
Caspian offered her his hand and she took it standing up on her uninjured foot. She now was standing quite close to the dark stranger and feeling not quite her confident and formal self because of it. "You are not here to marry me?" Susan asked in soft yet slightly shaky voice due to his proximity. She did not want to marry anyone but she was slightly disappointed that he wasn't interested in her at all.
Caspian looked at the beautiful woman in front of him and paused slightly. He was here for one purpose and that was saving his people from starvation. It was certainly not the time nor the place to form some silly attachment. "No your majesty." He said softly yet respectfully as he lowered her hand.
"Well….Good." Susan said without as much conviction as she would have liked. "That makes one less man I have to escape the castle from." She said dusting herself off as if this was the most normal conversation she had ever had in her life.
Susan tried to take a step forward towards her horse and nearly collapsed in pain as she put her weight on her injured foot.
Before she could fall she felt two strong arms around her waist supporting her. She was shocked by the closeness of him. His reflexes were fantastic she would give him that not to mention his chest…
Susan was not the only one affected by their proximity. Caspian had thus far been attracted to the young Queen thinking her eyes were the most beautiful he had ever seen but having her in his arms shook something inside of him and he was quite reluctant to let her go.
Susan shook her head slightly telling herself to focus more. Giving herself a little more space within his encircling arms she managed to breathe a slight "Thank you."
Looking up at him with the slight smile that he gave her was much more difficult to deal with than she thought possible. Susan likened the feeling to that of staring at the sun…it shouldn't be attempted unless you are looking to hurt yourself in the long run. Finding her voice she returned to her diplomatic side that was hopefully unaffected by the darkness of his eyes. "I believe I am in need of assistance and you are in need of a guide. Perhaps we could help each other?"
Caspian smile widened and Susan was stunned. He was truly beautiful.
"I would like that very much your majesty." Caspian replied stepping back even further from the beautiful woman with the incredible blue eyes.
Caspian helped Susan onto her horse and retrieved his from a nearby tree. They rode for nearly an hour until Susan brought her horse to a stop. Caspian rode up next to her. She pointed over his shoulder. "There it is. Cair Paravel. Not bad eh?"
Caspian looked at the castle and was momentarily speechless. This was not the stone castle and fortress that he had grown up with. This was a Palace. He couldn't truly decide which was more beautiful the woman beside him or the Palace. They seemed to fit one another perfectly.
"It is incredible your highness."
Susan smiled at his honest humility in the face of her home. He was not like the peacocks that lay waiting for her inside.
Wait. The peacocks.
Caspian watched as Susan' s face fell. "Is something the matter your majesty?" He asked with concern.
Susan looked over to him and smiled slightly. "I had forgotten about who I was running away from this morning." She motioned towards the castle. " There are two young Princes in the castle who have already been here a fortnight and I'm afraid unlike you they DID come here to seek my hand. They are both ridiculous but rather….persistent." She said giving the castle a slight death glare thinking of the peacocks.
Caspian felt immediately uncomfortable. He had come here to save his people but the thought of two young men waiting for Susan trying to force her to marry them made him feel more anger than was proper to feel for someone he had never met.
"Perhaps…" Caspian started.
Susan looked over slightly expectantly.
Looking at the light of excitement in her eyes Caspian wanted nothing more than to remove all annoyances from her life. "Perhaps….if you could find me an audience with your brother I can help ….distract them."
Susan smiled brightly and Caspian felt something inside him change permanently.
She held out her hand for him to shake it. "I think we have ourselves a deal." She said winningly.
Caspian took her hand in his and suddenly felt a rush of excitement and something else run through him as he continued to hold her hand and look into those incredible blue eyes. Susan held his gaze momentarily forgetting that this was just a simple handshake. Nothing about this man seemed simple to her. She was used to men coming here to fall all over themselves trying to impress her but so far Susan was the only one who had done any falling (sporting the swollen ankle to prove it). But as their hands parted neither of the two riders could think about what they had originally set out to do today, they were far too wrapped up in trying to understand the onslaught of feelings they were experiencing about the person beside them to care or think about anything else.
For the first time in her life Susan felt out of her depth with a man. He was the only man in the last few years that had not come to Ciar Paravel to offer for her hand and the first to have any effect on her. Feeling frustration build up inside her from pure confusion Susan dug her heels into Laurencia's sides and took off towards the castle at a gallop.
If she had looked behind her she would have seen Caspian narrow his eyes onto the Queen in front of him, smile, and take off after her. Perhaps he would give chase after all.
I see you there looking at the review button and thinking about clicking it. You're debating…do I do it? Should I walk away? Well just in case you're on the fence I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Ben Barnes would never even speak to someone who didn't review stories about him or his characters. Now I can't remember EXACTLY where I read it but you trust me….right? Do it for BEN! REVIEW!! And if I get a good response I'll make sure you get another chapter very VERY soon!