A/N: After reading some of elecktum's GORGEOUS deep-and-emotional-Peter-Edmund-brotherly-bonding stuff and doing a bit of talking with Violamom, I've come to a conclusion: It is most unfair that Susan and Lucy get left out of all the fun. Why can't there be an elecktrum-ish person in this archive who writes deep-and-emotional-Susan-Lucy-sisterly-bonding stuff? Really!
Shortly after coming to this revelation, I wake up in cold sweat from a nightmare I can't remember. It's 1:00am. My eyes won't close. Aargh. So I decide to make like a marshwiggle and "make the best of it." I sneak downstairs, steal the laptop and go on a 2-hour writing binge! Hardly knowing what the heck my fingers are typing, I find myself writing a oneshot involving...you guessed it! Deep-and-emotional-Susan-Lucy-sisterly-bonding stuff! Who woulda thunk?? (Now all I need to do is turn into an elecktrum-ish person and I'm good to go!)
Meh, just kidding. There's no way I could ever be elecktrum-ish. She's too much of a genius. (Yes, I'm talking about you, E.) :p
Many thanks to faithfulpurelight, who also does amazing Peter-Edmund stuff and was a TREMENDOUS help with this story!! I've never done anything quite like this before, but I hope you enjoy it anyway!
In Blood and in Heart
All around her were dark, disfigured shadows, covered in red from the glare of the torches and the blood of so, so many... A rhythm thumped dully in her ears, but it was not a drumbeat. Rather it was a single, terrible heartbeat, pounding out a pulse of evil joy...
"Did you think that by all this, you would save the human traitor?"
She gasped and struggled, a sick feeling twisting inside her...
Aslan! Make me stop! I'm trapped! I can't do anything!
"You have given me Narnia forever..."
Aslan, HELP! Someone stop me, please!
"In that knowledge, despair...and DIE!"
Lucy bolted upright in bed, panting, feverish tears leaking from her eyes. Struggling to grasp the difference between Reality and Nightmare, she stumbled out of the mess of lacy bedspreads and silk pillows and dashed across the room to her mirror. She had to know it wasn't real.
The wide-eyed reflection swept the damp hair out of its face and ran shaky fingers over arms and hands. Lucy sighed and the panic subsided slightly, but the last horrible image held her mind in an iron grip and cold fear still crawled along the bottom of her stomach like a snake. She turned her back to the wall and slid down, leaning the back of her head against the comfort of something solid; and a small, lonely whimper escaped her lips.
She was not a young Queen in a royal bedchamber right now. She was a frightened little girl in a dark room that was much too big for her.
She glanced at her canopy bed, all hung with blue and silver, looking so luxurious and inviting...and knew she'd never be able to return to sleep in it. A storm of thoughts swirled amidst the terror that clouded her mind. Where could she go? Who could she turn to? Peter worried too much about all of them as it was, and she didn't want to burden Edmund. He'd been through enough nightmares of his own. She then thought of Susan, of her calming voice and gentle hands...
If anyone could help, she could.
Staggering to her feet, she grabbed her night robe and shoved her arms though the sleeves as she ran to the door, her sister's room being the only goal in her mind.
The corridor was eerily quiet, and the only noise was her bare feet slapping softly against the polished marble floor. Susan's door was open a crack when she came to it and she could faintly hear her sister mutter something in her sleep. She hoped it was a less sinister dream than her own.
Lucy wrapped her robe tighter around her and pushed the door open. Stepping inside and walking on noiseless tip-toe across the carpet, she saw the sleeping figure of her sister in the large bed, muffled by folds of the coverlet and bathed in cold, white moonlight.
She shivered and inched closer.
"Susan?" she whispered, fighting to control her trembling voice and limbs. "I need to talk to you."
Susan stirred and hummed softly, turning on her side and hugging the pillow closer to her. Lucy bit her lip and reached out to touch her shoulder with a timid hand.
"Susan," she begged, "please wake up."
Susan yawned and groggily opened one eye.
"Lu-cy?" Her voice was slurred, still foggy with sleep. "What is it?"
"Can I sleep in your bed tonight?"
Susan rubbed her eyes and propped herself up on her elbow, observing her sister's pale, tearstreaked face in concern. "Lucy, what's wrong?" She touched Lucy's cheek with one hand and gave her a questioning look. "You look like you've seen a ghost ...why, you're shaking!"
"I...I had a..." Lucy choked, her face contorted in effort to keep her tears in. Pushing the covers aside, Susan sat up and took the trembling girl in her arms. A broken sob escaped Lucy's throat and she buried her face in Susan's shoulder, letting loose the tears, allowing her terror to wash away in the flood. Susan held her close and rubbed soothing circles on her back, murmuring unintelligible words of comfort and hoping it would be enough.
Minutes passed, and finally the sobs quieted down. Lucy raised her head and wiped her nose with the back of her hand, her eyes red and swollen but her face still pale. Susan smiled and patted the spot on the bed next to her and Lucy gratefully crawled into it, allowing her to tuck the covers snug around them both. The two of them lay there, neither able to close their eyes.
"You need to go to sleep, Lucy," said Susan, after another moment of silence. "Tomorrow will be another busy day for us."
"I can't," murmured Lucy, eyes filling with terror again. "I'm too afraid."
"Well...do you want to talk about it?" Susan propped herself on her elbow again and laid a gentle hand on her sister's arm. "Sometimes talking about it helps you to let go of it."
Lucy exhaled, squeezing her eyes shut and opening them again to return Susan's anxious gaze.
"You can talk to me about anything," said Susan, looking hard at her. "You know that, don't you?"
"Yes." Lucy gave her a weak smile, then turned her head and stared up at the ceiling. She swallowed. "It was so horrible, Susan. I...I've never dreamed something so awful in my life."
She sat up and hugged her knees to her chest, resting her chin on her arms. Susan did the same, tilting her head to the side to keep her eyes on Lucy.
"It was about Aslan," Lucy continued haltingly, "and the stone table. I wasn't watching from a distance with you this time; I was...inside the White Witch. It was her body but I was inside, and I had no control over what I did. And I tried to stop it, but those horrible words wouldn't stop coming out of my mouth, and the knife was in my hand, and...and..."
She wept again, and Susan was startled at the hoarseness in her voice, the fear and desperation and sorrow. It didn't belong to a 9-year-old girl.
"I killed Him, Susan. I'll never forget the look in His beautiful eyes when the knife came down..."
"Shhh, don't say anymore. Everything's alright now." Susan put an arm around Lucy's shoulders and drew her close again, pressing a kiss to her hair. "It's no wonder you were shaking so badly."
"Tell me I didn't do it," pleaded Lucy, curling into the embrace. "I couldn't have, not to dear Aslan."
"No, you couldn't have," repeated Susan, gentle yet firm in her reassurance. Lucy sniffed and wiped her nose again.
"It was just a dream," she murmured, repeating the fact to herself over and over. "Just a dream. A bad dream."
"Lu, look at me." Susan pulled away and turned Lucy's shoulders towards her. Lucy raised her eyes, and Susan was relieved to see that the simple, childlike trust had come back into them. Returning the steady gaze, she spoke; and her voice was filled with authority and quiet strength. "Jadis holds no more power over us. Not over you. Not over me. Not over Edmund or Peter or anybody. There's no more reason to fear." She paused a moment to let the words sink in, and she smiled. "It's all been taken care of."
Lucy sighed and closed her eyes, allowing the relief to wash over her; and when she smiled back at Susan, everything around her – the tall doors, the graceful archways, the tapestries and paintings that smiled out at her – everything felt safe and familiar again.
"Thank you, Susan. And I know this probably sounds daft," she added ruefully, "but thanks for...well, everything. For holding me and listening to me. It makes me feel like I have someone to be close to; that I'm really wanted and loved. If that makes any sense."
Susan stared at her and let out a surprised laugh. "Why you goose! Of course you're wanted and loved! Whatever gave you the idea that you weren't?"
"Well..." Lucy blushed and fiddled with the hem of her nightgown. "It's just that...oh, Peter and Edmund are really close, and you and Peter are close too, and I...well, I'm just the cute little girl that everyone fawns over because I'm the youngest. I suppose I feel a bit left out," she confessed.
"Oh Lu, you have no idea." Susan laughed again and took Lucy's hand in one of her own. She fought to find a way to put everything into the right words; and after a minute, she said,
"You are the...oh, how shall I put it? The sweet, sticky stuff that holds the rest of us together."
A hiccupy, snorting sound that was somewhere between a cry and a laugh burst from Lucy. Susan gave her a huge smile that was full of pure joy and leaned her forehead against her sister's as she continued with soft fervor.
"You are our Valiant Queen, our laughter and our joy, the sunny day that brightens our gloom and lifts every heavy heart. You are loved and cherished more than you'll ever know, Lucy Pevensie, and we would be lost and incomplete without you. Don't you ever, ever forget that. And above everything else," she added, squeezing Lucy's hand and looking her straight in the eye, "you are my one and only sister, and you can always confide in me. You are uniquely bound to me, in blood and in heart, and there are few things in this world closer than that."
Lucy sat and stared at her, frozen, overwhelmed. This depth, this love, this closeness was something she'd often seen in other people and only ever dreamed of having. Now suddenly, every word in every language seemed so limited compared to it and she was speechless. She felt as though someone had given her the moon and she didn't know quite what to do with it.
Doing the only thing she could think of, she threw her arms around Susan and tried to convey everything that went beyond words into the gesture. Susan returned it with equal intensity and they both laughed and cried, drinking in the joy of laughing and crying together as kindred spirits.
Bound in blood and bound in heart, the Gentle and Valiant soon fell into a slumber that was sweet and dreamless. And as Lucy slipped further into the peaceful darkness, she could have sworn she heard the deep rumbling of a Lion's purr.