In Element

Susan and her siblings are struggling to re-adjust to their lives but when the call to save Narnia arises will they risk everything again?

AN: This is set after the PC movie and will run as an AU but since I love the books so much it will probably end up canon again at the end (no promises though as my writing can end up doing things that even I hadn't planned).

The words whispered to him as he tossed and turned in his bed, his sheets strangling him into a cocoon. The deep majestic voice was familiar but lost in the dark vision of his dream; images flashed before him as he watched on in terrified awe.

"To the glistening southern sea..."

Dark waves crashed around as the ocean revolted, smashing through rocks and land as it burst its boundaries...

"To the great western wood..."

Trees snarled and cracked as they twisted around themselves, falling from the weight and crushing anything below...

"To the radiant southern sun..."

Light burned into the ground, causing fire to leap up wherever it touched and incinerating anything living...

"To the clear northern sky..."

Wind whirled around, twisting in on itself as it descended from the sky to the ground, ripping everything apart that it touched...

He sprang up in bed, gasping for breath and covered in sweat. That was no ordinary dream.

Susan sighed and looked down at her hands again, ignoring the droning voice that was captivating the rest of the room, or more likely just keeping their attention. She would have been one of the few people who were actually paying attention and vividly so, asking and answering questions as the class progressed. But that was before her second trip to Narnia, before she was told she could never go home again and now Susan found it more and more difficult to re-adjust to her 'normal' life.

Sighing she rested her hand against her cheek and slumped forward, wondering idly to herself when normal in her head became silken dresses and talking animals.

A slight nudge in her arm and Susan pulled herself from her depressive thoughts to turn to the one person who hadn't given up on her friendship despite her turbulent behaviour. Charlotte grinned at her and pointed over to the other side of the room where Angela, the 'most popular' girl at school was fanning herself, completely ignoring their teacher, Mrs Higgins, and being very rude about it. Susan pulled a face and bristled at it, hating that Angela thought she could get away with anything – and usually did. Charlotte rolled her eyes and nodded in sympathy, somehow always understanding Susan's mood.

"And that's it for today girls." Mrs Higgins just finished as the bell rang and there was an immediate scrambling of chairs against the floor.

"So how many notes did you take in this class?" Charlotte teased as she and Susan left the classroom.

"Charlotte..."

"Every class we go to you make all the notes and then just stare into space."

"In some of our classes, that's the only way to get through them." Susan teased, trying to get her friend off the sensitive topic of her recent behaviour.

"True."

Susan sighed and then started walking automatically towards the gym hall, where they would have their next lesson.

"Um, Su? We're not doing indoor gym today." Charlotte said hesitantly.

"We're not?" Susan paused and looked at her friend who was shiftily looking away. "Lottie? What's going on?"

"Don't be mad..."

"Lottie..."

"Well remember a few weeks back when you got all spaced out and sad at everything?"

'Basically just after I'd gotten back from Narnia fro the second time', Susan thought to herself. "Yes."

"We had to sign up for extra activities, remember? And you weren't really all here so I signed up for you."

"What activities? How many?"

"Just two gym choices, that's all."

"Lottie..."

"Well, I chose one for me and one I thought you'd suit and guessed that we'd just be able to get each other through them. And it is only for one term so..."

Susan sighed. "Fine. What did you sign us up for?"

"Dance and archery."

Susan froze.

"Su? Su are you alright?"

Archery? The very word, the very mention of it sent memories she was trying so hard to suppress spiralling through her mind. Feeling the strong carved wood underneath her hand, the sound of the swish as the feather-tail whipped through the air, the snapping ping of the release... Too many memories and all of them related to one place, one fabulous place she could never, ever return to...

"Su! You're scaring me now!"

Blinking rapidly Susan turned and managed to fix her gaze on her best friend, her straining blue eyes meeting the wide blue of Charlotte's, which were open with fear and worry. She shouldn't be scaring her friend like this.

"I'm sorry, it was just a shock that's all." Susan muttered weakly.

"It's more than that," Charlotte replied fervently, and then sighed. "But you'll tell me when you're ready to."

"Thank you," Susan whispered. "I don't deserve you."

Charlotte laughed suddenly then and smiled. "That goes both ways Su, now come on! We're going to be late."

"I don't suppose we have dancing today do we?"

"Afraid not."

"No, I didn't think I could get that lucky." Susan murmured to herself, and she followed Charlotte as her friend led them to the changing rooms.

Several cheers rang through the clear afternoon sky as Charlotte walked away from the standing pit, Susan just sighed whilst Charlotte growled.

"She thinks she's so good at everything!" Lottie hissed. "Just because she's a judge's daughter and a cousin a million times removed from the Prince's fiancé."

"Lottie..."

"Just once I'd love it for someone to put her in her place. Her place down on the ground underneath somebody's heel where she puts everybody!"

"You're letting your anger get the better of you." Susan reminded her gently, desperately trying to force all the memories of the times she'd said the exact same thing to her brothers from her mind; she was here now, with Lottie, not there, never to be there again...

"It's no better than she deserves."

"It's more than you deserve."

Charlotte sighed and turned to her friend, her back pointedly on the crowd surrounding Angela. "How come you're so good at that?"

"Good at what?" Susan asked, a smile twitching at her lips at her friend's confused question.

"At saying exactly the right thing to diffuse a situation."

"Years and years of practice." Susan replied, smiling fully now; the first time she'd done so when thinking of Narnia.

"Oh ha-ha," Charlotte snapped, although she was fighting back a smile of her own. "Well, you're very good at it. There's nobody else I know who can put somebody in their place better whilst being so gentle about it."

Susan froze.

"Charlotte Hotchkiss! You're up!" Their teacher called and Charlotte walked away, although Susan barely noticed.

Gentle? Why did she have to use that word? There were over a million words in the English language and many other adjectives that described that emotion, why did Charlotte have to use the one word that could bring back everything? The feel of the Narnian breeze; the sway of the trees as they spoke; the gait of the fauns as they danced; Aslan's majestic voice; the softness of her crown; the feel of his lips...

Shaking herself from re-living that memory Susan focused all her energy on watching her friend; on the here and now.

Charlotte was pulling back her bowstring and concentrating on the target, a bulls-eye printed on plain paper attached to a wooden board. The outlines were all still visible as not many people had managed to hit the planned target; in fact Angela was one of a very few who had. Susan could tell merely from Charlotte's stance that she was going to miss, and by a mile at that; her legs were too far apart and her weight was rested on the left more than the right.

A round of giggles behind her suddenly interrupted Susan's analysis of her friend's shot.

"Doesn't she look silly?" A voice whispered.

"Her legs are stretched so far apart! She must be related to a toad, it's the only explanation..." Another whisper replied.

"Now, now, girls," Angela's smug reply cut through the air as Susan bristled, realising the girls were insulting Charlotte. "Just because she is not – or will never be for that matter – as good as us is no reason to be cruel. Not," she added slyly "when she cannot hear us and therefore cannot learn from our higher intelligence."

The other girls burst into furious giggles whilst Susan clenched her hands, anger sweeping through her body.

"Who agrees with me?" Angela continued as Susan turned to face her, watching as nearly all the rest of the girls in their class nodded or raised their hands, all of them beaming with silly smirk expressions. Susan was extremely glad that at that moment of time she did not posses a full quiver of arrows; otherwise Angela would have been in mortal danger.

"Ooh Look!" One of the brainless followers squealed. "The friend is glaring at us!"

Susan had never been very popular, she was too reserved and bookish for that but she had been known and well-liked. The war had changed everybody and no-one had come back from their evacuations the same as they had left, but Susan and her siblings had changed the most. They had had to cope with not only the war of their world but the war and lifetime they had lived through in Narnia, and re-adjusting was the hardest part.

Whilst at the Professor's they had been alright, upset that they were back here but with only themselves and the professor to occupy they could recount tales of their adventures long into the night. They had even started to meld the two worlds, using what they had learned in Narnia in their own world; riding, painting, dancing. Her brothers had spared with old war antiques whilst she and Lucy had recreated as much of the Narnian music they could remember. The professor had wanted to know so much about what they did in Narnia, so much about Narnia itself, that although they were no longer there and missed it terribly, it didn't seem too bad.

That all changed when they returned to London.

Lucy remained adamant that they would return someday but she started to profess this belief less and less, and started day-dreaming more and more; Edmund became even more withdrawn in one sense, he barely spoke a word some nights, and more expressive in others, always sticking to his siblings sides and helping them with whatever they needed; Peter became rebellious, not overly so but challenging anybody who made even the smallest slight against him; and Susan just carried on as she had before, but there was something missing form her, a spark of life.

Returning to school had been hard, with all her friends knowing something was different – that something was wrong – and not knowing what to do about it, or even what it was. Charlotte had stuck by her whilst the others had drifted away, mainly to Angela's side where they could be happy clingers-on of the most popular girl in school. Now all Susan was known as was 'the friend', an attempt by Angela to reduce Susan and Charlotte to snivelling admirers. But Charlotte didn't care about rumours and whispers and Susan had spent too much time in different courts to be upset by this smallest of 'political' insults.

"Really?" Angela sneered. "Is she going to do something, or just stare? What do we think?"

"She hasn't spoken in months!" One chirped up.

"Ever since we got back she's been different."

"And not good different."

"She is nothing for us to worry about." Angela said coolly, turning from Susan's heated glare which, much to Su's satisfaction, was clearly starting to bother her. "Besides girls, we have to let Miss Hotchkiss here know how abysmally she did."

Susan only just noticed that her friend was returning to her side, walking in front of Angela and her crowd when Angela started motioning to the others, clearly egging them on to start in on Charlotte.

"Don't you say one word to her!" Susan snapped, the words ripping from her mouth before she knew what was happening.

"Excuse me?!" Angela shrilled whilst everybody else stared in shock.

"You heard me." Susan replied, her voice steel hard.

"How dare you speak to me like that?" Angela shrieked.

"Quite easily actually."

Shocked gasps and sucked in breaths were audible as Susan stared down a speechless Angela; nobody had ever come out and actually spoken so abruptly to her before.

"Susan Pevensie!" A voice called, a hint of anxiousness in the tone; even the teachers knew how influential Angela was and why nobody messed with her.

"Lucky teach saved you." Angela hissed as Susan started to move forwards.

"I don't need any help in dealing with the likes of you." Susan replied, an edge to her voice that she hadn't felt, let alone used, in months. Not since the court dispute after his coronation... Her regal power must have shown through because Angela looked like she had been slapped whilst several girls actually took steps back. Charlotte looked like a gaping fish as she stared on in awe.

"G-go humiliate yourself then Pevensie!" Angela stuttered, clearly unable to think of any insult. "You couldn't possibly be better than me!"

Susan smiled as she walked by, a gentle smile on her lips as she spoke in a gentle tone; but just because she was gentle, didn't mean she wasn't every bit as much a warrior as her brothers. Holding her head up, she spoke in a clear voice. "I could beat you blindfolded Angela."

More gasps followed this announcement but Susan no longer cared, she was no longer paying attention. This would show all of them to not judge somebody by their looks, to not ignore them just because they were different from the popular. Striding forward, Susan completely ignored their instructor who was babbling something about no blindfolds, and walking up to the plate, scooping to grab an arrow as she did.

As soon as she felt it in her hand it was like something clicked into place inside of her, something that was quietened in the back of her mind was now a bit louder. Adjusting her stance as she slid the arrow into place she could almost feel the long skirts around her, raising the bow it almost felt stronger than the plywood it was made from, as if carved from some great oak. Narrowing her eyes the background blurred and she could almost see moving trees, could almost believe that the target was made of straw and hay.

Before the feelings got too much Susan let the arrow fly, not even bothering to look if it hit the target or acknowledging the shocked screams behind her, instead just leaning down and scooping up another arrow, fitting it to her bow in the same motion, something she'd done a million times before. Raising it up again she focused on the target and trying to ignore her eyes as they showed her men running towards her; letting loose she barely saw one of the men as he fell, instead reaching down for another arrow. Lifting it into its place Susan shook her head slightly, as not only was her eyesight not clearing but now her hearing was starting to be affected; as well as the gasps and screams from her fellow classmates behind her, Susan could now also hear shouts of men, the pounding of hooves and the clash of metal against metal. Letting the arrow fly she watched as the second man charging towards her fell.

Relaxing her stance Susan suddenly became very aware that the delusion her mind had conjured was not finishing, that her eyes and ears were not returning to a school field in England. She felt as if she'd been slowed by time itself as she began to drop her bow, hope swelling in her heart. Hearing a gasp that sounded a lot nearer than it should be she turned slowly and stared down at where the sound had come from.

Straight into Caspian's shocked eyes.

"Susan!" A cheerful voice screamed from behind her and then Caspian was leaping to his feet.

"No!" He yelled as he moved to catch her arm but time had sped up again and he wasn't fast enough.

The next thing Susan knew she was standing back on her school field with screams of admiration and shock reverberating around her.

Thanks for reading, if you have time to leave any thoughts they would be much appreciated!