Disclaimer: I do not own Narnia.
AN: I know there are a lot of things I should be working on right now but I just watched Prince Caspian again and this happened. This takes place in the movie-verse, but assuming everything goes the same as the books from here on out. Susan in the books worked for me, no matter how sad it was that she fell away it made sense given what we knew of her. But for the movies I don't think it would be so ... simple, I suppose is the word. So here's a random bit from The Last Battle that I hope, at least in some small way, measures up to the greatness that is Lewis' masterpiece.
Peter Pevensie looked up at the home. It was his parents' house, not the one he had grown up in, another home which they had bought and made into a home after he departed for university. They were not there, he knew. They had a standing dinner date with the Carpenters every third Wednesday and would be out for most of the evening. The light in the second floor window told him that someone else was home though. He was lucky, given her heavy social schedule, and he sent a silent prayer of thanks to the Emperor that she had been kept in tonight.
When he rang the bell he heard her dancing down the stairs, her quick footfalls indicative of someone who was expecting a gentleman caller rather than a close relative who she didn't much like anymore.
"Peter," she said when she threw open the door and he could see the excitement fading from her face.
"We need to talk," he said and stepped inside, forcing her back.
She seethed a bit at the absence of his usual chivalry but turned on the lights in the sitting room all the same.
She held her arms tight around her chest, a defensive posture she had grown accustomed to adopting when he was around. "If this is about Mum and Dad's anniversary --"
He had finished removing his coat and stepped into the room behind her. She could feel his presence, like a light that burned hot rather than bright.
"We saw something," he said simply. "We think it means trouble and since none of us are allowed back except Eustace and Jill … we're sending them."
She forced a confused laugh and turned to face him. "What are you talking about Peter? You're sending Eustace and Jill. They're children, where could you possibly --"
"Stop it!" he said and she did, her face turning white at his tone. "Stop it, Susan! You know where. Narnia! It's our kingdom and it's in trouble. We have to do everything we can to protect it, even if we can't go back ourselves."
Susan backed up until she felt her father's armchair behind her. As she sank slowly into the chair she turned her eyes away from her brother, as if unable to look at him any longer.
"You wonder what's wrong with me; well, I wonder what's wrong with you! Have you forgotten who we are?" He bent down, resting his hands on the arms of the chair. Slowly, quietly he began, "'When Adam's flesh and Adam's bone.'"
"Stop it!" she screamed and pushed past him, fleeing to a corner of the room. "Stop it, Peter! Just … stop."
Peter stared at her for a moment. Susan had always been the strongest of his siblings. She was emotional, yes, but that was part of her strength. One emotional glance from her could humble him in an instant. But now … she seemed broken.
"Why, Su?" he asked, approaching her slowly, as he would an injured animal. "Why don't you believe anymore?"
She answered his question with her own, looking at him through shimmering eyes. "Why must you do that? Why must you always sound like a king?"
The way she said "king" gave him pause. He'd never heard his title referred to as if he were some sort of monster, at least not outside of political debates at school. The sarcastic retort, "What else would I sound like?" lingered on the edge of his tongue, but he knew he'd just be giving her what she wanted, a brother who didn't sound like a king.
"Why is that so bad?"
"Because!" she wailed. "It proves that you are and that we were there and we shall never return."
She put her hands to her eyes and sank to the floor, shuddering with her sobs. In an instant he was beside her, wrapping her in his arms the way he used to before Lucy was born, shushing her like the child she still was. When she had calmed, her sobs fading into only the occasional gasp and her tears slowing to a river she could see through, he said, "I hate him too, sometimes."
She stiffened, whether at the acknowledgment of him or the statement itself Peter wasn't sure.
"Some days," he went on, "I wake up before I open my eyes and I hear the birds and the wind and I hope, for just an instant, that I'm home. And then I realize that the birds aren't singing with words the way ours did and the wind doesn't smell of sweetness and warmth the way our wind did. Some days … I fight to get out of bed."
She clung to him, her head on his shoulder as he tried to give her some of his strength. Several minutes went by like that and he wondered if she'd even believed what he said or if this entire episode what just a product of her fear that her brothers and sister were mad.
"Do you remember Thomas?" she asked suddenly.
He looked down but couldn't see her face. "Yes. He was quite keen on you, if I remember correctly."
"He took me to his house, to meet his mother. He's lived there ever since his father died three years ago, taking care of her and making sure the house runs properly. I knew he was going to ask me to marry him, just as soon as he got Dad alone. And I knew we would live in that house with his mother. She was a wonderful woman and I knew we'd get along but … Thomas took me outside, to the yard to see it all. And there was this robin."
Peter's arm tightened around her as her voice cracked.
"He joked about it, said its name was Redcross and that it serenaded them every morning during breakfast. It sat in that tree, watching us and he thought it was a clever game that it wasn't afraid. I never saw him again after that night."
He rested his chin on her hair.
"I know he had a reason," Peter said. "Our work was done, we'd learned all we had to, but I can't … I can't help wishing I could go home. For a long time, too long a time, I wanted to go back because I wanted to stand on land that was mine. I wanted to stand in the middle of a forest or a field or on a mountain or a beach and know that it was mine to protect and defend. I still think that sometimes, that I want to be King Peter again. But now … now I just want to see him again."
Susan sighed and he knew she wanted the same thing.
"You girls were lucky, you know. You got to play with him and breathe in his mane and --"
Susan looked up at him. "You were knighted by him. You got to know that you were the honored sons."
"And you were honored daughters."
"But it's different," Susan said. "Both are good, but they're different. We got to be young and childish and you got to be brave and heroic."
"You were brave."
She shook his head. "I always knew, every battle, that if it started going badly you would make sure I got out first. And you did. You always sent the strongest warriors, who would have been very useful defending our backs, to see me to safety. I didn't have to be so brave, knowing that."
The clock in their father's study chimed, breaking the moment. Suddenly they remembered that they were two adults sitting in a dusty corner, not two children clinging to one another for dear life. Peter stood and helped Susan to her feet. She wiped at her face, trying to erase the marks of her outburst.
"That old clock," she muttered, glancing at the clock on the mantle, which hadn't made a peep, "always the wrong time."
"You do believe," he said quietly.
Susan dropped her hands. "Yes, I do. But sometimes I don't want to. Because that means admitting that I will never go back."
"We'll see him again," Peter said, reaching out to grasp her shoulder. "I know we will."
Susan nodded, collecting herself. "So, what's all this about Eustace and Jill?"
Peter let out a sigh and rolled his shoulders back. Susan smiled, knowing that he wasn't even aware of it when he took on the stature of a king.
"We were having dinner with the Professor and this ghostly man appeared …." He saw her shocked expression and held up a hand. "You know what? I'll tell you later. Ed and I are getting up early to drive out and dig up the rings."
"You're going to break into someone's house?" Susan demanded.
"Just the garden," Peter said with a laugh and suddenly he was Narnia's Peter again, young and joyful as he had been when they first found snow at the back of a wardrobe. "We'll be fine. The next day --"
"Assuming you don't get arrested."
"Yes, assuming, we're meeting everyone on the train Eustace and Jill take to school. The trip out there and back will mean there's no time to meet them earlier."
Susan nodded. "I'm going to breakfast with Mrs. Steam that morning."
Peter bit back a laugh. "Her son is very nice!" she said, giving him a light slap on the arm. "I'll have to catch it at the next station."
"You don't have to come," Peter said.
"I'll make it, even if I have to grow wings."
Their hug was cut short by voices outside.
"Mum and Dad," Susan said.
"I'll go out the back," Peter whispered, grabbing his coat and gloves. "I'd rather not explain why I'm covered in dust and you've been crying."
"It would be rather awkward," Susan said, already hurrying up the stairs.
Peter closed the back door just as his father opened the front. His spirits were higher than they'd been in some time. He wouldn't tell Edmund and Lucy about tonight. Both were staying with him -- Ed for expenses, Lu for proximity to school -- so there was little chance of them meeting Susan before the train. It would be a wonderful surprise. He jumped the gate and jogged across the front lawn, but found his feet failed him just before the sidewalk.
He turned to regard the house once more. Something was wrong. His parents had already moved upstairs, heading quickly to bed after the late night. Their light went off as he watched. Susan hadn't bothered to turn hers back on but he could see her moving about in the darkness. Impulse struck him and he bent down to grab a stone, throwing it through her open window. She cried out and their parents shot awake.
"It was nothing," she called, coming to the window, the stone in her hand and a half-angry smirk on her face. "Just a shadow!" When their parents settled she threw the stone at him and he had to dance to avoid being hit. "What?" she hissed.
He searched his mind. What was his reason for throwing a stone into his sister's bedroom in the dead of night? He realized finally and smiled.
"I love you," he said.
She smiled brightly, every bit the beautiful queen she had once been. "I love you too. Now go home before Mum and Dad find you."
He laughed and took off down the street, happier than he'd ever been. In two days Eustace and Jill would be in Narnia, seeing to the problems there. They might even be back in time for lunch, he thought hopefully. Then they could all go out together. The Professor and Polly, Eustace and Jill, and the four reunited Pevensies. Someone had once said that Narnia was never right except when a son of Adam was on the throne. Well, to Peter nothing could ever be right except when the four kings and queens were together.
An officer gave him a warning glance and Peter slowed to a walk, waving back at him. The officer's expression changed to one of fear and Peter turned just in time to see a lamppost. He looked up at it, following the line it made into the sky, and saw Leo, shining bright even in the city.
"Thank you," he said, not sure if it was for Susan or for everything from the moment he'd entered the wardrobe. "Thank you."
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