NOTE: New Author's Note at end of story.
A/N: I was standing at the sink, washing dishes, thinking about how there are so very few stories written in second person (you). And then I had a brilliant flash of an idea to write one. And then I sat down to start writing it, and I realised why there are so very few stories written in second person... So this is in first person, and was almost just as hard to write because of the formula I used. I wanted each paragraph to have similar elements to it, and it was harder than I thought it would be to have seven things Susan believed, and seven different abilities, and all that. But I got it done, and I like it, and I hope you do too.
This is rather like "Justice" in that it was inspired by one word--this time it was (three guesses?) "Ability." But it is vastly different from "Justice" in that this one is narrated by Aslan. I tried to give him a Liam Neeson spin, but bang went that theory, and he's very original, I'm afraid.
Disclaimer: I do not own Narnia, or the Pevensies. Not Aslan either...
I know you are afraid, dear one, this night, in the woods behind me as I calmly walk to my death. But you smile, and you bury your fingers in the soft gold of my mane. And your gentle touch gives me the calm that I take with me to the Stone Table. Susan believes that your fears went away when you touched me, but I know better. You are still afraid as you watch without looking away. You have the ability to persevere, even though you are scared, and that is real courage. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
You smile at me, dear one, through the tear stains that streak your pale, cold cheeks, and when you smile, the sun shines. My rough tongue smoothes away the salt tracks, and I taste the sunshine within you. Susan believes that the sun rises with me, but I know better. The sun rises when you smile, when you spread your trust and faith. You have the ability to bring sunshine and hope to anyone, through anything. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
I can see your hesitation, dear one, as you catch up the beautiful diamond bottle with its precious potion inside. You wonder what horrors you will see, if you can truly help any of the fallen, heal their terrible wounds and release them from their pain. But you smile, and you stand, and my breath catches as I watch you give them life. Susan believes that it is the magic cordial healing them, but I know better. Your unwavering belief that they will live gives them a desire to live, and gives the cordial the life-force it needs to work. You have the ability to believe so strongly in something that you can make it happen, just by wishing. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
I understand your anxiety, dear one, as you kneel carefully before Mr. Tumnus, in all your royal finery. You are unsure if you are ready to rule this country, if you are ready to bear the burden I am placing on your shoulders. But as the crown settles lightly on your forehead, you smile and my heart swells with pride, knowing you are as ready as you will ever be. Susan believes that you were born ready for this day, for this burden, but I know better. You had to prepare, and worry, and wonder, and fear—you had to accept. You have the ability to bear the weight of your reign as if it is light as a feather, though everyone knows it is far heavier. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
I am not angry, dear one, that it took you so long to come to me, that the others remain staunchly disbelieving. I know how hard it is to believe in me when I have forced you to wait so long. I know how easy it is to be frightened of standing alone in your belief. But as you tumble with me across the forest floor, you laugh away your fears, and smile proudly to be the first one to return to me, the first one to see the trees awake. Susan believes that it is better to stand with the crowd, even if her beliefs differ from everyone else's, but I know better. She has to learn to be strong in her own way, just as you have, and stand up on her own. You have the ability to stand up for what you believe in, even if you are the only one doing it, and that is power. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
I can feel you trembling, dear one, as you draw your dagger before the ragged edges of the Telmarine army. You have not been in a battle without your brothers before, and it is disconcerting to not have them at your side. But you smile that confident smirk and brush away your worries. I can't help but let out a roar that matches your calm, steady courage. Susan believes that you are just a little girl, but I know better. You have put one year, fourteen-hundred years, behind you and become again the warrior maiden you were in the Golden Age, with no need for the protection of me or your brothers. You have the ability to remain young and vivacious, but at the same time command the respect only an adult should garner. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
I am so sorry, dear one, that I must tell you what you dread to hear. You knew already, before the words left my lips, that you would never return to Narnia. Tears stream down your cheeks, but you are smiling though you are in pain. My eyes fill with tears of my own as I kiss your forehead—the brow that still bears the weight of the crown I placed there so many years ago—and I ache with you as you say good-bye. Susan believes that you are foolish to still believe in Narnia, but I know better. Some part of you will remain here forever, and some part of Narnia will remain forever in you, because you will go on believing. You have the ability to stay strong in the face of pain and loss, to stay faithful in the face of despair, and to share that strength and faith with those who need it. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
As I stand beside you at the end of the world, calling to you to come farther up and farther in, I can see your abilities stretched out behind you, like a lifeline to those who need you, those who need to share your perseverance, your sunshine hope, your unwavering belief, your strength. I can see your courage, tangled up in all the others, the thread that holds all the other abilities together, and makes them all possible. You smile—you know all these abilities lie within you. You know who you are, and you know how to stay that way. You know I love you, dear one. You know you are Lucy, and you have the ability to be Valiant.
NEW A/N: I know that I previously said there was a possibility of the other Pevensies getting their own chapters of "Ability". I now rescind that offer--I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I know many of you were looking forward to more "Ability", and several people requested Edmund's chapter specifically. But after last night and much of today, I don't think there will be any new chapters any time soon. I wrote two different versions of Peter's chapter and three of Edmund's, and I hated all of them. I thought the flow and the format and even the way I described the abilities were just not worthy of anything but the rubbish bin. So while I will still be working on them in some small capacity, please don't expect them to be up until maybe Christmas. (I'll have some time then to sit and work out all the kinks and really bad stuff I wrote yesterday...) So, again, I'm SORRY (!!!) and I promise not to give up, just to take far longer than I had originally planned.
(Watch: now I'll go back upstairs, sit down, and everything will magically come out right. You'll have new chapters tonight. Isn't that how it always happens? Don't quote me on that, though, and expect Ability to remain just Lucy for some time. Apologies, again.)
The next one-shot will hopefully be another Lucy one inspired by the word "challenge." Cross your fingers that it works out like I'm planning. :)