Title: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Summary: Lucy and Edmund are not the only Pevensie children to return to Narnia after all.
Characters/Pairings: Caspian/Susan, Peter, Edmund, Lucy, Eustace, etc.
Rating: K+ // PG-13
Disclaimer: Yeah, not at all.
Spoilers: Lion, Witch, Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; Voyage of the Dawn Treader; and later Horse and His Boy
Originally only Edmund and Lucy had planned on staying with their aunt and uncle for the 16 weeks that their parents would be in America. Susan was to go with their parents as it was believed that she would get the most out of the trip. Peter, who was studying for an exam, was going to stay with Professor Kirke. Professor Kirke would have taken all of the children in like he had during the War, but he had become poor since those days. The small cottage he was living in only had one spare room.
Incidentally so did the Scrubb's house.
But that is aside from the point. The point is that Edmund and Lucy were to spend those 16 weeks at their cousin Eustace's Scrubb's house and Susan and Peter were not. However, both Susan and Peter woke up one day after having a dream that they couldn't recall as soon as they were up. All they knew was that they had to go with Edmund and Lucy.
Of course their parents didn't understand and were very angry because plans had already been made. But Peter and Susan insisted. The dream had been magic, that much they knew. (Not that they told their parents that.)
And so the Pevensie children found that they would all going be staying with the Scrubbs. The boys were all going to share Eustace's room. Susan and Lucy were going to share the spare room.
As soon as the children arrived, they were on edge for two reasons. The first was that the Scrubbs were definitely the odd ones in the family. The second was that they knew Narnia would be involved somehow. Peter and Susan were slightly more on edge because they knew they wouldn't be returning. But they had to be there. Narnia was calling and they would be there to hear it. They might not be allowed to answer it, but they would be there.
But days passed and nothing happened. Then those days became a week and then two, then three. The eager anticipation of Narnia faded and Susan began to wonder how her parents were doing. Peter's studies became more frequent if that was at all possible. Edmund began to grouse about Eustace more and more.
Only Lucy believed that Narnia was coming. It was taking a long time, but Narnia would call them to her again. She was also the only one to hope that Peter and Susan would come as well. Aslan couldn't possibly be so cruel to tell them to give up their summer plans and then not let them come to Narnia.
But soon (though not soon enough in Edmund's opinion), the 16 weeks had become 8 and their stay with the Scrubbs was half over.
On the day that was precisely smack dab in the middle of the stay, the four siblings were in Susan and Lucy's room. It was rare that the four got any time alone with one another due to Peter's studying and Eustace's need to find out what they were up to 24/7. (Truly it was because he was jealous. He envied the bond the four had.) But Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter had no knowledge of this.
The four sat on the bed and talked about Narnia when they could. One reason they chose this room was because of its privacy and the second was because of the painting on the wall.
It had been a wedding present, but Aunt Alberta hated it. She hadn't wanted to offend the gift giver, so she stuck it in the guest room. The painting in question was of a ship. More importantly, it was of a Narnian ship. The prow of the ship was a gilded dragon. There was one mast with a large, purple, square sail. What was visible of the sides of the ship were a rich green color.
The ship was most assuredly Narnia, and it reminded the children of their reason for being there.
"The question is whether it doesn't make things worse, looking at a Narnian ship when you can't get there," Edmund asked that afternoon.
"Even looking is better than nothing," Lucy sighed. "And she is such a Narnian ship."
"Still playing your old game?" Eustace asked as he walked into the room.
"Go away Eustace," Susan said.
"I'm trying to think of a limerick," Eustace told the siblings, causing Peter to groan. "Something like this:
Some kids who played games about Narnia
Got gradually balmier and balmier--
"Well, Narnia and balmier don't rhyme to begin with," Lucy said.
"It's an assonance," Eustace said importantly.
"No, it's a slant rhyme," Peter said.
Eustace said nothing for a few minutes, just continued to smile at them. "Do you like that picture?" he finally asked.
Edmund opened his mouth to tell the others not to answer, but Lucy was already answering.
"Yes, I do. I like it very much."
"It's a rotten picture," Eustace said.
"Then why don't you leave?" Susan asked.
"You won't see it from outside," Peter added.
"Why do you like it so much?" Eustace asked Lucy, ignoring Peter and Susan.
"For one thing," Lucy said, "it looks like the ship was really moving. And the water looks wet, and the waves look like they're actually moving."
Eustace, for once in his life, was unable to answer. It wasn't because he had none, but rather because at that moment it did look like the painting was really moving. Eustace, who had been sea sick the one time he had been on a ship, began to feel quite ill. He tried to look again. Then all five were staring at the painting.
The ship in the painting was moving, but it wasn't like anything from a movie. The colors were sharp and bright and real. The pages of one of Peter's books flapped, then it rose into the air, and sailed over the bed to thud against the wall behind them. Wind was blowing through the painting towards them, bringing the ship closer.
"Narnia," Susan whispered, a touch of sadness in her voice.
"Stop it," Eustace said in a high, squeaky voice that reminded Peter quite a bit of Reepicheep. "It's some silly trick you four are playing. Stop it or I'll tell Alberta on you – Ow!"
A wave had come through the frame of the picture, soaking all five children and causing them all to cry out in shock.
"I'll smash the rotten thing," Eustace said, taking a step towards the picture.
"Stop it," Edmund said as he and Peter moved to grab their cousin. Lucy and Susan quickly jumped after them. The five found themselves pulled forward until they were standing on the frame of the painting, faced with a very real ship. The wind and the waves rushed at them and Peter and Susan only had time to exchange a short confused, joyous look with one another before Eustace went mental.
Eustace grabbed Peter and Edmund, throwing the three boys off balance. They teetered dangerously and the girls tried to steady them, but it was too late. All five went tumbling over the edge of the frame into the water.
The water hadn't looked very cold in the painting, but the reality was that it was quite, quite cold. Susan let out a laugh as she popped to the surface anyways. Up close as she was, the ship was unmistakably Narnian. Peter's head broke the surface not far from her.
"What do you think's going on?" he asked her. "We weren't supposed to come back. He told us."
"I don't know," Susan admitted. "But I'm going to enjoy this for as long as I can."
They glanced around as someone from the ship hit the water. A dark head bobbed up from the water and began swimming to the floundering Lucy and Eustace. It seemed that Eustace had clutched at Lucy and was unknowingly dragging her under. Edmund was heading towards the ship and his elder siblings.
They all managed to reach the ship at the same time. Some shouting ensued from above and ropes were thrown down. The six of them were forced to wait in the water, growing more chilled every second, as they men above ensured that they wouldn't be smashed upon the side of the ship. Peter was hauled up and over the edge first, followed by Susan. She stood dripping on the deck, making an attempt to wring the seawater out of her hair as the others were pulled up.
"Well, wasn't that fun?" Peter asked dryly.
"At least it wasn't a melting, half-frozen river this time," Susan said.
"That's three times I've gotten soaked within two days of being in Narnia," Peter sighed.
"I wouldn't complain," Edmund said with a grin. "You two weren't supposed to come back at all." He glanced at Lucy, who was staring at the dark haired man who had dove in the water to help them. "Blimey! It's Caspian!"
Both Susan and Peter's heads jerked up and Susan found that Caspian's eyes were now locked with hers.