Susan's heart was bursting with joy. She loved being there, alone with Caspian, but her siblings always made her feel complete. They would be there to meet her children...and support her during the birth.
She bit her lip and took a deep breath as she rubbed her belly. She was terrified, but concentrating on easing the fears of those around her helped her forget about her own. Lucy walked in the door with a plate of cookies, smiling a chipper smile. She'd already changed back into her Narnian dress, looking happier than ever. Susan knew Lucy was the one person who loved Narnia more than their own world. All of them knew that if Lucy were given the option to stay in Narnia, she would, without thought or question. Susan took a cookie from the plate her sister offered, "Lu, I'm so glad to see you...I really am. Where's Ed?" Lucy spoke with her mouth full, "Fetching us some milk. Try to leave him some cookies Su. I know you're eating for three, but goodness!" The sisters shared a hearty laugh as Edmund rejoined them, offering milk and taking a couple of cookies for himself.
As the days passed, Peter and Edmund assisted Caspian with his duties, allowing him more time to spend at his wife's side. Lucy was the perfect little nurse, fetching food, water and extra pillows whenever Susan asked.
The silence of a calm evening was shattered by Susan's cry. Caspian and Peter were playing chess in his library and Edmund and Lucy were racing each other through the garden. Caspian was the first to burst into the room, expecting to see the midwife and nurse, instead he found Glenstorm and Trumpkin, along with several guards with their swords drawn. Caspian burst through the crowd to find Susan sitting up in bed, panting with her hand on her belly. "I was napping and I felt a...pop....and all of the sudden there was water everywhere!" The men in the room seemed even more alarmed than before, promptly sheathing their swords and practically running from the room.
Caspian stuttered, "F-f-find the midwife and healer. Tell them the queen has gone into labor." Caspian took Susan's hand as Peter, Edmund and Lucy walked in. "Does it hurt much my darling?" she gave him a reassuring smile. "Not yet."
Lucy took a seat by her sister while her brothers stood toward the foot of the bed like statues. The midwife and healer arrived as the nurses began to escort Caspian from the room, "Sire, perhaps that you should wait outside. We'll inform you once the queen has given birth." Caspian snatched away from the nurses, "I will say this once, so listen carefully. I am not leaving my wife's side, ever. If it is germs you are concerned about, draw me a bath of boiling hot whiskey and I will gladly sanitize myself from head to toe, but I am staying with her."
Peter and Edmund stepped outside while Susan was examined. They were silent, leaning against the wall and staring at their feet. "Will she be all right?" Edmund said without taking his eyes from his boots. "She has to be." Peter said matter-of-factly, barely sparing his brother a glance.
Hours later, the pain was wracking Susan's body. She laid on her side, clutching her stomach with one hand and half breaking Caspian's hand with the other. Sweat was matting her dark locks to her forehead. The midwife looked her over again and gave the king a worried look. Susan panted, catching the look, "Something wrong...something's wrong I know it, I--" she cried out in pain again, yanking Caspian closer to her and burying her face in his arm. "Is there nothing you can do to ease her pain!?!" Caspian screamed desperately, sweat beading on his brow. Lucy dabbed Susan's forehead with a cloth as Edmund and Peter paced across the room, exchanging worried glances.
The midwife and healer spoke quietly, then turned to Peter and Edmund, summoning them over. "Lucy, stay with her a moment." Caspian said as he slid from Susan's grip. He joined Peter and Edmund as they spoke to the midwife. "The surgery will be needed. The queen is not progressing and the babies are running out of time. If she is to survive the surgery, she mustn't be awake for it. You must find this plant.." she handed Peter a piece of paper with a drawing on it. "It grows in the meadow facing the south side of the mountain, just east of town. Bring it back quickly." Peter and Edmund ran from the room, "Sire, the plant contains a poison with hallucinogenic properties. It's a last resort, but it's the only option we have. If we give her the poison, she will lose consciousness. We need to deliver the children before the poison passes from her system to theirs..." Caspian ran his hands through his hair and looked back at his suffering wife.
"I can't, I can't!" Susan screamed as Caspian tried to calm her, stroking her head. Lucy poured her sister another glass of water and bit her lip nervously. She'd never seen Susan so out of control before...she was frightened, but tried to keep from letting it show in her face. "Caspian...it hurts, it hurts! I have to get them out!" The midwife spoke sternly, barely raising her voice, "Your majesty, you must listen to me...you can not push. You have to hold on for your children's sake." Susan nodded as tears streamed down her face. Caspian held his wife in his arms, whispering to her. "Stay strong my darling...stay strong."
Peter and Edmund arrived back with the plant, both panting and sweating. The midwife nodded, taking the plant. She ground it up to a powder and added it to some water as the healer opened a bag filled with medical instruments. Caspian felt his stomach drop as he saw them take out a surgical knife. "Sire, I know how much you wish to be by your wife's side, but you must leave for her and the babies sakes..." Lucy looked at Caspian and nodded. Caspian kissed his wife on the lips and stared into her eyes as she laid there. The pain had weakened her beyond measure and her lips were pale. "I will see you soon my love." Susan forced a weak smile and nodded, "I love you..."
Caspian sat outside of the door with Lucy, Edmund and Peter for what felt like an eternity. A nurse opened the door, looking pained and exhausted. "The midwife wants to see you my Lord." Caspian stood and looked at the siblings, motioning for them to follow him. They walked into a room far more silent than they left it. Caspian looked at Susan as she lay motionless on the bed, her chest barely rising and falling. Her face was shockingly pale. His eyes turned to two nurses, gently rocking little bundles in their arms. He rushed over to them, staring down at the babies. Soon, he held a child in each arm. He didn't know which one to stare at longer. They blinked slowly, yawned and reached their hands out of the blankets they were swaddled in. Before he was able to stop himself, tears began flowing down his face as he let out a small laugh, "Beautiful....just beautiful." Caspian looked back over to Susan, who seemed to have grown paler. He swallowed hard as a knot formed in the pit of his stomach. That was it. Aslan would give him his children, but he wouldn't let him keep Susan. He walked to her and leaned in, "They are beautiful my love...just like their mother. Please open your eyes and look at them. Please my beloved...open your eyes and see our children." The healer and midwife looked at each other, "She...she isn't waking up my lord...we..." her voice trailed off as she looked at the grieving family. Peter and Edmund had been standing there, like statues. They'd never seen their vibrant sister so still before. Edmund choked back a sob as Peter clutched his heart.
Lucy, who had her head bowed the whole time, crying silent tears, suddenly perked up and rushed to her sister's side. She quickly pulled the diamond container from her side and placed a drop of liquid in her sister's mouth. They watched as the color returned to Susan's face. She gasped and took a deep breath, slowly opening her eyes and looking around, her strength slowly returning. She whispered groggily, "Are the little ones all right?" Tears flowed down Caspian's face as he smiled at his revived wife, "They are perfect, my darling...all thanks to you...all of you." She smiled as her strength began to return, "Are they boys or girls?" "We have...oh dear...I didn't even ask if we were blessed with princes or princesses" he laughed as he looked to the midwife, who, up until now, had shown no emotion. Her voice cracked as she wiped away a tear. "You've been blessed with both my Lord. You have a son and a daughter." Susan extended her arms gingerly, taking one of their children from his arms and opening the blanket. "I see I have our son here! They really are perfect..." She stared down at the children in awe as Caspian took a deep breath, finally realizing the magnitude of the situation. "I almost lost all of you today. If Peter and Edmund weren't here to fetch the medicine needed....if Lucy wasn't here with her cordial...you...our son...our daughter, wouldn't be here. That's why Peter, Edmund and Lucy were called back. To save you all." The siblings looked at each other and smiled, "We look out for each other, as we've always done." Edmund said, taking a cautious step forward to look at the new additions to his family.
Three weeks later, the newly arrived prince and princess had the castle in uproar. Guards were prohibited from wearing heavy boots on the chamber levels the royals slept on, since Susan feared the sound of boots clanking would wake the twins. A leopard was asked to guard the chambers because of his ability to move silently and Reepicheep and his knights were on high alert. Before the birth of their children, Susan feared Caspian would want little to do with their everyday upbringing, but he was surprisingly enthusiastic about everyday tasks. He seemed to always be there to lend a hand, except for when it came to poopie diapers. She didn't quite understand how he could make himself available for baths, naps and bed time, but was too occupied with "matters of the state" when soiled diapers came along. The twins officially ruled the castle. Lucy delighted in holding and caring for them, but Peter and Edmund seemed almost afraid of the fragile little things, preferring to look over their sisters and brother-in-law's shoulders as they cared for them.
Aslan arrived at the castle midday, about a month after the last three Pevensie children arrived in Narnia. The monarchs made their way to the throne room to greet him, Caspian and Susan carrying the twins. The gentle lion smiled upon seeing the babies, slowly approaching them and breathing his warm breath on them. "They will be blessed...Rilian and Miriam. The stars of their family's eyes." he smiled down at the slumbering babies.
Aslan stepped back and looked at the seven of them, "Each of you have played an integral role in restoring Narnia to its former glory. Queen Susan has brought joy to her king and two beautiful heirs to the kingdom. King Peter and King Edmund were there to support the current monarch when his focus needed to be held elsewhere, and as always, the valiant little Queen Lucy brought joy and healing to all those who needed it. It is because of this, that you are all granted the ability to stay in Narnia for as long as you like. Assist Caspian in his royal duties, watch your niece and nephew grow, find love yourselves, and start your own families. You may live the rest of your life and pass on to my country here, or you may return home and live your life there. The choice is yours, kings and queens of old...but make it quickly, the portal shall close for good on the fourth night."
Susan knew where she belonged, but now it was her siblings turn to choose their fates. The 5 monarchs stood there, on the cusp of a new era in Narnian history.
Thank you guys so much for reading/favoriting/reviewing. I am not sure I liked the way this ended, so don't be surprised if this becomes part one of a multi-phased story arc!