Disclaimer: I do not own the Chronicles of Narnia. (Oh, but if I did…mwahahah…)
A/N: Hehe…all right, mes amis! We are going to play a leetle prank on my good ami KC. I am un crazy French character in one of KC's stories (you can be calling me 'Leon') , and, just to be making things interesting, I shall be posting this EustacexJill fic with KC's autre stories and see what KC is to be thinking. The fic is being as fluffy as the Easter bunny and as sappy as…well, sap, mais I am thinking you will be enjoying it anyway! (Personallie, I am thinking KC was going to post it but kept, as the colloquialism goes, "chickening out". Alors, we will help him un peu.) ;D If you will be reviewing beaucoup, s'il vous plait…hehe…
The Smell of Ozone (or What Scientific Explanations Can't Explain)
"I say, Lucy," Eustace whispered to his cousin. "Don't you think the train is going a bit fast 'round the bend?"
Lucy ignored him, her attention on two people in the next compartment down. Eustace frowned at his cousin, and then turned to Jill.
"Pole," he began, but the girl cut him off.
"Look!" she gasped, pointing out the window. Her blue eyes were wide with excitement and fear.
Eustace looked. A light appeared in the distance. It was a golden shape, a face that drew steadily nearer and nearer.
"Are you ready to go back?" asked a golden voice, deep and familiar.
"Back?" echoed the two children in unison, exchanging a look.
Eustace began to ask Jill if she knew what on earth the voice meant, but then realized just where he'd heard that voice before.
Narnia, he thought, an indescribable joy rushing through him with a shudder as his heart beat fast. We're going back to Narnia!
But then something jerked terribly. A feeling of dread stuck him like lightning as he felt the pounds and pounds of metal beneath his feet shift and begin to slide. Something was dreadfully wrong.
"Jill!" he cried, grabbing for her hand.
He grew frantic when he couldn't find it. Lucy was still sitting beside him, oblivious to everything, it seemed, her azure eyes wide as her mouth formed noiseless words, but Jill was GONE! Before he had time to do more than panic, the light appeared again, much brighter this time, and darkness enveloped the world around him.
"JILLLLLLLLLLL!" he screamed, reaching for her again. His hands clawed for a hold, for some sign that she was there, but found nothing but air; and then he was falling and falling and falling into eternity and the darkness.
Eustace jolted awake. His hair was plastered against his forehead with sweat. The train…the frightening jerk that had sent them into Narnia…it was just as terrible in the dream as when it had actually happened. The agonizing horror that he had felt when he couldn't find Jill, and the sick relief that had washed over him when his eyes opened and there she was on the grass with him in Narnia.
Eustace let out a breath that he'd been unconsciously holding for some reason or other and rubbed the sweat from his brow with a cold, clammy hand. He rolled over with a grunt, wishing he had his chronometer so he could see how long he'd slept this time.
"Hast slept well, Lady Jill?" Eustace heard a soft, low voice somewhere above him and to his right. "It's high time to rise."
That was Jill's voice, though she really groaned the words rather than said them. Eustace heard her sit up.
"What about Scrubb? Couldn't you wake him up first?"
Eustace leaned over slightly. In the dim light of the tower, he could only just see King Tirian bending over Jill's bunk. The king shook his head in reply to her question.
"I have endeavored in vain to wake your friend. It seems he sleeps, as the old saying goes, 'Like a bump on a log'."
Jill gave a long sigh, and Eustace saw her head, covered in tangled, tawny curls, sit up, and then slide out of her bed.
"Yes, he does. Puddleglum could never wake him up either."
But she could. Eustace smothered a grin and closed his eyes. It wouldn't do to let her know that he was already awake. It had taken him ages to get really warm in the bed, and it would be murder if he had to get up now…just when he was comfortable.
He almost jumped, because her voice was unexpectedly close. Acting like he had just awakened, Eustace moaned and rolled over again.
"Five more minutes, Alberta," he said through a yawn that didn't need much fabrication to seem real.
He heard Jill snicker, and squinting, he saw her fair curls bounce as she shook her head in exasperation.
"Come on, Scrubb. I know you too well for that. You don't call her 'Alberta' anymore, remember? It's time to get up, and do stop pretending you're asleep and can't hear me, because I know perfectly well that you can. It's no wonder Tirian couldn't wake you!"
Eustace turned over and saw her face, still trying not to smile.
"Is that you, Pole?" he asked sleepily, yawning again. "Just five minutes. Then I'll get up."
He closed his eyes and rolled to face away from her and instantly felt a sharp poke in his back. He arched away from it with an "Ouch!"
Jill snickered again and poked him a second time, this time more gently, but in a ticklish spot.
"Get up now, or I'll poke you until you do."
Eustace got up quickly, though he did a good deal of grumbling about girls and their blasted impatience. Jill just smiled, which made him all the more indignant, but eventually he got over it and they went outside together. There they found the whole company sitting around a fire.
"Ah, you're up!" exclaimed Poggin, jumping up from his place beside the fire. "I have a job for the two of you."
Jill followed willingly enough, but as the dwarf led them out of the camp, Eustace shot a questioning glance at Tirian, who looked as if he was trying very hard not to laugh. There seemed to be something afoot…but as he could hardly do anything else, Eustace gritted his teeth and marched after Jill. The dwarf nimbly led them to a small patch of wild grass by the woods and showed them what they were to gather.
"This plant 'ere is called Wild Fresney," Poggin said, plucking a strand of a thin, weedy stalk and licking his lips. "It makes a capital stew. If you'd be so kind as to gather some, I'm sure we'd all be obliged. Myself, I would help you, but I'm off to hunt for a rabbit."
He turned and began to stride away, walking with fast, though tiny, steps that were amusing to watch.
"Breakfast!" Eustace murmured, rubbing his stomach and looking hungrily at the weed. He picked up a piece and sniffed it curiously. "Can you eat them raw?"
"Of course not, duffer," retorted Jill with a grin. "You do have to cook it."
Eustace groaned (actually, it might have been his stomach), but got to work collecting the plant.
Presently, Jill straightened from the patch with a good bunch clutched in her hand and took a deep breath. A sweet, musky smell came to her across the valley, a smell that, even in England, had always seemed enchanting.
"Rain!" she said happily. "Oh I do so love the smell of rain."
"It's not really the 'smell of rain', you know," Eustace said thoughtfully, stretching his back and rolling his neck. His vertebrae popped. Loudly.
Startled out of her reverie, Jill frowned at him and put her head to one side.
"How d'you mean?"
Eustace glanced up at the gathering clouds and then raised an eyebrow at his friend.
"Don't you remember what we learned in science class last term?"
Jill groaned and started picking again, rolling her eyes and, as if on second thought, blowing a stray piece of hair out of her face.
"Bother you and science, Scrubb. I wish you would take up something interesting for a change. Like writing or acting."
"Acting," said Eustace scornfully. "Really."
Jill shot him another glare and turned away with an indignant sniff. She liked acting.
"Anyway, the thing you really smell," Eustace continued, "is ozone."
"Ozone?" Jill repeated absently. "Isn't that some sort of gas?"
"Sort of," Eustace replied. "Ozone is formed when molecular oxygen splits into two unstable atomic oxygens and…er…" She was glaring steadily at him, so he paused and began on a different note. "Anyway, the high voltages that crop up in thunderstorms create ozone inside the cloud (even when lightning isn't actually taking place). Then the ozone is carried to the ground by the downdraft in the thundercloud and blown out ahead of the storm, where you smell it and can tell that rain is coming."
She gave him a dead stare.
"Where on earth did you learn all that?"
He matched her stare for stare.
"Science class, remember? Weren't you listening?"
"Well, yes, but you…you memorized it?"
"Not exactly memorized…but even I can't help remembering some of it."
Jill paused, as if preparing to say something else, but then shook her head, straightened to stretch her back, and gave him an irritated stare.
"You know, Professor Scrubb, it's really quite annoying when you try to give everything a scientific explanation. There's no room for imagination and…curiosity in dull, scientific explanations."
"That's debatable," Eustace muttered, but then grinned as he continued. "And science doesn't need imagination (well…most of it doesn't). The explanations explain things logically and as they are."
Jill gave him another glower, but returned the grin, if somewhat reluctantly.
"Oh have it your way," she muttered with a defeated sort of laugh. "But not everything has a scientific explanation."
"On the contrary," Eustace replied philosophically. "I believe that everything does have a scientific explanation."
Jill took a deep breath (Ah, the smell of rain, she thought defiantly) and looked around. After a moment she smiled and pointed to their right.
"There! Explain that!"
To their right, a long, beautiful lake was barely visible in the morning fog. Its waters, almost light grey, were covered with a wisping fog of mist, so mystical that even logical Eustace gaped at it for a whole minute before applying his mind to the problem. Jill watched him with a smirk, until he finally said:
"In one word, condensation."
Jill's face fell, and she laughed half-heartedly.
"Well that explains why, but it doesn't explain the feeling in one's heart when one sees it does it?"
Jill shook her curls in exasperation.
"When one sees the lake with the strange, magical mist, one feels like magic is happening before one's eyes. Even if it isn't magic, isn't it beautiful?"
Eustace looked at the lake again.
"Yes. But it's still explainable."
Jill groaned and turned back to the Wild Fresney. Eustace plucked a long strand from the path of weeds, and stroked it absently, a thoughtful expression on his face. The sky was overcast above, but then things shifted overhead and a frail beam of sunlight shone through, alighting on Jill and setting her blonde curls aglow.
"I say, Scrubb," she said, turning back to him abruptly, as if struck by a sudden thought. "Can science really explain everything?"
Eustace thought about it for a second, and then nodded.
"I believe so."
"Are you positive?" she asked, grinning at him slyly.
She had something up her sleeve. He was sure of it. That look on Jill's face could only mean that she was planning something, and when she used words that could only be written in italics…well. But did she really know of something that couldn't be explained? Or was she just trying to make him think she knew something so that he would back down and say science couldn't explain everything? Eustace decided on the latter.
"Positive," Eustace said with a head jerk. "Everything."
Jill looked down, and then walked over to him, stood on her tiptoes, and kissed him lightly on the cheek. Then, cheeks flushed the color of autumn leaves, she drew back and grinned at him impishly.
"Explain that!" she laughed, returning to her part of the Wild Fresney patch and beginning to pick more quickly than before, which turned out to be rather difficult with the way her hands were trembling.
Eustace was frozen in surprise. He wasn't sure what had just occurred, but as it slowly dawned on him, he reached up and touched his cheek with his fingertips.
"Explain it?" Eustace murmured as he stared first as her, and then at his fingers, his logical world suddenly falling head over heels into chaos. "Explain it? Impossible."
A/N: (Uh oh...here is coming KC...) "Wait…what is this? EustacexJill???!! With MY stories? And the fringlish author's note at the beginning? It sounds like…oh by ozone and carbon monoxide…LEONNNNNNNNNN!!!!!"
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(Just kidding guys…happy belated April Fools Day!!!)