"Tell me a fairy tale, Peter."
The words had always seemed innocent enough. Peter had constantly told Susan stories about princes and princesses and dashing knights fighting off dragons. While she had a habit of ruining the stories with her logic, he still enjoyed telling them, if only because Edmund would always chime in to tell her to shut her trap and stop messing it all up. He was always so temperamental about it, though he never really understood why. Susan's questions were all well thought out for a young girl and Peter would sometimes find himself impressed – though, sometimes, a tad annoyed. Edmund, he assumed, became annoyed easier, as he was younger, and likely didn't want to think with logic just yet anyway.
However, Susan and Peter would not children anymore. They were adults. Two adults sharing the same tiny bed in the same cramped flat in the same disgusting city – and she was still looking at him and waiting. He was wondering for a moment if she was joking. Reminiscing. He wouldn't hold it past her to try and capture the past when they were lying in the ruins of their lives. They had grown up once in a fairy tale – it was now their only means of escape.
Neither could say they were very happy. Since returning to England, Susan had decided to block it all from her memory. Peter assumed it was some type of defense mechanism – a way to not deal with the outside world being so horrid and her own misery at being wrenched away from the world she had ruled and cared for for so many years. She had convinced herself they were all childhood games and chosen to take the more suited path for a woman her age – she had buried herself in make-up, nylons, and most importantly, boys. As far as she was concerned, it had never happened.
Peter had chosen a much more conventional approach. He sulked in the memories that plagued him and forced himself to deal with the reality that he would never have them back. He would never be High King Peter again. He would never rule the world. He would never be anything more than another man, trudging through life, trying to make ends meet and never really being able to focus on himself or his happiness. He would marry some woman he didn't really love but who distracted him from his every day miseries and he would have two kids – a boy and a girl, a dog, and a three bedroom townhouse in the city. He would live his life the way his parents had. Only with less children.
Having those realistic thoughts in his head made it hard to want to tell her a fairy tale. He rubbed his chin in thought, one arm being placed behind his head to be used as an extra pillow. His was worn and beaten at this point and he wasn't particularly comfortable without something more firm beneath his head. He licked his lips softly, eyes focused on the ceiling. He could feel Susan's eyes on him, waiting and expecting him to fulfill her request as he always had.
"Susan. . ." He began, turning to look at her and fully ready to tell her that he just didn't have it in him. The look in those crystal blue eyes, however, was so heartbreaking – so lonely, sad, and pathetic that he couldn't form the words. She was broken inside and for once she was letting him have a glimpse at just how many pieces were scattered inside of her. He swallowed roughly, searching her for some sort of strength, trying to find some sign that he could let her down easy. She gave him none. Sighing, he looked away from her, staring up at the ceiling again.
"Once upon a time. . ."
If she wanted to live in fairy tales, who was he to stop her?