Disclaimer: The Chronicles of Narnia do not belong to me. It's eleven at night. I'm not going to be witty.
Author's Note: Two pieces in one day? This must be my record. I hope you're happy.
Warning: Implied and mentioned death. Spoilers for the Last Battle, kinda.
Summary: "Edmund fades in winter but Susan will pale faster so that she can catch him when he falls." Susan Pevensie loves her brother. She will never forget that, even though she pretends to forget Narnia. Not really AU. An introspective piece on the Gentle Queen in the world which kills her brother.
Beginning before Prince Caspian, and goes all the way to The Last Battle.
Edmund fades in the midst of winter. His pale skin turns white (no sign of the tan that should have been there, no freckles from days under the sun), his brown eyes go from dark chocolate to caramel, and each finger trembles in the cold. He looks like a ghost; with his wide eyes, shaggy hair, and pale skin, he could be a vampire or ghoul like in those gruesome horror novels Peter sees in his classmate's hands. She looks at him and breaks. She never feels pity, because he hatesloathesdetestes pity, but she cries because she cares, and it's obvious to her that with every day here in London - with its winters that are grey and slushy and not at all like home - he dies a little more.
'Narnia,' she thinks, 'had wonderful winters.' They were gay and merry, and though they were haunted by the Witch's memory ('She can't hurt us anymore.' She had thought with shaky determination when she saw the young sparrow who placed a red berry on her father's grave every morning. 'Even if she comes back, I won't let her.' Except she had.) they were filled with laughter and cheer.
London's winters are nothing like Narnia's and oh, doesn't Ed know it. It kills him to stay here, to not wake up from this dreadful dream. This horrendous nightmare where they look like who they were Before, and Ed has to be with the people who remember what he was like Before. Only they don't know about After, and all they can think is that her brother looks like the same person, who he must act like the same person. That's why they threaten him and punch him in empty hallways. It's why the teachers don't believe him and think he's the one who started the fight, why the woman who is their mother scolds her youngest son, and looks at him in disapproval when she sees the bruises and rips in his clothing.
Susan screams and protests until her throat hurts, and it's so different, because it's hard to be gentle when no one remembers that she was - is - except her siblings.
It doesn't work though, because Edmund is still belittled and shouted at, and he dies on the inside because this kind of poison doesn't leave visible wounds.
Edmund is Just. He is noble and stubborn, and respected as a diplomat in Calormene, Galma, and the Lone Islands. The peoples of Telmar, Ettinsmoor, and the Seven Isles all accept him as a warrior. Archenlanders and Terebinthians alike respect him as a person. He's a king the world over! (Under is a place they tread not)
Except it's not this world, and that's the problem. No adult in England would respect a twelve year old who reads a lot, and is nice to his sisters, and respects his older brother. They pay no attention to the boy who chooses his words and feigns his emotions and preforms effortlessly on their makeshift stage.
All they see is the younger brother, the attention-seeker, the rude one, the whiny one - and they're wrongwrongWRONG because he hasn't been that way in nearly two decades, and she knows that the man who is respected by the Tisr'oc could never become the boy who bullied his younger sister.
She makes a decision while she's in America. Edmund fades in the winter (she's careful to remember that she forgot why) but Susan will pale faster so that she can catch him when he falls.
Except he doesn't.
He comes back from the Scrubbs, and he's glowing, and she just knows. He's been to Narnia. He's tanned, and filled with humour. His hands are steady and strong, and his face is freckled. His eyes laugh... He tells her of a ship, one named after Lucy's, and she pretends to laugh.
"Lucy's never had a ship." she scoffs. She turns and walks away, but only so that she can hide the fact she's crying, that she's fallen already. It's too late for her to stand again, and now she's left alone; a broken reflection of the woman she used to be.
The only thing she has now is this lie. She tries to believe in it. 'There is no such thing as Narnia.' She tells herself. "Stop playing this childish game." She orders to her older brother. "You're a young lady now," she rolls her eyes, and tries to straighten Lucy's hair, "you have better things to do than play around all day." She doesn't speak to Edmund.
They stare at her in bewilderment at first. Then there's denial, which is swiftly followed by anger. Peter tries to bargain with her, to reason. Lucy starts to become depressed. Edmund looks at her with those brown eyes. Normally, they are expressive. Sometimes, like now or in Cour- (there was no court. She reminds herself. We have never been in a courtroom) his eyes are calm. He surveys her makeup, her curled hair, the short skirt, and asks.
She doesn't answer. She never will.
He closes his eyes. Accepts this. "Do you need me to come with you?"
Her heart breaks.
Oblivisci me, placere.
Two years, three months, and five days later, there is a knock at her door.
"Miss Pevensie?" the man asks her.
She nods shakily and wonders what he sees. Not the queen, the graceful woman, said to rival even Queen Swanwhite in beauty. Not the girl who ran from a war. Does he see the school girl? The teen who turned her back on her family? Or the monster she is sure lurks inside her?
Maybe all, maybe none. Maybe he sees the shattered soul in mourning. Maybe he sees that she is broken, because his voice softens.
"There's been an accident at the station."
Her heart pounds. Nononononono.
"I talked to your siblings yesterday. Your brother had tickets for today."
Not them, not them, not them.
"We need you to come in to see if you can identify the bodies. Miss?"
Please, please, please.
"Miss? Are okay?"
Please, Aslan, no. Don't take them, not them, not them. Aslan, no.
It's hard to hear the constable through the roaring in her ears.
He catches her when she faints.
She wakes up to white walls and sterile rooms.
Her family is dead.
"Peace, child." A voice rumbles in her ear. "They remain as they were. They are safe in my country."
She sags in relief, and looks up to see him, and oh! How radiant he is in this dark, grey world.
"Oh, Aslan." She trembles in shame and fear and love, and wonders if this is how her brother felt as he walked with the Lion for the very first time. "Narnia does not need to have me there."
He lifts his maw and roars, and she feels a bit lighter, a little brighter.
"Child of the Southern Sun," He says, "you are needed more than you think."
She thinks of her brother, and how he faded.
"Is he bright now?" she asks, and is almost afraid of the answer.
"Like the lamp on a post." He says.
She laughs, and she feels broken, but maybe the jagged shards she sees can be mended. After all, Narnia did - does - have the best glass blowers, and their skills can go towards fixing the object of their craft as well.
Forsitan ego potest mutare.
Final Note: The words in the bold italics are latin. They mean, in order:
"Forget me, please."
"Why them?" and
"Maybe I can change."
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this piece.