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And The Gentle Shall Persevere

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Summary: "A great deal of time Aslan feels he has wronged her somewhere along the line – because none of this is Susan's fault but she has surely taken the brunt of it."

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Chronicles of NarniasmolderFR1846,1893192,7972 Oct 134 Oct 13No

chapter one: soft footed and solemn

Disclaimer: I own nothing. C.S. Lewis owns the Narnia series.
A/N: Reviews are Good. This has been a subtle hint from the author - Please return to your regularly scheduled reading.
A/N 2: Just so you know, I will be pulling from both the books and the movies.


chapter one: soft footed and solemn


A great deal of time Aslan feels he has wronged her somewhere along the line – because none of this is Susan's fault but she has surely taken the brunt of it.

Because indeed, it is only the Queen who has been titled most "Gentle" that had the strength to survive outside of Narnia, in the world of their birth – a world that did not look at the Pevensie's as Kings and Queens. (Although Aslan knows he is guilty of marking them. That if one dares to actually look closely – something few do – they will see the regal bearing in the young bodies, the age in their eyes.)

Back in Narnia that day, after they had returned by the Horn's call and fought for their land alongside Caspian, he told both Peter and her that they would never return again to this place they loved. And perhaps just as importantly that they must now seek him in their world instead.

Both were crushed by this news, so firmly delivered, and while Peter turned inward and pulled his younger siblings around him, Susan pushed away.

He doesn't know why they all assumed she was being consumed by material things - make up, boys, and such – as Queen she was surely tempted by clothes, gems, and suitors to a much greater extent and never gave into vanity. Never once let her responsibility to Narnia falter.

Instead Susan was seeking, looking about her world and the people in it in a way she had never done before. And when she noticed that none of her siblings were following this path she became stubborn, shut that door between them with a slam that almost echoed.

Because Susan was the only one among them able to smile and tilt her head, to answer trite questions about weather and school without going insane, without pulling in and refusing to move on (because if she gave in even a little bit, everything would crash and burn – she would never be able to do it at all). An entire lifetime of ruling with her siblings in a place where animals not only spoke but had a place in Court, played in the recesses of her imagination as she went through the motions of what a normal girl should do until it felt natural, less like working the strings of a marionette. Until that laugh she heard come from her own lips didn't make her wince.

It is stupid to think she forgot - why would Susan, the most fastidious among them have forgotten even a single detail? Why, it was her memories of that past life that helped her navigate the present. Let her keep her composure - face calm and pleasant, as she sat still and silent with her parents and their friends (So mature, they would comment later – Why Helen, did you send her to finishing school?).

That made it easy to flirt back with persistent boys in such a way that they didn't realize they were being firmly brushed off and then somehow remain friends in the end. (She had always been paired with Edmund for diplomatic relations. And people always thought she was there just to be the pretty - never expecting the shrewd mind behind the face of the Gentle Queen - and that had worked out rather well for them.)

Aslan is proud of her.

It is only later, after he takes her entire family - so suddenly and so violently - that Aslan knows he must step in.

Because she is so badly shaken – doubting herself, her choices, her existence. And she shouldn't, she never should. More than being a Queen of Narnia, she is Susan. Susan Pevensie – who has built herself into a wonderful person here, a young woman always always searching.

And that is such a good thing.

In her dream-scape now though, Susan is crying. She is lying prone upon the alter where he was once sacrificed and it has been broken yet again. Surrounding it are graves: Beloved Mother, Beloved Father, Peter the Magnificent, Edmund the Just, Lucy the Valiant, Friend Jill, Friend Eustace, Professor Kirke, and Aunt Polly.

She doesn't hear him approach; soft footed and solemn in this barren place her mind has created where even the ground seems dead: cracked and rough beneath his feet (and no other plants in sight as far as the eye can see - just parched dirt).

"Aslan," she breathes, looking up and blinking through tears, after he brushes his nose against her down turned head. Her eyes are bloodshoot (a real world aspect pulled through from a long day of mass funerals where all her family was buried – or what was left of them. Conversely, to this landscape, it was raining in England - it pounded upon the Church roof and muted the priest to her ears, she could listen to nothing but it's song and for that moment Susan hadn't been there - she hadn't been anywhere. Suspended and floating out of time like a wonderful hug, she had felt grateful for the respite - then jarred when everyone stood to go out to the grave site and reality had intruded. Harsh and horrible. She had floundered for her composure, built it around her knowing it would break later.) She looks at him like she doesn't believe her own eyes. "Have I died?" she asks and the question is phrased as such a hopeful thing, that if he had a corporeal heart it would break for her.

"No, Daughter of Eve," he says firmly and her face falls.

"What did I do wrong?" she asks, her face open and imploring, looking so very young (she is still so very young), stripped of any make up or attempt at guile. "I thought you said – that you wanted us to…" she stumbles over words, her dark his loose and falls forward hiding her face.

"Oh Susan," he says sadly, "you did nothing wrong."

"But then why can't I-?" she starts to asks, looking up at him - eyes wide and desperate.

"You are still living in the world in which you were born – finding me, finding your Narnia there. Just as I asked you to," he explains, smiling at her, gentle, warm and proud.

But she is not comforted by this. "The others –"

"Someday you will join them," when she still seems unsettled, Aslan explains a bit more. "The only thing I can say you were guilty of perhaps was being resilient enough of to try. To forge ahead and live in a world that did not know you as you had come to know yourself – as a leader through the Golden age to a wildly disparate people. You were able to create a gentle Susan who is just as important as the gentle Queen."

"They died," she states bluntly, almost a whisper, clearly still in shock despite his words, blinking around at the caricature graveyard, her mind had created, as if seeing it for the first time. He steps forward and tilts his head in invitation and it's all she needs before her arms are around him and she is sobbing again.

"Susan, Susan," he repeats, almost a sigh, closing his eyes for a moment. "I know it doesn't seem so. But this will all be all right in time. You will be alright – there is such strength in you."

"They are dead," she repeats, as if caught in a loop, "all dead."

"I died once," he tells her calmly. "You saw it. It wasn't so bad," he shrugs a bit.

Susan chokes on her sob, laughing despite everything at his tone – she pulls away just to look him in the face, then dissolves into giggles (only this side of hysterical) and clutches him tighter burying her head in his mane. Aslan just hums and turns his head a bit returning the embrace in his feline manner and they stay this way for a while.

They have time after all - this is a dream, things such as time are nebulous - and Susan deserves this comfort.
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