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Worldly (Practical Remix)
Narnia. PG.
Written for [ profile] musesfool as a surprise remix. Original story: Practical.

It is very irritating, to hear Lucy dredge up those childhood memories, during the coldest nights. Susan wishes so very much she would simply shut up, and allow her sister to drink her stolen brandy in peace--the brandy's warmth hardly holds against the winter winds much less the bite of memory.

"We must be practical," Susan says bitingly, and ignores Peter's suddenly pale face. "We live in the real world, not fantasy land."

It is intended to hurt, to shut them up, so that she might continue to enjoy the fire--if they insist on speaking of Narnia, she will be forced to leave lest she give into the violent urges such speech brings her.

It is tremendously ironic, she thinks, that she is held in contempt by her siblings for exactly that which she was forced by Peter and by Aslan to do in Narnia. She has grown up, and accepted that Kings and Queens and adults must do things they do not care for. They must be practical.

Susan was once a Queen, beautiful and strong. A Queen who, as her brother and High King reminded her, must put the needs of her country above what she wanted for herself. She will marry, someday, whether she likes it or not, because there is little else for her to do.

Lucy looks at her quite oddly, almost pityingly. "Maybe," she says, quietly, "But don't you miss it at all?"

Susan says, quite sharply, "Enough, Lu. I am tired of hearing of Narnia, where the sun shone brightly when I am huddled in front of a fire sipping Mother's brandy. I am tired of hearing how lovely it was to hear a faun's fluting when I am listening to a lisping child's voice. If it did exist, it wouldn't matter, because we do not live in fantastical Narnia and we never can again. We must, of all things, be practical," she spits, and is pleased to see even Peter's lips pale this time.

Susan gathers herself up, and walks out of the room. She stops in the kitchen, hands shaking as she downs the last of her brandy in a single drink. (She learned to drink in Narnia, and had always had the knack, much to her suitors surprise and astonishment.)

She pours herself two more fingers of brandy and goes outside without a coat.

Peter follows her, of course.

"Susan," is all he says.

"What is it?" she asks, tiredly, snappishly.

"Susan, do you really believe Narnia was a children's story?" he asks, softly.

"It doesn't really matter if it was," she says, and drinks her brandy. As much as she's had, she shouldn't stay out her in the cold for long, but she thinks she might anyway.

"Doesn't it?"

And Susan looks up from her glass. "No," she says angrily. "It doesn't. It never mattered whether I wanted to leave," and she doesn't specify because it really doesn't matter.

"You may not think much of my makeup and my clothes," she adds, after a moment, "But at least they are something I can truly say I command."

Peter's eyes are large and soft, and so sad, but where once that would have moved her, Susan cannot find anything but bitterness in her heart. No one ever asked her.

"Go," she says, ignoring the brightness in Peter's eyes. "I am certain Lucy would like your comfort, unkind as her sister is."

Instead Peter comes behind her, and puts a coat on her shoulders, and kisses her head. "I'm sorry, Susan," he says, softly.

"It really doesn't matter," she says, again, and closes her eyes as she drains her brandy again.

She doesn't much care for being practical, but she hasn't much choice. She doesn't think the others, not even Edmund who was once quite sensible, are ever going to be, and someone must.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-10 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

... that's all I can think of to say on this one. Ouch.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-10 12:49 am (UTC)
niqaeli: cat with arizona flag in the background (Default)
From: [personal profile] niqaeli
Yeah, pretty much. I love Susan and there's pretty much no way to write her story without it being ouch one way or another.

I've never managed to forgive Mr. Lewis for it, really. Maybe because in so many ways I identified with Susan, I *was* her, the pragmatic and sensible girl who saw to it things got done.

And then he just... turned her upside down for no reason I could discern. And ever since, I've been trying to make it make sense. And that's just left me with even more sympathy for Susan and increasingly less for her family and Aslan.

And I love Aslan. But I love Susan more.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-04-15 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There are ways to think around that. Basically I figured - she knows she's never coming back, Aslan told her she's never coming back, so she figures the best thing to do is to have the happiest life she can on Earth and never think about Narnia again, because for her, it's gone.

But I can't help but remember that moment at the end of LWW - when tehy were hunting the White Stag and found the lamppost, and Susan was the only one to whom it even occured that maybe going on wouldn't be the best idea. Because then it would all be over. But she went on anyway, because she wasn't going to let her siblings run off without her.

I do think he was rather a jerk for not giving her a better reason than the one he did, or exploring it more.

I've got this whole batch of ideas in my head about Susan and Aslan and how Narnia, even within the context of itself, was a children's story - I did one fic about her recently, but I think there are more in the offing.


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