by LindaMarie

Susan brushes her hair one-hundred strokes a day, until it shines like a mirror. She doesn't look into mirrors, coincidentally, worrying what else she will see. She has memorized the contours of her own face; she doesn't need to see it in order to know that the rouge goes on the smooth place of her cheeks where the bone is right under the surface. She knows her body like she knows her heart, which is to say: very intimately.

Susan's heart is made of porcelain, and she has always been oh-so-careful to shield it and keep it safe. She lets gentle hands caress the smooth cool surface, but only this. Her heart and what it contains is hers, and hers alone, and she wants no one to ever harm it.


Yet, she fears it is already irreparably cracked.

No one ever asked her if she wanted to leave. No one ever asks her anything.


Before she was born, no deep rolling voice said to her, "Do you want to be a girl? Do you want to be beautiful?" She would have likely said yes, but she wished she'd been asked. Perhaps she would have turned down the former, and become Peter, valiant and handsome. Perhaps she would have declined the latter, and become her sister, who was lovely but not so much that she couldn't escape the bonds of beauty, leave her hair uncombed and her clothes artlessly mismatched.

The girls at school never ask her if she wanted such beauty, or if she wants to have the boys look at her, or if she wants to have wealthy parents. They don't ask if she wanted to sacrifice friendship for all these things.

This is her world, without Narnia. Even in Narnia no one asked, but she was loved. Being Queen is not the same thing there as it is here, and being beautiful is perhaps less a burden. At least the boys that stared at her there did not feel free to touch, as well, without permission. Even the considerable liberties taken by Rabadash had been, in truth, freely given.

After all those years, Susan had begun to think that she was safe, that no one would ever again change her life without asking--that her brothers would at the very least choose someone worthy of her hand in marriage, would at least pay attention to her distress. She trusted those around her implicitly, and she was a full-grown beautiful woman rather than an unforgivably mature-looking child. Safe.

But Aslan, whom she had grown to love more than any other, for whom under different circumstances she would have abandoned her family and followed through the wilderness, through the shadow of death, had done what she thought would never happen again. He had sent her into a true unexpected wilderness, alone, where the wolves nipped at her heels in the school halls. He had sent her away.

And now, here it is, a crack in her heart, which leaks its contents a little bit every day. She buries it even deeper, practically smothers it, and hopes it will be enough. She must harden herself to old comforts, and begin again, for even thinking of Narnia could shatter all defenses and break the one part of herself she has kept as her own.

Susan and her brothers and sister once made a wonderful dream, and called it Narnia. There they were Queens and Kings and everyone loved them. They were always right, and never wrong, and felt safe even in the the most desolate wild. They were beautiful in a beautiful world, and woke each morning eager for another day.

But it was just a dream.


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