snacky: (narnia susan the gentle)
mr five dollar foot long's sweet caboose ([personal profile] snacky) wrote2012-09-06 11:08 pm
Entry tags:

Narnia fic: Turning From the Past

Title: Turning From the Past
Author: [personal profile] snacky
Fandom: The Chronicles of Narnia
Rating: G
Warnings/Spoilers: Mentions canonical character deaths.
Summary: For a year after the funerals, Susan visits the cemetery every afternoon.
Notes: This is a story for [ profile] unsuitenedt. This is what she wanted, this is what she gets. :) Title and quote from Ray Lamontagne.

“And like the sky my soul is also turnin'
Turnin' from the past, at last and all I've left behind”
― Ray Lamontagne

For a year after the funerals, Susan visits the cemetery every afternoon when she gets off work, and she there's all day on weekends. She knows it's not good to spend so much time there, but she can't stay away. It feels like not going would be a betrayal of some kind, and she's very familiar with the sharp knife of betrayal she turned on her siblings.

She can't add another betrayal to what she feels is already too long a list.

She doesn't realize that anyone knows she's there so often - in fact, aside from her coworkers, she really hasn't seen other people since the funerals. So it's a surprise to find another person standing by her family's grave, one damp, foggy afternoon.

It's a friend of Peter's, she realizes as she approaches, looking down at his headstone. Jeffrey Peterson, she remembers; they'd gone all through school together and played for the same rugby club, right up until Peter's death. He'd come calling on her a few times after the funerals, but Susan hadn't been much company, and had turned down his invitations for lunch and the cinema. She'd known he was just being kind - just trying to do his part by checking on Peter's sister.

He looks at her as she walks up, a smile starting on his tanned face. "Susan. I've been wondering when you'd arrive."

Susan can't help but smile back, and she finds herself apologizing. "Sorry, I had to stay late at the shop today, and then my bus was late." She pauses. "How did you know I'd be coming?"

Jeffrey shrugs, looking slightly embarrassed. "I know you come here every day. Every time I've come by, you've been here."

She's surprised. "Have I? I've never noticed you before!" And she winces a little as the words leave her mouth - the old Susan would never have said such a thing.

But Jeffrey's not offended, and he shakes his head. "No... it's just that... I never wanted to bother you here."

And Susan understands. Usually when she's here, she's crying or speaking to her siblings, and who would want to interrupt a crazy woman.

Jeffrey smiles again at her, and she thinks how nice he is. "How are you, Susan? Really?"

Fine, springs to her lips. Fine, I'm fine, doing quite well, thanks for asking. But no, something about the way he's looking at her, the kindness in his eyes, makes her answer honestly. "Lonely. I miss them. I miss..." She swallows hard. "Everything."

Jeffrey nods, and surprises her by taking her hand and squeezing it tight. "Of course. Of course you're lonely."

The feel of his hand wrapped around hers undoes her. Tears spring to her eyes, and she fumbles for her handkerchief in her bag. "I'm sorry," she say. "I'm sorry, I'm a fool. It seems like all I do is cry, even after all this time."

Jeffrey just squeezes her hand. "Don't be sorry. You're not a fool."

Something about his voice reminds her a tiny bit of Peter. Maybe it's the quiet comfort he's offering, maybe it's just that he was Peter's friend, but Susan peers at him, through teary eyes and the building fog, and gives him a watery smile. "Thanks."

"It's nothing," Jeffrey says, but it's in that kind voice, and not dismissive. He doesn't let go of her hand, but gestures with his other. "The fog's really coming in, and it's getting chilly. Can I persuade you to join me for dinner? Get out of this nasty weather and get warmed up? There's a nice restaurant not too far from here..."

Susan's breath catches in her throat, and again, it's on the tip of her tongue to say no, no thanks, I've got dinner at home, but again she stops herself. Maybe it's because she hears Peter in her head, talking about what good friend Jeffrey is, or she hears Lucy telling her she needs company, or she sees Edmund wink at her and say, Take a chance, Su.

And she finds herself nodding, and smiling gratefully at him. "Thank you, Jeffrey. I'd like that. I'd like that very much."

He beams, pleased. "Wonderful!" Then he glances down again, at Peter's headstone. "Are you... did you want to stay a few moments? Some time alone? I can wait over there, by that tree, if you'd like."

But she's already heard from her brothers and sister today, and she can almost feel their hands on her back, urging her to go. She shakes her head. "No, I'm ready." And this time the smile she gives him has a little of the old Susan - Queen Susan the Gentle - in it. "And I'm quite hungry! Let's see this restaurant of yours."

Jeffrey leads her along the cemetery path, through the thickening fog, and keeps hold of her hand. And for the first time in a long time, Susan feels something other than grief.

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