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"My sister Susan is no longer a friend of Narnia."

It hurt Peter to say it, to put it out there, in front of these strangers, these people who weren't at the Stone Table; who never rode the Splendour Hyaline through a storm off the coast of Terebinthia; who didn't live through those first desperate years of poor food and poorer clothing, always riding the borders to watch for Giants or Telmarines or another incursion of the Witch's defeated forces.

They'd never watched Susan arrange a state visit for a Galman prince on two hours' notice, and then ride out with Edmund after a rumor of Harpies. They didn't see her put herself back together after the business with Asper, or with Rabadash; or see her come back covered with blood after a mad Rhidian lordling made it halfway to the border with Lucy strapped across his mule like so much baggage. Susan was the Gentle Queen, but she was never, ever, weak.

Eustace, Jill, and Polly made catty remarks about parties and stockings; Peter closed his ears and looked at Lucy, who turned her head away and wiped away tears. Edmund's jaw clenched, but he met Peter's gaze, face somber but as supportive as he'd been since the day Aslan brought him back.

Susan wasn't a Friend of Narnia; what she was, wasn't for Peter to tell.

After all, as Aslan would say, that was Susan's story.