DISCLAIMER: NONE OF THE CHARACTERS MENTIONED IN THIS STORY ARE MINE. I OWN NOTHING AND WRITE THIS STORY FOR THE LOVE OF THESE FANDOMS AND NOT FOR PROFIT.
She carried her books, heading toward the lecture hall with a spring in her step and a swelling anticipation of the upcoming lesson being taught that day by the Professor. His lectures gave her respite from having to work at a local pub serving pints and chips to the hungry boys who considered themselves superior for attending University at Oxford. One of the other joys she experienced was when those same arrogant young men didn’t recognize her, but she ran intellectual circles around them in the Professor’s class.
She attended Oxford due to the generosity of the late Professor Kirke and the generous inheritance he had left her. Since the days of the War, he had seen her talent and knew she was no mere Muggle, but a young woman of many gifts. He had spoken with parents who had allowed him patronage to pay for a most exclusive school meant only for Britain’s talented young people. While away at school the Spring of 1949, everyone Susan knew and loved had died one day in a horrid train accident. Having just finished her secondary schooling, when she returned days later for the services, she saw that her platform 9 ¾ had been rebuilt.
Since not yet having reached the age of majority and with no place to call home, she found solace and a home with her mother’s relatives, Great-Uncle Fleamont and Aunt Euphemia who had insured her a quality education at a private school far unlike any other. It was a bittersweet memory, her days at school, because her Great Aunt and Uncle forbade her to share its true nature with Lucy, Edward and Peter.
Throughout her adolescence, she had played perfectly the part of a vapid swan interested only in nylons, lipsticks and invitations. That was how she explained her yearly writs that she received from her school and the same white owl that appeared every year just before the start of Term. It pained Susan to lie to her parents and siblings while they had been alive about the gifts she possessed. Uncle Fleamont and Euphemia knew all about the Wardrobe, the Lion and the apple tree on the old Professor’s property.
Now, she had found great joy in Professor Lewis’s lectures about children’s literature and the importance it held along with the great works of the ages, including those of Shakespeare. Susan drew herself out of her deep mental reverie, finding her seat and readied herself to take notes during Professor Lewis’ lecture. She watched the Professor come forward to the front of the lecture hall, writing ‘Mark Twain’ on the blackboard.
She listened intently, scribbling notes as he briefly spoke about the finer points of writing children’s literature and being able to bringing classical thought to a young reader. She knew him to be a man deep in his faith and he stated that anything can serve as an allegory from something else if correctly done. He also discussed the works of the American writer ‘Mark Twain’ and Susan remembered well the Professor’s final comments.
“I have feasted upon Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I wonder why that Mr. Twain never wrote anything else on the same level. The scene in which Huck decides to be 'good' by betraying Jim, and then finds he can't and concludes that he is a reprobate, is unparalleled in wit, poignancy, and fondness. In conclusion, his inability to betray his friend is the core of all his goodness.”
Susan’s gut twisted into painful shapes as remembered Edward’s betrayal, Aslan’s sacrifice. Always, always Aslan who gave such wonderful gifts them took away everything she held deer. She tried convincing herself that he was nothing more than the figment of her active imagination, yet Susan knew the truth. She wanted to tell him her story, to see if it might be good source material to put in a children’s book. Yet, she knew it was far too painful to write.
‘Tell him,’ a deep voice whispered inside her mind, one that she hadn’t heard since she had been thirteen.
Susan remained in the lecture hall aisle, still and deep in her own mind, long after the other students had left. She watched as Professor Lewis made his way from the hall. She felt an invisible force push at the small of her back and she heard the slight snag of cloth as the force gently prompted her forward toward the doors.
She picked up her books, running to catch up with the Professor. When she left the lecture hall, she looked around her, seeing nothing but the green grass and budding tree of Spring. She scanned the campus, looking for any sign of the Professor. She spied him in the distance speaking with another student and Susan began her sprint across the campus to catch him.
“Professor, Professor!” she cried, feeling a book tumble out of her arms as she ran through the short grass. Susan made a mental not to retrieve the text immediately after her conversation with Professor Lewis. He turned away from the other student and began heading toward the blue police box not more than fifty feet away from him. He entered it and shut the door.
‘What the bloody hell?’ she thought, stopping in front of the doors of the blue police box. She rapped on the front door. “Professor, I’m sorry to bother you, Sir, but I have a few questions about today’s lecture.”
There was a key in the police box lock. How odd. Susan pulled the key from the lock and heard a click, then the door was slightly ajar. She wondered why Professor Lewis would step inside a police box where there wasn’t any trouble on University grounds at that moment. She opened the door slowly not to bump into him.
She didn’t. A strange, familiar feeling came over her and she thought twice about poking her head through the door. The last time she’d had such a feeling, goosebumps had formed on her arms as if a chill swept across her. The inexplicable leaps her heart made in her chest, knowing she was on the precipice of something wild, assuredly dangerous and profoundly wonderful. Her fear and bitterness urged her to walk away, but that incomprehensible wonder had found her twice in one lifetime.
She stepped inside the blue police box and nearly fainted from the sight.
It wasn’t a cramped little wooden block as one might expect a police box to be, but it was a domed roof with large girders supporting the sides with large round circular spaces embedded within the domed walls. In the center of the room was a table or platform with a column whose contents moved up and down, making a metallic wheezing noise that Susan thought sounded like a piece of metal upon piano strings.
“Criminy,” she whispered in shock, staring upward at the roof of the immense room. “It’s just like the Wardrobe, bigger on the inside than on the outside.”
“Pevensie, what are you doing in here?” a stern voice broke Susan from her awe. There she saw Professor Lewis still wearing his academic robes while he stood at the strange table, turning and pushing several strange buttons and dials.
“I wanted to tell you something, Sir,” she said between gasps because she was still out of breath from her sprint across the grounds. “I have questions about Huckleberry Finn and his betrayal, about how stories can take place across space and time and remain universal.”
“Do you now?” Professor Lewis cocked one dark brow. “And what was that remark about this box being larger than a Wardrobe?”
“It’s bigger than on the inside than the outside,” Susan explained. “When I was younger, my siblings and I entered a Wardrobe that didn’t just lead to a larger room on the inside, but an entire world was within it.”
“You don’t say?” Professor Lewis cast her a quick glance these days. He turned to her, holding a silver rod with a glowing blue light on the end. “Well, I can’t have you blathering about my TARDIS.”
“What is a TARDIS?” she asked, noticing that he slowly advanced toward her with a purposeful gleam in his eyes.
“Time and relative dimension in space,” he explained. “You weren’t supposed to see it and now I have to wipe your memory. Before I do, tell me, how did you see it?”
Whatever the strange metal rod was, she knew it must be his wand. She pulled out hers, a find one made of the wood from Professor Kirke’s tree and a few hairs of Aslan’s mane that had clung to her clothing when she had returned from Narnia for the last time. Rather than spend several pounds at Ollivander’s to buy one, she asked him to custom craft it for. He thought her odd, but he had made it and it was more potent than any wand he had previously seen, “Stupefy!”
The Professor stopped mid-step in his advance with the strange silver wand in hand. Curious, Susan took it from the Professor’s hand, examining it. She had never seen a wand made of metal, but she felt it’s power as she held it. While it appeared innocuous, it’s power and energy were unprecedented. She turned it end of end, trying to make sense of it, when she accidentally saw the blue light flash. Startled, she dropped it and it clattered to the ground.
The blue light hit the Professor and he unfroze. Picking up the wand, he kept it in his hand. Susan drew her wand. “Don’t take another step, Professor, I’m not afraid to stupefy you with full force.”
“My sonic screwdriver can take anything your wand can dish out,” his confident response was followed by a smile. “Now, you did catch my attention when you said that you found a world inside an entire wardrobe?”
“Yes,” she cast Professor Lewis a wary glance. “I visited a country in that world and I was one of its Queens for over a decade.”
The Professor let out a chuckle. “Really, Pevensie, what are you learning at University these days?”
Professor Lewis’s eyes became the size of dinner plates. “Narnia, you’ve been to Narnia and you claim you were its queen?”
“One of them,” Susan clarified, my late brothers and sister were also kings and queen, with my brother, Peter being High King.”
“Then,” Professor Lewis’ voice dropped to a whisper as his face became pale and ashen. “That means that you are Queen Susan the Gentle.”
“You know of it?” Now, it was Susan’s turn to be flabbergasted by shocking revelations.
“Know of it?” the Professor smiled, taking off his professor’s robes and hanging it on a hat tree next to the strange platform. “I’ve visited there many times before it ended.”
“In the TARDIS,” he motioned around him. “I have a machine that travels through space and time, Your Majesty. I can go anywhere, anywhen, I so choose.”
“Anywhen?” Susan echoed. “Could you return to Narnia in the past?”
“Of course, I can! It takes but a simple turn of the dial and setting of coordinates.”
“Do you know Aslan?”
“Oh, yes, your Majesty,” he said with quiet reverence. “He is great and majestic, kind and caring, but he is not-”
“a tame lion,” they finished simultaneously.
“Your Majesty, you have a greater understanding of things than I previously thought and I apologize for my ignorance,” the professor said, laying a hand on her shoulder.
“Please, call me, Susan. I’m just Susan now,” she said, the sadness of being so far away from Narnia breaking her heart.
“Your Majesty, once a queen of Narnia, then always a queen of Narnia.”
“Do you miss it?”
“I do,” she admit it.
“I travel through time and space and thought how nice it would be to take a short break and lecture for a short time at Oxford,” the Professor explained. “Yet, now, I yearn to travel again, but the universe is a lonely place.”
“This is a lonely world,” Susan added. “I lost my entire family and many of my loved ones earlier this year during the railway accident at King’s Cross Station. I have nothing in this world that matters.”
“That is lonely,” the Professor agreed. Then, he snapped his fingers. “You’re lonely, I’m lonely. I travel throughout time and space and you know of other worlds. Come with me as my traveling companion, Susan, we can explore the universe and you can even return to Narnia if you like.”
“Narnia?” Susan’s voice became a small whisper. “Could I see my family again?”
“In the past, it’s possible?” he held out his hand to her. “Cair Paravel during Narnia’s Golden Age and we could see Aslan again.”
“I could get another chance, get things right, but about mid-term exams?”
“I can have you back in time for scones and tea, Pevensie!” was the Professor’s enthusiastic reply.
A plan quickly formed in Susan’s mind. Return to Narnia and beg Aslan for his forgiveness.
Edmund, then surely he would forgive her and let her reunite with him, her family and Professor Kirke. A slow smile crossed her lips. “That sounds lovely, Professor. When do we begin?”
“Now,” Professor Lewis answered. He flicked a switch and the sounds of a key scraping against piano wires filled the TARDIS “Onward and upward!”
The End. . . or The Beginning.
It was a lovely summer day with a bright sunshine pouring down through voluminous white clouds. Children played while fauns played their merry tunes on their pan pipes and a centaur kept the rhythm on his drum. A large lion with a golden mane heard the sound of a metallic wheezing, flicking his tail with anticipation as when he saw a blue box fading into view only yards away. He let forth a joyous roar, bounding toward the TARDIS with all of love of a father for his prodigal child.