Cair Paravel hosted a great ball for Susan's coming of age party. To be honest, none of them were quite sure of their ages anymore, but they remembered their birthdays and Peter declared that they would throw a tremendous party in Susan's honor. She was delighted, and wrote up invitations to all their friends in Narnia, and all the nobles around Narnia and beyond, even the ones they hadn't met yet.
Susan had a fabulous dress of gold woven with red ribbons. She loved how it dipped and flared and spun with every movement. She danced with Dukes from Archenland, Galma and the Lone Islands, with Narnian Centaurs and Narnian Fauns and anyone who could put one foot in front of the other. Or two, or three. And then, in the midst of a grand waltz, a dancer fell, flailing, and knocked over a Faun, who bumped into a Dwarf, which fell in the path of a Centaur, who landed face-first in a punch bowl.
"Oh, no!" said the first dancer. Her hair was golden-green and her dress was sea-blue, with layers of sheer blue fabric that flowed down her like water.
Susan rushed to help her up. She was perhaps a few years older than Susan and when the dancer turned to look at Susan, she saw that the woman's eyes were the deep green of the sea. "Are you all right?" she asked.
"I am," the woman said. "And the others-?" But a look around assured them that no lasting damage had been done. She apologized to the Faun, the Dwarf, and the Centaur, and all graciously accepted her apology, though the Centaur retreated to the castle to clean his hair and give his dignity time to heal.
"I'm afraid I'm not very good with them yet," the woman said.
"'Them'?" Susan asked.
The woman lifted her skirt above her ankles. "Feet," she said. Her legs and feet were covered in blue-gold scales. They looked soft, like fur, and Susan wished she could reach out and run her hand up the woman's leg.
"Oh, well," Susan said. She waved her hand dismissively. "My brother Edmund's had feet all his life and he still can't dance worth anything."
"I can hear you," Edmund said, glancing over his shoulder at her. He was dancing with one of the Archenland Dukes. There were several, but Edmund seemed to have picked the handsomest of the bunch.
"Well, I won't lie to our guests," Susan teased.
"Look here-" Edmund began.
"Ow!" grunted the Duke, as Edmund trod on his foot.
Edmund winced. "I'm sorry," he said.
"It's quite all right. I have little need for them. I'm usually astride," the Duke said, and gave Edmund a smile that made Susan's cheeks heat up. She laughed, and the other woman joined in.
"Let's leave them," Susan said, and offered her hand. The woman took it and let Susan guide her off the dance floor and out to the courtyard.
The woman looked up at the sky and laughed in delight. "It's so clear!" she exclaimed. "You could count them!"
Susan laughed as well, delighted at the joy in her face. "Some do! You are from the Mer People, are you not?"
"Yes," she smiled. "I am Coralia. I am honored to meet the great Queen Susan." Coralia swept her skirts up and bent her knees in a curtsey. Susan dove in to grab her elbow when she wobbled. "Oh!" Coralia gasped. "I practiced, honestly I did! My sister coached me and she got prizes for walking when she was in school!"
"You compete in walking?" Susan asked.
"Well, yes," said Coralia. "How else do you expect people to get good at it?"
Susan offered her arm to Coralia and led her to a bench overlooking the sea. The woman's skin was cool to the touch, like a flowing stream in the summer. "I used to win prizes for my swimming," she said.
"Goodness!" Coralia stared at her, open-mouthed. "How odd!" Then Coralia clapped a hand over her mouth. "I am very sorry, Your Majesty. Oh, I'm doing this all wrong," she sighed.
"No," Susan said, smiling. "you're doing everything just right. May I ask you a question? And can you answer me as if I were a woman and not a Queen?"
"Can you not be both?" Coralia asked.
"Rarely," Susan said. "Men come from afar to see me, but they want a Queen for a prize or a path to power and I do not want to be those things."
"What do you want?" Coralia asked.
"Companionship. Friendship. Perhaps love, someday," Susan said. "Can I be a woman with you?"
"I have no need for prizes or power," Coralia said softly.
Susan took Coralia's hand in hers and linked their fingers together. "Then may I kiss you?"
"Yes," Coralia said. "I would like that." She pulled their linked hands to her chest and leaned in. Susan closed her eyes, then opened them again when she realized Coralia had stopped.
"What's wrong?" Susan asked.
"Almost nothing," Coralia said. "Only everything's very different here and I'm not sure how breathing works when you kiss in the air."
"You're not going to learn if you don't try," Susan pointed out.
Coralia tilted her head. "Have you won prizes for kissing?"
"Well," Susan said truthfully, "no."
"Come on, then!" Coralia bounced up and her feet immediately went out from under her. Susan caught Coralia in her arms. Coralia smelled like the wind over the ocean on a warm summer day.
"Where?' Susan asked, helping Coralia stand up. "And I think we'd better go slowly." She took Coralia's hand in hers just in case.
"To the water!" Coralia said. "I'll teach you to kiss properly." She kept to a careful walk through the courtyard and down the stairs, but when she reached the soft, damp sand, her steps became more confident. Susan followed, keeping hold of Coralia's hand, stumbling a bit as her dancing shoes sank into the sand.
"It's beautiful out here," Susan said, "but you know I can't stay underwater, right?"
"Oh, yes!" Coralia said. "I nearly forgot your birthday gift." She stopped and untied a small pouch from her belt. "It isn't just from me, of course. It's from my family and our people." She placed it gently in Susan's hand.
Susan tugged open the cord on the pouch. She turned it over and emptied the bag into her hand. A choker fell from the bag, one with small seawater pearls woven in a mesh pattern. It had a piece of abalone shell in the center, etched with the profile of a lion. "It's beautiful!" she exclaimed.
"We're making one for each of your family, but don't tell them yet. It's to be a surprise," Coralia said. "We can't do all the magic at once." Susan gave the necklace a puzzled look and Coralia smiled. "They'll all look different. I can't see the High King wearing a piece like this!"
"Peter looks regal in anything," Susan said ruefully. "It's magic?"
"Yes," Coralia said. "When you wear it, you'll be able to breathe underwater." Susan's eyes went wide. "Do you want to try it on?"
"Yes, please!" Susan said. She lifted her hair and let Coralia fasten it around her neck. She took a deep breath. "I don't feel any different."
"Of course not! You already know how to breathe air." Coralia said. "Shall we go in the water?"
"I don't have my bathing things with me," Susan said.
"What do you need?" Coralia asked, surprised.
"I can't swim in the dress," Susan said. "It'll be ruined, and I'm quite fond of it."
Coralia shrugged. "Take it off, then." She turned around. "Will you unfasten me? I tried to practice clothes, but honestly, I got a little bored."
"I-" This wasn't how Susan had expected the evening to go. She untied the top of Coralia's dress and slid her finger through the lacings to pull them free.
"Ah!" Coralia said. She shook her arms out of the sleeves and shimmied until the dress fell to her feet. Susan glanced away. "Am I so ugly to you?" Coralia asked softly.
"No!" Susan said. "We just find it rude to look at someone when they're unclothed."
"Is that why none of your family have children? Well you can look at me, if I can look at you," Coralia said brightly, so Susan turned to look. The soft scales Susan had seen on her feet went up to her waist, and she had scattered scales on the rest of her body, as if she'd fallen asleep under a tree and the scales had fallen on her body from the branches. Her hips and breasts were round and soft and her nipples were the same blue-gold as her scales.
"You're beautiful," Susan said softly. Coralia smiled and her cheeks flushed gold. "Will you unfasten me?" Susan asked, and turned around. Coralia managed to unlace Susan fairly quickly.
"It's easier when it's someone else," Coralia said.
"It's why I always have help, back at the castle," Susan said. She peeled off the dress, folded it carefully and laid it on the sand.
"Are you wearing clothes under your clothes?" Coralia asked in astonishment.
"Yes, it's because-" but at the moment, Susan couldn't remember why. "It's what we do," she said finally. She lifted off her fine silk shift and folded that as well. She hooked her thumbs in the waistband of her bloomers and hesitated.
"More clothing!" Coralia exclaimed.
"This is the last of it," Susan said. She made a quick decision and slipped off her bloomers. She folded them and put them on top of her other clothes, then removed her shoes and stockings as well.
"Amazing," Coralia said, looking Susan up and down. This wasn't the first time Susan had been naked with another woman, but it was the first time she'd felt heat blooming within her at a look. "You have hair below!"
Susan looked down at her pubic hair. She had heard that some Archenland ladies groomed and styled theirs. It had always seemed like nonsense to her, but now she found herself wondering if hers was unseemly.
"It's beautiful," Coralia said. "May I touch it? You can touch me, too, if you like."
"Y-yes," Susan said. "Please do."
Coralia stepped up next to Susan, put one hand on Susan's waist and slid the other down Susan's belly, slipping her fingers in the curls. "It's almost like what goes on your head," she said
Susan let her eyes close. "It goes lower," she said.
Coralia asked, "Would it bring you pleasure if I do that?"
"Yes, I think it would," Susan said, trying to keep her breathing steady.
Coralia slid her hand lower and cupped Susan between the legs. "You're damp here," she said in surprise. She smiled. "See if you can make me damp, too! I've never been touched like that on land and I don't know what will happen."
Susan had never had a romance of any sort. Many men had tried to woo her, but she had never found one she wished to bed. She knew that passionate affairs happened between women, because she had read many stories, and she sometimes longingly hoped that she might have that. None of the stories had involved a silly, lovely, charming, merwoman, but there were still many stories to be written. Perhaps one day Susan would write the story of a queen and her lover from the sea.
"Let me see you," Susan said. She turned to face Coralia, who held her arms out to the side to display herself. Susan rested her hands on Coralia's shoulders and slid her hands down to Coralia's breasts. She cupped them in her hands and lifted them gently. Susan wasn't sure what an experienced lover would do. She leaned down and kissed one blue-gold nipple, then gently flicked it with her tongue.
Coralia let out a soft sigh. "That is lovely," she said. Susan flicked it again, then swirled her tongue over the nipple, slowly, then too it into her mouth and sucked lightly. "Oh, yes," Coralia sighed. Pleased with her success, Susan moved to the other breast, circled the nipple slowly with her tongue and drew it into her mouth. While she did that, she slid her hand down to Coralia's waist and brushed her fingers through the blue-gold scapes. They were soft, like velvet, and they had a right way and a wrong way, like velvet. Susan brushed her fingers up through several scales and felt the resistance.
Coralia laughed. "It tickles when you do that!"
"Should I stop?" Susan asked, her fingers still moving.
"Oh, no," Coralia said. "It's a good sort of tickling."
Susan thought she could have spent all day running her fingers over Coralia's soft scales. She knelt down and slid her hand down one thigh and up the other, hesitated, then slid her hand between Coralia's legs. "You are damp," she told Coralia. She was temped to lean forward and taste the moisture. Was it salty like the sea?
But Coralia took Susan's hand in hers and drew her to her feet. "Come to the water, then!" She took two steps, but Susan didn't move.
"I think it's best that I make something clear before this goes any further," Susan said. She kept her posture straight and held her free hand in front of her, like when she had to make announcements. "If this is a single-night's affair, then I will have to decline." Horrible words to fall from her mouth when she stood there in front of a beautiful woman with her heart pounding and an aching between her legs, but Susan was sensible, even in the times she wished she wasn't. "I am sure it would be a lovely time, but I want more from a lover."
"Is that how it happens on land?" Coralia asked. "People come and go?"
"Sometimes, yes," Susan said. "What about you?"
"Not all couplings turn to love bonds, but we always enter into couplings with the hope of something more," Coralia said.
"Then you would want something more with me?" Susan asked.
"Yes," Coralia said. "Would you, with me?"
She looked so hopeful and so fragile at that moment that Susan might have lied to keep her happy. She didn't need to. "Yes," she said.
Coralia's face lit up. "Then we will enjoy tonight and see where the morrow takes us!" She flung her arms around Susan and kissed her. Susan held Coralia in her arms and Coralia's naked breasts brushed against her own. "Oh!" Coralia said quickly, jumping back. "It worked! I can kiss in air!"
"You stopped," Susan pointed out with a smile.
"It's still better in the water," Coralia said. "Come with me!" She grabbed Susan's hand and pulled her down to the beach and into the cool waves. Coralia let go of Susan and dove into the sea. Susan took a deep breath and followed. She swam after Coralia, exhaling slowly, as she'd been taught. Coralia doubled back to see Susan. "You can breathe now!" she said. Her voice sounded nearly the same as it had above water, with just a slight dampening of the sound.
Well. She could easily swim back to the beach from here, if necessary. Susan fought all her instincts and inhaled the water - but it was no longer water. It turned to air when she breathed it in and water when she breathed it out. "It works!" she laughed.
"Let's see if your swimming is better than my walking!" Coralia laughed. She dove down.
Susan followed. She noticed that her natural buoyancy was gone, so it wasn't a fight to go deeper. She just dove down and swam. As she kicked her feet, she found her feet had been changed to fins. She followed Coralia down, through a school of small white fish, under a stone arch and into a natural cave. The cave was lit by softly glowing stones hung in nets and strung around the space. "Is this your home?" Susan asked.
"Yes," Coralia said. "It was my sister's place, but she married and they're having a child, so she moved to a larger room." Coralia dropped back on the bed; a web of carefully woven seaweed stretched over a shallow frame. "Come here," she said. Susan swum down and let Coralia pull her onto the frame. "I'm a much better dancer down here."
"You'll have to show me sometime," Susan murmured, and kissed Coralia.
"Mm," Coralia said softly. "I like it better down here."
"I like it best with you," Susan said. "Anywhere."
"Are you damp?" Coralia asked, pushing Susan's wet hair out of her face.
"All over," Susan laughed.
"Will you check if I am?" Coralia asked.
Susan flicked her tongue over her lips. "Yes." Coralia rolled on her back and Susan straddled her. It occurred to her at that moment that there must be miles between herself and her clothing. Well, she was a Mer Person tonight and did not need clothing.
Coralia rested her hands on Susan's hips and Susan kissed her again, then kissed her breasts and her bellybutton. Susan slid her hand down Coralia's pelvic bone, parted her lower lips and slid a finger between them. "You're wet all over," Susan said.
"Inside as well as out?" Coralia asked.
"Let me see," Susan said. She slid her hand between Coralia's lips and pushed her index finger inside her. She was warm, moist, and soft. Susan stroked her gently. "Yes," she said, and stroked her again.
"Yes," Coralia whispered.
Susan tried to remember what the books said. She lifted Coralia's legs and braced them on her shoulders, then slid two fingers inside Coralia, feeling for the right spot, the one she knew from her own personal explorations. She stroked Coralia gently, leisurely, as Coralia's panting grew faster, making the water around her head swirl.
"Harder," Coralia groaned.
"I don't want to hurt you," Susan said.
"Harder, please," Coralia said, and so Susan pumped her fingers harder. An inspiration struck her and she bent down, put her face between Coralia's legs, spread her lips with her spare hand and blew a stream of water directly on Coralia's clit. Coralia bucked her hips. Susan thrust her fingers harder, blew another stream of water, then finally, licked Coralia's clit with smooth, strong strokes. Coralia's back arched and she cried out. Bubbles rose from her mouth and spread above her like fireworks.
"You're so gentle," Coralia said softly. "You could drive me mad with being so gentle, but oh, you bring me such pleasure. Now lay back and I will show you how I can be gentle, too."
Susan rolled on her back and Coralia pushed her gently onto the bed. Coralia lowered her head between Susan's legs and Susan let out a soft cry when she felt Coralia's tongue over her. "I don't want you to be gentle," Susan gasped. "I want to feel you inside me."
"You will," Coralia said. She slid her tongue up and down and pushed it inside Susan, licking her on the inside. She drew it out again and stroked it up to the clit, then closed her lips around Susan's clit and drew it into her mouth, where she flicked it hard with the tip of her tongue.
"Yes," Susan moaned. "Please, more."
Coralia let the clit slip from her lips and traced a line downward. She licked inside Susan again, then pulled herself up Susan's body.
"Don't stop," Susan begged.
"Then kiss me quickly," Coralia said. Susan curled her hand around the back of Coralia's head and moaned as their tongues swept together. Then Coralia moved back between Susan's legs and slid a finger inside her.
"Hard, please," Susan whispered. Coralia slid a second finger in and pumped her hand, in and out of Susan. Susan let out soft cries and each one released bubbles above her. Then Coralia curled her fingers and searched inside Susan. She brought her mouth down on Susan's clit at the same time she found Susan's sweet spot and Susan came, back arching as she cried out and bubbles flew around her in celebration.
They fell into each other's arms and lay on the bed together. "Do you want to stay tonight?" Coralia asked. "I will lead you home if that is your wish."
Susan lifted her head. "Do you want me to leave?"
"No," Coralia said.
"Then I will stay," Susan said. She laughed. "If they find our clothes on the beach, there will be stories told!" She rested her head against Coralia. "I will have to return in the morning. My family will worry."
"Next time you can tell them where you're going. I have so much to show you!"
"Or you can stay with me," Susan said. "Have you ever slept in the air?"
"I haven't!" Coralia exclaimed. "That will be fun! How do you remember to keep breathing?"
"Our bodies remember for us," Susan said. She smiled. "There are so many new things to share."
"I want to try breakfast," Coralia decided. "I've heard good things about bacon."
"Breakfast tomorrow, then," Susan promised. She kissed Coralia softly. They linked their fingers and fell asleep together under the sea.
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter
Take it from me
- Under the Sea, Little Mermaid