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The Queen of All the Living

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At age sixteen, Susan Pevensie starts a girl gang. It is quite by accident.

*

She gets into a fist fight with a boy at school who has been terrorising some of the younger girls, tripping them so their skirts flip up and snapping the straps of their brassieres. He tries it on Su precisely once, and they are both sent to their dormitories without any supper so that they might consider the gravity of what they have done.

The next day, Susan walks into class with her head held high while Thomas tries his best to hide the black eye she gave him.

*

"Where did you learn to throw a punch like that?" It's one of the fourth year girls who asks, and Susan is struck by how much she looks like Lucy. It hits like a sharp pang in her chest, and she has to look away.

"I had brothers," Susan answers, pointedly going back to scrubbing the toilets. It's supposedly part of the chores doled out to every student, but she knows it's punishment for the fight with Thomas.

The girl keeps pressing. "Can you teach me to do that? Please?"

Susan sighs and turns to look at her. She holds the girl's gaze, willing her to back down, but the girl keeps staring back, wide-eyed and a little bit hopeful. "What's your name?"

"Felicity. Fee."

"Alright, Fee. Meet me by the big oak tree during common hour. Wear something you don't mind getting soiled."

*

The fight with Thomas gains Susan a certain amount of notoriety at school, but the brawl with Joseph Mullins and his brothers solidifies her place among the most dangerous girls in town.

It isn't, in fact, much of a brawl. Joseph tries to cajol her into dancing with him at a social and when she refuses, he gets angry. He attempts to pull her onto the dancefloor, so Susan lets her instincts take over. She does what any self-respecting queen of Narnia would do: she stomps on his foot, punches him in the gut, and, when he bends over in pain, knees him in the face.

His brothers aren't terribly happy about that, and neither are the chaperones.

Miss Hatley warns Susan that she's "gaining a reputation."

Susan thinks to herself that she already has one.

*

She shouldn't be surprised that Fee arrives for lessons with friends in tow. There's a small bunch of them, mostly fourth years, but some fifth and sixth, and one third year as well. Susan is as patient with them as she can be, pushing when needed. For the most part, they're fast learners, all of them carefully studious as she demonstrates how to duck a haymaker and use it to one's advantage.

Susan suspects that their activities don't go unnoticed, but no one has gotten into a fight since her bout with the Mullins boys. Her lessons have as yet gone uninterrupted.

*

By the time Susan finishes school, she has a reputation. She walks the halls with her head held high, a passel of girls not unlike ladies-in-waiting in her wake. They are strong and fierce, a band of sisters. A force to be reckoned with.

At age sixteen, Susan Pevensie starts a girl gang. It is by accident, but she is quite pleased.