Title: Once A Queen
Chapter: Shattered Past
Author: Guardian of Hope
Summary: In an instant, Susan Pevensie's life is shattered. She must pull herself and her life together and continue on.
Entering the morgue in York, Susan found herself clinging to the lion necklace her brother had given her for Christmas one year like it was a talisman to bring her family back from death. Dressed in a stylish black dress, she kept her head high as she followed the coroner’s assistant to the place where her family awaited her. First, she saw her parents, who looked to be sleeping on the metal trays, her father’s face lined, but no longer frowning over bills and her brothers. The scar on his cheek was nearly invisible under the harsh light used in the room. Beside him, her mother looked peaceful, with no sign of the terror that must have gripped her in that terrible last moment. Her dark hair with its silvery-gray streaks was smoothed and clean.
She barely heard the coroner’s assistant speak as she looked at them; all she could do was nod. Beyond them was Peter, and he was smiling. She gasped, because it was not the smile of peace, but the quirky expression that he got when he was keeping a secret that no one could guess. With his bright gold hair and neatly trimmed beard and mustache, he was, even in death, High King Peter the Magnificent. All he needed was his crown and his sword, and he would be the spitting image of her favorite portrait.
Susan shook herself, shoving the childhood games from her mind, turning to look at Edmund. Here again was a smile, the sly smile he favored when something he’d plotted had come out right. His dark hair was smoothed down for the first time in years, and he, too, sported the beard and mustache that had once been his. All Edmund truly needed was his earring and he would be King Edmund the Just all over again. Susan mentally cursed, because she could not drive the memories back, none of the tricks she’d taught herself were working.
She turned from Edmund to be confronted with Lucy, who did not look like her once-form, Queen Lucy the Valiant. Instead, Lucy looked peaceful, with the smile she reserved for cold winter nights when she had a good mug of hot chocolate, and the faun Mr. Tumnus to tell her stories, and later there would be a Narnian lullaby that was some joke between the pair. The images were so real that she found herself wanting to ask why Lucy was wearing such dull clothes, when she should be dressed as benefited her rank. Then she called herself back to the present, and the task at hand.
“Ms Pevensie,” the assistant said, in a tone to suggest he had repeated himself at least once.
“I’m sorry,” Susan said, smiling tightly, “these are my brothers, sister and parents, yes.”
“All right,” the assistant said, gently, “you can leave now.”
Susan nodded and started back to the door, as she passed her father, she stopped turned to the man, “I expected it to be worse,” she said, quietly. “One always hears about fire and such during accidents.”
The assistant looked at her for a long moment, “It is the oddest thing,” he said, softly, “but your family and four others are like this. Not a mark on them at all. If I hadn’t seen them pulled from the wreckage, I would never have believed it.”
“What killed them?” Susan asked.
“Smoke,” the assistant replied. “They were trapped in their cabins and died of smoke inhalation.”
“Oh,” Susan said, “thank you for telling me.” She turned and left the morgue to find herself face to face with her Aunt Alberta and Uncle Harold. “What are you doing here?” She asks softly, seeing the sorrow on their faces.
“Eustace,” Harold says as Alberta covered her face.
“Oh,” Susan said.
“And you?” He asks after a moment.
Susan took a deep breath to calm herself, sternly reminding her body that she would have to tell someone at some point. “Everybody,” she said, “Mum, Dad, Peter, Edmund and Lucy were on the trains.”
“Oh you poor dear,” Alberta manages after a moment, her voice chocked, “What will you do?”
“As soon as the bodies are released, I’ll have the funeral,” Susan said, “I’ve already begun contacting their jobs and friends. I’m not sure if I’ll sell my parents’ home or if I’ll keep it as a summer home, it’s in the Lake District. I will contact you when the funeral occurs, naturally.”
“It seems you have a plan,” Harold says.
Susan smiled gently, “It’s the best way to stave off panic and shock. As long as I can keep moving forward, I’ll be fine.”
“If you need anything,” Alberta began.
“You lost a son,” Susan told her, resting her hand on Alberta’s arm, “that is enough grief for now.” She stepped back, “I have to go,” she said, “I’ll let you know when the funeral is.” She turned and began to make her way through the building. As she climbed up the stairs, Susan dabbed away the few tears that broke through the iron control she kept on herself.