I really should be working on homework, but I thought I should really get around to writing this before I lose it. It had actually never occurred to me to write a sequel to Meadows of Heaven until RID3RLVR's review. Then it hit me. Short and sweet, though not quite how I had imagined it.
Caress the one, the never-fading
rain in your heart - the tears of snow-white sorrow
Caress the one, the hiding amaranth
In a land of the daybreak
Caress the one, the never-fading
"This isn't…goodbye…forever," Albus whispers. His strength is quickly leaving him, but he feels neither fear nor unhappiness. He lies, not on a bloody battlefield with screams resounding in his ears as he had once expected, but in his own bed, surrounded by those who love him.
And he will soon see her again.
His words are meant to comfort them, but they also carry a message for the only other person who might understand. Teary green eyes meet his weakened gaze. As his sight fails him, that mop of messy black hair nods.
The wizard exhales his last breath. Someone wails, but he is already gone.
The transition is immediate, or so it seems to Albus. He stands now in a sunlit, ancient wood. His beard and hair are auburn once more, his skin less wrinkled, his limbs strong, but he pays no attention. He has lived long enough without Minerva, he thinks, and he is so close to finding her again.
His heart leads him over logs and streams, around trees wider than he is tall. Time has no meaning. Albus walks for minutes or hours, he can't tell and it doesn't matter. He hears voices and silently comes upon a large, grassy clearing.
A faun wearing a soft red scarf hovers over a smiling young woman who lies on the grass. It is a moment before Albus recognizes her as Lucy Pevensie. She died so long ago, but he still remembers her cheerful, bubbling nature. She is chattering away, but he cannot make out the words. His gaze travels to the young man who sits upon the ground, a sword at his side and a crown glittering among brown locks of hair. He is a stranger to Albus, but he is distracted from his scrutiny by the last person in the clearing.
But something prevents him from stepping forward. She is so familiar, and yet there is a change about her, a departure from how she once was. The way she sits upon the tree stump as though it were a throne, the polite smile on her lips, the cool, almost detached, gaze. She bears the weight of a gold crown as if she were born to it. She is regal, royal, far above him.
She is not his Minerva.
She is Queen Susan. There is that look in her eye that Albus has seen only a handful of times in life, the queen rising. He knows now what it is he had caught glimpses of in the decades he had known her. It is hard steel cloaked in velvet. It is power and command of unearthly origins that transformed an unassuming, competent woman.
She is not his Minerva.
Perhaps what he was looking for can no longer be found. He should leave her be, Albus thinks. He was a fool to think that things between them could go back to the way they had been. A tear slides down his cheek as his heart breaks.
It is just as he makes up his mind to leave her in peace that Minerva catches sight of him. She gasps and stands quickly.
"Albus?" she whispers.
She transforms then, as she laughs and runs toward him. He recognizes the sound of her laugh, the warmth of her gaze, the feline grace of her movements. Albus' relief is so profound he finds himself chuckling even as tears escape him. He picks her up and twirls her around.
She is once again his best friend.
Caspian raises an eyebrow, even as he smiles, and Mr. Tumnus looks to Queen Lucy for an explanation. But she simply laughs gaily as she watches the two. Susan had been happy to see her siblings, Lucy knows, happy to return to Narnia. But she had left a part of herself behind.
It is wonderful to see her whole once more.
The secret of Queen Susan died with Harry Potter.
He spent the first fortnight of his death among the people he loved, in his 20 year old body. He basked in the presence of his parents, laughed with his godfather, and chatted lightly with the friends and comrades who had gone before him. And in that time he saw neither Professor McGonagall, nor Professor Dumbledore.
Harry searches for them now. He cannot imagine that they would be too far from each other. He imagines Minerva McGonagall is the more well known of the two here. Queen Susan. Perhaps he will find Aslan as well.
Harry's heart lightens at the thought.
He wanders leisurely up a hill splashed with color as wildflowers bloom. His feet will lead him to the professors or they won't. He has all the time in the world, after all. Harry hasn't felt so relaxed, so carefree, in ages. Perhaps he's never truly felt this way before.
A man is standing at the top of the hill, lost in thought. Harry approaches, but pauses a ways off, unwilling to disturb him, and takes the time to examine the stranger.
He stands tall and proud, with broad shoulders, clear blue eyes, and a gleaming sword sheathed at his side. His clothes are simple, but well-made, or so it seems to Harry's inexperienced eye. His blonde hair hints faintly at red, and his beard is neatly trimmed. Harry is reminded of a lion's mane. In fact, something about this man puts him in mind of a lion.
There is something about this stranger, something familiar. There is kinship and understanding in this leader of men.
He withstands Harry's scrutiny with patience as he returns the regard.
"Thou hast been touched by Aslan," the man comments in his deep voice.
That was it, Harry realizes. This man is blessed by Aslan, is close to him. He can't feel jealous, though, because Aslan is love and light and goodness and wildness. The thought of the Lion warms him and humbles him.
"Art thou searching for someone?" the stranger asks.
"Yes," Harry replies. "Do you know Minerva McGonagall?"
His brow furrows briefly, before amusement glitters in his eyes. "Ah, yes," he says. "Thou refers to mine sister, Queen Susan."
"Sister?" Harry exclaims in shock.
The man chuckles, and Harry's lips twitch in response.
"I am High King Peter," he says with a short bow.
"Harry Potter," he replies. "Pleased to meet you."
"I have heard much of thou, Harry Potter," Peter says, his tone friendly and pleased. "Come, let us walk."
Harry meets the king's gaze, and knows that he understands in a way that none of his friends and family can.