A/N: For the first time ever, I've tried writing a fic in full before posting it, so don't worry about slow updates, because I have the entire thing already written down. There are 13 chapters in all. Enjoy!
It all started because Eustace had once again stuck his nose where it didn't belong. Or that was Edmund's opinion, at any rate.
Peter was off with mum and dad in America, probably having the time of his life, while Susan was stuck here. She had expected to go with her parents and brother, but then Aunt Alberta had gone and broken her leg, and mum claimed Lucy couldn't be expected to do all the housework alone. So, instead of sunny California, Susan was stuck in Cambridge. At least Lucy and Edmund were there, too. Eustace was an insufferable child, and had a tendency to stick his nose in their business.
One morning, after Susan and Lucy had gone to get groceries, they snuck up to their room with Edmund, if only to have a few moments to themselves. They liked it there, because they could be themselves, and because the painting on the wall reminded them of Narnia. It showed a ship, which Lucy had pointed out on their first day there, looked rather like a Narnian ship, with purple sails and a gilded dragon for a figurehead. Often, it would spark a memory, and they'd regale each other with stories of Narnia. They all knew the stories, of course, but it was nice to hear them again, regardless.
"It rather looks like the Hyaline, doesn't it?" Edmund remarked, lounging on Susan's bed.
"What are you talking about? It looks nothing like the Hyaline, it's not as streamlined, and it has different sails," Susan said, laughing. She recognised it as an attempt to start another conversation about Narnia, and didn't begrudge him. He'd had a hard time adjusting to life back in England. They all did, but it hit Edmund worse than the others. Lucy was stalwart as ever, and both Peter and Susan were of age now, and had fewer restrictions placed on them.
"It looks like it could be part of the royal fleet, though," Lucy defended her brother.
Edmund grinned at her. "Do you remember when we had to flee from those Naiads we'd angered? Never before had I been so grateful for the Hyaline's speed," he said.
Susan shook her head and turned back to the little desk that occupied a corner of the room. She'd been composing a letter to her parents when Aunt Alberta had asked her to go to the market.
"We? I do believe that was you and Corrin," Lucy shot back, grinning just as widely. "Narnia had never seen a pair more likely to get into trouble than the two of you."
Edmund was about to offer a reply when they were interrupted. "Talking of imaginary lands again?"
Eustace stood just outside the door, and Susan cursed herself for not hearing him coming. She didn't have the same skills she'd worked so hard on in Narnia anymore.
Edmund got up. "Go away, Eustace," he said, glaring at their cousin.
But Eustace never could take a hint, so he sauntered right in. "There once were three orphans who wasted their time, believing in Narnian nursery rhymes."
Susan rolled her eyes. "Please let me hit him," Edmund said, already starting for Eustace.
Lucy stopped him with a hand on his arm. "Edmund, no!" she called.
"Stop it, both of you," Susan said, standing up and glaring at them. She hated acting like her mother, but Eustace definitely needed more discipline.
Edmund, at least, looked appropriately chastised. Eustace on the other hand, just looked as obnoxious and smug as ever.
Susan just let it go and joined Lucy in looking at the picture, a small smile forming on her lips. It really did look Narnian, and the elder Pevensie couldn't help but feel nostalgic. Which, in turn led to memories of their last time in Narnia. The smile melted off her face as she remembered having to say goodbye. Especially to–
"Hideous burden?" Edmund said.
Susan snapped back to the present as Edmund advanced on Eustace. She had no idea what the argument was about this time, but she knew she'd have to step in. Again.
Lucy kept looking at the painting, but Susan paid her no mind. "I haven't seen you lift a finger since we've been here!" Edmund snapped, slamming the door before Eustace could escape.
"Edmund, let him go," Susan said, crossing her arms.
Edmund ignored her, glaring at their cousin. "I have a mind to tell your father you stole Aunt Alberta's sweets!"
"Oh, really?" Edmund mocked.
He looked like he might actually hit him, so Susan put a hand on his chest. "You're acting like children, both of you!" she snapped, now also holding out a hand to Eustace. But the boys just ignored her, and Susan decided she might as well stay out of it when Edmund claimed to have licked every one of Aunt Alberta's sweets.
They were all pulled back to the present when something sprayed them. Susan whirled around to look at the painting. It was moving! It was… but it couldn't be! Aslan had told her that she would never go back! Dread and hope filled her equally, even as more and more water spilled into the room. Only when Eustace tried to smash the painting did she rush into action. "Oh no, you don't!" she shouted, helping Edmund keep the boy from grabbing the frame.
There was so much water in the room now that they had to swim. Her lungs burning for air, Susan pushed off the floor in order to reach the surface, but it seemed farther and farther away with each stroke. Finally, she breached the surface and sucked in a deep breath.
She heard her siblings calling out for each other, and felt relief wash over her. While they were all good swimmers, taking an unexpected dive in their bedroom might make for some confusing moments. And confusion underwater could have nasty consequences.
"Eustace?" she shouted, looking around wildly. She had no idea if her cousin could swim, and - while he was annoying most of the time - she didn't want him to drown. A moment later, she saw his head breach the surface.
"What's happening? Where are we?" he shouted, completely panicked. Fighting the urge to roll her eyes, Susan swam over, only to stop in shock when she noticed the huge ship looming over them - with Eustace straight in its path.
"Eustace, swim!" she shouted, even as she did her best to reach him so she could stop him from panicking.
Susan heard splashes behind her, and risked a glance over her shoulders to see that several men had jumped into the water. People who wanted to kill you generally wouldn't bother fishing you out of the water, so it was reasonable to assume that they were trying to rescue them.
When one of them reached her, he smiled as best he could in the water. "We mean no harm," he said, and slung an arm around her waist. Resisting the urge to fight him, she held onto his shoulders, and let him bring her back to the ship. Something akin to a swing was lowered, and Susan and Edmund - who had also been 'rescued', took their place on it, side by side.
Eustace was still sputtering in the water, being helped by one of the crew members. "Where's Lu?" Susan asked.
Edmund didn't have a chance to answer as two sailors hooked grapples around the ropes of the swing, and pulled them on board. Susan was grateful to be back on solid ground. A crew member handed her a blanket, which she gratefully draped over her shoulders. She was freezing.
"Caspian!" She heard Edmund shout, and she froze. Caspian? She'd figured they were back in Narnia, but… The last time they'd come back, 1300 years had gone by. Slowly, she turned around to see Edmund embracing Caspian. He still looked young, like only a few years had gone by.
"Edmund! It's great to see you!" Caspian said, and Susan's breath stilled at the sound. She had no idea how to act around him now.
So, of course, Caspian looked up at that precise moment, and locked eyes with her.
A/N: Please let me know what you think! I'll post the next chapter the day after tomorrow, on 30 October 2018, and will try to continue to update every 2 days.