Disclaimer: in mercy I've been brought to this love, but I call it mine because it was given to me. It is not mine to command, nor for my monetary profit.

"love is strong as death,

passion fierce as the grave.

Its flashes are flashes of fire,

a raging flame.

Many waters cannot quench love,

neither can floods drown it.

If one offered for love

all the wealth of one's house,

it would be utterly scorned. "

—Song of Solomon 8:6,7

He did not love her the way she loved others. Her love for others began when she met them; His love for her began before she was born. He knew her then, and He loved her. He formed her before she was born, giving her the breath that had brought the very first man to life. Oh, how He loved her.

He loved her tenderly.

She forgot that she had resolved not to see Him, hear Him, believe His words in her sister's mouth as they panted and slept, weary from a hard climb. When she did not get her way she almost sat and sulked; only the word of a stubborn dwarf got her to her feet, for he called her queen even as he reminded her of her brother's authority. So she followed, unwilling, resentful. He loved her then. He loved her, led her, though she would not see Him, and waited for her, saying only her name. Her name, and she wept, knowing herself, and He bid her come closer, and breathed on her again. Her fears fled, and He did not let her leave His side, from that moment till they left Narnia. And there she never feared. His words to her were tender, the voice that called her even more so.

He wiped away her tears.

Sometimes through the words of her brothers, the hugs of her sister, the calm of her father. Sometimes through a Centaur bent over her, mighty shadows hiding her from view as she wept. Sometimes He Himself was there. That one time, oh, that one time! She and Lucy had wept through the night, wept till they were weary, pale, suffering the hopelessness as nothing mattered, and He cracked the Table and stood above it. With His roar, His breath, with a game of catch-and-release, He banished every sorrow and gave them hope made certain. He taught them there was life after death. He taught them tears ended with the morning, and the morning always came, no matter how long the night. He taught that He was joy.

He, the Prince of Peace.

Susan's life echoed with the screams of wars. A war drove them from London, her cheek bearing the imprint of her mother's last kiss. A war nearly took Peter away when they were older, and she was old enough to pretend not to care, but she hated walking past his empty room, and wondering-. When she entered another world, it was to find the cost when the war was lost. The first place they went was a home clawed by wolves', and all she wanted was to go home; all she wished was they'd never come. Why did wars follow her? She was a child among children, prophesied to wage war on a mighty enemy. The wise of the world heard it and laughed—till the war was won and the Four crowned. Through them, through the weak and foreign, He ushered Narnia into peace. Oh, what a peace, the peace of the Golden Age. Gardens and orchards sprang up, dances were remembered, the seas filled with singers, and Susan watched with wondering eyes. He had done this. To obey Him led to war, and through war to peace, and when in peace they found themselves falling short of what was required, His wisdom taught them to make peace flourish. They sought wisdom and found it, and the more they found of His wisdom, the more they knew of peace, Susan reflected. She was sixteen, have yet again sent away a suitor. It had not been a wisdom she'd expected to need this early, nor this much, but Aslan sent the Queen of Archenland with her wisdom and council a year ago, and Susan now did with grace what had once caused her fear.

He gave her heart.

Peace came, but there were times giants, Calormenes, Telmarines, pirates, or fell creatures threatened it. The huge, the cunning, the greedy, the evil, Susan had memories of them all, leering smiles, hard hands, thundering threats. But the Golden Age remained unshaken, and inside it—inside it was lovely. Susan stopped remembering because the memory of the joy of that realm pierced her heart in an unending wound. But when she was there—when she was there, she was loved. And to love in Narnia was freedom and goodness and joy, and all that love, all that freedom, came from following Aslan. Since the first moment she had seen Him, walking into His camp, refusing to go first because she was afraid but still so drawn to Him, He had stirred her heart to something greater than fear. His eyes allowed nothing to hide, His voice could shake the earth, His strength could overwhelm the world but instead he cherished it. It was later that she learned all good things came from Him, but when she read it, she smiled, knowing it had always been true.

He gave reassurance.

He'd asked them for reassurance first. Susan had never forgotten that moment when she realised how lonely He was, that He asked them to put their hands in His mane. He had known loneliness. And the first thing He said to her, after her sulkiness, her refusing to believe, when she had not known what to say to Him who had known loneliness too and yet who'd she'd left, was to tell her to forget her fears. To forget, and to come near. And He asked her if she was brave again.

He heard her pain.

It was not till her years had passed that she learned how much He'd heard. He'd promised every tear He'd held in His hand. And though He did not lift her pain, though she begged Him, pleading in the long, dark nights, in the hours when dawn seemed impossible, He heard her. Every prayer. Every time despair choked her, cutting off her words. He heard her every time.

He loved her.

His love, stronger than His death, stronger than theirs, stronger than hers, held her. He had loved her before she was born, He loved her even when she left, and He loved her when she returned, broken, unrecognizable, and begging. He loved her too much to let her die then. He loved her too much to let her heal so swiftly she forgot. He loved her so much He remade her into a Queen, and then, only then, could she know she was loved as deeply as she'd ever craved.