Continuing Tales

Something in the Eyes

A Crossovers Story
by Clever Lass

Part 2 of 3

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Something in the Eyes

On the other side of a windswept hillside just south of the Labyrinth, two kings were again meeting face to face... only this time there was a third person with them.

"Aslan," Jareth greeted with a deep bow. Beside him, Sarah sank into a low curtsey.

Aslan inclined his head. "What do you wish of me, Son of Cernaigel?" he asked.

"I wish to marry this Daughter of Eve," Jareth said humbly.

Sarah trembled with fear as those golden eyes were turned on her. "Approach me, Daughter of Eve," Aslan said. Jareth's hand was steady and comforting on her arm as she took those few shaky steps that put her right between the lion's paws.

Aslan made her look up. "And do you wish to marry this goblin king, this final remnant of the Sidhe, daughter?"

"I -- I do, Sir," Sarah said.


Sarah blushed. "Sir, he has been in my thoughts -- and in my heart -- ever since I first met him. And... and I think I can help him. I’d like to try, anyway."

"That is a good response, Daughter of Eve. And are you ready to become a goblin queen?"

Sarah dropped her eyes. "No, sir," she said honestly, "But I'll do my best."

Aslan dropped his head and bestowed a kiss on her forehead. His richly scented mane brushed her face and she smiled and stood taller. Yes, she could definitely see why Susan had missed her lord so much!

"Daughter of Eve, you will be a good queen. I will marry you and Jareth one month from today."

Jareth and Sarah both beamed. "Approach me, Son of Cernaigel," Aslan said. Jareth went close and bowed. “You have chosen well, Jareth. She will bring you joy and wisdom, and your kingdom will prosper under your dual reign.”

Jareth’s smiled. “Thank you, Aslan!”

Aslan gave him a lion-kiss on the forehead and Jareth stood tall and beaming. “Go now, my son, and begin your preparations. But leave this little daughter of Eve with me for a time.” He glanced at Sarah. “I sense she has some questions for me.”

Jareth bowed and transformed into the owl. He took wing and circled around them once before heading back to the castle.

“Now, then, daughter,” Aslan said.

“Please, sir – what about Susan? Shall she ever come to Narnia again?”

“She can never return to Narnia, for the Narnia she knew is no more. But there are other countries, daughter, and other kingdoms. And Queen Susan is not without human friends who know of them.”

“But what if she can’t find you again? She’s lost her entire family, and feels very alone without them. And shall she ever see you again? She does love you and she misses you so...”

“Your concern for your friend is to your credit; however, that is all a part of Susan’s story, not yours.”

“I understand, sir, but –“

“What, child?”

“Shall she ever see you again?”

Aslan almost smiled. Sarah could have sworn that he did. “That too is her story, daughter. I will say, though, that the answer depends on you.” And leaning down, Aslan breathed gently on Sarah, a rich and scented breath that removed her worry and left her feeling nothing but peace.

“Now, my daughter, you must return to your king. The two of you have a wedding to plan, and royal guest lists can sometimes be tricky!” There was a glimmer of amusement in the lion’s golden eyes as he opened his mouth wide and gently blew her back to the Goblin castle...

...Where Jareth caught her in his arms and clasped her close to him. “Did you get your questions answered?” he asked, kissing her forehead and inhaling her fresh scent.

“Not really,” Sarah said with a shrug. “He is absolutely wonderful, but he’s not that great at answering questions!”

Jareth laughed. “You just have to ask the right ones,” he teased, reminding her of her first conversation with Hoggle.

“I was asking him about Susan, if she would ever see him again, but all he said was that it was her story, and not mine. A polite way of saying 'none of your business.'”

Jareth chuckled again, leading Sarah over to a desk with two chairs pulled up to it. “Ah, you fell for the old ‘ask about someone else’ routine,” he grinned. “That’s one of the first lion-lessons anyone learns: you only ever ask him about yourself!”

He handed her a scrap of parchment with a few names written on it. “There now, have a look at that, and see if I’ve left out any of your human people that you’d like to invite to the wedding.”

Sarah scanned the list. Father, check. Stepmother, check. Toby, check. She raised an eyebrow at the name Linda Williams, and sighed. Negligent mother, check. Maybe Linda would send a nice gift, but Sarah knew she wouldn’t come to the wedding. It would make her feel too old, to see that her daughter was old enough to marry. Sarah stopped short at the last name on the list: Susan Pevensie. Her jaw dropped.

“Of course! Jareth, you’re wonderful!” She flung her arms around him in delight.

“Uh, thank you,” Jareth replied, a little confused at the reaction but taking advantage of the closeness to give her a kiss.

It distracted Sarah for a moment. She returned his kiss with a thoroughness that took his breath away, and then sat back. “What I mean, my love, is that it’s a stroke of genius to invite Susan to the wedding! Aslan said he was going to marry us; that means Susan will get to see him even if she can’t go back to Narnia! That must be what he meant when he said it would be up to me!”

“I actually added her name because I thought it would be nice for the woman responsible for bringing us together to get invited to our wedding. All of her personal history with the High King is really none of my business. I do appreciate the compliment to my mental faculties, though, and totally agree with you.” Jareth's eyes danced.

Sarah grinned. “It doesn’t matter. I would invite Susan anyway; but this way we’ll be able to do something nice for her.” She playfully tugged a lock of Jareth’s hair. “And how generous of you to agree so readily with your future bride,” she teased. “I’m sure you’ll be a very biddable husband.”

“Modest and humble, too,” Jareth affirmed, rescuing his hair and catching her hands to kiss. “Sarah, what do you say we leave all this here for the secretaries to work out? There are much more important things we could be doing right now.”

“Such as?”

Instead of answering, Jareth scooped her up in his arms and carried her over to the window. Setting her gently on the sill, he pointed out to the horizon. “We could be taking a tour of ‘our’ kingdom, either on horseback or a romantic carriage ride, whichever you prefer. I want to show you some of the beautiful things you missed when you were here before.”

Sarah leaned her head against her fiance’s shoulder. “The romantic carriage ride sounds nice,” she said, “But we should finish the guest list first. Work before play,” she playfully ordered.

Jareth sighed, burying his face in her dark, silky hair. “That confounded lion was right,” he groaned. “You are going to teach me responsibility and self-discipline, aren’t you?”

Sarah laughed and ruffled his already wild hair. “Don’t worry, Jareth dear,” she whispered. “I’ll teach you other things, too!” and pressing her lips to his, much to his delight, she made a good start.

Susan was, at that very moment, also enjoying the company of a handsome young man. When she’d left Sarah’s flat that Sunday, she had taken a chance and walked down past the Church of the Lion again, and had met up with Darien as he was locking things up. He turned and walked up the street with her.

“Your Majesty!” he greeted joyfully. “Uh, I mean, Miss Pevensie!”

“Hello, Darien,” she replied cheerfully. “And you can call me Susan if you wish. I was just on my way home and thought I’d stop back and save myself a telephone call.”

“Excellent!” Darien beamed. “Would you care to join me for a cup of tea? And we can talk.”

“Love to, thanks,” Susan smiled. “I’m dying to hear about your... travels.”

Darien grinned and tucked her hand into the crook of his elbow. “I’m dying to tell someone about them,” he confessed. “Here, this is the café I was thinking of.” They went in and ordered the tea, and found a small table by the window that overlooked a tiny park. When the waitress brought over their pot, he poured out for both of them and took a grateful sip of his own. “Mmm, that’s lovely.”

“Sarah is many wonderful things, but an American can never make a proper cuppa,” Susan said with an appreciative sip of her own. “So tell me, when did you travel to Narnia? How did you get there?”

Darien grinned. “Actually, I was born there.” Susan gaped, and Darien went on, “Want to hear something even stranger? I’ve seen you there before!”

Susan gave him a skeptical glance but said nothing.

“It’s true,” Darien insisted. “My father was Lord Arlian, a Telmarine and a loyal supporter of King Caspian the Ninth. Miraz the Usurper had him executed for treason when he took over the throne. My mother married one of Miraz’s advisors when I was only about eight or nine.”

“But then, how did you get into our world?”

“The Lion rescued me from my stepfather. He was worried about King Caspian’s bid for the throne, and he was taking it out on me – with a stick – and along came the Lion heading up a whole group of revellers. You and your sister were riding on his back. The Lion turned my stepfather into some sort of shrub and then took me away with him. I was the last little Telmarine who went through the portal.”

Susan’s eyes were wide. She remembered Aslan rescuing a small boy from being beaten by a man, and then the dryads and merry-makers had taken charge of the boy and she hadn’t seen him again. She remembered following Peter through the portal – dimly, vaguely, she remembered looking back and seeing a long line of Telmarines form up behind Lucy. The last few were only children, she recalled; Darien must have been one of them! She herself had been only twelve, and Peter thirteen at the time. “I remember now!” she gasped. “But why didn’t you stay there in Narnia if you had the choice?”

Darien sobered. “I didn’t have a choice. The Lion told me he wanted me here, in your world. He said he had work for me here. I only stayed with the rest of the Telmarines on the island for a few months before I met an English couple named Heath who were shipwrecked there and decided to adopt me. When they were rescued a few weeks later, I went home with them.”

Susan started to laugh. “So we’ve both been living here, in England, for most of our lives and I’d given up on ever talking to a Narnian again!”

Darien laughed. “If someone had told me at age nine that I’d someday be having tea with Queen Susan, I’d have laughed at them. And yet, here we are.”

“Do you remember Lord Arlian,your father?” Susan asked sympathetically.

“Bits and pieces,” Darien replied thoughtfully. “He was at court so often, trying to look out for young Caspian – His Majesty Caspian the Tenth, I mean – that I never saw him much. My grandmother was His Majesty’s nurse, though, and she’s the one who knew all about the Old Narnians. I still remember the stories she told me when she got home late at night, about the High King Peter and the rest of you. I never thought you were even real, much less that I’d ever meet you. And here I have met you, twice! Lion alive, but it’s so much more than I expected! Indeed, I am the most fortunate man who ever travelled the worlds!”

Susan’s eyes filled with tears at the expression, remembering when everyone around her had used them – swearing by the Lion, and by His mane, and all that.

Then Darien shocked her. “I just wish I knew the Lion’s name.”

Susan began to cry in earnest. Dismayed, Darien drew his chair closer and offered her a handkerchief. “What? What, Susan – did I say something wrong?” He put a tentative arm around her shoulders.

She shook her head, trying to control her sobbing. “Aslan,” she choked. “The Lion’s name was – is Aslan.” She drew in a deep, shuddery breath and tried to smile. “I’m sorry, Darien. I didn’t mean to fall apart on you here.”

She looked up to see a strange light in his eyes. “Aslan,” he murmured reverently. And again, “Aslan.” His face shone with such wonder that Susan forgot about her tears. Suddenly she was faced with the unhappy realization that she had been selfish for most of her life. Always concerned with what she had lost, she had never really appreciated how lucky she was.

How many other people had entered a magical land, been given rulership of it, and had been able to speak face to face with their God, ride on his back, and call Him by name? Not even Darien had been that fortunate – he’d been expelled from the magical land with a bunch of strangers, had never really even known his God’s name! Briefly she wondered why the Old Narnians had never mentioned Aslan’s name to Darien, but then remembered that she and her siblings were just as much of a myth to the Old Narnians as Aslan was... and some of the old stories didn’t even get their names right!

Now, looking at Darien’s face, lit with joy from within, she felt shamed. She had been given so much more than most, and yet she’d felt resentful and betrayed when Aslan told her to find him under a different name. Silly goose, she told herself. It’s not like he abandoned me at all! I just acted like he had! And now that Aslan had seen fit to introduce her to this stranger, she refused to go on moaning about how much she had lost! She had a real, live second chance, sitting right next to her.

“Darien?” she said in a small voice.

The young minister was still euphoric over finally learning the name of his God. “Yes?” He beamed at her.

“Would you be willing to teach me what Aslan is like in this world?”

Darien impulsively took both of her hands in his. “I would be honored and delighted,” he exclaimed.

It only took a few days of their meeting together for Bible study to convince Darien that he had fallen in love with a queen. Susan’s mind was so sharp and agile that it contrasted sharply with her gentle, quiet demeanor. The dichotomy fascinated the young minister, and he resolved to learn as much about her as he possibly could.

For her part, Susan was athirst for information. Everything that Darien taught her about Christ rang true in her mind and reminded her of Aslan. She sobbed again at the recollection of seeing the magnificent lion humiliated and punished to pay the price for something that someone else had done, and Darien’s own eyes filled with tears as she described it to him. He explained about Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, and Susan smiled with a quiet joy as she remembered how happy she and Lucy had been to see Aslan alive again.

The twice-weekly sessions became daily ones, and the one-hour lesson lengthened to three or four. Susan loved the way Darien’s face would shine with love as he talked about his Lord – it was a mirror of her own when she thought of her own Lord. Gradually she came to see that they were one and the same. In a world populated by humans, the Lord had come as a human, but in a world created for talking beasts, He had become one himself.

Along with Susan’s progression of epiphanies came the dawning realization that she liked Rev. Darien Heath very much! She was just beginning to realize how much, when a strange envelope arrived in her mailbox. It was white, with gold borders, and seemed to be made of some sort of stiff fabric. She broke the wax seal, which was dark red and impressed with some sort of weird animal’s head. She pulled out the single sheet of parchment the envelope contained.

Jareth by the mercy and judgement of Aslan, King of the Goblins and Lord of the Labyrinth, Son of Cernaigel and last surviving member of the Sidhe race, to Susan Pevensie, once and always Queen of Narnia, Lady of Cair Paravel and Lantern Waste, Duchess of Beaversdam, and Daughter of Eve, Greeting.

Susan smiled as the old language began to come back to her. She did wonder why Jareth was the one writing to her instead of Sarah, but she read on, smiling at the use of his royal plural “us.” She used to do that, too!

Because of Your Majesty’s part in reuniting us with our well-beloved Lady, Sarah Williams, Mistress of the Labyrinth, Duchess of the Goblin City, and likewise a Daughter of Eve, we are pleased to welcome you to our nuptial ceremony and the festivities relating thereto. The celebrations will commence at thirteen o’clock on the thirteenth day of the month of Overflow, which Your Majesty knew in Narnia as Greenroof, and knows in your present world as May.

Your Majesty is invited and encouraged to bring a guest if you so desire; if you do not, and yet wish a companion, members of the highest ranks of nobility in the Underground will be vying for the honour of accompanying your esteemed and royal person to the celebrations.

Due to the difficulty of frequent travel between our two worlds, the ecclesiastical personage who will conduct our marriage ceremony has offered to provide a portal between the worlds one hour before the ceremony, at twelve o’clock at the Church of the Lion.

Your Majesty bears our eternal gratitude for bringing us together, and we eagerly anticipate your presence at our wedding. Given this last day of the month of Bourgeon (April), at our lodging in the Castle beyond the Goblin City, Labyrinth, Goblin Kingdom, Underground.

It was a wedding invitation. A royal wedding! Susan had only been to one of them in her life, when Prince Cor of Archenland married the Lady Aravis of Calormen. She squealed with delight and read it over again to make sure she hadn’t missed any of the meaning couched in the high, formal language. Then she ran for the phone.

“Darien! You won’t believe this! Listen, I have to see you right away; can I come round? Half an hour? Lovely! Just wait until you see what I have to show you!”

Hurriedly, Susan slid the letter back into the envelope, and then grabbed her purse. If she ran, she could just make it to the bus on the corner that would take her to Darien’s house.

She greeted him with an enthusiastic embrace, which surprised him but which he willingly returned, and then shoved the envelope into his hands. “Read this! You have to read this!”

She had told him about Sarah and Jareth that first afternoon in the tea shop.

Darien smiled and opened the letter. His eyebrows rose higher and higher until he reached the end. He looked up at her with astonishment. “This is incredible, Su! How wonderful for you! You must be ecstatic!” He read it again, and then asked with a puzzled look, “But why’s he making my church the portal?”

Susan grinned. “Probably because Sarah told him about my meeting you. Darien, will you be my guest for the wedding? Please, say you will!”

He smirked. “What about all those ranks of nobles vying for the honour of being your companion? Why me?”

Susan laughed. “I couldn’t give a fig for any of those vying nobles! Please, I would love it if you would come! I know it won’t be Narnia, but it will at least be in the same universe as Narnia. Please?”

Darien gently touched her face with slender fingers. “My dearest Susan, I would be delighted. How often does one get invited to a royal wedding in fairyland, after all?”

Susan impulsively grabbed his hand. “It will be wonderful, you’ll see! I do miss Sarah – and isn’t it so romantic that they’ve finally gotten together after meeting each other so long ago?”

Darien said in a strange-sounding voice, “Yes, it is. Quite romantic.”

Susan went on babbling. “And they really fell in love with each other so long ago, and just misunderstood each other for years! It’s so lovely that they’ve finally worked them out... and they’re going to be spending eternity together!”

Darien put his other hand over hers. “Don’t you think it would have been even better, though, if they had never had those misunderstandings? If they hadn’t had to spend all those years pining, but instead enjoying each other’s company?”

Suddenly Susan realized he wasn’t talking about Sarah and Jareth anymore. His eyes darkened with emotion, his hand tightly clasping hers – Susan was experienced with men, but not with love. Still, she could see the signs. She did like Darien, very much, but was that love? She would have to think about it. She smiled and gave his hand a gentle squeeze before she withdrew it. “I think it still would have taken them a little while to determine if they were right for each other,” she said graciously.

“True,” Darien agreed equably. “It’s best to be very sure first. After all, the wisest king who ever lived advised people not to awaken love before its time.” His understanding smile made Susan feel better about her decision, and she smiled back.

At the Goblin Castle, wedding preparations were well underway. Goblins were everywhere, some scurrying around the corridors, some flying through the air assisted by Jareth’s boot-toe. Sarah scolded him for his goblin-kicking habit whenever she saw him do it, but he protested that it took a long time to break a centuries-old habit.

Sarah was handling the incoming mail and Jareth was in charge of decorations. Sarah was finding it difficult to concentrate with all the activity, though. When Jareth began using the goblins themselves as decorations, she was forced to intervene. “Uh, Jareth?”

“Yes, love?”

She beckoned him over and whispered, “Is it entirely necessary to hang the goblins along the tops of the walls?”

“Well, they weren’t hanging the buntings right, so I hung them up instead,” Jareth explained.

Sarah bit her lip to hide the smile. “Yes, but – the thing is, they are not, themselves, decorative! Don’t you think it might be better to simply hang up fewer buntings slower, and have it look nice, than to have the walls lined with smelly and unattractive goblins and no buntings at all?”

Jareth admitted she might have a point. He waved a hand toward the row of hanging goblin and they all fell to the floor and ran off, screeching.

“Doesn’t it hurt them?” Sarah wanted to know.

“Oh, no,” Jareth assured her. “Goblins are extremely durable, and have an incredibly high pain tolerance.”

“Not very bright, though, are they?” Sarah said, remembering the goblin battle they had waged against her the last time she’d been in his kingdom.

Jareth looked resigned. “Alas, no. Part of my punishment – and my restitution – is to rule these poor stupid creatures and try to teach them some wisdom and self-control.” His face took on a cynical edge and he looked away. “It is hoped that in the course of this, I’ll pick up some of my own.”

Sarah felt his unhappiness and reached for his hand. “Jareth, my love, look at me.” Unhappily he met her eyes and she stroked one hand down the side of his angular face. “I love you,” she said gently. “I’ve loved you ever since I was old enough to realize what you’d been telling me all those years ago. I love you just as you are, but if you want to change I’ll do my best to help you. I don’t even know what you’re being punished for, but if I can possibly help you make restitution, I will.”

Jareth stared at her face for just a moment in shock, and then pulled her impulsively into his arms. He clasped her close for a long moment as a lump grew in his throat. He murmured her name and smiled as a tear slid down his lean face to fall into her hair. “Thank you, Sarah. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much that means to me.”

He finally pulled away, but kept her hands firmly in his. “You can’t possibly know, because I know Aslan wouldn’t tell you – but I think it’s important you know what I’m making restitution for.”

“Only if you want to tell me, Jareth.”

“I don’t want to tell you, but I think you should know – since it was my actions that affected things on your own world. You see, in my youth, I was even more self-willed and impetuous than I am now...” he noticed her playfully shocked expression and grinned. “...If you can believe it! Anyway, my parents were at their wits’ end trying to control me, but I would never listen.” Jareth went on to tell her a complicated story involving his family, his ambition, Aslan, the race of unicorns, and a malicious practical joke with dire consequences.

Sarah was appalled by the narrative, but more determined than ever to help Jareth win back his position among the Sidhe. Aslan had let the rest of them go on ahead to Arcadia, while keeping Jareth behind to teach him some responsibility by making him ruler of the stupidest race in the Underground.

It was a favorite punishment of the High King’s, Jareth told her, referring to a man who had been a Narnian star (in the heavens, not on the stage) and who had displeased Aslan by wanting more power than a star should have. Aslan granted his wish by giving him power – over an island and a race of the stupidest (but friendliest) dwarves in the Eastern Sea. Coriakin had eventually earned his place back among the heavens, Jareth said with determination. He was resolved to do the same, and someday join the rest of the Sidhe in Arcadia.

Sarah, upset that Jareth’s foolishness and arrogance had caused the extinction of an entire race of magical beings in her own world, nevertheless promised to help him any way she could.

“And right now,” she said finally, “I think my help will be of greatest use to you if we switch jobs! I’ll handle the decoration and you handle the correspondence. You know I can’t use all that old-fashioned formal jargon!” Jareth laughed and agreed to her request, and set to work.

He was pleased to find, an hour later, that the hall was decorated beautifully, and that by giving the enormous job of answering all the correspondence his full attention, he had actually been able to finish it.

“Sarah!” He exclaimed jovially, swinging her up in his arms and twirling her around. “The hall is lovely, the letters are answered, and... how in the world did you manage to get the goblins to do what you wanted? I know for a fact you couldn’t have done all this yourself!” He set her down, puzzled, and looked about the room bewildered.

She laughed. “All the time you’ve spent with other people’s children and you never figured out how to get them to do what you wanted? Goblins are very much like small children, I think – I just pulled a ‘Tom Sawyer,’ that’s all.” She smiled at his inquisitive glance and explained. “I started out by doing it all myself and acting like it was great fun. Then, as a great favor, I let one goblin try it – but only after he begged me. Then the others... well, let’s just say I drive a hard bargain.”

Jareth shook his wild-haired blond head. “If I weren’t already completely in love with you, this would have seen to it,” was all he could say. “So what shall we do with the evening?”

Sarah blushed and looked away. “Well... we haven’t gone dancing for... what, fifteen years or so?”

Jareth laughed. “Very well. Just don’t destroy the ballroom this time; that’s all I ask.”

“It’s a deal!”

The day of the wedding dawned clear and bright. In her tiny London flat, Susan woke early and stretched, wondering why she was so happy. Then she remembered, and leaped out of bed singing. She bathed and dressed quickly and raced down town. There was a very special shop she had to pick up some clothing from.

She went from there to her hairdresser’s. The hairstyle she chose was one of her favourites from when she had been a queen: the top hair braided into a coronet, with a circlet of gold woven through, and the back hair left in long ringlets hanging down the back. She regretted that her hair wasn’t as long as she used to keep it, but the modern world really didn’t allow for such things. Knee-length hair would be bothersome to wash and comb every day, and would forever be getting caught in the doors of the Tube. Sometimes she still missed it though. As she left the hairdresser’s she threw a scarf over her hair so it wouldn’t get mussed.

After that, she raced over to Darien’s house (he lived very close to his church) to change and finish getting ready. He answered the door having, apparently, just gotten out of the shower. His curly brown hair was still wet, and he was still buttoning up his shirt. “Susan, hello! I’m not quite ready yet, but –“

“Oh, good, I’m glad I caught you before you finished dressing!” Susan greeted with a grin.

Darien’s sparkling green eyes widened. “And just how am I supposed to take that, young lady? I am a man of the cloth, after all!” He grinned.

Susan blushed a little, but laughed. “Sorry – didn’t realize how that would sound! I brought something for you to wear, though... if you’d like to. You don’t have to, but I just thought... anyway, here it is.” She handed him a bag from the costume shop downtown. He raised an eyebrow, but took it with a gallant smile. “It’s just a little something I had them sew up; I know the woman who runs the shop, and she owed me a favour, so...” Suddenly aware that she was babbling, she changed the subject. “Do you have somewhere that I can use to change into my own outfit?”

Darien showed her the guest room with its attached bath (with a full-length mirror, Susan was glad to note), and then excused himself to change his own clothes.

Twenty minutes later, Susan was ready. She went out into the sitting room to wait for Darien. She had stopped using a lot of makeup years ago; today she’d applied just a hint of colour to eyes and lips, but looked very natural. Her gown was similar to one she had worn to Prince Cor’s wedding, only in a deep, dusky rose instead of pale blue. The colour brought out the colour in her cheeks and the deep blue of her eyes. The bodice laced up the front, and plunged to a deep V in the skirt, which was dark rose covered with tiny embroidered rosebuds of the palest pink.

The hair had already been done, but Susan gave it a critical glance in the mirror; good, it still held. There were more than a few threads of silver woven in with the pale gold, but for once she didn’t mind. She had lived two entire lifetimes, after all. For the first time in years, Susan saw herself in the mirror and was satisfied. As the last surviving queen of a dead land, she felt she would not embarrass herself. She wondered whether Darien would wear what she had brought him or not. She’d had to guess at his sizes – she thought he was about the same size as Edmund had been, but couldn’t be sure. She had used her memory of one of Ed’s favourite hunting-dress outfits to model Darien’s after.

She heard him clear his throat self-consciously, and turned around to see. He had worn the clothes, and they fit perfectly. The tunic was a spotless white, covered by a doublet of dark green that fitted closely to the waist, belted with dark brown leather, then flared out and hung halfway down his thighs. It had gold-edged slashes in the sleeves to show the tunic underneath, and was embroidered with golden leaves and vines. He wore matching dark green hose that ended in knee-high dark brown leather boots.

The dark green colour matched his eyes, and the burnished brown leather picked up the mahogany tints in his curly hair. Susan’s jaw dropped.

Darien’s green eyes widened when he saw Susan in her Narnian-style gown, and he dropped to one knee in front of her. “Madam,” he said, with a catch in his voice. “You look like a queen.”

Susan took his hand and urged him to stand up again. “And you, sir, look like a Narnian lord!” She smiled, surveying his figure again. “Truly, you look wonderful!”

“Nothing to you, but I hope I won’t shame you,” Darien said, getting his usual buoyant good-humour back.

“No fear,” Susan shot back. She looked at her watch. “Oh, we should be going! It’s past 11:30 now.”

“Dearest Susan, we’re not three minutes away from the church, and the portal won’t open until noon. Fret not!”

Susan had butterflies in her stomach, and told him so. “I’m so nervous about attending this wedding! I’m a defunct monarch of a country that doesn’t even exist anymore. How will I be received?”

“With great joy by the bride and groom,” Darien said firmly. “And they are the ones who matter most. It’s not all about you, no matter how beautiful you are! And that’s saying something, because you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met in my life!”

Susan blushed, and smilingly accepted both the compliment and the rebuke. She gazed at him again for a long moment, until he started to get self-conscious. “What? What is it?”

She shook her head. “It’s nothing bad – it’s just that I’ve never been so glad to see a Narnian lord in this world before. And, Darien, you really do look like one.” She thought a moment and said, “Technically, I suppose you are one. Aren’t you? Your father, Arlian, was loyal to Caspian; so even if Miraz took away your title when he executed Lord Arlian, it would have automatically gone back to you upon the true king’s coronation. You’re Lord Darien, really!” She smiled, delighted, and impulsively squeezed his hands. “Lord Darien of Narnia and Telmar, may the blessings of the Lion himself be upon you!”

He bowed, and kissed her hands – formally at first, as befitted a noble greeting his monarch, but then he turned them over and pressed his lips to each palm in a more intimate gesture. He couldn’t help himself. “Your Majesty, I thank you for your blessing,” he said simply, but with such a rich tone in his voice that it made Susan drop her eyes and turn away in confusion.

“We should get going,” she said, and this time he didn’t argue.

Something in the Eyes

A Crossovers Story
by Clever Lass

Part 2 of 3

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