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Rhyme and Reason

Title: Rhyme and Reason
Pairing: Susan/Caspian
Rating: PG

Summary: Nobody made her leave.

Author's Notes: This came out of a writing excercise I tried yesterday. Ipod set to shuffle, flicking through songs and writing scenes inspired by whatever songs my muse appreciated...you know the drill. If you're interested in the song that prompted this piece, it's called A Minor Detail by Hidden In Plain View. It's a lovely song by a lovely band

Also, this is completely unedited. Sorry if I've done anything seriously stupid.


Nobody made her leave.

Aslan never made them do anything they weren't ready for. He offered her the choice to stay. If she had wanted, she could have stayed in Narnia and ruled by Caspian's side.

She knew long before she ever touched him that it wouldn't last. Heaven only knew he tried - they both did. Sometimes, when they lay side by side just staring into each other's eyes, she tried to convince herself that things could stay this way forever. The way he smiled when she caught his eye; the way he spent hours dreaming up gifts to present her, wide-eyed and nervous as she unwrapped them, even though the budget was stretched to its limits and he shouldn't be buying them in the first place - surely this was what love was supposed to be. It was the stuff of fairytales, the romance most girls spent all their lives wishing for.

And then she saw the panic in his eyes when he realised he had confided too much, when he let her in too close. Sometimes he locked himself away for hours in his own thoughts, and nothing she said or did could reach him. She knew he didn't sleep - as she lay curled by his side each night, he simply stared at the ceiling and thought about things he would never share even with her. She couldn't miss the sharp glances he shot her siblings, as though to check they had no weapons pointed at him, and she couldn't help but wonder if he ever looked at her the same way. He adored her - adored all of them - but he didn't trust them. And deep down, she knew he never would.

In the end, it was her choice.


( 35 believers — Believe in me? )
Dec. 29th, 2008 09:20 am (UTC)

Hmm. I like the choice thing. And your Caspian... makes *sense*, but is utterly foreign to me.
Dec. 29th, 2008 10:51 am (UTC)
My Caspian is...well, sort of messed up. I try desperately hard to avoid the melodramatic 'omg so emo' stereotype, but you can't grow up the way Caspian did and not come out of it with at least a few trust issues. Thing is, he has absolutely no self-insight. He's impulsive, acts entirely on whatever he's feeling at any given moment, and he quite hates himself and dodges the issue by forcing himself into a mould of whatever he thinks the person he's interacting with wants him to be. He tries far too hard not to make mistakes, to the point where sometimes he can barely function, and naturally this leads him to make mistakes and push away all the people who might actually love him faults and all. He does gradually work things out, but at first he really does not cope well with being King. It's his relationship with Aslan that really starts to help him move forward...but I'm not sure how to portray that, because it brings me dangerously close to The Dreaded Allegory and I'm not sure I'm brave enough to go there.

I've been trying for quite a while to get him properly figured out so that he doesn't come across as the work of a twelve-year-old emo kid or something. All my past attempts at exploring him, or his relationship with his family, have fallen a bit flat in retrospect. I'm going to keep trying until I get the balance right. So while you're here...can I comission you to give me a kick in the pants if/when you see him becoming unrealistic?
Dec. 29th, 2008 11:00 am (UTC)
Heh, mine has trust issues too, but they're... odd. He's really emotionally open - if Ed weren't such a clodhead, he'd be able to read Caspian like a book. Lucy and Drinian certainly can. Caspian's missing some crucial pieces of the intimacy puzzle, though. I think he's a bit all-or-nothing, perhaps? Also, not brilliant at the talking part.

I suspect we may be modelling our Caspians just SLIGHTLY on ourselves? :P But then all my characters are slices off my character...

I can't promise you a kick in the pants when caspian becomes unrealistic - yours is a movieverse Caspian, and I'm really not sure what constitutes realistic there. You can do whatever you please. I WILL kick you in the pants if your writing of him gets overwrought, how's that for a deal?
Dec. 29th, 2008 11:14 am (UTC)
That sounds pretty good to me.

Hmm, I'm not really sure...in some ways, Caspian has definite similarities to me. But in other ways, Caspian is the person I would really hate to be. I like to see myself as having a bit more self-awareness than him...although HE probably thinks HE'S self-aware too, and perhaps I'm so UNself-aware that I don't even realise how unself-aware I am...but based on what I know of my character (in which I may be totally deceived) and his, he is very much less aware of himself than I am. He is also a tad less mature, and an awful lot better at behaving himself (or at least making people THINK he's behaving himself).

As for your other comment...you're very much right. Reading back on that, it sounds horribly melodramatic and inconsistent...ugh. Like I said, unedited. But still...yuck. I really need to work on my tendency towards melodrama.
Dec. 29th, 2008 11:17 am (UTC)
I guess what I was trying to do was look at it from Susan's point of view...she expects a lot more trust from someone she's intimately involved in, and she thinks she's proven herself perfectly trustworthy and done everything she can, so she's really at a loss as to why SHE hasn't managed to win his trust. Kind of like girls who fall for 'bad boys' and think that they and they alone can turn them around and bring out their inner sensitive souls.

Not saying that it didn't fall flat, because it did. But yeah.

And I probably should have put 'properly' or something there, or just re-worded it...he does sleep, of course. He's actually become a bit of an insomniac since the night he left the castle. But I didn't think that one out.
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC)
odd. The reply to this comment got posted here by accident.
Dec. 29th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC)
Heh, Caspian's not all like me. He's more like a few traits shaved off and blown up. Ed's like that too, and there's this weird thing going on where his faults are faults I WISH I had. Not that it's necessarily healthy to be as emotionally closed off as Ed can be, but I'd rather that than Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve me.

Reading back on that, it sounds horribly melodramatic and inconsistent...ugh. Like I said, unedited. But still...yuck. I really need to work on my tendency towards melodrama.

*shrug* maybe a bit, yeah. SPEAKING of working on things, how's that E/C coming along? I haven't even started the suspian thing, since I was doing all my thinking about pron in the car, but now I have the brother in the car with me. With whom I seem to wind up talking about pron quite a bit.
Dec. 29th, 2008 11:31 am (UTC)
Yeah, I know what you mean...come to think of it, I'm actually a bit the same with Caspian. I wish I was as good as he is at hiding behind mild manners and etiquette, even if the way he does it isn't really healthy.

The E/C hasn't progressed any further since the draft you've seen. :( I've THOUGHT about it a lot, but I haven't actually managed to put pen to paper yet...it's a matter of willpower, really. I need to just sit down and set myself to work. That'll have to wait until I get home, because everything I've got so far is on my computer (and because I feel horribly guilty writing explicit gay erotica in the home of my conservative Christian grandparents). I am so not letting this one go...too close to the end to back out now. Although thinking about it now, I kind of hate it. The same way I hate everything I've ever written a couple of weeks after the initial writing, actually. It's quite silly.

I have a slightly unrelated question - have I published anything since I joined this site that was really, honestly bad? Like, not just a decent piece with a few flaws that really detract, but actually just not really worth reading? You won't hurt my feelings. I'm curious. I actually need to know how rational I'm being when I look back on my old pieces and hate them with a burning passion.

By the way, sorry for constantly dragging our conversations back to all this crap. I'm not fishing for compliments, but I AM fishing for criticism, which is almost as bad. And I'm being self-centred, what's more. I swear I will shut up one day. It's just, you're one of the only people whose opinion I actually respect who is not afraid to tell me when something's just not good. Most people seem to think my self-confidence will shatter if they tell me I need to work on something...
Dec. 29th, 2008 11:45 am (UTC)
By the way, sorry for constantly dragging our conversations back to all this crap. I'm not fishing for compliments, but I AM fishing for criticism, which is almost as bad. And I'm being self-centred, what's more. I swear I will shut up one day. It's just, you're one of the only people whose opinion I actually respect who is not afraid to tell me when something's just not good. Most people seem to think my self-confidence will shatter if they tell me I need to work on something...

You ARE fishing for criticism, and it's a bad habit :P. Um, no, I don't think there's anything not worth reading. There's some of the Suspian which doesn't really interest me, but that's not a measure of literary worth. Strange and Unexpected Changes lacks your usual depth but is funny and therefore worth reading.

While I'm here, you haven't posted 'The Price of Freedom' or a link to it on your LJ, or if you did you didn't tag it fanfiction: narnia. That one and its sequels I don't re-read, but there's nothing WRONG with them. *goes and re-reads* Ok, 'The Price of Freedom' is fine enough, and 'Everything Was White' is EXCELLENT. Much better than 'tangible', actually, and you know I re-read that one ;).
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:03 pm (UTC)
Yup, I can see what you were aiming for there... I think it's a matter of tiny word-tweaks. Also, the Susan in my head is more level-headed than to think she has trust as yet undemonstrated. She'd be looking for signs of potential trust. So... word tweaks in that sentence (would not share, or unknown to her, or something, would work), and something in the previous paragraph to suggest that Susan has reason to think Caspian MIGHT trust her.
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
Well, fair enough. And hey, at least I'm humble...I think. :P

Oh, they are on my LJ...The Price of Freedom is here on narnia_slash (and the link is in my journal), and And Everything Was White is here. Not quite sure how you missed them...

And thanks for actually answering. I'm a bit of a pain.
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:14 pm (UTC)
I was looking through your narnia fanfic tag- found everything is white, but the only link I could find to Price of Freedom was in the Everything is White post. If you linked to it elsewhere you didn't add the tag to it.
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:28 pm (UTC)
Strange. It's tagged in my journal under P/C and Narnia fanfic...I found it in the P/C list.
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC)

I smart.
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:36 pm (UTC)
Hang on, I know why you couldn't find it...it's in a post with another fic, right underneath. I think it was Winter, but I'm not sure. Anyway, it doesn't have a post of its own. But it's there.
Dec. 29th, 2008 11:49 am (UTC)
out of curiosity: which pieces do you hate, and why?
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC)
Alright, you asked, so let's go:

Situations - it sucks. Was SO much hotter in my head. I get frustrated because it's all so vivid in my head, but then when I write it out it becomes two-dimensional and boring. And Caspian is bland and characterless, like something out of a fucking Mills and Boon.

Useless Boy - I whipped it up for 100foraslan at the last minute, and I didn't like it then and I absolutely despise it now. Of all the ways to approach Caspian and Miraz' relationship, I HAD to pick the shallowest, most cliche and blatantly teenage one. I know what I WANT to say, and that drabble doesn't say it.

Playing Quoits With Crowns - Sounds so contrived. Very frustrating, because I really meant that piece.

Sanguinis Vinculum - Ok, I don't hate it. But I'm very stuck with it at the moment and I just don't think it's very good.

Taxes and A Friend In Need - They were both intentionally pointless, so I really oughtn't to be so spiteful towards them. But really, I hate most things I ever wrote for 100foraslan. They're so insincere and clumsy.

Unrequited - Melodrama, much? And I totally missed the fucking point of what I was trying to write.

Tangible - The whole 'I love you' scene at the end was meant to be ironic, but looking back it sounds as though they're completely serious and that just makes them sound like complete cads. And it's so clumsy.

Strange and Unexpected Changes - it sounds immature.

A Moment Granted - COMPLETELY failed. It's barely even worth looking at.

By Blood Alone - Prunaprismia fascinates me. And I just can't seem to do her justice.

Of Food, French and Friendly Conversations - again, childish.

Morning Ablutions - Caspian comes across so ridiculously fluffy. And I hate that, I really do.

Look, you DID ask.
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC)
Situations - yeah, you're right, it's not brilliant. But I'll have you know that I've re-read it at least once. And it has a couple of excellent points about it, not least being that your Susan kicks the Suspian chastity fetish right out of the water.

Useless Boy - ok, I just found the second page of your fanfic tag. Yep, that's the one thing of yours which I've read and decided immediately that I was never bothering with again.

Playing Quoits with Crowns is fantastic, silly. I can see why you might think it was contrived, since the narrative framework is kind of artificial. But you're not telling a story so much as making a point. It's excellent, and you're being silly.

Sanguinis - was good last I read it, but I did stop reading at some point, so... *shrug*

Taxes and A Friend in Need were... *shrug* not dreadful? They fitted the genre of 100foraslan just fine.

Unrequited - yes, a bit melodramatic. But EXCELLENT premise, and the thing which annoys me most about it is that the summary line should be 'morally ambiguous behaviour' rather than 'ambiguous moral behaviour'. Also, it's hot, in a warped way.

Strange and Unexpected was FUNNY. So ner.

A Moment Granted was the one I was thinking of when I said some of the Suspian doesn't interest me. But there's nothing WRONG with it, and if Suspian did interest me it'd be worth it.

Not doing Prunaprismia justice doesn't make the fic not worth reading, you know ;).

Food etc is FINE. And it addressed the Language Question, so as far as I'm concerned it gets a gold star.

Morning Ablutions... I'd forgotten that one. Yeah, it was bland. But not DREADFUL.
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:43 pm (UTC)
Ah, but you've hit the nail on the head when you say stuff 'isn't dreadful'. I can write things that 'aren't dreadful' no problem, but I can never seem to write anything that's genuinely GREAT. And writing 'decent' stories isn't what I want to do at all. You know what perfectionists are like. I'm pretty average, when it comes down to it. And that's why I despise my writing. Because it's nothing special.
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:47 pm (UTC)
*rolls eyes at you* you're NOT pretty average, silly twit. A handful of your pieces are average. Most are a cut or three above average, and some are really brilliant. I nominate Playing Quoits and And So Sanity Got Up And Left. Oh, and A Matter of Hygiene and Why Narnia Is Not Ruled By Republicans.

Now, let's talk about MEEEEEE!

Actually, I'm going to email you with what is supposed to be the next piece in the Cycle.
Dec. 29th, 2008 01:00 pm (UTC)
Go ahead, I'm all ears.

And I'm not convinced...but then, it's getting late and I'm NEVER convinced of my worth as being anything more than just about non-existent after a certain hour. It's this weird mindset I get into. Don't mind me.
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
ALSO, I shall demand payment for fished criticisms. I need 'elp with Men of Honour. As Captain I press-gang you into service.
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:25 pm (UTC)
Sure thing, Cap'n. At your service. What do you need?
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:38 pm (UTC)
What the hell am I on about?

Er, seriously. Please, explain. I can't figure out where I need to make the plot go, and this is partly because I'm not sure what the POINT is. Aside from porn.
Dec. 29th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
I find it very odd that you would say that, because to me Men of Honour is the furthest thing from pointless porn a largely pornographic cycle could be. It's a very interesting extended character study. If you're looking for a 'point' as in some grand finale that will wrap it all together, or some stunning moral message to it all, then you're going to walk away from the cycle disappointed. But as far as exploring Caspian and Edmund goes, it's wonderful. You have a very unique and multi-faceted interpretation of their personalities going.

If there's anything at all I would criticise about Men of Honour, it's this: you know what I was just saying about how I'm too melodramatic about everything? Well, sometimes you're not dramatic enough. There are time when your writing becomes quite dry and, well, thesis-like. I would say there's room in Men of Honour for a bit more emotiveness, if you know what I mean. Then again, that's just my opinion, and I am a teenager. And you know what us teenagers are like.

I get the impression that you're approaching the end of Men of Honour. Unless you've got some spectacular new take on the E/C situation that will leave readers completely flabbergasted, you're reaching a point where you've said what you had to say - and like I said, the point is and has always been (to me, as a reader) the way you characterise Edmund and Caspian. Too much more of the same exploratory stuff risks getting repetitive and a bit boring.

Sorry, I'm not terribly coherent...it's ten o'clock here, and I think it must be midnight where you are...
Dec. 29th, 2008 01:07 pm (UTC)
nooo, I don't think I want a finale with fireworks, or a stunning moral message. I'm trying to poke them into GROWING UP a bit, though, and can't figure out how.

I need to finish with the return to England, because there's a thread which needs to be wound up- the Peter thread. When Edmund gets home, Peter's no longer the centre of his world. Ed *doesn't tell* Peter about Caspian. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to get there.

Thesis-like, huh? Heheh. Well we know why THAT is. Also, Edmund locks feelings up, and Caspian doesn't understand them although they're all over the place.

I *am* sort of approaching the End. Eustace needs to come into it, though.And the Deathwater scene, and the one where Caspian throws a tanty at the end of the world. Since we're talking about manhood and kingship.

Also, I think they need to talk about Wuv. But I don't like talking about it, so, er, that's a problem in its own right.
Dec. 29th, 2008 11:04 am (UTC)
to that effect:

'she knew he didn't sleep'. Really? Not ever? This is foolish. Either you mean he didn't sleep next to HER (which is an interesting variation on the trust thing...) or that he slept very little.

he simply stared at the ceiling and thought about things he would never share even with her.

Hm... the never even seems overdone. I think you haven't established that Susan ought to be an 'even'. You've shown Susan's catalogue of ways Caspian doesn't trust her, and you've shown his desire to court her, but you've not shown any sliver of trust on his part to suggest that 'even with her' has weight.
Dec. 29th, 2008 11:35 am (UTC)
I love the emotions behind this! I know I can identify with them A LOT and that draws me in. As always you say so much even in the brevity.
Jan. 5th, 2009 10:37 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! <333
Dec. 29th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
I'm completely in love with this little piece. It's so different, and wow!
Jan. 5th, 2009 10:37 am (UTC)
Hey, thanks! :D
Dec. 31st, 2008 07:19 am (UTC)
I really like your portrayal of Caspian. He's too often shown as this perfect example of the shy, innocent gentleman, and I think his past is often completely disregarded. But your inclusion of the suspicion that I'm sure would have become second-nature to him, I really enjoyed. Good job.
Jan. 5th, 2009 10:38 am (UTC)
Ah, dear Caspian. He's actually rather dysfunctional, as far as I'm concerned...glad you like it. He's difficult to work with, this one. And if I can get away with it without making everyone roll their eyes, so much the better!
Jan. 3rd, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
That was so lovely. This was very nicely done.
Jan. 5th, 2009 10:39 am (UTC)
Ta muchly!
( 35 believers — Believe in me? )