Title: Uncertain Sunlight
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Something--you don't know what--has disappeared.
Notes: After and outside The Last Battle
Susan is having tea when the news reaches her.
She'd just been laughing at a clever poem Julia had recited, ignoring a sweet compliment George has paid her.
Someone emerges from the house, approaches them in the yard. She doesn't notice who it is.
A telegram is handed to her, and the group goes silent, wide-eyed.
Susan reads the short message. Reads it again, and the edges of the paper crinkle between her fingers. She looks away.
The sun's rays patter onto the lawn. Though she prefers brighter flowers, Susan thinks the rose garden looks particularly lovely.
The telegram flutters to the grass.
The days and nights melt together, a long, grey passage. She remembers little of it.
After the services are held, she lays roses on their graves, lets the thorns prick at her.
The world is glittering bright, and she cannot stand it.
Poor, dear Susan is what they call her.
Not directly, of course, but she knows it as her name nonetheless.
She is shuffled from house to house, smothered in the pity and piety of her friends.
The dresses in her trunk grown thin with use, as does the smile on her face.
Food tastes like straw and dust in her mouth.
They cluck their tongues at her pale countenance, and she thanks them for their kindness.
She puts away what finery she owns, clads herself in sturdier garments.
She tutors young girls in piano, and posture, and poetry.
She dreams, at night, of endless oceans and forests deep.
She cannot abide these things in the daylight.
She allows herself to forget why.
A/N: Title and summary adapted from Rainer Maria Rilke's Before Summer Rain. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.