Susan is in her kingdom when he arrives, resplendent in green and gold. She almost didn't recognize if not for the tell-tale twinkle in his eyes and the age set upon his brow. They exchange courtesies under the watchful eye of Peter and the silent laughter of Edmund's hands as they rest on the corners.
He kisses her hand. She lets him. There is a wildness in them now. She blames the air.
While Leto is no monster, she cannot deny there is something monstrous about him. He is too quick to hurt, too quick to speak, but he waits lifetimes to heal an old wound. Sometimes she wants to scream at him, why can't you do it sooner?
There is no soon for them and she never speaks of it. He would ask the same of her and the vines that coil around him would tighten like a jealous serpent. The skin would never give him up and she would never give herself up.
A queen deserves better.
Peter talks to Leto in long hours in the evening. For counsel, he tells her.
When she asks Leto, he laughs and brushes her hair, their old habit, old as the trees, old as leaves, old as the season fall and simply says that a king always looks to other kings to be humble.
And he makes you humble, she replies, cocking an eyebrow mockingly at him.
It can't hurt to try, he smiles.
He never tells her. He simply leaves.
She hates that he knows her so well.
Susan exhales. She tastes relief in the night.