Author's note: This is my first fanfiction in this fandom, so sorry for the mistakes and please point them out to me. This is not exactly a very creative and unique idea, I have read several similar story lines here as well, but I'm quite sure this is going in another direction than those do/did. Still, if someone finds ideas in my story which are quite similar to his/her own, then I'm sorry, it wasn't my intention to steal anyone's work. Though, for example the appearance of the portal came from W.I.T.C.H., so I have many sources, not just my own imagination, I believe.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except for the OCs. The world of Narnia was created by C. S. Lewis and I'm just borrowing his characters and settings for my readers' and my own enjoyment. Also, some of the characters and ideas belong to Disney and Walden Media.
ALL GROWS DARK
"Home isn't where you're from, it's where you find light when all grows dark."― Pierce Brown, Golden Son
Summary: The Pevensies have been back in England for years now, but they still long to see Narnia again. They are in a surprise though - Narnia comes to them instead! The definition of time and reality is questioned when they are faced with Narnians who should be long dead. Is the Golden Age back? Aslan is certainly keeping them on toes.
Idea: A portal opens between Narnia and England, this time though it goes public, so the two universes/worlds get to know (about) each other. Time and reality is rather complicated though, espeically when it comes to Narnia, so even the Pevensies are to be surprised. The route of Aslan is inscrutable after all.
Time: It takes place in September in 1945 after World War II has ended.
Universe: Mostly books, and all books except for The Last Battle has happened already. However, a bit of the movies' ideas or characters might find their way into the story (for example Oreius is going to be a rather important character, though he is not in the novels.) This also means that when there is canon appearance written down in the books then they will look like that in this story as well, for example Lucy is blonde and Susan is black-haired. However, I will admit, it was a long time ago that I've read some of the books, so my knowledge could be rusty in certain topics, I will try to stay canon though.
Note: Most probably the story will end up as an AU, because if one really wants to see it that way then it can take place before and stay still somehow canon to The Last Battle, but one truly has to have a creative imagination for that and most will simply find that the ending will go against what is considered canon because of the last book. So when I say that this story is canon and bookverse I only mean the first six books, TMN, LWW, HHB, PC, VoDT, TSC.
Main characters: Peter P. (18), Susan P. (17), Edmund P. (15), Lucy P. (13), Eustace S. (12), Jill P. (12), Narnians, Professor Kirke, the parents of the Pevensies, etc.
Rating: Most certainly not darker or harsher than the books. And those are labelled children books...
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." ― Dr. Seuss
I. The Portal
Lucy swiftly entered the Great Hall right behind a couple of chattering girls from her year group. The Great Hall was in fact rather big, but it wasn't exactly great as it was pretty plain without much decoration. The tables were all old and have seen much, while the walls were from one type of stone, rough and monotone. She has seen it so many times though, that she didn't even pay attention to her surroundings. As always her eyes first shifted towards the table in the far back where Susan and she mostly sat together, but she didn't catch the beautiful long dark hair of her sister or even her sparkling blue eyes. She tilted her head and scanned the hall while moving forward towards the ladies who handed their portion out, but for the first few seconds she just couldn't find her older sibling.
With sinking heart she turned towards the table in the centre of attention where the oldest and most popular students sat. She was not entirely surprised to see her sister with her head tilted back laughing hard while the entire table was in a complete uproar, everyone with a jolly expression. It has happened more and more since Lucy first started attending at the age of nine. Then, freshly back from their reign in Narnia and their adventure with Prince Caspian the two sisters were inseparable, but with no hope for the Pevensies to ever return Susan drifted further and further from the other three siblings, separating herself from them at every possible turn.
"Hey, come on, Lu!" After receiving her supper, one of her friends, Jane, a small thing with shockingly red hair and surprisingly big green eyes grabbed her hand and led her to a fairly empty table which was quickly filling up with their year group. The group started talking about one of their classes, philosophy perhaps, but Lucy couldn't keep up with the conversation. Her eyes again and again found the table where her sister was sitting. She was so distracted that she only realized that she was addressed and in the centre of attention when her name came up.
"Lucy! Oh, do not be bothered by her, Lu. She is not worth it. My sister was just like her, but now she is gone and I feel a whole lot better. Susan won't be here next year either," another one of her friends, a blonde like Lucy stated somewhat passionately in her high-pitched voice, but Lucy hardly felt any better by that even though the girl obviously thought that she was helping. Lucy felt that she was thousands of miles away from Susan even if she was sitting only a few tables away. What was going to happen next year when they were separated by real distance as well?
A few tears stung the edges of her eyes when she remembered another version of Susan at the same age as this was now, at seventeen. They have been in Narnia for five years then. It was one of their rules that as long as they were in Narnia, not the country but the entire universe itself, and not in some battle or on a diplomatic journey separately; they always eat their supper together no matter what happened. Mostly just the four of them, but sometimes a bigger group of Narnian friends or even foreign dignitaries joined them. In England though, everything was different. Peter has just started university in Scotland, while the rest of them were still attending their boarding schools in England. It meant though, that during the school year Lucy hardly saw any of her siblings other than Susan, who might as well have been a stranger.
"Yes, she is certainly the type to get married right out of school. You won't even have to meet her later on if you don't want to," another girl, this time from the far edge of the long table, added. Her voice didn't have an edge; she simply spoke as if it was a fact, not an argument. The Susan Lucy wished to see again was nothing like the girl they were talking about. No, her sister refused to marry Prince Rabadash, the son of the Tisroc of Calormen (may he live for ever, hah!) just because he was ridiculous, even though he was to succeed his father on the throne, because his father certainly did die sooner or later no matter how many times a day the wish for his eternal life was repeated.
"I-I'm not feeling hungry. I'm going up to my room," Lucy suddenly said and she pushed the plate out of her sight. Some of her friends looked at her with clear pity in their eyes, but they soon continued their conversation after a few 'Get better!' and 'I hope you are not coming down with something.' When she took back her tray (earning some rather nasty looks from the staff for not eating her portion when the war has just ended and the country was most certainly not exactly economically stable), she deliberately chose the route which led her though right next to her sister's table.
As always, Susan dominated the conversation. Her sister might have denied their years as royalties, but she most certainly hasn't lost her poise of a queen. No, she held herself in such a way and spoke in a manner that it was hard not to pay attention to her. Her topics were concentrated around fashion and boys mainly instead of battle strategy and international diplomacy, but her conversational skills didn't deteriorate at all. Lucy herself couldn't help but slow down as she passed the table of the senior students and listen to her sister. She tried to catch the eyes of her sister, but Susan didn't even look in her way. For a moment she thought about speaking up and calling out, but she had a feeling that this new Susan wouldn't like that very much. This new Susan didn't like her much, period.
Instead she passed the table as quietly as possible, keeping her eyes down, not wanting to see the joy on her sister's face while she felt so bad herself. She retraced her steps and left the entire building rather quickly. She noted a few concerned look on her mates' faces when she was again in their sight, but no one called out to her, not that she minded it. It has been for a long time coming, but today it felt like it was just too much. During the summer holiday the others were around, she even spent a week or two with her cousin Eustace and his friend, Jill. She was never alone, but since coming back to school she felt that no matter how many friends she had – because Lucy certainly was a sociable person who easily had everyone's good opinion – she was utterly alone. Her friends couldn't quite understand her, all they saw was a thirteen-year-old, just as they were, and they never knew the twenty-three-year-old queen. Every time a new topic of conversation came up she had to force herself to think through whatever she wanted to say, because most probably it had something to do with Narnia. It was nerve-wrecking.
The Great Hall was in fact an entire building which had four entrances on the four sides, but all of them led outside. Lucy chose the one which was closest to her dorm building as she always did. Summer was still in the air as a not quite long faded memory, but it was getting colder each day. She found it rather freshening though, so she didn't quicken her pace at all, instead she looked around as if she has never been to the school ground before. It wasn't exactly beautiful, but she loved nature even if it was in a rather awkward state, somewhere between wild and forced tame. It was nothing to the green of the Narnian forests, but a lot better than the stuffy Great Hall or the lonely and airless dorms.
While her feet knew the route to her dorm without thinking, she wanted to linger in the open air some more, so she randomly started walking in an entirely different direction. The entire school ground was dotted with buildings. All year groups had their own building, so every year they were moved to another part of the ground. She wasn't exactly surprised that her direction was in fact the dorm of Year One. At that time the idea of boarding school was rather strange – not because she was missing her mother and father, but because she was missing Narnia and her brothers. Still, Susan was at her side and the so many new faces and unknown rules distracted her from the ache of broken heart. At that time though, she knew that she would see Narnia again, now she didn't even have that and she found everything rather grey.
She was once again lost in her thoughts, which happened more and more recently, even though she was usually the type to be aware of her surroundings and be ready for new adventures. Gunfire. Now that woke her up. She needed only a fraction of a second to start running in the direction. It also helped that many people were shouting at the same time. The voices came from the other side of Year One dorm. The building was rather big and very brown, not an exciting sight at all as it was even plainer than the Great Hall. She slowed a bit down knowing that she didn't have her dagger or bow with her, she was practically defenceless in the body of a just-turned-teenager, so she was not exactly up to a fight. She looked around and was happy to notice that during the last storm a thick branch of a tree has fallen down and instead of being taken by the maintenance staff, it was thrown to the edge of the building. She quietly picked it up and grabbed it with two hands something akin to holding a baseball bat. Now even the shouting has calmed down, so she actually heard what it was about as before so many were doing it at the same time that not one word could be understood.
"This is private area!"
"WHO ARE YOU?"
"WHAT ARE YOU?"
"What are you doing here?"
Not that it helped Lucy much as she had no idea what this was about. She tiptoed closer to the edge of the building and leaned a bit out with the branch still in her hands. Her heart was throbbing in her rib cage and she felt a rush of adrenalin. The last time she had felt anything like that was during her adventures on the deck of the Dawn Treader. How long that has been? It truly felt like a life time, though it wasn't more than three years ago. Still, then she was Queen Lucy the Valiant and now she felt that she was no more than Lucy Pevensie, a student of Saint Finbar's.
"We are not a danger to any of you," she heard a voice which seemed rather familiar. It was strong and booming, but at the same time had a polite tone and whoever it was certainly knew how to calm others down. Lucy herself didn't quite feel herself in danger anymore.
"What's that?" The answer was rather different, very grumpy and not at all reassuring.
"We don't know either. One of my subjects found it and it was reported to me." Subjects? The term was so familiar and heartbreaking to Lucy that she couldn't help, but to take the last few steps which led her to the edge of the building. Now when she leaned forward she caught sight of what was happening.
A loud shriek left her mouth in surprise, but the reason of it was rather different than it would have been for anyone else. What she first noticed was a light blue shimmering in the form of a circle. Then her brain started working overboard – she noticed how four men were standing on the four sides of the strange blue energy circle and how they all had some type of weapon in their hands, one even had a more random and makeshift one than she did, but one had a gun in his hand. Obviously he has shot. Only then did she realize what he shot. Two people were standing in the circle of the four men – or at least people by Narnian definition, as by the English one they were no more than circus freaks or zoo animals. One was a brown Hare, but by the size of it and human-like muttering and crying Lucy immediately knew that it was a Talking Beast. It was the poor dear to be shot, and she even saw the ruby of its blood dripping from its fur. Then her sight has shifted. She immediately knew why the commanding voice was familiar – Oreius, the centaur. But that couldn't be! He was the General of Aslan's Army during the Winter Revolution, which happened more than a thousand years before Caspian's reign. She even met his distant descendant Glenstorm during the Narnian Revolution. Maybe even more time has passed in her beloved country and Glenstorm had some descendants who looked and sounded just like Oreius?
The rather thick branch fell with a thud sound and it didn't exactly surprise her when all in attendance; all six of the strange party looked in her direction forgetting for a moment that they were at each other's throat. Many things have happened at the same time. She noted that what seemed like suddenly to her many noises came from the other direction. Most certainly many have finished with their supper and those whose dorms were in this direction were getting closer and closer. One of the men shouted in her direction as well. "Get away from here, little girl!"
But what surprised her the most, was a lot more familiar and feminine voice. "Lucy? What are you doing here?" She saw that not far from her Susan appeared. For a moment she was confused and then she realized that right next to Year One was the dorm of her sister. She most probably left something in her room and that was why she came all alone before the others in her year. "I thought I told you that my dorm is off limit," she said when she came even closer. Lucy shot a look backwards and noted that the six people were in that moment joined by a woman from the other side that Lucy recognized even from such an angle and distance. The Headmistress. She was a stocky woman with thick lenses and shockingly white hair in a perfect bun.
Before Lucy could see what was happening Susan was right beside her and grabbed her hand. Lucy was about to speak up, but a bigger group of Year One students arrived just around the corner and watched them curiously.
"Come with me, Lu. Not here," Susan hissed and Lucy followed her with sinking heart. It wasn't like that she could have gone closer to the centaur and Hare with the Headmistress and those men around, but she wanted Susan to see it. But she didn't know how she could tell her and show it to her without alerting the entire group of giggling little girls and getting in trouble with the leadership of the school. Still, the idea of not getting closer seemed unimaginable. It has been three years without any real contact to Narnia (if she didn't count Eustace's and Jill's story of the Rilian business). In England she has never felt closer to the world she loved so much. What if that shimmering blue portal – because it couldn't be anything else, right – wasn't there the next time she was here? What if the centaur and the Talking Beast left England without even knowing that her siblings and she were here in this time and place?
She knew that if something like this happened to anyone else their first reaction would be that they were dreaming. But Lucy was certainly different in that aspect. Narnia existed and she most certainly knew that many different gates between the two worlds opened from time to time. It was most certainly Aslan's plan, she concluded. There must have been a reason why it opened in the ground of the school Susan and she attended as well. No, this was the pure reality not the fragment of her imagination or even a dream. If it was either of those two she most certainly would be in Narnia by now.
She simply followed Susan, who bypassed the dorm building of her year group and when they arrived to a bench under a tree on the other side of the dorm she motioned to Lucy to sit down. Lucy did exactly as she was instructed to do.
"Look, Lu, I thought we talked about this. You have your friends and I have mine, so why are you always in my shadow? Emily mentioned that even during supper you were watching me constantly," Susan stated firmly and Lucy nodded half-heartedly, her mind a few buildings away with two Narnians. "Next year I am not going to be here – get used to it. That is life. We are growing up." Lucy couldn't keep a straight face at that.
"We were all grown up during the Golden Age and yet you still had time to talk to me then," she remarked with a bit of an edge, quite venomously. She was most certainly a kind and soft-spoken girl, but there was a reason why she was called Queen Lucy the Valiant. She was not about to listen to Susan's impossible ramblings when Narnia has just came to them as she always wished it would happen. (Well, she wished to go to Narnia, but most certainly that portal worked in both ways.)
"Not your game again, Lu!" Susan cried out, but that moment Lucy cared not about her sister's theatrics. An idea came into her mind – what if the portal really worked in both ways? Simply running through it could take her to Narnia! She got up from the bench where they were both sitting and started running to the direction of the portal without thinking.
"LUCY!" her sister shouted after her and she was surprised to hear that Susan was following her. All the best, she thought. If Susan was to come through the portal with her then she could hardly continue to deny the existence of Narnia. Not to mention that the two of them together had a bigger chance of getting Peter and Edmund back as well where they belonged and maybe Eustace and Jill if they wanted to come. (And well, who wouldn't want to be in Narnia once they were introduced to its thrills and beauty?)
"Lu! Why – are – you – running? And – where?" Susan obviously wasn't in shape. She kept her slim waistline with not eating instead of doing sports, Lucy remarked. On the other hand running and all type of motion was the only thing that kept her sane in England. Jogging on the fresh air reminded her most of Narnia during the school year at Saint Finbar's. She bypassed Susan's dorms and found herself in sight of the portal. However, the same moment her eyes met the Headmistress's.
"STOP!" she was commanded and for a fleeting moment she slowed down, but then she started running again. Unlike Susan, who she noted after looking back for a second, stopped running and leaned against a tree while breathing hard. She couldn't catch the expression on her sister's face so she didn't know if Susan recognized the centaur or even realized what the portal and the two Narnians meant. She was rather close now to the group, but was abruptly stopped by one of the man. This one had a crowbar in his hand and when he caught Lucy her right arm was hurt by the tool.
She was covered by the man so she couldn't know if the centaur even found her familiar. If it was really the general of the Golden Age it still didn't mean much, because while he certainly knew her when she was even younger, when he last saw her she was twenty-three, and she looked a lot different from how she did now. She did catch sight of Susan though, who was half-hidden by the same tree she leaned into before. Susan looked a lot like her twenty-seven-year-old self even at seventeen, but most certainly this way the centaur wouldn't be able to recognize her from such a distance.
"I will get her to a teacher myself. You wait here for the police and I will be back in a moment," the Headmistress, Mrs Andrews stated to the four men. The man with the crowbar let Lucy go, but before she could even turn towards the Narnians she was forcefully removed from the scene.
"ASLAN!" she shouted, and she heard that the two Narnians started talking between themselves while the human men tried to stop them. For a fleeting moment she saw the centaur's expression which was bewildered. She wondered if he was simply surprised that someone here, on this side of the portal knew one of the names of the Great Lion or he had an inkling who she really was (in Narnia, because in England she really was no more than she looked like – a school girl).
"Your name is Miss Pevensie, is it not?" the Headmistress asked as they got far away from the portal. Lucy confirmed that it really was her name and wondered how Mrs Andrews even knew it. She mostly wasn't the type to get into trouble and while her grades were good and she was smarter than the average, she made no big display of it; she usually liked to keep in the background when it came to England. Once they reached Susan who was still standing behind the tree where Lucy last saw her, the Headmistress motioned to her as well.
"Whatever the two of you think you have seen, it most certainly didn't happen, understood?" she asked them on their way to wherever she was leading the two sisters. Lucy looked at Susan now, wondering what was on the mind of her sister. While Susan was hidden from the sight of the Narnians, they weren't from hers. Did she give upon her new idea that Narnia was just a game they played? Was this enough for her to realize that those fifteen years did happen? Would she want to go back to Narnia just as much as Lucy did? Did her faith in Aslan return?
Susan's expression was hard to read though. She simply nodded when the Headmistress spoke up and because Lucy was most certainly not in the mood to quarrel with a grown-up did the same. For a second she imagined telling the Headmistress everything and asking her to take her back to the portal, but the same moment she realized that no matter what she said the Headmistress wouldn't believe her, not without being backed by the Narnians themselves and she had a strong inkling that she wouldn't be taken to them. Not to mention that if in fact that centaur was only a descendant of the great generals she knew then it would take rather long to get the two Narnians to accept her claim of being Queen Lucy, the Valiant, one of the Queens of Old. What if so much time has passed since the Prince Rilian case that no one even remembered the Golden Age of Narnia?
"Oh, you are hurt, Lu," Susan suddenly said noticing the ruby drops of blood tickling their way down on her right arm. Lucy simply shrugged being used to much bigger injuries. However, the Headmistress seemed troubled by the revelation. She clearly hasn't noticed it before.
"I am going to take you to the Infirmary. Once you are taken care though, you are going to get your luggage together and leave with the other girls," the Headmistress stated and Susan abruptly stopped walking.
"Leave with the other girls?" she asked and then added "Ma'am." The Headmistress gestured for her to keep walking and Susan did what she was told to, but she still looked at the lady with questioning expression. Not that it was such a big surprise in Lucy's opinion. The police was called as well after all. The teachers must have been afraid that the portal wouldn't close on its own in the near future. Also, they didn't know how peaceful the Narnians usually are, they must have been afraid that they were a danger to the students of the school.
"Yes, for a while," was the only thing the Headmistress offered as a reply to the girls. The moment she noticed another teacher, Mr Oakley who taught literature and English language, she asked him to accompany the girls to the Infirmary (after Susan stated that she most certainly wouldn't leave her injured sister behind). Mr Oakley a rather sick and stick-looking old man was more than confused when he first heard about the lockdown.
"All the students leave? They have just arrived," he exclaimed, but a look from the Headmistress shut him up. Lucy looked at Susan, who still didn't say anything concerning what they have seen.
"It's real, you know?" she muttered to her sister when Mr Oakley was explaining something enthusiastically to Mrs Andrews. Susan didn't look at her for a few seconds, but then the two pairs of blue eyes, so similar to each other, met.
"What?" Susan asked half-heartedly. She tried to pretend that she didn't even know what Lucy was talking about, but Lucy knew her sister just a bit too well to fall for that.
"We were told that we wouldn't go back to Narnia, so Narnia came to us," Lucy replied with a faraway look. For a brief moment she noted that Susan's expression softened, but then the older sister looked away.
"You heard the Headmistress – we haven't seen anything." However, Lucy knew that deep down Susan didn't agree with her statement. For the first time in at least a year, she felt that there was still some hope for her sister.