Author's Note: You may want to go read lembas7's "Elijah's Cup" universe stories if you want to understand most of this. And maybe "Ascending Angels" as well, to understand why Van Helsing is in this story. Because, yeah, it's a crossover. I wrote this fic out of the blue, without asking permission first, but Lem, the dear that she is, granted me permission afterwards. So yeah. Here you all go!
Disclaimer: Narnia and all things related belong to CS Lewis. Van Helsing belongs to... Um, whoever he belongs to? And Aegis Sanguinis belongs to Lem. No money for poor Sol :-(.
They had been at the Professor's funeral. Susan had left them only a few short months previously, headed to America without a backwards glance. They had sent a letter to her, asking her to attend, but it had been ignored. The turnout had been rather small for the most part—some of Professor Kirke's scholarly friends—those who hadn't already preceded him in death, at least; locals who he had spoken to on several occasions; Polly, who seemed alone and somewhat lost now that her long-time friend was gone; and Eustace and Jill had stopped by briefly as well, murmuring comforting words to the others before they took their leave.
Peter and Edmund stood by the table laden with finger foods and beverages, speaking softly and taking careful note of everyone in attendance. Years of instincts had never been left behind, despite their regression back into youth. The careful watchfulness of the two brothers had been beneficial on more than one occasion.
"There, with the long hair and the hat."
"I see him," Edmund replied. "Do you think he lives in the village?"
"No. None of the others have greeted him. There's something odd about him for sure, though."
"Certainly not an outfit you would expect to see around here. He's been watching us and Lucy since he arrived." Peter could sense the coiled tension in his brother.
"Peace, Ed. He hasn't done anything to us. Yet."
"What do you think he wants with us?"
"I'm not sure, but he's coming over." Weight shifted, and both men straightened, tense yet ready for anything.
"My condolences on the passing of the professor," the man stated, approaching the two brothers. "I never had the chance to meet him in person, but he was spoken highly of by a dear friend."
"Who are you?" It was no longer Peter Pevensie speaking, but High King Peter. Calm, with a diplomatic air, yet as sharp and cold as steel. Until proven otherwise, this man was a threat to him and his family.
"I am the friend of a friend," the man responded. "My name is Gabriel. Gabriel Van Helsing. I was sent to speak with you and your siblings. Alone, if possible." Mistrust was easy to see in Peter's eyes. Gabriel did not seem fazed by it in the least.
"Who was it that sent you?"
"He goes by many names. I believe you know him as Aslan." A small smile quirked the man's lips at the shocked look on Edmund and Peter's faces.
"Ed, go get Lu, and bring her to the Professor's study." Edmund obeyed instantly, moving towards their sister.
"If you would follow me, Mr. Van Helsing," Peter said, leading the way inside the house. Moments later, the other two Pevensies joined them. "Now, Mr. Van Helsing, you have a message for us?" Gabriel smiled slightly again.
"There are things that must be explained to you."
"Edmund said you know Aslan?" Lucy asked, her eyes alight with joy and curiosity.
"Yes. He sends his greetings, and regrets that he could not be in attendance himself. This is not a social visit, though. By now, you will have realized that you haven't aged over the last several years. I come to offer what explanation I may."
"Not since we reached the age that we were when we left Narnia," Edmund observed.
"Yes. It is a... side effect, you might say."
"Of what?" Lucy asked curiously.
"Aegis Sanguinis. It is magic, of a sort."
"Like what they teach at Hogwarts?" Lucy again. She ignored the glare Peter sent her, but she did not have the same wariness that her brothers shared. Even after all that she had seen in her life, she never lost her innocence and inherent trust—especially when the name of Aslan had been invoked.
"Yes and no. None today would know how to invoke it, and it is older than the school itself. It is why, so many years ago, young Mr. Riddle's spells would not work against any of you. It is a blood protection, of sorts, one that is very rare. Very few have ever received such an honor. As I said before though, there are certain side effects."
"Such as never growing old?" Peter asked, a slight edge to his voice. His siblings knew better than to ever bring up the topic of Tom Riddle, and the fact that this stranger knew so much about their past didn't sit well with him. Even a claim of knowing Aslan, especially in a world where he was not known as he had been in Narnia, would not set Peter at ease.
"It is not an easy burden to carry. You will have to move every few years, change your names, hide your past. It will be dangerous at times, for all of you, even your sister in America."
"We already knew all of this," Edmund said, his voice cold. Mentioning Susan had been a bad call on Gabriel's part so soon after her departure.
"There are benefits, as well." Gabriel seemed unaware of Edmund's harshness as he continued speaking. "You will be less inclined to illness, quicker to heal when injured. And you are more fortunate than most. You, at least, will have one another. Others before you who have been gifted with eternal life have had to watch as everyone and everything they knew and loved passed away, leaving them to struggle with anything life threw at them, alone."
The three siblings contemplated this silently, weighing Gabriel's words carefully. Family was one of the most important things to them, and the thought of being separated from one another was terrible. It was bad enough that Susan had forsaken them, had forsaken Aslan and Narnia. Eternity alone would be far, far worse.
"All of eternity, eh?" It was a rhetorical question, but Gabriel answered Edmund anyways.
"Yes. Some days it will be easier to accept than others. If you are ever in need, though, just call for me, and I will come."
"I thought you were just the messenger," Lucy said. Gabriel smiled again.
"Messenger? Yes, that is one role I play." Peter put the pieces together sooner than the other two.
"You don't mean…" Gabriel's smile widened, and a warmth like the sunlight shining on Aslan's mane filled his eyes. "The Left Hand of God?" Peter barely managed to whisper. Lucy and Edmund both looked at him sharply, eyes wide with awe.
"As I said before, if ever you are in need, just call my name, or think it, and I will come. It may not be immediate, but I will do my very best. You have my word on it, just as you have my word that I shall do my best to watch over your sister Susan, as well."
"You weren't joking when you said you were a friend of Aslan's!" Edmund exclaimed, equal parts disbelief and wonderment mixed in his voice.
"No, King Edmund, I was not. And as Aslan once told all of you, he does indeed go by many names. You would do well to remember that always. But now, I must go." And with a simple nod, the archangel Gabriel tipped his hat in salute and walked out of the study, leaving three stunned Pevensies in his wake.
"Huh. There's something you certainly don't see every day," Edmund commented.
"At least we know Susan will be safe," Lucy added. Peter stood in silence for a moment, staring at the door intently.
"I just hope we never have need to call on him," Peter finally said. His brother and sister nodded in solemn agreement. "In the meantime, we have guests to greet, and an eternity to do it in."