Disclaimer: I do not own any part of The Chronicles of Narnia; it all belongs to the C.S. Lewis estate, Walt Disney Pictures, Walden Media, 20th Century Fox, et al. I do not own any part of Glee; it all belongs to 20th Century Fox, Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, et al. I write these stories purely for enjoyment; no copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: For Glee fans:AU after "Original Song." This begins a few weeks after the Warblers' loss at Regionals in Season 2. Kurt is still at Dalton, and he and Blaine are both juniors. (I have no idea what the writers were thinking this year, making Blaine inexplicably a year younger than Kurt). For those of you in the Narnia fandom, this is clearly post-Last Battle and Susan is a key player, but we will see the other Pevensie siblings at some point.
This story was Autumnia's wild and wonderful idea, encouraged by rthstewart, and read for Glee-related errors by WickedforGood13. I blame them all for the madness.
The Substance of Things Hoped For
Prologue – An Unexpected Visitor
Vivian Anderson tsked in exasperation as she swept up her calendar, cell phone, and file folders and tossed them into the messenger bag that held her laptop. She snatched her cars keys from the counter, gave one final glance into the mirror, and headed for the door. She was late for an incredibly important presentation, and her partners did not take kindly to tardiness.
As she slipped on her heels at the front door, the doorbell rang and Vivian groaned. She didn't have time for any solicitations; she could only hope it was the FedEx delivery she had been waiting for, with the contracts for her newest overseas client. She threw her jacket over her arm and opened the door.
An immaculately groomed woman stood there, dressed in a perfectly tailored suit. Iron-gray hair fell to her shoulders in soft curls, possibly the only soft thing about her. The sense of command and authority that hung about her was unmistakable, and the firm set of her mouth indicated that she was used to giving orders and having them followed.
Shocked, Vivian stared in silence, her face expressionless, until the woman inclined her head with the barest hint of a wry smile. "Vivian."
"Grandmother," Vivian said coldly.
"Aren't you going to invite me in?" the older woman asked, and the sardonic humor was plain now, sending small sparks of anger over Vivian's skin.
"No, I really don't think I will," Vivian snapped, her already shortened temper reaching the breaking point. "You know that you aren't welcome here."
"Yes, I do know that," Susan Pevensie said quietly, studying her granddaughter with a countenance that Vivian was incapable of reading. It had always infuriated her, that inscrutability, that coolness, and it infuriated her more still after an absence of so many years.
"What do you want, Susan?" Vivian demanded. "I'm terribly late, and I really don't have time for these games."
Her grandmother's lips tightened just a fraction, though Vivian did not know how or if her words had managed to wound.
"I don't require anything from you, Vivian," Susan said shortly. "I am here to see my great-grandson."
"You can't," Vivian said, her tone even more icy at the mention of her son. "He isn't here."
"Oh, really?" Susan retorted, with all the dangerousness of a coiled snake. "Isn't here, or isn't here for me?"
"If he was here, I wouldn't allow you to see him, but as it happens he isn't," Vivian flared. "He is at school."
"Don't insult my intelligence, Vivian," Susan answered swiftly, her voice still carrying the quality of sheathed steel. "I know very well where Blaine is; have you forgotten who I am?"
Vivian scoffed, her bitterness plain. "As if I could forget. War intelligence, MI-6, working as a consultant for two U. S. administrations, dragging me around the world – you never could stop working. Always with a job to finish," Vivian said scornfully. "Why are you suddenly so interested in your family?"
That did hurt, Vivian noted triumphantly; her grandmother's piercingly blue eyes closed for the briefest of seconds, but it was enough to give Vivian satisfaction.
The moment of vulnerability was gone the next instant. "I merely came here to inform you of my intentions," Susan declared brusquely. "I have my reasons for wanting to see Blaine, and I felt it prudent to tell you that I was going to do so."
"I won't allow it, and neither will Bill," Vivian threatened, her hands clenched. Her voice was shaking with fury. "I will call the headmaster and forbid it. Blaine is different enough without you filling his head with nonsense!"
Susan smiled, and the transformation in her face was striking. The smile was gentle, kind, even affectionate at the mention of her great-grandson, and the sternness in her face melted away until one could see the traces of what must have been stunning beauty. "Different. Yes, he is," she said softly.
Vivian wanted to hit her.
"How dare you appear at my door after so long and simply presume that you are going to be a part of Blaine's life!" she hissed.
In a flash, all the gentleness was gone and Susan's smile turned feral. Vivian had never met her great-uncle Edmund; if she had, the family resemblance would have been striking.
Susan moved toward her granddaughter until they were only a foot apart, suddenly projecting the sense of someone much taller and more powerful.
"I presume nothing," she said threateningly. "It was out of deference to your wishes that I have stayed away this long, Vivian, but things have changed."
She stepped closer, and Vivian involuntarily took a step backward, away from the overwhelming force that was radiating from her.
"Is that why you sent him away, Vivian?" Susan questioned her pointedly. "Because he is 'different enough'? Because he sees nonsense and beauty in the world and embraces it? Because he finds a level of joy in song that you have never known? Because he is gay? Because you find him an embarrassment, much as you do me?"
Vivian went white. When her grandmother had suggested that she had been monitoring Blaine's whereabouts through her almost limitless intelligence resources, it had never occurred to Vivian that Susan might have learned personal details about Blaine's life. Vivian had been so relieved to end any connection with Susan Morton, née Pevensie, all those years ago that she had simply ignored her existence entirely.
She should have known better. When Susan Pevensie set her mind on something or someone, she was relentless.
"I presume nothing," Susan continued, staring down her granddaughter. "I will see my great-grandson, and if you try to interfere in any way, I will see to it that I am appointed Blaine's guardian until he reaches his majority. I will tell the court exactly how cold and indifferent you are to your own son. Do not try to cross me, Vivian Anderson."
And with one last, long stare, Susan turned away and walked down the sidewalk, leaving Vivian motionless in the doorway.
After leaving her granddaughter, it took Susan just a few hours to reach Westerville, the home of Dalton Academy and Blaine's residence for most of the year. When she entered the foyer, she took in the elegantly carved wood, the chandeliers, the tasteful paintings and draperies, the wrought iron railings, and the air of grandeur that seemed to surround everything in this slightly otherworldly school. It was beautiful, undeniably, and yet it seemed comfortable and warm, not an easy accomplishment for a formal boarding school – as Susan knew all too well from her own school days.
Boys were walking in pairs and groups, talking among themselves, sometimes cheerfully, sometimes worriedly, but all of them had an air of openness and vitality that was extraordinarily refreshing. Susan could hardly remember the last time she had been surrounded by young people, much less young people who seemed so at ease with themselves and each other. Several of the boys gave her respectful nods as they passed, and the smile that had been tugging at Susan's lips since she arrived slowly grew until she was smiling fully.
How fitting that Blaine should find his own Cair Paravel, she thought to herself as she made her way to the headmaster's office.