…..*….. …..*….. Epilogue – Some Years Later …..*….. …..*…..
Arthur sat at his desk in Camelot, lounging back in the comfortably padded desk chair. It was Wednesday morning, and soon he would head down the hall to the conference room for the weekly Round Table meeting.
On the cluttered desk there were a few things that always would trump the rest in the clamor for his attention. First was a framed photograph of Guinevere in a crisp white blouse over which trailed the long black ringlets of the little girl on her lap, the hand of the handsome sturdy boy standing at her shoulder, smiling like she'd just won the lottery. Beside the tiny figure of a bearded King Arthur eternally striving to draw Excalibur from the stone was a calendar of yearly events – anniversaries, birthdays of his friends and their families, the special dates now numbering now in the twenties.
On the wall opposite his desk was a framed photo of the first CEO of Camelot, Thomas Drake, draped with a scrap of black. It had taken a while, but he no longer felt the pang of loss when his gaze fell on the photograph, just a faint regretful longing. He swiveled slightly to indulge himself instead with a perusal of the collection of photographs on the low shelf on the wall just beyond his computer. There, a rare capturing of Merlin in formal-wear, grinning all over himself as he held a white-gowned Freya close. A more recent one showed both black-haired heads bent over a sleeping infant. Down the line of captured memories, the knights and their families. Gaius with his great-grandbaby cradled in his hands.
And just above the photographs, bolted to the wall in a glass case backed with red velvet, The Sword. Excalibur. No longer wielded by his hand, but it hummed at his back always, the promise of faithful powerful potential to support and encourage and remind him of his purpose.
He looked up as the office door opened, and Merlin himself sauntered in, casual and comfortable, in gray trousers and vest over a collared shirt, irreverent grin in place – though with an air of unmistakable maturity and authority - and seated himself on the corner of the big mahogany desk. He snapped his fingers and the computer screen to Arthur's left lit up, flickered through a dozen images. "The presentation," Merlin informed him. "Ready for the Pentagon next week – Arthur, what is it?" The habitual impertinence of his expression sobered only partially.
Behind him, the door pushed open as Leon put his head in to ask, "Jacinta wants to know, we're still on for Busch Gardens this weekend, right?"
"Saturday, eight o'clock," Merlin answered him, turned to Arthur and said again, "What is it? You look like –"
"It's nothing," Arthur said, feeling a smile pull sideways. "Déjà vu, I guess."
"Well, we're ready for you in the conference room," Leon said, and added with an ironic respect, "Sire."
Merlin's eyes twinkled, and he stood as Arthur did. "Come on, then," Arthur said. "We've got work to do."
A/N: So here we are at last. The End. Thank you all so much for your follows, favorites, reviews – advice and encouragement. It meant lots more than you probably know!
This is a list of the music used in part 3, The Artorius Blade. I've added a similar list to the last chapter of A Once and Future Destiny and The Emrys Strain, just fyi.
Chapter 1 (Domesticated) - "Hello Young Lovers" from The King and I
Chapter 4 (Recalled) - "Give Me the Beat Boys" by the Doobie Brothers; "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" by B.J. Thomas
Chapter 5 (Reacquainted) - "Yesterday" by the Beatles; "Tomorrow" from Annie
Chapter 6 (Connected) - "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls; "Only God Knows Why" by Kid Rock
Chapter 7 (Confronted) – "Sloop John B" by the Beach Boys; "Green Door" by Shakin Stevens
Chapter 8 (Cleared for Departure) – "Runaway" by Damn Yankees; "Leaving on a Jet Plane" by Peter, Paul, and Mary; "Daniel" by Elton John; "Get to Me" by Train; "No One is to Blame" by Howard Jones; French Kiss ref.
Chapter 9 (Recovered) – "All I Ask of You" from Phantom of the Opera; "On the Street Where You Live" from My Fair Lady
Chapter 10 (Delivered) - "Circle of Life" from Lion King
Chapter 11 (Treasured) – "The Rainbow Down the Road" by Patty Loveless/ Radney Foster; "I Grieve" by Peter Gabriel; "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher; "Let My Love Open the Door" by Peter Townshend
Chapter 12 (Mix-and-Matched) – "Dante's Prayer" by Loreena McKennitt; "Do You Believe in Magic" by Lovin' Spoonful
Chapter 13 (Presented) – "Back to Good" by Matchbox 20
Chapter 14 (Liberated) – "Hello Again" by Neil Diamond
Chapter 15 (Challenged) - "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" by Jim Croce
Chapter 16 (Lifted) – "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban; "Flower Man" by Tonic; "One More Murder" by Better Than Ezra
Chapter 17 (Collected) – "I Believe in Angels" by Abba; "American Pie" by Don McLean
Chapter 18 (Unleashed) – "This Ain't My First Rodeo" by Vern Gosden; "For You" by Johnny Cash/Dave Matthews; Snow White ref.
Chapter 19 (Ambushed) – "Take a Look at Me Now" by Phil Collins; "Heartlight" and "All I Really Need is You" by Neil Diamond
Chapter 20 (Awaited) – "Dream" by Roy Orbison
Chapter 21 (Awakened) – "Step by Step" theme song ('91-'98); "My Sweet Lady" by John Denver