The Last Song
Part 1. The Lute that Soothes the Spirit
Summary - A story on Harry's thoughts from a hurt child to becoming the greatest hero of Britain. A unique crossover involving Dr. Who and Arthurian legends. Unique HG
The idea comes from a Blind Guardian song, 'A Past and Future Secret,' which is also about the Arthurian Legend. I was jogging while listening to this song and as usual, was drifted away to Imaginationland, which I captured in words in between boring project work.
Note: I have finished this story, so it wont be causing delays in my other stories. It's not too long, about 30k words, and started as a distraction from boring college work, but turned out to become something more.
Prologue - The Biographer
The history of Britain's magical society is a most complex and intriguing one. By no means the oldest society of its kind, it has however become one of the most prominent and influential in modern days.
The Egyptians were the first to forge a society based on magic, and then, the Chinese and the Indians followed, but they all faded away from existence. Merlin's Britain however, survived long after the echoes of Arthur's war cries faded out of memory. Much is known about those days as the Four Founders had established a great center for learning and knowledge. I read through every single history book, and in the end, I laughed. How fickle the romanticizing minds of men that they paint the strange and alluring truth in shallow colors of their own fantasies. But, as I was saying, these two movements came about almost simultaneously - Camelot and Hogwarts.
Hogwarts. The day Godric the Just, Griffin Hearted, discovered great potential in a young child and took her as his apprentice were the seeds of Britain's future power created. But now this society is corrupted. Its current rulers are guided solely by motives of self-interest, while the common people are lulled into a false sense of security in their hedonist lives. The magical community as an entirety is blinded by an apathetic sense of self-importance. They hide their existence from their non-magical counterparts, with no desire to understand or share in the wonderful discoveries and creations made possible by science. Muggles they call them, not as an insult, but as an isolated community - a barrier is thus created in the human race. A barrier that didn't exist in Arthur's time. Some even seek to bring back the primeval order in which non-magical beings were subservient to magical ones. An order destroyed by Arthur and Merlin.
My pen falters and falls from my grip, and I question the audacity of the task I have undertaken. Perhaps in my old age I have developed a lesser faith in my ability to change the world. Or perhaps I have simply overcome my faith in people. I wonder if my words can create a tangible change in this community's perception of its own importance and potency, but when I touch pen to paper I realize this task is one I can eschew no longer.
My granddaughter was filled with such great enthusiasm whenever a discussion on the magical community held my interest long enough to venture an opinion on it, that I allowed myself to be convinced that writing my thoughts was a worthwhile effort. But now, after several crumpled pieces of parchment, I no longer write in deference to granddaughter's eagerness but rather from a growing belief in my own unfinished role in this world. I have lived a long life. I have seen more than the average man. I have suffered. I have cried and I have laughed, and I have flown into the blue sky with nothing more than a desire to become one with the clouds. I've seen the stars closer than any mortal. I have fallen from a king's throne to the deepest pit in the abyss of human emotions, and I have survived. I have killed and I have saved many lives. I have loved and I have been betrayed. But most importantly - I have lived.
There is a responsibility upon me to let the world know what I have learnt, to gain from my loss, and to look at itself on the mirror that is my life. And so I find myself drifting to my own story rather than a neutral observation of the community.
I am sure I was once an innocent child but my memories do not reach that far. The earliest I recall is of tears falling in the darkness of the cupboard under the stairs, my childhood battlefield of nightmares. Before that, there is nothing; only a vast cavity of darkness torn by shards of green light and a deafening silence, obscured by maniacal laughter. But on that particular day, there is sudden light. And pain.
Sometimes I touch my wrists and almost feel the iron tight grip of my uncle as his fist rammed into my face. Later, I discovered I was famous and there was no magical family in Britain, and perhaps all of Europe, that wouldn't have considered it the greatest honor to have taken me in. All? Perhaps the men who followed the madman who killed my parents would have been less kind. Perhaps they would have killed me in honor of their vanquished master's memory. But they wouldn't… for they knew their master hadn't truly died and would someday resurrect. To present me on that day, molded as one of their own kind, it would have been a greater achievement then delivering a tombstone and a coffin.
But that night I wept in agony. A five year old boy's tears with the realization that he's nothing more than a freak, and has no mummy or daddy to look after him. And for several years, it remained the same, until that fateful night.
I cannot write… It is much too painful to delve too deep in the darkness of my memories. But given a choice now, I would still go through it all, a million times over, for what came next was worth every bit of pain I felt, every last tear I shed. And so I plunge into my own thoughts and see for myself what I once was, and how I became what I am now…
Chapter 1 - The Uncle
I heard the cupboard door being opened and started at the sight of my uncle. The only time my uncle ever came to my private cell was as a prelude to a severe beating. I was seven, and horribly scarred. Later I realized it was the magic in my blood that healed the more grievous of my injuries. It was magic that kept me alive. But as a child, I had come to accept the beatings and abuses as part of my life. I was a freak, and freaks needed a good beating.
When my uncle reached for me, I didn't flinch back, knowing it would only make him hit me harder and longer, but to my surprise, he merely took my tiny wrist in the callused roughness of his huge hand and dragged me out. He dragged me out of the house and through the icy cold night, that swept like rain on a dry winter's night, as we reached the graveled pathway outside a dark and gloomy building that was the local pub. I didn't know what a pub was then, but I was scared by the sounds and smells coming from it. But my uncle didn't take me in.
A man was waiting outside, his face partially covered by a lowered hat; a smart coat and dark trousers adorned his lean figure. He was leaning against a big blue box, which I was sure I had never seen the one time I had been taken through that route before. The man regarded my uncle with no emotion or words. His face was a mask of dispassionate gaze comprised solely of something bordering pity and sorrow.
I think that rattled my uncle, and his grip tightened around my wrist. I winced in pain and noticed the strange man look at me curiously. For a second I thought he might be a long lost uncle or a friend of my parents come to take me away my relatives. But then I shuddered.
His eyes… the haunting black eyes were what had made me shudder the instant I had seen him. But when they fell on me, they lightened with much tenderness. He raised a hand, beckoning me closer, and I felt drawn to him. He had truly come for me… my savior.
Still the man said nothing. However, his gaze shifted from me and fell on my uncle. I saw him blink once, and his features hardened somewhat. His hand was still raised, urging me forward. And I would have ran to his side instantly were my uncle not holding me back tightly.
"I've brought the boy to you," was the rusty greeting my uncle afforded the strange man. Dropping my hand, he gripped me by the back of my coat and swung me forward, like an object offered to a prospective buyer. And when the man continued to stare at him, without judgment or even antipathy, my uncle bellowed, "I've fed him at my table for seven years. Doesn't that count for something?"
The man then tilted his other hand and showed a piece of paper to my uncle. I didn't know why he would show a blank paper to my uncle, but I decided it was something meant for older people. I was confirmed when I looked back at my uncle hesitantly and saw his eyes bulge.
"Inside information on which way the stock market is headed tomorrow!" my uncle bellowed in a maniacal rapture. Staring at the strange man, he said loudly, "I don't know how you got that, man, but I must be off now… what luck!" Then he pushed me towards the man, and I stumbled forward. In a flurry of mistimed steps, a desperate bid to regain balance, I found myself sitting on the cold and wet ground, staring at black leather shoes.
A sudden pain shot through my ankle, and I knew I had sprained it while falling. Tears came into my eyes, but not because of the pain. I was used to pain. But it had been a mere week since my leg had healed after being caught in the cupboard door as my uncle slammed it close. Now I would have to drag myself to the toilet through the stairs again, and have Dudley beat me to it. But just then I felt two firm hands on my shoulder, lifting me up, and it was thus that I came face-to-face with the strange man.
I liked him. He looked young. But his eyes were old… and sad. I thought I knew him from somewhere. He seemed so familiar. But then I realized I was just imagining. The only people I knew were my uncle, aunt and Dudley. Oh and Aunt Marge too, and her dogs. But I liked this man's eyes. They were green like mine, but a lighter shade.
"Right then, if that's all, I'd better be off now," my uncle said happily.
The man instantly tore his eyes from me and spoke.
"One day your deeds will come to haunt you, Vernon Dursley."
I liked his voice too. It sounded just like I imagined it would - young and old. Just like his eyes. The ends of my lips turned upwards when I heard him speak. Suddenly I realized I was smiling. My first smile. Then I liked the man even more. He made me smile.
But my uncle wasn't smiling. Instead, he was frowning. I couldn't understand why. Perhaps the man was a freak like me. No… freaks deserved a good beating and my uncle wasn't beating the man. So he couldn't be a freak. Perhaps my uncle just didn't like his voice. But I couldn't understand why. Perhaps I liked it because I was a freak. I trembled and looked at the man fearfully. Freaks deserved a good beating, and at that moment I was sure I was going to get one. But then I decided I would rather be beaten by the man who made me smile than my uncle. And I smiled again. A sadder smile.
The man had a strange expression in his face, and I saw a little wet speck on his eye. He was crying, or about to. I felt like crying too. He made me smile and I was making him cry.
"Are you threatening me, sir?" my uncle asked angrily and I shivered. It was the kicking voice. I quickly moved behind the man who made me smile and hid behind his legs, peering from a side.
"Your ignorance is nearly as great as your arrogance," the man sighed. "It wont be I. Others will come looking for the boy. If you want my advice, run. Run… run as fast as you can, as far as you can." He sounded tired now. He moved, and putting a hand on my forehead, brought me closer. He then picked me up and placed my head on his shoulder.
"You are safe with me," the man whispered in my ear, and I nearly cried. He sounded so sad. But I was lost. What did that mean? Why was he hugging me? I knew what a hug was. Aunt Marge would always shout loudly for her Diddly Dunkydums to give her a hug. But freaks didn't get a hug. Didn't the nice man know that?
"Now look here," my uncle said, turning back hesitatingly. He looked at me strangely, in a manner he had never done before and stuttered, "L-Look… we never asked to h-have that freak dumped on us in the first place."
"He is not a freak," the man said firmly, and I stared up at him.
"Am fweak," I corrected him sadly. He had mistaken me for someone else. He was not my savior, someone else's. I turned away teary-eyed, expecting to be placed back on the ground and back to my uncle. Who would want a freak?
The man turned instantly to face me and I shifted in his arms, struggling to be let down. I was the wrong person. But he didn't let go. Instead, he tightened his hold on me, and then I decided that I really liked him - the man who would hug a freak.
"Harry Potter, you are no freak," the man said while looking at me. I stared at him blankly even as tears continued flowing from my eyes. Who was Harry Potter? Was Harry Potter the person he was looking for? How I wished I could be Harry Potter! Then I wouldn't have to go back with my uncle. But I wasn't.
"I should have come earlier… much earlier."
I didn't understand what he meant, but I cried. I wanted so much to be the person he had come for, and yet I knew I was not. I looked at him despondently and wiped my tears with my dirty sleeves. My eyes began feeling heavy and my head light. And without realizing, I fell asleep in the embrace of a strange man. But, a man who made me smile.
Chapter 2 - The Doctor
I woke up and shut my eyes tightly. It was bright inside my cupboard. I frowned. It was never bright inside my cupboard. Then I realized I wasn't in my cupboard and got up in fear. I looked around me. It was a strange place, full of strange lights and strange buttons.
"Good morning, Harry."
I heard a voice from behind me and turned instantly to see the nice man who hugged me and made me smile. He still thought I was Harry Potter, and once again I longed to be this Harry. But I wasn't. And despite what Aunt Marge said, I wasn't a liar.
"Am not 'Arry," I explained to him sorrowfully. "Am fweak."
The man walked closer and knelt next to me. He smiled. I liked his smile. It made me want to smile too. But I couldn't. Instead, I felt my eyes dampening once again. I wasn't Harry Potter. But then he opened his arms and I crept in. The man who would hug a freak.
"Listen to me, lad," the man said gently, while patting my head. I liked him patting me. When I was younger, I wished my uncle would pat me like he did Dudley. One day he raised his hand and I was happy. I thought I was going to be patted. That was the last time I had hoped to be touched by my uncle, or anyone else either. And not until today… yesterday, did I finally be touched by someone without crying afterwards.
He was saying something, but I didn't listen. I just liked his voice. It felt like music, only much nicer. It was like honey, only much sweeter. But I couldn't tell, I didn't know how sweet honey was. Perhaps a bit like both. I really liked his voice. The man who patted me.
"… and that is how I… hang on, you're not listening to me, are you?" he looked at me as I shook my head. I wasn't a liar. He stayed silent for a second or perhaps two seconds, I couldn't tell. Then he laughed. He laugh was unlike that of my uncle and aunt. He laughed like the wind - gently, and yet without any hindrance. Loud, and yet without any interference.
"Fantastic!" he said loudly, picking me up again. He whirled me around in the air and I screamed in delight. I was smiling again. "A man after my own heart! If it's not funny, then it's not worth hearing! Brilliant!"
I stared back at him in confusion. I was a boy. Not a man. I said so. But he only laughed all the more. I didn't know why he laughed, but I couldn't help joining in. I wanted to see how it felt too. So I laughed with him.
He was no longer the man who made me smile. Or the man who hugged a freak. He was now the man who made me laugh.
"Come on then, Harry! Lets find you some decent clothes," he said, putting me back on the floor. Then he turned around and started running, "Race you to the Wardrobe!"
I ran and I beat him. He was always a few steps ahead, but when he pointed out the final door, I was faster than him. But he didn't mind losing. He grinned at me. I think I wouldn't have minded him winning either.
"Now lets see…" he said, looking at the piles of clothes in the Wardrobe. "Twenty-first century pinstripe suits, finest quality Italian cotton… I guess not entirely appropriate for a seven year old." He started picking clothes and dropping them, one after the other, muttering to himself.
I started looking around. His wardrobe had more clothes than Aunt Petunia's. He even had something that looked like a rabbit. It was light blue, and had a mask with two long fluffy ears. I liked that. I picked it up and tugged at the man's coat. He dropped the t-shirt and pants in his hands and looked at me with wide eyes and an open mouth.
"No way!" he said in disbelief, and I clutched the rabbit costume closer to my heart.
"Noooo," he said, but I knew it wasn't in denying me the dress. His 'no' had lasted for several seconds, but he was smiling all along. I really liked his smile. "No! No! No. No… no… oh, all right! You can be a rabbit."
Minutes later, after several frustrating attempts, he finally got me in the rabbit costume. I was happy. I liked being a rabbit. It was much better than being a freak.
"How about some breakfast now, Harry Bunny?" he asked with a smile. I was about to tell him that I wasn't Harry, but then I remembered I already had. And I was a bunny. I couldn't deny that. Perhaps I was Harry Bunny. I liked that name.
"What would you like? Carrot-ala-King? Or, some plain bacon and eggs?"
I looked at him wide eyed. I only had burnt toast for breakfast. I told him so. His smile dimmed, and I wished I hadn't told him that. I liked his smile. It reminded me of a dream I once had.
The dream started off bad. Angry screams and hideous laughter… oh, and lots of green light. But it got better. There was a flying motor bike and a pussy cat. But before that, there was something else. Something that reminded me of the man's smile. I told my uncle once about this dream. That was when he raised his hand and I thought he was going to pat me for saying something clever. He didn't pat me.
I looked at the man sadly, but he smiled again.
"A fry-up it is, then!" he exclaimed. "Seventy five thousand six hundred and twenty nine different breakfast cuisines… and nothing quite like ye olde English grub!" He led me down the interconnecting passages and corridors to another room. It looked like a kitchen and I immediately walked to the stove. I knew my chores. I was good at them.
"And what do you think you are doing, Mr. Bunny?" the man asked curiously. I told him I was making breakfast. He sighed but I didn't know why. I liked making breakfast. I was good at it, and I told him so.
"You might be the next Jamie Oliver for all I care," he said seriously. "But nobody, and I mean nobody, makes breakfast in here. And it is not a matter of choice… you just don't make breakfast." He pressed a button as he finished speaking, and two plates appeared on the table, full of food. "It makes itself." He finished speaking as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, but I didn't listen. I couldn't believe my eyes, and I almost said the M word. Luckily, I didn't. But he did.
"And it's not magic, if that's what you're thinking. It's technology… far superior than your time. But in about a thousand… what's wrong?"
I looked at him horrified, edging back slowly. He said the M word. How could he! I thought he was a nice man. But he said the M word. I ran away to a far corner and started crying. I didn't notice him coming near me and touch my temples with a finger each. I didn't notice, because my head was filled with images of my uncle beating me the first time I said the M word.
The man who patted me was as bad as me. He deserved a good beating, but I didn't want him to be beaten. He made me laugh. He made me a bunny instead of a freak. And now he said the M word. He needed to be beaten. I didn't want him to be beaten. I cried.
"I am sorry. I am so sorry," the man said after while, and I realized my head was buried in his shoulder. I looked up and decided it didn't matter if he was a freak like me. I wouldn't beat him. I would never beat him. And my uncle wasn't there. I told him that, and he held me tighter.
"Little Bunny, listen to me now," he said seriously and his voice was full of grief. "You are not a freak. You are Harry James Potter, son of James Potter and Lily Evans, grandson of Billy Evans and Sarah-Jane Smith. You are not a freak. Not. A. Freak."
I shook my head. My uncle had told me the truth long ago. I knew who I was. "Fweak," I said obstinately.
"Not a freak!" he said firmly.
"Fweeeak," I whined.
The man sighed. This time I knew why he sighed. He believed me finally. He had realized his error. I looked down in sorrow, but I felt his hand lift my chin up. He was kneeling next to me, and his eyes were full of tears. He was muttering something I couldn't hear clearly, but I heard a 'sorry' and a 'Sarah-Jane'.
"How about a compromise then?" he said after a while. "Not Harry, and definitely not freak… lets stick with… uhm… uh… Bunny? Alright? Are you a bunny, Mr. Rabbit?"
I touched my long rabbit ears and nodded. I was a bunny. I couldn't deny it. That would be lying. I think that was the right answer because he smiled again.
"Spiffing!" he said happily and picked me up. "Hmm… I get the feeling that I'm forgetting something. Mind you, I don't usually forget things… much higher brain capacity than a human, you know… but parenthood? It's been so long." He kept on talking for but I didn't understand what he was saying. I didn't care. I liked his voice. But he suddenly stopped then, and I turned to him curiously.
He was looking at me with a big smile, and said, "Introduction, I'm the Doctor, and welcome, Little Bunny Rabbit, to my TARDIS!" He didn't say more, and I didn't need him to. That's what he was… then and always… my doctor.
Chapter 3 - The Bunny
Life with the Doctor in the TARDIS was full of excitement for a little bunny. He would take me to the most wondrous places, show the most wondrous things, and meet the most wondrous people. People who didn't call me freak. People who dressed like me. He called it Disneyland. But Aunty Enid was the best.
It was a week after I agreed to be a bunny instead of a freak that the Doctor took me to Aunty Enid, but I don't think she was quite as old as he thought she would be. She looked younger than him, but she was nice to me. She was very nice to me. She told the most wonderful stories where little boys like me would get into trouble and not be beaten. I asked her why that was so, and she glared at the Doctor. They went away, leaving me alone with milk and cookies. I like cookies. I had never eaten them before and Aunty Enid made nice cookies. She told nicer stories.
When they came back, I saw Aunty Enid's eyes were red. I asked her why she was crying. The Doctor never made me cry. He made me smile… and laugh. She hugged me. I patted her head, like the Doctor patted me when I cried.
I then told her a story. It was about a Bunny and his Doctor finding a TARDIS that took them to far-off places. She asked what a TARDIS was, and then I remembered the Doctor had told me to keep it secret. I clasped my mouth shut with my hand and looked at the Doctor, who raised an eyebrow at me.
"It's a chair, Aunty," I said suddenly, struck by inspiration. "Like the one we're sitting on. TARDIS means wishing-chair. No. No. It means a tree. TARDIS is a tree… a faraway tree." Then Aunty Enid became quiet, deep In thought, and the Doctor looked at me with a big smile.
Later that day, I asked the Doctor why I didn't have a mummy and a daddy. All the kids in Aunty Enid's stories had a mummy and a daddy. He looked at me sadly, and said, "I'm sorry, Little Bunny. In all of time and space, the one place where you most need to be is the one place I cannot take you. The error in precision of the TARDIS… it might be years before we lock the specific coordinates to James and Lily, or even Sarah-Jane. I will not make that mistake again. Never again."
I didn't understand, but I was a bunny. And bunnies don't have to understand doctors. That was fine. I wouldn't be beaten for it. The Doctor would never beat me anyway.
"But perhaps… I can take you somewhere else… I would need something to lock a highly precise coordinate, with little or no margin for error," he said more to himself than me, and I knew it. I could tell when he was speaking to himself by the look in his eye. It would lose its hold on my eyes as if he were looking at something miles and miles away. He had that look when he spoke and I didn't listen to him. I didn't need to. Bunnies like to play and hide… not listen.
"I could take you someplace where you will find a loving home… someone who would never mistreat you… In fact… I remember now… I understand… I will take you to someone who can give you the stability that a wanderer such as I cannot… someone who needs you as much as you need…" he turned to me suddenly, only I wasn't there any longer. Bunnies like to hide.
"Not again! Come on out, Mr. Bunny, wherever you are! The Doctor's gonna find you!" he yelled merrily and I chortled, which wasn't a good thing because it gave me away. The Doctor found me. I tried running, but he was faster.
"Not now, Bugs," he said. "I need a hair from your head to lock a coordinate based on your genetic signature." I didn't understand but bunnies don't need to understand Doc… wait, I think I've said that already. So I just shrugged as the Doctor pulled a hair out of my head. It didn't hurt. He never hurt me. Except once.
"I can't get a lock on her genetic signature," he said after a while. I looked up from the toy train Aunty Enid had given me. The Doctor was standing by the big table with the fancy buttons and lights. The only time I had touched the buttons was when he told me to. He had told me not to do so without him because then we would get in trouble. And bunnies don't like to get in trouble.
"Come on, TARDIS, get a lock… that's it, sweetheart… a bit closer… come on, try harder… No! No! No! Damn! Not there!"
The big table made some sounds but then the light faded and the Doctor sank to the ground. I didn't like seeing him sad. So I went to him and asked, "You wan' an'ther hair?"
He looked at me distractedly, "Wont help. No, another hair is not… Wait a second! That's it! Oh! You genius! You clever little rabbit! Another hair! That's exactly what we need!" He jumped up and started pushing more buttons. I looked at him strangely. He had forgotten to take another hair from me.
"Come on! You can do better than that!" he yelled to the table. He always talked to it. I tried it once. But I got no response. Perhaps the table only spoke to the Doctor and not to bunnies. "For God's sake if he exists at all, I mean, and I highly doubt that. Who in their right mind would believe in an omnipotent being with a penchant towards… anyway, that was an entirely pointless expletive… C'mon TARDIS! The boy needs it! Please! Pretty please!"
I didn't like the Doctor begging like that. At least, not alone. So I joined him, and said, "Please."
I think the table heard either him or me, or both, and the lights started flashing again. There was that strange noise which still frightened me a bit, and I took the Doctor's hand.
"Yes! Yes! Yes! You marvelous, beautiful, splendid creation," he shouted happily at the table. "Thank you! Thank you!"
I looked at the Doctor, then at the table, and minding my manners also said, "Thank you." That made him turn to me instantly, and he laughed.
"Nine hundred, going on thousand… that's how long it took to find a non-Gallifreyan who talked to the TARDIS." Then picking me up, he hollered, "You, my dear Harry Bunny, are going to step out and meet your destiny."
Chapter 4 - The Crying Girl
I did step out. I didn't know what he wanted me to find. I was near a pond. There were many trees around and blue skies above. I thought for a second that I was in the Enchanted Woods that Aunty Enid and I talked of. But then I remembered that was only a story. Even bunnies know that made-up stories aren't always real. That was when I saw her. The crying girl.
She was sitting crouched near the pond, her head between her legs and covered by her hands. The soft noises and slow rocking of her back was how I knew she was crying. She had red hair. I like red hair. It reminds of another dream I once had. A woman with red hair, singing a song to me. I liked her voice. The woman in my dream, I mean. I hadn't yet heard the crying girl's voice. So I couldn't tell if I liked it. But I didn't like anyone crying. It reminded me of my uncle beating me. So I walked closer and sat down on a stone next to her.
"Why'r you cryin'?" I asked her.
Without lifting her head to look at me, she wailed, "Go away! I'm not coming back!"
I didn't go away because she didn't ask nicely. But I didn't mind her rudeness, and I don't I would have gone anyway. I know how it feels when you're crying. I reached out and patted her back like the Doctor patted me and I patted Aunt Enid.
She stopped moving when I touched her, and lifted her head up. Seeing me, she wiped her tears away. I know how it feels to be caught crying by others. Mrs. Figg down the road once saw me crying and gave me a chocolate. I hated it. Being seen, that is, not the chocolate. The chocolate was nice.
"W-Who are you?" she asked, and I stared at her incredulously.
Pointing to my big bunny ears, I declared proudly, "Am a bunny wabbit!"
She made a strange laughing noise… a giggle, I think. It was different from the Doctor's because she was much smaller and a girl. But it made me feel happy too, and I said, "Doctor calls me 'Arry sometimes, but I'm a bunny."
"You're silly," she said, still laughing. I was glad. She had stopped crying. Nobody should cry.
"I'm not!" I said, but then my eyes lowered. "My uncle says I'm a freak."
"You're not a freak," the girl suddenly said, and I felt glad someone other than the Doctor and Aunt Enid felt the same. But they were all wrong. I was a freak. I was only a pretend bunny. I said so.
"You're not a freak," the girl said angrily. "You're a bunny! I can see your ears!"
I laughed at that. She was right. I was a bunny with bunny ears. Then I realized something. We could be friends. All the kids in Aunt Enid's stories had friends. "Will you be my friend?" I asked.
The girl stared at me for a few seconds in silence and I felt sad. Of course she wouldn't. Who was I kidding, I was a freak. I got up and turned to go, and felt tears coming back to my eyes. But just then I felt something grab my hand. Someone, not something. It was the girl.
"I was crying because I had no friends," she said suddenly and I turned to her. "I would love to be friends with a bunny rabbit."
I told her, "I have no friends either, but I didn't cry because of that. I cry because I'm a freak and freaks deserve a good beating."
"No," she shouted and she started crying again. "You're not a freak! You're not a freak!"
It was then that I decided I would never be a freak ever again. No matter what. I was a bunny. Not a freak. I wanted the crying girl to stop crying. So I told her that. I would not be a freak if she stopped crying. And we became friends.
"I'm Ginny," she said. "Ginny Weasley."
"I'm Bunny," I said. "Bunny Rabbit. The Doctor calls me Harry Bunny."
"Harry?" she said thoughtfully. "I like that name… my father tells me stories of another boy named Harry. I like your name."
I smiled and decided I liked the name too, if my first friend liked it. I would be Harry from now on. It wasn't a bad name. I could still be a bunny… a bunny named Harry.
Ginny told me about herself. Her family was big and she had many brothers. But they teased her a lot, and I couldn't understand why. If I had a little sister, I would love her and play with her, like I played with my toy train. I would never tease her. I would pat her too. I told her that and she smiled at me. I liked her smile. Almost as much as I liked the Doctor's. But while the Doctor's was timeless and wise and protective, Ginny's was young and innocent and friendly. Then she asked me about my family.
So I told her I had no mummy and daddy. She cried when I told her about my uncle. But then I talked about the Doctor and Aunty Enid, and she stared at me.
I said yes. That was her full name. I didn't understand why she stared at me like that.
"Enid Blyton?" she asked again.
I said yes again.
"You lie!" she accused. "Enid Blyton used to live years ago."
"I am not a liar," I shouted, getting up. "I am not a liar! I am not a liar!" No matter what Aunt Marge says, I am not a liar. I couldn't believe Ginny, like Aunt Marge, thought I was a liar. She was my friend, wasn't she?
"He is not a liar," a voice came from behind and the Doctor came into view. I ran to him and he patted me again, between my long rabbit ears. "You are not a liar, Little Bunny, but neither is Ginny. Have you forgotten what the TARDIS is?" Realization dawned on me. Ginny didn't know that I lived in the TARDIS, a time machine. She was my friend.
I looked at Ginny, who looked ashamed of herself. I knew she still didn't believe me but she was ashamed of making me upset. That's what I would feel if I made the Doctor upset, even if I had done or said nothing wrong. But the Doctor never stopped hugging me or smiling at me. So I ran to Ginny and hugged her. She looked surprised at first, but then she smiled also. We were still friends.
"Ginevra Weasley," the Doctor said slowly. "Your young friend here needs some help from you. We need to go somewhere, but for that we need a hair from your head."
"What?" she asked, suddenly scared of the strange man. "Why? Who are you?" But I touched her hand, and she relaxed. Friends can do that to each other.
The Doctor smiled. "I'm the Doctor… and I'm taking Harry to a place where his heart is. I have this really annoying… traveling vehicle… which brought us to you so we could power it with a hair from your head."
"For Harry?" she asked cautiously, clutching my hand tightly. I liked that. "Are you taking him away? Can't he stay?"
I wanted to stay too. I told them that but was ignored. I didn't like being ignored. Best friends shouldn't be ignored, and I said that too. Then Ginny turned to me and hugged me tightly. I liked her. I liked her smell too. It was sweet, like flowers.
"I'm sorry, kids…" the Doctor said, and I knew he truly was. It was his sad voice. "Harry isn't safe here. There are many bad men out to hurt him… Ginny, please," he begged, and Ginny finally relented. She pulled out a hair from her head and handed it to the Doctor reluctantly.
"Will I see Harry again?" she asked fearfully, but the Doctor smiled his best smile. I know that one too. It's the one he reserves for when he is truly pleased about something.
"I promise you, my dear child. You and Harry will definitely meet again."
Chapter 5 - The Lady
I was somewhat annoyed with him. He took me to Ginny, showed me the promise of a beautiful friendship, and then took me away. Not only miles and miles, but years and years away. I wasn't speaking to him. I had pulled my big bunny ears down and stuck it down. That was my way of saying that I wasn't listening to his excuses.
But when I heard him sigh sorrowfully, I felt bad. I pulled my ears out and walked to him. I opened my arms, wanting to be lifted up. He complied happily… my Doctor.
Ginny's hair went next to mine in the table with the buttons. He pushed more buttons and allowed me to push a few as well. He even let me help him with the final lever. It was heavy, but together we managed to do it. I don't think I could have done it alone.
The TARDIS moved again, I suppose through time and space, as that is what it's supposed to do. When it stopped moving, we left the Blue Box and looked around. It was a strange place, and there were strange men around us. Men in horses, wearing strange clothes
"Stop!" the Doctor yelled, when I tried to run closer to a horse.
"Strangers, identify yourself!" a loud voice bellowed, and one of the men jumped out from atop his horse. "And by what devilry do you move your strange carriage?"
The Doctor looked at him, at the other men, at me, and then at the TARDIS, which was a big blue box from outside. Don't ask me how it could have so much space on the inside. I would say 'it's magic'… the Doctor told me there's nothing wrong with the M word… but the Doctor says 'it's technology'.
"I'm the Doctor and this little rabbit here is my ward," he said calmly. "Who are you? And more importantly, where are we?"
The man opened his mouth but before he could speak, there was a loud noise from behind, and I turned to it. There was a horse and a carriage attached to it. The door of the carriage opened, and a slender hand came out, followed by a slender figure. A lady was standing in front of us. She was the most beautiful person I'd ever seen, and I blushed. Shyly, I moved behind the Doctor, hiding myself from her view.
"How is this possible?" she uttered. There was something familiar about her voice and face but I couldn't quite place what. "Dear Lord!" she gasped. "What have I done!" Taking a deep breath, she leaned back on the carriage.
I looked at the Doctor, who was staring at the woman blankly. Finally, he smiled. "Guinevere, the White Lady of Britain, Wife of King Arthur, Queen of Camelot, Queen of Britain… fancy meeting you here!"
"Doctor!" she cried in disbelief. Then she looked at me, turned to the Doctor, back at me, and gasped for breath. "Doctor, how is this possible? No! Please, no… tell me this is not real… no… what have I done! My Arthur! My poor Arthur! It was I who betrayed you… twice over…"
I didn't understand what was going on, but I was just a bunny… no, I was Harry now, not a bunny. I had given my word to Ginny. I suppose I should get out of the bunny dress. I didn't want to. I liked it.
But then I realized I hadn't introduced myself to the beautiful lady and felt mortified. She must think me to be really rude. So I gathered my courage and ran up to her. I said, "I'm Bunny, ma'am. But Ginny calls me Harry. Pleased to meet you."
She looked at me strangely, and then she hugged me. I was confused. Why was everybody hugging me suddenly? Not that I minded it, no… I loved it! Especially from such a grand lady with red hair that reminded me of Ginny. I smiled at her the best smile I could manage. She ran her fingers through my hair and leaning down, kissed my forehead. That was the first time someone kissed me. I was happy. I told her.
She got up suddenly and turned to the Doctor. "You play with the lives and happiness of so many… I do not know whether to thank you or curse you, Doctor. Your meddling has been the cause of all my woes, and yet without you, my life would have little meaning, little joy. You are abysmally foul, with all the promises you show which then you break in less than a heartbeat. You tear lives apart. I should curse you. But…" she looked at me and then back the Doctor. "But…"
"Then do neither, My Lady," the Doctor said kindly. He understood the lady very well. But that's because he's the Doctor, and that's what he's best at. He always understand me very well. "This child needs love and care and stability, none of which I can provide him adequately." I didn't understand. What were they talking about? I hated being ignored, so I tugged the silky dress of the beautiful lady. She didn't respond, but distractedly pulled me to her bosom. I suppose I don't mind being ignored that much.
"Harry," the lady looked at me finally. She had finished talking with the Doctor. "Harry, would you like to stay with me?"
I looked at her in shock. I turned to the Doctor. He was looking at me sadly. I felt scared. Was he leaving me? I couldn't leave him. He was the man who made me smile.
"Doctor," I said sulkily. "Doctor! Doctor!"
The lady looked at me sadly, and I felt bad. I didn't think my saying 'no' would hurt her so much. She was nice. And she was the lady who kissed me. So I raised my head and kissed her cheek. She pulled me close and held me for a few seconds. I realized she was crying. Whoever heard of a queen crying? It was then that I realized that people cry, and it wasn't something to be ashamed of. But I still didn't want the lady to cry, so I patted her like I had patted Ginny earlier that day.
The lady stopped crying and looked at me curiously. It was then that I heard that sound… and my heart nearly stopped… In pure horror, I tore myself from her hand violently and turned around, but the Doctor had left.
The TARDIS was disappearing before my eyes. I shouted. I screamed. I lashed around. I think I hit the lady, and later I was very sorry. But then I didn't care. I needed the Doctor. I ran to the TARDIS, but it had disappeared. I fell to the ground and cried. No, I wailed. I wailed for the Doctor.
I didn't notice when the lady picked me up. I don't remember crying in her arms for hours as my tears soaked her shoulder. I don't even remember the journey to her Castle, or being led to a room that became my own for the next five years. I wailed all the time. I wailed for him… my doctor… the man who hurt me more than anyone ever could…