Author's Note: Here ends my story. It has been a wonderful journey for me. I hope you enjoyed it too. King Arthur has always been a source of inspiration for me, while Doctor Who a source of fascination, and Harry Potter a source of entertainment. Together I tried to weave all three together, losing a little bit on the entertainment and inspirational value, but I hope The Last Song remains a fascinating story.
Like Harry/Arthur says, to always leave with a promise: Mage and Warrior, Sigil of Power, are still in works. Thanks for staying with me so far, and hope you enjoy this final bit.
The Last Song
Part 4. Seeds of a Tenacious Plant
Chapter 20 - The Brightest Star
I returned. There was chaos everywhere. There had been a sudden attack by Lancelot and his forces while I was away. Merlin had disappeared with Morgan, people told me, and I was alone. But I gathered forces.
I sent Gareth and Gavin to protect Ginny's procession, and send news of what had happened, but Gavin refused to take part in this battle between me and Lance. He was loyal to both of us, stubbornly refusing to believe in Lancelot's guilt, despite the evidence of his own eyes. He maintained on Lance being enchanted by Morgan le Fay. So Gareth went alone.
But a day later, we received the news that Lancelot had trapped Gareth and killed him. Then Gavin rose in fury. He led our next attack against our enemies and fought like a man possessed. But even the most valiant of knights can be slain by one arrow, and Gavin was killed by many. Kay died in the same battle. Of all my knights, only Bors remained alive, albeit far from me. At least, he would keep Ginny and Little Harry safe. It was worth it.
Through the next five years, I was alone. The Doctor never returned. I fought alone. But the Banner of Arthur stood tall, unwavering. And people gave me yet another name - the Brightest Star. I was the warlord whose battle cries were heard across cities, achieving victory solely by the promise of defeat my voice delivered on those who heard it.
Five years later, I was alone, and facing another full scale war with Lancelot. But I was Arthur, and this would be my last song.
I walked alone, my soldiers had diminished. I had sent the rest away, weary and wounded. But I carried my Banner, and I walked among my people. I walked one last time before I would go to battle. I knew it in my heart. It was nearing the end. The echoes were getting louder. I was being called home. But I couldn't simply leave my people behind. So I walked amongst them, carrying my banner one last time. I didn't stop, I merely walked.
When people saw me, hope rose once again in them, like a stubborn flame against strong winds, refusing to completely disappear. They gathered around me, their King. They flocked from afar. I was all they had, and they were all I had. And soon, there was a crowd of thousands. Finally, I reached Camelot, and stopped. I pointed my wand to my throat, and whispered, "Sonorus."
I smiled despite the graveness of the situation. The younger me would be listening. It was here that he would be inspired. It was here that Harry would become Arthur, while Ginny and the Lady both held him at once - one of my fondest memories.
But I had no time for memories now. There was a difficult task ahead.
"Listen to me," I said, and people listened. I didn't shout or yell - magic would take my voice to every person for miles. "My time is at an end. The Golden Age of Britain was what I wrought, and much of it is now undone." I looked at the chaos around. Camelot was burning in the distance. My Camelot. I stifled a sigh. I couldn't sigh. Not when my people needed me to be strong.
They started shouting 'Mordred!' angrily, believing him to be the cause of all the strife in my court.
"No!" I said firmly. There was no Mordred, only me, and I turned to the spot where I had been standing and listening to my own speech. I looked at the younger me and willed him strength enough to do what I had to do, to be able to stand before the people and… I had a sudden idea… I could publicly decry Lancelot, and Harry would keep a safe distance from him. I almost did that… but at the last moment I stopped.. I recalled I was Arthur, King of Britain, not Harry Potter. This was not a place for me to make personal gains, when the safety of my people was the need of the day. No, Lancelot still had enough support. I didn't blame them, my people who supported Lance. I myself loved him like a brother for so long, blinded by his deceptions. How could I blame others? But a civil war was not what this kingdom needed.
"I do not talk of Mordred. I talk of another! I have been betrayed by one I held dear, and I now go to avenge my tarnished love, in crimson auguries. I go now, and I doubt I would be returning to you, my people."
My people were dismayed. Here was I, their King, saying I might not return to them. I felt grief course through me. They loved me, and all I had for them were promises of a future that I had seen, and they never would.
"But though Arthur's time is at an end, Britain's time is only beginning. For a thousand years, you will grow in might. I have seen it in the mists of Merlin's magic. You will grow, and through much glory and wisdom shall your path be mired in evil once again…"
As I spoke, I saw the sights in my mind. My eyes fell on the roars of automobiles as they whizzed past high rise buildings, the magical tales of Aunty Enid's creations, Disneyland… But then I recalled Lancelot. Or rather, Tom Riddle. Lord Voldemort, as Ginny had told me, and his Death Eaters…
"Against this evil, I do not see the end of my way," I said quietly, unaware of the quivering of my voice. But then my eyes fell on the younger me. He was perturbed. I recalled how affected I was by my own grief. I recalled my vow to say farewell to people who care for me with pride and honor, and full of promises; not with grief and doubt.
"But this I promise you: I will be back again someday, perhaps long in waiting. By the magic of Merlin, I swear to you, my people, I will return!" They started screaming in delight. They believed me, every last one of them. And I started believing as well. I had faith in their faith. And then it become crystal clear to me.
"I was once your King, and I always shall be!" I smiled.
The people cheered. They shouted. They clapped. They whistled. But above all, they shouted, "Once and Future King!"
But I wasn't finished. I had to say one last thing… my last song.
"When I return, it will be to a time when Britain needs me most. My people will need me most… They will not recognize me for who I am. They may never even know my name, but my name matters little. It is you, my people, who matter; and it is for your sake that I shall return. For without you, I am but a king with no crown... so… this last song of Arthur, let us sing together." I allowed the cheers of support and love fall for several seconds, before I gave my final war cry, "Long Live Britain!"
"Long Live Britain!" the crowd echoed. "Long Live Arthur!"
I looked at them, aware that the younger me was leaving with both our Ginnys, while I had to stay behind. But I was at peace with that. I was once what he was then, and he would one day stand in my stead. Until then, he deserved what happiness he could get. It was not for me. For I was Arthur, King of my people, for now and for ever. And I rode to battle.
Chapter 21 - The TARDIS
The battle was awful. I lost more men that I thought I had. Men began to leave the comfort and safety of their homes when Arthur's Banner of the Wolf and Lion passed their streets. They would not let their King fight by himself. They were peasants and merchants… traders and scholars… but they were my people, and they loved me. They joined me in my last song. It was a chorus of thousands.
It was an army beyond compare. Lancelot didn't know what hit him. He was strong, yes, and had many supporters, and the wisdom and support of a renegade Time Lady… but I was Arthur. I had Britain.
The final standoff was telling. I led my men to Lancelot's stronghold. He was standing, surrounded by a dozen men and a green mist. The Time Lady. She floated around me in her misty form and laughed like a maniac. I didn't fear her. I had Excalibur in my hands, forged of the metal from the stars - my Doctor's work that kept him from rescuing me earlier from the clutches of my uncle. He had put things in motion. From the very start. I was Arthur, but he was Merlin.
"Where is the Doctor now?" Rani cackled. "I will tell you where he is." She pointed to Lancelot, who raised his hand in triumph. On it was a ring… the ring that had terrified the old Doctor… and I recoiled in horror.
"No!" I shouted, but it was true. I knew it.
"The Doctor is my prisoner for all of eternity," she said joyfully. "Ooh, think of all the experiments I can make on a Time Lord… I wonder how brittle his skull is…"
I was angry. Never had I felt fury like I did then. And I raised my sword. Excalibur rang true. It gleamed in pure blinding light. The TARDIS called to me. I swung it around, and ran like a madman.
In less than a minute, I had killed all of Lancelot's personal guard. He was alone. Him and the Time Lady.
"The Doctor is not truly gone," I hissed in rage. "He lives in Excalibur, and in me."
The Time Lady chortled. "Gallifreyan steel? Sure, it could kill me. Good thing I can travel through space and time, isn't it? So, you're stuck here, Arthur. You cannot follow us. Without the Doctor, the TARDIS is a useless piece of metal. You are trapped in the past while we enslave your people in the future, a future where your pitiful woman has fled to. Lance would enjoy seeing her again." So saying, she floated back to Lancelot, and covered him in her mist. The next instant, they disappeared.
I stared in disbelief. I had won the battle and lost the war. My Ginny was in London. She was alone, the old Doctor had left her there.
I left the fortress aimlessly. My men were cheering. Victory was ours. But for me victory was shorn of all gladness. I was King of Britain and I had nowhere to go. I was alone, and I missed Ginny. The echoes kept calling me home. Where was home? More importantly, when was home?
I saw it then. The TARDIS. It was standing in an empty street, all alone. I ran to it. The Doctor. How could this be? Unsure, I ran to the TARDIS. I wasn't alone. Every single person turned to the TARDIS and cheers erupted. Of course they cheered. Merlin had returned.
But when I opened the TARDIS, I got the shock of my life. It was empty. But that wasn't all. It wasn't just empty. It was dead. An abysmal appearance of decay was all over it. Rani was right. The Doctor had been defeated. The greatest man who ever lived. The Time Lord.
I sunk to the floor of the TARDIS and rested my head against the console table. Then I wept. My tears were in lament of everything that I had lost - my Ginny, who was facing her greatest nightmare alone… I never did tell her I had forgiven her… the Lady, who was now one with my Ginny… my people, to whom I could no longer return… for my Doctor… and, for the TARDIS…
But as my tears fell, a glow emerged from the depths of the TARDIS. An unearthly, divine glow, and my heart stopped. It was the most beautiful and awesome sight imaginable - so says Arthur, King of Britain. It was beyond anything I could imagine. It was paradise.
It was the Heart of the TARDIS. It opened before me, and I smiled. I had found Avalon.
The TARDIS was alive again. I had fueled it with my emotions, and it gave me power. The power from which the fabric of Time was weaved - the primeval power.
It wasn't over yet. Arthur's last song was in full blow, mightier and nobler than ever. I would go to London. I would save my Ginny. I would save the Doctor. For I had saved the TARDIS.
But first I had to bid farewell to my people… for the final time. There would be no return. No second strain. This was the last song.
I walked out, and people stared at me in wonder. I could see it in their eyes, the awe they felt. I could feel it in their hearts, the love they had for me. I could see their minds, the dread that my sight portended… they knew… It brought tears to my eyes. But I turned to Bors, the last of my knights.
"Will you forgive me for my harsh words all those years ago, my friend?"
"My King," Bors said, kneeling on one knee. "You need never apologize for anything. No matter what you say, I was and always will remain your man."
"That you were, Sir Bors," I said calmly. Then I turned to the people at large. I didn't have to raise my voice. It carried.
"I have brought you peace. You are free of Morgan's evil. She is gone for now. Build for yourself a Britain worthy of Arthur… but… I must go…"
My people were silent. They knew protests were of little use now. It was written in my face. I could never return. The circle had to be closed. The Doctor often said those words, and I knew what they meant.
But I also remembered the vows of a child. To always part with a promise.
"But do not grieve for me. I do not go to die. I go to find peace. In Merlin's domain, I have found Avalon… it is a place of rest, a place of healing. I go there, my friends. Do not grieve for me. Do not miss me. I have lived a full life among you. Now I need rest. But you who remain must carry on. You must live and find happiness. Remember my last song, and live… Live for Britain, and live for Arthur. Live, and do not weep, for I was your King, and always will remain so. Live, dwelling by my promise that I'll be back someday. I will be back."
"Arthur! Long Live the King! Long Live Arthur!"
"Long Live the Future King!"
I turned towards the TARDIS and started walking. I was ready to leave. My people were ready to see me leave. Lancelot had been defeated here, but he was back in London. And Ginny was alone. My Ginny. I missed her.
The echoes… they kept calling me home. And I knew where home was. Home was with my Ginny. It had always been.
"Take me home," I said to the TARDIS, and didn't need to press any buttons. I had seen its heart, as it had always seen mine. Torn apart by time and misunderstandings, we were one, Ginny and I. I loved her. I needed her. The Heart of the TARDIS had healed my own.
Chapter 22 - The Future King
It was fixed the whole time. I realized this as I stepped out of the Blue Box. I had seen Avalon within the TARDIS, and was now back among my people. Whether or not they still thought me their king, mattered little. They were what made me a king in the first place. Without them, I was but merely Arthur. And without Ginny, I was just a lost child… and… without the Doctor… I was not even that… Without the Doctor, I was a mere freak.
They needed me, everyone I cared for, and I came to them. The TARDIS brought me back to Hogwarts. It looked much the same, but the people were different.
Battle was raging. Black robed men with white masks were all over the place. I saw an old man with a long white beard, and knew him to be Albus Dumbledore. He fought like a man possessed. I was reminded of Gavin after Gareth's death. But I didn't stop to aid him.
I then saw a middle aged brown haired man and a pink haired girl, fighting side by side. They fell. I felt something stir within me, as if I should have known him. The TARDIS told me his name. Remus Lupin, a friend of my father. I shook my head. The only father I knew was the Doctor. And the Doctor had no friends. He couldn't have any. It was his curse.
I saw younger people… closer to my age… redheads, a large number of them. Ginny's family. They fought bravely.
And then I saw her.
My Ginny. She was fighting Lancelot. Lancelot looked much older than he did a few minutes ago when I defeated him. He looked half a serpent, and I felt pity for what he had become. Others feared to even come close to him, but my Ginny didn't fear. I was proud of her.
I walked to them quietly, staying in the shadows. The unearthly gleam in my face was present but hidden by the carnage going on. In the din on battle, my arrival and presence was unnoted. I heard them speak.
"Guinevere, my love," Riddle was saying. "Ginny, my sweet, stop this nonsense and come to my side. You know we were meant to be together. Why else would you have found my diary? Why would you have come to my arms after being cast aside by Arthur?"
"Do not even say his name with your foul tongue," Ginny hissed with rage. "He is hundred times the man you ever were."
"Then why does he not come to your aid? Why does he allow to let you die? I will tell you why. He doesn't love you anymore, not after being twice betrayed."
His words crushed Ginny. Her wand slipped from her hand and her knees gave way. I would have run to her, but I did not. I still had a task to do. One final task. My last song was in its final beat. There was one last thing to do before I could be just Ginny's Harry.
"Arthur no longer cares about you, and the Doctor is unable to aid you. Your defiance is futile. Join me, or die."
Ginny laughed sourly. "You seem to have a pattern there, Lance. You lured me once as a diary, when I was missing Harry. Then you lured me when I grieved his leaving Hogwarts without me. Now, you try to lure me again. Your route to me has always been through my longing for him. Not this time. If I cannot have life with Arthur… with my Harry… then I choose death."
My heart broke at the grief in her voice. But it wasn't yet time. I had to wait until Morgan appeared. The TARDIS knew what to do.
"But you think it's your choice, my dear," Riddle hissed. "I shall have you by my side, whether you will it or not. Morgan!" he yelled.
A mist appeared around him, and the Time Lady glared at him in exasperation.
"Can't you fight a single battle on your own? I was in the middle of an interesting experiment with the muggle-born. What do you want?"
"I want that girl to be my slave for life," he hissed.
"Then why don't you use the Imperius Curse?"
"I want her to be aware, to know, to feel… I want her as you had the Doctor…"
Rani glared at Riddle. "Do not compare Gallifreyans to yourself, pitiful earthling. And the Doctor is not my slave. He is gone. Dead. Banished. Out of existence. He will never bother me again."
It was then that I struck. I raised my hand and the most primordial of all energies flowed out of the TARDIS, and through me as a conductor, it made an arch towards the Time Lady.
"Impossible," she screeched like a banshee, recognizing the beam for what it was.
"You forget," I called out, stepping into the light. "You forget the most important thing, Time Lady. The one thing I always remembered. The TARDIS is alive. It rides to the succor of the Time Lord."
"This is impossible! You are a mere earthling! This cannot be!"
The beam flowed around her and bound her. I could have killed her, but I didn't. She was the fallen one, but still one of the most ancient of beings. I had no right to end her life.
"I have always seen the TARDIS as my home, and the Doctor as my father," I said. "I am the Child of Time." I sent the final beam at her, knocking her to the ground.
"Arthur," Riddle screamed in distaste, looking at his mentor's state. "Very good. I will kill you here."
"Riddle," I called out in a voice filled with deathly calm. All activity had ceased around us. We were the center of attention in the field of battle. The Time Lady was bound in the energies of the vortex, and I shifted my attention to the man who brought about every single woe in my life. But I was Arthur, and my personal grief was not worth half as much as the suffering he brought to my people. "You have brought much grief to my land and my people. I cannot allow you to live. But you were once my friend, so I shall make the end swift and painless."
"You cannot kill me," he laughed joyously. "A prophecy was made. The only one who can kill me has vanished of the face of the earth."
I didn't say anything, but merely looked at him dispassionately. He still hadn't realized. He should have, he knew I was Harry. I waited for him to understand. I knew he would. And he did. I literally saw the implication of my silence click in his mind, and he took a step back. He knew my real name was Harry. He now knew I was Harry Potter. I took a step forward.
"I am Arthur, true King of Britain. I am Mordred, Destroyer of Arthur's Era. I am Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived."
Chaos erupted around me like a tide of voices, but I didn't listen. My song was fading, and I had to pay full attention to it.
The energies that merely captured Rani burnt Riddle to cinders. He was but a human. And to my great joy, the ring in his finger split open, and a misty figure appeared, solidifying slowly. It was the Doctor.
He looked at me with pride. And sadness. He ran to me. But I stopped him with my eyes. I knew what I had to do. The TARDIS told me. The Doctor could do it for me. He intended to do it for me. But I wouldn't let him.
"Doctor, I am closing the circle now. You know what that means," I said quietly. I noticed Ginny near me, yearning for a touch to try and find out if I was really there. But the energies of the vortex kept her distant. I was more than just human then.
"The predestination loop," the Doctor said with a nod. He was sad. Sad, that I had to hold such power in my hands. I, who had only ever wanted to be a bunny rabbit, held the power of God.
To hold the greatest power. To feel it. To become one with it. How can one return to normalcy afterwards?
But I had to do it. I did it. The circle was closed. Arthur's song was over, and I yearned to be simply Harry. But I had held the greatest power. I couldn't go back to that. I was so much more, and yet so much less. Then I saw Ginny and I knew what I could be, even if I couldn't be just Harry. I could be Ginny's Harry. That would be enough. I would go home.
I saw Ginny look at me with great longing, but keeping a distance. My final words rang in both our ears - it had to be my choice, and she dreaded what that would be. But it didn't matter anymore. I was her Harry. Her best friend. The man whom she married. I always had been. I told her that.
She collapsed against me and I held her. We both cried. It had been a long and tiring journey for us, but it mattered no more. It was over, and here at the end, I was with her. My Ginny.
Her family and Dumbledore had gathered around us. I let Ginny do the explaining, and I turned to my family.
He was standing all by himself, quietly.
"I took away the memories from Rose's mind after she held that power. I could do it for you too," he said.
I shook my head. "No. I now know what it is to be you, Doctor. Let me keep this much."
He nodded. He understood, he always did. I smiled.
Then he looked at me strangely.
I knew that look. It was what I gave my people when I knew I had to leave them for good. And I knew what he needed. He needed me to keep smiling. I did that, even though tears came to my eyes, but I didn't stop smiling. I could do that much for him… the man who made me smile…
Then he turned to the Time Lady, fastened but not secure, grit and judgment in his eyes. "Enough, Rani. It is time for the old order to collapse." So saying, he did something. I didn't see what, but both he and the Time Lady disappeared. The battle was over. Riddle was dead, and Rani was gone. But so was the Doctor.
Seeing their leaders defeated, the black robed men gave up. But I didn't take part in that. My song was over, and Ginny was in my arms.
Lunging forward, I feasted on her lips. They were delicious, even more so than I recalled. I don't think we cared for the large crowd that was around us. I didn't care. Not anymore. Arthur was gone. The circle had been closed. I was merely Harry. And for Harry, Ginny would always come before everyone else. I told her that. She cried against me. I didn't like that. I never got over my distaste towards people I care crying. So I patted her head.
She smiled, but I could still see a sorrow in her eyes. I knew what it was. I had heard Riddle's words. No matter what, she still hated herself for her unfaithfulness. Silly girl.
"Twice hurt," I told her. "But thrice beloved, I wouldn't have it any other way." And so it was. She smiled at me again and I kissed her once more. I didn't want to stop. I didn't.
Epilogue - The Granddaughter
I looked at Sarah Jane Potter, my youngest grandchild. She had followed me into my journey in the Pensieve. I didn't know when she came, and I hadn't noticed her till the end, but there she was, keening silently in a corner of the room when I returned.
I sighed. I never did manage to get over that, so I walked to her and patted her head. She looked up with the eyes of her father and grandmother - Ginny's eyes. I smiled sadly.
"So much pain. So much sorrow," she moaned.
I held her tenderly. "And yet, so much joy." But she didn't understand. How could she.
"In the end, I could have changed it all. I could have closed the circle much earlier and made the future disappear. Harry would have led a happy life with his Ginny, but then Arthur wouldn't exist, nor would his last song. I wouldn't have looked into the TARDIS. I wouldn't have found Avalon. My dear Sarah Jane," I said. "I chose to live this life. Do not cry."
"Did you see him again?" She didn't need to say who. It was understood.
"No," I said. "When he left, he left for good. The time of the Time Lords was long over. The Doctor was the last of his kind, a perpetual wanderer, doomed to a life of solitude and sorrow. But his existence kept others bound to this reality, like Rani, but in a less than corporeal form. He had to go."
"I didn't miss him too much," I continued. "What I said was true. He is a part of me now."
"Do you miss her?" Silly girl, silly question, but that is youth for you.
"More and more with each passing day," I said quietly. I was old now, and my Ginny had left me yet again. But this time I couldn't blame her. I would be joining her soon, so the echoes promised.
I was lost again for a while, but I would be returning home soon. Home to Ginny, in Avalon. The echoes had promised.