Disclaimer: I don't any of the legend or any other tales! This is just for fun.
Summary: Arthur takes his final journey and finds he is not alone.
A/N: This has no definite pairings but hints at many (like the legend!). It is a bit sad but also quite happy I think (hope!). Anyway, decide for yourself!
Arthur's entire body ached as he lay on his back on cold stone. His vision, although blurred with pain, could make out the carvings in the ceiling of the castle of Camelot. His Camelot. He was born here and it seemed that it would be here that he died. In the distance, he could still hear battle raging, cries of spells and the clash of swords; the world carrying on without him. Through the noise, he heard a woman scream; a sound that made his blood boil and the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. He struggled to stand, desperate to help his people despite his fatal injury. He failed, only managing to roll onto his side.
His mind whirled, thinking of all the people he had seen, met and loved in his life. He squeezed his eyes shut and prayed that the woman's screams had not belonged to his wife. He found himself desperately wanting Gwen to live through this, to reign in his stead...to love again. He mustered a slight smile, half through bitterness half through relief. He knew Gwen would have no trouble loving again, not with Lancelot around. Arthur had always loved Gwen, it had been a sweet, innocent love not filled with passion but filled with tender kisses and softly spoken words. There had been love but no passion and Arthur could only assume that was why she had turned to Lancelot. Arthur hadn't stopped her, seeing how her mood soared and her enthusiasm for life thrived. He felt relieved that his queen was happy...and bitter that Lancelot, not he, was the one to make her so.
Lancelot. One of his closest friends and his most trusted knight. Trust was an odd thing, Arthur reflected as he lay on the cold stone, only partially conscious. He would trust Lancelot with his life but not with his wife. Lancelot could save his life one way and destroy it another. Throughout it all, they had always remained close and Arthur had never let on to Lancelot or Gwen that he knew about them. Sometimes he considered telling them, in moments of anger especially, but then he would stop and consider his actions. Gwen would never be happy again, he would lose one of his best knights and Arthur himself would be no happier for it. And so he had let them continue, he continued to love his queen and valued his friendship with his closet knight. I remain loyal to you, my lord. Through everything, I shall be by your side. That was what Lancelot had said to him one evening while they discussed battle tactics. It was a shame that he insisted remaining by Gwen's side too, Arthur thought with a wry smile.
Now, lying on the floor, it all seemed rather insignificant. Odd, really how one's troubles can dissolve in the face of death. Death. His father's death had been devastating. And not just because of the love he felt for his father but because it had been so unexpected. There had been a brutal and savage attack on the castle, Morgause leading the enemy with fierce devotion and skill. Uther had been killed by her hand and she celebrated, triumphant that she – after many years – had finally achieved her goal. Arthur had barely noticed her; he had fallen to his knees and was cradling his father in his arms, staring desperately into his blank eyes. His fury at Morgause paled into insignificance compared to the grief that was tearing at his heart. And then she was struck down, a spell had hit her whilst she still had her arms in the air in joy. A beam of bright, white light had wrapped like a coil around her body and, as if she were in slow motion, she looked down at it, then back up at Arthur. She fell back and landed with a soft thud on the stone, lifeless despite the joyful expression on her face. Then, Arthur had not given a thought to who had cast the spell, his attention solely focussed on his dead father. Within moments, Merlin had been by his side, prising Arthur hands off his father and helping him stand.
Merlin had done just that. He had helped him stand; not just then but throughout Arthur's reign. Through each challenge, they came out stronger than before and more determined to look after their people as King Arthur and Merlin, Chief Advisor to the King. The discovery of Merlin's magical ability, Arthur reflected, had been what made them. It had taken him a while to get used to but after a few months, Arthur had gained more respect for his former servant than he had in the three years they had known each other previously. Arthur went to him for everything and trusted him completely. Arthur squeezed his eyes shut again and this time a tear escaped. Not for himself, but for the people he was leaving behind. The idea of never seeing their faces again made him inconsolable. A sob escaped him and his vision became more blurry through both tears and more pain. But just as soon as he started, he stopped. No, when people found his body, slain by Mordred, he wanted them to find their King, noble, brave and loyal to his people. He would not let them find him with tears staining his face.
A sharper blot of pain shot through him, making him grunt and clutch his stomach. He could barely see now and he knew the end was near. Just around the corner, death loomed and Arthur was almost ready. Almost. He needed to go outside; he would not die here, he would not die without seeing Camelot in all her glory one last time. His hearing became muffled as though someone had just placed a pillow over his head. But in his head, he could hear his heart beating, slow and steady. It sounded like a drum and Arthur knew, instinctively, what was going to happen next. Sure enough, Arthur heard footsteps along with his heart beat and a few feet behind him, someone came to a halt. A grin tugged at Arthur's lips despite the pain and he needn't turn around to see who it was.
"Don't just stand there, you idiot." Arthur managed to croak out. There was more scurrying behind him and he felt an arm wrap around his torso and pull him to his feet. Arthur's whole world shook, his vision almost non-existent now. He glanced at his companion. "You used magic to do that, didn't you? You could never lift me like that, let alone one handed!"
Merlin grinned but the grief was still clear on his face. "Of course I did. Why would I bother training when I can just use my natural talents?"
Arthur chuckled, but found it hurt to do so and stopped immediately. Merlin's tone softened and he spoke quietly. "Where do you want to go, Arthur?"
"Outside." Arthur responded instantly. "Take me outside. I need to see the world one last time."
Merlin nodded, blinked away his tears and, muttering a spell under his breath, he let Arthur lean heavily against him so they could step outside into the light.
It took longer than usual to step outside of Camelot's grand doors, partially due to Arthur's injuries and partially due to the fact that the battle was still raging. Merlin cast a spell whenever he can, aiding his and Arthur's journey and their remaining knights. Finally, they came to the huge oak doors. Arthur stopped and took one last look around the main hall, a place he had grown up and played so many childhood games with...no. Arthur cut himself off from that thought immediately. He would not think of her now. It didn't feel right. He nodded at Merlin who understood what his King wanted. With a flick of his wrist, Merlin opened the great doors and they stepped out into the light.
Arthur had never felt something so glorious in all his life. The feeling of the sunshine warmed his dying body. With his face turned into the light, he allowed Merlin to help him down the steps and into the courtyard. He was just about to turn back to face Merlin when something in the courtyard caught his eye. A woman, tall and pale was stood in the very centre in long white gown and a slight smile upon her face. He glanced at Merlin, who looked almost relived to see her, as though he had been unsure about whether she would be here or not.
She had, and Arthur had never been so glad to see her in all his life. Just before they reached her, she took a step forward and held out her hand. Arthur took it and found he could hold it and walk easily without Merlin's help.
"I said we would meet again, Arthur."
Arthur chortled, the sun and her hand warming him and he felt as though he were on air. Suddenly, it didn't hurt to laugh.
"No need to be so smug." He told her, a mischievous glint in his eye. She laughed and so did Merlin, who was now way back behind them. Arthur turned to seek him out but she called to him first.
"You did not think I would leave you, Merlin?" she asked, a smile on her face as though she knew something he didn't. "Come." She held out her other hand for Merlin and he too stepped forward and took it. She spoke quieter, still loud enough for Arthur to hear but quite enough for him to understand the intimacy of her words. "Your love is waiting for you."
"Freya!" Merlin exclaimed, his eyes wide and joyous. She beamed, and just like that, darkness claimed them. There was a moment of utter darkness and still and Arthur, for one reckless second, thought this had all been a trick. Then a bright light radiated from her body.
"I will lead you through the darkness to the other side." She said calmly, as though this was a regular occurrence.
"Where are we going, Morgana?" Arthur asked, curious but not as concerned by this turn of events as perhaps he would have normally been.
Morgana beamed at him and then at Merlin.
"We're going to Avalon."
Hope you like it! I got a bit teary writing this!
I really wanted to write a happy ending for everyone so here it is.
Please, please, please tell me what you think! Reviews make me very happy!