Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Author's Note: This is a sequel to the absolutely amazing doujinshi "The Hero and The Magician."(I'm on a roll with doing fanfics of fanworks lately) I definitely suggest you go read it before you read this because it won't make a lick of sense otherwise. There are links in my profile, or just google it. But seriously, you need to read it, even if you don't read this fanfic. The art is gorgeous and it's so emotional. As soon as I finished it I opened a Word document and started writing this because it was either that or collapse in a ball and cry for a week. This follows pretty much directly after the end and gives the story a happier ending without contradicting anything in the actual story.
Arthur watches the quidditch match from his hiding place in the outskirts of the Forbidden Forest, away from the crowds, his green eyes betraying no emotion. He already cried out all of his tears a long time ago. Now, he contents himself with watching from the shadows. Watching as the boy he loves slips out of his grasp and reminding himself that it is better this way. At least this time, Alfred is alive. If the price is Arthur's own happiness, it's worth it. He would do anything, if it meant that Alfred would keep breathing. Anything. Up to and including 'accidentally' losing control of his magic around Alfred's twin brother, because he couldn't bear to hurt Alfred himself. Arthur is sorry he had to do that to Matthew- he knows what loneliness is like- but Alfred's life comes before anything else. And it worked. Since the day Matthew was almost turned permanently invisible, Alfred hasn't even looked at Arthur. Arthur is glad, even though it hurts. Alfred has his whole life ahead of him now. That matters more than anything.
Back in the quidditch pitch, Alfred is laughing as he tosses the quaffle towards the goal. So exuberant, so full of life. Arthur wishes he would stop regretting what he did. Alfred is alive. For once, Arthur knows he's done something right. Because Alfred is too precious to die for Arthur's selfishness. He's like a ray of sunshine, lighting up the world around him. Even Arthur can still feel that sunlight, though it's weaker than it was when he stood directly in it.
The quaffle sails through the goal hoop, eliciting screams of excitement from the Gryffindors on the stands. The Slytherins merely growl and watch their seeker, hoping he'll get the snitch while everyone is distracted. Arthur watches nothing but Alfred. Which is why he is the first to see the hero fall. No one sees the bludger that attacks Alfred, until the Gryffindor chaser is already falling. No one but Arthur and his too-sharp eyes.
"No!" he whispers.
The first word he's spoken in years.
"Not him! He never said it! He never said my name! He can't die!"
But the universe doesn't care what Arthur thinks should or should not happen and Alfred continues to fall. Arthur stares helplessly as his world is destroyed again, despite all his efforts. Something within him snaps, and he stops trying so desperately to hold back, to stay in control. Magic fills him, runs through his veins like glowing blood, and no restraining spell can hold it back. Wings sprout from his back and tear through the rough fabric of his robes. In mere seconds, he is airborne. He thanks any gods that might exist that Alfred was so high in the air when he fell. Soaring on giant white wings, Arthur swoops onto the quidditch pitch, ignoring the stares, and catches Alfred gently in his arms.
Alfred's eyes are closed and his skin is pale, but he seems fine. Arthur can feel his heart beating strongly. Thank goodness.
He lands lightly on his feet in the middle of the quidditch pitch, clutching Alfred tightly to his chest. The entire crowd is silent. No one knows for sure what to say. Arthur's always had a reputation for causing trouble, for being dangerous. And now everyone has seen him appear out of nowhere, on the wings of an angel, and save the life of the star player of the Gryffindor quidditch team. What can they say?
"Hey, put me down," Alfred insists as his eyes flutter open and take in the sight of his rescuer.
Arthur obliges. He expects maybe a jibe about the wings, hopefully a thank you. What he does not expect is Alfred's fist connecting with his face. Shocked, he stumbles backwards and falls to his knees.
"Leave me alone, bastard," Alfred growls.
Arthur opens and closes his mouth several times, unsure of what to say. There's no trace of the Alfred he befriended as a child in this teen's angry face. Alfred turns to walk away.
"You could at least thank me for saving your life!" Arthur calls after him.
Being so close to Alfred has made him bold. In the shadows for so long, a single taste of Alfred's sunlight brings back to full strength the aching need to have Alfred by his side.
"Why?" Alfred asks, a desperate pleading tone in his voice. "Why did you come swooping in like a goddamn angel to save me? Why does my life matter to you?"
"If this is about your ridiculous hero complex-"
"This has nothing to do with me!" Alfred screamed. "You've been screwing with my life for years now! You keep haunting my mind, and my dreams, and every time I turn the corner you're there, watching me. Do you have some sort of weird obsession with me or something?"
"I was trying to look out for you," Arthur admits in a small voice.
"Yeah? Don't treat me like an idiot! I don't believe that! Not after what you did to Mattie."
"That was an accident," he insists. "Some hero you are, blaming me for something I couldn't even control. A real hero would have understood that it wasn't my fault."
He's angry right now. It hurts to see how much Alfred has changed. Even if this is exactly what he wanted.
Alfred doesn't meet his eyes.
"You don't know how much I wanted to," he says quietly. "I wanted to be the hero who befriended the cursed outcast. I wanted to save you."
"Then why didn't you?" Arthur asks. "Just because the victim was your brother, suddenly I'm unforgivable?"
"You smiled," Alfred explains, his voice barely above a whisper. "I was going to forgive you. I was going to befriend you. But then you smiled as Mattie lost any chance at normalcy, and I knew that someone like that couldn't be a good person."
There's a long silence.
"I'm glad," Arthur finally replies with a smile.
"I'm glad I did it," Arthur clarifies. "I'm glad I hurt your brother like that. I'm glad you saw me smile."
Alfred's hands curl themselves into fists again.
"And do you want to know why I'm glad?" Arthur continues. "I'm glad because you're alive right now. Your heart is beating, and you don't know my name. It will never cross your lips. You might hate me, but you're alive. That's the only thing that matters to me. I would do it all again if I had to. I would do anything to save your life, Alfred. I would die for you, if that's what it took."
He realizes that tears are spilling from his eyes.
"Dammit! Why am I crying? I promised myself I was done crying."
"Hey, what are you talking about?" Alfred asks, looking genuinely worried. "I kind of get the feeling I'm missing something. Why do you care so much about me?"
Arthur can't stop the words coming out of his mouth. He's not even sure he wants to stop them.
"When we were younger, you were my first friend. I tried so hard to stay away from you, but you just wouldn't listen to my warnings. And I let you stay with me, even though I knew you were in so much danger. And then…and then…"
"I died," Alfred says.
"I can almost remember," Alfred remarks. "It's like a dream, but I think it's still there."
He doesn't look angry anymore. He looks like the Alfred Arthur remembers. He kneels on the ground in front of Arthur.
"So you went back in time?" he asks.
"I did everything I could to push you away," he admits. "I couldn't bear to see you die again."
"Idiot," Alfred mutters.
For a second, Arthur is afraid he's mad again. Then, to his intense surprise, Alfred wraps him in a tight hug.
"What makes you think you have the right to decide what's good for me?" Alfred asks. "Why should you suffer for me? I'm a hero. I should be the one protecting you."
Arthur starts crying even harder. At the same time, he's laughing.
"Are you okay?" Alfred asks.
"I've missed you so much," Arthur admits. "You and your stupid hero complex and your insane optimism."
"Hey, it's okay, Arthur," Alfred says. "You'll never have to be alone again. I give you my word as a hero. I won't abandon you again."
"How did you know my name?" Arthur asks.
"I don't know," Alfred admits. "I suppose it must be a memory left over from when you changed things."
"You shouldn't say it," Arthur insists. "Bad things will happen."
"I'm a hero! I won't lose out to some curse."
"You said that last time," Arthur tells him.
But he is grinning madly. Finally, he has Alfred, his Alfred, back by his side. And this time, he'll protect him. Today, for the first time, he used his powers for something good. Maybe, in the future, he can learn to fully control them. He's always thought of his powers as a curse, but maybe they're really a blessing in disguise.
The next day, Arthur is walking down the halls to class, as usual. But something is subtly different. The whispers around him are no longer frightened and suspicious.
"I heard he's an angel come down to Earth to protect the school."
"Nonsense. He's Merlin reincarnated. Did you see how powerful he is?"
"Are he and Alfred a couple, or are they just friends?"
"What exactly happened between them anyway? One minute they were fighting and the next they were holding each other and crying. And now it's like they've been best friends forever."
Arthur smiles. He hasn't heard one mention of him being the Devil's Child all day and most people offer him a smile or a wave. It's different. It's nice.
And there's the best part. Alfred F. Jones.
"Artie! Let's ditch class and go hang out somewhere!"
"We can't just ditch class!" Arthur insists.
"Why not?" Alfred asks.
"That would be breaking the rules," Arthur explains calmly.
"So what? There's still tons of stuff I want to talk to you about!"
"Alfred, I was up until three o'clock last night telling you, in detail, about what happened before I used the time turner. What else could you possibly want to know about?"
"You," Alfred replies. "I want you to tell me about you. I want to know what your life's been like. Come on, please?"
Arthur finds it completely impossible to refuse.
"Very well," he agrees. "But just this once."
"Whatever you say, Arthur."
Thanks for reading!
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