Disclaimer: I in no way own rights to Harry Potter or any of the affiliated characters. I am making absolutely no money from this work.
As Harry lay on the grass, the blood from the wound on his stomach leaking out from beneath his hands, he thought that he really should have seen this coming.
When Dumbledore had told him, back at the end of fifth year he honestly hadn't believed him at first. Of course, who would have believed it? He'd finally been told the prophecy. The "power the Dark Lord knows not?" Harry could have sworn the old man was about to say that it was love. But no, as if being the Boy Who Lived wasn't enough, Harry also had to be King Arthur reincarnated.
Now Harry, like any other Englishman, knew the story of King Arthur well enough, but it had taken Dumbledore explaining much more in depth before Harry began to see the connections.
"So…does that mean you're…Merlin?" Harry asked.
The old man nodded.
"Well, er… Are all of my friends reincarnations?"
"Some of them," Dumbledore answered, "For example, young Mr. Weasley is Lancelot."
"That makes sense! He was Arthur's best friend, right? I mean, er, best knight."
"Indeed, he was one of your greatest knights. The other was Gawain."
"So, who's Gawain?" Harry asked, trying to think which of the other man was nearly as close to him.
"I believe Miss Granger is Gawain."
"What?" Harry's voice cracked slightly. "But… wasn't Gawain a man?"
"Oh, yes. But every reincarnation is slightly different, of course. Otherwise there would be no point."
Harry tried to remember what other names he could from the stories that might be important to know.
"What about, erm, Guinevere? She was my, er, wife, right?"
"That would be Miss Weasley."
Harry blinked. Then one side of his mouth quirked up into a smile.
"Well, I guess I don't have to worry about her having an affair with Lancelot this time around, then."
Harry hadn't understood the look Dumbledore had given him at the time. God, what an idiot he'd been. He'd taken the time to read through a few versions of the story of King Arthur that summer, before he'd gotten caught up in the war against Voldemort. Understandably, he was a little distracted from the idea of a past life by trying to keep his current life from becoming one.
After Voldemort had finally died, he'd given it little thought. He guessed he sort of figured that his destiny had already played itself out and the rest of his life was free. He still picked up on some things, of course. He wasn't completely oblivious. It had occurred to him that Uncle Vernon was Sir Ector and Dudley was Sir Kay. That's why he'd made at least an effort towards reconciliation with Dudley after the war had ended.
But honestly, he'd assumed that Voldemort was Mordred and they'd already had their epic battle in which they'd killed each other (even if his own death had been less then permanent), so there was nothing left to be relived. At least that was what he had thought until last year. God, he really was an idiot.
Harry looked around at his crowded dining room. He and Ginny had bought a large house together, and it meant the world to Harry that he had enough loved ones to make even a house that large seem crowded. All of the Weasleys were there, plus the rest of the former DA members and Order members, not to mention few of Harry's new friends from the Auror department. All of the people Harry had come to depend on and care for.
He'd bought the large round table only a year or two after they'd bought the house. Even though he'd never told Ginny what Dumbledore had told him about his former life, she'd smiled at him indulgently even before he'd given his excuse of being able to see everyone at the table.
Seeing it surrounded by his favourite people brought an even bigger smile than the meal his mother in law had laid on it. Everyone was in good spirits from the good food and the good company. Harry leaned back in his chair to survey his family.
Hermione was listening to George explain the latest products at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes with a mixture of amazement and slight horror. Victoire and Teddy were curled into each other, the diamond ring on the young woman's finger glittering in the light from the candles. Grandma Molly was regaling Rose, little Molly, Dominque, and Lily with the same story of creating a love potion that Harry could remember her telling Ginny and Hermione in the Leaky Cauldron so many years ago.
Harry had only a moment to think to himself that he was utterly content before he was interrupted by the appearance of a glowing goblet floating above the centre of the table.
"Oh…" Hermione said softly.
"Is that…?" Neville trailed off.
Harry's heart sank. Of course. Of bloody course.
"The Grail," he whispered.
It didn't matter that he'd only whispered, the entire room heard him. As their gazes shifted to look at him, the Grail vanished.
It had been Hermione's idea to go on the Quest, of course.
"Think of what we could learn if we found it!" she'd said. "Think what this could mean, for humanity, for Christianity…"
Ron had gone with her, of course. Neville took off on his own. Seamus, Bill, Charlie, and, surprisingly, Percy had all left in pursuit of the Grail. Harry stayed home. He knew his friends would return within a year, only one of them having found it. Harry hoped that whoever it was would not ascend to Heaven. He wasn't sure he was ready for any of them to leave him quite yet.
Hermione had returned after only a few weeks, not wanting to leave her children for so long, and trusting that Ron, with his Auror background, would have better luck finding the magical artefact.
Seamus had returned not long after, then Bill, and then Percy. Only Neville, Ron, and Charlie still hunted for it.
Even with his friends off on a genuine Grail Quest, it hadn't occurred to Harry to worry. He'd figured that events had happened out of order this time. Harry'd still thought that with Voldemort dead, he was safe. So when he'd received a letter from Ron about a tussle with some Dark wizards in France, Harry hadn't given leaving Ginny at home a second thought before he'd gone off to help. Stupid fool.
He'd been away for two weeks when he received a letter from Hermione.
"Dear Harry," the letter read, "I was with Bill and Fleur earlier today when Victoire came in in tears. She and Teddy broke off the engagement—she said something about Teddy cheating on her with...well, with Ginny. I don't want to give credence to anything like this, but, Harry, Ginny has been behaving very strangely since you left, and she was very evasive when I floo called to ask her about it. I don't want to alarm you unnecessarily, but I think perhaps you might want to get home as soon as possible…"
Harry had arrived home to find Ginny and Teddy in his bedroom, on his bed. His immediate reaction had been to go to Ron and Hermione's. Hermione couldn't understand how Ginny could have done something like this—how Teddy could have done something like this! Ron, however, was sure that Harry must have done something to deserve this. After all, this was his little sister! She would never do something wrong without reason!
Harry had quietly left during the ensuing shouting match. He returned to his home, finding Ginny and Teddy waiting for him in the front yard.
Harry didn't give them a chance to speak first.
"What is this? How could you two do this to me? What on earth did I ever do to either of you? I can't even—"
"You deserve this," Teddy cut in. "You deserve every kind of pain imaginable for what you did to me."
His voice was cold, flat.
"What? How—Teddy—Haven't I been good to you? I've tried to be like a father—as much as I could be—"
"I wouldn't need anyone to be like a father to me if you hadn't gotten my father killed. And my mother," Teddy hissed.
Harry felt his mouth drop open.
"They explained it to me. Why you took so long to defeat Voldemort. You were scared to face him. So you just hid in the castle, letting other people die before you finally got the balls to kill him."
"What—How—Who said that?"
Teddy ignored him.
"Now, it's my turn to kill you. I challenge you to a duel, Harry Potter."
"Teddy, you don't understand. Please, listen to me. I faced Voldemort as soon as I could, I swear it. I didn't even want your parents in the battle, but they—"
"I said, a duel!"
Harry, still trying to grasp the situation, reached for his wand.
"Not with wands. Do you think I'm an idiot? I know I'd never stand a chance against you. No, this is going to be on much more equal footing. You'll face me with a sword."
Teddy summoned a sword to his hand and brandished it threateningly. Harry wondered if maybe he should stun Teddy before this madness got out of hand.
"Ginny, love, go get Harry's sword for him."
Harry gaped as Ginny did as she was told, retrieving Gryffindor's sword from its place above Harry's desk in the study. As soon as it was in Harry's hand, Ginny disapparated.
The sword was heavy, cold, and familiar in Harry's hand.
"Well, Harry, are you ready?"
"Teddy, please. This is insane!"
Teddy charged at him, giving Harry no choice to but to swing his sword up in defence. Harry had never properly learned how to use the sword, despite having it since the war had ended. Still, he was holding his own. Or, at least he was managing to keep Teddy from stabbing him. Really, he should have noticed the stone before he tripped over it, but he was too busy trying to keep his head attached to his neck.
Teddy stood over him, sword clasped in both hands. As he thrust it down towards Harry's stomach, Harry swung his own sword up without conscious thought. Pain blossomed in Harry's abdomen. Teddy staggered a step or two to the side, hands going to clasp his own stomach wound.
"Teddy, I—I am so sorry—I didn't mean—"
"You idiot," Teddy snarled as he fell to his knees at Harry's side. "This is how it was always meant to end."
That was the first time it really occurred to Harry that maybe Voldemort hadn't been Mordred after all. He should have told Hermione when Dumbledore had told him. No doubt Hermione would have been to figure this out much sooner.
"Twenty-three years, Potter, and you still couldn't figure out how to prevent this outcome? Pathetic."
Harry would know that voice anywhere. He blinked up at the black robed figure that had appeared next to him. Was he hallucinating?
Harry blinked. Was his hallucination mocking him?
"Aren't you dead? What—What are you doing here?"
Snape's face twisted into a pained grimace.
"I am here, Mr. Potter, to take you to Avalon."
Harry blinked again.
"Does that…Are you the Lady of the Lake?"
Snape sneered, but nodded.
Harry laughed. He couldn't help it, even if it hurt. Hell, even if it killed him faster.
"The Lady—the Lady!"
Snape rolled his eyes, arms crossed over his chest.
"Yes, yes, Mr. Potter, it's all very funny."
Snape bent down and lifted Harry into his arms. The world around Harry shifted and he found himself at the edge of a lake. Snape deposited Harry into the waiting barge none too gently.
As Snape took his own place at the front of the barge he muttered, "I sincerely hope, Your Majesty, that your next incarnation is far less annoying."
This is the result of a sleep deprived Arthurian scholar thinking about using Harry Potter as a post-medieval Arthurian text at 5 a.m.
It's possible that at some point I'll expand this, write out the entire Grail Quest, but don't count on it in the near future.
If there are enough people curious, I'll add a second chapter that explains some of the rationale that went into this. If not, I'll do my best to answer specific queries.
I hope you all enjoyed this! Please leave a review!