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Myfanwy 2

November 2017

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Dragon-Verse icon

The Call of the Last - Chapter Four




Author: Milady Dragon
Artist: Madbottoms, whose amazing art is Here
Beta: Cjharknessgirl
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto; Merlin/Arthur (past); Eleven/River; Anwyn/OMC (mentioned)
Warnings: Language, Angst, Violence, Character Death, Reincarnation, MPreg (mentioned)
Spoilers: For all seasons of Torchwood (except Miracle Day; that does not exist in this universe) and for Merlin and Doctor Who (just to be safe)
Disclaimer:  I don't own Torchwood, Merlin, or Doctor Who.  All three belong to the BBC; Torchwood by Russell T. Davies; Doctor Who by Steven Moffat; and Merlin by Shine.  I don't own a thing here except for my own original characters.
Author's note:  This is written for the Long Live Ianto Big Bang Round One, and is yet another future story in the Dragon-Verse.  This takes place after The Green and the Blue so there are possible spoilers for anything that came before.  This is also a crossover with Merlin.

I want to thank my Chat Cheerleaders:  Totally4ryo, Bookwrm89, Cyberdigi, Moonfirefic, and Cjharknessgirl, because without their getting their pompoms out this might not have been finished, what with my crazy work schedule and personal life crises and all.  Also, a really big 'Thank you!' to Madbottoms for the wonderful art, which makes this story even better than I've been assured it is. 

Summary:  Jack's and Ianto's peaceful family life is disrupted when Ianto and their eldest daughter receive a magical call they are unable to ignore.  Drawn by that call, they find the Doctor and a young man having dreams of a past life.  Now they must race to find Avalon, and rescue the Once and Future King from whomever has stolen his body...and rescue his soul, as well.




14 April 3257 (Earth Standard Time)

 

Ianto was uncertain about bringing the Doctor to Ddraig Llyn, knowing his mate would be very unhappy about the Time Lord’s presence in their valley.  Not to mention having him around their twins.

Seeing the Doctor on that rooftop had been the last thing he’d expected.  After all, neither he nor Jack had laid eyes on the Time Lord in a little over twelve hundred years, and their last meeting hadn’t been a good one.  Ianto had been certain the Doctor had washed his hands of both of them, and he hadn’t thought about him for a very long time.

Jack, however, did keep track of him, although it was more of a function of his role as Director of Torchwood than out of a desire to see the Time Lord.  So, when they all stepped out of the transmat, his mate’s reaction was not unexpected.

“What the hell is he doing here?”  Jack demanded, putting himself between Rowena and Cadi.  The three had been in the lounge, obviously awaiting their return…and Ianto felt suddenly guilty for not warning his mate beyond the vague ‘expect guests’ that he’d mentioned over the comm. as they’d headed for the nearest transmat point.  But he knew that Jack would have told him not to bring the Doctor if he’d done that, and despite his own feelings toward the Time Lord the situation could be serious.

“It’s fine, Jack –“ he began, only to be cut off by his mate.

“Anwyn, take your sisters out to the kitchen and get them a snack,” Jack ordered.  “Dinner is going to be delayed.”

Their eldest moved forward, steering both twins – who each had an identical look of curiosity on their faces – out of the lounge, a smirk on her face.  She’d confided in Ianto on the way to the transmat just what she believed Jack’s reaction would be, and she’d called it word for word.

“Perhaps Emrys should go with them,” Ianto suggested calmly, not wanting their guest to watch the family dirty laundry getting aired.

“Bullshit,” Jack growled.  “He travels with the Doctor; he can see just what he has to look forward to if he ever crosses him.”

Ianto wanted to point out that Emrys was not, in fact, a companion, but he didn’t think Jack would listen.  It had been a long time since he’d seen his mate quite this angry; not that he could blame him.  The dragon had been just as mad when he’d seen the Doctor on that rooftop.

Emrys looked stunned at the vehemence of Jack’s words, but the Doctor simply stood there and took it, and Ianto knew he would continue to do so, just from the conversation they’d had back in New Cardiff.  He stuffed his hands in his jeans’ pockets, feeling the cool lump of metal in one of them.

“So,” Jack began, stalking toward the Time Lord, “you’re the one who forced Ianto and Anwyn to leave here?”

“Yes,” the Doctor answered honestly.  He didn’t say anything else; perhaps knowing that trying to defend himself wouldn’t do much good, and would actually make Jack angrier.

“You can’t just demand my family’s presence like you’re entitled to it,” Jack went on.  “We’re not at your beck and call anymore, Doctor.  We’ve moved on with our lives.”

Ianto moved to Emrys’ side, the young man looking decidedly shell-shocked by Jack’s tirade.  He rested his hand on Emrys’ shoulder, and very gently pushed him toward the sofa.  Emrys got the hint, and he slowly headed in that direction, until he was close enough to fold his lanky body onto it.

“I know, Jack,” the Doctor answered quietly.  “I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t need their – and your – help.”

“And so you break over a thousand years of silence by summoning my mate and my daughter as if you’re calling well-trained pets?”

Ianto wanted to break into Jack’s rant, but knew his mate needed this, just as Ianto had needed the words he’d exchanged with the Doctor back in Emrys’ flat.  He’d mostly taken the Doctor to task for his treatment of Jack; the dragon didn’t much care how the Time Lord treated him, but his mate was another matter entirely.

“Jack,” the Doctor said, “that wasn’t it at all.”  He took a deep breath.  “I finally did what the Great Dragons practically dared me to, all those years ago…I looked into your timeline.  And what I saw…I was wrong about you, Jack.  I was wrong about both you and Ianto, and I’m sorry.”

That apology seemed to have robbed Jack of speech; he stood there, gaping at the Doctor as if he were seeing him for the first time.  “You…” he finally managed to stammer, “you’re admitting…”

“I will say that I still don’t agree with what happened with the Master, although I certainly have come to understand the reasoning behind it,” he went on.  “I’m also very sorry for what you went through that horrible year, and for my part in what happened.   My last regeneration had the tendency to think he was right, even when he wasn’t, and you were the one who suffered the most.”

“Jack,” Ianto took the opportunity to step up to his mate, digging his hand into his pocket and pulling out the object that the Doctor had given him, back in Emrys’ flat.

The dragon took Jack’s hand, and slipped the ring onto his finger.

Jack held up his hand, the oddly-cut sapphire glittering in the overhead lighting.  “Where did you get it?” he asked softly.

“The Doctor gave it to me,” Ianto answered, looping an arm around his mate’s waist and pulling him closer. 

“My last regeneration found it on the Valiant,” the Doctor explained. 

“And he kept it?” Jack asked incredulously.  “He – you – knew what it meant to me!  Why?”

The Doctor shrugged.  “Anger? Jealousy? Because he was an idiot?”

 “All of the above?” Ianto asked acerbically.

 “I wouldn’t put it past me,” the Doctor admitted, a small, self-deprecating smile gracing his lips.  “I have to be honest…after my regeneration I forgot about the ring, until…well, let’s just say the TARDIS gave me a swift kick.  I fully meant to return it, but you know me…”

“Always running?” Jack asked rhetorically.

“And there never seemed to be a good time, which is ironic considering I’m a Time Lord.  So, when this opportunity presented itself, I decided there was no time like the present to try to fix things.  Emrys needed proof of what I was telling him, and I knew you were living on Earth.  Although, I didn’t expect Anwyn to hear the call as well…anyway, I hope you consider accepting my apology, and I really do need your help.”

“I’ll…consider it,” Jack said, even though Ianto knew that, in the end, his mate would indeed accept the apology.  “How can we help, then?”

“That is quite a story,” the Doctor answered.  “Let’s have a seat and we’ll have a bash at an explanation…”

**********

Jack actually accepted reincarnation a lot easier than Ianto had believed, but then his mate had had a long time to get used to magic and other supernatural happenings that seemed to plague their lives.  Maybe Ianto should admit that he believed their friend, Katsuko, was the reincarnation of Toshiko Sato…

No, maybe not.  It isn’t like Katsuko would even remember her former life, after all.

“Okay,” Jack said, as he curled into Ianto’s side, “you’re saying that the magic reawakened these memories because King Arthur is in potential danger.”

“Basically,” the Doctor said, “yes.”

“And we need to find Avalon and rescue his corpse.”

“That’s it exactly.”  The Doctor was on his fifth mug of tea, and was apparently caffeine-buzzed, judging from the way his hands were flapping and his head was bobbing. 

“As familiar as I am with the stories,” Jack went on, “I’m not sure why we need to save a body that’s been dead for about two and a half millennia.  Certainly he’d have reincarnated, just like Merlin supposedly has.”

“That’s just it,” the Time Lord exclaimed, bouncing a little.  Ianto decided he needed to be cut off now, before he started acting like Rowena did when she had too much chocolate.  “The magic that allows Merlin’s soul to reincarnate, keeps Arthur’s from doing the very same thing.”

“You mean he’s trapped in his body?” Emrys asked, paling slightly. 

The Doctor looked at him sympathetically.  “That certainly wasn’t Merlin’s intention, but grief does strange things to people.”  There was a double meaning in his words, one that only those who knew what had gone on before would catch.  “He only meant for Arthur’s body to escape his enemies, not to do what he actually did.”

“So,” Ianto said, “we also need to save Arthur’s soul, for it to travel on to wherever it’s meant to go.”

Something shifted in the Doctor’s face, and the quick sip of his tea did nothing to hide it.  Judging from Jack’s sudden stiffening, he noticed as well. 

The Doctor was hiding something from them.

“That’s about it, yeah,” the Time Lord answered.  “But I think we need to be asking another question here…”

“You mean the one that goes, ‘who would want to go searching for Arthur’s body in the first place’?” Anwyn asked, from where she was curled up in another armchair, Cadi cuddled up in her lap.  Rowena was leaning up against the front of the chair, her legs tucked up against her chest.   Both twins looked bored with it all, but then they most likely didn’t understand a lot of the conversation…or maybe they did, since both were extremely intelligent for their age, and just didn’t see the point.

“Oh yes, a very interesting question indeed,” the Doctor answered, practically bouncing his in seat.

“It might not even have anything to do with the King,” Ianto replied.  “As I’m sure you’re aware, Doctor, unclaimed land is at a premium on Earth.  If the magic faded over time, then a random surveyor could have found Avalon.”  Jack squeezed his hand comfortingly, as Ianto recalled what had happened when they’d moved back home eleven years ago.

“True, true,” the Doctor agreed.  “But I think there’s only one way to find out…”

“You mean go to Avalon ourselves,” Ianto said.

“There’s just one problem,” Jack replied.  “We don’t know where Avalon is, and I doubt whoever is there is gonna trumpet finding new land, let alone a corpse.”

“And don’t look at me,” Emrys denied.  “I might have some of Merlin’s memories, but that’s not one of them.”

“Then there’s just one way to find out.”  With that, the Doctor was up and out of his chair, and the others were scrambling to follow him.

The Time Lord strode out of the house, and down toward the lake.  “Oi, Dragons!” he shouted.  “We really need your help!”

Ianto was a bit scandalized at the Doctor’s behaviour as he practically ran to catch up.  “Can’t you show a bit of respect?” he demanded.  

The Doctor had come to a stop just before the water would have lapped over his shoes.  Ianto joined him, and Jack took up the Time Lord’s other side.  He blew through his lips, making a rude sound.  “It’s not like they don’t know I’m here,” he said, grinning widely. 

“We cannot miss your presence, Doctor,” the laughing tones of the Water Dragon sounded around them, even before the glistening aqua dragon breeched the surface of the lake.  “You are a force not to be ignored.”

“See, my reputation precedes me,” the Doctor said gleefully.   “Although I’m a bit surprised you’re being so civil toward me.”

“What is past, is past, and was meant to be,” the Water Dragon answered.  “We are far too old to harbour grudges, especially when you come on an errand of great import.”

“Been eavesdropping then, have you?” the Doctor winked at her.

The Water Dragon laughed again.  “We hear all that goes on within our valley, as you well know.”

Wait…was the Doctor actually flirting with the Great Dragon?

“I was hoping you had.”

“You are seeking Avalon,” the Dragon replied.  “And you believe we may know where it is.”

The Doctor fiddled with his fingers, all the while looking at the Water Dragon.  “I’d be surprised if you didn’t.”

“Our power has faded, but perhaps I may know of someone who may help.”  With a flick of her tail, the Dragon dove back under the surface of the lake, and the Doctor jumped back, shaking the water off his now-wet shoes. 

“That’s a nice exit,” he called out over the calming lake, stepping back a couple of feet.

Ianto shook his head, unable to believe the sheer cheek of the man.  He couldn’t help but smile, even though he was still fairly bothered by the Doctor’s being there, in their valley.

“And you accused me of flirting,” Jack snarked, rolling his eyes.

The Doctor managed to look innocent.  “I don’t know what you mean.”

“Excuse me.”

All three turned at the tentative question.  Emrys stood there, his eyes wide, looking very much like a goldfish.  Anwyn put her hand on his arm.  “You get used to it,” she said kindly, giving the young man a friendly smile.  “Hang around this lot enough, and you soon see it all.”

The twins gave simultaneous eye rolls, and Jack said, “They get that from you.”

“I have to start training them early,” Ianto said primly. 

“You’ve both done good here,” the Doctor murmured.  “I didn’t believe in destiny really, until I saw it for myself.”

“Thank you, Doctor,” Jack answered, just as quietly. 

Ianto simply nodded, his eyes taking in the newest incarnation of the village that he’d grown up in.  Ddraig Llyn had changed many times in the nearly 3,300 years he’d been alive; it had also changed its name several times, reflecting the prevailing languages.  It had been Ddraig Llyn for the longest, just as the dragon had been Ianto. 

Their house was the largest structure, and the dozen others had been built radiating from it, making it the focal point of the village.  Everything was built of the natural stone of the valley, many of the structures constructed of recycled blocks from the once-ruined buildings that had been the only witnesses of the valley’s changes over the centuries while he and Jack had been off-world.  They’d gathered a bit of a crowd; those who had come to live in the valley were standing around, watching events unfold, including their good friend, Sakai Katsuko, who had delivered the twins and had been asked to become the Water Dragon’s Friend; the first Great Dragon-Friend in a very long time. 

The valley was their refuge, and it was quickly becoming one for others as well; others who would appreciate the peace they would find there.

They didn’t have long to wait. 

The Water Dragon burst from the lake once more, but she wasn’t alone.  A woman came with her; she was pale, with dark hair and eyes, attractive in a waif-like way.  She stood upon the water’s surface as if it was the most natural thing in the world, and she walked toward the shoreline, letting them all have a fond smile.

Ianto recognized her at once.

The Lady of the Lake.

Bowing, he greeted her as she stepped onto the bank.  “My Lady.”

She laughed.   “Oh, don’t do that.  Please…it’s Freya.”

“Freya?”

Ianto turned to look at Emrys.  In that moment, he saw the man who knew himself as Emrys Gryffudd become Merlin the Court Sorcerer of Camelot. 

It wasn’t a physical change per se; but it was as if the world had suddenly settled its entire weight on his shoulders, as he moved closer to the Lady of the Lake.  “Freya?” he repeated, before sweeping the woman up into his arms.

“Merlin!” she cried, returning the embrace.  “It’s so very good to see you!”

She stepped back, and out of the hug.  Her eyes searched Merlin’s face.  “You still don’t remember everything,” she stated.

Merlin shook his head.  “But it’s me…I’m here.”

“Wait,” Anwyn said, confused.  “I may be missing something, but what’s going on?”

Ianto made the introductions.  “Freya is the Lady of the Lake,” he explained, confident that they would all know what that meant.

Apparently, they did; but then, he’d told many stories of Camelot and Albion.  Jack took her hand and kissed it, winking at her flirtatiously, causing Ianto to roll his eyes in fond exasperation; Anwyn actually attempted a curtsy that went just a bit wrong; and the Doctor nodded and smiled, looking very happy at seeing her there.  The twins were curious; Rowena actually got close enough to tug on her dress and ask what lake she was Lady of, making Freya laugh.

After the introductions, Freya turned back to Emrys…Merlin really, now.  It was more and more obvious that the man who was Emrys was beginning to subsume into the memories and personality of Merlin, and Ianto wasn’t certain he cared for the ramifications of it.  People weren’t meant to recall their past lives in this way, and he was afraid that Emrys might lose himself in the past. 

“I’m sorry,” she said, “I tried to protect Avalon, but over the centuries the magic of the island has faded so badly…”

“I should have expected it,” Merlin admitted.  “It’s not your fault…it’s mine for using my magic and condemning Arthur to a half-death, his soul trapped within himself.”

“You were just trying to save him from the indignities he would have suffered after death,” the Lady answered.

“It didn’t matter; he was dead.  His soul should have moved on.  And now, someone has apparently found him.”

“It was you,” the Doctor interrupted, pointing at Freya.  “You reawakened Emrys’ buried memories of Merlin.”

She nodded.  “When the magic began to fade, I did my best to protect Avalon, knowing that the one person Merlin treasures more than anyone was sleeping there, but after a while even I became too weak.  I couldn’t stop interlopers from setting foot on Avalon, so the next best thing I could do was try to warn Merlin.  It was fairly simple to do, since the magic that was left wanted to do that anyway, it just didn’t know how to do it.  I…pushed it along.”

“Freya can aid in your quest for Avalon,” the Water Dragon replied. 

“I don’t think she needs to,” Ianto said.  “I think Merlin might be able to do that himself now.”

The Doctor was shaking his head.   “I can understand why you did what you did, but no one should have all those memories returning.  We don’t know how Emrys is going to be able to deal with being two different people.”

“You’re saying they’re both in there now?” Jack demanded.  He didn’t look happy.

“We are,” Emrys/Merlin answered.  “It’s…confusing, and I don’t like it.”

“Your mind could burn out,” the Doctor argued.  “It would be different if you were actually born with access to the memories, but this…”

“It was necessary,” Freya insisted.  “No one can be allowed to take away the body of the Once and Future King.”

“Arthur and Merlin are destined to bring magic back to the world,” the Water Dragon said.  “This is their destiny.”

“Destiny is all well and good,” Ianto said, “and Jack and I would know all about that, but is it worth it if you’re hurting one part of that destiny?”  He wasn’t happy, and he could tell the others weren’t either.  Emrys was an innocent human, who should have been living his own life and not been dragged into something that he simply wasn’t prepared for.  The dragon could see the dichotomy within the young man easily; he was still Emrys, and yet the memories he’d regained were weighing him down.  All that knowledge, infringing on Emrys’ own mind, fighting for room among the myriad things he’d learned throughout his life…

Emrys – no, Merlin – was frowning.  “I thought Arthur and I did that back when we were still alive?”

“You did,” Freya answered, “but there’s still a destiny awaiting you.”

“You could have asked him,” Jack said.  “You could have given him the choice of taking on these memories and then trying to save a corpse that’s been dead for over twenty-five hundred years!”

“That’s a very succinct way of putting it,” Ianto said dryly. It was very simplistic, but true.  How would having all those memories in his head affect Emrys?  And who would he actually be…Emrys, or Merlin?

“And what if I don’t want this destiny?” Emrys – and it really was Emrys this time – challenged, standing straight and looking Freya in the eye.

The Lady of the Lake sighed.  “There really isn’t much choice now.  I’m sorry, but I did the only thing I could, knowing that I had to save my friend’s lover from being desecrated.  Look within yourself, and you would see he would have done anything to prevent that…and had already.”

“But he trapped Arthur’s soul from moving on,” Ianto argued.  Yes, he could understand Merlin’s motivation, all those years ago; he would do anything to protect Jack from that sort of fate.  But there had to have been any number of ways to do the same thing without wrapping the King’s body in so much magic it would keep his soul from travelling on its way…

“The King’s soul will continue to its destined home once his body is saved,” the Water Dragon said, her usual laughter gone in the face of just how serious things had gone.

“But what about Emrys?” Anwyn asked, concerned.  “Will he return to normal?”

“I don’t know,” Freya admitted.  “But I do know this…both Merlin and Arthur must be together in order to fulfill their destiny.  Yes, I know Emrys didn’t choose this, but it needs to be done.”

“I hate to say they’re right,” the Doctor said.  “Even though we’re talking about someone long dead, this is King Arthur we’re talking about.  Can you imagine what would happen if someone did get their hands on him?  What would happen once it got out that the true King Arthur had been found?  There are enough legends about him as it is; anyone could use one of those for their own benefit.”

Of course, the Doctor was right.  Someone who managed to get a hold of the Once and Future King could use that knowledge to gain a great deal of power.  They could even pretend to be Arthur, and make claims against the current government…

And what about the magic that protected the King’s body?  Would someone be able to use that, as well?  Would someone even know how, in this day and age? 

What about Excalibur?

Ianto asked just that question.

“Excalibur was not laid to rest with the King,” Freya answered.  “It is protected, for the time when it will be needed.”

“Do you know if the King’s body is still on Avalon?” the Doctor asked.

“I don’t,” she admitted.  “I only know the island is visible to everyone now, and that interlopers have set up a camp on it.  I have no idea what they plan.”

“It could be a simple land grab,” Jack pointed out, “but I think we can’t take that chance.  We should go to Avalon and check it out.”



Chapter Five

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The drama is really unfolding now!
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