The King and Her Queen

Chapter 18:  The Distant Utopia


"This is Daddy?!"  exclaimed Sakura as she took the baby from Rin. 

A drop of sweat rolled off her temple as she watched Sakura.  "Well... yeah... but I don't think we should call him that."

"Toki-chan then?"

Rin sighed.  It still did not sound right, but there were not many options to choose from.  "I suppose so."

Arturia came in with a bottle.  "Allow me to feed him now."

"Oh!  Let me try..."  Sakura held out her hand for the bottle.

She gave the bottle to Sakura who offered it near baby's mouth.  The baby latched on to the bottle and began to suck. 

"If milk is spilling from his mouth, pull the bottle away and let him swallow.  Give him a few moments to breathe."

Out of all of them, only Arturia knew how to care for an infant, having raised a child before.  Rin smiled at the tender scene of Sakura feeding the baby.

The only one who was not gathered around the baby was Shiro who remained in a foul mood ever since they got back.  He was sprawled on the couch, watching the news. 

Sadly, Rin understood why.  When they asked him what happened at Gwent, Shiro refused to talk about it.  After they returned from Germany, Arturia led her to one of the library's private rooms and offered to tell her Shiro's story on the condition that she would not ask her how she found out about it.  Rin agreed.

Arturia told her that after Merlyn left him, he defended several villages from rogue mages who were extracting lifeforce out of the helpless villagers.  Unfortunately, some mages escaped with vials of captured lifeforce.  He stayed to help the villagers whose lifeforce was drained, but for some reason, some villagers accused him of murder.  He was chased out of their borders.  Then he decided to go to Gwent first before going back to the Aerie.  He was welcomed there and offered refreshments.  Rin's face paled when Arturia somberly described the tin goblet from which he drank.  It was too similar to the Grail. 

Then Arturia described Shiro's apprehension when he met the Archbishop.  He suspected them, so he followed them when they left the next day.  Along the way, he encountered the surviving rogue mages who were attacking some travelers.  He fought the mages until the travelers got away, only to discover that the mages were shades in disguise.

Suddenly, he was surrounded by shades.  He did not want to lose the Archbishop's trail, so he activated his ultimate spell to dispatch them quickly.  But he did not have to worry, since the Archbishop and his entourage ambushed him. 

Outnumbered, he fought them desperately.  As he fought, he felt himself growing weaker and weaker.  Then, the Archbishop broke a bundle of vials and summoned another army of shades.  He quickly left with his entourage.  When he realized what the shades were made of, he tried his best to destroy them and go after the Archbishop.  Unfortunately, their savage attacks did not give him that luxury and he only destroyed half of them before she and Bedivere showed up.  But even then, it was too late.  He felt his body coming apart.  It was then that he heard a gentle voice asking him if he wanted a second chance.  Images of those helpless villagers flashed in his mind and without further thought, he accepted.

Arturia continued by saying that during his time as a servant, Shiro deduced that the ancestors and allies of the Einzbern were trying to find a way to control the power of the Grail.  He felt that he became their experiment.  He was ashamed for falling into their trap and even more ashamed when he was tempted to kill his younger self during the last war.

After she heard his story, Rin could only guess that Shiro wanted a way to redeem himself, and destroying the Throne seemed to be on his list.  Unfortunately, due to the untimely intervention of Tokiomi's master, he was forced to wait for another chance.

At least, he offered to take care of Sakura and to assume the responsibility of reimbursing Marlen for the house.  Rin was grateful that he did, since she would be returning to the Academy in one week.  Maybe she could get some rest until then.

"By the way, Rin, when do you want to get married?"

Rin sat up, and so did Shiro.  She had forgotten about it.  "Well... I have to go back to the Academy in a week.  Do you want to do it before then?"

"I see... but I thought you only did that because you wanted to delay taking over the estate?"

"Yes, that was my original intent.  But after... after meeting that man, I feel like I don't know enough."  Rin clenched her hands.  "I want to be strong enough to protect you and Sakura."

"Hey, I'm here too..." said Shiro.

"Okay, I'll protect you too, Mr. I-killed-Berserker-five-times." said Rin sarcastically.

Shiro shook his head.  "You got it wrong.  I'm offering to help."

"Ah, thanks then."  Rin felt relieved with Shiro's assurance. 

"By the way..."  Arturia's put her hand on her shoulder.  "I'm here too.  You don't have to bear the entire burden.  I'm sure that if we work together, we can do anything."

"Everyone will help you, nee-san!  I may not know a lot of magic right now, but one day, I'll be as strong as you."

Rin could not help but smile.  Teaching Sakura magic was like trying to teach someone how to ride a bike.  She had started on training wheels.  Soon, she would be able to ride without them and only the future can tell how far she can go.  "That'll be great."

After some discussion, they decided to hold the wedding over spring break.  Arturia grinned widely over the prospect.

"Are you sure it's fine to wait until then?"  asked Rin anxiously.

Arturia cupped her hand between hers.  Her earnest emerald green eyes spoke sincerely.  "Rin, I've waited over a thousand years for you.  I can wait a little longer."

Rin blushed and hugged her to hide it.

"All done."  announced Sakura as she put the bottle down.

"Oh, that reminds me."  Arturia took the baby from Sakura and cleared her throat.  "Mr. Tohsaka, I would like to ask for your daughter's hand in marriage."

The baby did not smile and just stared at her.  A moment later, she exclaimed in surprise.  She lifted the baby away from her to reveal a damp skirt.

They all began to laugh while Arturia pouted slightly.  After their laughter subsided, Rin opened the duffel bag to get a blanket and a fresh diaper.  She spread the blanket out on the coffee table.

As she laid the baby on the blanket, Arturia remarked wryly, "I hope this means that I have your blessing."

They laughed once more.


----------------------------


"A bachelorette party?"  Rin's eyebrows shot up in surprise.  She did not expect this from Sakura.

"Yes.  Michelle says that it's more fun than a normal bridal shower.  In addition to bringing gifts, you and the guests play games and hold activities."

"Sakura, do you have any idea what kind of games are involved?"

A slow evil smile crept over Sakura's face which caused Rin to twitch at the sight.  "Something that will embarrass you."

Rin let out a long sigh.  "Can't I have a quiet bridal shower?"

Sakura's smile melted and her eyes pleaded with full force.  "But nee-san..."

She ground her teeth and attempted to resist those eyes.  After a few moments, her resolve crumbled.  "Oh, all right..."

Sakura's smile returned.  "It's going to be fun!"

Rin groaned inwardly.  Marlen's mothers were a dangerous influence on Sakura.


---------------------------------


A month or so later, they went over the guest list.  Rin was surprised at the sheaf of paper before her.  Each guest was listed with a picture, a name, and a short biography which included their lineage, education and occupation.

"Do you know all these people?"  asked Rin.

"Yes.  I have been introduced to them over the past months."

"I see...  But are you sure that they're who they're supposed to be?"

"Yes.  Some of them bear a resemblance to the their ancestor.  With some, I can feel the bond of the vow between their House and mine.  Furthermore, Peter and Jenna have verified their lineage."

"Oh, okay."  Arturia took her to meet Peter and Jenna over dinner at a local restaurant.  Just by looks alone, Peter was obviously Bedivere's descendant.  Jenna seemed bossy at first, dictating the schedule to Peter.  Later on, she found out that Jenna won the right to plan the wedding.  That explained Peter's sullen expressions throughout dinner.

Rin leafed through the list.  "I've always wondered...  why were you called King Arthur instead of Queen Arturia?"

Arturia laughed heartily.  "Oh, that... it started with exaggerated stories by the fleeing Saxons who returned to the European mainland.  They can't say that they were defeated by an army led by a woman, so they told others that I was a giant with a sword that cut through steel and stone, and so forth.  A Roman consul who was Guinevere's relative, heard of their stories and wrote to her for fear that she was wed to an uncivilized barbarian.  She wrote back to tell him the truth and to ask him to propagate the stories.  By reinforcing those tales, she hoped to scare the Saxons so they won't raid anymore.  He complied with her request, even going so far as to refer to me as Arturius Rex, instead of Arturias."

Rin laughed with her.  "That's awesome!"  She imagined a mighty King Arthur, larger than life.  Those must have been glorious days. 

As she leafed through the list, she noticed that some of the names of the knights sounded feminine, like Danielle and Palamydesse.  "How many of the knights were female?"

"A little under half."

"Wow... that's pretty cool."  The image of Bedivere and the rest of the female knights flashed in her mind.  They must have been quite a force to reckon with, both in and off the field.  Then she remembered a passage from the Code of Chivalry:

   'To always do ladies, gentlewomen and widows succor.'

She wondered what a female knight did with a lady and chuckled at her naughty thoughts.  Then she flipped to the last page on the list and noted the index of the last guest:  107.

"How many knights were in the Round table?"

"Twenty-four in the inner circle and fifty on the outer."

"That's... a lot..."  She was horrified at the idea of Arturia 'greeting' seventy-four knights.  Her thoughts must have showed on her face, since Arturia waved her hands.

"Oh, no...  I only gave the courtly greeting to the inner circle, who were my most trusted knights."

"Hmmm... okay."  She looked at the list once more.  The number of guests began to sink in.  Of that number, only eight were invited by her.  "There's going to be over a hundred people at our wedding..." 

"So... is that too much?"  Arturia hoped that Rin would not refuse any of the descendants.  Deep in her heart, she knew that they would be very disappointed if they were not invited.

"As you know, Sakura is the maid of honor.  I'm not sure if she can handle this many."

"Keeping track of the guests won't be difficult since Jenna and her squad will help her."

"And her squad...?"

Arturia explained that Jenna gathered eleven other descendants to help with the planning and coordination.  Rin began to envy Arturia's instant network of friends.  She could count the number of friends that she trusted with one hand.

"When you're at school, they come here to discuss the wedding and sometimes, just to chat."  Arturia laughed.  "Poor Shiro locks himself in their room whenever they come."

"I see..."  The cart was in motion, and Rin felt that she could not do anything but ride it to its inevitable destination.  "Well, it looks like she has everything under control."

"Then, you approve?"

"Yes."

Arturia kissed her cheek.  "I'll tell Jenna to prepare the invitations."

Given the size of the wedding, Rin was glad that she was not planning it.


----------------------------


"Rin Tohsaka, you have a visitor."

Rin flipped her cell phone off.  Who could be visiting her?  She gathered her papers and stuffed them in her book bag.  Then she made her way to the visitor's office.  To her surprise, she found Arturia with Tokiomi in his travel cradle.

"When you left this morning, he wouldn't stop crying."  explained Arturia.  "But when I told him we'll visit you, he calmed down a little."  She held up a duffel bag.  "Do you have time for a picnic?"

A soft smile graced Rin's face.  "Sure.  I know just the place."

They walked to the grassy hillside which overlooked the valley and selected a level spot to sit.  Arturia took out a blanket from the duffel bag and spread it on the ground.  Then she laid out containers of food, bottles of juice and plates.

After Rin took Tokiomi out of the cradle, Arturia handed her his bottle.  "Is it alright if you feed him?  He... doesn't seem to like me very much."  Her face was apologetic and rueful.

"Sure."  Rin accepted the bottle and offered it to Tokiomi who latched onto it.  When Arturia held him, he would struggle and cry.  She had a very good idea why he did not like her.  As she held him, her eyes swept the valley below.  Her thoughts went back to that fateful day when she made her decision to find Saber, or rather, Arturia. 

"One must always move toward the future."  She heard herself say.  She looked down at the baby who was her father and asked softly, "Isn't that right, Father?"

Her gaze wandered to Arturia, who was selecting pieces of sushi rolls from a container.  Only in her wildest dreams did she even hope that this was her future.  She kissed his forehead and whispered, "Please forgive her, Father, and let us build a new future together."

Tokiomi's hand reached up and caught a strand of her hair.  He did not pull, but just held on with his little hand.  Although Rin could not tell whether he understood or not, she smiled slightly at his behavior and hoped that he would forgive her. 

Arturia held a plate with portions from each container.  Her lips curved up expectantly.  "Your hands seem to be busy.  Do you want me to feed you?"

Her lips matched Arturia's.  "Sure."

She fed her several pieces before they heard footsteps behind them.

"Hey, Rin!" greeted Gail who was followed by Helen and Ivy.  Her eyes noted the fork poised in front of Rin, Rin's munching and the baby in Rin's arms.  "Are we... uh... interrupting your... family gathering?"

Rin chewed quickly and swallowed.  Her ears burned with embarrassment.  She did not expect anyone to be walking along this area, so she did her best to remain calm.  "No... not at all.  Are you hungry?  We have a lot of food."

"A bit."  She craned her neck to survey the food on the blanket. 

Rin chortled.  To a student, free food was always welcome.  "Have a seat, all of you."

The three murmured their thanks and sat down.  Rin introduced Arturia to Helen and Ivy whose eyes widened.

"Did you go to the ball together?" asked Helen as she picked up a sliced sandwich. 

"Yes."  replied Rin sheepishly.  Much to her dismay, the school paper published the winners of the dance.  She could feel the curious stares of students whenever she was on campus.  Thankfully, her rank intimidated other students and no one dared to bother her.

"So... you're... together?" asked Ivy. 

Rin shifted her left hand so that her ring became more obvious. 

Ivy inhaled sharply when she noticed it.  "Totally ace...  So when's the wedding?"

She smiled proudly and told them when it was.  They got even more excited when she invited them.  

"I'm sorry for being curious... just tell me to bugger off if it's too personal.  But I have to ask... is the baby yours?" inquired Gail delicately.

Rin laughed a little.  "No... it's my... s- friend's.  Arturia is babysitting for her since she's busy."  Internally, Rin berated herself for almost  implying that she had a sister.

"Oh... okay." said Gail as she sat back on her heels.  "It's just that... his eyes look like yours."

A drop of sweat rolled down her temple.  Sometimes it scared her when Gail was so perceptive.

"Hey, Rin, do you want to go with us to the Foxxy Lady?  If you and Arturia come, it'll be more fun."  Ivy winked at them.

"Do you want to go, Arturia?"  asked Rin.

"What is the Foxxy Lady?"

"It's... uh... a place where only girls are allowed.  Girls go there to dance, drink or watch whatever show is on stage."

"The dancers are cracking!  You just have to see them.  And if you're lucky, you can get on stage and dance with them."  said Ivy animatedly.

"In that case, I must respectfully decline."

"Why?"  asked Helen.

"I have my lady.  I don't need to look at other women."

Rin's heart leapt at her answer.  Her cheeks blushed some more and she bent toward Tokiomi in an effort to hide it.

Just then, more footsteps caught their attention.  To Rin's chagrin, Grynberg led a stream of students on the path nearby.  They were probably headed toward the orchard at the foot of the hill.  As the students passed by, they could hear some of their comments.

"Hey... isn't that Tohsaka?"

"Crikey!  Is that her kid?"

"Which one is her girl?"

"Maybe they're all her girls..."

Apparently, the chattering was loud enough for Grynberg to hear.  He turned around and bellowed, "Stop fannying around and chivvy along!"

When they were out of earshot, Arturia remarked dryly, "I see that you're quite popular."

Rin groaned and hung her head.  Her plan to have the picnic away from prying eyes failed.  She dared not imagine what kind rumors would be spreading around after today.


----------------------------


While they waited for their order to arrive, Arturia took the opportunity to ask Peter.  "Peter, being a King was my duty and I don't need any compensation for it.  So why is everyone still insistent on helping us?"

Peter thought for a moment.  "I don't think it's for that, your Highness.  If anything, it's small compensation for the legacy which you left with each of us...  a legacy which endured to this day."

His gray eyes held hers.  "You gave us your dream:  a peaceful Britain in which everyone can pursue their dreams to the fullest.  Your gift enriched the lives of our ancestors and eventually, our lives as well.  That, in our hearts, is priceless.  So, please, even just a little bit, accept some of our offers of help.  Your dream helped shape our future.  Please let us assist you with your new life in this time."

His sincerity warmed her heart.  "Who am I to deserve such loyalty?  And who am I to refuse it?  From this moment on, I shall consider everyone's generosity."

Peter's eyes shone with pride.  "Thank you, your Highness."


----------------------------


"A specially brewed honey mead, your Highness."  offered Wayne, a descendant of Sir Gwaine.

Arturia took the glass.  "I'm supposed to drink this after the wedding."

Wayne winked.  "Doesn't hurt to get a headstart."

"A toast then!"

Fifteen glasses rose in the air and clicked against each other.  "Cheers."

Arturia laughed and downed the mead.  Then Eileen clapped to get everyone's attention.  "Everyone cozy?  Good.  Thank you all for coming.  I'd make a long speech, but everyone would hate me.  So, let's get started."  She dimmed the lights and turned on the projector.  The slide read 'The secret photo album of King Arthur'.

As Arturia wondered what it was, Eileen explained.  "These are from Merlyn's collection of portraits of our dearest royal Highness."  The projector displayed the next slide.  Everyone 'oh'-ed and 'aw'-ed. 

"After twenty minutes of her birth."  declared Eileen proudly.

Arturia twitched.  To her horror and subsequent embarrassment, the slides showed her progression from infancy to her teenage years.

"And here is her most glorious portrait, when she was crowned King."

Some of her embarrassment melted away at the reverent expressions on everyone's faces.  Then Peter suddenly stood up and raised his glass.

"To Arturia, our past and future King."

The others stood up.  "Hail Arturia!"

They downed the mead and sat down once again.  When the slide show was finished, Eileen inserted a DVD in the player. 

"And now, for something completely different..."

The screen flared into life.  Arturia read the title:  Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  As she watched, her curiosity gave way to indignation as she saw an insulting parody of King Arthur portrayed in the movie.  Her hands gripped the armrests so hard that her knuckles turned white.

"Is this what they think of me?"  she thought angrily.  "I'll show them... I'll show them that the quest for the Grail was a sacred honor."

Then she watched as King Arthur fought the Black knight.  Her stomach churned in horror as the knight lost his arm and then the other arm.  When the knight lost his leg and refused to surrender, her restraint dissolved and she yelled, "Yield, you stupid knave!"

The movie paused and she found everyone looking at her.  She blushed in embarrassment and sat down.  "It's nothing..."

Eileen stifled a chortle and resumed the movie.  After King Arthur and his attendant rode away while the Black knight was yelling for him to come back, she heard a loud guffaw erupt from Arturia.  She paused the movie again.

Arturia's body shook with her laughter and her fist banged the table.  Everyone took hold of their glasses since the table shook with each strike.  Then slowly, they all began to laugh with her.

When Arturia finally regained her composure, she remarked, "Thank goodness he wasn't the Green Knight.  He'd pick up his limbs and reattach them.  And that would be a problem."

"It certainly would be." slurred Wayne, cradling his empty glass between his hands.  "If Sir Gwaine hadn't shagged him, I wouldn't be here today."

The room fell uncomfortably silent as everyone digested his words.  A few seconds later, Peter exhaled in exasperation.  "Too much information, Wayne..."

"Sorry..."  mumbled Wayne.  His wine-flushed face grew even redder.

Eileen merely shook her head and resumed the movie.  This time, the atmosphere of the room eased up and everyone made fun of whoever's ancestor happened to show up.  When the movie was done, she restored the lights.  

"Now that's done, it's time for some games."  She picked up some cards and spread them face down in front of Arturia.  "Your Highness, please pick a game."

Arturia picked a card and read it.  "Dirty minds."

Eileen took a box from the pile of board games and prepared the game on the table.  Meanwhile, more wine and mead was passed around.  After she finished, she explained the rules and added another rule with a twist.

"If you guess correctly, you must drink from your glass."  With a snap of her fingers, bottles of wine rose from the bar and filled each person's glass with their contents.  The rule was greeted with much enthusiasm.  Eileen slid the cards and dice in front of Arturia. 

"Your Highness, please go first."

Arturia rolled the dice and picked a card.  She read, "Schwarzenegger has a long one.  Spike Lee has a short one.  The Pope doesn't use his."

"His Johnson!"  guessed Leonard, Sir Lionel's descendant.

A trickle of sweat rolled down her temple as everyone else made raunchy guesses.  "So this is that kind of game..."  she thought wryly.

The evening progressed with more games, food and a lot of wine.  Her sense of chivalry almost forced her to interrupt the 'strip the stripper' poker game, but Eileen assured her that the stripper was being paid to perform.

As empty bottles piled up in a corner, the men began to pass out one by one.  However, Arturia seemed unaffected, despite having downed a glass on every toast.  Eileen whispered in her ear, "Your Highness is cheating."

"So are you."

Eileen shrugged.  "Someone has to take them back to their rooms."

"I suppose so."  Arturia sighed and looked at the drunken men sprawled on the couches or face down on the table.  "At least, they had fun.  I wonder how Rin's doing..."

"Do you want to see?"

Her eyes lit up.  "Sure..."

Eileen took her to an adjoining room and cast a spell on the wall.  The wall melted away to reveal what was happening in Rin's party which was on the next floor of the hotel.  The scene that greeted her eyes caused her jaw to drop.

"Liiiiike a viiiiirrrrrgin.... tooouched foooorrrr the verrrrryyyy first tiiime..."

Rin wore bunny ears on her head.  Her low-cut vest revealed far too much that she would want other people to see.  Her sequined stockings glittered as she shook her hips.  When she clumsily twirled around, there was a white fluffy ball of fur attached to her lower back.  By the way she moved and her slurred singing, Arturia knew that she was drunk.

Even though a part of her wanted to rush over there and rescue her, the other part forced her to stay and watch her sing the song.  It did not help that the lyrics seemed a bit provocative.  Warm blood rushed to her face and naughty images flashed in her mind.

"Oh, oh, oh, oh, oooooh, baaaaby... Can't yooou heeeear my heeeart beeeeat... For the veeerrrrry fiiirrrrst tiiime?"

The song ended and Rin stumbled away.  Just then, something snapped in her mind.

"I must go to her!"  Arturia rushed out.

Eileen sighed.  She sent a warning to Michelle, who was overseeing Rin's party.

Michelle received the message and clapped.  "Party's over mes amies... Arturia's coming over."

"What?!  It's just getting good!"  complained Gail.  "It's hard to get Rin to do anything."

"Well, she's coming up the stairs now.  Better hide that camcorder."

"Shimatta..."  Taiga hastily hid the camcorder under her coat and Sakura added hers on top.

"Can't we reason with her?" asked Jenna.

A heavy knock on the door announced Arturia's arrival.  Michelle opened it.  A bristling Arturia walked in.

"Where's Rin?"  The edge in her voice dictated that negotiation was out of the question.

Her eyes located her target lying unconscious on the sofa.  Arturia knelt next to her, removed the bunny ears and covered her outfit with a tablecloth.  She pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket and gently wiped the drool from her cheek.  Then she gathered her clothes, took her in her arms and carefully carried her out of the room.

Everyone exhaled their bated breaths at her exit.  Then Helen spoke.

"Wow... she's like a knight coming to her rescue."

"Will you carry me out like that on my bachelorette party?" asked Ivy playfully.

"Hell, no... I'd watched till you strip naked."  Her response earned her a tickle torture from Ivy.

Meanwhile, Gail poured herself a drink.  "Taiga, does the camcorder have video out?"

Taiga pulled the camcorder out and looked.  "Yes."

Gail grinned mischievously.  "I don't know about you girls, but I'm still in a partying mood.  So let's hook up the camcorder to the projector and get a good laugh.  'Sides... I haven't sung enough songs."  She gestured at the karaoke player.

Taiga matched her smile.  "I like how you think."


---------------------------------


After the altar boys, servers and priest assembled at the altar, the music for the wedding procession began.  Arturia walked down the aisle accompanied by Peter who was the best man.  She was dressed in a white suit with an ivory colored vest and tie.  Her hair was tied back into a ponytail with a slim blue ribbon.  Peter wore a gray suit with a tie which symbolized the colors of his House.  They took their places in front of the altar. 

Behind them, the groomsmen escorted the bridesmaids.  After them came the ring bearer and flower girl, courtesy of the descendants of King Pellinore and Sir Tristan.  Everyone cooed over their cuteness. 

As the maid of honor, Sakura took her time walking down the aisle.  She beamed with pride and smiled sweetly for the photographs being taken.  Then the music became a bit livelier to announce the arrival of the bride.

Since the bride's father was only capable of sucking a bottle, Marlen escorted Rin to the altar.  However, she changed her form so that she would look older and taller.  The effect was astonishing.  In her gray suit and braided ponytail, she looked like a pretty boy from a distance.  However, those with a keen eye would guess her true gender by the subtle swell of her breasts under her coat. 

Cameras flashed to capture an image of the beautiful bride.  Her pearl colored gown and trail were elegant with a mixture of modern and medieval patterns.  Rin smiled shyly from behind her white veil.

After Rin and Marlen reached the altar, the bridal party took their places in reserved pews while Arturia and Rin stood behind the pew in front of the altar.

The mass began and proceeded smoothly.  Rin went through it in a haze.  A part of her still could not believe that she was getting married to Arturia.  She pinched herself from time to time to convince herself that she was not dreaming. 

Before she knew it, the priest asked her, "Rin Tohsaka, will you take Arthur Wledig as your lawful wedded husband according to the rite of our Holy Mother and the Church?"

[Author's note:  Recommended background music:  Nocturne for orchestra by Hirano Yoshihisa]

Rin cleared her throat and answered with her heart beating wildly in her ears.  "I, Rin Tohsaka, take you, Arthur Wledig, for my husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

"Arthur Wledig will you take Rin Tohsaka, as your lawful wedded wife according to the rite of our Holy Mother and the Church?"

In a clear voice which resonated through the church, Arturia answered, "I, Arthur Wledig, take you, Rin Tohsaka, for my wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

The priest blessed them and recited several traditional blessings.  Peter handed Rin's ring to the priest who blessed it, and handed it to Arturia.

"With this ring, I thee wed, and pledge thee my troth."  She slipped the ring over Rin's finger and noted the wonder in Rin's face.  Despite the solemnity required, she grinned broadly.

The process was repeated for Arturia's ring.  Rin accepted ring and slowly slipped it over Arturia's finger.  "With this ring, I thee wed, and pledge thee my troth." 

The priest continued to offer prayers and blessings.  Then Communion was served.  After Communion, more blessings were given.  Finally, the priest recited the dismissal. 

"Brothers and sisters in Christ, please welcome Arthur and Rin Wledig.  Arthur, you may kiss your wife."

Arturia reached out, took Rin's left hand and kissed her ring.  Then she slowly lifted the Rin's veil.  Rin shyly looked up, the blush on her cheeks was scarcely hidden by the makeup on her face.  A small sigh escaped Arturia's lips.  She was so beautiful.

Her left hand caressed her cheek and she leaned forward to receive her first kiss from her wife.  While she and Rin shared their kiss, a soft breeze came from the direction of the guests as if everyone exhaled their bated breaths.  Then someone clapped, and everyone else followed their lead.

Reluctantly, Arturia drew away.  Rin's eyes promised her more later.  Sakura stood next to Rin with a bouquet of roses and lilies.  The priest spoke once more.

"The new couple will now honor the Virgin Mary for her role as Christ's Mother."

[Author's note:  Recommended background music:  Ave Maria by Gounod]

The choir began to sing 'Ave Maria' as Rin took the bouquet from Sakura.  She and Arturia proceeded to the statue of the Virgin Mary and set the bouquet into the vase before the statue.  They recited Hail Mary before returning to the altar for the recession. 

At the end of the recessional march, a white limousine waited to take them to the reception.  They went in and waved to everyone as it drove away.

Once they were away from the church, Arturia turned to Rin and stole more kisses.  As they kissed, a movement towards the front of the car caught her eye.

Arturia stared at the reflection of Leonard's eyes on the rearview mirror.  Judging from the way it was angled, it was certainly not directed at the road behind them.  "Aren't you supposed to keep your eyes on the road?"  she asked with mock reproach. 

"I have two eyes."  responded Leonard with a chuckle.

Arturia simply laughed and put her arm around Rin to hold her close.  Rin reached for her other hand and enveloped it within her hands.  They sat quietly, enjoying each other's company until they arrived at the restaurant owned by Kyle's family.  While they waited for the guests to arrive, Jenna removed the trail from Rin's gown and fixed her hair without the headdress and veil.

Once everyone arrived, they went to the garden.  There, Kyle introduced the wedding party.  After the introductions, Michelle led the happy couple in front of a gazebo.  Eileen approached them with a white dove on each hand.  Meanwhile, the waiters passed out glasses of champagne. 

Eileen thrilled softly and one dove hopped onto Arturia's hand while the other one hopped onto Rin's.  Then with a loud voice, she declaimed, "Let these doves symbolize the purity of your union.  May your love soar to the heavens above."

As rehearsed, Arturia and Rin brought the doves together and the doves touched their beaks.  Then the doves flew into the air and wove an aerial dance of matrimony.  Everyone cheered and clapped at their acrobatics. 

Michelle handed them a glass of champagne while Kyle announced the toast of the Best man. 

Peter smiled broadly.  "Let us raise our glasses and toast to their health, happiness and prosperity."

Everyone raised their glasses to the toast and drank.  Arturia offered the glass to Rin, who drank a mouthful and gave it back to her.  Then she drank some.

Kyle announced the toast of the Maid of Honor, Cheryl Vellason.  Sakura stepped forward.  "In Church, both of you vowed to be together for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.  Rin and Arturia, I think you've already gone through much worse than that.  So I'm pretty confident that you can face whatever that comes your way together!  So here's to both of you!  Kanpai!"

Rin smiled at Sakura's developing sense of humor.  Then she drank half the champagne from the glass and let Arturia finish the rest.

"And now, let us go in and enjoy the feast!"  said Kyle.  Everyone clapped and slowly went to their assigned tables.

The food consisted of five-course meal which included a main serving of roast beef or chicken and sautéed vegetables with mashed potatoes.  However, guests could supplement their meal from the sushi and oyster bar.  While they ate, the musicians played pop music by British or Japanese bands.

When it was time for desert, a five-layer cake was brought before the main table.  A delicate miniature sculpture of Rin and Arturia in their wedding outfits stood on top.  Photographers lined up to take pictures of the cake cutting. 

Rin held the cake knife and Arturia enveloped her hand with her own.  Together, they guided the knife and cut a slice from the cake.  They maneuvered the slice to a plate.  Then Rin took a piece from the slice with a fork and held it before Arturia's mouth.  Cameras flashed as Arturia engulfed the piece.  Arturia took the fork and offered Rin a piece.  Cameras flashed once again as Rin ate the piece.  After they were done, the waiters cut the rest of the cake to give to the guests.

Thirty minutes later, Peter announced that it was time for the dance.  Arturia led Rin to dance floor.  When they reached the center of the dance floor, several harpists began to strum the introduction.  A few moments later, the Japanese koto players joined them to create the melody that evoked the memory of their days by a shining lake.  

[Author's note:  For a reference song, listen to:  Fate/stay Night Animation Original Soundtrack, Kishiou no hokori]

Although the melody was not a waltz, it moved them to express the feelings that rose from their hearts.  They stepped in harmony and let their bodies sway slowly with the alternating rhythm of the harps and kotos. 

Arturia held Rin closer, her eyes shining with love.  Rin's eyes gazed back with equal adoration.  Green mirrored blue as they gazed fondly at each other through the dance.

Eventually, the music faded and they reluctantly parted amidst the applause of the guests.

To honor Rin's father, Rin danced with Shiro to her father's favorite Japanese song.  After their dance, Arturia danced with Eileen to honor her mother.  The musicians played an old Celtic melody in her memory.

After their dance, the floor was opened to free dance.  Rock music began to play and people spilled into the dance floor. 

When Arturia excused herself to go to the restroom, Gail went up to Rin.

"Okay, girl.  Fess up.  Who did you marry?"

Rin forced an innocent smile.  "What do you mean?"

"A bunch of these people are like nobility.  Their bloodlines extend over centuries."

"How do you know that?"

"Their crest is on their cufflinks or rings.  And then there's that."  She pointed to the banner hanging on the wall behind the main table.  The banner showed Arturia's modified crest which included a golden dragon that held a variation of the Tohsaka mon.  "The supporting Houses around the crest are Armstrong, Hecter and Lakeridge.  These Houses serve the Crown."  Her voice lowered.  "So... is she some sort of royal or something?"

"Sort of... she's a knight."  declared Rin proudly.

"And...?"

"Why don't you ask her?"

Gail huffed.  "Heck, no... that's why I'm asking you."

"Well, in case you change your mind, here she comes."

Gail pouted and scurried away.  Rin giggled at her retreating back.  Arturia threw a puzzled look at her.

"Gail was asking about you.  She's getting a few clues from that."  She pointed at the banner. 

Arturia smiled sheepishly as she sat down.  "I know it's a bit ostentatious, but I have to show that you're part of my House now.  Besides, today is a special day."

Rin squeezed her hand.  "Yes. It is."

The main table offered a great vantage point to watch other people dance.  Rin spotted Eileen and Michelle.

"When we're old, I hope we'll be like them."

At her comment, Arturia stared at her in horror.

Rin tried to fix her misunderstanding.  "No, no, no... not like that.  What I mean is, to be able to love each other even after being married for so long.  Even though they're old, they play around a lot, and it looks like they're having fun together.  It's... I don't know how to say it... sort of sweet in a weird way."

Arturia intertwined her hand with hers.  "I agree.  It's almost as if they forgot being old."

Rin snuggled close to her.  "I want to be with you for the rest of my life."

Arturia cuddled her in her embrace and kissed her forehead.  "Then prepare yourself.  I'll be with you for a very long, long time."

It took a few seconds before Rin realized the impact of Arturia's statement.  Her eyes misted over and she kissed her tenderly.  Arturia kissed her back with equal fervor.

Suddenly, they heard cheers from the crowd near their table.  They pulled away in embarrassment.  Then Eileen and Michelle came over and coaxed them to dance.

The reception went on for as long as the guests could hold their liquor.  Finally, after the last guest left, Jenna escorted them to the limousine.

"Leonard will drive you home.  I'll take care of the cleanup."

They thanked her in unison before getting in the limousine.  To Rin's surprise, Leonard drove through a gated community and parked in front of a house.

Arturia led her through the gate and to the front door.  Her astonishment continued to increase when Arturia opened the door with a key from her pocket.   She reached around the doorframe and turned on the light for the living room.

Rin gasped as she read the banner hanging from the ceiling:  'Welcome Home, Arturia and Rin'.

Meanwhile, Arturia sketched a salute in the air for Leonard who replied with a similar salute.  Then Leonard drove off.  She turned to Rin and caught her in her arms. 

"Milady, allow me to carry thee into our castle."

"As Milord wishes."  replied Rin as she curtsied.  Then she let Arturia carry her up the stairs. 

"Is this really our home?"  asked Rin.

"Yes.  Our own home."

"How were you able to get this?"

She winked at her.  "With a little bit of luck."  They arrived in their bedroom and Arturia carefully laid her on the bed.  She sat beside her.  "Do you want to take a bath first, or do you want to..."  Her trailing voice and blushing cheeks hinted at her unspoken question.

Rin laughed at the sight.  "A bath would be nice."

They undressed each other and stole a few kisses in the process.  Hand in hand, Arturia led her to the bathroom. 

"Is that a jacuzzi?"  asked Rin with a note of excitement in her voice. 

"Yes."  Arturia turned on the water to the jacuzzi so that it would fill while they washed.

After washing and showering together, they soaked in the bubbling jacuzzi.

"Aaaaahhhh..." sighed Rin as she sank into the relaxing hot water.  "This is nice..."

"Mm."

While they soaked, Rin asked her about the house.  Arturia drew a deep breath.

"It all started when I complained to Marlen about the incessant offers of assistance from the descendants.  Marlen said that they were concerned about my financial well-being and that they wanted to help.  The next day, she gave me an envelope with a lottery ticket in it, courtesy of Lord Alvin.  She told me to watch the lottery numbers.  I was curious, so I did, and lo and behold, the numbers matched, making me the winner of two million pounds.  When I debated over collecting the money, Marlen commented that if I don't, the descendants will continue to make their offers.  Since I would not accept their help, she suggested that this is one way that I could support you.  She also suggested that if I feel uncomfortable claiming it, then I should ask Peter or Kyle to claim it for me.  In the end, I asked Peter.  I used the money to buy this house with Peter's help.  It's small, but it has a nice view."

Arturia stood up and pulled the string for the blinds just enough for Rin to see.  Rin looked out and saw the full moon in the sky casting silver slivers over the surface of a lake.  Her eyes spied a balcony nearby.

"It's beautiful!"  exclaimed Rin.

"I'm glad you like it."  Arturia rolled the blinds down since she did not want anyone to see them naked.

"The furnishings were provided by the descendants."

"Wow...  We have to thank them.  Do you know who gave what?"

"Yes.  Jenna made a list."

"But still... why do they insist on helping?"

"After a meeting with the descendants of Sir Tristan, I asked Peter over lunch."  Arturia explained Peter's reason to Rin.   

Rin's eyes misted over and her hand encircled Arturia's.  "That's wonderful..."

When they were done soaking, they dried themselves and put on their bathrobes.  Then they dried each other's hair with the blow dryer. 

As Arturia combed Rin's hair, she asked, "What do you want to do next?"

Rin's face broke into a sly grin.  "Can you guess?"

Arturia put the comb down and swept Rin off the chair.  She carried her into the bedroom and laid her on the bed.  She crawled over her and grinned ferally.

"Did I guess right?"

Rin tugged at Arturia's sash and opened her robe.  "Yes... now come and claim your prize."

Arturia's face descended to accept her prize.  Her lips caressed Rin's while her hands undid her robe.  Lips kissed and sucked while hands wandered and caressed.  Arturia's lips began their journey from her mouth, to her ear, down to her neck and then her breasts. 

By now, Rin expected Arturia to enter, so she spread her legs to welcome her.  But instead, Arturia's lips went lower still, traveling over her stomach.  Rin looked downed to see Arturia's head just inches between her legs.

"What... what are you doing?"  asked Rin in a slightly panicked voice.

Arturia did not answer.  She was marveling at the sight before her.  It reminded her of an orchid in full bloom, with its petals spread out and its protruding style tempting an insect to sample its nectar.

"What are you looking at?" 

Rin's legs shifted together, threatening to close the blossom before her.  With her left hand, she held back one leg.  She looked up at Rin's anxious face.

"I'm done looking."  She dove down to sample the blossom before her. 

Rin gasped sharply.  "Aaaahhh... wait... aaaahhhh... no... oohhh..."  The sensations between her legs were so overwhelming that she unconsciously dug her heels into the mattress in an attempt to scoot away.  But Arturia's hand around her hip held her in place.  She had no choice but to thrash helplessly as Arturia devoured her.

She moaned and whimpered as the flesh between her legs was stimulated to heights that she had not experienced before.  Slowly but surely, pleasure welled within her and she trembled for release.

"Please... Arturia... aaahhh..."  she cried.

Instead, Arturia shifted her hips forward and nuzzled deeper into her.  She purposely avoided granting her request.  In an effort to control her, she put her hand on her head, but Arturia remained untamed and controlled her.  She moaned with renewed writhing.

"Aaaahhh... oh... oh... aaah... aaaahhhh..."

Finally, release came when her flesh, overwhelmed by so much stimulation, contracted by itself and mercifully granted her desire.  She lay panting heavily as she experienced the heights of her climax.

Arturia sensed her release and crept up to her face to watch her expression.

Through half-lidded eyes, Rin gazed at her wife.  They had spent many nights together, but this was the first time that Arturia ever did something like this to her.  She reached out and embraced her tightly.

"Go in and feel what you did to me."

Arturia obeyed and felt Rin's muscles contract against her in a slow steady rhythm.  She grinned ferally at her accomplishment. 

A minute or so later, Rin flipped her.  Her eyes blazed with revenge.  "My turn."

Arturia swallowed and prepared herself.  By the time Rin completed her journey  to her destination, she was slick with need.  She glanced down and saw the wicked glint in Rin's eyes as she examined her.  Her face flushed in embarrassment.

When Rin finally descended, she realized that her preparations were worthless.  She tried her best to contain her moaning and cries, but as Rin stoked the growing flame between her legs into a passionate fire, her restraint broke down and she heard herself moaning even louder than Rin.

Then Rin probed her, deeper and deeper, until she felt herself filled.  As something wriggled inside her, she realized that Rin was cheating.  But she did not have a chance to complain, nor did she wish to complain when the fire within her fed on the intense sensations created by Rin. 

Rin smiled to herself on the success of her plan.  Arturia writhed and thrashed before her, her muscles clenching around her tongue.  Every now and then, the tip of her tongue would reach out and tickle a certain spot that caused Arturia to arch in response. 

"Ohhh... Haaahhh... Rin... oh... haaah... aaahhhh..."

She wanted to torture Arturia for as long as she could, but eventually, Arturia's orgasm came.  She remained within her to feel it.  When it began to ebb away, she cancelled the spell to return her tongue to normal.  Then she crawled up and hugged Arturia. 

When Arturia managed to regain her wits, she accused Rin.  "You cheated... it's not fair."

Rin kissed her soundly.  "All right... I'll level the playing field.  But this time, do you want to do it together?"

Arturia's eyes widened in anticipation.  "Do I!"

Rin grinned mischievously.  This was surely going to be a most memorable wedding night.


--------------------------------


"And so the Lady of the Lake said goodbye to Sir Bedivere.  Fairies came out of the mist and escorted them to the Isle of Avalon, the utopia of peace and harmony.  Once there, the Lady of the Lake and her attendants healed King Arthur's wounds.  Then the Lady told King Arthur to rest until the day that Britain would need his aid once more. 

And so there he rests, until the day that Britain shall call him back.  The End."  Arturia closed the picture book.

"Does Avalon really exist?"  Her intense blue eyes lit with curiosity.

Arturia ruffled her unruly golden hair, eliciting a string of giggles.  "I'm sure it does."

Rin removed the spectacle for her left eye and rolled up the scroll that she was studying.  "It's time for bed."

"But I'm not sleepy yet!"  She wriggled from Arturia's embrace and ran around the dining table as fast as her little legs could carry her.

"Bedivere!  Come back here, young lady!"  With that, the chase was on. 

Rin watched with amusement as they circled around the table several times before Arturia caught Bedivere and slung her on her shoulder like a sack of potatoes.  Bedivere just laughed and giggled. 

With the fugitive captured, Rin kissed her forehead.  "Good night, sweetie."

Bedivere kissed her cheek.  "G'night, Mommy!"

Then Arturia went upstairs and tucked her in.

"Mum, is Bedivere a boy's name?" 

Arturia stroked her head.  "It's for a girl or a boy."

"Oh, that's good then.  I like my name."  Then she paused.  "But in the story, Sir Bedivere is a boy."

"In that story, yes.  But the Bedivere I know, the Bedivere who you're named after, was a wonderful girl, just like you are."

"Was she a knight?" 

"Yes.  One of the best."

"Then, when I grow up, I'll be a knight too!"

Arturia laughed at her enthusiasm.  "That'll be nice."  Then she paused.  "But what about King Arthur?  Don't you want to be like King Arthur too?"

Bedivere inclined her head thoughtfully before she shook her head.  "Uh-uh."

Disappointment throbbed in her heart.  "Why not?"

"'Cuz, King Arthur has to stay in Avalon."

"But Avalon is a very nice place."

"Yeah, but..."  Then Bedivere threw her arms around her.  "but I want to be with you and Mommy."

The disappointment in her heart vanished as she hugged her back.  She kissed the top of her head and stroked her unruly hair.  "I want to be here with you, too, sweetie.  Anyway, since you want to be a knight, you have to get some sleep, so you'll grow up."

"Okay."  She kissed her cheek.  "G'night, Mum."

Arturia kissed her again and tucked her in once more.  "Good night."  She stood up, turned off the light and closed the door behind her.

Meanwhile, Rin looked through the pictures that Sakura sent from New Zealand.   Sakura, Shiro and their twelve-year old son, Shinichi, were spending three weeks worth of vacation there.  Judging from the pictures, they were having a great time.

When she was done, her eyes landed on the collection of pictures on the cabinet.  There was Marlen and Nell with their newborn daughter.  The photo beside it showed the elated grandmothers with their new grandchild cradled between them.  A smile lit her face at the sight of their overjoyed faces. 

But her smile faded when her eyes landed on Tokiomi's picture.  Right on schedule, his master, whom Eileen identified as Zelretch, showed up on Sakura's doorstep on his thirteenth birthday.  Despite everyone's protests, he decided to go with him and learn magecraft.  It was then that Rin realized that Tokiomi was being groomed to be his disciple. 

Then Shiro challenged Zelretch to a duel.  After he said that, Tokiomi and Zelretch suddenly disappeared.  In their place, they found a letter in which Zelretch apologized for breaking his promise for a rematch.  However, in return, he would continue to block access to the Throne.  Six years have passed since then, with only monthly letters to tell them of his progress.  She wondered how he was doing.

Then her eyes wandered to the pink frame next to it.  She smiled softly as she remembered the day she received that wonderful bundle of joy from the nurse.  She marveled with wonder at the fruit of their love.  As her little darling suckled her first meal, she felt that she could hold her forever.  She was perfect in every little way:  her smooth pale skin, her round face, those chubby little hands and that golden crop of downy hair with a stubborn strand that stood out. 

While she suckled, her little hand reached out and grabbed a strand of her hair.  Gently, she pried it open and was surprised to sense a slight tingle from her palm.  Carefully, she examined it with her magesight.  She saw a faint yellow glow on her right palm.  There was no doubt.  It was a magic seal. 

Rin's heart swelled with pride.  A quick examination of her left hand showed another seal which glowed faint red instead.  Warm tears dripped from her eyes and blessed both seals. 

It only seemed like yesterday when she was so small and tiny.  Her eyes followed the pictures that chronicled her special events:  her first step, her first birthday and her first day in nursery school, with Peter's little granddaughter, Brendan, standing by her side and holding her hand. 

Her eyes rose to the portrait over the dresser.  It was a modified version of Arturia's first coronation portrait with her sitting by her side in the gown that she wore at Airianne's ball.  When she first saw it, she was amazed at Marlen's clever skill.  Later on, she discovered that Arturia requested Marlen to create a portrait with her in it as a wedding present.  Her heart warmed at the thought that Arturia considered her to be her real queen.  Little did she know that she would truly receive that title when Arturia consented to be High King ten years later.

Her eyes wandered again to Bedivere's pictures.  After their coronation, she and Arturia examined their gifts.  A soft smile broke on her face when she recalled reading that cryptic message on the card with the gift from the Emrys.  It read, "Something to help you do your duty."

She and Arturia removed the wrapping on the gift and were surprised to find a scroll case.  Rin extracted the scroll and read the title:  The Ritual of Life.  Her face warmed to crimson after she examined the ritual.  When Arturia asked her what it was, she answered with a sense of wonder and excitement.  "As your queen, I... no... we will have to cast this ritual someday... to conceive an heir."

At first, Arturia's jaw dropped.  But she recovered quickly and caught her in her arms.  "Do you want to cast it now?"  she asked solicitously.

At that time, she had to reluctantly refuse, since the ritual required an immense amount of sex for some reason.  When she asked Marlen, she declined to answer how much and sent her to her mothers instead.  To her horror, they told her that the success rate of the ritual increased after two days of uninterrupted sex.  It was then that she realized that Marlen declined to answer because even she had not cast the ritual yet.

After their lecture, she concluded that only the Emrys could possibly craft such a perverted ritual.  Even more perverted was the previously forbidden section in the library.  She had never seen so many books that described various ways to enhance and intensify sex.  But despite all of that, she was very thankful for their gift.  With it, she was able to accomplish her duty.  But now, her duty changed from conceiving an heir to raising one.  And what a pleasant duty it became.

Approaching footsteps declared Arturia's arrival and jolted her from her reminiscence.  She turned to her beloved wife. 

"I'm surprised you read her that."

Arturia shrugged.  "Brendan let her borrow her book.  She wanted to read it."

"I see."  Then she added wistfully,  "I still wonder though... if Avalon really exists.  The place, I mean, not your scabbard.  It might be interesting to see a place like that."

"Yes, it does.  I've seen it."

"Really?  Where is it?"

"I'm here with you, aren't I?"

"What do you mean?"

Arturia leaned in and whispered its location in her ear.  Her eyes brimmed with tears of joy which Arturia wiped away with a kiss.  As she led her to their bed, Rin knew that she would never forget her answer.

















"Avalon... is where you are."








Here ends this tale of the King and her Queen.



This story is dedicated to those who have loved and lost.  
May you find love again.


-Cyberano 






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