#elyan: look at the screen. that’s your man
It seems things have changed for you, Guinevere.
Yes, I suppose they have.
If you don’t drag each other at every opportunity, are you really even siblings?
Day 3: Favorite Scene - Gwen and Elyan reunited in Season 3, Episode 7: The Castle of Fyrien
Created for @merlinladiesweek
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Soul-stealer Part 2 (Final Part)
The aftermath; Arthur and the Gang fret, and Merlin wakes up to find that a lot has changed in a few short days.
Unsurprisingly to Arthur and Lancelot, the moment they open the door, they are met by a gaggle of scared and desperate looking knights, all babbling at once and demanding answers.
Gwen had also joined them at some point. Whether someone sent for her, or she just happened to be awake, the two men don’t know, but don’t really care enough to ask.
Arthur just rubs his eyes tiredly, shutting the door behind him. Lancelot notices the King’s exhaustion and worry, and subtly steps in front of him, happy to deal with the talking for now.
He gives the others a placating smile and holds his hands out, gesturing at them to be quiet:
“He’ll be fine, he’s just exhausted. Gaius says he probably won’t wake up for a few days. We’ll post some guards right outside the door, and he’ll send for us if anything changes, for now, we should all get some rest; we still have to report to the council in the morning, no matter how worried we are.”
Percival and Elyan give shaky smiles, but trust Lancelot’s words, and traipse off in the direction of the knights’ quarters. Leon nods, but looks to Arthur worriedly, and steps around Lancelot to put a hand on his shoulder. Arthur looks up at him in surprise, but pats the hand on his shoulder and gives the First Knight a reassuring, though weak, smile. Leon returns it, and with that, he follows the others down the corridor, heading to his own chambers.
Once he turns the corner, Arthur’s gaze drops to the floor again, and he leans against the wall behind him, clenching his hands tightly in an effort to stop the shaking.
Gwaine and Gwen are a little more reluctant to leave.
Lancelot was well aware that Gwen knew about Merlin’s magic (not that anyone else knew that, least of all Merlin), and he sends a loving smile to her in comfort. She weakly responds with a smile of her own, before nodding her head slightly at Gwaine.
Lance’s smile drops as he looks to the other knight, the man in question being the most serious and withdrawn either of them have ever seen him before:
“Gaius promises that he’ll be fine. We can’t help him if we’re exhausted, Gwaine, we need to get some sleep.”
Gwaine lets out a long breath, gulping before seeming to sag slightly, looking to the floor as he mumbles an agreement. He allows Gwen to squeeze his hand briefly, before he gives the two of them a tight smile, and walks stiffly the way Leon, Elyan, and Percival had gone (after sending an out-of-character concerned glance Arthur’s way. The King doesn’t notice).
Gwen sighs and gives Lancelot a fond, reassuring smile. He raises an eyebrow at first, but then nods in understanding, glancing back at Arthur before walking tiredly towards his and Gwen’s shared chambers.
The woman waits until the knight has turned the corner, before finally turning around to face The King. He looks up at her, his face tense and eyes teary, and she sighs, before pulling him into a hug.
He tenses at first, but she squeezes tighter, and begins running a hand through his hair softly, ignoring the sharp pain of his armour digging into her skin. Arthur finally relaxes, accepting the comfort of a friend, and hugs her back, burying his face in her hair and trying desperately to stop himself from crying.
Gwen lets out a deep breath, and mumbles comfortingly in The King’s ear:
“You have to trust Gaius, Arthur. Merlin will be fine.”
Arthur tightens his hold on her, thumping his head against her shoulder softly in frustration, before saying:
“I know, that... that’s not the point, I... I’ve been so wrong. How could I have been so wrong for so many years? How could I let Merlin be so scared?”
Gwen bites her lip, taking a few moments to respond, not once loosening her hold on her friend:
“You couldn’t have known, Arthur. Everything he does, he does to protect us, you.”
Arthur finally pulls away and slumps against the wall, tightly wrapping his arms around his middle in a display of vulnerability that Gwen has never seen before, but will never mention to anyone.
She steps back, understanding implicitly that what Arthur needs now is a comforting presence and a listening ear.
The King stays silent for a few moments, gathering his thoughts, before he roughly shakes his head and huffs, looking up at Gwen:
“I know that. I think I’ve always known that. But what else don’t I know? What other lies did my father ingrain into my head? How many innocents have I killed, how many people are scared of me, because I allowed myself to be fooled by my father’s apparently misplaced hatred?-”
Tears finally overflow and his voice cracks as he continues:
“-He was so scared, Gwen. When we got him back in one piece, he... it didn’t matter what we had said to him earlier, he was so scared. How did I let that happen? It... It’s Merlin, how did I not notice that Merlin was so constantly afraid?”
Gwen leans against the opposite wall, gripping the front of her dress tightly to stop herself from fidgeting. She lets out a deep sigh, glancing briefly to the floor before meeting Arthur’s gaze once more, tears in her eyes:
“We all missed it, Arthur. Merlin is... a master at deception, lying, hiding his pain. I catch glimpses of it sometimes, I think we all do. A bruise here, an odd excuse there, the occasional mournful look on his face when he thinks none of us are looking. But Merlin has always been there, for all of us. He’s just this... constant, reassuring presence, ready to help or comfort at a moment’s notice. We all rely on him so heavily, I don’t think we even notice sometimes; none of us wanted to see the cracks, none of us wanted to see how sad, or scared, or angry, he was. So we didn’t. We all failed him, Arthur, but now? Now, we’re all going to make it right.”
She finishes with a firm nod, her voice stronger with her decisive last sentence. Arthur gives a resigned sigh, still looking doubtful, but before he can respond a look of realisation crosses Gwen’s face, and she tilts her head, speaking softly:
“You love him, don’t you?”
Arthur tenses his jaw slightly, almost denying it with a scoff, but instead, he sags once more and rubs his eyes harshly with the palms of his hands before looking up at her:
“Yeah, I... I think I do, I think I have for a while. And I didn’t even notice until he looked me in the face, and all I could see was how scared he was. Of me. Of what I... what he thought I would do to him. He’s the kindest, least evil person I’ve ever met, and I’m the one that made him that afraid. What does that say about me, Guinevere?”
Gwen just sighs. She knows Arthur is a good person, but there is also no denying that he was wrong in his persecution of magic, and how do you comfort a man who has just realised the atrocities he has unknowingly supported? Committed himself?
She steps towards him again, taking his hand and pulling him from the wall, settling a soft kiss to his cheek:
“Come on, Arthur. Lets get you to bed. Lance is right, you’ll still need to speak to the council in a few hours and you can’t do that whilst you’re dead on your feet.”
Arthur gulps, and sends one last worried, longing glance to the door behind him, Gwen just chuckles fondly:
“I’ll wake you up slightly early so you can check in on him before the meeting starts, how about that?”
The King finally sends her a smile that looks, though weak, genuine, and nods his head. With that, Gwen leads her friend to his chambers, quietly turning down his bed and getting a fire going as he retreats behind the changing screen.
She works slowly, dallying around the room. It goes unspoken, but both of them know that she won’t leave until Arthur is settled in bed, and she’s certain he will stay there once she goes. He finally crawls under the covers, and his exhaustion shows clearly; his head hits the pillow and Gwen barely has time to sweep the hair away from his eyes before he’s spark out, sleeping fitfully.
She sends one last concerned look towards her friend, before stifling a yawn and leaving the chambers, softly shutting the door behind her and eagerly heading to collapse in her husband’s arms
Gaius was, of course, correct in his assessment that Merlin wouldn’t wake up for a few days.
That didn’t stop Arthur from checking in multiple times a day, someone else in the Gang usually joining him.
Unfortunately, Arthur’s sudden announcement to the council that he fully intended to legalise magic, whether they wanted him to or not, meant he was stuck in meetings all day when Merlin did finally awake.
Gwen and Elyan were sat at his bedside when he opened his eyes. He’d been moved to the bed in his own room, once Gaius assured everyone that he was in no danger; said Physician was bustling around in the next room, busy as always, trusting that Gwen and Elyan would fetch him if Merlin’s condition changed.
Gwen felt the twitch in her hands and looked from her brother to Merlin’s face in concern, to see his eyelashes fluttering, before finally opening blearily.
She gasps, and squeezes Merlin’s hand tighter as she glances up at Elyan, quickly telling him to go fetch Gaius, and to send the guards to find the others.
The Knight runs a calloused but soft hand over Merlin’s forehead before rushing out of the room. Gwen doesn’t pay attention to the hushed words being exchanged on the other side of the door, not even looking up when Gaius bursts in, various potions in his hands.
Merlin groans quietly; Gwen lifts her other hand to cup his cheek and leans over him, smiling.
Gaius takes the chair Elyan had been in as the knight walks back in, nodding at Gwen’s questioning gaze. Merlin groans again, waving his other hand around aimlessly, seeming to relax when Gaius takes it in his own.
Gwen chuckles at him slightly, and Merlin’s confused, tired eyes find her as she softly speaks:
“Welcome back Merlin, you had us all worried. Arthur is in a meeting right now, but he’ll be here soon, I’m sure. He and the knights have been fretting endlessly.”
Merlin’s eyes close again as he smiles slightly, but they open wide a second later, a panicked look on his face. Elyan, from his spot stood behind his sister, leans over, putting a soft but forceful hand on his shoulder as he tries to sit up, and speaks quickly:
“It’s alright, Merlin. We meant what we said, you’re perfectly safe. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got a lot of questions-”
Gwen looks back at him disapprovingly, and swats his leg with her hand:
“-but we’re just glad you’re ok. Get better, you can tell us all about your secret heroics later, alright?”
Merlin relaxes, lifting a shaking hand to pat Elyan’s own softly, nodding and giving him a weak but grateful smile.
Elyan returns it, before quietly telling Gaius that he’ll wait for the others in the main room, and silently walking out the door. Merlin, now with a little more energy, coughs slightly before mumbling:
“How long was I out?”
The two of them help him into a sitting position, Gwen quickly taking his hand again as Gaius uncorks the first of three potions, and answers:
“Your soul was... ah, reassembled in the evening of Monday. It’s now Thursday afternoon of the same week. Drink this.”
Merlin takes one whiff of the potion after nodding, and grimaces as he tries to push Gaius’ hand away. The Physician just raises a challenging eyebrow, and Gwen tuts; Merlin rolls his eyes in response, taking the potion with a huff and gulping it down in one, a disgusted look on his face.
He takes the other two in quick succession, knowing that there was no point in trying to refuse; Gaius’ Eyebrow of Doom, he could just about manage to resist, but Gwen’s disapproving and worried gaze could never be endured for long.
He was rewarded with a goblet of water and a pat on the back from Gaius, and another friendly smile and squeeze of the hand from Gwen.
The servant opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, he tensed up, tightening his hold on her hand as his now worried gaze moved to the door.
Gwen frowns at him, stroking his hand gently as she says:
“Merlin? What’s wrong?”
Merlin just gulps, glancing at Gaius quickly before looking to Gwen, and then back at the door:
“He’s coming, I can feel it. Arthur.”
Gwen relaxes again, back to smiling as she shakes her head softly:
“You have nothing to worry about, Merlin. He’s spent the last three days on a warpath against the council, trying to repeal the ban on magic. That is, of course, between bouts of panicking about whether you were going to be ok. Really Merlin, you should’ve seen him when the knights got you back here, he was so scared for you.”
Merlin looks at her doubtfully, and squeezes her hand as they hear the door to the Physician’s chambers bang open:
“You’re sure he’s not angry?”
His quiet, scared tone of voice brings tears to Gwen’s eyes; if she knew how frightened he was, she would have told him that she knew about his magic years ago. She gives him the strongest smile she can manage and nods firmly as she strokes his cheek softly with her free hand:
Merlin bites his lip nervously, but returns her nod and looks to the door expectantly. Gaius strokes a hand through his hair before going to the door at the sound of muffled, desperate voices on the other side.
The Physician opens the door just as Arthur reaches it, Leon and Lancelot a hair’s breadth behind him, presumably having come from the same meeting. Gaius raises an amused, though fond, eyebrow, before wordlessly standing aside and allowing the three men to rush into the room (Elyan waiting in the other room for Gwaine and Percival to be fetched from training).
Despite Merlin’s internal insistence that he wouldn’t cry, tears fill his eyes at the sight of his friends looking so worried. Arthur exclaims his name, his tone an odd mix of relief at seeing him awake and concern at his well-being.
The King rushes forward, and Merlin barely has time to gasp before he’s being wrapped in a tight. Gwen lets go of his hand, sitting back in her chair as Lancelot stands behind her, a fond smile on his face as he gently rubs her shoulders. Leon visibly relaxes at the sight of Merlin hesitatingly returning Arthur’s hug, though Gaius tuts, unhappy with the way his patient was being jostled around so much.
The longer the hug goes on, the tighter Merlin grips Arthur’s tunic, and the closer to spilling his tears he gets. He had been so worried, so scared, but Gwen was right: everyone really had been fretting.
Arthur finally pulls back, but before he can say anything Gwaine bursts into the room, closely followed by an equally worried looking Percival, and a fondly smirking Elyan.
Gwaine pushes in front of Arthur (who huffs indignantly before moving back) and wraps Merlin in a tight hug of his own, holding the servant’s head close to his chest, and murmuring:
“Bloody hell Merlin. Took you long enough, we were all starting to freak out a bit.-”
He leans back, but perches on the edge of the bed and keeps his hands on Merlin’s shoulders:
“-Though to be fair, Princess here has been freaking the whole time.”
Arthur huffs again, louder this time, and Merlin throws a glance his way. Before he can say anything, Gwaine is roughly shoved to the floor (with a very undignified yelp) by Leon, who says-
- as he pulls Merlin into a brief hug, before sitting back and patting him on the shoulder a few times with a soft smile on his face:
“Glad to have you back, my friend, we’ve missed you.”
The servant returns his smile, and Leon gives him a nod, standing and moving back only to be replaced by Percival.
The biggest of the knights doesn’t fit on the edge of the bed, at least not without slipping off or crushing Merlin’s legs, so he settles for leaning over and pulling him up into a tight hug. Gaius tuts again, but no one pays him any mind; if they were actually hurting Merlin or causing any damage, he would say so.
He finally drops Merlin with a mischievous grin, and ruffles his hair before moving back. Lancelot leans over Gwen to squeeze his best friend’s shoulder; the grin on his face mirroring Merlin’s teary one. The knight leans back again and Arthur pushes himself to the front of the crowd once more, reminding everyone just how much of a tight fit it was to have six bulky knights, and two others, in a room where a tiny single bed took up most of the space (The King made a mental note to have Merlin, as the soon-to-be-appointed Court Sorcerer, moved to bigger chambers, and to give Gaius a bigger bed).
Merlin’s smile drops a little, but Arthur lets out a deep breath and perches on the edge of the bed, taking Merlin’s hand in his own with only a slight blush.
He gulps, and if he’d payed any attention he would have noticed almost everyone else in the room rolling their eyes as he opened and closed his mouth, not knowing what to say.
Merlin, having finally convinced himself that he was safe, at least for now, simply raises an eyebrow at him, and Arthur can hear Gwaine snorting behind him, breaking him out of his speechless stupor:
“It’s good to have you back, Merls. The council are being predictably difficult and I miss your sarky comments in my ear.”
Leon purses his lips and nods in agreement, obviously getting just as frustrated with the slow pace the council was moving at as Arthur was. Lancelot just smirks and rolls his eyes at their dramatics.
Merlin’s smile grows again, and he quirks an eyebrow:
“Aww. You missed me, Sire?”
Arthur just lets out a short laugh and shakes his head, before looking back up at Merlin softly, and gulping:
“More than you know.”
Gwen stands abruptly, taking Lancelot’s hand, and gesturing to the door pointedly:
“I think that’s our cue to go. Lancelot, Leon, why don’t you catch the rest of us up on how the meeting was going?”
Leon nods knowingly, giving Arthur a pat on the shoulder before leaving the room, closely followed by Elyan. Gwaine smirks, and opens his mouth to say something presumably vulgar, but Percival huffs and clamps a hand over his mouth before pushing him out of the door. The two of them are followed by a laughing Lancelot and Gwen. Gaius looks to Arthur with an unreadably expression on his face, before saying in a deadpan tone:
“Not too much... ah, activity, he’s still weak and needs rest. The walls in these chambers are also not all that soundproof so... be mindful of that.”
The Physician ignores Arthur’s surprised blinking and Merlin’s deep blush, getting to the door just in time to stop Gwaine (who’d poked his head through to say something, again, presumably vulgar) with a hand on his face and a quick shove.
Arthur and Merlin chuckle slightly at the sound of Gwaine falling backwards down the steps with a high-pitched squeal, but quieten, looking to their laps awkwardly as the door shuts behind Gaius.
Merlin’s hand is still clutched tightly in Arthur’s, but he doesn’t pull away, looking up with a gulp, the worried expression back on his face. Arthur meets his gaze, biting his lip and furrowing his eyebrows worriedly.
“I’m so sorr-”
They both try to break the silence at the same time, but where Merlin chuckles slightly, Arthur frowns, having heard what Merlin was trying to say. He squeezes his hand tighter, and speaks forcefully:
“Don’t you dare apologise Merlin. I’m the one that should be sorry.-”
Merlin frowns, sitting up straighter and opening his mouth to retort, but Arthur shakes his head roughly:
“-No, Merlin. I should be, and I am. I am so sorry that you had to live in fear, it wasn’t fair, it wasn’t right, but no more. I’m fixing it I promise. I’m repealing the ban, and you don’t have to scared anymore, none of your people do, I swear it, in the name of Camelot.”
The tears finally overflow from Merlin’s eyes and he throws himself forward, clutching Arthur tightly and silently crying into his shoulder. Arthur returns the hug without hesitation, running a soft hand up and down the other man’s back and whispering apologies and reassurances in his ear.
Merlin pulls back after what feels like hours, wiping his eyes with his sleeve and smiling slightly when Arthur takes his hand again. His face falls into a frown once more, and he looks up to The King nervously:
“Still. Perhaps if I’d told you earlier, all of this could have been avoided. I shouldn’t have lied for so long, I shouldn’t have been such a cowa-”
Arthur interrupts him:
“No, Merlin. You should never feel bad for protecting yourself in a Kingdom that should, by law, see you burn just for existing. It is not your responsibility to put your life on the line just to help a grown man reach a moral conclusion that he really should’ve been able to reach himself.”
Merlin sighs, but nods at Arthur’s imploring face. He relaxes back against the wall and Arthur smiles softly, lifting a hand to stroke the side of his face. Both of them blush slightly, but neither pull away as Arthur quietly speaks:
“We’ve got a lot to talk about Merls, but you should get some rest, we’ve got plenty of time.”
Merlin nods, eyes blinking blearily as he yawns, just now realising how tired he is. He shuffles down in the bed so his head rests on the pillow again, but doesn’t let go of Arthur’s hand, even as he stands up to move to Gwen’s chair. Merlin tugs his hand slightly towards him, shuffling over in the bed:
“Will you stay?”
Arthur looks down at him, a soft smile on his face as he nods. He lets go of Merlin’s hand, but only so he can climb under the covers, settling with his back against the wall. Merlin rolls between the King’s legs, laying with his head on Arthur’s stomach as he sighs contentedly, one hand hanging off the edge of the bed, and the other back to being held by Arthur.
Arthur smiles down at him, running his free hand through the man’s hair as he softly speaks, so quiet, Merlin almost misses it:
“Always. It’s good to have you back in one piece, Merlin.”
I hope y’all liked it, I really enjoyed writing such an alternate magic-reveal, so thanks anon for the idea!!
Head over to This List to let me know what y’all want next!!
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@flyingpurplepeopleeater42 this one’s for you <3 Also thanks to both you and @fluffypotatey for hyping up my previous posts so that I got the confidence to continue my endless ramble.
I’m your problem now :)
In the Merlin discord I’m a part of, it was brought to my attention that Gwaine and the Green Knight would make for a great episode because if done right it could confirm Gwaine as Queer, and that is 100% correct my friend and here’s my take on that:
I don’t want to follow the real story too closely because it gives me ‘Morgana is horrible at being a villain’ and ‘moral of the story is don’t be a fucking coward’ kind of fairy tail vibes so let’s ✨spice it up a bit✨(and make it gay)
I imagine the episode starting with a hooded figure walking through the citadel of Camelot, towards the castle, while ominous music plays, because if there was one good thing about BBCM, it was the soundtrack. Maybe a servant passes the figure and kind of looks back at them like “what the fresh hell was that” then continues on her merry way because strange people are above her pay grade and honestly she’s having a hard time keeping herself from going full-on alcoholic as it is. She doesn’t need anymore weird shit in her life. Anyway cut to the banquet hall that we’ve seen a few times, Arthur at the head of the table, Merlin and Gwen gossiping behind him, The knights in their respective seats talking amongst themselves, haughty nobles entertaining each other, (if you get my meaning) basically everyone’s having a pretty good time. This will parallel the banquet scene that the original myth starts with, when a green man rides in and tells them all to cut his head off
The banquet ends pretty late in the night, everyone’s full with the cooks horrible delicious food, and Gwaine and Elyan are walking back to their chambers together. From the way the camera is moving we can tell we’re seeing everything from some hidden person’s POV, as they kind of stalk Gwaine and Elyan. Because I refuse to let a single second of this spinoff not be dedicated to the knights characterization, we can just barely hear Gwaine and Elyan’s conversation and it goes a little something like this:
Gwaine: (about Percival) Has he given you any stupid nicknames yet? He calls me ‘little man’.
(reference to that one (1) time Percy called him that)
Elyan: He calls me Sir Short Legs :(
And then Creepy Hooded Figure of the Week rushes up and grabs Gwaine’s wrist and Gwaine spins around kinda panicky like ‘wtf who just touched me’ and surprise!! he knows the person!! We see in the corner of the screen that the figure is taking off his hood. Maybe Gwaine’s eyes widen in surprise and he tries to back away. Next to him, Elyan looks like he’s just shit himself. But then Gwaine squints, looking closer at the person we have yet to see, like they’re familiar, somehow. “Bertilak? Is that you?”
Cut to Bertilak’s face, which is super ugly, mind you. His skin is green and his eyes are bright red and in all honesty he looks like an orc from Lord of the Rings. He tells Gwaine he needs his help. And cut to the new opening titles (which I may or may not be thinking of editing into existence) for ~dramatic effect~
When the opening titles are over we see Elyan closing the door to Gwaine’s chamber behind him as Gwaine leads Bertilak over to the bed. Elyan stops Gwaine for a moment.
Elyan: Remind me again what the hell that is and how you know it?
Gwaine: That’s Bertilak. He doesn’t usually look like that. We had a thing a while back.
Bertilak: *nods solemnly*
Elyan, definitely not jealous in any way shape or form: Define ‘thing’
Anyway as it turns out, Bertilak was a childhood friend of Gwaines. Noble, like he was, but he didn’t act it, so it was easy to forget. Bertilak’s family was close with Gwaine’s dad, and kept visiting his mom after his dad died out of awkward pity, and thats how they met. Gwaine, Bertilak, and Yvain would get into countless messes together as kids. I’m obsessed with Gwaine and Yvain now can you tell? Eventually Bertilak settled down while Gwaine and Yvain wanted to travel Albion, so they split up. But not before that ‘thing’ Gwaine mentions. (Gwaine falls in love will all of his friends at some point and I love him for it)
Surprise surprise, Bertilak’s cursed. They have to help him lift the curse or whatever, but for some reason they need Lancelot’s help, maybe they need a map idk I just really wanna include Lance in one of these, shut up. Anyway our boy Lance saves the day, they go on this journey or whatever, and its super fun for about 2 seconds. (Either Elyan tags along or he stays behind to let Arthur know what Gwaine’s up too. “I believe he is currently fucking an old friend, sire. Did I say fucking? I meant... um... helping. He’s helping an old friend.”)
Somewhere along the way Gwaine meets Bertilak’s wife and just goes full gwaine mode:
Gwaine, bending down to kiss her hand: And who might you be? ;)
Bertilak: That’s my wife.
Somehow, someway, Gwaine finds a little green belt and some old crone or whatever tells him ‘this belt will make you invincible :)’ (she's lying its just a placebo but he doesn't know that. This parallels the ‘magic’ green belt Gwaine gets in the legend) Gwaine thinks he should wear the belt for good luck, but Bertilak, ever the responsible one since his childhood with himbo 1 and 2, glares at him and Gwaine gently puts it down like, “Then again maybe not.”
They save the day at the end, undo the curse, Bertilak doesn’t look like a fucking gremlin anymore, and Queer Gwaine is confirmed. Everyone wins :)
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Ranking Rating the Merlin ships
I’m bored and procrastinating doing more productive things plus I was already doing this in my head so I guess I’ll share and you can all tell me how wrong I am or whatever,,, jk please don't. Also to note these may not be all ships, they’re just ones I have seen on past perusals of ao3 or on here basically.
7/10 - this is like the main ship of the fandom and I get it, y’know they almost died for each other several times and so on but like, canonically, it really is not the best ship. Like, we’ve got to admit these two did not have the healthiest relationship - Merlin was basically obsessed with saving Arthur because of the prophecy and did so at the expense of helping magic eventually and then Arthur was just kind of a dick sometimes because he’s emotionally repressed and all that. But I mean it does still have a lot going for it, mainly the mass of great fics that make it all a bit more even and healthier, so it gets a 7.
7/10 - even though this is one of the only canon ships, I feel it’s a bit underappreciated in a way because of the merthur love out there. Anyway, arwen is an equally good ship and Arthur and Gwen were just really cute together; when I was watching s5 most of the scenes they were in (Edit: I’ve just remembered I specifically mean the scene when they’re de-mind-controlling Gwen at that lake cauldron thing or whatever, they were very cute there), I was just like they’re a really good couple, they work. I mean there are certainly downfalls which is largely the writing and treatment of Gwen in those later seasons but overall they really were a good couple who deserve better.
9999999999/10 - PERFECTION. Like, Lancelot knew about Merlin’s magic and still cared about him greatly and this was the one relationship in which Merlin could be entirely honest and himself and Lancelot was just so so good about it. And also when Lancelot said “I look at you and wonder about myself, would I ever knowingly give my life for something.” and Merlin said “You have to have a reason. Something you care about. Something that’s more important than anything.” and then Lancelot sacrificed himself being the only one who knew Merlin was going to thus giving his life for Merlin. Just these were two amazing dudes who deserved better and by better I mean each other because they were in love your honour.
10/10 - I mean come on first of all “help a friend” “Arthur’s lucky to have us” “not Arthur” like, Merlin understand that this beautiful chaotic man loves you. Like it is undeniable that Gwaine is brought into this all because of the fact he cares about Merlin, like that’s what brings him into all this. In fact it’s so undeniable that even when I’m reading merthur fics there’s a magic reveal and Arthur’s all like “begone foul demon” waving his sword about all threatening like whilst Gwaine is there like “wow I don’t give a shit because it’s Merlin and I love him end of discussion”. And sometimes it’s even like Arthur attacks Merlin and Gwaine stops him which like,,,,,, it is very clear that we can all see Gwaine is a fucking perfect man for Merlin and someone just needs to tell the dipstick warlock this so they can date.
5/10 - tbh this could probably be higher but my awareness of Percival and Elyan is shamefully minimal. Like I’ve seen the show, they were there but I can’t say I remember that much. Still, from what I do recall, they seem to have a good friendship going on so y’know if they ended up in a relationship I wouldn’t be opposed. Could be nice.
6/10 - basically same as above but Gwaine’s here too now so I have to give an extra point.
6/10 - I mean the scene in Diamond of the Day where Morgana’s torturing Gwaine and he screams and then Percival just fucking hulks out from where he’s tied up and breaks free to get to Gwaine like,,,,, get you a man who can do that.
0/10 - Morgana is a lesbian. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
-2/10 - I just simply do not vibe with this ship in the slightest. I mean firstly there’s the matter of Merlin just hating Mordred (wrongfully so imo but still). And then just, Merlin was like basically adult and Mordred was small child the first time they met so like I just can’t say I vibe with it. Mordred is the child of the group and he shouldn’t be dating anyone, that’s it basically.
6/10 - I can almost guarantee they’d score higher if someone had been allowed to live longer but alas the writer’s ain’t shit. They are the peak of deserved better though.
9/10 - ah recall the earlier seasons when these two where just in love and everything was incredible. “Something to cheer you up, I know you’re not sleeping well” “You cheer me up.” That’s love bitch. Anyway these two could have had it all as shown by every early season interaction the had but no once again the writers had to fuck it up. So anyway thanks to them a point has had to be deducted off of perfection because it isn’t cool to torture and brainwash Gwen in the dark tower Morgana (also because of that stupid queen jealousy shit where Morgana was like Gwen can’t be on the throne like can it girl we know you you used to want to share that throne with her).
5/10 - I think what they had was sweet but I also think that, at the end of the day, they both at other people out there who they work better with than with each other. Still, I love them both and if they wanted to be happy together then I’m rooting for them.
3/10 - but only if we’re talking romantically. Platonically their friendship is like ∞/10. They deserved more screen-time together in later seasons but regardless earlier seasons tell us that their friendship is unmatched and I can live with that.
Merlin x Gwen x Arthur
8/10 - I don’t know the actual ship name for this but I know I’ve see it somewhere. Anyway, fuck love triangles, polyamory saves lives. (this sentiment can also go for any other love triangle or even love square on this show that you can think of)
Leon x anyone
-7/10 - yes, this isn’t a real specific ship. yes, I’m aware of that fact. But I had to say, given I’ve seen various ships with Leon, that overall no. Leon is long-suffering and tired of everyone’s bullshit. If Leon is going to date someone, it will be someone nice and sensible who he deserves and who doesn’t add to the chaos going on around him.
On that note, I’m done, you’re welcome.
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Merlin was exhausted from work. Trying to keep up with the hustle and bustle of customers at Christmas was exhausting. He loved to help people find the magic of books though, they were all he had left of the world he once knew. The world when Camelot and all of Avalon still existed. The world, where Arthur was still alive. There was a knock at the door and Merlin just sighed before getting up. He opened the door and saw Leon standing there with Christmas Eve dinner, just like every year.
"Happy Christmas." Leon said sadly as he leaned against the door post.
"Happy Christmas Leon. Come in." The two men walked to the kitchen table and sat down, the only light came from the street lights and a few lights that lit Merlin's small tree in the corner. "Do you ever think this will end?"
"I do not know Merlin. Maybe one day, somehow we will see Avalon rise again, we will see Arthur and Gwen and all of our friends once more gathered at the round table. Or we will be here for another 1500 years wishing and hoping that we can find a way to end this stupid immortality thing and finally just die of old age."
Merlin just nodded and dug his food out of the fast food bag in front of him. The two sat in silence as they ate, the only sound was that of the cars and the late city life down below. Leon and Merlin eventually made their way to the couch and curled up together to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" as they have always done since the movie came out. Leon put a blanket over Merlin once he finally fell asleep halfway through the movie. When they woke up, the news was on about two men who had been arrested early that morning. Leon nudged Merlin awake.
"Merlin, my eyes could be deceiving me, but is that Arthur and Gwaine?" Leon asked, shaking his head. The news reporter popped up on the screen.
"Good morning London. This morning, these two men were caught soaking wet and screaming for the mythical wizard Merlin. One keeps claiming he is the King of Camelot himself Arthur, while the other insisting he is Sir Gwaine of the infamous round table. If anyone can come and get them, the officers who arrested them would be grateful." The camera cut to a picture of Gwaine and Arthur sitting in a holding cell still in armour. Their swords and Arthur's cape had been taken and the armour might have been taken, but it looks like they put up a fight.
Merlin and Leon jumped up and threw on a pair of matching Christmas sweaters Leon had gotten them years ago as a joke gift. Merlin quickly grabbed his keys and ran to his car. After all these years of having one, he still did not completely understand how all the mechanics worked even though he had a drivers license. He preferred his bike, but he would need more than one seat.
When they got to the police station, Merlin and Leon walked up to the information desk and inquired about Arthur and Gwaine. Leon told the officer that the two had been drunk at a dress up Christmas party and had gotten drunk. They had wandered off and no one could find them. Leon paid the bail while Merlin waited for Arthur and Gwaine to come up. Once they were there, the men were given back their chainmail and swords before Merlin tackled Arthur.
"Where are we, and why won't these knights listen to me?" Arthur questioned, a bit annoyed.
"Arthur, I will answer all your questions later, okay? We need to get you back to my flat and out of the armour."
"You are right Merlin, it really does need polishing doesn't it?"
"Yes, now come on." Merlin dragged Arthur and Gwaine to his car where Leon was waiting for them. Merlin helped them into the car and just sat there in the passenger seat, mixed emotions swimming through his brain. When they got back to Merlin's flat, Merlin and Leon took them inside.
"Do you have any spare clothes?" Leon asked Merlin.
"Why would I want to wear Merlin's clothes?" Arthur asked plopping down on the couch.
"Because you need to fit in." Merlin told him going to his closet in his bedroom. Gwaine followed him to the bedroom.
"What is all of this new stuff? Like what was that carriage that we were just in?" Gwaine questioned watching Merlin throwing clothes into his bed.
"I will attempt to explain everything to you and Arthur. Please go back to the living room with them." Merlin shooed Gwaine out of the room. Once Gwaine was out, Merlin shut the door before running over to his pillow and screaming into the soft fabric. Afterwards he sat up, and grabbed a shirt and a pair of sweatpants someone had given him, that were big on himself. He came out and told Arthur to change into them in the bathroom while he found something to wear for Gwaine. The issue was Gwaine was taller than he was, so he wanted to find something that would be long enough to cover his legs.
"MERLIN COME HELP ME PLEASE!" Arthur yelled from the bathroom. Merlin just laughed as Arthur tried to get his head through the turtle neck shirt he had given to Arthur. "Don't just stand there, help me." Merlin just shook his head and went over to help Arthur with the shirt.
"Arthur what do you remember?" Merlin asked, pulling the neck of the shirt over Arthur's head.
"I was stabbed by Mordred. You have magic. I died with you holding me in your arms. What happened after Camelot lost their King Merlin? How did Guivere fair? Did she remarry? Was their an heir to the throne? Who all survived? Did my knights make it home? I mean Gwain was with me when we came from the lake, so I suppose he died."
"Arthur calm down one question at a time okay? You will overload yourself. Camelot mourned for you Arthur. The people, they loved you. Every year on the eve of when you died there was a vigil. Guivere was out of it for a while, royal advisors kinda took over making decisions. Once she came around, she was a wonderful queen. She did you proud, Arthur." Merlin took a step back and smiled.
"What about the rest of my questions?"
"Those should be answered by the man in the living room with Gwaine."
"Wait there was someone else here?" Arthur questioned heading for the door.
"Yes, I wasn't driving the car with magic. Right you don't know what a car is or how it works. Right."
Leon and Gwaine sat at the table laughing. Gwaine had found the basket of apples Merlin kept in the kitchen to snack on when he was writing. His laptop sat on a small table with a bunch of sticky notes around it on the wall.
"By the way Merlin, when I saved your busts at the tavern, that was an act of heroism, I mean who else would take on those bullies." Gwaine said smiling. He took the Apple core and tossed it into the trash can.
"Good morning Arthur." Leon said, smiling. Arthur gasped and ran over to Leon. "I've missed you. Merlin has been teaching me poetry you know."
"How dare he teach you poetry, that's my thing." Arthur gave a small laugh. "Merlin said I should ask you about what happened to Gwen after I died. Does Merlin not know?"
"He does, but it was a rocky time for him. About three years after your death, I...Gwen and I got married and I became the new King of Camelot. We had two sons. The oldest we named Arthur in honor of Camelot's once and future king. The younger of the two we had several years later, we named him Elyan after Gwen's brother. They grew up to be strong knights and princes, and long after Gwen passed away, I stepped down as King and let Arthur and his wife Elizabeth take over as King and Queen. They ruled Camelot with honor and dignity until they died and then their son Emeyrus took over as King. So the line went down for another 250 years. Then one harsh winter, a famine took over Camelot and all of Avalon. All the kingdoms fell to the Saxons and Avalon was lost forever. All that's left is the pillar in the lake, Merlin and myself."
"If there is one more question I may ask? What happened after the battle?" Arthur asked tears in his eyes. Leon knee what he meant by everyone.
"Only myself and Percival survived." Arthur just nodded. "I'm not sure if Gwaine remembers but he was tortured to death by Morgana."
"So, Merlin got mad at you for taking Gwen's hand in marriage?"
"HOW COULD YOU DO THIS LEON! ARTHUR WAS OUR FRIEND!"
"Merlin calm down please..." Leon went to lay a hand on his shoulder, but Merlin pulled away, tears streaming down his eyes. He wanted to run far away, where no one knew who he was, or what had happened. "Merlin please, I know you are still upset about Arthur. We all are, but we have to move forward for the sake of Camelot."
"For the sake of Camelot." Merin echoed. "Camelot this and Camelot that, everything is done for the sake of Camelot." Merlin shook his head and ran off to the stables. He had a bag packed and a horse ready to leave. He hopped up and took off into the forest. He went to the one place he felt safe. He rode to the lake.
When Merlin arrived, he left his horse in the tree line and went down to the edge of the lake. The water was lapping against the shore harshly as a storm was blowing in from the north. Merlin did not care though. He did not want to hear the wedding bells.
"Hi Arthur, so Leon and Gwen are getting married today. I want to be happy for them, I really do, but at the same time, I want you to be home. I want you to come home like they said you would. I want to believe more than anything that you will rise from the lake. It hurts without you Arthur, as annoying as you could be dollaphead, I never realized how much I needed you." Merlin heard a snap and turned around. Percival came down to the water and sat beside Merlin. "I thought you would be a Leon and Gwen's wedding."
"I was going too, but then I saw you ride off and crying. I figured you'd be here talking to Arthur. It's what you do when you're upset."
"Thank you Perse. I guess I just hoped that Arthur would return."
"We all do." Percival told Merlin, hugging him close.
"Yeah he wouldn't talk to me for weeks, but he finally came around and accepted our marriage. I think he was just hoping you would come back and fix everything."
"Thank you Leon, for everything." Arthur told him.
"Of course Arthur, while I may have become the king, you were and still are my king and I am proud to serve by your side." There was a bright flash of light from outside the flat and people started screaming. The four ran to the window and glanced down. There she was, Morgana in the flesh standing on the ground with Aithusa by her side. Morgana glanced up at the boys and smirked. She began to chant and Merlin told everyone to get away from the windows. The window shattered, and Merlin took most of the damage as he was still right in front.
"MERLIN!" Leon ran over and checked for damage. Merlin was bleeding but he had curled up that most of the glass didn't hit anything major.
"COME OUT HERE COWARDS OR SHALL THIS NEW CITY AND KINGDOM FALL TOO!" Morgana shouted from the ground. Arthur ran over to the window, glancing down at her.
"You will never win Morgana, now go back from whatever corner of the death that you came from."
"Never, I lost my chance once, I will not lose this battle again." Morgana hopped on Aithusa and rode off into the distance. Arthur just stood there glancing at the people below who were confused and scared.
"Hey Leon...er King?" Merlin asked, trying to figure out how to address the new ruler.
"Just Leon is fine Merlin. You are an old friend and such formality is not needed."
"Okay Just Leon." Merin cracked a small smile and laughed.
"Is that a smile I see?" Queen asked, walking over to the men.
"Maybe....." Merlin replied. Leon hugged him close. "We have missed this Merlin."
"Well dollaphead I should get to work then. What will it be, polishing armour, scrubbing the floors. Have I mentioned polishing armour." Merlin gave the first true smile he had given in three years. Gwen laughed and hugged Merlin as well.
"Armour sounds good, but we have a trip to go on first." Leon told him. Leon took him down the hall and to the great hall.
"The stables are that way Leon." Merlin said, pointing in the opposite direction.
"I know they are, but this trip is within the castle walls." When they got to the room, Leon had Merlin close his eyes and led him across the room. "Now open." Merin opened his eyes to see a red curtain.
"Wow Just Leon, that's impressive." Leon scoffed and nudged Merlin.
"Let then open the curtain first." The curtains opened and there stood a bronze statue of Arthur and Merlin. They stood side by side, swords drawn. Merlin hugged Leon and sobbed into his chest. "Shhh it's okay Merlin, I knew you would want something to honor Arthur and I thought that having you two together would be even better. You two were always together no matter what."
"Thank you Leon. For everything. I'm glad you became the king." Merlin took a step back and wiped his eyes.
Arthur returned to where Leon was helping Gwaine pick glass out of Merlin's side. Arthur sat beside them and tried to help. Every time they pulled out a piece, Merlin flinched. Arthur eventually had to pull away because he started to tear up. They had only been reunited for less than a day and Merlin was already hurt trying to save him.
"Is there anything I can do? Like get some water?" Arthur asked, pacing the floor.
"Uh yeah, the cups are in the cabinet. Sink water is fine." Leon told Arthur pointing to the kitchen. Arthur went over and found a cup.
"Where did you say the pump was?" Arthur asked.
"Oh see the sink?"
"Pull that silver lever gently." Arthur nodded and put the cup under the spout and pulled the level.
"Wow it doesn't stop after a few seconds. You don't have to pump the water."
"No you don't, it's quite nice." Arthur brought the cup of water back and went back to playing with the sink. "Arthur dont run too much water, we have a high water bill as it is."
"Water bill? Like you have to pay to have this running water?" Arthur asked.
"Yes you do." Leon told him helping Merlin, who was now awake, to the table.
"I never did ask. What year is it?" Arthur questioned finding other things in the kitchen to play with.
"It's 2020." Merlin replied weakly.
"But that means...It's been 1500 years." Gwaine said sitting down.
"Yeah." Leon and Merlin replied in unison.
"Hey Leon calm down, it will be alright. Gwen is a strong woman. She will be fine." Merlin told Leon trying to calm him down. After a few hours, Leon was finally allowed inside Gwen's bedroom. She was asleep, but her lady In waiting was holding a newborn baby boy. She handed Leon his son and smiled.
"He is perfectly healthy Sire, no problems at all. And Gwen is fine, she is just tired and needs some rest." She explained to the king.
"Oh yes of course, can I?"
"Go ahead sire." Leon held his newborn son close to his chest and smiled at the small child wrapped in a wool blanket. He walked to his chambers while Merlin ran ahead and opened the door. Leon sat on his bed while Merlin stood there awkwardly.
"Merlin why don't you take the rest of the day off. You were up with me early this morning and have been there for me all day. It is the least I can do after all you've done."
"Are you sure Leon?"
"Yes I'm sure now shoo, flee, go enjoy yourself. I'll have a guard find you if I need you." Leon smiled at him and waved him out.
"Thank you Leon." Merlin smiled and walked out the door. He knew that Leon had told him to go, but he sat right outside the door and fell asleep.
"So, what kind of story are you writing?" Gwaine asked Merlin trying to get him to talk.
"A story about Camelot. The true story, not what legend has told. Oh Arthur pulled this fancy sword name Excalibur from a stone and now he's this king of this amazing kingdom. Like sorry, but he was already king when he pulled Excalibur from the sword. That was just reassurance that he was the true king of Camelot since he had lost faith."
"You are telling the truth." Arthur replied, smiling.
"I'm telling our story." Merlin told him, smiling back as he tried to sit up in his chair. "Now enough dilly saddling. Morgana is back, what are we going to do?"
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Day Two: Quarantine
Writer’s Month 2020
Pairing: Merlin x Arthur
Tensions and tempers rise when Arthur and Merlin are quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic. Writer’s Month 2020 Day Two: Quarantine. Modern AU
Read on AO3
Read on Fanfiction
Arthur didn’t know how they’d gotten to this point – standing over each other, seconds away from resorting to blows, without the possibility from walking away from the confrontation. Merlin was staring up at him with angry eyes, hurt eyes, and Lord knows what Arthur looked like. They both breathed out.
The evening had been so calm. The ending credits of Supernatural played on the screen – Arthur had taken advantage of the enforced isolation after he tested positive for COVID to catch up on his favourite tv show. Dinner had been a simple but delicious spaghetti – he had taken Merlin his plate, his partner still doing his course work. After a can of bourbon cola to wash it all down, he’d suggested to Merlin that they go to bed – maybe sleep in a little, have some breakfast in bed and watch some Doctor Who. He had been hogging the tv a little over the past week and a half, so Merlin should get a chance to watch his nerdy show (that Arthur refused to admit to enjoying, if only because Merlin could get so animated and engrossed in the twisted storylines).
It had just been a suggestion.
Merlin had said no. “I can’t go to bed yet Arthur, I’ve still got work to do.”
Arthur should have let it go. But as Merlin likes to constantly remind him, a dollop head can never take no for an answer. “C’mon Merlin, nothing can be so important that it needs to be down right now.” Alright, so maybe he was feeling a little neglected. They’d been home together for days yet had barely exchanged a handful of words. He had wanted to go to sleep with Merlin wrapped in his arms, wake up with a bony elbow digging into his stomach, or back, or wherever the impossible idiot managed to catch him.
“I can’t Arthur. I need to finish this assignment.” The lack of a nickname should have clued him in. No prat. No dollop head. No pompous arse.
But Arthur had to be a complete bonehead and push on. “Surely you can’t take a break for one night Merlin. Don’t you have an extension anyway, because of COVID?”
The glare Merlin had sent him – finally looking up from his laptop – was a horrid mix of exhaustion and fury. “The extension was for my other class Arthur. This essay is for my class on differential diagnosis in the neurosciences, that they had to expand from a normal reflective analysis due to COVID. It’s due next week. So no, I’m not going to take a break.”
Some concern had broken through Arthur’s exasperation here. “You need to take a break anyway Merlin. I don’t think I’ve seen you move away from your computer since…” Since I don’t know when, he thought. He’d been so caught up in his tv show, so concerned with his own mini holiday that he hadn’t even…
“I can’t sleep!” Merlin had shot to his feet. Away from the glare of the computer screen, Arthur could see the deep circles under his eyes.
“It’s easy Merlin. You just lay down and close your eyes. Maybe try to relax if you’re not too uptight.” That was where everything went wrong, Arthur thought. This is where I screwed up.
Merlin had thrown his hands up. “Oh, you’d know all about relaxing Arthur. You haven’t done anything but since this quarantine started! If you’d actually pull your weight around here, maybe I would have the time to sleep!”
“Pull my weight?” He’d spluttered. “Who do you think cooked you dinner tonight!?” A dinner that had long since gone cold, untouched, on Merlin’s desk.
“Who do you think made dinner every other night this week?” Merlin had shot back. “Certainly not you! You’ve been attached to the tv the second you came home!”
“That’s rich, coming from someone who’s been attached to his computer for months!” Alright, so maybe this had been building for longer than just these few days.
“I. Have. Been. Studying! Trying to become a doctor! You know, that endeavour you said you’d support me in? Haven’t seen you doing much supporting!”
“Maybe I wouldn’t have supported it if I knew it would take you away from me!”
That is where they were now. Two men, standing across from each other in a cramped room, in a cramped apartment they couldn’t leave.
“Arthur…” Merlin’s voice was so quiet.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.” Arthur immediately felt guilt like a rock in his stomach. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
“Then how did you mean it?” That fire was back in his eyes now. “C’mon, don’t hold back now.”
“Merlin, I…” How do can he put into words the way an empty bed feels, an empty couch or empty kitchen bench, the feeling of air at your side that’s meant to be filled with a person. How can he describe the loneliness of having someone there but so far away? Of having Merlin so close but never talking to him. “I miss you Merlin.”
“Arthur, you know how much this degree means to me.” He did, he really did. Arthur was the one to hold Merlin, barely eighteen, when he broke down at his mother’s bedside after she lost her battle with cancer. Arthur was the one to push Merlin into going to university when he was directionless. Arthur was at every open day. Arthur was there when Merlin chose which degree, which courses, which days. He knew.
“I know, I know, I just… you might be here, Merlin, but you’re not here.”
“This – this quarantine has been hard on both of us,” Merlin hedged as he looked away. “Maybe it’s just cabin fever.”
“Maybe,” Arthur suggested as he took a step forward, “It’s you overworking and overstressing yourself. I know you don’t want to sleep, but you have to. You’re going to collapse at this rate.”
“I can’t sleep Arthur!”
This was more than just a deadline, Arthur thought with sudden clarity. He didn’t know how long Merlin had been spiralling, but now it was obvious.
“You can’t or won’t?”
Merlin’s eyes gained a wild quality. There was a shine to them, like he was holding back tears. “It’s… I can’t…” He shivered. Took a step forward. Collapsed into Arthur’s arms. Shaking hands grabbed at Arthurs shirt even as his shoulder became damp. Despite this, Merlin didn’t make a sound.
Arthur squeezed Merlin tightly, arms wrapped around shoulder and waist. “It’s okay Merlin. It’s gonna be okay.”
“Not it’s not!” Merlin’s voice was muffled but the desperation in it wasn’t. “He’s not gonna be okay!”
“Who’s not going to be okay?” His mind whirled. Was it Gwaine? His police partner (or as Gwaine liked to call it, his work wife) had been spat on by the same COVID positive bastard and was safely quarantined with his roommate Percy. Lance was still working, trying to stay safe despite his job as a paramedic. Maybe something had happened to him? Arthur hadn’t heard anything… Maybe it was one of the others – Elyan, or Leon, or Kay, or –
Arthur closed his eyes. “Shit…” He murmured. Gaius. The closest thing Merlin had to a father, and part of the inspiration for Merlin’s choice of degree. He was a diagnostician after decades of experience in the emergency room. Despite his age putting him at risk, the ornery doctor refused to stay home, and instead used every precaution he could to not get sick and still do his job. “Has something happened?”
Merlin shook his head silently, and Arthur breathed out a sigh of relief. At least there was that. “So… have you just been worrying?”
Pushing away with a scowl, Merlin growled out, “Don’t say that like I’m an idiot. I know he’s being careful; I know he’s not going to stay home, but I’m not going to stop worrying!”
“I know Merlin.” Arthur pulled him back in. “I just mean that you haven’t heard any bad news. Of course you’re going to worry – you should have told me instead of bottling it all up. I can’t help you if I don’t know you need help.”
Merlin rolled his eyes. “Maybe you should take your own advice, dollop head.”
That pulled a laugh from Arthur. “Oh don’t be such a girls’ blouse, Merlin. Don’t you know that real men don’t talk about their feelings?”
“Hmmm…” Merlin looked around for a moment before snuggling deeper into Arthur’s embrace. “I don’t see Lance around, so I’m not sure what ‘real man’ you’re talking about.”
“Alright! For that, I’m making you sleep!” Arthur lifted Merlin over his shoulder, ignoring his startled cries and bony elbows, and carried him to their bedroom. When Merlin hit the bed, he didn’t look impressed.
“I don’t like being manhandled prat. And I still have work to do!”
Arthur didn’t give him a chance to escape, laying on the bed and pulling Merlin down with him. Both arms were wrapped around Merlin’s chest now, and a leg was tossed over his thigh, so that Merlin was pinned to Arthur’s chest. Glancing down, he grinned. Merlin was doing his best to try and glare him into submission, but it was ruined by the jaw-cracking yawn and exhausted fluttering of his eyes.
“Work can wait till tomorrow. Cuddle now.”
“Humph, what a man…” Merlin drawled, rubbing his face against Arthur’s shirt. “Were you missing your cuddle time Arthur?”
“Very much so,” he whispered.
They still needed to talk about everything. Arthur would have to give Gaius a call, maybe convince him to take some time off if only for his pseudo-son’s health. Merlin still had classes to complete. There were new episodes of Doctor Who to watch.
But for now, there were two men, in a cramped bedroom, in an even more cramped apartment, completely dead to the world, and comfortable in each other’s arms.
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Our Little Secret Epilogue (Merlin & Child!Reader, Mordred X Reader)
Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14
Summary: An old friend returns from the grave to to find the world he abandoned is not quite as he remembers it, nor are its people.
Key: (Y/N) - your name
Warnings: author insert but u can’t prove anything, cursing probably, grieving, minor injuries, blood, mentions of death, mentions of funerals, REUNIONS
Word Count: 3,526
Note: i’m so proud of this okay lancelot became more important than i thought he would be and also i didn’t kill the dog are u proud of me??? u should be i was really planning on it. Thus ends Our Little Secret. I hope you enjoyed it as much as i did!!!!
nobody guessed the amount of title drops (it was 23) but i wasn’t actually gonna keep this from u lmao no
It was as bright a day as any in Camelot, a day like any other. The knights were training in the field, the children were playing in the lower town, and the king was hunting in the woods with his servant.
“Wonderful day, Merlin. Don’t you think?” Arthur asked, his horse trotting at a leisurely rate.
Merlin laughed. “Sure, if you consider hunting wonderful. I’d rather be home-- asleep.”
“You have no sense of adventure, even after all these years,” Arthur sighed.
“That’s exactly why I have none,” his companion scoffed. “I’m done with adventure, thank you.”
As soon as the words left his mouth, a branch snapped in the forest, making both men jump. Arthur drew his sword when a figure emerged from the woods. However, the man that appeared seemed harmless, as he was grasping his side and was close to collapsing.
“Who are you?” Arthur spat. “Show your face.”
He tried to speak, but refused to look up, so neither could hear him.
“I order you to show yourself!”
It was then he looked up, blood dripping from his mouth as he fell to his knees. His face was pale, his hair wild, yet they both recognised him instantly.
Arthur dismounted, eyes wide as Merlin spoke a name no one had in years.
Days before Samhain, (Y/N) invaded Lancelot’s room. She entered without a word of warning, flopping onto the knight’s small but comfy bed. He stood behind a screen, changing out of his armour.
She blew a raspberry, letting her legs fall over the side of the bed. Suddenly, a thought came to her. She should tell Lancelot.
“I want to be a knight.”
There was a moment of silence. (Y/N) felt her heart clench tighter with each millisecond that passed without speech. Lancelot paused in his movements. She could tell because of the rattle of his chain mail that suddenly stopped. After a second, it was back again and he was finishing up.
“Oh?” He asked.
She felt her breath leave her. “I don’t want to be a serving girl for the rest of my life. But I can’t do anything with magic. So, I want to be a knight.”
“And how--?” He started to ask, appearing from behind the screen, dressed in comfortable clothes rather than his uniform. “--do you plan to do that?”
“Well,” she hummed almost sheepishly, “I’ll need a teacher. And I’ll have to convince Arthur to let me do it.”
Lancelot shrugged and crossed the room. She took up the bottom half of the bed, so he laid horizontally across the top, glancing over at her with a sparkle in his eyes. He lifted his arms to lay under his head.
“That shouldn’t be too difficult.”
He shook his head. “If you’re trained well enough, Arthur would have no quarrel.”
“But I wonder who would teach me,” she said, faking thought.
She obviously had an idea in her head of who would. It was a foolish little hope, but seeing as Lancelot wasn’t against her being a knight, she thought he would accept.
“Someone in mind?” Lancelot teased, knowing full well who she wanted as her teacher.
(Y/N) flipped over on the bed and sat on her knees instead, looking down at the man. “Do you really think I could be a knight?”
“Well, it is hard work,” he said with a joking smirk. “Perhaps something a lady isn’t suited for.”
She huffed and hit his chest without much effort. He laughed loudly and pulled her wrist to drag her into a bear hug. She squeaked in protest and fought against his arms as he tickled her sides. The girl screamed for him to let her go, but he refused.
When he did stop, he hugged her tightly. “I do think you could be one, (Y/N). If anyone could, it would be you.”
“Will you train me, then?” (Y/N) asked with wide eyes, turning to face him.
Lancelot grinned. “After Samhain,” he said, touching his finger to her nose lightly, “We’ll talk about it.”
“YES!” She cheered, flinging herself at his neck to hug him again. “I won’t let you down, Lancelot! I promise!”
He shook his head, a permanent smile painted on his face. “You never do.”
(Y/N) shifted her feet in the grass, sword raised high as she readied herself for the attack. Three men surrounded her, each of different stature and skill. As such, she spun slowly, watching each man’s movement to be sure she was ready for whoever struck first.
Despite expecting it to be the big one, it was actually the smallest, who swung at her with such speed that she almost fell over dodging his blow. Nonetheless, the sword just barely missed her and she whirled around the man, kicking him into the burlier one. Both fell over while she focused her attention on the last, who engaged in a violent duel with her.
In the end, she was simply too quick and used their own size against them, constantly making them run into each other. Eventually, the small and big ones were knocked onto the ground, though the last enemy remained standing. (Y/N) went to hit him again, but he raised his hand to stop her.
“Alright,” he announced, “That’s enough.”
(Y/N) stopped, breathing heavily as he dropped his hand. On the ground, the bigger man stood and helped the smaller one up, both of them out of breath and in pain, seeing as the young woman had rightly bested them.
Leon couldn’t help but a smile at the sight of his two friends so exhausted. “You did well, (Y/N).”
“You’re getting faster,” Percival muttered as he brushed himself off.
She passed her sword to Leon and laughed a little. “It helps that you three are predictable.”
“Predictable!” Gwaine, the last of the trio, huffed indignantly. He reached over to ruffle her hair. “That’s just rude.”
(Y/N) glared at him, smacking his hand away. She smiled playfully. “I’ll show you rude!”
Thus, she leapt upon him, starting a wrestling match that made Percival and Leon laugh, not to mention Elyan and the others around them on the training grounds.
Up in the castle, a shadow lingered in the throne room window, watching the scene below. He was shaken from his own thoughts by a solitary voice questioning him, as it had been for nearly an hour.
“And this sorceress that found you--” Arthur started, “Did she tell you anything? Perhaps why she brought you back or how?”
The others in the room, namely Merlin, Gaius, and Gwen, awaited his answer anxiously.
Lancelot shook his head. “Not anything I could understand. The language she spoke was English, but it was-- it was rugged and almost primitive. It was like riddles. I couldn’t get a word of it.”
“Alright, you handsome bastard. Up and at ‘em. I didn’t murder a man for nothing. Time to send you back to Camelot before my readers murder me.”
Lancelot grasped his side, which still ailed him, but not enough that it prevented him from standing. He looked out the window again, watching as the mysterious lady knight was pulled apart from Sir Gwaine and they gave up their fight in good humour. She was greeted by a young man with dark curls, who kissed her sweetly and said something that made her smile.
Arthur joined him at the window, following his gaze. “See something interesting?”
“A lady knight?” The dead man questioned. “You truly have changed Camelot for the better, Arthur.”
“Thank you,” the king answered. “But...”
He glanced back at the others, who all smiled knowingly. Gwen motioned for him to go on, excited for Lancelot to know, but Merlin beat both of them to it.
“That’s no ordinary lady,” Merlin grinned.
Lancelot turned to him with furrowed eyebrows. “No?” He looked back at the window, then to the others again, eyes wide. “You can’t mean--”
It came to him as a sudden realisation, a brick wall to the face. That lady knight was none other than (Y/N), who had been merely a teenager when Lancelot died. They had been great friends, so much so that the girl considered him an older brother, much like Merlin had been to her. He was a role model to her, seeing as her greatest wish in all the world was to become a knight. It seemed that she had accomplished all that she wanted and more.
“Little (Y/N),” Lancelot whispered in awe. He frowned when he remembered the young man next to her. “And the boy assaulting her?”
Gwen laughed. “That’s Mordred. I think he’s more than earned the right to kiss her.”
“Speak for yourself,” Merlin muttered.
Lancelot glanced at the young warlock. “Nice to know we agree on that,” he sighed. “Anything else I should know?”
“Uh,” Merlin cleared his throat. “They know. About my magic and (Y/N)’s.”
“Finally,” Lancelot laughed. “Must be nice to get that off your chest.”
Merlin laughed. “You have no idea.”
“Lancelot?” A young (Y/N) entered the knight’s room hesitantly, knocking on the door slightly.
He appeared from behind a screen, fully donned in armour and ready to go. He grabbed his sword from a table and slid it into its sheath, finally meeting the teenager’s eyes after he did so.
“Yes?” When she didn’t reply at first, he sighed. “I have to go, (Y/N). The others will leave without me if I don’t and Arthur needs to be protected.”
“Merlin says he’s determined to sacrifice himself,” she whispered.
Lancelot’s gaze softened. He strode over to her and took her by the shoulders into a hug. “He’ll be fine. Merlin and I will keep him safe. I promise.”
“Magic always comes with a price,” she said. “Someone will have to die. But if you let me come, maybe I could find a spell--”
“No. It’s too dangerous. I won’t let you risk discovery like that.” He went silent. “All of them will return. Every single one.”
“Time to go,” said Merlin, appearing in the doorway.
He saw their tight embrace and (Y/N)’s worried expression, cracking a small fond smirk. They were like the two siblings he’d never had, if he was honest.
Merlin sighed a little. “Don’t worry about us or Arthur, (Y/N).”
“That’s cruel of you to ask,” she huffed through Lancelot’s armour, which her face was buried in.
Lancelot laughed a little. “Don’t worry. Merlin will take care of us. Won’t you?”
“I promise,” Merlin grinned, not thinking much of the statement. “We’d better go.”
The sorcerer nodded at Lancelot, then exited the room, giving them a moment before they had to catch up with the others.
The loyal knight released the girl and, with a soft smile, kissing her forehead fondly. He spoke not another word before leaving the room. She went to stop him, to get him to say a proper goodbye, but words failed her. She glanced down at her hands, heart sinking.
“Goodbye,” (Y/N) whispered.
This day was anything but normal for (Y/N).
As soon as morning training was over, she called Spot to her side and proceeded into the forest, otherwise alone. She walked with purpose toward a clearing, which was entirely empty except for a large boulder surrounded by various flora. The rock had been taken from a cave nearby, a place the young woman knew well. It was where she had first befriended Merlin, so it felt appropriate to take a memorial marker from there.
Taking a knee in front of the stone, (Y/N) said a quiet greeting before shifting to sit criss-cross. She laid her sword gently before the marker, having removed it from its sheath. Old Spot then whimpered and lied down around the stone, watching as his master picked at grass and sighed.
After a long vigil of silence, she spoke.
“I told myself I would never drive myself to the point where I needed to talk to you,” she said. “But I suppose things change.”
She spoke not to the dog, but to the stone he protected. She did not speak loud enough for anyone in the woods to hear her, but if they lingered at the edge of the clearing, her voice would be clear as day.
“I miss you,” she muttered. “It’s difficult, watching everyone so happy, so peaceful. And knowing that you never got to see it. It’s difficult to be happy. Whenever I imagined myself as a knight, you were always there with me; teaching me, training me. But you’re not here and--”
(Y/N) sniffled, begging herself not to cry. She took a deep breath to restore her sanity and continued to speak.
“I think you’d be proud of me. I hope you’re proud of me.” Her words were almost silent, but her next statement was louder. “That day-- the day when it happened, I thought it was Arthur I needed to say goodbye to. It was him I cried over and recounted every good memory with. When he came back, I was happy beyond words, but, then…”
The poor girl had begun to cry, tears dripping down her face and onto the grass. Her tears watered the flowers, but they drowned her own heart.
“Arthur has returned!”
The second the cry went out, (Y/N) was racing from the highest tower in the castle to the courtyard. She had been keeping watch for the knights, Arthur, and Merlin for hours, but the gate guards saw them before she did, miraculously. Nearly tripping over herself multiple times, the girl managed to descend tens upon tens of staircases and make it to the entrance steps before even Gwen.
When she made it there, she found all of them dismounting their horses. (Y/N) barely registered their dismal faces, especially when they saw her.
She raced down the stairs to meet Arthur as soon as he was on the ground, crushing him in a hug. The others glanced between each other. Merlin found himself unable to breathe as he looked at the girl, so happy that Arthur had made it back alive. How could he give her the news?
Arthur was shaking as he held her. He was frozen otherwise, unable to move or to give her comfort. His face was solemn, while his eyes were bloodshot from crying.
“You’re alive! You made it!” (Y/N) rambled to him, not noticing his odd behaviour.
Meanwhile, Gwen appeared at the entranceway and began to descend the stairs. She, however, instantly noticed that something was off and stopped before she reached Arthur and (Y/N).
“I knew you’d be alright. Lancelot said you’d be, right L--?” She looked around him to address the knight, but he wasn’t there. “Where’s Lancelot?
Leon, Gwaine, Elyan, and Percival were the only knights standing there. They could not bear to meet her gaze, except for Leon. He had given the speech to family members of fallen knights many times, but this one defeated him. He could not find the words to comfort her.
“Is he alright? Is he hurt? Did you leave him in the woods?” (Y/N) began to spout out random excuses. The one most prominent in her mind was one she dared not speak. “Did Morgana take him? Do we need to rescue him? Is he--?”
Arthur interrupted her, pulling something from his saddlebag and holding it out to her.
It was a red cape, dirtied and torn, but neatly folded. This was ruined when (Y/N) clutched it in her shaking hands, turning it into a bundle of dusty cloth.
“What do you think?”
“Hm, it’s a little long for you.”
“It’s not like I’m tripping over it. I’ll grow into it, anyway.”
“I doubt you’ll grow more, (Y/N). You’ll just be stuck as a tiny person forever.”
“Hey! I’m not tiny!”
Tears stung (Y/N)’s eyes.
The rest of the world became fuzzy around her, even Gwen’s light sob from the middle of the staircase. Gaius had appeared at the top of the steps, but she didn’t notice him either. Her gaze was frozen on the cape in her hands, though it was blurred by tears.
“The cost was too high,” Arthur whispered. He closed his eyes and took her head in his hands, pressing his forehead against hers fondly. “I’m sorry.”
When he pulled back, (Y/N) spoke in a hushed whisper. “You’re lying. You’re lying. He-- he can’t-- he--”
“(Y/N)--” Merlin said, appearing at her side.
He reached forward to touch her arm, perhaps to draw her into a hug, but her reaction was instant. She whirled to face him and, closing the bundle of red cloth in her left fist, began punching his chest. It was painful, Merlin admitted, but he took it. He knew she was hurting.
“YOU PROMISED!” She shrieked, her breath coming out in sobs. “You promised! You-- you--!”
Her movements slowed and weakened, her arms soon falling at her sides. Her knuckles were cut open with the force of her punches, which broke Merlin’s heart. He grabbed her arms and pulled her into a tight embrace, cheeks stained with his own tears.
“You promised,” she whispered, almost gagging on the lack of oxygen in her lungs.
“I know,” he replied shakily. “I know. I couldn’t stop him. He wouldn’t let me stop him. I’m sorry.”
“I cried for hours. I was incorrigible. Leon held my hand all the way from my room to the funeral. It was the only way I would go. Agravaine ripped your cloak from my hands, intending to burn it with your sword.” (Y/N) let out a laugh that was halfway to a sob. “Percival ripped it right back, threatening to chop his hands off if he touched me again. I think he really was afraid of me after that, seeing how dear the knights considered me.”
She looked away from the boulder for a moment, touching the cloak around her shoulders with fond gentleness.
“I still wear it. It makes me feel like you’re there, sometimes.” Suddenly, her voice broke with her next statement. “You never said goodbye.”
“I know,” a voice whispered upon the breeze.
(Y/N) knew it was not real, but she felt it resonate within her. She felt a presence, hoping her old friend was listening from the spirit world. It took everything in her to wipe away her tears and calm her breathing, regaining her composure slowly but surely.
“I think of you often,” she gasped through weak breaths. “I miss you terribly. I wonder what you would say if you were here.”
“I would tell you how proud of you I am.”
The words had barely reached (Y/N)’s ears when she flung herself from the ground, sword firmly in hand. In a second, she was facing the intruder with her sword at the ready, convinced that they were an enemy.
She did not hesitate to draw her weapon, despite the voice’s words, because she knew for a fact that Lancelot was dead. Even when faced with a person who looked exactly like him and sounded like him, she did not lower her sword. (Y/N) was convinced that her mind was playing tricks on her-- or someone else was.
“How proud I am,” he continued, unfazed, “Of the person you’ve become, the things you’ve done.”
It was when these words left his mouth that (Y/N)’s grip on her sword slipped. It didn’t fall entirely, but her weapon was lowered. She could hardly believe her eyes. The sight of Lancelot was so real that she doubted for a moment that he was her imagination.
“I would tell you--” He wore a small smile on his face as he exhaled sharply. “I would tell you that I’ve missed you more than anything. And how sorry-- how sorry I am for not saying goodbye.”
(Y/N) let her sword fall out of her hand, landing on the grass with a quiet thump. She rushed forward, wrapping her arms around Lancelot in desperation. A smile painted her expression, but tears still found their way down her cheeks. He took the hug gratefully, embracing her back just as tightly and burying his head in her hair.
They took no notice of the small entourage that had insisted upon following Lancelot. Arthur, Gwen, Merlin, and the knights, including Mordred, lingered in the forest behind them, watching fondly as the two were reunited. Gwaine made a joke about being robbed of his Lancelot title before promptly wiping at his eyes suspiciously. No one pointed it out.
Meanwhile, little old Spot yipped at the newcomer and ran up to his ankles, sniffing at him curiously. Spot never forgot a face.
“You’re alive,” (Y/N) whispered. “How?”
He pulled away to brush her hair back, examining her face in wondrous awe. “It doesn’t matter. I’m here. And I’ll never leave you again.”
“Promise?” She asked, looking up at him as if she were a child again.
He nodded, a soft smile reflecting the state of his heart. “Promise.”
boi im cryin
Merlin Tags: @pearlll09
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Iwanna Stay With Merlin
8Series: Merlin (BBC)
Genre: Crackfic, Humor
Summary: Inspired by Icarly Episode “Iwanna Stay With Spencer” so you already know what the fuck this is going to be but imma tell you anyway. Merlin goes away for a few days and leave Gwen with an alarmingly extensive care plan for Arthur.
Read on AO3 . FFN
Like what I do? Buy me a coffee! . Commissions are open!
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“Oh, Gwen!” Merlin called across the training yard, ducking past Arthur and jogging to her side. “I’ve written up Arthur’s care plan for you.”
“Care plan?” Arthur repeated incredulously, “Merlin, I’m a grown man.”
“Yeah, right,” Merlin scoffed, turning back to Gwen.
“You’ll only be gone a few days, I think I can handle him,” Gwen said, amusement evident.
Like he hadn’t heard her Merlin pulled a scroll from his pocket and it unfurled to an alarmingly long length.
“All of that?” Arthur called.
“See, Princess, I knew you were too prissy to be a knight,” Gwaine laughed.
Gwen looked at Merlin with wide eyes, trying to conceal her threatening laughter.
“Here’s a list of what he likes for breakfast, and all of his favorite soups and stews-”
“Aren’t those the same things?”
“No there’s a distinction. Then there’s his sleep schedule, don’t let him stay up past midnight or he’ll be cranky in the morning, and if he eats less than two hours before bed he’ll have nightmares.”
Arthur spluttered in indignation as Gwen leaned in with much more interest now.
“He’ll try to convince you that he’ll get up on his own if you let him sleep in but don’t believe him, he won’t. I’ve written his schedule for the next four days out down here, and here’s his speech for the feast five days from now so he can start memorizing it,” unbeknownst to Merlin the knights started exchanging half awed and half-amused looks.
“I’ve already polished the buttons on his good jacket and mended his favorite shirts,”
“This really is a lot,” Gwen said, more to herself than to Merlin.
“I’m starting to understand why Merlin’s always so tired,” Leon joked, “Arthur is a handful!”
“Also he’ll complain about back pain all day if he doesn’t sleep on the right pillow, I marked it with red thread for you, so make sure that’s on the right side of the bed.”
“I can’t be that picky!” Arthur protested, “you’re making things up to make me look bad in front of Guinevere!”
“Oh, and am I making up that you have to have your milk warmed up or you’ll get a bellyache?” Merlin snapped, tossing an irritated look over his shoulder at Arthur, who hushed at the raucous laughter from the other knights.
“How do you remember all this stuff, Merlin?” Elyan asked.
“I’ve been Arthur’s servant for years, I know him better than he knows himself!”
“Let’s see what other special care instructions Merlin’s leaving for the baby sitter!” Gwaine began, making a grab for the scroll.
“Hey!” Merlin scolded, “I stayed up all knight writing this all down for Gwen so Arthur wouldn’t be a nightmare while I was gone!”
“And I appreciate the effort,” Gwen said, taking the scroll gingerly and inspecting it with much trepidation, “but really Merlin, he can’t be that bad!”
“Suit yourself!” Merlin said, shrugging. “You’ll see!”
One week later Merlin carried the bag laden down with Giaus’s supplies through the door and was met with a warm smile and warmer hug by the court physician.
“Merlin, you’re a day late, is everything alright?”
“Good, I got everything you needed I just had to wait an extra day because one of the suppliers was late, how was Arthur?” Gaius raised his eyebrows in a very recognizable expression.
“Gwen will be glad to have you back.” Merlin sighed.
“I’ll go check on him.”
“Wait, you haven’t had dinner!” Gaius called to the already closing door.
Merlin stepped through the already open door with some trepidation, already picking up on the sound of arguing from Arthur’s chambers.
“This would be so much easier if you just let me help you!” Gwen said, using her best rational voice.
“No! Just go get Gaius or somebody!”
“Gaius is busy preparing the remedy that Queen Annis requested, Arthur, he can’t spare any time to help you dress, just let me!”
“No way! Go get a male servant! What’s that useless idiot Merlin up too, he said he was going to be back before the feast!”
“I don’t know where he is, he’s obviously running late like you will be if you don’t let me help you! I won’t peek, I promise!”
“Um, need a hand?” Merlin asked, already grinning in amusement at the two.
“Merlin!” Gwen said, relief playing across her features. She crossed the room in three strides and pulling him in for a hug. “Thank goodness you’re back,” she muttered.
“Merlin?” Arthur’s voice called from behind the screen.
“I’m here Arthur. Would you like me to help you dress?” He asked, grinning at Gwen.
“Yes! Get your lazy arse back here!” Merlin chuckled and ducked behind the screen, laughing again when he saw Arthur tangled and trapped in his own shirt. Merlin carefully untangled him and straightened the garment before slipping Arthur’s overshirt on next.
“Thank goodness you’re back, Merlin. What took you so long?” Arthur asked, looking peeved. Merlin sighed, shaking his head.
“What would you do without me?”
“Don’t be an idiot, Merlin, I need to finish dressing for the feast.”
“Of course, sire.”
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Please give me a few point you would like to have seen differently in your most fix it headcanons! Tbh I have a lot in my own mind and I wanna write a fic about it but like. I’m struggling with telling what’s actually not great in the show that needs fixing and what’s just stuff I would like to have seen. I get that like it’s a fic and I can do whatever but I’d still love to hear your thoughts! You always break stuff down so sensibly to where I’m like wow yeah how didn’t the writers notice this
(Imma respond to the first ask and leave these here, so others could join in if they want)
Okay, tho, to start off, I just wanna say how flattered I am by what you had to say! You really brightened up my day, hell, probably my week! :’’’’D I’m glad you enjoyed my thoughts and this is so not an inconvenience for me so bring on the asks! I enjoyed your thoughts too so if you ever feel like just throwing your own ideas at me, I’m so down for that. I also recommend, if you haven’t already, to make a Merlin blog for yourself and rant to your hearts content, cause honestly it’s the most therapeutic thing ever and everyone needs therapy after watching BBC Merlin, haha.
(Side note, sorry it took me a bit to get back to you. I was sleeping when I got them, but I also take forever to write down my thoughts!)
Now to the question!
It’s a bit hard for me to describe what I’d like to change cause, honestly, there’s so many different ways they could have fixed everything. But I also struggle between the genuinely bad parts and what I’d like to have seen, so I get you! Like legit tho, my fix-its range from Merlin not becoming Arthur’s servant at all, Merlin being knighted at some point, hell, one of them is Merlin not coming to Camelot at all and living with the Druids. But those are a bit more drastic.
Imma try to think of it from a general point of view and see where that gets me. The show also still needs to keep it’s episodic feel and it’s light hearted tone. (cause I think that’s what the writers were striving for) (Also this is probably gonna be long!)
Basically BBC Merlin’s biggest struggle is getting their point across. They have a lot of good ideas but essentially they’re not showcased well enough. I’ve brought it up a few times with Uther, where Gaius and Merlin are always saving his ass for some inexplicable reason. Realistically no sane person would question letting Uther die because it’s murder, yet Merlin does it time after time even though his death toll keeps rising. But basically when the writers do this, it’s them saying “that’s just how it is”. And it’s the same when Morgana turns evil and everything about the prophecy and how it’s inescapable. (A complete cop out if you ask me)
If we go in depth with the characters:
Arthur, the strongest fighter in Camelot (presumably), trained to kill since birth, he’s a strategist (he has to be to protect Camelot from war), and he’s a leader who inspires peoples loyalties (Which is evident with how everybody fell in love with him: Merlin, Lancelot, Gwen, Gwaine, Elyan, etc. etc.) But Arthur’s skills are constantly overshadowed by other people.
Gwaine and Lancelot, they’re not as strong as Arthur but by what we see in the show, I can’t really tell what makes Arthur so much better. Hell, Morgana even seems to be on equal footing, though the only evidence we have is that she says she is. Arthur does come out on top in places like tournaments and one on one fights (they did good there), but when Arthur’s being attacked by bandits, we always see Merlin protecting him. And in the finale episodes, the one time Merlin is not there with Arthur, Arthur gets stabbed so fucking quick.
We also don’t get to see much of the strategy and the fact that Merlin is always doing something that Arthur isn’t aware of, just doesn’t make Arthur look good. Besides Merlin, Arthur is constantly be fooled by his shitty Uncle, his sister, Nimueh (in that one episode), Uther at other times, Gaius constantly. He’s also being ambushed by bandits, all the time. You would think he would learn.
My biggest beef is Arthur not really inspiring people. He has a whole faction of loyal people but Arthur himself never understand why and never seems to truly believe in himself. (That’s why we had that Sword in the Stone episode.) Basically the only point of Arthur still being so self conscious even at Season 5, is to show Merlin’s wise counsel. (Which isn’t that wise!!) (Sorry, Merlin, I still love you)
Merlin, is a whole separate demon, the writers generally got what they wanted out of his character. He had way more screen time, his thoughts were shown, and he was made to look good, but they kinda went into a bad direction with some parts. I think my two biggest criticisms are: destiny being the main factor for his loyalty to Arthur (at least at first) and Merlin being the strongest sorcerer to walk the earth.
Destiny is basically the bane of Merlin’s existence, when he learned about it, it restricted his life and slowly took away his values. Merlin had to be Arthur’s servant because he had to protect Arthur. And only then would he be free to be himself. (an idea that he gives up on for sure in Season 5) If Merlin hadn’t known about destiny, he would have quit being Arthur’s servant so quick, like no doubt about it. If he hadn’t known about Morgana or Mordred, he would similarly be less wary of them. In fact, I don’t think Merlin would have befriended Morgana at all. (she was a princess, after all, and even in the show, they didn’t see much of each other) I think the day Mordred came to Camelot, Merlin might have left with him. Mordred who was so innocent and just needed help (and Merlin liked helping people). I mean you can compare that to when he meets Freya, basically the same situation. (And as much as I love Freylin, those two only knew each other for a week, probably. So it was more about Merlin meeting someone like him than love.)
So in canon’s current situation, the removal of destiny would have changed a lot, but consider this. If Merlin and Arthur met on different circumstances, Merlin’s perception would have been different from the start. Maybe Arthur saves Merlin from a magical beast? Like how Lancelot did. Or saves him from some slave traders? (lets say Merlin just didn’t get to beat them up first) (Plus Im pretty sure that would be something Merlin is afraid of) Putting Arthur in a position of compassion rather than bullying would have encouraged Merlin to believe in Arthur by himself. Of course Arthur could maintain his shitty attitude when they meet in Camelot, but he’d still show that compassionate side from time to time.
Merlin as the world’s strongest sorcerer is a problem because it’s just so vague and makes Merlin so OP, it’s not even funny. By season 5, Merlin was only keeping his secret because the writers wouldn’t know what to do with a Merlin who can literally kill everyone in one blow and didn’t have to hide anymore. Morgana would be so dead. And this also makes Morgana look bad, after all, Morgana wasn’t hiding, and theoretically she’s supposed to be a formidable opponent against Merlin. Yet, she has a tough time killing anyone. They also tended to treat Merlin as if the magic bit was his biggest feature. Also the idea that Merlin was this unbeatable since Season 1, with only learning a few spells to separate him being a true master of magic, makes for little growth in the way of his magic.
Another thing on Merlin, they gave him far too much to be. He’s a wise man, a doctor, a bodyguard, an attack dog, a saviour, strongest sorcerer alive, prophet (I’ll explain this). Basically he took on aspects that could have been delegated to other people.
For instance, the wisdom could have been given to Guinevere (who is too often just used as a love interest). She already displays some of this in the show, but it’s also made less significant when you have Merlin doing the same thing when Arthur and him are alone. This would also make Arwen more unique because Gwen offers something new to the table. Makes Arthur think in different ways. And it shouldn’t stop with Arthur, it would be nice if Gwen gave Merlin counsel or the knights and even the other servants. Basically showing us what makes Gwen so special as Queen. Maybe while Arthur riles up the knights, Gwen does the same for the people of Camelot?
Merlin’s prophecy, now it’s not actually Merlin’s but I’m talking about destiny. Even though Merlin doesn’t actually see it, Merlin is basically being fucked up by it because of Kilgharrah. He’s making rash decisions, chooses Arthur over his people, and constantly tells Arthur what a great king he’ll be. This obviously should go to Morgana, who already has these powers. But Morgana’s powers are made so insignificant, especially after Season 2. They should have banked on her powers so hard. Showed them more often, made them more useful, showed the insanity that comes with it (in a proper way). (Actually this is a new headcanon of mine, I’m convinced Morgana is starting to go insane since the end of Season 1, but I gotta watch Season 2 a bit more.) It would have definitely made Morgana more unique, hell they could have spun a different angle. Maybe Morgana’s dreams were only showing the bad parts of the future, so she couldn’t believe Arthur even if she wanted to.
The bodyguards could obviously go to the Camelot knights. If we had Sir Leon protecting Arthur from the beginning it would make their relationship far deeper. Maybe another knight too. But basically, you know, they could be doing their jobs and not getting knocked out every single time. Or maybe the less skilled knights do get knocked out. Also I wouldn’t mind Merlin getting knocked out sometimes, haha.
We could cut out that whole saviour shtick, let Merlin become one by himself rather than being forced into it.
And basically Merlin would have still been great as a physician and the strongest sorcerer alive. It’s not like he loses some intelligence by not being wise, his specialty could just range in the medical and the magical. And by not being Arthur’s bodyguard, he can protect everyone else too. His role could still start out as a servant, he would still be helping out Arthur, but I’d hope his capabilities as a doctor would become more significant.
Now if we leave the characters, we can focus on the entire purpose of the show, which is quite conflicting. On one hand I’m pretty sure the writers want to see the Arthurian Legends through, even though it’s not like many of the stories. They’re clearly trying to keep all the standards the same: Arthur and Merlin - good, Morgana and Mordred - bad. Arthur will die by Mordred and Morgana even captures Merlin in the Crystal cave for a bit. But they’re also trying to show us a narrative of an oppressed people vs. their oppressor.
To me, it seems like both these ideas weren’t implemented well. Or they couldn’t decided which one they liked more?
Viewing this from the second narrative for instance:
Uther was never fully established as an enemy: definitely not by Arthur or anyone in Camelot
The Druids pick and choose when they want to be relevant. No one seems to have any connection to them. Im talking specifically about the villains who claim to be fighting for magic people’s rights.
The enemies are mostly magical, there should have been way more non-magical villains to show that the real enemy is humanity.
There’s no real distinction between dark-magic and good-magic. (It’s just something Gaius says sometimes)
No perspective of magic through the townspeople. (some do have something to say, but others are blank as fuck)
Uther fucking decimated the magical community, killed most of the dragons even, and there is no explanation for it.
Also I have no idea what the new religion vs the old religion is. I used to think it was Christianity vs. A Celtic Religion, buuuuuut? Apparently its not. They probably shouldn’t have mentioned the new religion at all considering nobody gives a shit about it?
Okay Imma leave my answer at this! Also, I just realized you said a few and I gave you an essay. :’’’D I’m awful at shortening my responses.
Also, in response to what you had to said, I never realized that people would find Mordred’s turn confusing! That just shows how silly the writers were, haha. But also, you’re absolutely right! The fact that Kara’s execution was the last straw, kinda diminishes Mordred’s character. Like, this boy felt, who I believe was his father, die. And he’s personally felt the persecution that Uther has thrown at the Druids. With Morgana, she only truly understood after she was caught by Sarrum. But basically, this made it look like some Romeo and Juliet shit, which I did not care for. Though, I would like to say, Mordred was 18, which is pretty close to Merlin’s age in the beginning of the series. So we can kinda tell how susceptible to being manipulated and controlled Mordred was.
Morgana does need a redemption arc, but I also don’t know if she needs to prove herself because even though she’s done some terrible shit so has Uther and so has Merlin and Arthur as well. I think the only one who really knows they done goofed is Merlin and he’s got like depression by the end of the series. :’D
But honestly! Go for it! For me, the only important thing in a fic is always whether or not the characters are accurate! And by that, I mean their general personality, tone, and mannerisms. As long as they don’t do anything terribly ooc you can literally take your characters anyway and anywhere and it would sound pretty freaking canon. Have fun with your fic! :)
And I hope to hear from you again!
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My Shot - Arthur Pendragon
Fic #3 of the Hamilton Prompts
Song: My Shot
You woke up to the sunlight shining in your eyes, which was confusing for two reasons. One: usually one of the servants woke you up before then. Two: Arthur wasn’t in bed next to you. He always got you up when he did. He was in the room, however. You could hear him changing behind the screen. You picked up your pillow and threw it at the screen. It knocked over and Arthur shouted.
“What the hell?” he asked, poking his head out. You shrugged and smirked at him. He shook his head and was clearly trying to fight off the smile growing on his face.
“Good morning,” he said, walking out from behind the screen. He pulled his shirt over his head, so you only got a glimpse of his abs.
“Why didn’t you wake me?”
“I wanted to watch you sleep.” You snorted. “I also was waiting for this to arrive.” Merlin stepped in and handed Arthur a rather large box. Merlin waited there, an eager smile on his face until Arthur shot him a look. You gigged as Merlin walked away.
“What’s that?” you asked.
“For you,” Arthur said, walking towards the bed. He sat down on the bed and handed you the box. You twisted your lips and studied him.
“I can’t just by something because I love you?”
“No, you can and that’s a very kind thought, but I can’t help but wonder what your ulterior motives are.” Arthur looked at you plainly, clearly trying to show you that he was being honest.
Normally, you wouldn’t be this demanding when Arthur did something sweet, but you two hadn’t been getting along so well lately. Arthur was challenged to a duel with a man who had already killed four knights. You begged Arthur not to take it up, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He said if you didn’t like it you didn’t have to be there.
Ever since then, he had been trying to make up for that exchange.
“Well thank you,” you said, lifting the lid off to reveal a gorgeous green gown. “Oh, Arthur, it’s gorgeous.” You leaned forward and hugged him. Arthur held on to your back firmly and didn’t let go for a longer time than usual. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he said after kissing you. “You’ll wear it today?”
“Sure.” He grinned and stood up.
“Good. I’ll see you a little later, okay?” You nodded and he was gone, off to a meeting with some of his knights.
You had changed into the gown and had spent time helping out Gauis. A week earlier, a village on the far side of the kingdom had lost all of their crops in a large fire, so you were housing them and healing the burn victims. However, it was past noon now and you hadn’t eaten anything yet. You expected to find Arthur in the throne room to invite him to lunch with you, but as you were walking back towards the castle, your attention was drawn by a sword fight.
More accurately, your attention was drawn by a sparring between the knights. This was odd because they usually trained in the morning, not the afternoon. You walked towards them, finding that Arthur was facing Gwaine right now. You stood next to Elyan who smiled over at you.
“Hello, Y/N,” he said. A second later, his smile fell and everyone looked over at you. Arthur and Gwaine even stopped fighting. Arthur pulled off his helmet and looked at you.
“What are you doing here?”
“Am I not allowed?” you asked, looking around nervously.
“No. Of course you are, we were just-”
“Busy,” Gwaine said. You looked over at him and he smiled.
“Busy training?” you asked. He nodded and your head snapped back to Arthur. “I thought we were past this,” you said. He rolled his eyes and walked towards the other side of the field. He took a drink, but you didn’t stop looking at him. “Arthur.”
“Now’s not the time.”
“When would you like to talk about this? Later today when you’re slain.”
“I’m not going to die!” he yelled. Your face hardened and you shook your head. Now it made sense why he had given you the dress. You continued to shake your head to stop yourself from screaming or crying and walked towards the castle. “Y/N. Wait.”
You didn’t. You were already inside when Arthur finally did catch up to you. He grabbed onto your arm when you didn’t turn around, but still you pulled your arm away.
“Y/N, please,” he said. You sighed. You were already half way up the stairs. You caved and looked at him.
“I didn’t want to hide this from you.”
“I don’t know how you thought you could have. I live here, too.”
“I know. It was foolish of me to try.” You sighed and smiled a little. “But I have to do this.”
“No you don’t.” He sighed and sat down on the steps, putting his head in his hands.
“You don’t understand.” You mimicked his movements and sat next to him. You scooted closer until your knees were touching.
“Explain it to me. What don’t I understand?” He looked up at you and you nodded once, encouraging him.
“It’s time that I prove myself to the people. Not just a handful of them, and not just with my name.”
“Arthur, you’ve already done that.”
“On a small scale. But with this tournament, I could finally prove myself to them.”
“But you won’t get to prove anything to them if you die.”
“You don’t have any faith in me.”
“Yes I do,” you said, taking his hand in yours. “But I also care about you and love you. I don’t want to watch you kill yourself just to prove something you don’t have to. You’re already a great king, Arthur, you don’t have to do anything extra. Just wait, the-”
“I’m past patiently waiting, Y/N! I’m going to passionately smash every expectation set on me. Every action I take is an act of creation. I’m laughing in the face of casualties and sorrow, for the first time, I’m thinking past tomorrow.”
“So am I. I’m thinking about a tomorrow without you.”
“Think about a tomorrow with a better king.”
“You already are a better king than you were yesterday. I already imagine you like that.”
“I’m not throwing away my shot, Y/N,” he said finally. You frowned and looked down at your entwined hands.
“I know.” You released his hand and stood up. He looked up at you hopefully as you walked up the stairs. You went into your room, and Arthur didn’t follow. You sat there for a long time until it was nearly tournament time.n;t
Although every fiber of your body was telling you not to go, you went. You found Merlin and had him bring you to the tent where Arthur was getting ready in. He looked surprised to see you, but still smiled.
“Hi,” you said.
“Hi. Could you give us a minute?” he asked Merlin. He nodded and scooted out of the tent.
“Need help?” you asked, already walking forward to tighten his armor. He stood still as you worked, and smiled when you pulled away.
“Thank you. I didn’t think you were coming.”
“Of course I came.” You held your breath as you looked at him. He frowned a little and you immediately ran into his arms. It was hard to hug him like this. Arthur was muscular, but he was soft and warm to hug. Every part of his body would curl and form into yours - yet, in this armor, he was hard and closed off. That didn’t stop you from holding on tight.
“I love you,” he said.
“And I believe in you,” you whispered. He hugged you tighter, which you didn’t think was possible. A horn sounded from outside, signaling that it was time for the match. “Time to take your shot,” you said. He nodded. “Good luck.”
You walked out to the stands and took a seat. You watched as Arthur walked out onto the field, and waited for the other night. You felt your breath catch in your throat when you saw him, and tried to remember how hard and cold Arthur felt when you hugged him. No one could hurt something like that, you told yourself.
You watched in horror as they fought, each blow making you flinch. Near the end, you were sure you were about to watch the love of your life die, but the knight’s sword slipped magically and Arthur delivered a killer blow. The crowd went insane, but you couldn’t scream. In fact, you felt like crying.
Arthur pulled off his helmet and nodded at you first. You nodded back and you could see him sigh. Arthur rose up, and he would continue to rise up.
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