Pairings/Characters: Arthur/Gwen, slight Merlin/Morgana, Agravaine, Elyan, Gwaine, Leon, Percy, Gaius, The Dragon.
Warnings: Spoilers up to 4x09, AU after that, with no knowledge whatsoever of future episodes.
Disclaimer: Not real. Despite birthday wishes and night time prayers to Santa (all Hail Amy Pond!) Merlin still isn't mine!
Summary: With Gwen gone from Camelot, Merlin wil rest at nothing to soothe the niggling feeling that something was wrong. Very wrong.
Author Notes: Beta'd by my wonderful Wifey, sgmajorshipper who I sync watched 4x09 with, we broke together on our first time sync-watching - heartbreaking.
I wrote this because I was broken after 4x09, though 4x10 did ease that pain, this and the two short sequels which will eventually lead into a bigger story that is yet to be start but will be shortly. I've not read any spoilers for forthcoming episodes so I would be incredibly grateful if nobody discussed any in the comments. It's been eleven months hard work to be thrown away now! I was a little wary about posting because of it but I had to before it was all resolved really...
The title is from the poem "A Prayer for my Daughter" by W.B.Yeats which you can read here.
I decided to whack in one of the 'sequels' at the beginning of this one because it fitted in.
Part One | Part Two
The night after they had all return from Morgana’s hideout, Merlin had returned under the cover of darkness to see what she had inflicted on herself. A large part of him hoped to find her body gone, by all pretences alive. She deserved to go in a bigger way than that, but a small part of him was hoping he found her still there.
He hadn’t expected her to be in an in-between state.
When he found, where he assumed Arthur had left her, he had checked to see if she was still breathing and she was. What made him stay, putting her into her small bed and waiting until she woke, he had no idea.
“Merlin?” she had asked through squinted eyes when she woke an hour later. “What are you doing?” she asked him as she looked around, “Where are we? What am I doing here?”
He proceeded to tell her that this hovel, was where she lived. He told her of the things she’d done and who she had hurt. Throughout she had shaken her head and called him a liar. She would never hurt her friends. She did not have magic, he was a fool for saying so.
She shouted at him to leave.
“I can help you,” he told her, “But I cannot take you back to Camelot.”
Part of him wanted to leave her there to die, to get what she deserved, but that part of him that made him Merlin stopped him from acting in such a poor manner. Looking back at him was the real Morgana, the one he had first met in Camelot, the one he had bought flowers to feel better. The one who had helped a druid boy escape from Camelot. This was Morgana before hatred had consumed her.
To be sure, he gathered some of the potions that were lying around her hut and mixed then. He spread the mixture into her hands and held them out, “If the mixture turns red, you’re lying. It stays black, you’re telling the truth.”
He asked her a series of questions, starting with the ordinary and ranging to the obscure. He tested the mixture by asking her to lie. She told him he was useless and the mixture on her hands soon turned red. He asked her if she had any memory of taking Gaius and squeezing him for information about Emrys, and when she told him that she never heard the name Emrys in her life, the mixture stayed black.
He explained to her that he would not be able to return her to Camelot. She would have to start a new life away from there, but he would help her. He told her that she would start to notice things, magical abilities that might scare her, but he promised to help her.
When he left her to sleep later that night, she thanked him.
For the first time since Morgause had entered their lives, Merlin truly felt that he had his old friend back.
The lower town was decorated with streams of colour which continued up into the courtyard of the castle. Within the great hall large arrangements of flowers adorned the central aisle. The servants of Camelot had been working through the night to make the hall just right for the royal occasion.
In his chambers, the King stood at odds with his servant, “What to you mean I can’t wear this? I always wear this.”
“You’ve never had a problem with it before.”
“Merlin; today is not any other day. Now here, please just take the blasted scarf off and wear this.”
“The last time you said what I had to wear I ended up looking like a pillock.”
“Please, it’s not that bad,” he produced the leather suede jacket from his closet and presented it to Merlin, “I think you’ll find it’s a vast improvement.” It was a blue jacket with a short collar, much unlike the hideous ceremonial robes her had made Merlin wear before.
“I shall wear it. On fear that Gwen might hang me with my own scarf should I not.”
Across the castle in a musky chamber that had served many of Camelot’s guests in the past stood Guinevere with many a handmaiden faffing around her. She wore a delicately made dress with a thin lilac over layer with layers of white beneath it with gold detailing beneath her bust and on her shoulders. There was a knock on the door, one of the ladies answered it and permitted the newcomer to enter.
It was her brother.
As one lady secured her hair with golden pins, he came over to her, casting his eye down over the frock, “Whoever would have thought that you would scrub up so well.”
“Careful sir, this is your future Queen you are speaking to,” she said in jest, “Is it time?”
“Nearly.” He produced a golden bracelet from beneath his cloak and offered it out to her, “I found this within Dad’s belongings when I first returned. I set it to one side. It was Mum’s, Dad’s wedding gift to her. I thought I would save it for you for your wedding day. I didn’t think it would actually be the least valuable piece you would have then.”
“Elyan, thank you. I shall treasure it forever. And it is not the least valuable. In price maybe, but not in sentiment.” She placed a grateful kiss to his cheek and allowed him to put it on her, “It matches in perfectly.”
“Are you ready?”
“I am now,” she smiled nervously, “I cannot believe this day has finally come.”
“You will be Guinevere, Queen of Camelot.”
“Sister of Elyan, knight of Camelot.”
The two siblings made their way the short journey towards the hall. She was nervous but her butterflies had nothing on those fighting their battle within the King’s. He stood with his friends at the top of the Great Hall. Geoffrey of Monmouth stood metres from him, ready to begin. The Lords and Ladies of Camelot had all gathered, the servants, Gwen’s friends from her past life, were permitted to attend and mostly stood down the sides of the hall in their finest clothes.
Upon the signal, Arthur moved away from the knights to stand by Geoffrey. The doors that seemed so far away, opened, presenting him with his Queen. He smiled broadly, nothing else in the world mattered in that moment. They were Arthur and Guinevere. She was going to be his Queen. The time it took for her to walk one end to the other dragged. A walk that normally took seconds was taking minutes in his mind.
Once finally at her side, her brother presented her to his King and took his place next to the other knights who were standing with Merlin who proudly stood tall in his new fine jacket, though he vowed to only wear it for important occasions.
With her hand in his, they remained facing each other, neither looking to anyone else in the congregation like Arthur had at his last disaster of a wedding. In another universe he would be unhappily wed to Elena, the pair of them miserable. The blonde lady stood in the front row opposite the knights, smiling at them now, so glad not to have married him, free to find her own real happiness.
Geoffrey silenced the chatter with the rise of his hand. He began his address as he had hundreds of times in the past within Camelot’s walls. “My lords, ladies, and gentlemen of Camelot, we are gathered here today to celebrate the ancient rite of hand-fasting, the union of Arthur Pendragon and Guinevere of Camelot.” There was an appreciative whistle that came from none other than Gwaine, of that they were sure. The couple smiled, “Is it your wish, Arthur, to become one with this woman?”
He answered with no trace of hesitancy, “It is.”
Geoffrey turned his gaze to Guinevere, “Is it your wish, Guinevere, to become one with this man?”
Guinevere smiled broadly, “It is.”
“Do any say nay?” There was an unnerving silence across the hall. One man coughed but nobody spoke up, much to both of their delights, “Then as we gather here today, we are all witness to this rite. With this garland, I do tie a knot, and by doing so, bind your hands and your hearts for all eternity. I pronounce you husband and wife.”
The knights were the first to cheer, even before they had leaned in to kiss each other. Softly at first, Arthur pulling away from her and smiling, “You look beautiful,” he said to her softly. She smiled up at him and he shortly kissed her once again.
“I hereby present you with Arthur and Guinevere Pendragon.”
That night there was a feast in their honour. Alcohol flowed, food was eaten, the servants and nobles alike enjoyed themselves. The party extended into the streets of the lower town of Camelot. After the ceremony the newly married couple ascended to the battlements of the city to look over it, people watching them from below, waving, cheering. They returned every wave, smiled to their people to each other, and once briefly alone on their way back down the stairs, they shared a tender kiss. All of their pasts behind them, readily looking forwards to their future and all that it would hold for them and Albion.
END NOTE: One short-ish part to follow, then I'll think about starting the longer one. It's the holidays, I have time =]
Enjoy the first part of the finale!