TITLE: As Often As He Can
With Morgana gone, nobody has reason to smile, let alone the maidservant who loved her best. As often as he can, Arthur sends Merlin to Gwen’s aid, whether it’s to fetch some water for her or carry a basket or something else entirely, because he knows that nobody else in the kingdom has the power to distract her from her darker thoughts like Merlin does.
And as often as he can, Arthur watches them unseen, sometimes holding his breath, always vigilant, because this is the only way he knows to see her smile, to hear her laughter, to set her free of her despair for even a few precious moments.
TITLE: One Circle
PROMPT: Arthur and Gwen comfort each other as the world literally falls apart around them.
So many knights gone, so many lives lost, and still Arthur will go on, no matter how he’s hurt, no matter what the odds. She sees him try not to limp as he goes from bed to bed, because even though he’s not their king, not yet, he acts like it, he knows they need to see him strong in the face of these disasters pulling their kingdom—his kingdom—apart. He doesn’t speak until he reaches hers, and then, only then, does he crouch down, reach out, touch bruised and battered skin as he utters, “I’m here,” before she can summon the strength to do the same, their arms joining him to her, his heart to hers, the one circle no calamity can ever destroy.
TITLE: It's Time
PROMPT: “Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS.”
“I’ll be back,” he whispers, and the arm around her waist tightens, the mouth at her ear as tender as the first time Arthur ever kissed her, that fated afternoon when she first believed—even if just for a moment—that anything was possible, that a prince could love a serving girl.
Though she’s known for centuries that this time would come, that Merlin’s ceaseless wandering would finally call Arthur from beyond the grave to fight back the tyranny he’s already vanquished once, she’s still not quite ready to lose him, not ready for him to resume his corporeal form and leave her, but this is what must be done—even now, especially now—and so she glances back at him, smiles, and says, “I know.”
TITLE: History Does Not Have to Repeat Itself
PROMPT: Thought I'd lost you...
He paces up and down the corridor because nobody will let him in the bloody room no matter how many times he pounds on the door or how many screams of agony he hears from its other side. It’s like they’ve all forgotten how his own mother died, what it did to Uther, how he had to grow up knowing he was the reason for Igraine’s death—or maybe that’s why they insist on keeping him out so he doesn’t have to witness losing Gwen.
When the door opens, he leaps forward (when did it get so hard to breathe?) and waits, waits, waits as Merlin meets his eyes to say, “You have a very exhausted, but very strong wife and a beautiful daughter waiting to see you, Arthur.”
TITLE: Putting It Out There
PROMPT: Lead singer Arthur dedicates a song to his muse.
“As much as people want me to, I can’t say it’s about the music because for starters, it’s not true. It’s about honesty, about getting it out there for better or worse, and taking the chance that good will triumph, that love conquers all, that we get to ride off into the sunset with the girl because we put our heart and soul out there for her to see. So, this is me being honest, putting it out there, saying, ‘Gwen, I dedicate this to you, for seeing to the truth of me.’”
TITLE: The Days Beyond
PROMPT: The world ended last week, and they haven't seen another soul since. But then Gwen meets/sees Arthur among the rubble of civilization...
For six days, the sun bathed the world in blood, and Gwen wished Merlin had been a little less effective in his magical plans to protect her, because what was the use of surviving if Arthur died with the rest of them?
On the seventh, she woke to paler light streaming around the curtains that did almost nothing at staving off the destructive winds or torrential rain, and decided no more hiding, no matter what she might find beyond Camelot’s walls.
On the morning of the eighth, after a night spent shaking amongst the ruins of the lower town, she ventured out of the cubby that reeked of death and betrayal, and saw glints flashing in the distance, unmistakably moving, climbing over rubble until the sunlight—watery but clearer as Merlin had promised it would get—reflected off tarnished armor and blond hair and a smile she’d feared she’d only ever see again in her dreams.