Title: It Takes
Character/s: Thomas, Uther, Will, Merlin, Hunith
Summary: Arthur and Gwen question their respective choices.
Word Count: 884
Prompt: 252. Wait for it
Author's Notes: Royals #5
Arthur walked into the council chambers and bowed. He glanced at the man standing beside his father before he spoke. “Sire, I have heard that the princess is missing. Has there been any word?”
“No.” Uther looked less than pleased at his unkempt appearance. “The envoys are not back yet from Carleon and Cenred. Arthur, this is King Thomas Leodegrance. This is my son Arthur.”
The visiting king looked Arthur up and down. “He reeks of ale. Where have you been? Why were you not here to meet my daughter?”
“I … i went on a hunt. I didn't mean any slight.” Arthur shifted on his feet. “I apologize for any offense taken.”
“Hmph.” King Thomas shook his head. “When my daughter is found, I will expect you to marry her right away. Sign the marriage contract now.”
“It’s there on the table.” Uther pointed to a document lying on the table.
Arthur nodded. He picked up the quill dipped it in the ink and scrawled his name. “If you will excuse me, I need to get cleaned up for supper.”
“Go on.” Uther shooed him off. “I hope you fell more confident in our agreement now.”
“Slightly.” Thomas looked at the contract on the table. “Now, we just have to find my daughter.”
Arthur bowed once again and headed to his room. He was upset that he had to sign a contract for a bride that may never be found alive.
Arthur surprised Merlin when he burst into the room. “I should have stayed away. This royal life of mine, it is far more difficult than it seems.”
“I’m sure it is.” Merlin pulled clean clothes out of the cupboard.
Arthur sat on the bed and pulled off his boots. “You don't understand. It takes and it takes and it takes……..until there is nothing left. No joy. No pride. Nothing.”
Merlin put the clothes on the screen. “One day when you are king, all of that will stop. You can be the person you want to be. All you have to do is wait for it.”
“Until then, I suppose, I shall have to just let my father drain my soul.” Arthur got up and went behind the screen. “It makes me doubt if Princess Guinevere was taken at all.”
“What do you mean?” Merlin caught Arthur’s dirty clothes as they were thrown over the screen.
“She may have run away and not kidnapped.” Arthur sighed dramatically. “I wish i had thought of that before i came back to Camelot.”
Merlin stared at the screen and came to the conclusion that Arthur may be more right than he realized.
Gwen dropped a piece of firewood as she rounded the corner of Hunith’s house. “Oh!”
“Here. Let me.” A young man picked up the wood and placed it on the top of what Gwen was carrying.
“Thank you.” Gwen smiled. She noticed the travel bag on his shoulder. “Are you a traveler?”
“I was. I’m home now. My name is Will. I was looking for work but no one was hiring at Cenred’s keep. I should have gone to Camelot. My friend, Merlin is the prince’s manservant. I’m sure he could find me a position.”
“Your friend?” Gwen frowned.
“Yes. Hunith’s son.” Will smiled. “Do you know her?”
“I’m staying with Hunith.” Gwen told him. “I didn’t realize that her son was in Camelot. She said he was an apprentice to a physician.”
“Yes.” Will smiled. “Merlin is the apprentice to the court physician in Camelot. Gaius is his name. He and Hunith are old friends.“
“Oh. I see.” Gwen looked at the wood in her arms. “I must get on. I will see you later, Will.”
“You can count on it.” Will smiled and walked off towards a small house across the way.
“There you are!” Hunith said as she stepped out the door. She saw Will walking to his home. “He’s a fine boy, that Will.”
“I’m sure he is.” Gwen went inside and put the wood next to the hearth. “I’m not looking for a husband right now.”
Hunith laughed. “I was implying anything.”
“Sorry.” Gwen wiped her hands on her apron.
“Love doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care who you are or your social status.” Hunith smiled. “We laugh and we cry and we break and we make our mistakes. It’s part of life, Gwen. We keep loving anyway.”
“I’m just not ready for all that.” Gwen sat at the table.
“One day, you will be.” Hunith put a piece of wood on the fire. “The right one will just happen along when you're ready. It just takes time.”
“I'm willing to wait for it. I have no desire to be married any time soon.” Gwen tapped the table. “Will said that Merlin was in Camelot. Is he?”
“Yes. He will be a fine physician one day.” Hunith smiled. “But for now he works as Prince Arthur’s manservant. Arthur is a good lad. I’m very fond of him.”
“He’s come here before?” Gwen asked.
“Oh yes. He’s handsome and well mannered.” Hunith laughed. “He is a lot like Merlin. Arthur and Merlin are good friends.”
Gwen looked down at her hands and thought about what Hunith had said about Arthur. She wondered if she had made a mistake in running away.