Character/s: Hunith, Merlin, Will
Summary: Arthur and Gwen come to an agreement.
Word Count: 814
Prompt:256. What’d I Miss
Author's Notes: Royals #9
Arthur walked out of Hunith’s house. He paced up and down in front of the door. He needed to process what had just happened between Gwen and him.
Arthur frowned. Could he actually fall in love with her? He wasn’t sure but that kiss…. it gave him hope. He knew she felt it too. How could she not?
Merlin dropped his spade and went over to where Arthur was pacing. “So how did it go?”
“She slapped me.” Arthur showed him the red mark on his cheek. “So I kissed her.”
Merlin laughed. “Didn’t you two get that backwards?”
“Shut up Merlin.” Arthur started pacing again.
Merlin smirked. “I think you have finally met your match.”
“Yes and that disturbs me just a little.” Arthur scowled. “And it gives me hope.”
“Wait! Are you telling me that you like her just a little.” Merlin laughed. “This is priceless! Wait until I tell Morgana. She will tease you for the rest of your life.”
“Until Father sends her off to get married, you mean.” Arthur sighed. “You know how this works, Merlin. She won’t be in Camelot much longer.”
Merlin was suddenly serious. “I know that I can’t believe that we are free. Not even for a moment.”
“Enjoy it just for the moment.” Arthur nodded. “We are being married off like chattel. There is no more status quo but the sun comes up and the world still spins.”
Gwen came out of Hunith’s house. She saw Arthur and walked over to him then hesitated for a moment before she spoke. “My Lord. I have a request.”
Arthur nodded for her to continue.
“I want to stay here for a few more days.” Gwen glanced over at Hunith. “I know that as soon as we reach Camelot we will be expected to take our vows. I am asking for a few days to get to know each other.”
“Do you promise not to leave as soon as everyone is asleep in their beds?” Arthur crossed his arms in front of him.
“It wouldn’t do any good if I did. You would just hunt me down again.” Gwen sighed. “My Lord, I have to accept what is and so do you. We are to be wed. It is not our choice but we must make the best of it.” She glanced at Merlin. “Your mother has been very kind to me. I hope I have not brought trouble to her door.”
“Hunith is a good woman.” Arthur smiled. “I cannot fault her for helping a stranger even if the stranger is my missing bride.”
“That pleases me.” Gwen looked over where Hunith was working in the garden. “I should help while I am still here.”
“We will all help.” Arthur looked over to the garden. “I don’t know much about farming. I don’t believe I will be much help.”
Merlin patted Arthur on the shoulder. “Why don’t you go split some firewood?” He pointed to a pile of logs by the barn.
Arthur bowed to Gwen and went to the woodpile to get started.
Merlin cleared his throat to get Gwen’s attention. “My Lady, Arthur is a good man. I would not be in his service if he was not. Give him a chance. Please.”
“He must be or else he would not have your mother’s affection or your loyalty.” Gwen smiled. “I will try to do as you ask but he has to do the same.”
“I believe he has already started.” Merlin smiled at her. “You are not what he expected. That will be in your favor.”
Gwen nodded then walked over to the garden and started to work.
Merlin followed her. When he got there Will pulled him aside.
“So what did I miss? Will he leave without her?” Will looked hopeful.
“Sorry Will.” Merlin shook his head. “We are staying a few days then we all will return to Camelot. They are expected to take their vows as soon as we return.”
Will shrugged. “It seems that I am destined to marry a girl that grew up with me.”
“Sarah?” Merlin smiled.
“No. She’s already married.” Will wrinkled his nose. “Maybe Freda.”
Merlin laughed. “I fear I will be a single man until I die.”
Hunith moved over to where Gwen was working. “Are you going to Camelot with Arthur?”
“Yes.” Gwen nodded. “Hunith, may I stay with you for a few more days until we leave?”
“Of course. It will be good to have a houseful.” Hunith looked over at Arthur chopping wood. “He is a handsome man and he has a good heart. You could do no better than Arthur.”
Gwen looked over at Arthur just in time to see him strip off his shirt. “That is what everyone is telling me. I want to believe that. I need to believe that.”
Hunith smiled. “Then believe it because it’s true.”