Title: Albion's Greatest Need
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Albion's protector needs to rest
Word Count: 504
Sunset at the lake never failed to remind him of how he had failed his king, how lonely his life had been without Arthur. He had lived these long long years protecting Arthur’s precious Albion, risking his freedom, his sanity. He would have said life but that felt like a joke No, his continued existence was his punishment from the gods for his failure. His dedication to Albion was his penance for Arthur.
He had been absent when Camelot fell, too mired in his grief. But Albion was still there in the hearts and minds of the people so he helped them pick up, pull together and rebuild. It wasn’t Arthur’s beloved Camelot but a greater dream of a people united. Those long years, however, had become a blur to him, too many faces, too many names all blended together. And, curse the gods, too many times he had found them again and again. Gwen. Lance. Gwaine. Gaius. But never Arthur. The worst was always his mother because she wasn’t really his mother but oh how he longed to be pulled into her arms and hear her say his name. The elderly woman at the nursing home with her face had often mistook him for her son, Derwen. But not anymore, none of it anymore.
The Great Dragon had said when Albion’s need was greatest. After all the horrible and dark times, plagues and wars, he no longer had any idea what that could mean. As he stared out at the sun reflected on the water he thought of what it would be like to spread himself so thin he actually blew away. He was so tired, so lonely it felt as if there was nothing left. “Please…” he said as he let his magic pour out of him stripping away all the years till what remained was the man he had been in Camelot.
He had not heard anything until the man was almost upon him. He turned at the sound and gasped as he stepped back nearly falling off the end of the dock. As the man’s hand caught his he instead dropped to his knees and held tight. He looked up as though staring into the sun, tears streaming down his face, “I have lived in the shadows for so long that I had forgotten the sun.”
The man gazed at him intently, making certain he knew he wasn’t dreaming. He then pulled at his hands gesturing him to rise. “Thank you,” the man said as he kissed each of his hands.
He stared at the man, the sun kissed golden man who was as beautiful as he remembered and wondered if he had died and gone to Avalon.
The man smiled and continued, “for protecting my Albion. I’m here now. You can rest.”
He threw his arms around his king, his Arthur and buried his face in his neck. “Oh god how I’ve missed you.”
Arthur smiled and wrapped his arms around him in return, “I’ve missed you too, Merlin.”