Title: Have Patience With All Things
Pairing: Leon & Merlin (pre-slash)
Characters: Leon, Merlin
Summary: Leon is tired of living a lie.
Word Count: 808 - I would say it got away from me, but I figured it wouldn’t be a short drabble this time.
Prompt: 356, I’m here
Author’s Note: My thanks to the chatzy crew. Somehow our conversation during rewatch sparked this story.
The map was old by the time Leon decided to use it, but then, so was he. He wasn’t even sure it would lead him to his goal. It had been so long, after all. It was when he realized it was nearly anniversary of the battle that he had turned his horse to the west and pulled the yellowing map from its place next to his heart.
He should be close now.
As he was thinking this, the trees in front of him seemed to open, letting him through a secret passageway. He knew it wasn’t so, but given where he was going and who he was hoping would be waiting, he couldn’t discount the idea completely. The lake lay before him, with an island and a tower in the center of it. He pulled up his horse beside it, letting the animal drink while he looked toward the tower. There was a dock and a boat waiting to take him there. He suddenly remembered the times he’d been here before, laying to rest too many old friends. Each time that boat had borne a friend of his from this world, and now he was going to willingly board it?
Leon removed the horse’s tack. He had been a good companion to him. Who knew what Leon was going to find in that Tower? It wouldn’t be fair to leave it helpless.
He left the tack next to the dock and stepped into the boat, sitting in the center as he pushed off with one of the oars. Rowing the boat used muscles he hadn’t in a while, so he found himself a bit sore as he went. He couldn’t help but think about the friends who’d found their final resting places in the waters he traversed.
The boat scraped the wooden pilings of the dock on the island. Leon tied it up and carefully stepped out. He made his way up the path toward the tower. Upon closer view he could see that time was not being kind to the stone and mortar structure.
Eventually he came to an old entrance. He could smell faint smoke. Someone else was on the island with him. Leon drew his sword slowly and took more careful steps through the passageway. He saw the flicker of light from the other side of one of the doors leading from the courtyard the passageway led him to.
When he walked through the door he saw the fire. On the other side of it was an old man, sitting with a mug in his hand. He wore the garb of a Benedictine monk. Leon sheathed his sword as he approached the fire and the monk looked up at him. “You’re here.”
Merlin slowly smiled. “I’m here.”
“You’re a monk? You?”
“For now.” Merlin nodded at the Rhodian Cross on Leon’s black surcoat and cloak. “So are you. A Hospitaller, eh?”
Leon shrugged as he sat next to the fire, across from Merlin. “For now.”
Neither man spoke for a little while. Leon broke the silence. “I wasn’t sure you’d be here. That map was older than I realized.”
“I come here every anniversary.”
“Just in case he returns?”
“Just in case you do.”
Leon started and looked into Merlin’s blue eyes, the firelight not the only thing making them look fey. Merlin continued, “There’s a spell here. I’ll know when it’s time to return for Arthur. I never knew when you would find your way back. I just always figured if you did, it would be around the anniversary.”
Leon’s mouth tightened. “I’m tired of being alone, Merlin. I’ve had friends and lovers come and go since we parted, but I’m tired of losing everyone around me. That charm that lets me appear to age and de-age is wonderful, but it’s been a few hundred years. I’m ready to just be near someone I don’t have to hide from.”
Merlin stood and walked around the fire to sit next to Leon. He reached out and grasped Leon’s wrist, turning it over to untie the leather thong that held the coin from Camelot that had borne both the likeness of Arthur and the charm he’d cast to give Leon a semblance of a normal life. As he removed it, Leon watched the few age spots on his hand disappear. He knew if he reached up, he’d find his hair was back to its original color. He heard Merlin whisper a spell and looked over to see the age lines gone from his friend’s face and a gentle smile lighting his eyes in a way magic and firelight never could.
“I’ve always had a yearning to see the pyramids in Egypt. Want to go?”
Leon snorted. “You’ve had a few hundred years, Merlin. Why haven’t you gone before?”
“Because I was waiting for my friend.”