Title: Every Day Begin the Task Anew
Pairing: Merlin & Arthur friendship
Characters: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Arthur is having trouble finding his footing in this new world he's woken up to. Merlin gives him something to help cheer him up a bit.
Word Count: 667
Prompt: 362, locket
Author's notes: I seem to be making a series out of these Immortal!Leon stories, even if this one doesn't actually feature Leon.
It was a strange world Arthur had woken into. Merlin and Leon tried their best to reassure him that he did, indeed, have a purpose for waking; that his death and rebirth were part of some Grand Scheme of the gods, but that just frustrated him even more. Had he ever had any control over his life?
When he got 'all broody’, as Merlin called it, he did what he had done as a prince and king: attacked the training dummies. This modern world was insane. He knew intellectually that the world didn't actually get better as time went on. He knew most things just stayed the same with different people doing the exact same thing the people before them had done, but he wanted the world to be better than when he'd died.
“It's a good thing I can just magic that back into shape. You're massacring it.” Merlin sat on the bench just inside the indoor training ring. He smiled as he spoke, so Arthur knew he wasn't upset. That was another thing to get used to. Merlin was so casual about his use of magic now. He didn't try to hide it. Arthur had had so little time to get used to the idea before he'd died that he was still trying to process it when he'd woken.
“You want to tell me Leon hasn't done the same on occasion?” Arthur could keep it just as casual.
Merlin grinned. "Not in a while, but yeah." Merlin patted the bench next to himself. "Come here for a minute. I have something for you."
Arthur walked over and sat next to his friend, breath huffing a bit from his exertions. Merlin handed him the water bottle Arthur had forgotten about, chilling it with his magic before he let go of it. Arthur snorted. "Have to admit, that's definitely handy."
Merlin shrugged and waited until Arthur had drunk his fill. He pulled a small box out of his pocket and held it out for Arthur to take. Arthur opened it and looked at the gold pendant with the Pendragon crest on it with a tiny smile. "It's lovely, Merlin. A bit delicate for me, I think."
"Gwen wore it. I made it for her with my magic. Open it." Merlin's face had gone a bit dreamy, as if he was remembering something. "It's a locket."
Arthur used his thumbnail to open the pendant and took a ragged breath. In front of him was a tiny painting of Guinevere. It faced one of him. His vision blurred a bit before he blinked back the tears. "Thank you, Merlin." His voice was rough. "Do you think she'll ever come back?"
"I don't know, Arthur. I hope so. I hope all of our friends do."
Arthur sniffed and put the locket back in the box. "I'll put it on when I'm not sweaty and gross."
Arthur didn't even look as he elbowed Merlin, who just chuckled and elbowed him back. "Will this be worth it, Merlin? Whatever I'm back here to do? Dying and returning. You and Leon living so long? Losing her and her losing me?"
"I have to believe it will, Arthur. I can't think that all of this was pointless. I'd go mad if I did."
Arthur nodded, not understanding what it must be like to live for over a thousand years with only one constant companion, but knowing how confused and uncertain he felt right now. He was expected to do something important and he didn't even know what that was. He gripped the box with the open locket in it and looked at the delicate painting of his wife, the luminous smile that Merlin had caught with his magic filling him with a bit of comfort.
He drew a deep breath. "Fix the training dummy, will you, Merlin?"
"I'll do it after you're done."
"I am done for the day. Maybe I'll hack it to death again tomorrow, but I'm good for now."