Title: Let it Rain
Pairing/s: Arthur/Gwen, Arthur/Merlin (unrequited)
Character/s: Merlin, Gwen
Summary: It rained for days after Merlin came back from Avalon.
Word Count: 645
Warning: major character canon death
Camelot_drabble Prompt: pt 436: Singin’ in the Rain
Author's Notes: Unbetaed. Post Camlann.
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
When he returned without Arthur, he didn’t say anything, just shook his head, and shuffled away to hide in his room. When he did come out, Merlin crept around Camelot like a ghost, his eyes dull, his skin sunken and grey, saying as little as possible.
She hadn’t seen him crying at all, unlike her weeping in the small hours of the night. The sheets still smelled of Arthur and at times, she could barely stand it. But she was Queen and needed to put on a brave front. In a way, it made things easier. All the condolences in the world could not bring Arthur back, but at least she would take care of his kingdom for him and that held some comfort.
Merlin had nothing. His single purpose had been to serve Arthur. She hoped that he would serve Camelot as she did, but as the days passed, it was clear that his heart wasn’t in it.
She knew he loved Arthur more than himself, certainly more than Camelot, and perhaps he was thinking if he wasted away to nothing, it would be a fitting punishment. And in a way, she was almost willing to let him. Sometimes she was furious that he let Arthur die, but she knew that was a lie. She knew he would have given his own life willingly to save Arthur.
It could not go on. Merlin was hurting, and she wanted to comfort him. She needed his comfort, too, as one old friend to another. But more, as Queen, she needed the rains to stop. Already there had been reports of flooding and bridges down and she had to remind him of his duty before it was too late.
When she confronted him about it, he flinched at the sound of her voice. Curling inward as if he were collapsing into himself, it was more than she could bear. She abandoned any thought of rains and Camelot and expectations and sitting down next to him, wrapped her arms around him.
He felt insubstantial, like he was a ghost in truth, and Gwen couldn’t stand it. She couldn’t bear to lose him, too.
She began to rock him like the child he was, smoothing down his hair, whispering comfort. It gave her solace to have someone to help, to hold, and to share her grief.
When he just let her, shivering a little in her arms, she began to hum, then to sing a lullaby as her mother had once done whenever Gwen was sad. It didn’t matter what the words were or the melody really, but the feeling of home and love and forgiveness were all in there somewhere.
It must have penetrated that awful wall of Merlin’s. Her dress grew wet with his tears and he kept begging her for forgiveness. And in between breaths and melody, she did forgive him over and over again.
Exhausted, he slumped in her arms and she let him go. He curled up on his bed and finally, finally gave her a little sad smile and turned away, closing his eyes. He seemed to be at peace at last.
Outside the little window, high above, the rains stopped, and the sun came out, the light gliding across his bed and him. And Gwen gave a little sigh of relief.
Camelot would be safe again, with Merlin there and his magical gifts. She would need his friendship and wisdom even more in the years ahead.
But the next day, when she went to talk with him, he wasn’t there. His pack and the carved dragon on his bedside were gone, his room abandoned.
Gwen never saw him again.