Title: When the Future Comes
Summary: Merlin immediately post-series-finale.
Word Count: 354
Author's Notes: I almost called this 'The Present Warlock' but then decided that was a stupid title. I don't understand titles.
The first thing Merlin does after Arthur dies is write it all down.
Day after day, night after night, Merlin records the long tale. In the morning he scratches out the words with the quill pinched so tightly between his fingers that by evening, his fingers are tired and achy, and he must resort to magic, the quill zipping along as if of its own accord.
He forgets to eat and he forgets to sleep. He is more comforted than concerned by this, since it reminds him of when Arthur was still alive.
Sometimes, when a particular event is too hazy to be aptly chronicled, Merlin casts spells on himself; powerful, dangerous spells that resurrect the past around him as solidly and vividly as it had once been. Spells of the same shadowy and variable magic used by the necromancers, spells that recreate his past life down to the finest detail; down to Gaius's wrinkles and the goldwork of Gwen's gowns and Arthur's odd, quirked-lip smile.
Sometimes these spells entrap him for days.
For an immortal, Merlin begins to age very quickly.
At times Merlin is less than humble about his own accomplishments, and generously critical of Arthur's mistakes and lack of wit. Now that his secret has been revealed, and after all that has happened, and without anyone else around to temper his behavior, he finds it much more difficult to be modest.
At other times, Merlin writes of Arthur with the greatest admiration and the deepest of love. Magic catches his tears before they spill onto the parchment and blotch the ink. He does not even use 'prat' or 'clotpole'.
He writes and he writes because doing anything else is unthinkable. His deep, jagged cave looks as still, from the outside, as the gray-blue waters of Avalon resting alongside it.
He would not have these stories lost, that much he knows.
But whether he is doing all he can to preserve the memories for his own sake, or whether he is weaving a personal account of the legend for Arthur to wake up to, when the Future finally comes, he cannot tell.