Character/s: Gwen, Leon, Percival
Summary: Gwen notices Merlin’s absence.
Warnings: Set after 5x13… angst (whoops, sorry!)
Word Count: 569
Prompt: #50 Celebration
Author's Notes: Part of the ‘verse I’ve decided to call ‘One of a Kind’, with the last instalment being Finding What Was Lost.
It was a little over a week after the victory at Camlann before the celebrations really started. It wasn’t until then that most knights had recovery from their wounds enough to be given the okay by Gaius.
From the six Knights who had proven themselves enough to have earned a place by Arthur’s side while he had lived and reined, only two remained to continue in his footsteps and lead the Knights of Camelot.
Gwen watched Leon and Percival as they downed ale in large gulps. They had hardly touched there food at the banquet and she was sure their cheery appearances were a farce, helped along by the ale.
She sidled up to Leon. “Any chance of I could get one of those?”
“Are you sure you want one, Your Highness? It isn’t the best tasting brew going around,” Leon replied.
“You can spare me the ‘Your Highness’, Leon and I’m sure I’ve had worse.”
Percival smiled at her. “I think she has a fair point there, Leon.”
So Leon ordered Gwen, Percival and himself another round. They drank in silence for a few minutes before it started to get awkward and the question that had been popping in and out of Gwen’s mind finally made it out of her mouth.
“Have either of you seen Merlin?”
Both men frowned in thought. Percival was the first to answer, “I haven’t seen him since… since the battle,” he said in realisation.
“I don’t think I have either,” said Leon. “But… I assumed he had gone to see his mother or something.”
“I don’t know. He may have. But surely he would have told someone, at least Gaius. But even Gaius doesn’t seem to know where he is and it worries me more that he doesn’t seem too worried about his absence.”
The Knight’s looked down at their ale and then up at each other with realisation. Of course, it made sense. They looked at Gwen and then back at each other. Neither of them wanted to be the one to mention it in front of her. It was hard enough admitting it to themselves.
“What is it?” Gwen asked when the Knights turned away from her again.
“We don’t think he is coming back to Camelot, Your Highness,” Leon said without looking at Gwen and looking into his ale instead.
Why not? He has friends here in Camelot. Gaius. He was friendly with the Knights… His mother would always be welcome here. The thoughts ran through her head. Maybe he knows I figured out that he has magic? But surely he knows I wouldn’t hurt him. I’m not Uther and I was not brought up to hate magic like Arthur was.
And there is was. What she had been avoiding. What Leon and Percival had been avoiding.
The fall of the King. Merlin’s best friend. The man he served and saved for years on end. That man was gone. Arthur was gone.
The tears welled up in Gwen’s eyes, threatening to fall, but she held them back. With a deep breath, she lifted her ale high. “A toast,” she proposed. Leon and Percival raised their ale to hers. “To Merlin. Wherever he is and whatever he might be doing, I hope he is safe and doesn’t feel alone.”
“To Merlin,” the Knight’s repeated and all three of them tossed back their heads as they drank the ale wholeheartedly.