Title: Branch of Friendship
Pairing: None, though talk of A/G
Characters: Gwen, Merlin
Summary: When she doubts he extends a branch of friendship, the queen of heart’s humility and the servant with a secret of destiny.
Warnings: None really except this is futuristic cannon fic, past season 4 (only spoilers would be from season 4/ I know none for season 5. It’s all speculation and imagination.)
Word Count: 997
Author's Notes: I love G/M’s friendship! This awesome prompt seemed perfect for it.
Branch of Friendship
The crown is glittering gold, waiting for her to place it upon her head, encircle her curls of dark flowing hair. She is to meet with another of her status, fulfilling her duty to her kingdom and husband. Yet she stands, unmoving.
The breath that she has been swallowing down is released at that. For years everyone called her Gwen, but one. Now everyone calls her Guinevere, but one other.
The lanky servant sporting the short non syncopated waves of raven hair and colorful forms of dress, ending of course with the signature neckerchief, smiles with friendly fashion. “What is it?”
Gwen can’t help but smile now too, pointing to the culprit sitting there menacingly upon her dressing table, the one she now shares with her husband who will be wondering what is the delay. “I’m to meet with the Queen of Deira in just a few moments.”
“That’s great.” Merlin’s grin flattens as Gwen’s response doesn’t gain excitement. “Uh, isn’t it?”
Royal sovereign now for barely two months, hardly used to her majestic title, and not at all regulated to having servants serving her, Gwen frowns, unsure. “Merlin, it was months ago I was tidying the rooms for visiting nobles. I kept my eyes to the floor in respect. Now…” She gestures to it with oddity in her eyes. “Because of this…crown…I am seen as entirely something else and yet…I don’t feel it. Not to the degree I probably should.”
Merlin’s look is fond, friendship’s branch extended in his gentle hand. “Gwen, have you talked to Arthur?”
She stares at him for a moment before she shakes her head. “I can’t speak to Arthur about this Merlin. Not now anyway. He’s so busy developing political alliances. With Lot in power, and the rumors of Morgana being alive, unifying with someone entirely evil, Camelot will need all the allies it can get.” She points to her chest, glittering with golden lace and satiny purple fabric that almost abrades her unaccustomed skin. “I cannot ruin that now by offending this queen, or not holding to the kind of status that Arthur needs. I must be regal and royal and yet my hands…look at them…they still have blisters and marks from laundering and scrubbing the floors. This crown…it can’t make me queen alone. Even though I fooled myself into thinking it could, blissfully so in love with Arthur that all I wanted to do was marry him, now I’m starting to understand the depth of role I have accepted. And everything is not so simple. I cannot turn my back from what I have been.”
Stepping forward, Merlin holds his friend’s hands, his very first in Camelot, barring Gaius of course. He still recalls how she talked to him during his fruit and vegetable pelting. He looks down at the sun darkened fingers. Maybe they are with a few marks, but they’re lovely. Then he looks up to her dubious eyes. “Then don’t Gwen. Why do you think already most the citizens of Camelot love you so much? Are in awe and wonder? Because you’re one of them. And yet now you’re Queen. I’m sometimes humbled by it. Just glad you’re still my friend.”
Gwen’s face wrinkles with disbelief, her fingers seeking release to touch at her friend’s cheek. “Oh Merlin. How could you think I would ever not be?” She can’t help but tease. “I kissed you before I even kissed Arthur.”
Merlin laughs at that, smiling cheekily. “Yeah, but let’s keep that our little secret.” They laugh conspiratorially before he goes on. “Do you think Arthur would have married you if he had an issue with your status before? Gwen, he loves you as you are. And so do the people. You’re this new sign of hope for them. And look at you…” He stands back to admire all the beauty of her dress and more importantly, how regally she wears it. “You carry yourself so well. You always have. When I first became Arthur’s manservant it was you who got me through that day. I was ready to throttle him, but you kept me in check and helped me understand the rounds of the kitchens and everything. And you did it all with such ease. It’s just one thing I admire about you and so do others.”
He squeezes her hand meaningfully. “Gwen I know you can do this. After Uther died, Arthur did his best as king, but now with you at his side, Gwen he’s so much more.”
A faraway look appears in the servant’s eyes that fills Gwen with wonder. Merlin has always been gentle and funny, but there too is a foresight within him, a strong glint of what is to come, a power maybe even, that is almost baffling. Perhaps future years will reveal it even more.
“You two are destined to do great things. Believe me. Believe that. This is likely just the start.”
Gwen shakes her head, but then Merlin is reaching for it, slowly and gently placing it over her curls of hair, and turning her to the mirror so she can view. “See. I’m standing next to a queen. And I probably should be in awe, but she has this gentle demeanor too that gives me calm. That’s what you do Gwen. What you did as handmaiden, and what you do now as queen. Look at yourself. You know you can do it. You know what you are.”
Gwen looks into the mirror, raises her eyes to the crown that sits atop her head, its glittering jewels shining like sparks of light. But more important is who stands by her, smiling with the true gift of friendship. She turns, clasping his shoulders. “Thank you Merlin.”
He hugs her back, before releasing, stating it importantly. “Long live the queen.”
She takes a breath, bolstered by friendship’s council, and holds her head high, descending the steps to her bidding, wearing her crown of gold and veracity.