Title: Things We Learn At Funerals
Pairing/s: Gwen/Lance; Morgana/Leon;
Character/s: Arthur, Gwen, Lance, Morgana, Leon, others in background
Word Count: 1301 (and I am not in the slightest bit repentant)
Author's Notes: FYI the title is just bad; this is a continuation of my Choices series.http://archiveofourown.org/series/310104
Arthur bowed his head as the small white box was carried past him. As he waited for things to begin, he looked over at his father and mother noting the mournful looks on their faces. Next to them were Leon’s parents. George and Mary both looked on with serious countenances. In the front he spotted Morgause holding the hands of his twin nieces, Sophie and Sefa. To his right Arthur found Lance and Gwen. He nodded at them both just as Leon began to speak.
“It is with great sadness that we are gathered here today to say goodbye to a friend. Although he wasn’t with us for long, the time we did spend together was the best. What can I say about Gordon other than we will miss you greatly and your faithful friendship will not be forgotten.” Leon looked around at those gathered. “A moment of silence please.”
As the small white box was lowered into the ground Arthur leaned over to Lance, “How did you get roped into this?”
Lance whispered back, “Morgana invited us to dinner.“
Arthur gave him a knowing look and rolled his eyes. “Only Morgana could create an event out of a hamster’s funeral.”
Gwen gave them both an irritated look gesturing for them to pay attention. Sophie and Sefa had stepped forward and threw a handful each of little purple flowers into the hole. Morgause then took each girl by the hand and led them away. As Arthur looked down at them as they passed he could see that they were crying and felt guilty for his comment.
Finally with a drink in hand and his tie off, Arthur looked around at the small crowd gathered in Morgana’s back yard. Excluding his parents there were about a dozen people milling about with drinks and plates. It was easy to spot his father. As usual he was surrounded by a group hanging on his every word. His mother he spotted sitting with Leon’s parents probably discussing how to get more grandchildren. The only other people he recognized were Lance and Gwen, but did he want to hear anymore about their honeymoon, and Morgause whom he noted was spending all her time with the children.
Arthur made his way to the food table. He couldn’t help but admire Morgana’s ability to put out a spread. Several salads, Finger sandwiches, crudite, hot soup and petits fours. He made sure to put a large helping of veg on his plate along with several sandwiches and sat in the first available empty seat he could find. From their conversation it was clear that they were some of Morgana’s land agent friends. Despite finding it boring, he listened knowing that land sales were evidence of a city’s economic health.
“The house on Fairfield Avenue is finally on the market. Took ages to get it cleaned up.” A man with mousy brown hair said.
The woman sitting next to him spoke, “Speaking of cleaned up, have you seen the house out on the end of Fair Apple Road? The inside was finished some time ago and they are just putting the finishing touches on the outside.”
Another woman spoke, “I’m glad to see that someone was able to restore it. Anyone know who bought the place?”
Mousy brown haired man spoke, “It was a young man, last name was ..Emers or Emry.”
Arthur looked at him for a second before he spoke. “Was it Emrys?”
Mousy brown haired man turned to Arthur and smiled, “Yes, that’s it.”
Arthur’s heart suddenly beat so hard he thought others might could hear it and for a moment all he could hear was the blood rushing in his ears. He stood from the table with an intent to find Morgana. Not spotting her in the backyard, he headed into the house only to encounter Morgause with the girls. It only took a second for each of them to wrap themselves around his legs.
With no choice, Arthur took a deep breath and got down on his knees to talk to his nieces. He pulled them into his arms. “I’m really sorry about Gordon.”
Sophie hugged him tight, “Thank you Uncle Arfur.”
Sefa looked at him with big eyes, “Morgo says we could see him again.”
“Well, I hope that’s true.” Arthur hugged them both as he thought he should talk to Morgana about Morgause spending so much time with the girls. “Where’s your mummy?”
Morgause gave Arthur a look like she knew what he is thinking. “Morgana is in the kitchen. Come on girls.” She took Sefa and Sophie each by the hand leading them into the backyard.
Arthur made his way quickly to the kitchen to find Morgana leaning against the counter, a glass of wine in hand. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he said accusingly.
Morgana simply stared at him, “That covers so much dear brother. You are going to have be more specific.”
Arthur took a step toward her. “That Merlin was back in town.”
Morgana quickly covered the surprised look on her face with a more neutral one and took to moving things on the counter. “Who told you that?”
Arthur felt a bit of anger shoot through him. He shouted at her. “What does it matter? You should have told me!”
Morgana turned on him, raising her voice. “No. I shouldn’t have. He left because of you.”
Gwen entered the kitchen and spoke as loud as she could without yelling, “What is going on in here? Everyone can hear you.”
Arthur turned on Gwen, red-faced. “Apparently Merlin moved back to town and Morgana didn’t think it important to inform me.”
Gwen sucked in her bottom lip at the same time she grabbed her hands. “Arthur.”
“You knew?!” Arthur looked at her incredulously. “I thought you were my friend.”
Lance chose that moment to enter the kitchen. As Arthur stomped about the room he gestured for Morgana and Gwen to leave. “Arthur,” he said calmly.
Arthur turned to glare at Lance. It occurred to him that although they are friends, Lance was Merlin’s long time friend. That they had known each other since grade school. “Someone should have told me.”
“What good would that have done?”
“I would have…” Arthur stopped, uncertain what he was going to say. “I mean I could have..” He stopped speaking and looked at Lance.
Lance stared back at him. He wanted so much to just tell Arthur to stay away forever, but it’s not his place. “Arthur, a lot has changed, for both of you.”
Arthur looked as though he wanted to challenge Lance but suddenly deflated, leaning back against the counter. “I know. I do. But I still should have been told.”
Lance nodded in agreement. “Yeah. It’s just that he needs some time to settle and I think we just want to protect him for a bit. Give him a chance to get things sorted.”
“I can understand that,” Arthur shifted anxiously, wondering what could have changed so much for Merlin.
“I will tell him you asked after him. Ok?” Lance asked watching Arthur closely.
“Yeah, ok.” Arthur wanted desperately to ask so many questions but bit his tongue. He wanted Lance on his side.
Lance stepped forward and put a hand on his shoulder, “Are you alright Arthur?”
“Yeah.” Arthur looked up at Lance with a sadness in his eyes that seemed to fill his soul.
Lance looked at carefully at Arthur for a moment. “You still love him don’t you?”
Arthur turned away. He didn’t answer Lance’s question. “I think I’m gonna head home now. Tell Morgana I’m sorry.” He moved through the kitchen to the side door then stopped, “Lance, thanks.” They nodded at each other before he headed out, leaving before anyone else could say anything to him.