Title: Last Words
Character/s: Merlin, Merrilea, Lancelot, Braden
Summary: Gaius arrives just in time for Alice’s last words.
Warnings: minor Character death
Word Count: 1002
Prompt: 218. Forgiveness
Author's Notes: Magick, Destiny and Doom #9
It was nearly noon when the riders from Camelot arrived in the village. They galloped up to the physician’s house at the end of the road.
Merlin saw them coming out of the window. He walked out of the house to greet them and frowned when he saw Braden with Gaius and Lancelot.
Gaius struggled to get off his horse before Lancelot helped him down. The old man walked straight up to Merlin. “Is she still alive?”
“Yes. I was able to keep her alive but you really need to hurry. I don’t think I can keep her alive any longer.” Merlin put his hand on the old man’s shoulder. “She wanted to see you so I did what I could until you came.”
“Thank you Merlin.” Gaius went in the house and looked at Merrilea by the bed. “Leave us alone please.”
“Of course Gaius.” Merrilea got up and walked toward the door. She whispered as she reached his side. “She is weak it won’t be long now.”
Gaius nodded and walked to the bed. He sat down on the chair by the bed and took Alice’s hand. “I’m here, Alice. I came just like you asked.”
Alice’s eyes fluttered open and she squeezed his hand. “Gaius, you always were late for everything.”
“I know.” Gaius gave her a weak smile. “Forgive me?”
“I am the one that needs to be forgiven. I was the one that encouraged you to dabble in magick. I nearly got us both killed in the Great Purge. Alice took a labored breath. If it wasn’t for your quick thinking, we would have burned for sorcery. Then years later, I showed up in Camelot and nearly got you burned again.”
“I took care of all that. There is no need to dwell on the past.” Gaius patted her hand. “I have missed you so much. I have thought of you every day.”
“I have thought of you too.” Alicae squeezed his hand. Her strength was leaving her. “Do you forgive me Gaius? Do you forgive me for making your heart break when I had to flee not once but twice?”
“I forgive you, my love. My heart.” Gaius kissed her hand. “I will always forgive you for anything that you have done because I love you.”
“And I love you.” Alice started to cry. “I will die soon. Promise me that when you will go back to your life and remember me fondly.”
“I will, my love.” Gaius felt his eyes stinging with tears. “Forgive me for not coming with you when you left Camelot all those years ago. I had to stay. I had to look after the child.”
“I know and now he hates magick like his father before him.” Alice took a shuddering breath. Does he know all of what you sacrificed for him?”
“I think he is just realizing some of it now.” Gaius could see her trembling. “Are you cold?”
“Yes. Death is cold.” Alice winced in pain. She could feel the spell that Merlin had used wearing off. “I want to hear you say it one more time before I close my eyes forever.”
“I love you, Alice, and I forgive you.” Gaius kissed her lips softly.
With her last breath, Alice whispered “I love you.”
Gaius broke down and let himself cry for her and for himself. He didn’t see Merlin standing in the doorway.
Merlin walked back outside and looked at the three people standing there waiting. “She’s gone.”
Merrilea wiped a tear from her cheek. “Then her pain is over.”
Suddenly, Gaius appeared in the doorway. “Merrilea! Why wasn’t I sent for before now? Explain.”
“I didn’t even know she was ill until she collapsed one day while we were making potions.” Merrilea defended herself. “And I did send for you and you sent him in your place.” She pointed at Merlin.
“If I had known it was Alice, I would have come myself.” Gaius was angry not just at the woman standing in front of him but himself as well.
“With Camelot’s knights on your heels! We couldn’t take that chance.” Merrilea looked at Lancelot. “Why is it that all this doesn’t surprise you?”
“I’ve known of Merlin’s magick since almost the day we met. I keep his secret because he is my friend.” Lancelot looked at Gaius. “Gaius is like a father to him and I would never betray him either.”
“Not the sentiment I expected from one of Arthur’s knights.” Merrilea frowned and turned to Braden. “And you boy? Did you know of these things?"
“I am a druid. I was raised with magick and I have gifts.” Braden admitted.
“Merlin, maybe you should fill them in on what your scaly friend told you in the forest.” Merrilea waited for Merlin to speak.
“Now is not the time, Merrilea. We need to prepare Alice for her burial.” Merlin looked at Gaius. “There is a lovely spot near an old oak tree in the forest. I don’t think she would want to be put on a pyre.”
“No, she wouldn’t Nor would I.” Gaius nodded. “Thank you Merlin.”
“Come on Braden. Lancelot tapped him on the shoulder. “We should start digging as soon as someone shows us the spot.”
“I’ll go.” Merrilea offered.
“You stay here and get her ready. We will be right back.” Merlin put his hand on Gaius’ arm. “It’s through here.”
They walked until the village was out of sight, Merlin stopped at an old oak tree. “Here.”
“It’s perfect.” Gaius looked around. “Why didn’t you want Merrilea to come with us?”
“I know she is an old friend but I’m not sure she can be trusted. She followed me when Kilgharrah called to me in the night and listened to our conversation.”
“I was wondering how she knew of the dragon and his connection to you.” Gaius sighed. “She was more of a friend to Alice than me. Use your instincts, Merlin. They are usually better than mine.”