Love and Lakes

Golden Waters

Arthur sat there, crying, as his best friend lay dead in his arms. Merlin, his best friend... dead. He had even less time alive because Arthur had decided to throw a helmet at his head, in a foolish fit of anger. Because he, Arthur, was slightly annoyed, he shortened Merlin’s lifespan by a week.

Arthur looked down on his pale, cold, lifeless face. “I’m sorry, my friend. It’s my fault. I wish, I-I wish I had more time... that you had more time...”

As he sat and cried, cried forever, cried until his eyes just could not cry anymore, his five friends sat with him. Guinevere sobbed, high, sharp, despairing sounds of pure sadness. Gwaine, Leon, Percival, and Elyan (who had been going around the castle letting people know what had happened and where they were going the night before) astonishingly shed their tears for Merlin as well; without him, they wouldn’t be where they were now.

So, naturally, they did not immediately notice when a small light began to burst through the lake, starting in the center and spreading out across the rest of the lake until the lake that was blue was turned gold, spreading light and warmth across the sad, cold shore.

The group of mourners turned their tear-streaked faces to the lake, basking in the glory, yet confused. Arthur slowly laid down Merlin’s body and pulled out his sword, staring blankly around at the pool of golden water.

A small, frail, yet beautiful figure rose out of the water, straight black hair flowing. She did a sort of run, maybe a glide, across the top of the water, running to Merlin. She knelt down on the shore and reached her hands out to him, but Arthur, standing up shakily and pointing his sword at her.

“Stay away, sorceress.” His lip was put out, and he had a hardened and intimidating look on his face, as if he did not care what he did and what happened to anyone anymore.

Her voice was smooth and young, nice to listen to. “I mean him no harm. I just want to help Merlin.” The look in her eyes was urgent, and she was gazing sadly at the Merlin’s face, which was currently lain down on the gravel. The love in her voice was hidden, but once you tore away her words and listened, the caring was deep and she couldn’t have loved him more.

However, Arthur was not in the mood for looking for the love in people’s voices and couldn’t tell.

“He is dead, sorceress. I will not have you disrespect his body.”

The girl looked up at Arthur after a minute. She had been gazing down at Merlin’s face in longing, and when she tilted her face up to face to the King, a single tear had trickled down her cheek.

“Let me.” She had such a force, such an urgency in her voice that Arthur could not help but step aside, confused and angry, and watch as she cupped Merlin’s limp cheeks and muttered a few words.

Leon looked upon her, almost recognizing her. He suddenly felt as if he needed to speak out against what he thought she was going to do.

“There is powerful magic behind Merlin’s death; you could not lift it. He is dead.” The resignation in his voice was devastating, but she would not listen.

She continued to speak in a language none of them knew or understood until her eyes shined gold for a second, and then went back to their normal color: brown. A small noise came from Merlin: he had exhaled.

Arthur stared down at Merlin, not believing what he was seeing. Could he be alive? He didn’t dare hope.

Arthur looked down at the girl, who was once again gazing at Merlin’s not-so-lifeless face. “What are you? How could you have lifted the curse?”

She faced him, a quick turn, and said: “I am the Lady of the Lake. My magic is much more powerful than you could imagine.”

Arthur was shocked, and so were the knights. What could this powerful sorceress want with Merlin?

Merlin breathed in again, a small, ragged, rasping sound, but still a good sound. He exhaled a long time later, still coming back.

The Lady explained to all of the men and Gwen. “He was never meant to be dead, so bringing him back was easy enough for someone like me. The balance in the world has not been interrupted.”

Nobody said a word as Merlin slowly, carefully opened his eyes to discover all of his friends kneeling around him, holding his head or propping up his head or something. Guinevere knelt into Merlin’s face and said, “Merlin? Are you alright?”

After a minute or two, he responded. “Tired as hell. Died. But I’m alive now, aren’t I?” A small smile aroused on his face, and soon it caught on to everyone in the group.

Merlin looked around for a second. Then, he saw a face that he didn’t remember coming with them on the trip. He sat up, quickly, hoping, dreaming, praying that it was the person he thought it was.

Everyone else in the group was startled by this sudden action, and disturbed by the fact that Merlin’s eyelids drooped again for a second, and that he was leaning heavily on his arms to support him, but the Lady wasn’t.

“Freya!” The words bounded off of Merlin’s lips, louder than anything he had said earlier, and he pushed himself forward to his old love.

He cupped Freya’s face in his palms, and she did the same with his, whispering words of love to each other before Merlin stood on his knees and kissed Freya with such a passion that the rest of the group all almost gasped in shock.

When they pulled apart, Merlin’s breath was ragged and labored, but you could almost hear his smile. “Freya,” he whispered. The two of them leaned their foreheads together, still holding each other.

Arthur glanced at Guinevere, his eyebrows furrowed into a confused and slightly disturbed expression. Merlin had somehow found the strength to launch himself forward, kiss a girl nobody here knew for a surprisingly long time, and hadn’t even told his friends who she was? And how would Merlin know this... Freya?

Freya was exhilarated. The one she loved was dead, and she brought him back, and they were reunited... temporarily. They had kissed, though, and she was out of breath, though not nearly as bad as Merlin was.

She stared into Merlin’s blue eyes, watched as a bit of color came back into his skin, and looked at his raven-black hair, which (she had to admit) was looking somehow even better from a new haircut.

The love inside of her swelled until she could bear it no more, and she wrapped her arms around his and pressed him close to her, inhaling his scent and feeling a leap in her heart as he kissed her forehead.

They looked at each other and smiled, but Freya’s smile became sad, because their time was temporary. She said, “I’ve missed you. I’ve missed you so much, and I will miss you.”

Merlin furrowed his brow. “W-what are you talking about? You’re alive, you’re here!”

Freya’s lip began to tremble, but she said: “I’m not alive. I’m the Lady of the Lake, Merlin, and I can never leave. I’m sorry.”

Merlin’s expression became distressed, and he clutched her and held her closer. “I don’t want you to leave. I’ll miss you. I need you, Freya. Please!”

Freya started to cry, but she whispered, “I’ll see you again soon, Merlin. I promise.” Merlin kissed the top of her head, before she started to sink into the water again and the lake slowly turned blue again.

Merlin still had a hand stretched out towards the water, hoping that she would reach her hand out again, but to no avail. As he lowered his hand, the others sensed that it was a sensitive moment, and they all mumbled their excuses to go back to where they had made camp.

Arthur stayed with Merlin, as an unimaginably painful sob rose up out of Merlin, a dry, racking, painful sob, and tears fell down his face. “Freya!” He yelled. “Freya...”

Arthur stayed until Merlin could cry no more, and he once again collapsed with exhaustion. They rode back to Camelot that day, and by nightfall, Merlin was once again in Gaius’ chambers.

Upon seeing Merlin, Gaius ran and embraced him gratefully, so relieved to see him alive he had no words. And although Merlin was smiling, there was a little something broken.
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