Any of you ever think Merlin seemed to get over Freya a bit fast? Yes, there were tears, and the episode itself was incredibly heart wrenching and beautiful, but she never got mentioned again. This is my fix for that. Set several days after the episode ended, it finds Arthur very confused, and determined to find out what's wrong with his normally cheerful man servant. Enjoy.
"Oh for God's sake Merlin! You've been moping now for three days!" Arthur complained as the silence got to him. "The worst part is that you're starting to act like a halfway decent servant!" Merlin said nothing. The truly sad part was that this non-response was usual after the last few days.
"You know, I'm starting to think this had nothing to do with me dumping water on you at all, which means I apologised for nothing."
"That was an apology?" Yes! Finally, something.
"Yes, it was," Arthur defended, "And there really wasn't any point to it if you were going to go about looking like your heart had been ripped out with a pair of tongs." Merlin's eyes widened briefly, then the despondency Arthur was almost accustomed to set back in his face.
"I'll try not to be so depressing in your presence my lord." Dammit. Arthur sighed.
"Merlin…" Arthur looked over his rather pathetic manservant and leaned against the table next to him, watching him sort Arthur's clothes.
"Does this have to do with a girl?" he asked, deciding it was best to get to the root of the matter. Merlin hesitated as he considered lying, but decided that unless he was asked outright about the 'Druid girl' he'd best stick with the truth.
"Yes." He answered. Arthur nodded knowingly.
"Spurned your advances did she?"
"No." Arthur looked startled.
"Merlin," he asked with a grin, "Is there actually a charming side to you that you've been hiding from me?"
Merlin continued to fold clothes. Arthur sighed and folded his arms in concentration.
"Did she run off with someone else?"
"Did she suddenly and mysteriously disappear?"
"You didn't manage to disgrace her in some way, making you feel piteously guilty about it, did you?"
"Is she ill?"
"She's not much of anything anymore," Merlin replied, trying to sound matter of fact, but his scratched throat betraying him. Arthur's eyes widened and he looked sideways at his faithful servant.
"You're not telling me she's dead?" he asked. Merlin's eyes welled up, but otherwise did not respond, not even stopping in his chore. Arthur's arms slowly fell to his side as he looked on Merlin in concern.
"God Merlin, I'm sorry."
"Don't be," Merlin said, wiping his nose on his sleeve and grinning sadly, "I only knew her a few days, I'll get over it eventually."
"Well, yes, but still-
"Do you need anything else?" Merlin asked. Arthur looked at the suddenly folded pile of laundry in front of him in surprise.
"Well, ah…" Arthur paused to think, "you can muck out the stables-
"Clean my room?"
"Polish my armor."
"Run my dogs?"
"Twice today." Arthur looked around his room, for something, anything. Dam. He sighed.
"I suppose if you polish my boots again you might put holes in them. This is what I was talking about. I don't mind the work getting done, but this really has to stop." Merlin grinned despite himself.
"I thought you always wanted a better servant?"
"Not if you're so miserable I can't stand the sight of you," Arthur retorted, "I might have to give you a few days off."
"Don't," Merlin said quietly, taking Arthur by surprise, "It's all I got to distract me."
"Which explains the work ethic. Really Merlin, why can't you be this impressive when your cheerful?"
"I'll try to work on it."
"Good," Arthur said nodding, "And get back to your usually irritating self soon, or I might have to do something rash, and probably painful, am I making myself understood?"
"Painful for who?" Merlin asked, a large mischievous grin on his face.
"Right, ah, understood." Arthur shook his head, but smiled as well. It definitely was an improvement.
"Goodnight My Lord."
"And Merlin?" Merlin stopped and turned back.
"If you're here before I wake up again, I'll put you in the stocks."
See? Arthur isn't all bad. And I thought the way I got around Merlin actually saying who she was was rather clever. However, it does leave Arthur with another tantalizing clue... hmmm. Still, Arthur tends to miss those, doesn't he? So no worries there.
Well, tell me what you think. I thought it was good, but again, I wrote the thing, so you know... anyhoo, review if you find time. I hoped you enjoyed reading it all the same.