Title: The Incredible Bouncing Knight
Warnings: SPOILERS THROUGH SEASON 3. Also, CRACK!
Summary: Or, Why Sir Leon Isn't Dead. Whenever the subject of Leon's propensity towards living is brought up, everyone in the household gets shifty eyed and twitchy. Is it skill? Luck? Magic? No, of course not, magic's illegal, don't be ridiculous…
Disclaimer: I own nothing
AN – I…have no excuse. Really. Except for in the dictionary, next to the word 'survival', there should be a picture of Sir Leon. I have many theories, this being one of them, along with the following: 1.) Leon is a zombie, and is already dead, so he can't be killed again. 2.) Leon isn't real, and only a figment of the collective imagination of Camelot. 3.) Leon is a pooka, ala Harvey. 4.) Leon is a Time Lord who keeps regenerating. I find them all viable solutions. Also, this is very short, so...enjoy.
It's set by the union of Sir Barwick and Lady Ena. They meet in corridors, in alcoves, in closets. They're the worst kept secret since the physician Gaius and the healer Alice. It's a fling, quick and hot, and suddenly the two have a bit of a hurtle to get through. They marry, and not necessarily because they want to.
Eight months after the wedding, the baby is born. It's soon enough to send the rumor mills on overdrive all throughout the Court of Camelot. They name the child Leon, and after a while, the scandal of their union settles and all but vanishes. Leon remains, but is sickly and weak, prone to colds. Gaius tells them that he fears the child won't make it through the winter. Ena and Barwick may not be soul mates, but they do love their son.
It starts with the blessing of the enchantress. Nimueh comes and goes as she pleases, breezing in and out of the court, ungraspable as a hurricane. Barwick approaches her, one day, and says, "May I speak with you in private?"
She stares at him for a long moment. "This is about your son," she says.
"I'll come to your household when the sun sets," she says, "Make sure your wife is there as well, with the babe."
That night, before Nimueh begins, she looks at Barwick and Ena, and says, "You are sure that this is what you want? To have him not die?"
They assure her that yes, this is what they want. So her eyes turn gold and she chants over their son. He burns with a golden light briefly, and then it's over. "So mote it be," Nimueh mutters, "He will not die."
Leon knows none of this. No one does, save for Sir Barwick and his wife, and by extension, their entire household. After all, gossip moves faster than air in Camelot. Leon is six years old when the purge begins. His parents get very shifty eyed very quickly. He learns that he isn't supposed to say the word magic anymore. He learns that he and the other children can't play Warlocks and Witches anymore.
He is ten years old when he falls out of the tree, landing heavily on the ground. It is a fall that should have killed him, but doesn't. It gives Leon pause to consider his life up to that point. He knows that he was ill has an infant, and didn't die. He knows that when he was five, he was trampled by a runaway horse and should've died, but didn't. He comes to the realization that he really shouldn't be alive right now. It's the first time he thinks it, and it certainly won't be the last.
"Mother?" Leon asks later, watching her grind away at the contents of the bowl, "Why am I not dead?"
"You're lucky, Leon," she'd mutters, "Very lucky. Would you fetch me the flour, dear?"
"Father?" Leon asks the next day, watching as his father slowly sharpened the sword, movements slow and measured, "Why am I not dead?"
"You're skilled," his father answers, "Now be a good boy and never talk about it again."
His mother calls it luck. His father calls it skill. None of them ever say aloud what they are thinking, that maybe it could be…magic? But that was ridiculous. "Magic is illegal," his parents would say, the entire household becoming shifty eyed and twitchy, "Of course it isn't magic."
And that was that.
Most of Leon's life is as everyone expects it to be – he is knighted, and rises through the ranks until he is the king's go-to knight, second to only Arthur. Of course, his career is peppered with more near-death experiences and almost-didn't-make-it stories than most, but no one really seems to find it strange. Then, somewhere along the way, Merlin shows up and is Arthur's constant shadow. The lad is easy to smile and quick with a joke. He's like a breath of fresh air with the serious knights, completely willing to act the fool in order to tempt a laugh.
But. There's something that doesn't quite sit right with Leon about the boy. He just shrugs it off and goes about his business.
(Leon knows that Merlin's hiding something. After all, how many people can ride into battle without any armor and abysmal sword skills and come back unscathed? Arthur calls it pure dumb luck. Gaius mutters about clumsy skill. Leon never says aloud what he's thinking, that maybe it could be…magic? Whenever the subject comes up, Leon gets shifty eyed and a little twitchy, and says, "Magic is illegal, of course it isn't magic," and slips straight into the legacy of his household, of denying what's sitting right in front of you. And if he wakes up in time to hear the boy talking to the dragon, well, no one would believe him anyway. Not that it matters – after all, he just told the dragon to go away, so it's all good in the end, right? Right?)
So, Leon bounces along, never really getting hurt enough to die. And, when he is, some magical solution falls from the sky just in the nick of time to save him. It does seem a little ridiculous that he can face down an entire immortal army and not die. But, whatever. He has learned, long ago, that it's really just best not to think too much about it. It makes him twitch.
Life goes on. Uther goes crazy, and then he isn't, and then he is again. Morgana turns out to be a bitch, and Leon wears a dress. It isn't exactly the way that he imagined his life would be, but it isn't a terrible life. Then, one day, Uther doesn't wake up. He isn't poisoned or attacked, he simply just gives up. Leon watches as Camelot mourns and simoutaeneously rejoices – grieving the loss of a King and cheering on the rise of a new one.
The day that Arthur is crowned is the day that Merlin steps forward and reveals he uses magic, has been using magic, and fully intends to keep on using magic. Things are tense for about a week, and then suddenly – everything's the way it was before. Most of the knights – with Gwaine as their figure head and poster boy – insist that they'd known all along about the serving boy's special talents. Leon has been taught for too long that you don't talk about magic, and simply stays out of the discussion.
That is, of course, until Merlin approaches Leon one day, looking serious and a little apprehensive. "You've a curse on you," Merlin says, "Did you know? It makes you sort of bounce off of death."
Leon pauses. "Yes," he says, getting shifty eyed and a little twitchy, "Yes, I did." And, he's only a little surprised to learn that he's actually known it for most of his life.
Merlin hesitates, clearly surprised. "Oh," he says, "Oh, alright. Would you, ah, would you like to keep it, then?"
"I think so, yes," Leon says, "I'd be dead by the end of the week if it was gone."
(He's proven right when a griffin attacks Camelot the next week, grabbing Leon and flying a dizzying height in the air with him before dropping him on the castle roof. He bounces down turrets and landings and balconies, and, honestly, if he hadn't landed on Percival like that he definitely would have died. Well, probably definitely would have died. Maybe probably definitely would have died. Mortally wounded, at least.)