Rating: T for angst, a teeny bit of violence and character death (though not really, but if I choose not to continue this it will look as though she dies)
Disclaimer: characters belong to the BBC and the Arthurian legends.
Her Name Was Freya (was so close to naming this 'Been there, done that, got the broken heart')
Arthur shrieked, the ungainly noise echoing round and round the hallway before returning to Arthur's ears: taunting his weakness. A good king would never give in to his emotions. Arthur found he couldn't quite care. The grief swelled inside him, like a river… no, an ocean… breaking free of its banks. The sea burst free in a shriek, a sob, a tear. The legendary king of Camelot was falling apart.
He turned to the stone wall and began to batter it until his fists were bruised and bloody, picturing Gwen's faceless attackers. The men, the murderers, who had butchered the most innocent, gentle, loving girl in the world hadn't even revealed their faces. The cowards hadn't hurt her because she had done anything wrong. They hadn't hurt her because they disliked Arthur or his ruling. It was just to make a point.
"You are weak, Arthur, and your kingdom will soon be ours," the last bandit had whispered, before scampering off into the trees, the damage done.
Arthur had guided Gwen back to the castle, begging her to stay with him every step of the way. He had held her hand through-out the night as Gaius laboured over her wounds. Everything he was had shattered when Gaius gave a tiny shake of his head, powerless to do more. Unable to stay in their bedroom, heavy with dread and death, he had begun to pace the corridors.
Without quite realising how he had got there, he had arrived in the royal gardens. Flowers had been imported from all over the land to make these the most beautiful gardens in the world. The gorgeous smile on Gwen's face as she had admired them was enough to put them to shame. No, that wasn't right. The flowers should have been ugly in comparison, but somehow her smile made everything around her seem more beautiful too. She brought life wherever she went.
Sitting on a bench in the middle of the garden was his clumsy, big-eared servant. His normally wide, inquisitive eyes were down-cast and his face was pale and drawn. Suddenly, Arthur found he wanted to find solace with his best friend and he dropped onto the marble bench beside him. There was a long silence – so long Arthur began to wonder if Merlin had even realised he was there. Eventually, Merlin raised his head.
"You can survive this, y'know."
Arthur felt fury rage through him. He had come to Merlin because he had thought that his servant knew him well enough not to feed him false assurances. Merlin either didn't notice or ignored the king's anger.
"It feels like the sun should just stop moving and the entire world should just lay down and die because there's no point, no point to any of it. She was the reason you got up every morning and now she's gone so why bother?"
With startled eyes, he started to pay attention to what Merlin was saying. He had just accurately described what Arthur was feeling. As the warlock spoke, his usual goofiness vanished and a grave, hurt expression lined his words.
"But then the sun doesn't stop turning and the people just carry on, not realising the most perfect girl in the world has slipped away. It hurts at first – that no-one else seems to care – but helps you later on. You find other things to love, other things to live for. Friends, family… a worthy cause," Merlin looked at King Arthur, King of the Round Table, as he listed the last one. "You never forget and you never get over it, but you can come to accept it and do what she would want: live!"
Defensively, Arthur spat, "Oh yeah, and how would you know?"
Merlin just looked, levelly, straight at Arthur. "Her name was Freya."
A/N: Thank you for reading this. I was going to continue this: have Merlin cure Gwen, revealing magic, etc., but now I think I might just leave it as a one-shot unless anyone says they want more. Oh, and I know this is all doom and gloom, but I do like my longer stories to have a lot of humour as well. Thanks!