You Never Bring Me Strawberries

Merlin was the first to admit that he'd never been blessed with a wide variety of skills. He wasn't overly co-ordinated, nor was he particularly creative, and the less said about his singing abilities, the better. But he had never before been given a reason to doubt his skills when it came to magic. Magic was constant, unchangeable, coming as naturally to him as breathing or walking came to others.

So imagine his frustration when the young warlock, the one whom the Druids called Emrys, the most powerful wizard of all time, couldn't do something as simple as create a single strawberry for the woman he loved.

Didn't stop him from trying, of course.

"This should do it," he nodded confidently, holding his hands cupped in front of him as his eyes began to glow golden. The young woman opposite him watched intently, her face still lined with the type of deep seeded sadness the carrier doesn't even notice. They were sat huddled together in the deepest part of the forest, cocooned in the still soft hush of morning, cold and exhausted after fleeing Camelot the night before. Merlin couldn't deny the small stabs of pain in his heart at having to leave – dangerous as it was, Camelot had been him home. However, as he looked at Freya, hair a mess, dress tattered, dark eyes haunted, he knew he could never regret his decision. He wanted to be with her. He had never been so sure of something in his life. Even with that terrible curse laid upon her, Merlin was already certain that he loved her, and that he just wanted to make her happy. And to make her happy, in the smallest way, would be to use his incredible gift to make her a …

"Daffodil." whispered Freya softly, smiling ever so sightly as Merlin's face dropped comically.

"Oh," was all he could manage, as he stared dumbfounded at the bright yellow bloom in his palm, the only splash of colour in the dull morning.

"It's not even the right colour this time," said Freya. Merlin's head jerked up at this, his smile already regaining strength. This was new. Freya was gently teasing him, her smile now just beginning to touch her eyes as well as her lips. Merlin felt something bubble within his heart. Already he could tell that the wide, free spaces were doing Freya good, and, more importantly, she was becoming more and more comfortable with him.

"Well, it's hard to focus on something as dull as fruit," he countered. "When I'm distracted by beautiful things, I guess I just make beautiful things."

Freya ducked her head, but not before Merlin saw the blush that blossomed across her face and neck. His smile widened, then suddenly faltered when she looked back up at him, her face tormented and her eyes bright with tears.

"How can you say that?" she asked him, her voice wavering, but her eyes never leaving his. "After last night? My crimes, my curse … how can you look upon me and call me …"

She trailed off, unable to continue. Merlin, however, was not put out. He knew where this fear was coming from. To be so very, very different, to the point of dangerous, would be enough to make most people flee. Merlin knew this all too well. He saw the situation very simply; where Freya expected him to be fearful, he would be brave. He would never give her reason to think that she scared him, just as he, with all his power, would never scare her.

"How can I call you beautiful?" he finished for her. He reached out and took one of her hands in his, his heart expanding as he felt her small, warm fingers wrap around his larger hand. He held up the daffodil between them, and they both admired it for a moment before he reached out and very carefully tucked it into the dark waves of her hair. As he pulled his hand away he allowed himself the pleasure of letting the tips of his fingers brush against her cheek, delighting in how she sighed and leaned into his touch. "Very easily."

And then she smiled, a wide, stunning smile that finally quashed the sadness in her eyes. Merlin matched her smile with his own, and right there and then swore to himself that he would spend the rest of his life dedicated to making her smile in that way.

That, and figuring out why he couldn't make a damn strawberry.