AN: I'd love to see Gwen seeing Merlin in his Emrys form. Just a little something I thought up when I was bored
Dusk had fallen over the small village and its surrounding woods. A lone, cloaked figure moved slowly; aimlessly through the trees. The light night time breeze breathed along her long, dark, curly hair and ghosted through the trees; allowing the leaves to whisper secrets to one another. The figure drifted slowly along the path; the hem of her cloak and dress momentarily wrapping dead leaves and fallen twigs in a soothing hug before neglecting them as her feet forced her forwards into the night. The woman's only companions were the moonbeams which danced and played hide-and-seek amongst the trees and the stars which winked and remained still; ever-teasingly out of reach on their black blanket. Finally the woman seemed to be heading to a general location; her drifting turned to wandering before it turned to walking until at least she seemed to reach her destination and rested herself on the ground and stared into the water. Her own dark, beautiful and melancholy face looked back at her through the idling current.
Gwen leant back from the water and lay out on the ground and stared up at the sky. Gwen had always loved the dark. In childhood her imagination caused her to imagine various beasts she had had to fight off with a stick in the woods and in her youth; Gwen had been the one who frequently made the wolf howls and piercing screams which caused the other children to go running to their mothers. Whenever she got older; Gwen loved how peaceful things became at night. The hustle and bustle of the day disappeared as the kingdom rested and relaxed and prepared for another day. Whenever she and the others had evaded and eluded various dangers and troubles; Gwen would always wander the woods at night to allow her thoughts to gather themselves and to remind herself just how lucky she was to be alive. To be there in the woods feeling the breeze and the leaves; seeing the moon and the stars; smelling the various wildflowers; each little thing was a reminder of just how beautiful and fragile life was. Nowadays Gwen wandered the woods at night; not only to try and not be as imposing on the people who had offered her room in their home but also to try and gather her thoughts and puzzle out the events of the past few weeks. Lancelot; the kiss; the banishment; Gwen thought about it and thought about it until she was blue in the face yet no explanation seemed to present itself. Gwen couldn't understand why she had so willingly and literally kissed goodbye to the happiness she would have had as Arthur's wife. She still loved him more than words could ever say; yet what could she do? She was banished from her home; her brothers (both in blood and spirit) and it seemed like those dreams she had had were nothing more than fragments of dust being carried away in the breeze.
Gwen wrapped her cloak tighter around herself as she got to her feet. She had heard footsteps and her hand flew to her dress pocket where she kept her knife. Previous experiences and pure common sense told her never to wander the woods; especially at night without some form of protection. While Gwen knew that rationally it was most likely a pair of young lovers from the village; sneaking out for a stroll and a kiss; her mind was also warning her to be weary. Magical creatures weren't the only beasts which roamed the woods. Finally after a few moments a man appeared out of the trees and Gwen slowly relaxed as she studied the man. He was quite old with long white hair and a beard and was wearing a long red robe. Gwen couldn't explain it but there was something about the man which seemed inexplicably familiar. She felt as though she had met him before yet she simply couldn't remember when.
"Evening," Gwen said politely. The man looked at her and he nodded and smiled at her.
"Good evening Gwen." The old man replied. Gwen looked at him in shock and if anything, the man's smile widened.
"How do you know my name?" Gwen asked. In the village she mainly kept to herself and very few people knew her name or where she was from. Gwen insisted on keeping her distance. She didn't want anyone finding out why she really left Camelot a few weeks ago.
"I know everything my dear. I know that you are destined for great things. You are destined to be the Queen of Camelot." The old man replied.
Gwen shook her head. "I think you are mistaken. I am nothing more than a commoner and commoners cannot become royalty. Anyone who thinks otherwise is living in a fairy tale."
"I am a lot of things but I am never mistaken. Now listen to me; I need to tell you something." The old man said; gesturing for Gwen to come over to him. Gwen walked over and the man looked at her and Gwen's feeling of recognition was getting stronger by the second. She knew this man from somewhere. She could see it in his eyes. She knew that man's eyes.
"What do you have to tell me?" Gwen asked.
"Never give up. Fate is a cruel mistress who works in mysterious ways but believe me; she has an important role that she needs you to play. That role is to help King Arthur to become the greatest king history has ever known and believe me; that idiot will not be able to do that on his own; oh no!" the old man explained and despite herself, Gwen smiled at that last comment.
"I've been banished from Camelot. It Arthur ever sees me there again; he'll kill me. I can't exactly be queen if I'm dead." Gwen argued.
"Stop being so stubborn girl! Here I thought you were smart. I told you; fate is cruel and mysterious. Someday; maybe not tonight; maybe not tomorrow but someday that donkey-faced-toad-mannered goat of a king will realise what a mistake he's made and you'll be ruling Camelot together before you know it!" the old man insisted. Gwen looked at him sceptically.
"How do you know all of this? How can you know what Fate has planned for us?" Gwen asked the old man who grinned at her.
"That's between me and a talking dragon. It's a long story my dear. Just believe me. Everything will work itself out eventually. Goodnight." The old man said and like that; he vanished in the blink of an eye.
Gwen stared at the spot where the man stood in shock. That had been… interesting to say the least. Did he mean it? Was there a chance that someday she and Arthur would reconcile with one another? Or was he just an old man looking for some form of amusing himself? Gwen found it hard to trust anyone these days and therefore she shrugged off what the man said and instead she began trying to place the man in his mind. There was something very familiar about him; the way he spoke; his eyes and the way he treated her like an old friend all seemed to signal that the man was really someone Gwen knew very well. Gwen knew there was a very high probability that they had met somewhere before; albeit briefly and Gwen was sure she would remember such a man. They definitely met before.
The only problem was that she couldn't figure out where.
Six months later.
Gwen moaned as she leant over the side of the bed and once again emptied her stomach into the waiting bucket. Arthur; in an attempt to be 'romantic' had attempted to make her a meal as a special treat. It turned out that the knights had all 'volunteered' to help and while they were all adapt with swords and warfare; cooking was a whole other scenario. Gwen lay back on her pillows and wiped her mouth with her sleeve.
"You look a complete mess."
"And a 'hello how are you today' to you too Merlin," Gwen muttered as she hugged her stomach in a vain attempt to stop any more feelings of nausea. Merlin crossed the room and sat down on the edge of the bed; careful to avoid the bucket. He lightly held a vial in his hand and grinned at Gwen.
"Here you go; another one of Gaius' famous cures for illness." Merlin commented lightly as he opened the vial. Gwen pulled a face as she drank the vial and lay back against the pillows and Merlin offered her some water.
"I don't know what's worse; the sickness or the cure." Gwen commented as she reached over for Elyan's cloak which she had been in the middle of repairing.
"What are you doing? You're supposed to be resting not working." Merlin said for the twentieth time that day and took the cloak out of her hands. Gwen was a nightmare when she was on bed rest. One concept she could never understand was the idea of relaxing and letting other people do work for her. It had almost been six months since she became queen yet there were so many things which Gwen refused to let her maid do for her. It was actually quite funny how stubborn she had been that morning; only agreeing to stay in bed whenever she stood up and commented that she was fine; the world was just upside-down.
"I know but I needed to get it done." Gwen argued weakly.
"What you need is rest. Physician's and king's orders and Elyan asked me to tell you that he's ordering you to stay on bed rest as a big brother." Merlin relayed. "So how is everyone's favourite queen today?"
"She's still sick as a dog. How are you?" Gwen asked.
"Well that goat-faced idiot that you call a husband has been picking on me again. You'd think he would show some respect to Camelot's newest councilman but nope; to him I'm still the same old stupid Merlin." Merlin joked. "Really though I'm fine. The others all told me to tell you that they're all really sorry you're sick and have promised not to do that again."
"It was sweet of them but maybe they should focus on protecting the kingdom instead." Gwen replied and lay back on the bed; feeling quite tired. Rather than spend the night in her husband's arms; she had been sitting up all night with a bucket in her arms.
"I'll let you sleep." Merlin said and crossed the room. As she watched him leave; Gwen suddenly had an epiphany. It was impossible yet if it were the case then it explained a lot. It was whenever he made the comment about Arthur did she finally understand.
"Merlin?" Gwen said. Merlin turned and looked at Gwen who was about to fall asleep,
"You don't suit a beard." Gwen commented as she rolled over and fell asleep. Merlin stood in the doorway for a moment as he realised what Gwen was saying.
Then he smiled.