*squints at last update date, which, prior to this post, reads: September 12, 2014*

Well, it's been a hot second, hasn't it? ;)

Prompt: written as a Christmas 2019 gift for jillc

Characters/Pairings: Merlin, Lancelot, Gwaine

Ratings/Warnings: K. Post-Reveal AU in which no one's dead and Merlin's about to become Court Sorcerer

Word Count: 400


"He's going to kill me."

"You're being rather dramatic."

"But I'm convinced of it this time."

"You're going to be fine, I prom—"

"Convinced. Utterly. It's going to happen."


"Tonight. This very night, Lancelot."

Lancelot sighs and leans against the door jam. He looks the picture of ease, and Merlin envies him. Merlin envies him from the roots of his perfect hair to the soles of his perfectly polished boots.

Merlin's boots are scuffed. There's probably some horse excrement on them, from the other day. He hadn't had the time, or inclination, to remember he should have purchased new ones for the occasion.

He's going to be sick. His stomach is in knots, performing feats of acrobatics in an attempt to unravel themselves. The quakes originate there and creep outward, into his limbs.

"Perhaps you should sit down."

It's too bad that pacing is the only thing keeping him upright at the moment. He ignores the suggestion and turns on his heel to pace in the other direction.

Lancelot's hands land on Merlin's shoulders. The knight spins him around and says sternly, "Merlin."

Merlin scans Lancelot's face, and following his friend's nonverbal cues, he takes a slow, steady breath in. "Everything is going to change."


Merlin closes his eyes, and before he can stop them, the words have slipped past his lips. "It may not be how I imagined it."

"That's true." Lancelot offers a smile. "But it doesn't have to be, does it?"

Merlin doesn't respond, but his mind begins racing, imaginary pressure building on his shoulders. "I'm not ready for this."

"You are," Lancelot disagrees. "You've been ready."

Merlin snorts. It's a bitter and wet sound. "It was an accident."

"And what an accident it was. Camelot's safe because of it. Arthur's alive because of it. And I reckon—"

A light knock sounds at the door, and Merlin's lungs seize. Gwaine peeks his head in. "It's time, Merlin."

Merlin raises his eyes back to Lancelot's face, then Gwaine's, and the tension begins to drain from his shoulders. It'll be alright, their warm brown eyes say. We're with you.

Merlin doesn't remember the walk down the corridors. Later, he will hardly remember the doors opening before him or the faces turning in his direction, whispering the Court Sorcerer.

He will remember one thing.

Arthur, and the way he smiles, We're with you.

zielschmerz (from the Obscure Sorrows Dictionary): the exhilarating dread of pursuing a lifelong dream...