Written for the liverjournal community Kink Me, Merlin! 31.
Prompt was: Arthur/Gwen/Merlin/Morgana (past).
Describe to me, in angsty detail, how the OT4 became three, then just Arthur and Merlin, and then just Arthur on his lonesome.
It didn't quite work out the way I intended it too and I'm not sure I like it but here it is.
I don't own anything.
He stands alone, on a battlefield, surrounded by the bodies of his knights.
Alone, just like he began, with nothing, just like in the beginning of their story.
This was not how it was supposed to go.
In the beginning, before they're even there, there's nothing.
Nothing but their parents and their loves, their lies and their sacrifices, nothing but everything what shaped them later. That's how and where there story begins, really, that's it. Their parents shaped everything, created the situations and laws that would haunt them later.
He realizes later, when it's all over, that they never even stood a chance.
Their parents made sure of that.
Then there's him, and just him, the only prince of Camelot.
Him alone, running through the castle, playing ridiculous games, alone always. His father always busy, too busy to play with him, and the noble's son weren't always there. Alone, always, relying on himself. That's how it supposed to be, he's told, he's the prince, he doesn't need friends, he needs to learn.
That's how their story starts, how the legend begins.
The crown prince of Camelot standing all alone, crying.
Then there's Morgana, suddenly and unexpected, a constant part of his life.
The two of them together, playing silly games, fighting each other, arguing and laughing, screaming and making up, together, always, just like they should be. As brother and sister, though not real – not then, not for years, truth hidden in lies – joking and bickering. His father, still too busy until he was older, and the noble's son, still not always there, but it didn't matter.
For he was no longer alone.
Morgana used to have nightmares, then too, though not often, and she told him, once, that someone, or something, would destroy them.
He didn't believe her. Neither did she.
Then there's Gwen, though there's never the three of them.
Gwen comes when Morgana is deemed too old for her nursemaid, Uther decides she needs a female companion – a best friend – and he chose Gwen. He never knew why his father chose her above all others, why not a nobleman's daughter? Why the daughter of a blacksmith? He didn't think this when he was a child, he didn't wonder about Morgana's companion, and later, when he did wonder, it wasn't important. Why did he care?
She was there for a better part of his childhood, he knows, but he can't remember her.
Can't remember Gwen as anything but Morgana's friend or Morgana's maid, he can't remember ever having even talked to her, not that it really matters.
It was the three of them, together in one place, though not really.
The girls ran ahead, playing games, laughing and growing up.
They left him standing on his own.
Then, and only then, after years of solitude and, he admits now, the wrong friends, then there's Merlin.
If someone had asked him, then and there where he met him, if they would ever be friends he would have laughed, but later he cannot imagine having lived without him. Without his best friend, without his constant companion, though it is something he would never admit.
It was Merlin who brought them together, Merlin who somehow managed to make them one.
He was the one who was friends with Gwen and somehow with Morgana, he brought them together, without him it never would have been. (It's Merlin, he realizes later, who brought him his best knights as well, Merlin who wove them altogether.) It was he who saved the child first and made them all work together and it was his hometown they went to save.
He remembers standing there, the four of them, in defense of that small town, and thinking this is it.
This is how it's supposed to be, now and forever.
Him and Merlin and Morgana and Gwen.
The four of them, together, in defense of Camelot.
Somewhere, somehow, he loses Morgana, like she once predicted he would.
But he doesn't know when or even how, and he really, despite all that has happened, hasn't figured out why either. He understands her anger towards his father, but he can't figure, can't point, the exact moment that turned into hatred against him.
They fall apart slowly and he never even realizes it happens until it's far too late.
Later, much later, when the dust settles and he has time to think – after they take back the castle – he thinks of the last few months and comes to the conclusion that first the friendship between Merlin and Morgana failed. That was their downfall, for it was Merlin who brought the four of them together and it was the decline of that friendship that doomed them all.
"I thought we were friends."
"As did I. But alas, we were both wrong."
Then it's the three of them, in defense of the kingdom.
It's not how he imaged it, it's not how it was supposed to go, but it is how it is and he accepts it. The king, the queen and the manservant (court sorcerer) together always. This is how it's going to be, how they'll go on forever, how they'll be remember.
And then, somehow, Gwen fades away, inexplicably into nothing.
And he can't tell you when that happened either, and he's not sure what that says about him. Perhaps it was the loss of Lancelot, her first love that made her fade away. Or perhaps it was the loss of her dear brother that destroyed them all, he doesn't know.
One day she was his loving wife, the next there was nothing left.
Leaving him and Merlin, him and his friend, the king of Camelot and Emrys.
But it's not the same, it's gone forever, that love , that friendship, that future that should have been. They fight and battle, they protect Camelot together.
Until even he faded away.
One day, suddenly, Merlin never came back, and Arthur, Arthur knew, he never would.
He send out his knights, of course he did, but the all-powerful Emrys was just gone. The dragons too had disappeared and the lady of the lake was silent. He asked Mordred, who'd grown quiet over the last few years, but he claimed not to know.
And so he was alone, sitting on his throne, with the whole of Camelot at his feet.
All that fighting for a common goal and nothing to show for it.
In the end he's alone, just as he began, standing on a battlefield.
Even his knights have left him now – Percival and Gwaine and even the constant Leon were dead. Only Mordred remained behind and somehow Arthur knew that was not a good thing.
He knew it was over before Mordred raised his sword (across the field he can see Morgana laughing at him.)
They end with nothing, just as they begin.
No friendship, nor love, no Camelot and no acceptance. This is the end of the story, nothing, nobody, will come after them.
They've finally come full circle; their story has come to an end.
He still does not know why it had to go this way.