Happy Sunday, my fair Merlinions! Hope your day is absolutely wonderful and filled with sunshine, good friends, and basketfuls of puppies! :)
Description: Arthur was the "other half" of both Gwen and Merlin. And now he's gone.
Disclaimer: If I owned Merlin, I definitely would have abused that power to make Arthur and Merlin hug a few more times.
Warning: Because the series finale wasn't angsty enough already...
"A half cannot truly hate that which makes it whole." -Kilgharrah (Merlin)
"Do you know what it's like to be a lover? To be half of a whole?" -Mal (Inception)
One Half, Two Wholes
One half, two wholes.
Arthur had been that half, filling in a part of Merlin and Gwen's wholes that no one else ever could—or would.
For Merlin, he was master, destiny, friend, brother.
For Gwen, he was king, confidant, husband, soulmate.
And now he was gone.
And neither Gwen nor Merlin was complete without that one missing piece.
The day that Arthur died, Merlin set him—no, not him. His body. It would never be him again—adrift on the Lake of Avalon.
He knew the king deserved better—pyres and tombs and Camelot's grief and life, for goodness' sake—but, at the same time, he could think of no better way to honor his fallen friend.
The day after Arthur died, Gwen became Camelot's new leader.
Every plan and promise she and Arthur had shared was suddenly worthless. In the space of a heartbeat—or, rather, in the absence of one—she found herself at the head of a world she'd never aspired to, insecure, unprepared.
Two days after Arthur died, Merlin traveled to Ealdor to see his mother.
She took one look at him and pulled him into a tight embrace, comforting as only a mother can. Then she stroked his hair and murmured that it was all right—it wasn't—and that things would get better—they wouldn't—and that the world would keep turning.
How could it?
Three days after Arthur died, Gwen woke up from a nightmare.
She sat upright with a gasp, trying to slow her racing heart and erase the thought of fireblooddeath from her mind. Calming slightly, she lay back down and turned to burrow into Arthur's side.
Before remembering that there are some nightmares you can't wake up from.
Four days after Arthur died, Merlin wrote him a letter.
In it, he described his magic in more detail than he ever had before. He told Arthur about growing up in his village, about Will and Kilgharrah and Freya and his father. He told him about all the hiding and the lying and the pain and the loneliness.
And he told him about one blond-haired, blue-eyed, pompous prat of a prince who'd made it all worth it.
Five days after Arthur died, Gwen still hadn't cried.
Her heart was broken, and her world had ended, but all she could do was sit in numb silence, rubbing at the ring on her finger. Some people called it shock. Others called it survivor's guilt. Some even whispered that she had never loved Arthur in the first place. But Gwen knew the truth.
Without Arthur, there was just nothing left to feel.
Six days after Arthur died, Merlin stopped looking for a way to bring him back.
He'd never held out much hope, not with what the Great Dragon had said, but that hadn't stopped him from trying. Every book in Gaius's collection—and a fair few from other sources—had been unceremoniously ripped from its shelf, rifled through, and discarded as useless.
Finally, Merlin began to accept that there might not be a way to save Arthur this time. He told himself that he'd done everything he could, that Arthur would still come back someday, and that the King would have wanted him to move on.
But that didn't make it feel any less like a betrayal.
A week after Arthur died, Gwen made the journey to the Lake of Avalon. After several minutes of staring out over the water, she finally let her grief come flowing out, sobbing—screaming, raging, cursing—at him for leaving her. She yelled until her throat was raw and her tears ran dry, hating him so much it hurt.
Loving him so much she couldn't breathe.
When she returned to Camelot, Merlin said nothing, just wordlessly wrapped his arms around her. They stood there in silence, mourning their fallen king and sharing in the hollowness he'd left behind.
They were broken. Incomplete. And neither one could ever be complete again.
Not now that Arthur was gone.
Not without that missing piece.
One half, two holes.
I actually first came up with the idea for a comparison between Merlin and Arthur's relationship and Gwen and Arthur's relationship about a year ago. I wanted to explore the fact that Arthur is an "other half" for two different people in two different ways, and 5x13 afforded the perfect opportunity to do so. It turned out way differently than I had originally planned, but I'm happy with the result (despite how depressing it is...).
Please let me know what you thought! :)
P.S. Need a laugh now? Feel free to check out my Merlin humor series...