He wasn't exactly sure what started it at first; it could have been a flash of red, bright blue eyes passing on the street, or just merely the mention of a name... Whatever had caused the visions to start flashing through his head, Arthur was going to murder it.
He had been hunting in the woods behind his father's estate when it first happened - right in front of his friends too! A sense of familiarity hitting him so hard that he couldn't decide if he wanted to pass out of yell at... at someone... Someone close to him that he couldn't name. But that was ridiculous; how could he be close to someone if he couldn't even remember their name? Perhaps he was just spending too much time in the cold air and needed to go back home, a nap would definitely make everything better.
His car was stopped at a red light when it happened again; a girl crossed the street in front of his car with a very certain color scheme that Arthur was sure he had seen before... Why was that red scarf and brown jacket pulling a feeling of... of... remorse... from him? Why would he feel remorseful over an outfit? He must have gone mad! But watching that red scarf fly in the wind, Arthur noted that not only was there a feeling of remorse, but a strong bond he couldn't even begin to explain. A bond that called out to him... Whispered to him in a desperate plea, an emotion so strong washing over him that he had trouble fighting it away so that he could continue his drive.
Again - He was defending the family maid from his father's wrath when he was nearly consumed by a feeling of love. Not for the sweet old woman that had raised him and his sister - no. It was a love for someone else, for someone dear to him that he hadn't met yet. Someone that he could see in his head, but not in reality... It was very confusing.
Over and over, feelings that he couldn't explain kept surfacing in his head over the smallest of things... Each time a new feeling arrived, it felt as if it created a hole inside of Arthur that couldn't be filled by his normal means. He was nearly being driven mad from it, and certainly worried his family. His father was nearly ready to call for a doctor while his mother stood restless by his side to provide emotional strength. His sister though... He could tell... Morgana was experiencing it was well. The looks that she gave him, her sudden quietness during random moments, the fear in her eyes as she stared into the lit fireplace... Whatever was affecting him was doing the same to her.
"I don't understand," Arthur grumbled as he walked down the sidewalk next to his sister. "Why is this happening to just us? Why not our parents? Unless it's just us that are going crazy?"
Morgana shrugged, her hands stuffed deep in her jacket pockets to fight their father and the cold, "Unless your brand of crazy is contagious, I doubt that. There has to be something else... Maybe we were drugged?"
Arthur blinked as his eyebrows pushed together, "Yeah... no. I don't see how that is possible."
"It's no better than your idea," Morgana laughed, nudging her brother's arm before tugging him into a small coffee shop. "Here, this is the place. My friends say they have some of the best coffee they've ever tasted."
"Your friends say that about everything..."
The siblings laughed lightly as they stepped inside, a blast of warmth thawing them out almost immediately. With a sigh of relief, they both made their way to the register, pausing in their conversation long enough for Arthur to glance over the menu and order before turning back to his sister.
"Name for the order?" The barista asked, her voice strangely breathless.
"Ar...ther..." What started as a quick smile soon turned into stunned awe as Arthur looked over the girl, taking in her every detail. Her dark hair was pulled back in a low messy bun, a headband with floral print keeping any loose strands away; there was the smallest hint of pink behind her caramel cheeks, the blush spreading more with each passing second... But it was her eyes that gave her away; those honey-brown eyes that were wide in shock and awe - much like how Arthur expected he looked at that moment. But he knew those eyes, those were her eyes.
"Guinevere...?" He asked hesitantly, visions and memories floating through his mind, moments that he had spent with this girl filling every nook and cranny in his mind like some cheesy girl movie that Morgana forced him to watch at one point in his life.
"Arthur," She smiled slightly, slowly setting the cup down. Before either of them knew it, their bodies were moving around the counter and wrapping each other in a hug that neither of them knew they were missing.
And Arthur's duo became a trio.
Finding Gwen filled a large part of that hole inside of him, but not all... Not even half, truth be told. There was still someone important that wasn't there yet. Arthur could see glimpses of that person at times, as well as Morgana and Gwen, but none could truly grasp it to remember fully who was missing.
When Arthur went back to University, he found other people that helped that void inside of him; each one a tiny puzzle piece that slowly put him back together. But with each new small piece found, the gaping emptiness grew more and more noticeable.
He had found Elyan, Leon, Lancelot, Gwaine, and Percival, adding to the group. They had been able to work together that all of them were reincarnations of some people and were remembering their past lives because of some trigger (Supposedly, anyway; Arthur hadn't really been paying attention when Morgana explained it all.). No one was sure what that trigger was, or why it was happening now, but it definitely had something to do with their missing friend.
Every time he closed his eyes, Arthur could see his past life. He could see every detail of it but that one missing person... He saw how Morgana had betrayed him because she felt alone, how close Gwen and Lancelot were, the bond that he created with his knights and friends; he saw how he fought against evils and innocents alike, every hardship he went through growing up, all of the people he upset... But no matter how long his eyes were closed, he could not see that missing person!
That person was everywhere in his fondest memories, a blurred haze always by his side. Arthur could see himself laughing at something this person said or did, he could see all the times that this person risked themselves for Arthur's sake, or went out of their way to complete his wishes. And the harder he tried, the stronger the haze became. And that hurt. It was like he couldn't remember half of himself, and until he found that person he would never be whole again.
"I found something...!" Morgana called, catching the attention of their group as she ran to them. They sat under a large tree in their University grounds, previously just enjoying the sun in the still chilled air, but now Morgana held their full attention.
"What is it?"
She stopped in front of them, a rather heavy stack of books in her hands that Arthur eyed suspiciously. "It's the Arthurian legends! It's been right under our noises the whole time! The last person missing should be listed somewhere in this book!"
"Morgana," Gwen smiled as she tucked her legs under her and sat up more, "You're a genius...!"
The older girl smiled as she sat down and placed the books in the middle of their newly formed circle, each person grabbing one and flipping though it to find the name they all longed to know. Arthur couldn't really process if he was understanding what he was scanning or not, his mind working too fast in order to find his other half. He was nearly frantic as he flipped the pages, focused fully and completely on the task at hand.
Focused until he saw something from the corner of his eye.
Intending to glance up for a moment, Arthur's eyes got stuck on a figure at the main gate. Even from a distance those bright blue eyes were visibly wide with an emotion Arthur didn't want to think about. The young man stood there with a gaping mouth and shaking legs; the little color in his face leaving him as he stared at Arthur's group.
"I've got it!" Elyan shouted in joy, though Arthur couldn't look away from the man in a blue shirt covered by a brown jacket and red scarf.
"Merlin..." Arthur muttered before his friend could, finally catching the attention of the others. They glanced at him briefly before following his line of sight and seeing their beloved friend standing at the gate.
And just like that, staring into those blue eyes of his, Arthur was suddenly whole. Every piece was back into place inside him, the hazed figure in his memories taking shape and gaining a (rather annoying) voice.
Pushing himself up, Arthur had every intention of preparing himself for Merlin to come running into his arms in a crying mess. What he did not prepare for was Merlin spinning around and running away...
Arthur blinked in confusion before frowning and quickly giving chase, his friends soon gathering behind him as well.
"Merlin!" Arthur called, barely making it onto the sidewalk in time to see the young man to turn a sudden corner. Suddenly very grateful to the endurance that rugby built in him, Arthur pushed himself to go faster and slowly gain ground on his fleeing friend.
Various shouts rang out from the streets, both from his friends and the pedestrians they disturbed. The girls, who had fallen behind the athletically built boys, gave out rushed apologies to the people that would take them; though they didn't stay around long enough to know how many of the people actually listened to them.
Arthur, quickly gaining on Merlin, reached a hand out to grab his reluctant friend when Merlin bailed down a narrow alleyway and into an open door that slammed shut behind him. Arthur cursed quietly as he rushed to the door and tried pulling it open; cursing louder when he found that it was locked.
"Merlin! What the hell are you doing?" He called, banging on the door as he caught his breath, "Why are you running away?"
"I don't..." Gwaine started as he struggled to catch his breath, "I don't remember him being that fast..."
A breathless chuckle went through the group as they all started to get there, crowding around Arthur and the door. Lancelot pushed his way to the front next to Arthur as he knocked on the door as well.
"Merlin?" Lancelot called, "Come on, we just want to talk with you. You can't stay in there forever."
"Go away...!" The boy inside yelled, a faint sound of something crashing drawing their attention for a second.
"What is wrong with you?" Arthur asked, inching dangerously close to having Percival break the door down.
"You're not real!" The desperation in his voice caught them all off guard, Arthur almost feeling the need to stumble back if his sense of duty to his friend didn't hold him in place. "You're not real...!"
Merlin's voice wavered, Arthur clearly hearing his quiet cries through the barrier as if they were magnified. Merlin crying was not something Arthur wanted to see on his friend up close for the first time in a long time...
"Ugh," Arthur slammed his fist once against the door, trying to keep his voice light, "Don't be such a girl, Merlin...!"
It went quiet for a while, Arthur almost fearing that Merlin left through another door. They all stood there though, waiting with baited breaths for whatever the next move would be...
Just when Arthur was about to lose all hope that the dark haired boy was still there, the lock clicked as the door slowly opened a crack to show half of Merlin's red and wet face. "I wouldn't have to be such a girl if you weren't such an ass."
A smirk pulled at Arthur's lips as he placed his hands on his hips, a small chuckle leaving him. "You can't address me like that."
"Sorry," The door creaked open more, "If you weren't such an ass, My Lord."
A murmur of laughter sounded through the group as the two males smirked at each other before Arthur stepped forward and grabbed Merlin by the shoulder and tugged him into a hug. Frozen only for a few moments, Merlin soon latched on tightly to Arthur. The blonde could hear Merlin's breathing hitch as more tears threatened them all, their other friends going closer to pat Merlin's shoulder or ruffle his hair affectionately.
Arthur was in no way about to admit that his eyes started watering as well when he pulled away and saw the look of pure happiness radiating from his magic wielding friend. The wetness of his eyes was now there because of his joy, so even the faintest of lights in the alley were making his eyes shine like jewels and his smile itself was enough to outclass the sun. It was pure light all over, that's all that Arthur could describe it as.
"Good to have you back, mate," Gwaine grinned, grabbing Merlin by the shoulders and pulling him in for a hug and away from Arthur. The lanky young man was passed around to everyone for a greeting as a laugh built up in him, shaking his head slightly.
"I can't believe it..." Merlin started as he looked across everyone. "All of you are here. I never... I never even hoped that..."
"We're here," Lancelot patted his shoulder with a reassuring smile.
Arthur watched as Merlin took a deep breath, seeming to just take in this moment in his mind. Years of tension and stress were erased from his face and posture as he stood surrounded by his friends and completely at ease. A picture of pure bliss.
"C'mon," Arthur chuckled, clapping his hand on Merlin's shoulder and starting to walk off with him. "We have places to be, Merlin! Things to discuss! And I need you to write an essay for my Government class."
"Now, hang on...!" Merlin laughed with furrowed eyebrows, "I haven't seen you for a couple thousand years and all of a sudden I'm just back to being your manservant again? What about what I want? I never officially got those two days off!"
"Shut up, Merlin."
The two of them shared a look as the others laughed behind them, headed back towards the University campus. Their perfect little family was whole again, and that's all any of them truly wanted.
They just wanted their happy ending together.
A/N: I have been awake for 21 hours... I originally stayed up just to finish season 5 of Merlin. I ending up crying so much that I needed something fluffy and happy that I just had to stay up even longer to write this. I can no longer see straight but I am fairly certain I took care of all of the errors...
When thinking of ways to write a modern story, I actually came up with a few different scenarios... So there's a chance of more reunion stories happening in the future! Yay! Not all of them are going to be happy, and I'm hoping that I can turn at least one into a chapter book... And I still have plenty of whump Merlin that takes place in various parts of the series!
I hope you enjoyed this story! And don't forget to review!