A lovely day for a walk

It was the custom for Arthur and her to walk together through any path, at any time of day.

The timing for it varied- they walked whenever things seem to slow down or were too hectic, or it was just a nice day. Whatever the reason, Arthur would take her hand, and they would take a walk. Today, it was through the gardens. The weather was pleasant and mild spring day, with sun shining and warm and the trees were filled with blossoms of soft blues, whites and pinks petals, slowly sailing down to the ground.

Gwen smiled shook off some of the petals than fell on her, seeing Arthur do the same. He also sneezed, but there was no coughing. He assured her, as he saw the concern on her face. As he got older, coughing fits appeared and became frequent. He was still stubborn, only taking tonics and oils when Merlin forced them on him. She too, was ailing. Both her hands and occasionally the rest of her body ached.

They were old now. And Gwen knew that every day, their bodies grew weaker. And yet her husband seemed happier now than he ever was before.

She asked why.

"Because I wanted this for so long," Arthur took her hand and held it to his, "And its better than I thought possible," he kissed her hand and she tucked herself into his arms.

They continued their path, passing through the pools and the berry bushes. She thought back to their picnic a long time ago. When he said he could be a farmer. As she imagined such a sight, she heard children's laughter.

Up farther the path was the little ones playing, along with their chaperones. Aris and Calla, their granddaughters were playing a knight and a lady respectively. The girls saw them coming and ran to them.

Grandda, Granny, they would say, did you see us? Do like my dress? I can use the sword for real! We're going swimming later! Look! Grandda, the flowers are falling! We're picking them all up!

Arthur then decided that the children needed help and happily obliged. Aris and Calla were joined by young Amhar, Tom and Clara. They all gathered to watch their grandfather.

Her husband was still a strong man, despite the cane, which he used to hit the trunk of particular blossoming tree. With one good thwack! And it rained petals and the children scurried to get them.

They came upon a blossom than stayed intact from its fall, and Arthur plucked it up and tucked into her bounded hair. She laughed and thanked him and they went to join the children.

It was a lovely day.

(0)(0)

A full life

The young man kneeled before the High Queen at her throne. The court had many in audience and yet silent, with the queen and her heir being the exceptions.

"Do you solemnly swear to govern the people of this kingdom and its dominion according to the statues, customs and laws laid down by your forbearers?"

"I do my lady."

"Do you promise to exercise mercy and justice in your deeds and judgement?"

"I do."

"And do you swear allegiance to Camelot now and as long as you should live?"

The young man took the scepter's head, and vowed "I, Galahad of Camelot, do pledge life and limb to your service and the protection of its people."

Guinevere, the High Queen of Camelot, smiled at her son and lifted the scepter. She procured the crown, a simple silver circlet, and placed it onto the young man's blonde head.

"Now, being of age and heir apparent, forth hence you shall be crown Prince of Camelot."

Galahad then rose, and the crowd cheered.

Gwen smiled and said softly to him, "And now you must thank your future court."

"Wonderful," he said light sardonically.

As Gwen said, all the courtiers each gave their pledge and Galahad thanked them all. She was happy to see that many of them were sincere in their congratulations and Galahad was able to keep up the many names and positions, and be polite. It was an easy and difficult thing in making Galahad heir to the throne. Many still wish for the heir to be of the Pendragon line, but it was long accepted that the line would end with Gwen. She had not given Arthur children when he died, nor were there anymore long lost family members.

Gwen did though, become a mother to many children who found their way to her. She officially adopted five, three boys and two girls, but looked after many others. They were waiting for their turn to hug and praise their brother. Galahad hugged them, even lifted little Anne into the air, her high laughter rang through the court. His other older siblings stood proud and some were visibly relieved.

Twenty-one and now the future king, Gwen thought, may he have a long reign.

Gwen was glad that the timing of her final decision was good. The council was apprehensive about her health and pressured her to choose an heir, especially after her recent illness that almost took her life. Thank all that is good for Merlin and his medicine. Nevertheless, she told them that she would choose an heir soon. And Galahad was it.

There were protests of course, that if she could not choose a Pendragon heir, than perhaps someone of noble birth, since some of her wards were that.

Valiant was named a candidate, for example. He was a refuge prince from Thule who came to Camelot to be a knight. He was a good hearted and dedicated young man who was welcomed into her family. But Valiant was already heir to Thule, and he was loyal man who will stay in Camelot until he is needed at his homeland and own family.

She considered her other wards- Arrn and Rowena have all their aspirations for knighthood but none for ruling. Arrn would've probably had fainted dead if he was asked. And Denys, another noble refugee, would be in danger if he was ever made heir, thanks to his traitorous father. And Anne was too young to have any grand designs thrusts upon her.

Galahad though was free of any political ties, a survivor brought in by Sir Leon after a skirmish on the borders. He was one the first Gwen adopted, but he was eighteen when she decided to train him for kingship. He had proven himself to her and to all of Camelot that he was a good choice.

So in the end, she chose Galahad. Never mind that a dragon also predicted he would be king.

Gwen went to her children and also hugged Galahad.

"I am so proud of you." She said.

Galahad said a light thanks, and with some seriousness, he said, "Don't go anywhere yet. I am in no hurry to be king."

Gwen chuckled at his gape and then they all went to the banquet. Valiant took Galahad aside to discuss their pending futures, Arrn and Rowena were whispering and laughed, and Denys was playing with little Anna.

After the celebrations and everyone went home, Gwen tucked Denys and Anna to bed and bade the others good night. She went to her chambers and went to the chest of drawers near her bed. She opened the bottom drawer, where she kept her small mementos. She pushed aside old letters and an embroidered handkerchief until she found it- a long white stripe of cloth, still intact after all these years. She held it close to her chest and remembered.

She remembered another time, of somewhere else in the castle, with the sun shining through the windows of the nearly empty chamber. She was saying goodbye to him, or trying to. And they loved each other and they didn't keep it a secret.

"Smile," he said.

"I can't."

He thought for a moment and took her hands, then asked, "Do you remember the first time I kissed you?" She did and he was pleased, "There, it's the memory I'll take with me."

And she smiled.

(0)(0)

A new life

She was clearing up the tables, humming some tune that was not recognizable, at least to him. She was wearing an apron and her hair was all pinned up. It was Guinevere, but it wasn't. In this new world, her name was Jennifer, as it said on her name-tag.

"Talk to her," said Merlin as he ate his sandwich.

Arthur scoffed, "And say what? 'Good afternoon, I was your husband in a past life'?"

"How about 'Hello, my name is Arthur, what's yours'?" Merlin replied.

Arthur huffed and rubbed his eyes in exasperation. It was only week ago when Merlin took him here and showed him Guinevere (she was not Guinevere), and explained of how people were coming back, reborn to this new time.

Merlin had told him that Guinevere had a long reign, a beloved queen until her death. She passed away peacefully, he was told, surrounded by her loved ones, adopted children and life-long friends. She never remarried.

And here she was again. Guinevere was here, reborn into a woman named Jennifer. She lived an entirely different life. Who was he to disrupt it?

"Christ," Merlin said after catching Arthur undoubtedly looking at the woman who was his wife. "If you don't want to talk to her, then don't."

"I do want to talk to her," Arthur said.

"Then do it already. This became sad yesterday."

Arthur scowled at the powerful wizard, "Why don't you shave off that thing you call a beard."

"Its called a goatee," Merlin corrected as he smoothed out the bread crumbs from the patch of hair on his chin.

Arthur almost felt like groaning. It was petty to insult Merlin, but it was a build-up to all of once king's frustrations. And it wasn't even his uncertainty of how to approach her. This new world was odd and he had no idea why he was bought back. Arthur did not understand. Why now? Since he was awoken and brought back from Avalon, he had studied of the history of his kingdom. What was going to happen now that he was needed, and not say when the world was engulfed in war? Twice?

Merlin apparently didn't know either that it was time to wake him up.

Arthur remembered when he was awoken. He was still in his armor and lying in a tomb. Merlin was in the guise of the Dragoon the Great. Not long afterwards, he returned to a younger form, except for the beard. Arthur was so happy to be alive, that he actually embraced his old friend and then asked how long has it been? Is Camelot in need of him? Where was Guinevere?

Merlin said that Camelot had faded and made into legend, the greatest of Britain's history. That was Dumnonia and Albion and the other kingdoms now were. He wasn't sure why now Arthur had to be awoken, only that the others (the fey, the ghostly voice of the last dragon, that damn guardian of the unicorns) said that it was time. And Guinevere was long dead. As was everyone else.

And there was much to learn, like how a car worked. And television. And the current politics. And the internet. And how to shave now. And everything about the legend of him. He asked how it was that Merlin was an old man in those tales. Or how in the hell did Mordred became his son by incest? Or how did they get Guinevere so wrong?

Merlin shrugged at these questions, not really knowing how it all came to be and kept teaching him how to drive stick.

Arthur then heard her laugh. He had heard it before, many times in fact. And he finally had conviction. All he could do was learn, and maybe to see this Jennifer. He got up and went straight to her.

"Don't embarrass yourself," Merlin said.

Arthur chose to ignore him. And he was right there in front of her. she smiled professionally.

"Oh, may I help you?" she asked.

"I'm Arthur," he said her.

"Hello, uh, do you need anything…?"

Well, here goes nothing. "Look, I know its your job to be nice, but I was hoping that maybe after you're done here that I ask you if you were free for dinner or … coffee?"

He knew that it was good as he saw a familiar light in her eyes, and a smile forming.

"Well, I can't say about the policy about a customer asking out staff, but its not frowned at," she said, "So I guess I can say yes."

"Okay, great," Arthur replied, grinning. "We can discuss the details later?"

"Sure."

"I'll, uh, go back now. See you in a bit?"

Jennifer nodded and still smiled.

He walked back to the table, and sat down. Merlin looked pleased with himself.

"Shut up, you didn't do anything. You don't even know what if this will go anywhere," Arthur said, mostly because he wasn't going to let Merlin win whatever he's playing.

"Please, she's here and so are you. I've seen it before," Merlin said, "Maybe this time, it'll be different."

"Let me take her out to dinner first."

A new world, a new mysterious quest, Merlin with the stupid beard and another chance for another life.

With Jennifer.


AN: And that's it. This is over. The end.

AN: Also, I referenced an early 90s cartoon. Guess what it is.