AN: This is a one shot of how I thought that conversation between Arthur and Merlin at the end of 2.09 the Lady of the Lake. Merlin/Freya, Arthur/Merlin friendship sort of. For once I'm not writing a slash.
Brush after, brush after brush. Shoe after shoe. Merlin knew that he would have to go back and redo most of them. But for now he needed something repetitive to do. And if polishing shoes would stop him from thinking of Freya, then so be it.
He would be the first to admit it wasn't working. Freya was clinging onto his every thought. Freya and her beautiful soft lips, and her sparkling eyes, and the way her hands felt in his. A single tear slipped down his face. It wasn't supposed to be like this. He wasn't supposed to be sitting here, polishing shoes. Freya wasn't supposed to be dead. It was supposed to be just the two of them, and the house by the lake, with the mountains, and the few fields, and a couple of cows. But it wasn't. It would never be. Freya was dead. Arthur had killed her. A few more tears dripped down on the shoe, and he quickly polished them off. It wouldn't do to have them discolor.
He heard the door open, and turned to see who it was. Arthur. He didn't want to talk to Arthur. Arthur who killed Freya, who murdered the most beautiful person he had ever laid eyes on. He didn't want to talk to Arthur at all.
"Ah, Merlin," he said walking in and taking off his gloves, "I've been looking for you."
Merlin glared at him, watching how care-free he was. Did he lose no sleep? Did he not realize the consequences of what he'd done?
"Ah, right," Merlin said coldly, "You going to ask me to polish your armor and to, um, wash your clothes, and clean your room."
Arthur walked over slowly, and took a seat on the bench behind him. Merlin didn't look up from the boot in his hand.
"Something's been upsetting you hasn't it?" Arthur said. Freya Merlin thought instantly. You killed my Freya. Her name was on the tip of his tongue, but he held it. If Arthur knew that about Freya, Merlin would be arrested before he could finish a syllable.
"Maybe," he said elusively.
"Was it when I threw water at you?" Arthur asked. Merlin had to resist the urge to yell. The fact that he was even talking with Freya's killer without harming him was a mystery in itself. He snorted in spite of himself. Was Arthur really this stupid?
"That wasn't very nice." Merlin told him calmly, without the normal humor in his voice.
"That was a bit unfair," Arthur agreed. "Like when you called me fat?"
You deserved it! Merlin shouted in his mind. "How is that unfair?" he said instead.
"Because I am not!" Arthur said with an indignant look in his eyes. How dare he? He killed someone, and all he cared about was a stupid comment that Merlin had said? Before Freya, he would have just said something reassuring, apologize or something. But instead he just smirked. Let Arthur suffer a bit.
Well that backfired. Before he could even think, Arthur was there, pulling him into a choke hold, and giving him a noogie that could have cracked Merlin's skull if the prince really wanted to. With all his might, he pushed Arthur away, making him stagger off the bench, before catching his balance. Arthur stared at Merlin incredulously.
"What's gotten into you, Merlin?" he asked, with a bit of anger. Merlin brushed off the question, and went back to polishing the boot that he had dropped. He didn't want to talk to Arthur. He felt the prince's hand on his shoulder.
"Is everything alright?" Arthur asked. Merlin couldn't take it anymore.
"No it's not bloody well alright!" Merlin shouted, standing up and walking toward the window. "Don't you even feel the least bit guilty? How dare you stand here, acting like everything is just fine and dandy? You killed her!"
Arthur froze, and watched Merlin. His face contorted into a frown.
"Who?" Arthur said quietly, not really sure what to say to that.
"The Druid girl!" Merlin shouted his eyes cloudy, "Freya" His voice turned into a near silent whisper. He could see her face in her mind. Now he couldn't stop the tears falling from his eyes.
"You knew her?" Arthur whispered. Merlin turned away from Arthur, out the window.
"Her name was Freya. Her home was next to a lake, surrounded by the tallest mountains. And in the winter storms whipped up the water, into waves, and they thought that they would wash away all the houses. But in the summer the wild flowers grew and the light was perfect. She thought it was heaven. Then her parents died. And she was very, very alone. Then there was a man. And she didn't mean to hurt him, but he attacked her, and she thought he was going to kill her. She didn't mean to. But his mother was a sorceress, and she cursed Freya, because Freya killed her son." Merlin explained quietly. And after a moment he added, "And I loved her. We were going to run away together. I loved her more than anything, and I never told her."
"You were the one harboring her?" Arthur asked. At this point Merlin didn't care. He nodded silently. "So the food you stole, and the dress. It was for her?" Merlin nodded again. "And you loved her?" Another nod. What Merlin told him then sank in. "And I killed her." It wasn't a question but Merlin nodded again anyway.
"And you killed her," Merlin said once again facing Arthur.
"I didn't know. I never would have if I'd known." Arthur told Merlin.
"Wouldn't you? I'm just your servant Arthur. We aren't friends." Merlin said cynically.
"You've saved my life before. I would have spared her for you. If I'd known." Arthur said.
"Yes you would have. She'd have killed one of your men. If we'd run away she would have killed me." Merlin let him know. He thought about the reality of those words for a moment. He would have gone with her anyway, now that he thought about it. The two remained silent. Staring at each other, grey eyes meeting blue.
"For what it's worth." Arthur began, "I do consider you a friend."
"Well we aren't. I'm your servant, and nothing more. I'll go wash your clothes, and clean your room, and polish your armor, and whatever else you want me to, but we aren't friends. We will never be friends," Merlin said, passing Arthur and exiting the room.
Arthur watched Merlin leave, feeling numb. Not knowing what to do, he sat down, and grabbed the boot that Merlin had left, and began to polish it. Brush after, brush after brush. Shoe after shoe.