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Arthur And Arthur Without Arthur

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He had never returned after Arthur died. The king was dead and gone, so how could he possibly unite Albion in that state?

Merlin doesn't quite remember what happened in the first few weeks. He has vague recollections of himself screaming at the lake, at the forest, giving in to his grief and anger with destruction. He'd come to his senses, eventually, when he'd nearly killed a passing farm girl by felling a tree in her path.

Then, disgusted with himself, he'd decided it'd be safer for everyone if he just stayed away from anyone.

He hadn't planned on coming back. A month ago, he was still dead-set on that plan. But then he'd realized something.

Yes, Arthur might be gone, but Camelot was not. It wasn't fair of him to just give up on everything he and Arthur had built. Arthur would have wanted his kingdom to thrive after his death, and Merlin… Merlin should have wanted the same thing.

Which he did, but he'd wanted his best friend alive and well even more so.

And besides, a Camelot without Arthur hadn't seemed right. It probably never would, to Merlin.

It would probably never seem right to Guinevere, either, but she was a wise and compassionate ruler. She had made strong allies of the other kingdoms, and peace reigned in the land. She had even declared magic legal, and Merlin was sure there must be a sorcerer or two amongst her council.

She had proven herself stronger than Merlin. She had not given up on the kingdom; she had not run from her responsibility to the people
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