don’t worry, arthur would turn into a hot dude eventually.
SEE OKAY WHAT ABOUT
arthur’s in avalon being arthur and eating apples blah blah blah
but merlin every couple hundred years or so reincarnates himself so as to not lose perspective because he knows the world changes and people are still worth loving and the older he gets the less attached he feels.
so merlin reincarnates himself as different genders plenty, and in this case she’s a girl, and every lifetime merlin wrangles with her powers in a different way because different bodies work with magic differently. She doesn’t remember everything, just the usual stuff Merlin has all of his reincarnations remember and then they get more access as they age or go through crazy events, so that way sometimes Merlin’s life is pretty calm and he kind of takes a life off once in a while.
and in this case, merlin is a highschool girl named a different bird name, i like sparrow, personally, but she goes through the wonderful magical girl cliches and her magical persona is called merlin and she saves the day from evil and has cute outfits and a staff (that is the sidhe staff, maybe??) and an animal companion who is like a cute little talking gold dragon! So she calls him Arthur because she’s Merlin and she thinks it’s ADORBS
WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW IS THAT ARTHUR IS ACTUALLY ARTHUR, because Arthur’s been stuck into this cute chibi dragon form to go help Merlin because of the priestesses of avalon being BIG MAHOU SHOUJO FANS ohohohohohohohohoho and also arthur was DRIVING THEM BONKERS and it was pretty close to the time when Arthur would need to really come back and he needed to learn how to be human again, and in the modern world!
So EVENTUALLY, magicalgirl!Merlin’s power grows great enough that she can perceive the seals on Arthur’s form and memory, and they’ve totally bonded and gotten all smooshy feelings about each other and Arthur in dragon form sleeps curled up on her pillow and it’s just PRECIOUS and he’s always annoyed that he can’t protect her more than he does and it’s even PRECIOUSER. So Merlin, being Merlin, takes a dumb risk and breaks the seal during some big dramatic moment and POOF, HE’S A HOT DUDE - NO, HE’S NOT JUST A HOT DUDE, HE’S ARTHUR PENDRAGON, BUT HER AGE, BECAUSE DESTINY.
And and and then they save the world together and kiss and stuff but arthur poofs back into a cute dragon because he’s just comfortable that way (and explaining the hot dude in her bedroom would be mega-awks). And the rest of their lives are the trial run and setup the real return of once and future king.
OKAY, SOMEONE GET ON THAT, THANKS