A/N: Well, I wasn't planning on an epilogue, but some lines popped into my head today so I typed this up :) I hope it makes things a bit clearer for anyone who may have been confused!
"I can't believe you couldn't find me."
"I can't believe you went back to that smelly cot instead of your new bed."
Merlin rolled his eyes and set aside the soup he'd been sipping, ignoring Gaius' disapproving eyebrow.
"Yes, because an exhausted person stumbling back to their bed of a decade minus the past few months is far more unreasonable than losing said person and not thinking to look a few spans from where you were sitting for the better part of a day. Would you ever have found me if I hadn't been keeping the fire going?"
"It was more than 'a few spans', Merlin, and you should be grateful I did find you!"
Merlin relaxed into his pillow, caught between continuing the banter and being sincerely grateful. One great yawn prompted Gaius to take the decision out of his hands.
"If you're not going to eat more then you need to sleep. Here." The potion Gaius produced was a sickly yellow-green that did not promise good things about its taste.
"So, Arthur," Merlin reclaimed the bowl of soup and stirred it absently, "tell me more about what my doubles got up to."
"I thought you remembered?" Arthur leaned back in his chair, propping his legs up on the bed frame.
"Not exactly... I didn't really have control over them and I only remember a few. I think it depended on how much magic was in them – the one that caught Trickler had a lot, that's why I could speak through him a bit."
"Hm. So you didn't choose their appearance? I was rather fond of the glasses – made you look like less of an idiot."
One flash of gold later and Arthur's chair had tipped over. Merlin interrupted the king's protest.
"I think my magic just sent an incarnation of myself that most suited the task." He looked to his mentor for confirmation.
"It is possible. There's also a possibility that the age was linked to the copy's magic content."
"Thrilling as this is," Arthur brushed himself off and righted his chair, "I've got important matters of state to see to-"
"Is that what they're calling it now?" Merlin muttered, smirking in response to Arthur's withering glare.
"And you need to rest." He uncorked the vial of medicine and placed it in his friend's hand. "You'd better not even think about getting out of this bed until tomorrow."
"But what if I-"
"Then use magic."
"I really don't think-"
"Nothing but rest and recovery for the next two days." The king pointed a finger at him emphatically.
"That's rather generous." Merlin was beginning to see the humor in the situation.
"And you'd better not waste the opportunity because it will never come again." Arthur waved as he strode out the door. "Goodnight, Gaius."
"No 'goodnight' for me, then?" Merlin called, grinning in anticipation.
"Shut up, Merlin."