A/N- Oh ok ok, yes your right, i couldn't leave it like that. i had to come back for just one more. ;)
This one is a little thank you for everyone that has ever reviewed, and i hope it makes you a little warmer than the last chapter.
Sequal is looking likly, (loving the idea of exploring arthur's feelings if he finds out what merlin did.) but it probably won't be my next merlin project, because i've already started on that. which i hope your come by and see, once i start posting.
Standing at the top of the battlements Arthur didn't move for a long time. The wind battered his face, and curled his hair around his neck, but he barely noticed. His father and Morgana had left him some time back, the cold driving them indoors.
He and Morgana had been summoned by Uther to watch Beilard's retreat, and although he wasn't sure what had happened there, he wasn't really concerned. He was certain his father had explained it during their meal last night, but the wine they had consumed at the same time, made it a little fuzzy. The traditional after punishment meal, had gone remarkably well, even if it did mean his head pounded a little this morning when a servant had knocked on his door and woke him with his father's request.
"I'm proud of you Arthur, never forget that." His father's words this morning were clear as they repeated in his head, and brought a smile to his face. He couldn't remember the last time he had heard something like that from his father, and it meant more than he could ever express. The rest of his conversation with his father this morning however had been confusing, and left him with a few questions. None that would probably get answered he realised with a sigh. When it came to magic his father was as open as a locked chest.
Turning away from the sight of the forest he looked back to the castle, just for a moment back in that cave searching for Merlin's cure, he had thought he wouldn't see this place again, and then the light had come and shown him home. It was some kind of magic he knew it, and despite his father's harsh words about such things, he couldn't bring himself to resent what had saved his life, and not only his life, Merlin's too.
Thinking of his servant he felt a tug in his chest. He hadn't seen him since, well since before he left for his quest, it was really bothering him, but he was working hard to ignore it. After leaving his cell yesterday he had busied himself with official duties until he was required at his father's meal, and this morning he had slept late.
He knew he was well, he knew the flower he had retrieved had worked, after Gwen had smuggled it from his cell. In fact he hadn't slept in his cell, until he knew that very thing, and when Morgana had visited him to tell him, he had wanted to cry in relief, not that he did of course.
Turning decisively from the view, as a light rain begun he stepped towards the door. He had known what he wanted to do from the second he knew Merlin was alive, now he had to do it. He had to see him.
"My lady" Gwen greeted her mistress as Morgana appeared at the doorway of her own room, with a smile and an incline of her head.
Morgana smiled back at her servant and headed towards the fire, being up on the battlements had chilled her and she was keen to find warmth.
"How is Arthur?" Gwen questioned. Her back to the lady as she straightened out the comforter on the bed. She had only seen the prince once since retrieving the flower from him, having been to afraid to visit him in his cell again, and she wondered how he had coped with his incarceration.
"Thoughtful" Morgana answered, reaching up to pull a pin from her hair. "Very un-Arthur like."
Gwen turned, her job finished, "Is there anything I can do?"
Morgana smiled at her servant. "As much as I value all your skills Gwen," she spoke cheerfully. "I doubt even you can change the mood of our stubborn prince."
Gwen allowed herself to laugh as Morgana did. "I meant for you my lady." She continued eventually. "I was hoping to see Merlin this afternoon, and I…"
"Oh" Morgana interrupted her explanation with a sad noise. "How is he?"
"Bored I believe is the word he used to describe himself last." Gwen tilted her head slightly as she remembered her last visit. "Gaius has had him on strict bed rest. The poison made him so weak."
"Has he said anything about the ki…"
"No, no," Gwen interrupted blushing furiously, as she remembered her moment of madness when she had been unable to hide her complete joy, at Merlin's recovery. "I'm hoping he's forgotten."
"Come on lazy!" Gaius' voice called through his chambers and into Merlin's small room, where the boy stood dressing.
Merlin smiled, he was happy about the physician having finally given him permission to get up, even if it did come with nagging. Now he had only one thing left that his heart desired; to see Arthur.
Gaius had finally, but only after much questioning, admitted to him Arthur's fate for saving him; a week in the cell's. The thought horrified Merlin, and he had wanted to go and see him straight away of course. At first he was too weak. Then he had Gaius forbidding him, Gwen's refusal to help, and even Uther's decree of no visitors, after he had found Morgana there one night. Still Merlin would have gone, no obstacle big enough, if it hadn't been for the dragons voice shouting so loud in his head he could barely think, demanding that he not, every time he tried to set foot outside.
Gwen on her many visit's, which could not pass without her blushing at him at least once, had given him more details. Arthur had disobeyed his father's direct wishes for him. He had risked his life, that bit Merlin knew himself, his dreams having been haunted by that fear he had felt in Arthur while he was in the cave.
He didn't know why Arthur had done all those things for him; all he knew was that without doubt he would do them all back, in a heartbeat.
Standing at the top of the stairs that led to Gaius chambers, Arthur shook the rain from his hair, and jacket. Running across the courtyard as the rain fell had given him a strange feeling of something, but he couldn't quite put his finger on what it was. Shaking his head again he pushed it away. It had been an odd day from the moment he had woken up this morning, and had been overcome with the strongest desire to wear red. It had taken a search through nearly all he clothes until he had found the tunic he now wore.
Taking a deep breath he stepped into the open doorway, and froze for a second. Gaius stood to one side, but there was Merlin, directly in front of him, his back hunched over the table. Stepping forward before he lost his nerve, he nodded his head just slightly at Gaius and approached his servant. "Still alive then!"
Merlin turned with tired eyes that suddenly sparkled as they lit on Arthur, "Yeah, just about," he grinned and looked away embarrassed at his own delight in seeing the prince.
Arthur just returned the grin, stepping closer still, as he let his eyes drink in the sight that took his breath away.
Merlin's face turned serious as he looked back. "I… err, I understand I have you to thank for that."
"Yeah well it was nothing," Arthur rolled his eyes and looked away himself suddenly feeling self-conscious, with Merlin's large eyes staring up at him. "A half decent servant is hard to come by."
Merlin smiled and looked away coming from Arthur that was practically a compliment.
Arthur tightened his hand on the back of the chair, as he began to feel uncomfortable. "I was only dropping by to make sure you were alright." He paused as he realised that sounded strange, no matter how true. Turning away he looked for a way to qualify it. "Check you'd be back to work tomorrow." He added his own eyes flashing wide.
"Oh yeah yeah" Merlin hid his disappointment that Arthur was leaving already, as he watched his back. "Course. Bright and early."
Arthur breathed easier as he approached the door, his longing sated just from the few seconds in Merlin's company. "Gaius." He nodded happily as he passed the old man.
"Arthur." The call of his name made his heart leap, and he turned immediately to find those beautiful eyes back on him. "Thank you." The heartfelt emotion in Merlin's voice took his breath away again.
"You too." He replied nodding, when he caught his breath. He meant it for so many things, more than he could name. "Get some rest."
Pulling away he stepped out of the door quickly before he had time to think again. He couldn't be seen spending the evening in his servants quarters, he just couldn't. Could he?
Barely two steps away before he heard Gaius voice escape the open door. "Arthur may give you a hard time, but at heart is a man of honour. There is not many would do what he did for a servant."
He paused, it was true. There were those that called themselves his friends, that didn't even know the name of their manservant's. So why had he done what he had? Why did he need to come here today? Why could he not bear the thought of being without him?
Arthur didn't know the answers; there was just something about Merlin, something he couldn't put his finger on. Staring at the bright flaming torch on the wall, Arthur squinted as just for a second the flames appeared to flicker in to a recognisable shape. Shaking his head he turned away and begun back to his own quarters. Today really was a strange day, after all he couldn't even remember the last time he had seen a bird of prey.