Firstly I must say - MEGA SORRY FOR THE WAIT! I've been so busy. This is the last chapter! Btw last chapter I said 'prologue' and I meant 'epilogue'. Anyway I am SO sad that this is ending BUT I would like to give a huge thanks to Megan. I wouldn't have written it this far without her and without her constant support and ideas. She beta'd every chapter (apart from the last one) and she was the one who came up with the name :D I would like to thank all my reviewers (I would name you all but that takes time. You all just want to read the story!) This is far shorter than the rest of the chapters and for that I am sorry :]
And for the last time...
Disclaimer: Merlin isn't mine. It won't be mine next year. It won't be mine in a hundred years. Ah well I can still dream...
Arthur's ride back to Camelot was a lonely one. When he arrived, he informed the whole of the town that both Merlin and Lila were dead and everyone was safe once again. He ignored Gwen and Morgana's questions but went straight to his room, staring out of the window. One day he and the warlock would meet again, but it hurt to think that that would be the day his father would die. He couldn't wait, but he also didn't want it to happen. Running a hand through his hair, he retired to his bed after the long and exhausting journey and dreamt of the day he would be King.
Five years later
Uther's death had been unsurprising. He became ill two months before and had been ill in bed, hardly able to move. The whole of Camelot had expressed their goodbyes from the courtyard and only the very few were allowed to enter. Morgana would often sit by his bedside and tell him what had happened that day while the old Physician who had to retire from his job the year before from Arthritis would often talk to him about old memories.
Arthur would occasionally come in to pay his respects. Ever since Merlin had left, the Prince had kept himself to himself and would only ever talk with Morgana or Gwen. It was only them three that really knew the truth about what happened to the young manservant five years before.
He would watch his father shift in his bed uncomfortably, hardly able to lift a goblet to his mouth anymore but he would feel nothing. It was wrong to say Arthur hated his father, but he had never really felt strong love towards him. He loved Morgana. He loved Gwen. But his father? He was just kin.
It was a bitter winter and storm clouds were looming above the town. Lightning was striking, thunder was roaring and the King was becoming weaker. Arthur could feel that it was that day his father would finally day. It was only himself and Morgana in his bedroom.
The King's ward was holding his hand and rubbing it soothingly, while Arthur sat a little way away from him, just watching as Uther struggled for breaths. Morgana had beads of tears trickling down her cheeks and she didn't even bother wiping them away. Uther opened his eyes and looked over at Morgana, then at his son.
"Keep the Kingdom safe." He croaks.
Those were his last words. With one last shuddering breath, King Uther Pendragon closed his eyes and fell into a slumber he would never wake.
Morgana let her sobs out and she cried over the dead man, while Arthur did nothing. He just stared at the un-breathing man. Two thoughts flashed into his head; the first being that he would be King, the second; he would see Merlin after five long years.
Despite it being so long, Arthur had refused to get a proper manservant. He got different servants for different jobs, but never bonded with them and they were too frightened to talk to him, unlike Merlin who had never been scared of speaking his mind.
Arthur left the room and nodded to the guards. A crowd had gathered outside the castle. News must've spread to the villagers that the King had gotten even more ill and wouldn't make it through the night. Sighing, Arthur went onto the balcony, looking out at all the faces. Some he recognized from spending so much in the town and he even recognized Gwen down there (whom he had gotten much closer to ever since Merlin's departure).
Taking a deep yet shaky breath, Arthur spoke to his people, "King Uther Pendragon is no longer with us." He could see the waves of the crowd and people began to whisper in shock, "In two days will be my coronation."
Arthur didn't know what else to say and left the balcony. He only had one priority on his mind and he was sure it would only take a day to do it before his coronation. Arthur stalked to his room, dressing in his armour on his own, sheathing his sword then turning to see Morgana standing there, arms folded.
She knew exactly where Arthur was going, "Be back soon. I don't think it will bide well if you miss your own coronation."
Sniggering, Arthur went past Morgana and tacked his horse in the stables. He was more than ready to go meet Merlin.
He jumped on his horse, which grunted but obediently went into a gallop towards the gates.
It was when his horse passed into a clearing that Arthur saw him. A person stood right in the middle of the grass, wearing a dark blue cloak with the hood up so he couldn't see his face. Arthur jumped off the stallion and began to make his way over to the figure, whose back was turned so he couldn't tell who it was. The uncrowned King still didn't know it was Merlin, so he unsheathed his sword and pressed it against the back of the cloak.
"Why have I a sense of déjà vu?"
The cheeky voice rang out in the clearing and Arthur couldn't help but smile. He dropped his sword on the grass and the man turned around, lowering his hood as he did so. Arthur took Merlin in, trying to remember what had changed since the last time he had seen him. The warlock had hardly aged, as had Arthur. They both still hadn't reached the thirty mark and were still in their mid twenties. The only change Arthur could really see in Merlin was that his eyes looked much older than the rest of his face. They looked wiser.
The two men wrapped their arms around each other in a hug, still uncontrollably smiling.
"How did you know I was coming?" Arthur asked as he composed himself and looked at Merlin up and down. He wasn't wearing the clothes that he was used to. Where was that wretched red scarf and blue top that Merlin had so dearly loved all those years ago?
Arthur smiled and nodded, "Fair enough. You coming back to Camelot, then?"
The warlock nodded eagerly, "You try and stop me!" He exclaimed.
Before they could say anymore, Merlin had put two fingers in his mouth and blew outwards to create a sharp whistle. They both watched as hoof beats got louder until a white mare entered the clearing and trotted up to Merlin. He reached out his hand and stroked her neck before climbing onto the saddle that Arthur swore wasn't there a few seconds ago.
"Where did she come from?" Arthur asked, skeptically, getting onto his stallion and leading the way.
"She isn't mine. She belongs to the forest, but always comes to those who can perfectly call her. She's fantastic to ride and is beautiful, although as soon as I get off her in Camelot, she'll just ride out again, back to the forest she belongs in."
Frowning, Arthur steered his horse to the right to let the man ride next to him. He looked at Merlin, who still looked goofy, yet seemed to have even more knowledge than him.
"I see they've been training you well, Merlin. I hope you won't be imparting your knowledge on me every other minute. That would be embarrassing!" Merlin laughed and shrugged, "How's Lila? And the rest of the… warlocks…" Arthur really wasn't quite sure where Merlin had gone with the woman, he just knew that his friend had learnt magic there.
The warlock nodded sadly, "She's fine but sad to see me go, though. We'd become close after five years. She was mostly the one who taught me everything I know, but there were others. Everyone there was brilliant and I'll miss them… but… I always know that I've missed Camelot more. Camelot is my home."
Smiling, the pair rode on until they reached the town. Many people recognized the man that was sat on the mare and would point and gasp at his return with the uncrowned King. Neither Merlin nor Arthur cared about what people were saying.
Morgana rushed out with Gwen to greet the two. It was Gwen who first threw her arms around the warlock, laughing uncontrollably. Merlin smiled then unwrapped his arms to take a better look at his old friend. Gwen had hardly aged, as had the others, but she'd grown her hair and it was now flowing way past her shoulders.
He turned and looked at Morgana, noticing that she had cut her long, dark hair. She smiled warmly and brought him into a hug as well, although not as excitedly as Gwen had. Arthur returned from putting his horse back in the stable, noticing Merlin's mare had left without him doing anything.
"I believe we have a lot of catching up to do." Arthur declared.
The four of them rushed into the castle and decided to go into Arthur's room to talk.
"I believe we should have a bit of drink for our friend returning." The uncrowned King declared, asking one of the passing servants to fetch a few bottles of alcohol. Merlin had left the room to go see Gaius for a few minutes just to tell him that he had returned. Arthur hadn't told Gaius that Merlin was actually alive and had got the shock of his life when he saw his old ward standing there.
"I… er…" Merlin hesitated, scratching his head.
"Merlin! You're alive!" Gaius exclaimed.
"Yeah… I am, aren't I?" He gave a goofy grin and Gaius also enveloped him into an embrace.
"I really have to go; Arthur says we need to catch up." Merlin apologized, patting the old man on the shoulder before speeding off to Arthur's chambers.
When Merlin entered the room, the three of them were sitting on the floor, taking swigs out of bottles, hardly bothering with the goblets provided. Merlin successfully managed to trip over his own shoes and tumble to the floor. Groaning, the young warlock caught three pairs of eyes staring at him.
"I believe Lila taught you nothing on balance." Arthur commented dryly.
Blushing, Merlin took a seat next to the bed. He decided that he may as well have a bit of alcohol (despite knowing that one drop and he'd probably pass out). Arthur flashed a grin at everyone and raised his hands.
"I think that I've never been happier. I have nothing to worry about…"
"Apart from becoming the King in two days and ruling over the entire Kingdom. Yeah, nothing to worry about." Morgana winked.
"As I was saying," He shot a glare to the woman sitting opposite him, "I am truly happy with my three best friends with me in this room. Right now I don't think much could go wrong."
"Don't say that!" Merlin groaned, clutching his head, "Something is obviously going to go wrong when you say that. It always does…"
"Maybe I should just stop talking?" Arthur suggested.
All three agreed happily and they spent the rest of the night drinking their way through seven bottles of beer.
In the morning, the servant that usually helped Arthur dress entered the room and was surprised at the sight.
The Lady Morgana was resting her head on the uncrowned King Arthur's back, with her maidservant's upper half of her body over her lap and her lower half sprawled over Arthur's old manservant, and while Merlin's head was next to Morgana's on the King's back. Slowly and quietly, the servant boy closed the door, deciding to never breathe a word about what he saw.
He knew that this would be the start of a great rule.
And that is the end. As for a sequel, please message me with suggestions because I'm stumped! I will hopefully be writing more Merlin stories soon though. I have two weeks of Christmas holidays and what better to do than write lots and lots? Anyway for the last time please R&R.