So here it is, the last chapter! A HUGEEE thanks to everyone who has reviewed for every chapter. Enjoy!
Merlin's foot had caught upon a tree root, causing him to fall flat on his stomach, the heavy bag he was carrying landing upon his back. He grumbled in annoyance before stumbling back up onto his feet. He spotted Arthur up ahead who had stopped to watch Merlin's tumble with a grin on his face.
"Why cant I just use magic to carry this stupidly heavy bag of yours?"
Merlin trudged up to where Arthur stood, his breaths coming out in puffs.
"Because Merlin, its character building. Besides, you never know who might see you."
Turning on his heel, Arthur left Merlin with a sense of déjà vu. Five months after first declaring they were going camping, Arthur had awoken Merlin this morning and for a second time announced they were leaving for the woods. Merlin had dressed quickly and rushed to Arthur's chambers to find nothing packed. For what seemed like the millionth time, Merlin had used magic to bundle Arthur's things into a bag ready for him.
It had taken Arthur a few weeks to adjust to Merlin's magic but soon he had come accustom to watching Merlin sharpen his sword or fold his clothes using magic, although Arthur seemed like an overprotective parent when it come to hiding his magic, always scolding him when someone almost caught him. Even though he hated being yelled at by the prince, it always made him smile. The prince wouldn't yell unless he cared about Merlin and his wellbeing.
But after 5 months, Arthur had become more relaxed about Merlin's magic. Even Gaius had become use to seeing the familiar sight of Merlin performing magic in his workshop, with Arthur looking on in both awe and curiosity.
"Here we are!" Arthur yelled out from ahead.
Merlin had fallen behind yet again but stepped out into the small clearing a few minutes after Arthur. Another feeling of déjà vu swept over Merlin when he studied the space before him. The grass had grown longer but he was still able to recognize the place easily. It brought back a flood of memories to him, most of them bad.
Merlin dumped the bag onto the ground beside Arthur and rubbed his lower back, the exact spot where the bag had crashed into him after tripping. The prince looked down at his manservant with an unreadable expression.
"You know, you should really get into shape."
Arthur smirked when he saw the horrified expression that crossed Merlin's face.
"I think I do enough work running around doing your chores." As if on cue, Merlin slumped to the ground with his breaths still coming out in ragged gasps.
Arthur chuckled to himself quietly before sitting down next to Merlin. His eyes wandered over the landscape, coming to rest upon the bag Merlin had just dumped.
"Come on, set up the tent!" Arthur said, making no move to get up, instead motioning for Merlin to do it.
With a sigh, Merlin grabbed the bag and slid out the lump of cloth that was the tent. He chucked it out onto the grass in front of them but he stayed sitting on the ground.
"Hey, you know the last time we were here?" Arthur looked across over at Merlin as he nodded. "Its always bugged me so I decided to ask. How the bloody hell did you get that tent up so quickly? It takes me even half an hour to get it up."
Merlin grinned widely as he looked at a curious Arthur. His eyes travelled to the tent but not before flashing gold, something Arthur didn't miss. He had seen the gold in his servants eyes many times before but it stilled amazed him every time.
"Combe akj gatue."
The tent began assembling before their eyes and in a matter of seconds was standing completed. Merlin looked over to see a blank Arthur. After a moment a look suddenly crept across his face.
Both boys grinned as they looked to the tent. Everything seemed to be back to the way it was but a huge weight had been lifted from Merlin. He no longer had to hide himself, wondering what Arthur would think if he found out about his secret. He could finally be himself without fear.
"So, has Uther any plans for your 'magic'?" Merlin laid back onto his elbows, casually glancing at Arthur.
"Well he hasn't mentioned anything since that battle with Mercia but I have a feeling he's going to say something soon."
Merlin suddenly remembered the battle with Mercia only a month ago. Uther had requested Arthur use his magic to help defeat them but Merlin had refused to go into the battle with them. Arthur simply defeated Mercia with his knights but told his father his magic had helped him in the win.
"What are you going to tell him this time?"
"I don't know. Maybe I will say I...forgot how to do magic." Arthur shrugged and rested his head in his hands.
Merlin had been studying the clouds above him when Arthur spoke, causing him to look away from the sky and snort with laughter.
"Arthur, you don't 'forget' how to do magic! At least not in 5 months." Merlin chuckled again before looking back up to the sky.
"Yes but father doesn't know that...hopefully." Arthur grinned.
Merlin moved his elbows to lay on his back, the grass tickling at his neck. Arthur remained sitting but followed Merlin's gaze to look up at the sky. As a young boy his father often found him on his back, gazing up at the sky before getting pulled off to jousting practises or sword fights. Eventually he had just given up on looking at the clouds, instead standing at the battlements, pretending to be on the lookout when really he was staring at the clouds.
"How is Guinevere?" Arthur smirked as he saw Merlin's cheek turn red at the mention of his girlfriend.
He had seen the pair numerous times around the castle together, even catching them kissing once. Both of the embarrassed pair had blushed before hurrying off, avoiding the princes gaze.
"She's...she's fine." Merlin couldn't hide the smile on his face. He loved Gwen, there was no doubt about that. They seemed perfect for each other.
Arthur shook his head with a smile. He suddenly became aware of the chill that was making his hairs stand on end.
Merlin looked up to Arthur with a suspicious expression. He knew the tone of voice Arthur had used, it was one he put on when he wanted something.
"Can you...you know, start the fire?" Arthur smirked.
With a sighed Merlin pulled himself up off the grass. Another flash of gold and a fire was crackling before them, as if having been there for hours.
Both boys grinned.