One hand clutched the gaping wound in his chest, the other being put to use pull the dying sorcerer across the floor. The pain had originally been unbearably, but a quick spell had put an end to that. Bet Merlin wished he knew that one, the twisted man thought to himself as he reached his destination.
Just within his reach, the gnarled hand grabbed at the fabric that was fluttering teasingly. On the third attempt, he managed to catch hold of it and pulled it towards him, smirking in what could be considered relief when he saw that it was Merlin's scarf. By glancing down at himself, Claton did a quick calculation of how much time he had left in this world, before letting go of the wound. Wrapping both hands around the material, Claton's lips formed quick and frantic words as he desperately said his last spell. His last chance of survival. Blue light shot out of his hands and into the fabric, momentarily making it glow before fading back to its usually dull colour. Job done, Claton let out his last explosive breath, laughing manically the whole time. Even in death, they couldn't stop him.
"Come on, Merlin." Arthur yelled over his shoulder. He could hear the clumsy servant fighting his way through the undergrowth somewhere behind him, "I would have thought you'd want to get out of the castle for a bit."
Merlin groaned as he managed to get more and more tangled in the dense bushes. It had been six weeks since their return and this was the first time he had been allowed outside the castle walls. Gaius had strictly forbidden him to even get out of bed for the first few weeks. This was fine to start with but once the initial pain had gone, Merlin had got bored. He must have memorised nearly his whole spell book by this point and even though Gwen constantly visited and his mother continually made all of his favourite foods, he wanted to be out and about again.
Arthur hadn't fared a lot better, although he at least had been allowed out of his room. Uther had been furious that his son had gone after the sorcerer after all and it didn't matter how much all three of them tried to explain that Claton had taken Arthur against his will, the prince had been banned from any expeditions outside of Camelot. To save everyone in the castle, the king had at least allowed his son to train but after six weeks, Merlin wasn't the only one who was fed up.
Since their return, the two of them had found that they could be a lot more open with one another than before. They had accepted that they were friends, much to Gaius's delight and so Arthur had spent many hours by Merlin's bedside during his recovery, swapping amusing tales with both his servant, Gaius and Hunith. He now had some fantastic blackmail material for Merlin, but that was to be saved for another time, as finally, their guardians had allowed the boys out and to Merlin's horror; Arthur decided that they were going to celebrate their newfound freedom by going hunting. Hence why Merlin was now entangled in a bush in the middle of a forest with no idea where they were – Arthur's idea of heaven.
"Only you could manage to get tangled in that tiny little bush, Merlin." Arthur's face reappeared and with one swing of his sword cut his servant free from the bush, sending him sprawling in the process.
As Merlin lay on the hard ground, quickly thinking of a way that he could get revenge on the prince for making him look like a fool, again, he froze. It was so brief that he wasn't sure that he had really heard anything, but he could have sworn that he heard a chuckle from somewhere. It was not a friendly one, it was the type that chilled the very blood within you and sounded horribly familiar.
Sheathing his sword with a grin, Arthur decided that as Merlin hadn't moved from his position on the floor, he must need a hand. Reaching down, he lifted the boy back onto his feet by the back of his collar, all in one hand.
"You really are completely hopeless." He told him, watching the younger boy brush the dirt from himself.
"And you really are a prat." Merlin added in response, an idea springing into his head at the same moment. Knowing Arthur the way that he did, he could almost guess what the prince's next move would be.
"You may have decided that you are the only one who can call me that but that doesn't mean I'm going to let you. Even if you do have a super punch…" Arthur playfully punched Merlin in the ribs who immediately doubled over, wincing.
"Oh, sorry," Arthur cried, feeling like an idiot for forgetting the state of his servant's chest, "here, let me help you."
He rushed forward to help his servant straighten up but in his worry didn't notice the strategically placed foot and was sent flying. He looked up from the ground, bewildered and saw Merlin standing over him, a grin spreading from ear to ear.
"Now we're even." He said and offered his hand to pull the prince up. Arthur was in shock; Merlin had actually managed to trip him up.
That's what happens when you worry about servants, he thought to himself as he was pulled to his feet and immediately set about planning his own revenge.
Maybe things hadn't changed that much between the two of them after all…
... or is it...
Yep, i'm going to admit it right now-i've got a sequel planned! only don't hold your breath, i haven't even started writing it yet-only just had the idea for it!
Want to say a HUGE thank you to MagicbyMerlin who managed to sit and crawl through all of my mistakes to make this readable-applause to you, my friend!
and also to all of you who have taken the time to review and tell me what you have thought-every single review means so much to me-thank you all so very very much!
so, until next time then...