A/N : Hey everyone! Alright, so here I am again with another story - - one I really hope you'll like!! The plot has held me captive for a little while now (keeping me from sleep!) and I really wanted to write it down. The words to the first chapter came to me tonight.
Please tell me if you like it? It means the world to me, it really does!
XO, as always
PS : update on Embers turn to ash is coming, I promise!
The servant raised his backpack onto his small shoulders and turned around once again, the question he'd posed so often appearing in his eyes. Arthur inhaled deeply, his chest expanding when he did. Here it came. "You're sure you don't mind?"
"The only thing I mind, Merlin, is the fact that you've asked me over and over," he paused, "and OVER again." He grinned, pushing the sullen boy over to the doorway. "My answer remains unchanged."
He received a smile in return, just for that. "Just making sure. You know," he tried, "you can always come with me."
The prince scrunched up his face, as if the answer to that was just too obvious. Posing the question was ridiculous, but then again – Merlin wasn't the brightest bloke around, so he might be forgiven for it. "Just because you can skip town for a few days, doesn't mean I can afford the same luxury." (Merlin huffed at that. 'Luxury', really…) He jutted out his chin. "Camelot needs me."
"Er –" Merlin nodded, but there was amusement hidden in the action. "Sure." He took a breath and held it for a while. "So I guess I'll.."
"GO, Merlin!!" He was starting to feel anxious, and really, there was nothing else to do but take it out on the poor idiot. He would have to do. "And remember to play nice with the other children once you're there," he rolled his eyes. "I don't want to have you come back full of scraps and bruises…you're worthless enough as it is."
His friend sighed happily. "Good to know I'll be missed. I'll be back soon."
"Good," the prince said, before realizing how he'd actually said something nice – which defied the whole point he'd been making in the first place – and tried again, this time obvious in sarcasm. "I can't wait!"
It was only later that he realized he'd actually miss Merlin, if only because he'd have no one to boss around the next couple of days. Only a little, not even enough to fill a turtle's shell – but it was there none the less. As he sharpened his blade, running the rock swiftly along the silver, he was acutely aware of the robe that swept over the ground closeby, the slight rustle of silk along the rocks.
"Missing him, are you?"
Dear lord, he knew that expression well, for she wore it any time she'd convinced herself she'd found a way to tease him, at last. She would know his in return, the clear sign that she in fact didn't know anything at all, and that he was quite content with the way things were turning out.
"Not at all," he threw back confidently. "I feel like I can finally think clearly again, without the constant chatter about baby rabbits and ..butterflies buzzing all around me." He looked up at her, staring her in the face with laughter in his eyes. Morgana's were the very same and somehow it felt as if they were children again, and all was well and safe.
Except it never had been. The dark shadows that had haunted them in the mourning of their families and the constant heavy burden that rested upon them had always been around, turning every childish came into a momentary escape from reality. They used to crash back to the world and it had always hurt a little more each time.
"I never figured out why it's so difficult for you to admit you care." She shook her head in wonder. "I can read you so well, but it's as if you won't allow yourself to be…"
"As always, Morgana, you're overthinking things." He cleared his throat. "And seeing things. Are you quite well?"
"I'm perfectly sane." She reasoned. "It's you who needs their head checked."
"Oh." He bit his lip, pondering this. "I'll go see Gaius first thing in the morning, then."
"You should." She smiled, walking away. When she came to one of the pillars that held his fortress together, she stole a quick glance, and stated with quivering voice : "You do know Merlin won't be there?"
"Good – bye, Morgana."
He hadn't left Camelot by himself since he had arrived there, so it felt strange taking to the road alone again. This time, however, he was grateful for the horse they'd given him, because traveling on foot to the place he now called home had worn him out. Yet he could still feel the excitement he had back then, the promise of things to come and the strangely exhillerating fear of the unknown. Back then, he had not known of Arthur, or Gwen. Gaius and Morgana. He supposed he might even have taken a strange liking to Uther, when he wasn't being insulting or vain. Or murdering sorcerers.
Wait – he stopped his train of thought, a heavy frown upon his brow – no, not Uther. But Arthur…if he'd never saw them again, he'd miss him most of all. He chuckled at the image of Arthur's expression if he had any clue about all that.
The sound of hooves approached from all around him, and his falcon eyes searched for any hint of danger. Go, Merlin. Pressing his calves into the horse's flank, he urged it on to go faster, to gallop away from the forest that had turned ice cold all of a sudden… For some reason, his brow felt on fire, and he had never wanted to escape as badly as he did now.
But they came for him anyway. Advancing on him like a wall of riders, a living storm of danger, he needed to go backwards, willing his stead not to panic the way he did. His eyes desperately shifted to the woods, wishing for anything. There was nothing there.
"Acne berrean indur." He shouted, but the incantation fell on deaf ears as their leader held up his hand, simply flicking it as if he was swatting at a fly. The silhouette of him was wider than any man Merlin had ever encountered before, and the lines on his face were harsh, the wrinkles caused by smirking worn as proud battlescars next to his lips.
His voice was deep, and familiar. Merlin realized it had been whispered by the trees when he'd walked by – he'd heard of it in the crackle of the leaves. Yet now it spoke to him.
"I think you've entertained us quite enough, young friend."
His men smiled simultaneously, as one army, trying to cower the enemy into defeat. That image was the last he met before he fell to the darkness.
He'd busied himself with training for the hours that followed his conversation with Morgana, the sweat trickling his skin. Raising his hand to his forehead, he looked on when in the distance, a foreign rider approached the gates of Camelot. Something with the scene didn't sit right with him, and he threw his sword to where it landed in the earth – deciding he would have one of the servants, not Merlin… no, obviously not Merlin…, pick it up later.
The rogue had arrived by now, and he anxiously motioned to the guards, begging them for information on where to find…
"What business do you have with me?"
A slow grin appeared on the man's face as he sized Arthur up, and he drew his tongue over his lips, slowly. "I think you'd prefer to speak with me in private, my lord." The statement sounded as an insult, and if there was anything the young prince would not do, it was bow down to those who would not respect him.
He feigned a smile. "Well, I've decided you're not to enter the grounds until you show some respect, so you might as well say what you need to say right here. And get down." he snapped.
The stranger was scrawny and small, but there was a smugness in his behaviour that was awkward and strange, and he wanted nothing more than to rid himself of this character. "What is it you want?"
"My master," the boy stated with pride, with obvious adoration of the man in question in his voice (which secretly made him wonder if Merlin spoke of him the same way), "wishes you to know that we hold your sorcerer captive."
"Good." Although capturing a sorcerer was a hard thing to do and Arthur should feel grateful, something kept him from jumping through hoops. It was probably the glint in the boys eyes, as if he knew something Arthur did not. "You must tell me who he is and bring him to us at once. Father is used to dealing with men like him."
The messenger laughed bitterly. "I'm afraid you misunderstand. Allow me to explain." He reached into the bag he carried and threw the small object he'd retrieved down before him, before stepping onto it with his foot, twisting and turning it so it was smudged with dirt. Kicking it a final time so it lay closer to the prince's feet, he smiled. "It's a little dirty, but I'm sure you know it. I bet you'd recognize it anywhere."
Arthur bent down and grabbed at the fabric that lay before him. His fingers dug into the earth and the sand crawled beneath his nails, but that was nothing compared to the shrill sound resounding in his mind.
This had to be a mistake.
Pleaaase tell me what you think? Pleaaase? It means the world to me, your support is the main thing that's keeping me going! (apart from my obvious love for the Merlin/Arthur friendship. I'm quite obsessed with them, as you might have noticed ;) )
Please let me know?
XO, as always