Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin.
Ok couple of things.
Firstly this is a sequel to Three Revelations in the form that that story happened several weeks ago. As the unicorn (episode 11) is mentioned we can all pretend that it happened before this episode (8) so sort of 7a.
Other than that most things are the same at the start of the story apart from the obvious changes caused by Three Revelations and away we go.
Italics is a characters thoughts
"Italics with speech marks is telepathy"
Chapter 1: Who do you trust?
Mordred huddled behind the stone buttress in the courtyard of the citadel of Camelot. King Uther's guards had already captured his druid father.
"Help!" Mordred called out with his mind "Help!"
His father had managed to get him away from the guards before being captured but not before Mordred had taken a sword strike to his left arm.
"Please help me!" Mordred thought desperately at the confused looking man who had just entered the courtyard.
Merlin finally located the source of the strange voice. It was a young boy who was hiding behind one of the buttresses on the opposite side of the courtyard. He couldn't have been more than 8 years old. His green cloak was stained with blood on the left side, Merlin fought the urge to immediately rush over. Even if it was the right thing to do it would give away the boys location to the guards who had just entered the courtyard and were obviously searching for him.
"Please help me! They're searching for me!" Mordred called out with his mind.
"Why are they after you?" Merlin thought back to him. He nearly keeled over from shock when Mordred answered.
"They're going to kill me!" Mordred pleaded desperately.
Merlin was torn, the guards might be searching for him for a very good reason.
"Guardsmen! In here!" the leader called causing all of the guards to converge on one of the store rooms that lead off the courtyard.
Merlin made his decision. The boy was so young he couldn't have done anything to deserve death at the hands of the guards.
"This way, run!" Merlin called out standing next to one of the small side entrances to the servants corridors.
"Run!" Merlin called out again.
Mordred scrambled to his feet and ran across the courtyard to Merlin.
"There he is!"
The dreaded cry rang out when Mordred was only half way across the courtyard.
"Alert the rest of the guards!" The leader called out before running after Mordred along with his guard detachment.
Merlin dashed along the corridors as fast as he could pulling the wounded and breathless Mordred along with him. The guards were hot on their heels and would soon catch up with them if Merlin didn't find a place to hide them very quickly. Coming to a T junction Merlin stopped and pulled the gasping Mordred close to him as he desperately looked each way trying to get his bearings and think of a place to hide.
He was in the royal wing of the palace and there were few places to hide to make the job of assassinating the royal family more difficult. There was no way in hell that they would be able to hide in the corridors but in the royal wing the rooms were all constantly in use. Merlin glimpsed the stairs to Morgana's rooms and dashed towards them.
At the last second he veered away. He could not be sure that Morgana would help him and he couldn't gamble with the life of this terrified little boy, not if he wanted to sleep at night anyway.
They dashed down the corridor once more as Merlin tried to get the young boy to safety but Mordred was falling further and further behind. The guards were just passing Morgana's chambers and would be on them in moments.
Merlin reached down and scooped the young boy into his arms before running faster than he ever had before to get them to safety. He reached it just in time ripping the door open and disappearing inside just before the guards came around he corner.
Still carrying the exhausted Mordred Merlin leaned back against the door and slid onto the floor with a groan.
"Merlin would you like to explain what the hell you think your doing?" An understandably surprised Arthur Pendragon asked.
"The guards are after him, I didn't know what to do." Merlin gasped still exhausted from his run.
Arthur rolled his eyes.
Of course. The guards are after him so he brings him straight to their captain. I should turn them both in right now. Then again I should have turned Merlin in as soon as I realised he was a sorcerer.
Arthur was debating whether to allow Merlin to hide the terrified child in his rooms. If he had been an adult there would have been no contest, he would have called the guards and sorted out the mess later.
But he's just a child. He can't be more than 8 winters old, he couldn't have done anything to deserve being chased by the entire army.
Merlin shifted a little as he got up, his tunic slipped to one side for a moment and Arthur had to look away. The large scar from the crossbow bolt had been visible for a moment before the tunic covered it again. No matter how many times Merlin forgave him and said he'd more than made up for it he still felt guilt and self loathing whenever he saw the scar.
Merlin is my friend and friends… Oh who am I kidding? What we have is far deeper than friendship. Merlin is my brother and I love him, I couldn't deny him this even if I didn't think that the boy was innocent.
The guards were getting closer. Having lost their quarry they were searching every room along the route. Arthur desperately searched for somewhere to hide Merlin and the boy.
This is the first time I've wished I was a girl, just so I would have a dressing screen to hide them behind. Dam it's cliché but it's all we've got.
"Quickly! Get under there!"Arthur hissed pushing his manservant and the latest cute thing that needed saving towards his massive bed as the guards pounded on the door.
"Your highness!, Your Highness please open the door!" the guards called out.
Shooting him a look that quite clearly said 'are you serious' Merlin never the less slipped beneath the bed with Mordred. Making sure they couldn't be seen Arthur opened the door.
"This had better be good!" He growled out in his best pissed off prince voice.
"Sire we are searching for a young druid boy, we believe he came this way." The guard responded.
"Has my father been informed?" Arthur questioned faking concern.
"Not yet sire." The guard admitted. "We captured the father but the boy escaped and we have been chasing him ever since."
"Inform my father immediately and then conduct a room by room search of the entire castle! Except the rooms that have already been searched of course." Arthur commanded imperiously.
"Yes sire." The guard scurried off to carry out Arthur's commands.
"That should keep them busy for a while." Arthur muttered to himself as he closed the door.
"Alright Merlin get out here." He called out in a long suffering voice.
Merlin sheepishly came out from under the bed dragging a terrified Mordred with him.
"Emrys that is the Prince!" Mordred cried out in terror trying to hide behind Merlin.
Arthur took in the young boy who was currently trying to hide behind Merlin. He was young, perhaps 8 winters with dark hair to just below his ears. He had a round cherubic face, freckles and blue eyes. Ocean blue rather than is own ice or Merlin's cobalt.
It hurts to see him so terrified, more than it should given that I've just met him. A spell perhaps? No Merlin would have known he was casting it and either stopped him or warned me. So where has this bond between us come from? I want nothing more than to keep him safe and happy and that scares me.
Arthur crouched down and stooped a little to bring himself down to the boys level. He approached slowly as he would a skittish colt in the stables.
"Hey, it's alright. I'm not going to hurt you."
Arthur could feel the burn of Merlin's gaze and the pride that was radiating off him. Merlin's pride in him emboldened him further as his manservant, friend and brother gently pushed the boy towards him.
"It's alright, your safe now." Arthur whispered as he reached out to check the boy for injuries.
Mordred flinched as Arthur found the sword wound on his arm.
Arthur and Merlin's eyes met in concern. Merlin picked up Mordred and carried him to Arthur's bed where Arthur helped him gently remove the tunic so that they could get a better look at it.
Mordred's terrified eyes darted between them as they checked him over.
"The cut is long but shallow." Arthur sighed in relief.
"Do you want me to?" Merlin made a gesture with his hands.
Merlin raised his hand over the wound. "hǣlan" He whispered as is eyes flashed gold.
Mordred's wound closed together and disappeared but the boy didn't notice. He was staring terrified at Arthur trying to back away.
Emrys has used magic in front of the Prince! He knows what we are! He's going to kill us!
Mordred closed his eyes and waited for the end.
He opened them again only to find Prince Arthur of Camelot wiping away the blood with a damp cloth from his was this morning.
"There, all better." Arthur said softly gently kissing the site of the former wound as he had seen mothers do to their children when they got hurt.
"Go to sleep now. You've had a long day and lost a lot of blood. You need rest." Merlin said softly tucking Mordred into the massive scarlet sheeted bed.
Arthur looked on concerned. In the centre of the large brightly coloured bed Mordred looked even more small and pale, vulnerable.
And why does that make my heart ache so much? I've only just met him. I don't even know his name.
"Mordred. My name is Mordred." The boy's voice appeared in his mind as if he had heard the question Arthur had not voiced.
A quick glance at Merlin got him to meet him by the door to the room while Mordred dropped off to sleep.
"The boy is sleeping. What do we do now?" Merlin asked hesitantly.
"Mordred. His name is Mordred." Arthur replied with a protectiveness that was formerly reserved for Merlin alone.
Merlin smiled. Whatever happened next Arthur would be at his side every step of the way.