Note: I'm sorry. I would have had this up yesterday but I'm having jaw problems and had to go to the doctor. Anyway, this is done now and I'm so glad that so many of you left comments. Reviews are what makes the world go round. Thank you.
Arthur dodged a group of running children and continued down the steps to the wide veranda with a smile. Sitting on a bench near the archway were Morgana and Gwen, whom he'd just meet recently. Arthur took an instant liking to the maid who was so loyal to Merlin and a good friend to the dark haired man. The two women were talking softly to each other and Arthur smiled a greeting on his way past. They smiled back and nodded. It had been Gwen that pleaded with Morgana to assist Merlin, asking the dark haired woman to free the trapped prince. Morgana had been a great help to Merlin and Arthur and if it hadn't been for the witch then Arthur would probably be dead and Merlin still trapped. Arthur admired Gwen's bravery in seeking help from Morgana even as Nimueh watched those in the palace closely.
Arthur saw the person he was looking for standing at the veranda wall, overlooking the lights of the city down below. Merlin glanced at Arthur as he stopped besides him. Merlin was once again dressed in the royal robes, dark blue, black, and silver. On his head sat a silver crown. Arthur smiled at him softly. "Well, King Merlin, how goes it?"
Merlin sighed, his lips twisting. "Don't start, Arthur." He rested his hand on top of Arthur's and the blond turned his palm up to grasp Merlin's fingers back. They could hear the loud noise of revelry drifting up from the city. Behind them, in the same Royal Hall where his Father had married Nimueh, the sound of laugher and music filled the air. But now it was for a very different reason. Merlin had been crowned King of Avalon. "It has been a tiring day," Merlin muttered.
Arthur squeezed his hand and looked at him with concern. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine," answered Merlin. "I'm still surprised to be standing here. I thought this day would never come."
Arthur pulled the other man into a hug. Merlin buried his face against Arthur's red velvet jacket and clung. "But it has come and now you have a chance to undo all the evil Nimueh did," muttered Arthur. He stroked up and down Merlin's back, hoping to calm him. "And you'll have the help of Camelot. Everything will be fine."
"And you?" asked Merlin, lifting his head. "Do I have your help?"
Arthur smiled and pressed a soft kiss to Merlin's lips. "Of course you do. I'm not going anywhere. "
Merlin smiled and tightened his grip on the other man. He then fished in his robes and held something out on his palm to Arthur. "I believe this is yours. I should return it."
Arthur looked down to see his royal ring sitting on Merlin's palm, the gold glowing in the lantern light. "Where did you get that?" he asked curiously.
"Kay gave it to me, after I healed your wounds," said Merlin. "I thought I should return it now that we are together." He looked up in surprise as Arthur curled Merlin's long fingers back over the ring. "Arthur?"
"Keep it," said Arthur. "Think of it as my continuing promise to always be there for you." He leaned forward and sealed the vow with a kiss.
Merlin then fumbled with a silver chain he was wearing, slipping the ring onto the chain and hiding it under his shirt. Arthur looked pleased and Merlin blushed slightly. Merlin leaned forward and tilted his head for another kiss but jumped as a loud boom cut the air. A green shower of sparks lit up the sky, falling gently toward the ground and fading away. "Gaius," muttered Merlin. "I hope he doesn't set anything on fire."
Arthur chuckled, having met the court physician and man of science. He enjoyed his explosions a little too much. Another boom sounded and a bloom of yellow appeared above them. "If he does then you can put it out easily enough," he said, hugging Merlin.
A man hurried down the steps and over to where they were standing. He had dark hair and was wearing dark blue surcoat over light armor, more ceremonial than useful. "Your majesty," he greeted with a bow. "The Court is waiting for you to lead a toast before the meal can begin."
Merlin sighed but smiled at the messenger. "Thank you, Lancelot. Tell them I'm coming." The Knight nodded and went back inside, sharing a wide smile with a blushing Gwen as he walked past. Merlin rolled his eyes. "Three years older than me and I still can't get the man to call me by my name."
Arthur chuckled and offered his arm. "Shall we?" Merlin rolled his eyes again but grabbed Arthur's elbow anyway. They walked past Morgana and Gwen and Arthur called out to the women to join them. "We're going back into the party," said the blond. "It's time to get drunk."
Morgana stood enthusiastically. "Good. I was wondering when the food and drink part of the evening would start." Merlin and Gwen exchanged wry smiles. The group walked into the Royal Hall and all of the guests turned to look at them. Merlin smiled, seeing Avalon silver mix with Camelot crimson.
The Steward of the Court thumped his staff against the stone floor and called as loud as he could across the gathering of people; "His Royal Majesty, King Merlin Emrys of Avalon and His Royal Highness, Prince Arthur Pendragon of Camelot!" Those crowding the Royal Hall applauded and cleared a path up to the throne.
Merlin smiled at them and walked across the hall with Arthur. The blond prince handed Merlin into the chair, earning him an arch look from the dark haired man. Arthur grinned and stepped back, still standing on the dais but slightly behind the throne. Merlin knew that Arthur's father, Uther, was standing nearby and let the other King do so. He also knew that Morgana and Gwen were standing just off the dais at his side. The applause had died down and the people in the Royal Hall were looking expectantly up at their newly crowned King. Merlin took a deep breath and opened his mouth to speak for the first time to his people.