Hey guys, and welcome to a Merlin story. Hope you enjoy. It's a romance of Merlin/Arthur. Merlin had gone home and Arthur feels lonely without him and has been rather snappy with everyone. What happens when Merlin returns bruised and battered?

Battered and bruised, I love you

The sun was rising in the sky and the people of Camelot rose and got ready for the day. Everything was peaceful, except for a certain blonde hair, blue eyes, prince's room where a manservant ran from the room, crying. That was the third manservant in three days. Prince Arthur Pendragon was acting like, well, a dragon. He sat dejectedly in his favourite chair and huffed. He had snapped at his manservant for the simplest thing. His breakfast had been warm, perfect temperature, something that his previous manservant failed to do often. But Arthur had snapped at the poor boy and again was left with no manservant. The thing was, he was no Merlin.

Arthur grumbled at that thought. Merlin had returned to Elador to visit mother as she had fallen ill. Merlin was by far the worst manservant that Arthur had ever crossed. Three manservant's that had replaced Merlin for the time being were more than right for the job. They were polite, they didn't grumble, they were on time, they were efficient, they bowed, they didn't talk back, they weren't clumsy, they didn't smile that goofy smile. That is why they were not working. Arthur picked at his food and sighed. He wish Merlin would hurry up and get back. There was a knock on the door and Lady Morgana came waltzing in, a smug smile on her face. Arthur groaned. He knew what this was going to be about. He had about five of the same conversations with her since Merlin had left.

"A little birdy saw your manservant running from here in tears," Morgana said, sitting herself down across from Arthur. "What did he do this time?"
"My breakfast was far too hot and he spilt some on me, burning me," Arthur growled.
Morgana raised one perfectly shaped eyebrow. Arthur just glared back.
"You fired him because he's not Merlin," Morgana said knowingly.
"I've already told you-" Arthur begun but was cut off by Morgana.
"I know, I know. Merlin is the most useless manservant you ever had but you miss him. It's obvious. Everyone can see it," Morgana said.

"Shouldn't you and Gwen be trying to find a place where you won't get interrupted?" Arthur growled.
"Gwen is doing her chores," Morgana said, sighing.
Arthur had recently found out that Morgana and Gwen were an item as he interrupted a heavy kissing session.
"Come for a walk with me. Uther is not going to be pleased that yet again you have let another manservant go," Morgana said, rising from her seat. Arthur sighed and stood up too. The two left his chambers and began to walk from the castle. Arthur wouldn't admit it out aloud but he did miss Merlin. But what scared him was how much he missed him.

Stupidly he shared this with Morgana and she squealed with delight.
"I knew it. I knew you liked Merlin," Morgana cried. Arthurs eyes went wide.
"I don't like Merlin," Arthur hissed, looking around to see if anyone overheard them.
"O please, everyone can see you like him, just not you," Morgana scoffed.
Then it hit Arthur. His moody behaviour, always thinking of Merlin and smiling when he did. He did. He liked Merlin.

"O," Arthur breathed. Morgana grinned and linked arms with Arthur.
"See, don't you feel better admitting it?' Morgana asked, a huge smile on her face.
"Yeah," Arthur breathed. He grinned at Morgana.
"This is perfect. When you and Merlin get together we can cover each other," Morgana said, eyes sparkling with the possibilities.

"Good Morning Morgana, Sire," Gwen said, coming up to them and curtsying. Morgana eyes sparkled more when she saw Gwen and she grinned brightly.
"You seem better today sire," Gwen noted to Arthur.
"He's just realized that he like Merlin," Morgana said. Gwen beamed and cheered.

Arthur rolled his eyes and continued to walk, the two girls following him. He suddenly froze.
"Arthur? What's wrong?" Morgana asked, confused. Arthur just stood there, eyes wide. Morgana and Gwen followed his gaze and gasped. Two farmers were helping a battered and bruised Merlin. His arms were wrapped around their shoulders as they quickly walked. Arthur wouldn't of recognized him at all if it weren't for the red neckerchief around his neck. Arthur suddenly un froze and hurried to them, Morgana and Gwen hot on his heels.

"Quickly, take him to Gaius's chambers," Arthur ordered. The farmers nodded and hurried, the three of them following. They reached Gaius's chambers quickly and were relieved to find Gaius there.
"My god, what happened?" Gaius asked as they brought him in.
"Found him in the forest," one farmer grunted.
"Quickly, put him on the bed," Gaius instructed and they carefully put Merlin on the bed.
"Thank you, that will be all," Gaius said. The farmer nodded and left. Arthur, Gwen and Morgana stayed.

Arthur saw Gaius freeze and gasp.
"Merlin?" Gaius asked, voice hoarse. Merlin groaned and whimpered. Arthur had never seen an old man move so quickly. He quickly cut Merlin's short off and Arthur stiffened. His body was covered in bruises and cuts.
"What happened to you?" Gaius whispered. Merlin's body wasn't the only damaged. Above his eyes brow a large cut was bleeding profusely and his leg was bent at an odd angle.

"Gwen, I need clean water and towels. Morgana, I need you to sterilize a needle. Arthur, top shelf is some thread," Gaius ordered. Quickly they did what they were told, their hearts hammering in their chests. Arthurs was thudding painfully.
Merlin coughed rough and raw as Gwen came back with towels and water. Arthur had the thread and was now helping Morgana sterilize the needle.

Merlin coughed again and Arthur looked up to see blood trickling out of him mouth.
"O no. Internal bleeding," Gaius whispered painfully.
"What does that mean?" Arthur demanded, his voice breaking.
"It mean that there may not be much I can do for him," Gaius whispered. He began wiping the blood away.
"Merlin, I need you stay with me. Please Merlin, concentrate," Gaius said, pain filling his voice.

What happened next, Arthur will remember forever.
Merlin groaned and suddenly a golden glow surrounded his body. Gaius eyes went wide, Arthur's mouth feel open, Morgana just stood there and Gwen's hands flew to her mouth.
With a sickening, but apparently painless, snap Merlin's leg reset it's self. Blood stopped trickling out of his mouth, the blood pouring out of his head slowed dramatically.

The golden glow began to fade back into Merlin. Nobody moved. Merlin had used magic. Merlin was a sorcerer.
"Thank god," Gaius breathed. He jumped up, took the needle and thread from a frozen Arthur and Morgana and began to sew up the head wound.
"Can someone please wet a cloth for me?' Gaius asked. Morgana was first to recover and quickly wet a cloth and kneeled on the other side of Merlin.
"I need you to gently wipe the blood away from his wound," Gaius instructed and Morgana nodded.
"Arthur," Merlin groaned weakly.

"Your safe Merlin. Just relax," Gaius said soothingly.
"Arthur," Merlin groaned again. "Protect."
Morgana and Gaius both looked to Arthur. Merlin speaking snapped him out his frozen state and he was now staring at Merlin with a look of hurt, confusion and betrayal.
"Must...protect Arthur," Merlin groaned again, his opening slightly.
"Arthur is safe, Merlin," Gaius told him, but Merlin wasn't listening.
"Must protect Arthur," Merlin groaned again. Then he begun muttering in a tongue that Arthur didn't recognize.

Little blue and white lights appeared in Merlin's hand and Arthur knew. These were the same lights that had saved him when he went to find the flower that would save Merlin when he drank poison for him. His magic had saved his life. Surely not all magic was bad if Merlin could use it. After all he had saved Merlin's life. Arthur shook his head. He would think this over later. Right now he need to help Merlin.

"Merlin, stop using magic or you'll kill yourself," Gaius scolded, still sewing up his head wound.
"Must protect Arthur," Merlin moaned.
"I'm right here Merlin," Arthur said, gentling touching his arm. The magic faltered and gently faded. Arthur saw his eyes flash gold and return to their normal colour.
"Arthur?" Merlin mumbled.
"I'm right here," Arthur murmured back. Merlin mumbled again and fell unconscious.

Gwen had un frozen and was rinsing a dirty cloth that Morgana had passed her. Arthur gently took a clean one and began cleaning Merlin hands and arms. Gaius gave them all a tentative look but said nothing. Finally finished cleaning and fixing Merlin they left him to rest. His face was swollen and bruised and it pained Arthur to see him like that.

They all sat down at the small table that Gaius had, all exhausted.
"How long?' Arthur asked, looking to Gaius. He knew what Arthur was referring to. Merlin's magic.
"He was born like this. It's very rare, almost un heard of. His mother sent him to Camelot to find a purpose for his magic and he did. To protect you Arthur. The amount of time that he has saved you with his magic," Gaius said, shaking his head. "You are very lucky."
"All those times, Merlin risked his life to save me?' Arthur asked, stunned and he looked to Merlin.
"It's obvious that he cares for you too," Morgana told Arthur quietly. Arthur nodded and smiled.

Merlin didn't wake until mid day the next day. Morgana, Arthur and Gwen were coming to see him and the paused at the door when they heard frantic voice.
"Merlin, calm down. Please, you're not well enough," Gaius said.
"I have to find Arthur. I have to protect him," Merlin said frantically.
"Arthur is fine," Gaius said.
"No, he's in danger-" Merlin began.
"The prince is perfectly safe within the walls now sit down," Gaius snapped. "Merlin you nearly killed yourself with all that magic you did yesterday."

"I had to protect Arthur," Merlin mumbled. Arthur's heart swelled. Morgana and Gwen were giggling at his bright smile.
"Merlin, all that magic you used to heal yourself was dangerous. The internal bleeding, the broken leg. How did you manage it?" Gaius asked.
"You told me too," Merlin said, confused.
"At least you listen to someone," Arthur said, making his grand entrance. Merlin visibly relaxed when he saw Arthur safe but then stiffed again.

He looked horrible. His eyes were black and swollen, his face was littered with bruises. He didn't want to see the rest of his body.
"How much did you hear?" Merlin asked, his eyes wide with fright.
"Relax, Merlin. You gave yourself up yesterday when you healed yourself and wanted to protect Arthur," Morgana said sweetly and kissed his cheek. "I'm glad you're OK."
"You know that I can do magic?" Merlin asked weakly.
"Yes. It was a rather interesting way to find out," Arthur said, sitting down next to Merlin. He stiffened. Arthur gently touched his arm. "I'm upset that you didn't tell me Merlin but I understand why you couldn't. Your secret is safe with us."

"You're not going to turn me in?" Merlin asked.
"Why would I do that?' Arthur asked.
"Because I can do magic," Merlin cried.
"Yes, and then you would be dead and apparently I need you more then I knew," Arthur said, a faint blush appearing on his cheek bones. Morgana and Gwen were grinning widely. Gaius rolled his eyes and muttered 'finally'.

"What happened Merlin?" Gwen asked quietly. Merlin winced.
"Apparently you have enemies," Merlin winced, looking at Arthur. Arthurs eyes went wide.
"Merlin. I'm so sorry," Arthur cried. Merlin shook his head.
"Not just you, but Uther too. They were travelling. They could use magic. They aren't happy about having to hide and well this was a warning," Merlin said, indicating to himself and his bruised body.
"I knew I should of gone with you," Arthur muttered darkly.

Merlin took his hand.
"It's OK," Merlin said and then grinned at Arthur. "They weren't walking away to easily either."
"You- you...tried to fight them?" Arthur stuttered, horrified at the thought. Merlin snorted.
"God no. I used magic," Merlin said, rolling his eyes. As if he could ever take anyone on in a fight.
"Merlin," Gaius scolded. "You know better than that."
"They started it. I had to defend myself," Merlin cried, pouting. Gaius just gave him a stern look.
"Your lucky your alive," Gaius said, shaking his head.

Morgana and Gwen stood up, Merlin looked up.
"We had better go, let you rest," Morgana said, looking sideways at Arthur. He nodded and stood up too. Merlin looked sad to see him OK. This cheered Arthur up.
"Get better," Gwen said and she left with Morgana. Arthur stood at the door.
"I expect to see you in my chambers tonight," Arthur said, with a nod. Merlin nodded.
"Arthur," Merlin called. Arthur turned. "Please don't leave the castle," Merlin pleaded."Of course Merlin. I'll see you later," Arthur said. He couldn't resist the pleading tone in his voice and the sad scared look.

Merlin made his way through the castle to Arthur's chambers. He knocked and opened the door without waiting for an answer. He closed the door and suddenly was pinned against it by Arthur.
Arthur's lips crushed to Merlin's. Merlin eyes went wide and the closed, his arms winding around Arthurs neck and fingers threading through his hair. Arthur's hands rested on his hip, his body flush against Merlin's. Arthur ran his tongue along Merlin's bottom lip and Merlin groaned, his lips parting. Their tongue rolled against each other with passion.

When breathing became necessary they pulled apart, Arthur still pinning Merlin against the door.
"I missed you," Arthur breathed. Merlin's smile was just as bright as ever.
"I missed you too," Merlin said, kissing Arthur again.
"I was worried too," Arthur said, pulling back from Merlin. "When I saw those farmer bringing you in, you bleeding so much," Arthur shook his head.
"I'm sorry," Merlin said. Arthur growled and pulled Merlin close to him.
"I should be apologizing to you," Arthur growled.

"let's agree that it was nobody's fault," Merlin compromised. Arthur thought it over and kissed him again. Arthur led him to the bed and the toppled onto it. Arthur's hand made its way up Merlin's tunic and Merlin winced. Arthur pulled away, worry in his eyes. Merlin blushed. Gently Arthur pulled up his shirt and frowned. Merlins stomach was littered with bruises. Arthur sighed and gently kissed his stomach. Merlin groaned softly. Arthur gently laid next to Merlin, gazing into his eyes.
"I'm glad you're OK," Arthur said and then frowned. "well, you're not OK. At least you are alive and here with me."

"I love you Arthur," Merlin said, his fingers lacing with Arthurs.
"I love you too. Merlin. Promise me you'll try to be more careful," Arthur said, gazing intently into Merlin's eyes. Merlin rolled his eyes.
"Bit tough with all the trouble you attract," Merlin muttered.
"It' s not my fault," Arthur pouted. Merlin kissed his lips and gently bit down on Arthur's lower lip. Arthur groaned and there was no more talk for the rest of the night, they showed each other how much they meant to each other without words.

I hope you enjoyed and please review!