A/N: As Bradley says, "Hello, Merlin Fans!" Sorry for the late update, but I've had my work plate full these past few weeks. And to think college is going to be worse than this year... Ugh, I cannot imagine. I know you want to read, so my babble shall stop! XD
Disclaimer: Merlin belongs to the BBC, respectively.
Previously, On Merlin…
"Just a moment,"
But these words did not come from Arthur's lips. Everyone turned around to see who had objected to the warlock's execution. There, standing not twenty feet from the gathering crowd was a cloaked man baring the symbols of the Old Religion around his neck.
All of Merlin's magical senses flashed towards this newcomer. Instantly, he could tell that this man was the powerful magic he had felt earlier. He was dangerous, that was clear. The executioner had paused with the flaming torch in his hand to stare, as well. Looking around frantically, Merlin spotted Arthur in the frightened mob. Focusing with all his power, the young warlock tried to make a connection.
"Arthur," he thought, hoping the prince would be able to hear him, but whether or not Arthur had indeed heard him, Merlin wouldn't know, for his attention was diverted when the mysterious man spoke.
"Well, well, King Uther," he laughed, spitting the words out. "I'm sorry; I cannot allow you to kill Emrys." Merlin breathed a sigh of relief, but more worry seeped into his mind. "I want to be the one to kill him," he said, calmly.
The king finally found his voice. "Guards!" he called, and instantly all the knights and guards closest to the man charged, attempting to restrain him.
Taking full advantage of this opportunity, Merlin found a stunned Arthur. "Arthur," he tried again, but this time, the prince made eye contact with his former servant, astonished. "Arthur, listen to me! You need to cut the ropes on my wrists."
"Is he mental?" the prince thought to himself.
Holding back a smile, Merlin thought back, "I'm not mental, you prat. Yes, I can hear your thoughts. Actually, I'm shocked this is even working. I thought we could only communicate mentally with other magical people, so I can't believe this is working! Then again, there could be that reason you can hear me –"
"Merlin!" The warlock looked at his friend with desperation, needing his help. Arthur glanced up at his father who was still shouting orders at the guards to catch the man. "You're a sorcerer." The words weren't harsh, nor were they accepting, but they were recognition.
"Emrys," the man called. "Emrys, you will not die at the hands of a Pendragon. No, I want all the honor and glory of saying I was the one that finished the famous warlock." He moved closer, the crowd parting, too scared to stop him. All the guards lay around him, dead or knocked out. Even the knights were frozen with shock, despite Uther's constant yelling.
Arthur glanced between Merlin and the man who kept calling him Emrys. "His name is Merlin," he thought innocently. Looking up at the warlock, Merlin gave him a half smile, and the prince could have sworn he mouthed, 'thank you.'
Holding up his hand, the man's eyes flashed gold. A ball of fire shot from his right hand towards the tied up Merlin. Thinking at the last second, Merlin's own eyes flashed as his instincts kicked in. The fire was deflected and hit the side of the castle. Aggravated, the sorcerer went for a more direct approach and cast a spell, setting the pyre aflame.
"Not as dramatic, I suppose," he mused.
Merlin coughed, fighting to breath amongst all the smoke and heat of the fire. "Arthur," he choked out. "Please," and his eyes shut, going unconscious.
Alarmed, Arthur leapt forward onto the back of the pyre. The fire was spreading quickly, but Arthur was faster. He grabbed his sword from his belt and slashed the ropes binding Merlin's limp hands together. "Come on, you idiot!" he exclaimed, lugging the body of his servant off the burning wood and onto the ground of the square. He gently slapped his pale face, making him wake up. "Merlin, you can sleep later," he begged as Merlin's blue eyes slowly began to open.
A smile was playing at Merlin's lips. "Leave it to you to save me at the very last second," he teased.
"Be glad I saved you at all," Arthur shot back. "Get to your feet."
With a lot of Arthur's help, Merlin got up off the ground, facing the sorcerer. "Leave Camelot, or I will kill you!" he shouted, Arthur surprised by the amount of authority in his friend's voice.
"You see, Emrys, I can't do that without seeing your downfall first," the sorcerer said coolly. "You are the only thing standing in my way of ridding this world of Camelot. Searu"
A blue light came bolting at Merlin, the warlock barely dodging the deadly attack. "Get out of here!" he yelled at Arthur. "I haven't spent all this time protecting your royal backside to see you die right beside me."
Normally, Arthur would have made a comeback with some clever insult or comment about Merlin being the one who saves his life. But now, nothing came to mind. "I'm not leaving you, warlock or not," he said quietly, pulling out his sword as the crowd was retreating quickly.
The sorcerer noticed the prince still by Emrys' side, his weapon of choice being a sword. Oh, what good that will do! He was about to shout another attack when Merlin yelled, "You won't hurt him! I won't let you! Ácweðan"
Instantly, the sorcerer was knocked off his feet and flung fifty yards away, landing hard on the pebble road. His head banged against the ground, mouth hanging open ever so slightly. Eyes closing, he vanished on the spot, no longer a threat to Camelot. Merlin lowered his hand, eyes on his boots, not daring to look at anyone. He could feel Arthur's eyes boring into him, but the warlock did not move an inch.
"Well," Arthur finally spoke, and Merlin forced himself to look up. "This is going to be difficult to get you out of, seeing as the whole of Camelot saw you use magic." There was some malice in his voice, and some annoyance. "Is it true?" he asked quickly.
Merlin looked at the prince. "What?"
"That you were possessed?" he finished. Merlin nodded, a little ashamed. "Then the magic you just did could have been left over from the sorcerer who possessed you?" Arthur asked suddenly, almost hoping that was actually the truth.
"N-no, sire," Merlin answered immediately, though he regretted it.
Arthur rolled his eyes. The king was making his way over to the boys, storming through the crowd. "Yes, Merlin, that is the reason," he said with that play-along-or-you-die voice. "Father!" he boomed happily right at the moment Uther came up to them.
"What is the meaning of this? Have you lost your mind, Arthur? Arrest him!" the king boomed, Merlin having to slyly wipe some of Uther's yelling off his cheek. The prince put his hands on his hips and slapping his servant on the back, looking straight at his father.
Sighing, he began. "Father, Merlin here, he's an idiot. He's always getting himself into trouble. He can't help it; it's who he is unfortunately. The man can't even hold a sword properly, which is ridiculous considering of all the times he's trained with me–"
"Is there a point to this, Arthur?" Merlin had to ask; a little bothered by his 'friend's' constant babble of faults.
Arthur glanced over at Merlin, putting a hand up. "Yes, you idiot, there it," he took a breath. "You see father, Merlin was possessed by a sorcerer. There's no way that Merlin could possibly have magic. I know he had nothing to do with any of the things he did while he was possessed. The man has trouble staying on two feet. Magic would not…" he trailed off, not exactly sure where he was going with that.
Thankfully, his ranting did its job. "Alright, Arthur, but how did he get possessed?" Uther asked, eyeing Merlin with the upmost suspicion.
"We were out hunting," typical, "and when I told this bumbling idiot to go flush out the deer, he ran right into a sorcerer's cave. I saw a bright light, but didn't think anything of it until I realized he wasn't acting like himself." The lie flowed out of Arthur's mouth so smoothly it almost scared the grateful warlock. With the king about to ask yet another accusatory question, Arthur quickly added, "The sorcerer is out of him now. Right after the sorcerer defeated that other sorcerer I saw his magic come out of Merlin. He's back to his usual, lazy self. Trust me, father."
Without another word, Uther glared angrily at Merlin, but the boy just shrugged and bowed his head, and the king made the walk back to the castle, muttering under his breath. The young warlock looked over at the prince standing right next to him.
"Thank you, Arthur. I know that couldn't have been easy," Merlin whispered. The prince glared at him, those blue eyes squinting angrily.
"I'm going against every instinct I've had and all the lessons I have been taught by helping you. You have magic, Merlin. I should call the guards." His arms were crossed over his chest as the two walked back up to the disappearing crowd. Merlin lowered his gaze even more, eyes on his sooty boots. "But," Arthur sighed, looking over at his friend. "You actually do a… decent job of cleaning my chambers. No doubt that's because of magic."
A slight smile appeared on the warlock's lips. "Of course, sire, how else can I manage to get everything done?" His small attempt to lighten the mood worked as Arthur characteristically hit him upside the head. "Ow!" he laughed, rubbing the injured area.
When they reached the prince's chambers, he looked at Merlin, some sadness in his expression. "I will, however, need time to mull this over. I'm not totally sure what to do with you," Arthur scanned the servant up and down. The somber look was wiped away when he clapped his hands together. "In the meantime, you can polish my armor, wash my socks, muck out the stables, walk the dogs, scrub –"
"Whoa! Can't we just talk about how I have saved your life these past few years? I could tell you were shocked when I said that earlier," he begged, trying anything to get out of mucking the horses! "We could start with… let's see… the first day I got here!"
"Shut up, Merlin."
"Or maybe the second week, when that creep Valiant almost killed you," he babbled.
Arthur held a hand up. "You may think that this is helping you keep your head, but it's not," he smirked. "Just go do the chores, and we'll talk later. Oh and, Merlin," the warlock stopped halfway out the door. "No magic."
Merlin froze, his eyes cold as he walked back into the room, slamming the door behind him. "You," he said in an icy voice. "You will not have control over my magic, Pendragon," he spat the word. "For I am Emrys," Arthur took a step back, hand on his hilt. He was ready to do what was necessary when… Merlin burst out laughing. "Oh, Arthur, you should have seen your face!" A goblet came into contact with the warlock's face. "Probably deserved that," he admitted.
"Get out, Merlin," Arthur said calmly, a blond eyebrow rose into an arc. "I'm sorry," he chuckled once, putting his hand to his heart in sincere apology, shocking Merlin. "Get out, Emrys," The prince's smirk grew wider when Merlin's drooped into an annoyed frown.
"Don't call me that," Merlin said, shaking his head. It was Arthur's turn to laugh. "I may respect you, Arthur, but being a servant who is by no means a bootlicker, and due to the fact that I have magic, I will turn you into a donkey. Then you'll really be an ass!"
He dodged another flying item – at least it was a pillow this time – and smiled. Hopefully now, their usual banter would return to normal.
It had been two days and Arthur still had not given him any sign as to whether he was going to let the boy keep his head or not. Gaius had warned Merlin after he told him about the magical teasing that had taken place between prince and servant/warlock after the almost-execution. He needed to be more careful. In other words, suck up to the already stuck up Prat of Camelot.
So today, Merlin decided to try it, seeing as trying to be normal was failing miserably. Arthur kept giving him strange looks, as if saying 'You kind of scare me the way you are taking the situation so lightly,' and always kept an eye on him whenever he was in Arthur's chambers. It was like he was going to attack at any second! Well, it was annoying, and today was a new day! Gods help him; Merlin was going to live up to any other noble's decent standards for what a servant should be and act like. This was going to be a long day…
Merlin made sure he was on time, and knocked before entering the room, and only when he heard the faint 'enter' did the warlock dare come inside. He carefully placed a luxurious silver platter on the wooden table full of fruit, meat, and cheese. Immediately, he set out Arthur's clothes and lit the fire.
The prince watched with utter shock as his manservant did everything to protocol. When Merlin was done assisting the prince in getting dressed and making the bed, he walked to the center of the room with his head bowed and hands folded together. It only just hit Arthur that he was waiting to be given orders. Who was this and what had they done with Merlin?
"I-I've got training this morning, so help me into my armor," he said casually. The two walked down to the armory, Merlin a few paces behind Arthur. In an instant, he slid the chainmail over Arthur's blond head. Then came the next heavy piece of metal to attach, and before long Arthur was dressed to fight. Merlin handed him his helmet and bowed his head, not a word one spoken all morning.
After training, Merlin had beaten the prince to his chambers, the fire almost burnt out. Quickly, he relit it and began warming up some bath water. Right after, he collected water from the well and raced back up to see Arthur just getting back. Merlin bowed again and grabbed a cloth to wash the floors with.
That's it! He was bored out of his mind and Arthur had had enough! "What the hell are you doing?" he practically yelled, arms folded. At his words, Merlin tripped over his feet in surprise, spilling the contents of the bucket everywhere.
"Oh no, I am so sorry, My Lord! I'll clean it up," he said frantically. The poor man looked as if he was about to be beaten with a stick, or worse, be put in the stocks.
"Yes," Arthur nodded. "You will. But that's not what I'm referring to." His voice was calm again. When it was clear Merlin was not registering what he was getting at, the prince sighed. "Just… go get a dry cloth and start mopping the water from the walls and floor."
The warlock bowed once again. "Yes, sire,"
"Merlin," he called as Merlin was about to shut the door. "Don't be a bootlicker to try and save your neck. It doesn't suit you."
A grin crossed Merlin's lips, bringing the servant back to his usual self. Arthur let out a sigh of relief at the sight. "Yes, clotpole," he said in recognition.
Arthur rolled his blue eyes. "As much as I hate to say it, Merlin, don't change. You're right; I was fed up beyond belief all morning having a bootlicker as a servant."
"So…" Merlin started, deciding to use this to his advantage. "You know, if you turn me in, your new servant would come highly recommended by other nobles, which means… ultimately…"
The prince shuttered at the thought. "Turning you in is out of the question then," he said quickly, picturing some servant to tend to his every whim like a puppy dog. Merlin had changed his entire outlook on being a prince, and in doing so, kept his feet planted firmly in reality. "But, Merlin," he said, eyes threatening. "If you do turn me into a donkey, I will make your nightmares come true."
Merlin paused for a second, considering. "You know, I actually haven't found a spell for that one," but after seeing Arthur's harsh expression still present, he added, "Point taken,"
He shut the door on his servant, walking over to his warm bath. His shirt came off revealing his muscular chest as he thought to himself, "Idiot warlocks," And he could have sworn he heard a response in his mind.
"Supercilious dollop head,"
A/N: Well, that's the end of it! I almost made Merlin just be dark forever, but I was having a hard time picturing him trying to kill Arthur on a weekly basis like Morgana does in season 3. And I know 'dollop head' didn't come in until season 3, but it just kind of fit in that line, don't you think? Please review! It would be more than appreciated!