Merlin lay flat on his stomach, his head propped up on his hands, dreaming away the afternoon on a patch of grass just outside Camelot. The day was sunny but cool, and it seemed that everyone was trying to make the most of it. Over the sound of the slight breeze, Merlin could hear the chatter of people in the market, trying to sell their various fruits and vegetables. He could see the clouds of dust that followed the small groups of children as they chased after each other, hiding behind this and that, and he could just make out the smiles of the merchants as they watched the children play, not thinking to scold them as they had been so quick to do in darker times...

The tiny dragon that Merlin had conjured continued to fly around and around his head, a dragon that bore a striking resemblance to one that had lay chained in darkness for more than a score, and that had only just regained the freedom that its small mirror image enjoyed.

It had been almost a year since Arthur had taken his place on Camelot's throne, but the kingdom boasted a cheery and lighthearted air that bore few reminders of its former self. The people were quick to smile once more, the children free to roam far from their mother's skirts without fear, and magic was again free to show itself without fear.

Merlin didn't sit up when he heard the familiar footsteps behind him. He only turned over onto his back when he felt a foot nudge him in the side. Merlin looked up to see blond hair glimmering in the early afternoon sun, and blue eyes that sparkle with a smile, forcing him to smile back.

The apples on the trees always grew a little bit redder, and the wheat a little taller whenever Merlin smiled. And if Merlin smiled a lot more freely than anyone could remember, well they never had to ask why.