Title: Where the Day Ends
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters of Merlin, sadly enough!
Spoilers: No spoilers in this post
Summary: When Arthur's dreams appear to happen in reality, Merlin is certain magic is being used. To make sure Arthur doesn't hurt anyone, he must stay awake. That proves to be more difficult than anticipated.
AN: Yay, a new story! I know, what was I thinking? This one just didn't leave me alone. So I started writing and here it is; the first chapter. This is kind of an introduction to the whole story and the action and suspension will soon start.
The title is actually an allusion to a song belonging to The Fray. I was listening to it while writing this chapter. The song was 'Where the Story Ends' and you should really check it out! Great song.
Any and all mistakes are completely my own. My apologies for them.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this...
"Hurry up, Merlin," Gaius said, cleaning off the table where they just had breakfast, "you'll be late and you know what that will mean."
"An Arthur nobody can stand?" Merlin asked, smirking. Arthur was indeed very punctual when it came to Merlin's working hours. As if it mattered if he was late for five minutes.
"Indeed," Gaius laughed, "so hurry."
Merlin didn't hesitate. Grabbing his brown jacket, he quickly put it on and went on his way. Arthur might be grumpy when Merlin was late, but Merlin felt rather cheerful today. He couldn't tell why, but he simply felt as if nothing could go wrong today.
Greeting every other servant he crossed paths with, Merlin certainly arrived late at Arthur's bedchambers. Gaius had so warned him, Merlin thought. At least he had been polite, that was a plus.
"Good morning," Merlin greeted Arthur as he entered his bedchambers.
The young Prince sat on his bed, fully clothed except for his boots. "Thanks for being on time," Arthur snapped sarcastically, "I can't find my boots."
"Oh," Merlin said, looking around, "right, I cleaned them yesterday and I placed them..." he retraced his steps of last night. Where had he put those boots? This wasn't improving Arthur's bad mood. "I remember! Under your bed," Merlin smiled, pleased that he had remembered.
"Why on earth would you put them under my bed?" Arthur asked, standing up and letting his hands rest in his sides.
"Because they wouldn't be in the way there?" Merlin asked, hoping the answer somehow satisfy the Prince. "Because you wouldn't be able to trip over them?" he tried again.
Arthur's gaze didn't change. He stared at his servant, anger and annoyance mixed in his eyes. "God, Merlin," he sighed eventually, "you're so not useful. And why are you still standing there? Get my boots!"
Merlin immediately jumped into action. Kneeling down, he reached under the bed until he finally felt two objects against his fingers. Grabbing them, he pulled out the two boots from underneath the bed and handed them over to Arthur.
"Now go polish my armor," Arthur ordered, pulling his boots out of Merlin's hands with quiet some force.
"Yes, Sire," Merlin said obedient. He had known Arthur to be cranky, but this was beyond that. Turning around, he left Arthur's chambers and headed for the armor-room. At least he would be alone there; no Arthur to push him around. Unfortunately, only when Merlin reached the armor-room, he remembered Arthur's armor was still in his chambers. How could he have forgotten that?
Sighing, Merlin went back. If he were lucky, Arthur would already be gone. Merlin wasn't in any luck, though.
Arthur had only just pulled on his boots. "Back already?" he asked, a little surprised.
"I..." Merlin wanted to come up with a lie. Arthur would have his head by the end of the day if he kept on forgetting things like this. First the boots, now the armor.
"Forgot?" Arthur completed Merlin's sentence.
Merlin pressed his lips together. Saying nothing would be best.
"Just..." Arthur said, trying to remain calm, "make sure it's done by midday."
"Yes, Sire," Merlin said. He instantly went back to work, hoping he wouldn't screw up anything else today. He should have listened to Gaius. He had warned him after all that Arthur would have been disgruntled.
Midday came too soon and Merlin had been able to complete his chore just in time. He had wanted to use magic, but Arthur had come to check up on him every other minute, wanting to make sure everything was as he expected it to be.
"Looks good," Arthur admitted reluctantly after Merlin had finished.
"Thanks," Merlin smiled. Of course it looked good. It wasn't like he failed at everything he did. Following Arthur back to his bedchamber, he couldn't help but notice how tired the Prince looked. Yawning, Arthur let himself fall onto his bed.
For a moment, Merlin wanted to ask him about it, but he didn't want to ruin his mood now that it had improved a little. And certainly not now that Arthur seemed almost pleasant to be around.
"God, I'm tired," Arthur sighed, closing his eyes.
"Haven't you slept well?" Merlin asked. What harm could it do after all? Besides, it was Arthur who had started the subject.
"I dreamed so strangely," Arthur explained, his eyes still closed. "I was walking down the streets of the city and there was a citizen who hadn't pain his taxes. I don't know why, but I attacked him and then I woke up."
"It's a strange dream, indeed," Merlin admitted. It didn't seem like a dream Arthur would have for some reason. The people were his first concern, certainly because he would one day become their King. Him attacking them in his dreams felt out of place somehow.
"I could ask Gaius to prepare you a sleeping draft," Merlin suggested, "it might help."
"No," Arthur said, pushing himself up, "it'll will be fine. It was one stupid dream."
Merlin bowed his head. Arthur was right after all. One dream didn't mean something was wrong. Even Merlin had had dreams that freaked him out. There was one where he had no magic. After having woken up, checking if he still had magic was the first thing he had done that morning.
"My horse needs to be taken care of," Arthur said, dropping the subject, "and the stables need to be cleaned."
Merlin, knowing that Arthur couldn't see him as his eyes were still closed, rolled his eyes. He had cleaned out the stables just three days ago and doing it again wasn't on his wish-list. He didn't protest, though, certainly not now. Leaving Arthur alone, he headed for the stables, finding Arthur's favorite horse.
As he took the magnificent animal out onto the main square in front of the castle, Merlin couldn't help but overhear a conversation between Gaius and a citizen. Waiting patiently until the unknown man was gone, Merlin went to stand with Gaius.
"What was that all about?" Merlin asked, making sure the horse couldn't escape his grasp.
"I don't know," Gaius confided in Merlin, "but I'm afraid nothing good."
"What happened?" Merlin wanted to know. Gaius looked at him, doubt in his eyes.
"It might be nothing," Gaius said then, shaking his head.
"Or it might be important," Merlin countered.
"I believe there is a thief in Camelot," Gaius explained, "he broke into the house of an old friend of mine last night and tried to attack him. Luckily my friend Robert was able to defend himself and all I have to do is take care of a minor head-wound."
"And you believe this will happen again?" Merlin asked.
Gaius shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know," he said, "like I said, it might be nothing. Robert has quiet an impressive past."
As Gaius headed to meet Robert, Merlin couldn't but help about Arthur's dream. It couldn't be possible. Why would Arthur attack this man?
"Did he pay his taxes?" Merlin called out to Gaius.
Gaius turned around to face him. "I don't know, Merlin," he frowned, not understanding why that would matter.
Merlin headed back to the stables then. He just needed to forget about all this. Not everything that seemed odd was therefor suspicious and besides, Arthur didn't sleepwalk. No, Merlin thought, nothing was going on because Arthur would never attack a citizen in the middle of the night.
AN: That was it for now. I will post the next chapter as soon as possible. I can only hope you enjoyed it so far :)