AN: Hello! It's Kat here, taking over from the fantabulous MnM (yes, fantabulous is a neologism, got a problem with that? Oh good :D) I decided to finally put some effort in and get this out on time- it's not fair that my sis is doing all the work, SO, here we go!
Last chap: Merlin likes Amelia, she likes him back, ditto with Gwen and Arthur who got to go on a romantic little dance, before that, Gwaine saw the kidnapped Lil in a dream, and in case you've forgotten, the conditions for her release are that the king dies. Oh, did I forget? Yeah. Uther's dead. Well...sort of... Oooh, and the twins have magic, gwaine knows but hasn't said he knows, Merlin doesn't know, and the girls don't know about said warlock's magic either- guess they just haven't had the time...
"So? What's your diagnosis?"
Amelia had never seen Arthur look so worried in the short time she'd known him, and a momentary stab of guilt hit her. She glanced at Merlin and could see he felt the same, fidgeting to try and avoid telling his friend.
Gaius sighed. "Well sire, it's certainly some kind of poison, and I'm afraid if it is what I think it is, it could be fatal." Though he seemed sincere, Amelia could swear there was a tone in Gaius' voice that threw it off, just a little. She'd been relieved when the physician had agreed to help them though- Arthur was far more likely to listen to an expert.
Nodding, said Prince sat next to his father, holding his hand. Gaius picked up the King's wine goblet from where it had been brought in by the guards. "Merlin, Amelia, I'm going to need your help. This may take some time sire."
The man who stared up at his court physician was nothing compared to the one Amelia had seen dancing with Gwen- he looked desperate, and almost scared. "Just make him better Gaius. Please."
Amelia bit her lip, and once they were out of the King's chambers Merlin took her hand. She shot him a look, surprised but not unpleasantly so, and he gently squeezed her fingers. She squeezed back.
Once they were in Gaius' rooms he hurried over to his shelves, quickly grabbing a vial of some kind of pale blue sludge and shooing them when he saw them watching. "Go on- the antidote to this potion should come into full effect by dawn, so you'll need to be back by then, now go save Lilian!"
Merlin and Amelia, needing no further prompting, nodded and ran out into the night.
Amelia lead the way, taking them both back to the hut where Lil had been kidnapped and where she assumed Marcus would be waiting. The warning bells were still ringing, so if he was anywhere near Camelot he should have heard them- she hoped it was enough.
Suddenly nervous, she and Merlin hesitated outside of the wooden door, silver in the weak moonlight. Merlin gave her a questioning look, asking if this was the right place. Amelia nodded and his jaw tightened, then he looked at her, counting down from three.
They burst inside and found nothing. The house was empty- eerily so. There was no furniture, and, more importantly, no people, or signs of them. Frowning, Amelia looked around, calling out, "Lilian! Lil? Where are you? Lil? Marcus, I did it! I killed the-" Merlin's hand suddenly went over her mouth and she made a sound of indignation. He rolled his eyes.
"Mimi, the guards are going to be searching the whole lower town. Shouting that you-" he paused and lowered his voice even more, "that you killed the king isn't exactly going to improve our situation. Look, it seems pretty obvious they've moved, we just need to go look for them."
Amelia's worry and frustration lent a bite to her tone as she whispered a reply, "but we don't even know where to start, it's not like this is a small city!"
Merlin's jaw tensed, and something shifted in his eyes- as if he were about to tell her something, and then a piercing scream- Lil's scream, echoed through both their minds, followed by the sensation of being dumped into ice cold water, and without a word, Merlin grabbed Amelia's hand and ran towards the forest. And the lake.
Gwaine, feeling sick with guilt and empty with…everything else, trudged through the Rising Sun's doorway. The innkeeper nodded to him- yes, he was banished, but innkeepers generally didn't care about matters of state. Gwaine tucked himself in a corner and gratefully accepted the flagon of mead he was offered, taking a mouthful of the burning, bitter sweet liquid even as he flipped a coin to the man.
All day he'd searched Camelot- giving up all pretense of trying to hide; stopping people in the street, bursting into empty looking houses, scouting the edge of the forest…Nothing. He didn't know where she was again- had let her slip through his fingers- he didn't deserve her…
Briefly glancing at the alcohol in his mug, Gwaine slammed it down with a little more force than was necessary. He was just a tramp. Not a knight. Not a hero. Not a lover. And he didn't care- all he wanted, desperately wanted, was to find her. Make sure she was safe. Everything else could come later.
"But I can't!" He growled aloud in frustration, drawing a few curious looks from nearby tables. Gwaine sank further back into the shadows, deliberately hitting his head against the wall. He just didn't know where else to look any more.
Suddenly, a scream- Lilian screaming- burst through his mind, followed by the sense of being dumped into icy water. It was so strong that Gwaine took a moment to pat himself down, and when he realized he was dry, he was on his feet in a second, running and jumping over the tables to get to the door, ignoring the innkeeper and his patrons' angry shouts. Because that was Lil. And she was in trouble.
For once, he was going to do something right.
Blindly, Gwaine ran through the forest- ignoring branches whipping against him, lithely skipping over roots and rocks that threatened to trip him- unerringly lead by…something, which he strongly expected was at least part magic. He didn't care, he just followed it- a sense of sunshine and laughter and green leaves the colour of her eyes- fading.
Gwaine picked up the pace, breath rushing in and out of his body, burning his lungs and aching through his muscles. He ignored it, drawing his sword as the trees began to thin and he saw the lake glimmering through.
With a roar, he burst through the edge and onto the bank, peering out to the centre of the lake where a boat sat with a single person in it.
"MARCUS? YOU SCUM! IS THAT YOU?"
Not his most threatening speech, but the run and his fear had taken it out of him. The man in the boat looked up and waved, and then he stood, and Gwaine saw two heavy weights tied round his waist, and he jumped out, right next to where some bubbles were weakly reaching the surface.
Suddenly it all made sense- well, except for the villain's choice to end his life too, and Gwaine ran into the lake, fighting the weight of the water and finally diving under, his one thought to find Lil- to get her back, no matter what it cost him.
He'd only just realized. He couldn't live without her.
All Amelia could hear as she ran was the sound of Merlin's breathing. Occasionally he'd glance at her, but they ran without speaking, and she didn't return the glance. She was beginning to suspect there was a part of her that would always be… concerned with him, but for now she focused on Lil. This was her job. Protecting and caring for her sister. Everything else (Merlin...) came later.
As they got closer to the lake they heard a man's voice shouting, and they quickly exchanged a glance, silently agreeing that it was Gwaine. There was a splash, and then the sound of someone wading into water, then another splash, and then…nothing.
Frowning, Amelia burst through the tree line, Merlin hot on her heels. The lake shore was deserted. An empty boat was floating way out, but otherwise there was nothing. She looked to Merlin, going to ask him what he thought had happened to Gwaine- but Merlin was staring at the empty wooden boat with a stricken expression, remembering a painful sight quite similar to when he'd given the corpse of his first love to a lake.
Amelia didn't know what was wrong, was itching to find her sister- already beginning to get a sickening idea of what had happened- but he looked so very…lost. Clumsy as he was, scatterbrained as he may appear to be- Merlin, in all the time she'd known him, had never looked lost- he always had a purpose, a meaning, an aim. So instead of demanding his opinion and disregarding his reaction- as she would have done previously no matter what, Amelia shyly took his hand.
Merlin's blue eyes flickered to her in a heartbeat. They were wet and shining in the faint light, and there was still the echo of old pain in his features, but they warmed considerably when he looked at her, he opened his mouth to say something, then shut it. Amelia tried to give him a little smile, in a heroic effort to momentarily put her worry aside.
Gwaine bursting through the surface of the lake for air ruined this a little. Instantly her attention was back on Lil- it had never really strayed far- though Amelia kept hold of Merlin's hand.
"Gwaine?" She called- he'd been about to go back under, but he looked up when he heard her and waved before diving back down again.
"Marcus must have pushed her in." Amelia stated, chastising herself for stating the obvious and acutely aware of the desperate worry in her voice. She went to go into the lake herself but Merlin stopped her. Realising that Gwaine probably had a better chance at finding her sister- being bigger, stronger, and already there, Amelia bit her lip hard and stood, fidgeting, waiting for him to burst back up again.
For what seemed like forever, she and Merlin stood sentinel whilst they waited for Gwaine, watching the flat, black lake. Amelia honestly couldn't imagine a world where her twin didn't exist any more. She felt sick- more than sick, just thinking about it. Hollow almost. But there was nothing she could do- at least not without just putting her and the weakened Lil in danger later by revealing their magic. The seconds eased by.
At last, Gwaine burst back through, but he was alone. Amelia tightened her grasp on Merlin's hand so much he gave a little hiss of pain, but this time she really wasn't listening. Because Lil had already been under far too long- because they'd already run out of time, and they needed a miracle. Lil's fingers twitched, and she turned to Merlin, opening her mouth- he got there first.
"Look, Mimi, I've got to do this. I won't let her die. Please…please don't think any less of me."
And then he held up his hand, and without saying anything- without an incantation of any sort, his eyes turned gold, and a beam of light shot down through the depths of the lake and Gwaine followed it, coming back up later with a limp Lil and dragging them both into the boat. Amelia, seeing her sister pale, soaked and lifeless, lost any sane, rational part of her that had stuck around, and screamed.
Oooh, so is she alive? And how will Mimi take the revelation of Merlin's magic? By sharing hers? And why did Marcus kill himself?
Find out next time with MnM, and please do take the time to comment- it's massively appreciated, special thanks to Kitty O for that!
Hope you liked it and thankyou for reading,