So here goes- my first ever fanfic. I hope you like it. Feel free to review. Not sure about the rating, but I think K+ is appropriate. Tell me if I'm wrong.

Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin

Chapter 1

Merlin was exhausted. It was only to be expected- the final confrontation with the Great Dragon had left him physically drained, and with the loss of his father still fresh in his mind, his mental state wasn't faring much better. After seeing that Arthur was settled, he staggered back to his room, tiptoeing past the sleeping form of Gaius on his way, and collapsed into his bed. He was fast asleep within seconds, having not even had the strength to remove his boots.

He was so deep in sleep, in fact, that he failed to notice when a certain blonde-haired sorceress crept into the room, placing a flower under his mattress and muttering a few words in the ancient language before stepping back.

"You should never have poisoned my sister boy. As punishment, the memory of what you have done- and more- will haunt you every night. It will drive you so far into madness boy, that death will seem like a sweet release." Smiling malevolently, she stepped back and left the room, but not before she glanced over her shoulder just in time to see the young boy toss in his sleep, a frown across his face.

"Honestly Merlin!" Arthur's voice rang out across the training grounds. "You're completely useless today!" He watched as his bumbling oaf of a servant leant to pick up the equipment he had dropped for the third time in as many minutes, staggering towards the rack with it now (hopefully) firmly in his grip.

"Sorry sire," the younger man answered, "I'm just a bit tired, that's all."

The young Prince gave his servant an appraising glance. In all honesty, he was looking quite pale, and there were dark rings evident around his eyes. Truth be told, Arthur was worried. Merlin had seemed… off… somehow ever since the day two weeks ago when they had fought the Dragon that had been terrorising the city. Not that he would ever voice his concerns however- he could only imagine the smug grin on Merlin's face if he found out that the Prince actually cared about his wellbeing. He breathed a deep sigh.

"Well, there's no helping it now. Let's head back- my Father has asked that the council convene in one hour anyway. Just put it away- and make sure to knock some sense into that thick skull of yours before you bring up my supper. Can't very well have you dropping that all over the place now, can we?" With that said, he strode off back towards the castle, leaving a dejected Merlin behind to lug his equipment back to the armoury.

Back in Arthur's chambers later that day, Merlin awaited Arthur's return. Rubbing his eyes with the palm of his hand, he collapsed into one of the chairs and lent forward onto the table. He felt so tired. Every night for the past fortnight or so he had woken constantly, unable to block the images of all of his worst moments from haunting his dreams. Even Gaius' sleeping draught hadn't helped him- the nightmares were just too strong.

Just as he contemplated resting his eyes for a few minutes, the doors to the room burst open, and Arthur barged in.

"Merlin, get up you lazy so-and-so. I need you to pack my bags and ready my armour. We ride out in the morning."

"Where are we going?"

"My father has ordered that, as the repairs to Camelot are going well, groups of Knights be dispatched to begin the search for Morgana." At the sound of his friend's name, Merlin couldn't help but wince. Hers was one of the most prominent faces in his dreams- the shock and sense of betrayal in her eyes as she'd realised he had poisoned her. The look did not escape Arthur's attention.

"Merlin, I know you're worried about her, but nothing will happen just sitting here." Of course, the Prince had no idea of what had occurred during the battle with the Knights of Medhir. "And if that's what's been making you down lately then don't worry- we'll find her."

Merlin hid his worry at what Morgana being found could mean for him, and instead shot the young Prince one his usual cheeky grins.

"I know. And I'm not worried. I was just thinking that if… when… she does return, I'm going to have to put up with your foul moods again every time she outsmarts you." Dodging the goblet which flew towards his head, he dived out of the room and headed off to prepare for the following day.

That night, the dreams grew stronger.