Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Merlin characters.
AN: Any and all mistakes are completely my own.
Years had passed. Arthur didn't know where they had gone. It seemed that one morning, he had just woken up to find himself wondering what he had been doing for the past few months. It had all happened so quickly. His father had become ill and died not even two weeks later. Arthur had taken the throne and the people of Camelot had welcomed their new King with open arms.
He had married a woman, one he had thought never to have, but Gwen was a good Queen. She was not only loyal to Arthur, she was loyal to her people, to her friends. Never did she forget about her past, about the hard times in which she had grown up. Arthur admired that about her.
And like he said, years had past and he had just celibrated his thirtiest birthday. Life had never before been so...easy. There were no threats, no enemy Kings that wanted Camelot destroyed and not even magic was causing him troubles, not since he had allowed it to return. It was a decision he still doubted every day, but Gwen assured him that he had done the right thing, that no more innocent lives would be lost by fire.
Of course, Arthur was still King and he did have troubles on his mind. He needed to keep his land alive after all, he needed to assure that the people could make enough money and that the crops would flourish so that they could survive the harsh and cold winters. Everything seemed to be going rather well, however, and it was at times like these, that the King's thoughts were mostly occupied with his former servant.
Not a day passed when he didn't think of Merlin. He still wondered where that boy was, what he would be doing or whether or not he would still be alive. At first, Arthur had felt guilty about those thoughts. He shouldn't be worrying about someone who had hurt and betrayed him. But after a while, he had simply accepted it. It was a part of his life now.
"You look well," a voice spoke to him, "my Lord."
Arthur was used to being spoken to while walking through the streets of Camelot. He always greeted back the one addressing him, but this time, he stopped dead in his tracks. He didn't turn around for a long moment and when he did turn, he only saw a hooded figure standing before him.
"Merlin," Arthur simply said. He watched how the stranger pulled back his hood and indeed, before him stood the sorcerer he had not seen for years. Merlin hadn't changed much. He still had short black hair and bright blue eyes that seemed to pierce everything he looked at. Arthur couldn't help himself but glance around. He wasn't looking for back-up or guards that would be able to run to his help, but he was looking for her.
"Morgana is around," Merlin said, instantly knowing who Arthur was looking for, "and she is well."
Arthur only nodded. He wasn't sure what he was supposed to say or even do. "You look good," he eventually spoke, cursing himself for not having said anything better.
"Thank you," Merlin smiled and it was a smile that Arthur recognised. It was a boyish smile, an innocent smile. "We didn't end on the best of terms," Merlin continued to speak, "but I had to see you. You're King," Merlin seemed almost proud, "the best Camelot had seen in years."
"Why are you back?" Arthur asked. There was no hostility in his voice, only curiosity.
"Morgana and I have traveled," Merlin explained. He started walking again and Arthur followed him. It had been years since they had walked side by side, having a decent conversation. "I guess we both grew tired and longed for our home."
Arthur frowned as he couldn't follow the young sorcerer.
"This is our home, Arthur," Merlin said, "Camelot. We miss this place, but don't worry, we won't stay long and bother you."
"No," Arthur quickly said, "you can stay."
Merlin's eyebrows shot up. It was clear that he couldn't understand Arthur's words. "A lot has changed, Merlin," Arthur spoke, "for instance, magic isn't a crime anymore."
Merlin chuckled. "I heard," he said, "you did the right thing."
"I hope so," Arthur sighed. They turned into another street that was filled with people. All of them bowed when their King passed them, but murmurs started to errupt when some of them recognized Merlin. They simply weren't used to seeing someone talk to the King so freely.
"The people of Camelot still remember you," Arthur smiled, "you were just a servant of the Prince, but look at them." He watched how Merlin turned to face the people talking about them, but he quickly turned away from them. "Don't worry," Arthur assured him, "they don't know anything. I never really explained your disappearance."
"How is Gwen?" Merlin then asked.
"Adjusting," Arthur admitted, "she still isn't used to the wealth or even the clothes. She is a good Queen, however, and the people love her."
"Of course they do," Merlin smiled.
"Where is she," Arthur come to a stop and looked at his former servant, "where is Morgana?"
"With the Queen," Merlin said hesitantly.
Arthur's eyes grew wide at the thought of Gwen being alone with Morgana and a sudden anger rose in his chest. He cursed himself for having been so stupid! Merlin wasn't here for a simple chat, he was here to occupy him, to make sure he wouldn't think of Gwen!
"Please, Arthur," Merlin's voice was pleading, "she won't hurt Gwen."
"You liar!" Arthur shouted. He turned his back towards Merlin, ready to storm away.
"Why would we?" Merlin shouted back. He clearly wasn't afraid to stand up to Arthur. The people around them had fallen to a silence, watching in disbelief as the King was being spoken to like that. "Why would we want to hurt Gwen?"
Arthur slowly turned around, his eyes nothing more than two thin lines.
"I'm sorry," Merlin quickly apologized for his outburst, "Arthur, we only want to come home, we want to see our friends again, to settle down. Gwen and Morgana have been friends for years and Morgana just wanted to see her again, talk to her."
The King sighed heavily. "It's still hard," he admitted, "trusting you. There was a time I would have given my life for you, but now..." he looked straight into Merlin's eyes, "it has all changed."
"That it has," Merlin agreed, "and don't ever die for me." He laughed. "You're King now, that would be idiotic of you to do."
Arthur couldn't help but smile. "You know," he said, "after all those years, all that has happened, you still haven't changed. You still have the same idiotic humor." A guard hurried towards him now and whispered something into Arthur's ear. The King straightened his back and looked towards Merlin. "I have to go," he said, "I have an important tournament to arrange."
"Still want to prove yourself to your people?" Merlin asked.
Arthur chuckled. "I won't be participating in this one," he told Merlin, "I am King now." He turned around and started to walk away, only now realizing how easy talking to Merlin had been. He hadn't felt hatred, anger or even the urge to kick him. He felt like he had fallen back into a pattern of ease. Only now did he know how much he had missed Merlin.
"Merlin?" Arthur looked back to where the young sorcerer still stood, "welcome home."
Merlin only smiled back at Arthur and the King knew that all would be okay.
AN: It is done! This story is over. I can't believe how quickly that went. I really enoyed writing this story and I hope you guys enjoyed it as well.
Thanks for having read this all the way to the end :)