A gift to all of my wonderful readers. Spoilers for all seasons, or none at all. MERRY (belated) CHRISTMAS!
This is a multi-chapter fic. It is set all Midwinter's Day (Christmas). It is a bit too late to be on time (sorry) but I didn't want to wait a whole year to put it up on time, so here you go.
I hope you enjoy.
Merlin collapsed onto his bed after an exhausting day. Wasn't Midwinter's Day supposed to be a relaxing day? It was supposed to be a time to spend with one's family and friends. People were supposed to exchange gifts, be merry, and celebrate around the fire, but noooooooooo. Everything that could go wrong did. He had been constantly on his feet from dawn to dusk, doing work without any time to himself, not to mention wishing his friends a merry Midwinter.
As he lay there, Merlin decided that it was Arthur's fault. Why? Because it was always Arthur's fault, that's why.
He closed his eyes, recounting the dreadful day.
Merlin was having a restless sleep. Nightmares were plaguing his dreams. He was strapped to a chair. Morgana leaned over him, smirking. She bent down close to him and hissed into his ear.
"It is your fault that Morgause is dead. You killed her." Morgana straightened. Merlin looked around. They were in an old castle. He suddenly realized that he was gagged. "It really shouldn't have surprised me that you would go that far, after all, you were going to kill me, and I was your friend!" As she spoke, her voice rose. The last word came out as a screech.
Morgana advanced on him. When she was just a foot away, she stopped. A hand flew to her throat. She coughed. Her eyes were wide in surprise. She coughed again. She looked up at Merlin and he saw utter betrayal in her eyes. He had betrayed her. It was all his fault.
With a jolt, Merlin realized that he was standing. He was looking down on Morgana, who had collapsed. Merlin's hands tightened in anxiety at the sight.
Something bit into his right hand. Merlin looked at the object he was holding. What he saw made his blood run cold. It was a little brown bottle. There was a skull and cross bones sketched onto the label, and above that, in messy handwriting, was one little word that had changed everything. Hemlock.
It all made sense now.
The castle they were in wasn't abandoned, they were in Camelot castle and everyone was asleep. He had just poisoned Morgana. He had just poisoned Morgana.
Tears began to flow down Merlin's cheeks. He hadn't wanted to poison her. He didn't have a choice. Merlin fell to his knees. He was right next to Morgana. Merlin didn't hesitate to embrace her. He held her close, rocking back and forth. "I'm sorry." He whispered to her. "I'm so, so, so sorry. I didn't have a choice." He pleaded to her, wanting her to believe him.
As soon as he utter that last word, Morgana looked up at him, her eyes bright, with no trace of poison clouding them. "We always have a choice Merlin," she snapped at him. "It's just yours was to kill me." At that, Morgana sat up. She smirked at him, and was still smirking when she stuck the dagger into his side.
Merlin's eyes went wide with pain, and he gave a small gasp. Morgana leaned in close and whispered, "It is time I returned the favor." She grabbed the front of his shirt and pushed him back.
Merlin had a sense of falling, but all around him was black. Wind whistled around his ears, and it soon became a piercing scream. Merlin felt his strength failing. He was dying. His strength was leaving him through that dagger in his side.
He hit the water with a "Whumph!" The water was all around him. He was soaking wet…he was…sinking. Merlin closed his eyes, letting himself fall to the bottom of the lake…the lake of Avalon. Peace washed over Merlin…along with another wave of water.
Merlin bolted upright. He gasped for air as the moonlight filtered in through the small window in his room. It was just a dream. It was just a dream. He told himself. Be it a dream or not, it had come again and again, night after night, for weeks now. He lifted his hand to brush his hair away (it had fallen in front of his eyes…again). As soon as he touched it, he pulled back. His hand was wet. He touched his hair again. It was wet. Then it dawned on him.
Merlin turned his head warily and was met with the sight of a very irritated Arthur holding an empty bucket. Arthur glared at him and cleared his throat.
"Well, it seems that you're finally up." Arthur scowled. "Come on you idiot. You're late…again. Unlike you, I don't have time to lie in all day. Some of us actually have work to do." With that Arthur strode out of the room.
Merlin sat up in his bed and grabbed a clean shirt off the floor. He struggled a bit to get the piece of fabric over his head because it kept sticking to his wet skin. He pulled on some trousers and headed out of Gaius's chambers. He was surprised that Gaius wasn't in the main room, but paid it no mind. He stepped out of the room and nearly ran down the winding staircase, tapping each one lightly with his feet as he went down. As he came out to the courtyard, he noticed something odd. The sun had not risen yet. He wasn't late at all! Arthur got him up early for no reason other then to yell at him! No wonder Gaius wasn't in the main chamber! He was still asleep! Merlin scowled and hurried to the kitchen to get Arthur's breakfast.
Merlin crossed the courtyard and nearly tripped over a foot one of the guards had stuck out. Merlin kept walking, but he turned his head to look the guard in the eye. The guard in question was laughing with his friend. Merlin glared at him, and the guard just sneered back, unfazed.
After deciding that he didn't have time for this, Merlin jogged the rest of the way to the kitchens, not tripping or stumbling once. As soon as he reached the kitchen he was greeting with the savory smell of baking bread. Merlin went to get Arthur's breakfast and was greeted by most of the kitchen staff. A few of them teased him good-naturedly on being early for once. Merlin, feeling much better, smiled and joked with them.
Mary, the head cook, smiled and handed him Arthur's hot-out-of-the-oven breakfast. Then she noticed Merlin current wet state. "Merlin!" Mary cried out when she noticed that he was still sopping wet. "What happen'd to ya boy? Ya' look as if you was caught in a rainstorm!"
Merlin laughed in a self-mocking manner. "Arthur is what happened. Apparently, he felt the need to come barreling into my room at this ungodly hour and wake me up by dumping a bucket of water on my head!" He laughed again.
Mary gave a little tut. "Why, if that boy wasn't the prince…" she didn't finish her threat. Then Mary seemed to remember why Merlin was here and shoved the tray of food into Merlin's surprised hands. "Now git going! Ta prince musta be in a foul mood t'day! Don't want cha in troble. Off wit ya!" Merlin bit her farewell and hurried to Arthur's chambers, his previous anger forgotten.
By the time he reached Arthur's chambers, he was his usual chipper self. Merlin Pushed open the door and waltzed in with the food. "Good morning sire!" Merlin exclaimed, and smile tacked firmly in place. Said smile, however, promptly faded when he saw the thunderous look on his master's face.
"You're late." Arthur said. That was all he said. His voice was deep and he sounded angry, though he didn't raise his voice.
Merlin was frankly startled by Arthur's behavior. "Uh, yeah, I suppose." Merlin looked Arthur up and down, trying to decide what was wrong. Finding nothing that he could put down to Arthur's behavior, he tried for a more direct route of uncovering the problem. "What's got your knickers in a twist?" He asked.
The prince answered Merlin with a stony glare. However, Merlin was unperturbed by this. "Alright, don't tell me. But I got your breakfast so eat up." Arthur eyed the food for a moment before pulling up a chair. He sat down and was about to eat when-
Said warlock looked up at his master. "Yeah?"
Arthur glared, but didn't mention Merlin's lack of manners. "I'm going out for a hunt. Prepare the horses."
It suddenly dawned on Merlin why Arthur had claimed that Merlin was late. "Is that why you said I was late this morning?" Arthur gave a brisk nod. "You never told me! How was I supposed to know?" Merlin shot Arthur a quick glare.
"Yes I did." Arthur responded coolly. "It's not my fault you were more incompetent than usual."
"Nah. You never told me." Merlin disagreed. "I would've remembered."
"Yes, I did tell you Merlin."
"No, you didn't"
"Yes, I did."
"Merlin!" Arthur glared at his infuriating manservant. "Isn't there something you need to be doing right now?" He asked in a strained voice. Merlin looked startled, but took the hint and left the room. As soon as the door closed behind him, Arthur let loose a great sigh. This was going to be a long day.
There. Chapter 1 done. Hope you enjoy this story. Hopefully I'll update sooner than I have been. Don't really know where this story is going soooooo. Yeah.
Arthur's being a bit of a prick ain't he? ;D All will be explained in due time. If Arthur seems a bit OOC, well, he is.