Arthur's coronation was the day after Uther died. The next few days were rather hectic, but Arthur took it in stride. Something Merlin admired in him.

"You look rather splendid," Merlin admitted.

Arthur glared at him, but nerves overtook and he smoothed his cape, brow furrowing. "You think?"

"Of course!" And smiled.

Arthur snorted and gave him a shove. "And you look as ridiculous as ever. Of course."

"I think blue suits me..." Merlin sniffed, looking down at his midnight robes. "Although..." He pressed his hands over the material, little embroidered stars dotting the fabric. "I like that better, don't you?"

Rolling his eyes, the king opened his mouth to speak, a page running up and interrupting. "Your majesty!"


"There are some people here to see...um. To see Lord Merlin."

Arthur's brows lifted in surprise, but he turned towards his warlock. "Do you want me to come?"

"It's... Um. Yes, please," he said in a small voice, cursing the incorrect title. It sounded weird.

"I think I'd better," Arthur said, putting a hand at the small of his back, wondering what could make his warlock suddenly nervous. Returning to the throne room where the people would have been sent to wait, Arthur strode in first, quickly assessing the rag-tag group of people. Several wore green cloaks—druids—surrounding a tall, imposing man and a soft looking woman. "Welcome to Camelot," he began, feeling Merlin's warmth behind him. "What brings you here?"

"My son," the woman said, her chin raised, looking rather fierce. The man beside her looked amused, chewing on a pipe.

"I see. And your son is?"

"Behind you, Your majesty."

"I see. Merlin. Would you please stop cowering behind me and face your parents like the man and powerful warlock that you are?"

"Can I not?" Merlin whispered.

"Merlin, boy. Come and let us see you," the man next to Merlin's mother thundered.

"Da..." Merlin slid around Arthur, staying as close as possible.

"Merlin..." But then his mother interrupted and was hurtling towards Merlin.

"Merlin!" She slapped him first and then hugged him close. "We've been so worried about you!"

"But...this is the first time you've come to see me?" Merlin managed, disentangling himself.

His mother threw a nasty glance at Arthur. "We weren't sure. Will said... Well. We didn't want to show up and expose you, Merlin. But then we'd heard you'd been appointed Court Sorcerer... We had to come see you."

Merlin sighed despairingly. He couldn't stay mad at her for long. "Yes. Well. Surprise. No bloody revolutions or anything. And Arthur even changed the magic laws. Oh! Arthur, this is my mum and da. Hunith and Balinor."

His parents bowed, Arthur smiling and extending a hand to each. "A pleasure to meet you both."

"Your majesty," his parents murmured.

Merlin rolled his eyes. "So was that your only purpose?"

"Merlin! These are your parents!" Arthur said with a little shock. "Be more respectful."

Merlin glowered, clamping his lips shut because really, he could say very little when both of Arthur's parents were dead. "I'm sorry. I'm just a bit bitter about being locked away in a tower for the first eighteen years of my life."

Hunith looked at the floor shamed, but Balinor stepped forward and clamped a large hand onto his shoulder. "Merlin. Son. We came to say... we're very proud of you. And we're sorry about past circumstances. We just...wanted you to know that."

He gaped at his father. Who then ruffled his hair. "H-hey! I'm a Court Sorcerer! You can't do that anymore!"

Balinor laughed and Hunith smiled. "We're so proud of you, my darling boy."

He flushed and caught Arthur's soft look out of the corner of his eye. Pushing the prin—king at them, he said with a furtive grin, "Pet Arthur. He's the one who needs it."

It was Arthur's turn to gape then. "Merlin!" Glowering, his expression mutated to surprise when Hunith's arms came around him and smoothed his hair. "Um..." he said, clearly uncomfortable.

"I told you we'd have to work on the hugging bit..." Merlin grinned widely.