This is really short, I know, I'm sorry. But I thought you might like an update.
I hope you all had a nice holiday and a happy New Year.
"Merlin," said Arthur, striding into his chambers. The boy paused in polishing the Prince's armor. "Gaius just spoke to me. He has requested that you be an apprentice for him."
Merlin tried to act surprised. "Really?"
"And what was your answer?"
Arthur paused, giving him a funny look. "I'm not sure that's any of your business," he teased.
Merlin glared at him. "Well, seeing as I am the possible-apprentice in question, I think it would most definitely be my business," he retorted.
Arthur laughed, nodding. "Very well. I told him I thought it was a good idea."
"Really?" repeated Merlin, this time not needing to act surprised.
"Yes," answered Arthur, moving to his wardrobe to find something to change into. "You can move into his chambers and begin immediately," he added.
Merlin froze, dropping the polishing rag. "M-Move?" he asked.
"Yes." Arthur didn't even turn to look at him. "Gaius has spare sleeping quarters. You would be closer to your work, always on hand when Gaius needs you."
"You w-want me to leave?" stuttered Merlin.
Arthur finally turned, finding Merlin pale and shaking. He sighed. "Merlin," he said, moving forward and crouching in front of him.
"You're sending me away," whispered Merlin.
"Merlin," repeated Arthur, pulling the piece of armor off his lap and clasping his hands. "I am not sending you away. You will still be in the castle; I will still be in the castle. I can't keep you locked up in this room forever. This is a good opportunity for you. You will be learning a very useful trade, from one of the best men I know. And you can come visit me any time you like," added Arthur.
"I can?" asked Merlin, his eyes still a bit watery.
Arthur nodded. "Yeah, if you're ever bored you can come do my laundry," he said with a shrug.
Merlin yanked one of his hands free and smacked his shoulder, but he couldn't hold back a shaky laugh.
Arthur mock winced and pouted. "That's not very nice to do to your Prince."
"Well, my Prince is a prat," fired back Merlin.
Arthur chuckled. "Fair enough." He paused and stared at Merlin. "Are you alright now?"
Merlin took a deep breath. "Yeah."
Arthur smiled. "That's good," he said. "And you don't have to go right now. Go whenever you're ready."
"Thanks." Merlin returned the smile, before picking up the piece of armor to finish his polishing.
By the way, this may be the second to last chapter. Depending on how long the rest ends up, I might be able to split it into two. But, sadly, the end is almost near. :(
Unfortunatly, I can't write the next bit until I get back to my apartment and the season 1 DVDs. I need them to make sure it all adds up.
I hope you enjoyed this, even if it was short. :)