This fic idea popped into my head randomly. I decided to start writing it.

It's kind of AU. In this fic magic is legal as long as it's helpful and good and Merlin hasn't met Arthur…obviously, but does know Gwen and has seen Morgana, but doesn't actually know her.

I know I have 2 other unfinished fics.

I don't really give a fuck.

There will be no smut in this story I don't think.

In a time of peace and prosperity, a world where magic roamed the lands freely and crops grew plentiful. There was a boy named Merlin, a servant to the court physician, Gaius. Who didn't realize that fate had other plans for him. Not yet, anyways.

In another part of the castle live a boy who stayed in the darkness and shadows. Who wore a hood when he traveled about. He spoke to no one, but his father, the King of the realm, and to his sister, Morgana. Only they knew of his ailment and it was to be kept secret. The kingdom was unaware that their heir to the throne lived, for a story had been passed that spread like wild fire of the boy, Arthur, who died in battle; protecting Camelot from a now deceased sorcerer.

Merlin was finishing his chore of delivering Gaius's potions to the residents of the castle when he turned a corner and nearly walked right into The Hooded Prince.

Merlin's bag fell, and he yelled out, but before the bag could hit the ground and shatter the vials inside, a scaled hand reached out and snatched it from the air. The bag was in Merlin's arms and the man was walking away just as quickly.

"Thank you!" Merlin called out to the stranger, "And sorry for running in to you!" He watched the hooded figure turn a corner and disappear before continuing on to his next delivery. He quickly gathered his bearings and set off.

It wasn't long, after walking down the twisting corridor, that Merlin realized there was only one chamber in this direction, and he had no idea as to whom it belonged. He only knew that he was to deliver a small green vial to the door and to leave without going inside.

That person he'd run into earlier had to be the one who lived here. Merlin's memory of the hand came back to him, how the skin was cracked and dry, the thought of it brought Merlin's curiosity higher and as he finally came to the door at the end of the hallway. Merlin pulled out the vial and set it on the ground, but as he came up again he threw a glance over his shoulder.

No one was coming, he could peek his head in and look around. Merlin put his hand on the door and pushed it open. The door creaked loudly as it opened and Merlin jumped a mile. His heart was thrumming loudly in his chest. When nothing happened he stepped inside.

With each step his heart beat louder and faster. At first the plainness of the room disappointed Merlin, but then he noticed the polished armor piled in a chair that seemed almost familiar.

He was sure he could name the knight it belonged to if he could see the shield, but the shield wasn't in sight. There was another room covered by a curtain, a soft red glow was coming out from the cracks.

Merlin edged towards the curtain slowly, certain he was about to see some kind of incredible magic. His hand reached for the curtain and grasped the soft fabric, shaking with anticipation.

"What are you doing in here?" Merlin spun around, his heart jumping into his throat as he realized he'd gotten caught. The man with the cloak was standing there, only his hood was thrown back. The image before him almost made Merlin puke. His hands flew to his mouth as if covering an acrid scent, though there was no smell in the air.

The man was covered in cracks, and his skin was gray. His eyes were black as night with black tendrils creeping out from the edges of his eyelids, covering most of his face in black vines. The man stood there, his hands shaking.

"I-I'm sorry f-for intruding," Merlin said, he quickly walked out of the room and left. The door slammed shut behind him and he noticed the green vial was gone. He assumed it was to treat whatever condition the man had on his skin and eyes.

The Hooded Prince stood in his chambers and looked at the ceiling. His eyes burned and his skin crawled. He needed to control himself. The more he cried, the further the vines would crawl.

The Vines of Pain

Will End Your Grief

Lest Kiss Of Love

Will End This Grief

The words haunted Arthur like they did every night and every night they made his eyes sting more. The vines on his face snaked outwards. Another person running from the sight of him. Another person afraid of his image.

How long until the vines overtook his body and killed him?

How long did he have to live?

Merlin was making his deliveries again, he hadn't mentioned what had happened to Gaius and he hadn't stopped thinking about it since it happened.

He approached the door without encountering the man on the way there. He leaned down to drop the vial off with every intention of leaving right away, in case he saw him again, but something stopped him. The curiosity within reached out and made Merlin knock on the door.

He thought he heard something inside drop or knock against something else, confirming that there was someone there.

"Hello? It's me, the one who was trespassing yesterday!" Merlin called, nervous, what was he doing? Apologizing? "I…I have your medicine!" He called. After s long moment without anyone answering Merlin decided to try again the next day. "I guess I'll just leave it then…" He said to the door.

He leaned down to set the vial down, but stood up quickly when he heard the creak of the door. He looked up to see the hood of the man looking back at him. A sliver of cracked skin was exposed in the light.

"You're not afraid of me?" The prince said to the warlock. His voice shaking as he said it. "Of what I am?"

"You're human. That's all that matters," Merlin responded, just as nervous as the hooded figure. The man reached up to pull his hood off, hesitating when his hands grasped the sides before revealing his cracked face. The vines slightly thicker than the day before, two of them reaching into his nose now and touching at the corners of his mouth. "The vines…"

"What about them?" The man said.

"They're…longer?" Merlin asked, unsure of what boundaries he may be crossing.

The man smiled slightly, for the first time in awhile, at the innocence in the way Merlin asked the question. He opened his mouth, "Yes…they're going to kill me."

Thanks for reading!

It's probably not going to be super long. Probably not more than 10 chapters at the most.

I like to lie to myself though. So.

I hate to say it, but Reviews Inspire.

Love, Allan.