A/N Hey everybody, this is the sort-of epilogue for part one of this story. There will be a second part up most likely this weekend or next week at some point, and it will be called Selfless. Thanks for reading, and I can't wait to share the next part with you!
Disclaimer: If I owned Merlin, then Morgana would be good, Gwen would be BA and Arthur wouldn't have many head injuries. Unfortunately, none of those are true.
Arthur woke up the next morning with a groan, feeling stiff from an entire night of sleeping on top of his bunched up sheets and in his clothes. Trying to stop the morning sunlight from filtering into his eyes, he put a hand above his closed eyelids and groaned again.
"Five more minutes," he mumbled to Merlin, ready to fall asleep again.
Then it hit him.
Arthur blinked his eyes open instantly, turning his face to see the pale, bruised face of his manservant and friend next to him, sleeping fitfully. Under his eyes were large dark circles, and his cheeks were deathly white. He was mumbling softly, and looked as if he were having a nightmare. Arthur, trying not to wake up his friend, sat up slowly and climbed out of the bed.
Then he remembered who else was here. Shocked, his eyes darted towards the other side of the bed, where Morgana rested peacefully, laying on Merlin's other side. There was no sign of the boy Mordred.
Arthur walked over to his door, satisfied that it was still locked to keep out his father, and he proceeded to his wardrobe and screen to quickly change. When he was done Arthur decided that now was a better time than never.
He gently shook Morgana's shoulder, which caused her to open her eyes slowly and glance at him. Slowly she remembered, too, and she turned her head almost exactly as he had to look at Merlin.
"How is he?" she asked softly. Arthur shook his head.
"We need to get him to Gaius, but I'm afraid to take him out of here," he answered. "Who knows what father will do?"
There was the sound of footsteps behind him, and Arthur whirled around to see Mordred with a tray overflowing with food from the kitchens.
"How did you get out without being recognized?" Arthur asked, shocked. Mordred shrugged.
"I told them you were hungry," he responded while setting the tray down. "There is no word of Emrys's return in the castle. Nobody seems to know anything."
"Emrys?" Arthur asked, confused. Mordred looked behind him at Morgana.
"Just a name Mordred gave him," Morgana answered quickly. Arthur let it slide but filed away the name for future research.
They all turned back to Merlin, whose face was in anguish as he dreamed.
"We should wake him," Mordred said quietly. Arthur nodded, and Morgana placed a hand on the servant's arm.
"Merlin?" she asked gently, and instantly Merlin's eyes shot open – the color of molten gold – and he sat up, scrambling away from them. There was a loud clattering behind them as a wind erupted from seemingly nowhere and some of the food from the tray fell to the floor. Arthur, alarmed, took a step forward. Then Merlin saw who he was with, and he visibly relaxed. The wind stopped, and his eyes returned to their normal blue.
Merlin then realized that he just did magic, and his eyes grew wide again. He stared at Arthur, who stared back.
"It's okay, Merlin, Arthur knows," Morgana said from the other side of the bed. Merlin glanced to her quickly before looking back at Arthur.
"You…know?" he asked uncertainly, voice barely a whisper. Arthur nodded slowly.
"I…don't know what to think about it yet," he admitted. "But what's more important is keeping you safe from my father"
At the mention of the king Merlin visibly flinched. Arthur walked over to the bed and sat next to him.
"It's okay, Merlin, I won't let him harm you anymore," Arthur promised with a serious face. "He can't hurt you anymore."
Merlin, eyes watering, nodded but no smile reached his lips. Inside, Arthur wondered if he'd ever be the same Merlin again.
Because the prince didn't know if he could handle this new man, this man who had been so…emotionless.