Warnings: Kidnapping, Wanking of 13-year-olds, Child Abuse, Violence
This Chapter: Cavity-inducing fluff :D
A/N: The epilogue. Many more notes down at the end, very relevant.
"Ow, that bloody hurts, you prick!"
Merlin rubbed his arm where Arthur had punched him while glaring balefully at the prattish prince.
"You deserve it," Arthur said, handing his pajamas to Leon, before smoothing down his fresh, designer street clothes.
"I was just saying-"
"Do you really think that after all we've been through, I would just forget you? Pretend all this never happened?"
"I was a little scared you would," Merlin admitted.
Arthur shook his head and punched Merlin's arm again – "It's affection!" "What kind of affection is that?" "The manly kind!"– before he turned and asked his bodyguard for a pen and paper, and Merlin took his own street clothes from Will and went to the loo to change.
They were being discharged from the hospital, today.
Merlin changed quickly, walking back out to see Leon checking through Arthur's overnight bag, carefully tucking his clothes in as Arthur was furiously writing something on the pen and paper Leon got him.
"Arthur?" Merlin asked, shoving his own bundle of clothing into his overnight bag as Will and Leon went to talk quietly in a corner about their security detail.
"Yeah?" Arthur asked, apparently putting the finishing touches on his note before looking up at Merlin.
"What are you doing?" he asked, leaning over to get a good look at what appeared to be a list of palaces, phone numbers, and extensions.
"Making a list of ways for you to call me," Arthur said easily, before handing the list over to Merlin. "The palaces, the numbers for the actual staff instead of just the public numbers, and then the extensions for my rooms."
Merlin smiled and shook his head as he looked down the list of phone numbers. "Posh git," he said with a smile. "How do you even remember all these phone numbers?"
"…I just asked Leon, actually," Arthur said sheepishly. "He remembers. Hopefully Father will soon let me get a mobile, so I can just have one phone number no matter where I go."
"I only have one, for my room at Number 10," Merlin admitted, grabbing Arthur's pen and writing the number on the prince's palm. "Though sometimes I just use Will's phone…um, I don't remember the number, but I think Leon already has it so you're fine, I guess."
Arthur nodded a little morosely, as he read the digits on his palm, before looking up and saying, "Have you heard about our parents talking about sending us to school together, whenever we go back?"
"Mum wants me to finish this year with private tutoring, go back to a proper school next year," Merlin said with a shrug.
"My father does, too…maybe we can do it together!" Arthur said cheerfully.
"Not school," Merlin said. "I mean – Eton doesn't allow sorcerers, none of your posh Public schools do."
"Sod them, then," Arthur said. "I'll go to your school."
"…I really, really doubt your father will let you go to a state school," Merlin said.
Arthur sighed. "I know…we'll figure it out, or they will, I guess."
Merlin smiled, clasping Arthur's hand on his own.
"Don't worry, we'll make it – we're the Britain Boys, remember?" Arthur laughed.
"Yeah, yeah…well, it's not like we have to worry about losing touch. I'm pretty sure our parents would love to have us together at every PR event possible. Not to mention we can tag along to the weekly meetings."
"I think they might be more concerned about matters of state than our feelings," Merlin mused. "But Will and Leon are keeping in touch, anyway."
They looked over to see Will and Leon still talking, Will gesturing wildly with his arms as Leon made complex motions with his fingers.
"I think we're covered," Merlin said dryly, looking back at Arthur as he folded his list of numbers and tucked it into his pocket. "I'll see you soon, then?"
"Well we're still on telly all the time…" Merlin laughed as he dodged Arthur's half-hearted but fully-affectionate punch. "Yeah, very soon."
They looked over towards the corner to see Will and Leon were done talking and a nurse in the doorway.
She gestured all four of them out, and with the overnight bags slung over their shoulders, Will and Leon came over.
Will put a large, warm hand on Merlin's back as he said, "C'mon, it's time to go."
Merlin nodded as Will gently, but firmly, led him out and into the hallway, Arthur right beside him with Leon behind them all.
"Goodbye, Merlin! Goodbye, Prince Arthur!" their nurse said as she crouched down to hug them both one more time each, before quickly running off to her next patient at the sound of her pager beeping.
As they walked to the lift door side-by-side, everyone said goodbye to them – nurses, doctors, patients, all poking their heads out of wards and rooms to wave at them and wish them goodbye.
"Bloody hell, we're famous," Merlin muttered in the lift.
"You only just noticed this?" Arthur asked sardonically.
"I'm not used to this," Merlin said. "It's one thing to see pictures of yourself all over the place, and another to have complete strangers want to say goodbye for no reason than because they want to know you."
Arthur just stared at him, and Merlin elaborated. "For most of my life, my mum was just another MP or whoever or whatever, then barely two years ago, she starts going up party ranks, then she's elected by the party and boom, we're famous across the country when not too long ago…I'm not used to it. Not like you."
"Well getused to it, idiot – at this point I'm pretty sure we're more famous than our parents."
Merlin nodded. "I know. It's kind of sad, actually."
Eventually, they reached the ground floor, stepping out of the elevator to see two lines of people from the elevator door to the hospital doors, applauding them on their way out, the clapping of other people in the reception area only adding to the noise.
Outside, there were two cars and two dozen reporters waiting for them.
He and Arthur waved at them rather apathetically, but the reporters went wild anyway, and Merlin smiled, amused by how easy it was to get them to go mad over such stupid little things.
"Should we try flipping them two fingers?" Merlin asked.
"No," Arthur said. "Let's save that for later."
When they reached the cars, Merlin turned to bid Arthur one last goodbye, and suddenly found himself with an armful of prince, and despite all the cooing and the chorus of aww's coming from the crowd, Merlin responded on reflex and hugged back.
"Father is being rather vague about just where I'll be tonight, so I'll call you when I can," Arthur said in his ear.
"Good," Merlin said. "And – bye."
"You too," Arthur said, before letting go and following Leon into the first car.
Merlin followed Will into the second car.
The moment the door closed on the noise and chaos of the outside world, the car became something of a bubble of relief.
"…I'm going home," Merlin said.
"Yup," Will said, patting Merlin's shoulder. "Your mum says your room's been cleaned and a nice dinner prepared for you."
Merlin smiled at the thought, before yawning wide and long.
"Still sleepy?" Will asked. Merlin nodded, and chuckling fondly, Will gently pushed down on Merlin's shoulder until he was lying down, his head pillowed on his bag in Will's lap. "Sleep tight, we'll be home in no time."
Merlin nodded and shut his eyes and drifted off to sleep, dozing to the movement of the car around him.
They reached Number 10 just after sunset, and after Merlin'd had a brilliant nap. The door opened for Merlin to be greeted with more applause from more reporters and well-wishers, and Merlin hesitated, wondering why the hell these people found so much reason to clap for something as little as walking to his front door. But with a nudge from Will, he hopped out of the car, and put on a weary smile and waved. Again.
Their few staff took Merlin's bag once he was inside the building, and Merlin was led to the small breakfast room table for a nice dinner with just him and-
"Merlin," she said, embracing him and holding on tight, and Merlin held on tight too, and for a while they just stood there next to their table as people moved and bustled around them, holding onto each other.
"Welcome home, sweetheart," she murmured into his head as she finally started to let go. "How are you?"
"Tired, but fine," Merlin admitted. She brushed her thumb over some leftover scrapes and bruises on his face, but smiled nonetheless and led him to the table.
It was a short and quiet affair, for which Merlin was grateful. When they were done, she went to her office to deal with running the country while he was whisked away to be prepared for bed.
Later, when Merlin sat on his bed after programming all of Arthur's numbers into his phone, he gave it a long, considering stare, but didn't think too hard on it as he crawled into bed, especially when Mum came in to kiss him goodnight, even tucking him in for the first time in years.
"I'm so glad you're all right," she murmured, petting his head. "I am never letting this happen to you again, Merlin, I promise."
Merlin smiled and leaned into her touch. "Good to be back."
She stayed for a little while, before an assistant quietly knocked on the door and told Mum she was needed for something urgent concerning matters of state, and she kissed him on the forehead one last time before leaving, shutting the door quietly behind her, not taking her eyes off Merlin until she was gone.
As soon as the door closed behind her, Merlin lit up the room with his magic, at first doing what he usually did and creating shapes across his walls and through the air.
Then he made a small, bright, Gameboy-sized square of light, and anchored it to his scrying mirror.
Merlin snuggled into his blanket as he realized he and Arthur had left the books and Gameboy in their holding cell. Maybe someone from the security team's found them by now, and they could get it back? Or would the Blesseds have destroyed them, due to the emotion-traces they would have been saturated in, calling out to the trained sorcerers of MI6 forensics? Or maybe-
The phone rang.
Merlin smiled as he looked at his phone set, and read the display. He shook his head when he saw Arthur Buckinghamon the little screen, before reaching out and picking up the phone.
"Took you long enough!" Merlin greeted Arthur with. "I was starting to worry that you'd forgotten me."
"Like I'd actually forget to call you," Arthur said. "It's not my fault Father insisted on a Welcome Home dinner."
"You too?" Merlin asked.
"Yeah – and you won't believe this: Morgana hugged me. She actually hugged me! She wrapped her arms around me and everything, and she wasn't trying to strangle me, even…it was weird!"
Merlin laughed. "She's not thatbad-"
"You've only met her once, I've known her my whole life," Arthur said. "She is, in fact, that bad."
Merlin chuckled, his own amusement leading to a moment of oddly comfortable silence.
The laugh bubbled out of Merlin before he could stop himself, and looking around his room, cocooned in the fake Gameboy-eqsue light and warm duvet and his mother's hugs and kisses and Arthur's voice in his ear, all he could say was, "Yeah…we are."
This was originally my Merlin Big Bang fic from LiveJournal. There is art to accompany this fic, which you can find the links to on my profile, as well as a link to this fic on AO3 if you wish to download it, and LJ and DW.
Huge thanks goes out to my Artist deathjunke (remember to go comment on her art!), my Cheerleader misc_plinks, and my Beta torakowalski.
And as always, please review! Tell me what you liked, and tell me what needs improvement. This fic will have a sequel, so whatever you say will be taken to heart.
Yes, there will be a sequel. Believe it or not this entire fic started out as a the prologue to a much, much longer fic, one which now will be it's own series. There are at least two fics on the way, most likely three. Put me on author alert and you'll be able to track it. The next fic will be a one-shot and probably be published right after NaNoWriMo.
Thank you for reading!