Well, here it is, the long awaited sequel to "Why You Don't Mess With Merlin" and I am sorry it has taken this long. Thank you to everyone who reviewed and enjoyed the previous story, I wrote this just for all of you. This will be a twoshot since I think that they get more reviews than a oneshot. There is bromance and pretty slight Merlin-whump, but this story won't be focusing on the said whump. This is all from Claude's POV. For those of you who haven't read my previous story then you should be fine reading this. It would help to have read the first one, but it is not necessary. This will feature Merlin, Arthur, and Gaius as characters as well as a few others, not to mention Claude. Well, have fun and don't forget to review since you are in competition with two others stories as to which I will update first.
Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin, if I did then I wouldn't go nearly mad waiting for the next episode each week.
Claude looked up at the full moon and sighed. It was a dark and humid night and right now he would just love to be in bed. But he probably wasn't going to get much sleep for the next few months so he should just toughen up.
Apparently it was custom for all the oldest guards to assign away whatever jobs or shifts they didn't want. And it seemed to be a running joke with them that they always stuck the new guys with stable-duty. Tonight it was Claude's job to stand near the smelly stables and watch out for the threat that wasn't coming. I mean, honestly, who would attack a stable?
But that was his job until some new person came to take over. So three nights a week he would come and stand out here and would try to at least look useful. And it didn't help that tonight the stables were especially smelly. Claude wondered why on earth someone would leave the stables alone this long without cleaning them. After all, that's what stable-boys were for.
Claude sighed again. It was going to be a long time until he was relieved from his shift.
As he thought about the stables he was reminded of that strange servant Merlin. He had come to Camelot only a week ago and the story the guards had told him still was fresh in his mind. In all honestly he didn't know what to make of it. The boy sounded pretty unusual if the story really was true, and from the looks the men seemed to give him they had a lot of respect for him. Claude had a feeling that there was a lot more to it than just one story.
And he had already come across the manservant several times and his behavior confused the new guard. Merlin had known his name seemingly without anyone telling him, which was a bit strange. And after that first kind-of-awkward meeting whenever he had seen him the boy had always thrown him a friendly greeting or had asked him how he liked Camelot, and had even brought him food and drink on long shifts.
The servant was a mystery and Claude had always hated mysteries, they made him feel a bit dumb since he could never figure them out.
Of course, there was no chance now of him ever hurting Merlin, what with all the people protecting him it would be an incredibly stupid idea. Plus, if the story was to be believed then the boy really didn't deserve it. And from what he had seen of Merlin he could accept that to be true. The boy didn't seem to have any evil or anger or even any negativity in him. He seemed for all the world to just be a rather upbeat, naïve boy who could be a bit oblivious.
Btu just because he had completely abandoned all thought of hurting him didn't mean he knew what to make of this Merlin character. There was something about him, a look in his eyes sometimes, or some of the things he said. Even though Merlin seemed as innocent as any child Claude could swear that sometimes he saw this look of wisdom and aging that could only be found in the most battle-seasoned warriors. Sometimes Claude thought he saw a look of unfathomable pain buried deep within the lad. But just as soon as he would notice it, it would be gone.
And so Claude was confused. He didn't know which was the true Merlin, the cheery and silly boy, or the pained and hardened man who had seen more destruction than anyone should have to see. And for the life of him Claude couldn't figure it out.
And then there was one more side to Merlin that everybody saw at some point. The cocky, insolent, servant who mouthed off to his master. Whilst these verbal exchanges between the royal and the manservant still bothered Claude some, he had decided that it wasn't worth making a fuss about. And the other day he had even found himself chuckling slightly at the fight the two men had had. It grew on a person.
Claude looked over to where he saw a young boy of perhaps nine or ten walking over with a torch in his hand. The lad nodded to him and entered the stables. Claude hoped that he was here to clean them. But he didn't think so since the boy had looked extremely tired and he doubted he could do much of anything right now. Claude understood the feeling.
In reality it wasn't all that late at night, but Claude had had a very hard first week and he really wasn't at his best at the moment. Just four more hours and he could sleep. It was going to be a long night.
Despite all his confusion and the difficulty that his job presented him at times, Claude found that he already loved Camelot. The kingdom was beautiful and marvelous. Sure, they were places where the houses were less than spectacular because, like all kingdoms, it had its rough patches. But everywhere Claude went he saw happy people and it didn't matter what kind of life they had. They could be the poorest of the poor or the richest of the rich and they could still be seen with smiles on their faces. Though, Claude found that it was, in fact, the poorer people who seemed the happiest and that made him all the gladder to see people who didn't base their joy on things.
Camelot was a happy and bright kingdom, filled with life and love. Of course, there were the dark parts of it, but overall everything seemed the way it should be. Peaceful.
Claude saw another person in the distance walking towards him. It didn't take the guard long before he recognized it to be Merlin. He wasn't all that surprised to see the young man here, he often saw him in weird places at weird times. Still, though, he was curious as to why the servant was here and not getting ready for bed. Probably did something to annoy his master again.
Suddenly Claude's nose tingled. He smelt something, something that he shouldn't be smelling. Still a bit of a way off in the distance Claude saw Merlin break into a run. He turned around to the source of the scent and saw smoke rising from the doors of the stables. He started forward but then suddenly part of the wall and the roof burst into large, roaring flames.
The force of the heat combined with the shock caused Claude to stumble back a bit. He stared in a stunned horror as the flames ate up the stable. It took him a moment or two to realize that the young boy who had gone in there hadn't come out.
Merlin had reached him by now and appeared at his side, panting. The servant dropped something heavy that clanged on the stones at his feet. "Is anyone in there?" Merlin asked, his eyes searching Claude's face for the answer.
"Um, yes," Claude said, breaking out of his shock, "a young boy."
Without a moment's hesitation Merlin lurched forward and ran into the flaming stable. Claude wasn't so fast; he had never seen anything like this before. The greatest danger he had ever been in was when he got a cold as a kid, and that hadn't provided this kind of terror or adrenaline. But after his mind comprehended the fact that Merlin had gone in there he rushed in himself.
Inside the stable it was burning hot and bright flames and black smoke danced everywhere and he couldn't see much of anything. He already felt like the heat was scorching him. He looked around, coughing from the smoke, and finally spotted Merlin over in a corner of the stable leaning over something. In a moment that something was in his arms and he was rushing towards the doorway again. Claude could make out the shape as being one of a boy.
Abruptly a beam fell in front of Claude blocking Merlin and the unconscious boy's path. Claude didn't doubt that the servant could make it over the fiery beam if he wasn't carrying a lad who looked to be over half his weight. When Merlin reached him Claude yelled over the crackle and roar of the quickly growing fire, "Here, give him to me!"
They both reached across the plank that separated them and Merlin handed the boy to Claude. The guard didn't waste any time getting out of there since the smoke inhalation could be killing the young boy.
As he came crashing out of the stables that were rapidly being consumed by fire and into the now comparatively cool night he started to hack and cough as if he had forgotten how to breathe. He was thankful that both of them had gotten out of there when they did because the air had become so stifling and thick that Claude was sure that in a minute or two he would've suffocated.
He looked up and saw people all around him. Guards, peasants, and a few knights all gathering around. Many were assisting with trying to put the fire out but Claude had a feeling that it was of no use, the stable was gone. And that was when he realized that Merlin hadn't come out behind him. He was still in there.
"Is anyone inside?" a knight that Claude recognized as Gwaine asked quickly. It was strange how Merlin had just asked him that.
Dazed and still having trouble focusing from the lack of proper air and the smoke that had stung his eyes, it took Claude a moment before he could answer. "Merlin."
"What? Merlin's in there?"
Claude looked over sharply at the man who had appeared by his side. It was a panting Prince Arthur who was in his night clothes. Claude dimly guessed that he had just seen the fire and had taken off running in the direction of it just like Merlin.
"I-I don't know, sire, he was right behind me," Claude stuttered.
"You left him in there?" the royal asked and Claude thought the man might strangle him.
What Claude had said finally caught up with him and he realized that Merlin might be stuck or passed out. He quickly handed the boy to one of the nearby guards and had just started to run back in when with whinnies and neighs perhaps a dozen horses rode out. There were cries and yells as people had to dive out of the way of the running and frightened horses. Claude couldn't imagine how they had gotten out of their stalls.
Just then there was a loud crash as part of the roof gave in on the stables and he tried to rush forward once more but was stopped when he saw a tall, lanky figure emerge from the blazing inferno.
Claude and Arthur ran to meet Merlin and Claude watched as the prince pulled the boy into a fierce hug and then drew away and slapped him hard on the head.
Between fits of coughing and gulps of air Merlin asked, "What—was…that-for?"
"For nearly making me have to get a new servant, you complete idiot," Arthur said.
In the past Claude had had trouble seeing the fondness and affection that everyone else could see in their verbal battles. But now the friendship was incredibly clear in Arthur's voice, in his words, and in his face which still betrayed a lot of fear and worry.
"The—boy?" Merlin asked and Claude was surprised that he could even think clearly with how heavily he was coughing.
"He needs to get to Gaius," Claude answered.
"You both do," Leon said as he came and stood in front of them. "Fires can be very dangerous; Gaius should take a look at all three of you."
"Merlin," Arthur said, the formality returning some to his tone. "Go have Gaius look at you. But don't wander off anywhere; I want to have a word with you."
Claude didn't think that that was a good thing to hear from anybody, especially Prince Arthur. And from the look on Merlin's face the manservant agreed.
Well? How was it? *bites her too long finger nails* Did you like it? Do you think it is worth doing one more chapter for? Please review and tell me. And thank you in advance for the support.