This is the first fanfic that I've ever finished and it's kinda... overwhelming. I wouldn't have managed to do this without your support. This is why I can't thank you enough- and I've got a little surprise at the end of the chapter... but first of all, here it is: *drumroll*
Enjoy and please R&R! :)
This chapter is dedicated to all my readers. You are great! :D
Disclaimer: Still don't own... all plans of blackmailing people until I own Merlin have sadly dissipated with the final. *sniff*
Epilogue: The game is on!
The sun went down, golden light making way to the silver gleam of the moon. It shone beautiful tonight, a perfect round ball of light against the black sky where the first stars blinked. The streets and walls of Camelot seemed to glow, covered with a layer of the purest silver.
A night for the lovers to meet in the dark of the night, watched only by the moon's still eyes.
The sky now was completely black, a velvet cloth covered over and over with the beautifulest of diamonds, sparkling and gleaming for the rich and the poor alike.
Though the silent beauty was disrupted by a group of shadows, gliding through the night like ghosts. There were about a dozen of them, all dressed from head to toes in dark uniforms. If one looked closer, they would be able to see metal flash in the moon's gleam, betraying the swords that marked the group as knights. But Camelot's citizens had learned to avert their eyes and mind their own business, when the Prince led another nightly hunt.
"Ouch! Hey, that was my foot!"
Another voice huffed as the group came to a dead stop. "Well, it's hardly my fault your feet are so big!"
"You're calling my feet what?"
There were a few sighs and the other knights rolled their eyes, already used to the bickering. Finlay and Bran were part of the patrouille ever since they had "saved" the Prince from Emrys- or Merlin, as some people called him now.
"They're big. Seriously. You bigfoot!"
"I am not-"
"Bigfoot, bigfoot, bigfoot" Finlay sang, before he was abruptly shushed by the glares of his companions.
"Shut it, will you?"
"But he's right- Bran has rather big feet..." another voice countered and Finlay nodded, searching the speaker.
"Exactly! Finally someone who-"
Then he looked up, eyes meeting the tall shadow on the roof across the street, and froze.
"...has eyes," he finished lamely, gaping at the figure. "Emrys!"
"What is it?" the thief asked, his grin audible in the amused tone. "Don't you want to chase me tonight? Maybe I should steal more often. It's only been a week since last time and your reaction time has already slowed..."
The Prince glared up at Emrys.
"Seize him!" he commanded, already seeking a deft way to climb the roof. Merlin cocked his head expectantly. The knights woke abruptly from their shock and followed their Prince's lead. Merlin waited until the Prince reached the edge of the building and glared at him, before he turned and slowly walked to its other side, as if there was no group of highly dangerous knights lunging at his back. Suppressing the urge to roll his eyes as he turned to watch them climb the roof. The scar on his shoulder twinged slightly in excitement.
"And here I was, thinking that a Prince and his knights had lots of important things to do. But apparently I was wrong. Why else would you waste your time on such a fruitless task?"
"It's only fruitless until we catch you," Arthur answered easily and Merlin grinned in the shadow his his hood. He wouldn't have to wear his cloak anymore, after his face was plastered all across Camelot- but it was somehow comforting.
The knights reached for their swords, growling, and Merlin clapped his hands.
"Finally. Let the fun begin!"
All knights lunged forwards at once, but the thief had already jumped and was waving them from the next roof. Several curses were heard. Always the same.
Arthur grit his teeth. "Spread out!"
He watched for a moment as his men formed a wide circle, jumping to the buildings next to the one Emrys was on. Then the thief began to run and Arthur followed, praying that the knights would make the circle big enough. Then all thoughts vanished for a few minutes as he had to concentrate on not losing Emrys in the net of streets.
Finally the thief slowed down, not pausing to look behind as he grabbed the edge of a building and let himself fall, only to swing around and enter the house through an open window. Arthur quickly checked his surroundings to make sure no one was in sight before he followed Emrys. He was greeted by a dagger hold to his throat and froze.
"What the hell are you doing?"
"Wasn't sure it was you. The steps behind me sounded so light."
Merlin grinned and removed the dagger, allowing Arthur to breathe in deeply as he glared at the younger man. "You could have killed me! And I am not fat."
"I have faith in your reactions, even if I wouldn't trust your weight. You know, you're lucky to have me to chase around, or you would-"
Enough was enough. Arthur grabbed Merlin, taking him in a headlock and rubbing his knuckles over the dark hair.
"Or I would what?"
"Ouch! Stop that!" Merlin shouted between bouts of laughter, paying no heed to the fact that they should be quiet. The Prince ignored his protest.
"I would what, Merlin?"
The raven-haired still half-laughed when he finally gave in. "Alright, alright. You're fit and perfectly in shape. Happy?"
"Yes" Arthur decided, rubbing his knuckles once more against the other's head before he let go and watched Merlin feel his head.
"Ouch. That hurt."
Again the Prince ignored the complaints, as well as the death glare that was sent into his direction.
"It's your own fault. If you hadn't called me fat-"
"I've never called you that!" Merlin objected and Arthur shrugged.
"It's what you meant. Now, is there something important? I can't waste all day bickering, whatever you think. My father still isn't all that happy with me chasing you, after all he things you put me under a spell in the Great Hall... but somebody has to do the job, I guess."
This time it was Merlin's turn to shrug. "First of all, it's night. And the lower districts need food."
"As always." The Prince sighed. "I'm doing my best to lower the taxes and help them. You risk your neck every week-or-so to get more food and medicine. What else can we do?"
Merlin smiled softly, obviously noticing Arthur's frustrated tone of voice. "Well, I don't exactly risk my neck anymore. And once you're king, you can do more. Right now we'll just have to make do with what we have. At least the freezing has stopped with Nimueh being... gone and all."
He still wasn't able to say 'dead', as if it would make the fact more real. The Prince snorted bitterly. "You saved our lives and still my father makes me hunt you like an animal. And of course he won't give me enough money to feed the streetkids without you having to steal either. It's not fair."
"The world never is." Merlin paused, picking at the hem of his sleeve. "And after all, I don't have to steal as often or as much as before. Once you're king, I won't have to steal at all."
Arthur knew it was true, but he couldn't help his anger. "That time should be now. If my father would just see-"
"He does what he believes to be right," Merlin interjected. "And this situation has at least one advantage."
Arthur frowned, sending Merlin a questioning gaze. Above them, something clattered- as if a weapon had been dropped- and then steps hurried past. The thief grinned. "Well, it's fun."
He winked at Arthur, who huffed slightly in amusement, and jumped out of the window, grabbing the building's edge to draw himself up and appear right behind a confused knight.
Arthur quickly made to follow, his grin hidden behind an angry mask as Merlin's voice echoed through the streets of Camelot.
"The game is on!"
Okay, wow. That's it. I'm left in disbelief. Hopefully you like the epilogue... because it's time to say goodbye.
...wait, I did what? Promised a little surprise? Alright then... here it is: I could do an additional scene, if enough people want me to. It would be about what happened while Merlin stayed with Gaius to learn more about his magic- in the middle of Camelot, while everyone is searching him. Interested?
(It could take a while until I get it done, though. You have been warned.)
Also, CeaseFireOne has asked me to recommend some thief!fics... well, I have a community with thief!fics here: www. fanfiction [point] net [slash] community/Thieves-in-Camelot/98629/
(Though I'd like to warn you- some of them have been abandoned. So look at the last update date of the ones that aren't completed.)
Anyways, thank you for reading this story, especially to those who reviewed.
*does ALWAYS review and is therefore not a hypocrite*
Uhm... yeah. Also thanks to those who just read it and never reviewed. It would mean a lot to me if you could review one last time and tell me how you liked the story- and of course if you want me to write the additional scene.
Goodbye (or see you next chapter)! :)