A/N: Last chapter!
The crew scrambled down the halls, looking a little like a stampede with prison pallor, until they became aware of something or someone heading back their way.
Merlin stopped, holding out his hand to signal the rest of the group, where the hallways intersected, and listened.
Arthur tilted his head to the side. He wasn't sure what that was, but it was getting closer… Suddenly the shouts became audible, and Merlin straightened his back, startling Arthur and the rest.
"He sent them back!" Merlin cried, much affronted that Leon should return the horde to him.
"I guess he didn't like them," said Gwaine.
"Did he think I wasn't coming back for him?" Merlin said, still vaguely offended. "Well, we'd better run this way, then," he sighed, pointing to the hall next to him.
When the horde did appear in their sight (and a very long crowd it was too, since the narrow hallways had forced them to lengthen like squeezed paste), with Morgana at the front, Elyan nearly lost his nerves.
His knees buckled. And he knew he would have fallen right there, but the others had started running, and Alicia grabbed the front of his tunic. "Follow Percy!" she ordered. "He'll save us!" She pointed after Percival.
It wasn't that Elyan had such faith in Percival's all-knowing and all-saving capabilities, but her shout suddenly brought to mind that he was carrying a child, and you weren't supposed to give up when children were on the line.
So Elyan picked up the pace, ignoring his knees, and he ran. Alicia screamed in triumph as they ran back into their group, even passing up Percival. (Not that it meant much; Percival was carrying an old man and still managed to book it rather fast.)
They ran, and behind them Morgana screamed in her anger that they seemed to be getting away as the smaller group split up and ducked under things and reconvened and at last went out of the castle, hightailing it all the way.
"Really," Arthur gasped to Merlin as they went, "it doesn't look good for us to be running away from Camelot if we want to take it back."
"They can't expect us to take Camelot back without our army and men!"
"That's true," Arthur said, glad for the excuse as they reached the gates of the city. "We'll come back later and take it back."
Merlin nodded. "All in all," he gasped, "the mission was hardly a failure… We got Elyan, Gaius, and Gwaine back!"
"But we lost Leon and Tristan!"
"Oh, they'll show up!"
"Well, Leon's invincible, isn't he, and Isolde's with us, so they'll both be coming back!"
Arthur thought about that. It actually made sense. And so he decided to bestow upon Merlin high praise for his high thinking. "Merlin, perhaps you aren't always too much of an idiot."
Morgana's screaming was growing fainter in the background.
"Thank you, Sire."
By that afternoon they had Leon and Tristan back, though Leon kept glaring at Merlin. By the end of the week they had Camelot back and Gaius on his feet. By the end of the month, Camelot was on its way to being rebuilt. And by the end of the year, Alicia was calling Percival "Daddy" and he had decided (looking quite fierce) that she was staying with him; also, Leon had finally stopped glaring enough to ask Merlin who the heck Emrys was.
Merlin took a leaf from Daddy's book and wouldn't say.