Author's Note: This is the sequel to "Connected." If you haven't read it, go check it out and meet us back here! I hope you choose to review that story even though it's already done! And review this one too! I hope you enjoy!
This is set a month or so after the events of "Connected." Please enjoy!
"You're late again," Arthur said, without looking up from the papers on his desk. "I know you're not technically just a servant anymore, but you were the one who said you still wanted to bring me my breakfast in the morning, so – "
Arthur finally looked up, and stopped short. "What the hell happened to you?"
Merlin was standing in the doorway holding a tray with Arthur's food on it. He looked a mess – his clothing was rumpled and torn, and there was a shadow along his jawline that suggested a future bruise.
Merlin's face turned bright red. "Nothing." He came forward and set down the tray on Arthur's desk.
The king sighed. "You're a terrible liar, Merlin."
"Says the man who didn't know I was a sorcerer for six years."
Arthur glared. "I'm still within my rights to punish you for withholding the information."
"Well, as your official adviser," Merlin began, taking a seat across from Arthur, "I advise you to just drop it."
"Did somebody punch you?" Arthur asked bluntly. Merlin was silent. "Who?" Arthur insisted.
"It's not important."
"If you're being attacked…"
"It's only to be expected, Arthur," Merlin said, voice resigned. "Magic has been feared in Camelot for a long time – not everyone is going to turn around and accept it immediately."
Arthur's eyebrows knit together. "I've given you my public support – if that's not good enough for the people, then…"
"But that's just it, Arthur. Everyone knows how you've thought about magic in the past, and all of a sudden you change your mind?"
"So, half of Camelot is convinced I've got you bewitched."
"I didn't really think about how difficult this would be for you," Arthur said, sighing. He felt guilty enough that he didn't even comment when Merlin leaned forward and took a piece of bread off Arthur's plate, biting into it before responding.
"It's better than the alternative, Arthur."
"How can you say that? You're walking around getting taunted and attacked by people all over the place."
"Yeah, but I don't care what they think. I care what you think."
"Is it really worth it?"
"Yes," Merlin said, so firmly that Arthur froze for a moment, staring at his friend. "Life isn't easy at the moment, but it was way worse, lying to my best friend every day."
"I am glad to know the truth, I suppose."
"So I'll get through this. People will come around eventually," Merlin said kindly. "For now, I've just got to show them they have no reason to fear me."
"I don't like it," Arthur said quietly.
Before Merlin could respond, another knocking came on the door to the king's chambers.
"Come in," Arthur said, biting into his breakfast. Gwaine pushed the door in.
"Your majesties," Gwaine said, bowing with a mocking expression in his eyes.
Merlin glared. "I told you not to call me that." Gwaine had been shocked just like everyone else to learn that Merlin had magic, but he had kneeled over in laughter when he had learned of Merlin's identity as Emrys. Since then, he had been bowing to Merlin in the hallways, to both Merlin and Arthur's annoyance.
"Princess, Lord Samuel wishes to speak with you."
Arthur and Merlin shared a look. "Fantastic," Arthur said, frowning.
Lord Samuel was an old adviser of King Uther, and the most staunchly against the use of magic in Camelot. He had been something of a rallying point for the dissenters. Arthur may have been king, but unless he wanted to banish or kill his advisors, he had to cooperate with them to some degree.
"Get Corwin to polish my armor, would you?" Arthur said to Merlin as he made his way to the door.
"Or I could do it. It would take me far less time."
"You need to get yourself cleaned up," Arthur said, glaring. "Gwaine, you make sure Merlin goes and sees Gaius about that bruise."
"Yes, sire," Gwaine said, so busy looking at Merlin in concern that he forgot to call Arthur 'princess.'
"I'll see you both later," Arthur said, going to the door. "Time to deal with Sam."
Author's Note: Well? Thoughts about the first chapter?