"Merlin!" The King's voice rang out though his chambers. Merlin, who was only in the other room, came running in as if the King himself was on fire.
"Yes! What's wrong!" Looking around the room as he was going to find some attacker hiding under the Kings bed sheets Merlin made his way over to the desk where the King himself was seated.
"I want you get ready for a hunt." The King said not looking up from the papers that he had spread in front of him. Merlin's face fell in disbelief. "Was that it?" he asked. Arthur looked up from his papers at the tone that Merlin had used. Looking at him with a look of "I am your king and I shall call you when I want to", "Yes Merlin. What did you think I wanted?"
"Nothing, you just sounded more urgent that normal is all. I thought…" Merlin stops, he can't tell Arthur that he had been worried; Arthur would call him a girl and make fun of him at any moment he could.
"Just thought what hmm? That I was being attacked by a blanket, a pillow maybe" Arthur laughed, getting up and making his way to the door. Merlin's face fell at the thought of Arthur thinking that he wouldn't be able to protect him, even it really was a blanket. If Merlin really thought about it, Arthur being attacked by a blanket was a high possibility; an evil sorcerer could magic a blanket to strangle the King, make him trip and hit his head. It could happen. This face and thoughts did not pass Arthur knowledge. He turned back to Merlin, placing his hand on the young man shoulder.
"Thank you for caring Merlin, you're a real friend." Merlin's face broke into a smile; a complement from Arthur was like a day off to the servant. "A friend that has a list of chores as long as his arm that is" Arthur said, breaking the moment, he grabbed Merlin in a head lock, running, not to kindly, his knuckles over the man head.
"Stop it! Get off!" Merlin yelled half laughing himself, trying to break away from the grasp that Arthur had on him. The King himself was laughing, or he was laughing until Leon and the other round table knights ran into the room swords held high, looking for the person that was making Merlin yell out.
"Mer…" Gwaine started, it stopped short at the sight of his King and servant play fighting. Arthur sprang away from Merlin as if he had been shocked. Merlin on the other hand remained on the ground, unsure as to how Arthur was going to handle the situation. Arthur saw he had no way of talking his way out of the situation. Sensing a fit of laugher coming on from his knights he spoke.
"Nothing is to be sad about this. Understand. Fun time is over; ill met you all at the training fields in 5mins." His words did their job putting a stop to the laughter of the knights, said laughter was replaced with groans of pains.
As the knights made their way out of the king's room Gwaine turned around just in time to see Arthur helping Merlin up and clapping him on the shoulder both sharing a laugh.
"Gwaine!" Leon yelled from the end of the hall, where he and the others were waiting.
"Why does Arthur do that?" He asked catching up.
"Do what?" Elyan asked, staring at his friend like the others around them.
"Think that we care that he and Merlin are more than master and servant." Gwaine replied. "We all know that Merlin means more to him that any of us ever will. So why does he hide it?" he continued when he got no replies.
"It's simple. Merlin is a servant and Arthur has grown up being taught that the two don't mix. Elyan can back me up on this, even though we grow up together. I got to a certain age and playing with him and Gwen just wasn't suitable any more" Leon answered. Elyan nodded, backing up this statement. "I remember the day that Leon father told us that we couldn't play anymore. I was 6, Gwen was about 5 I think and of course Leon was 7. It was the same year that he started training to be a knight. Gwen was so upset; she had a crush on good old Leon here." Elyan laughed.
"I had a what?" a voice came from behind them. Gwen had just being coming around the corner when she had heard the knight's conversation. Walking closer to them, the all bowed. Well all apart from her brother who was looking at her in what could only be read as pure fear. "A what Elyan?" She asked, placing her hands on her hips. She smiled, "How many times brother must I tell, I did not have a crush on Leon! I was 5. No offence Leon". Leon laughs, "None taken my lady. Come on gents you know how Arthur gets when he is kept waiting."
"and how is that?" Arthur voice came from behind Gwen; Merlin was trailing behind him carrying arms full of armour and swords. The tension was think between the groups and gwaine being gwaine had to make it worse with, what he thought was comical.
"Her highness had a crush on Leon when they were younger" He laughed.
"Gwaine!" Gwen yelled, turning to Arthur, "I was 5!" she yells, without thinking, than gasping and covering her mouth. Elyan jumps punching the air. "I knew it! All the times he gave you flowers and you blushed! I knew it!" Arthur's face had a shadow of comic to it, Leon and Gwen on the other hand were both blushing so bright that their facing matched the knights capes. "Gwen?" Arthur questioned.
"He gave me flowers. You never give me flowers." Her comment sent a silence over the group, a silence that was broken by Merlin laughing and then "hey!" as Arthur clapped him around the side of head and the tense mood was broken.
To say that training was bad that day would have been an understatement. Leon seems to have an exe to grind with Elyan for bring up the flowers and Gwen. Where Arthur seems to what to just hit Leon for the fun of it or maybe it was that he had once given his wife flowers.
The sun hadn't even raised its head over the tress when Merlin woke Arthur up the morning of the hunt. "Merlin" the King complained, "it isn't even light out. Go away."
"Sire you need to get up" Merlin pushed. Arthur simply rolled over burying his head in the bed's pillows.
"Arthur." Merlin said with more force. "Merlin" the king replied mocking the servant's tone.
"Arthur get up so I can go back to sleep" Gwen said, sitting up rubbing her eyes. Merlin looked away, waking Arthur up in his bed clothes was one thing, but seeing Gwen in hers was another thing altogether. She laughs at his actions, "Merlin, I don't mind." "But I do" Arthur said, his face still in the pillows. "Arthur" Gwen says in a warning tone, knowing what her husband was like in the mornings. "It's ok Merlin" said Gwen. Merlin turned his face back to the couple in bed; Gwen smiled kindly at him winking.
"Sire you said that you wish to leave for the hunt early remember? The hunt that I have been telling you for days wasn't a good idea, but of course you don't listen to me. But when do you ever listen to me?" Merlin continued to ramble until the King sighed. "Ok I'm up!" Arthur yelled sitting up in bed. He went to swing his leg over the side of the bed, but due to being tangled up in the sheets he went falling towards the ground. Merlin seeing, but being too far away to grab the man, used magic instead.
"forstoppian" Arthur froze in mid air. "Merlin!" he yelled in shock. Merlin rarely used his magic on Arthur, so whenever he did the act always shocked him. Merlin made his way over to Arthur helping him up. "Thank you" Arthur said patting Merlin on the shoulder.
Gwen sat up in bed still watching the pair; she was one of the few that got to see how Merlin and Arthur really acted around each other. They were like a well oiled machine they worked in perfect sync, not even having to be looking at each other or watching what the other was doing as Merlin dress Arthur. They just knew how it was done. Hands held out clothes, a different pair of hands took the clothes without a seconds thought. Hands holding out food where empty as the other set moved past, the owner of the pair of hands that was holding the food, eyes never leaving the of packing the Kings bags. The trust in each other was unheard of between King and Servant. Arthur knocked over a cup that had been sitting on the table, the cup stopped in mid air. "Arthur!" Merlin yelled hitting the King around the head with the maps he was holding, "I just washed theses floors! Watch what you're doing." He said taking the cup out of thin air. This little scene that had unfolded made Gwen laugh, two heads turned to her.
"And pray tell me, what would be so funny wife of mine" Arthur asked.
"Nothing. It's just the way that you two behave around each other. It's very usual" she said. Merlin laughed turning away before cups and or plates went flying in his direction. "Yes well Merlin is an idiot" Arthur replied. "One must play along or he gets bored and breaks things"
"It's more than Arthur. He is your friend. Isn't that right Merlin." Turning her head towards the man that was packing the maps into the already over filled bag. "Yes my lady. I am the Kings only friend. Well, the only one that will put up with his princess ways". Gwen laughed at her husband's face, it was a mix between wanted to throw something at Merlin and pure understanding. Getting up from the table Arthur made his way towards Gwen.
"Merlin give us a moment please. Go and see if the others are up". Merlin grabbed the fulled stuffed bag from the chair and made his way towards the door, he stopped. "Sire if Gwaine isn't up, can I…"he trails off. Arthur understands completely. He nods, "Of course." Merlin smiles and leaves the room. Gwen looks at Arthur with a questioning face. "What..." Arthur cuts her off. "Wait…", the pair sit in silence for a few moments, when the sound of water hitting a body is heard from down the hall along with a cry of "Merlin!" the sound of a door slamming and running footsteps that can only be Merlin's taking away from the drowned yet still half sleep knight. Arthur laughs yet Gwen is looking at him awe. "What?" Arthur asks.
"It's good how you are with him" she says cupping his face. Arthur looks confused. "Who? Gwaine?".
"No husband of mine, Merlin. You treat him far better than some nobles treat their servants and no matter what you say or how you acted, you can never hid from me the fact that you think of him a friend. A younger brother even." Gwen says. Arthur nods in agreement. "Your right, his more than a servant. A brother maybe, but most defently a friend. You and him are they only ones that if I lost it would be the end of me. You two are the most important things in my life. Apart from Camelot that is" leaning in he kisses her lips softly. "I must be off don't want to leave too late and anyway Gwaine may have killed Merlin." He laughs making his way to door. Gwen gets up and stops him. "Take care of him. He hates hunting and you know he has a habit of finding trouble even if he isn't look for it" She hugs Arthur, kissing his chin. The king winks, leaving the Queen standing by the door watching him leave.
Making his way out of castle to the where the knights and Merlin were waiting, he notices that Merlin was holding his cheek, with a nervous Gwaine fussing over him. As he got closer he heard their conversation.
"Merlin, I'm sorry. Really I am." Gwaine said, looking at Merlin with sad eyes.
"Sorry for what Gwaine?" Arthur asked, making the knight jump, turning his eyes that were now full of fear towards Arthur. "Merlin what happened?" He said pulling the man hands away from his cheek to find a burse forming. "What happened?" he asked again, this time using what Merlin called his King voice. "A little bit of fun got out of hand Sire. It was an accident." Leon spoke up. "After Merlin here woke Gwaine up, in a rather brilletn manner might I add. A fight broke out Sire. All in the name of fun, but a fist connected and Merlin he was the unlucky owner of the punch Sir" Leon continued when Arthur face still held confusion.
"Really Sire, it was a accident. Just bad timing is all it was. Merlin didn't duck and my fist was just there. I didn't mean it." Gwaine explained. Arthur nodded, happy with both knights recounts. Turning back to Merlin but, "Are you sure your fine?" he asked worry still tainted his voice. Merlin nodded, "Im fine. Really Arthur, we need to get going it will be light soon." He said looking towards the rising sun. Arthur was still looking at his friend, Merlin sighed.
"Im fine. Really, I'm not that breakable. Anyway Gwaine hits like a girl" The knights broke out laughing each mounting their horses and riding out of the city towards the forest's tree line.
The hunt was going just as Merlin said it would. Bad. Nothing was going right, Percivle had already been cut by a fly away arrow that slipped out of the crossbow and Elyan fell down a embankment, breaking at least two fingers. None of the injuries had been factual, apart from the fly away arrow that if Merlin had not seen and pulled Per to the right, it would have been embedded right into his chest and even Merlin with all his powers would not be able to save the knight from that fate. But the icing on the cake had been when Merlin himself was gored by the wild boar that they had been hunting at the time. The knights had the boar surround, swords, spears and arrows all pointed towards the beast. Merlin was standing just across from Arthur, his eyes trained on Arthur rather than the boar itself. An act that was not only foolish but got him yelled at by Arthur. The boar it seemed had had enough of just standing there and had charged in Merlin and Leon's direction, Leon aimed and fired his crossbow, the arrow hitting the boars shoulder but not stopping the wild beast, it continued in the direction of Merlin. The servant did what he had been told not to do many times before, he turned and ran. He was making good ground until in a truly Merlin like act he tripped over a tree root that "Just seemed to be there" he would later tell Arthur when he was done yelling at him. The boar's tusk had ripped his shirt and tore into the side of Merlins stomach, tearing the skin open and covering the boar's tusk in red blood.
"Merlin!" he heard Arthur yell. The boar itself was still on top of him when Merlin's magic made its self know, "Ahhh!" Merlin yelled out and the boar was thrown off him, landing 20 feet away dead. He rolled over holding his side gasping in pain.
"Merlin!" Arthur yelled when he reach the man, turning him over only be met with a bloody shirt and eyes that were slowly closing. "No Merlin, open your eyes. Heal yourself Merlin" Arthur pleaded. The knights by this time had gathered around the King that held the servant, his head on Arthur's lap, the body of the boar was all but forgotten about.
"Arthur…"Merlin starts, but blood was trapped in his throat; he coughed sending the blood out of his mouth and onto the scarf around his neck. "Arthur…hand" he begs, holding out his own hand. "Need help…please. Not strong enough." Arthur looked on in horror as his friend was bleeding out in his lap, Merlin's hand was still hanging in mid air, and Arthur grabbed it without a second thought. It was cold and not I just need to light a fire and it will be warm again cold. But cold as in, Im dying you idiot take my hand cold. As soon as Arthur took Merlins hand he felt it, the magic was passing though him, his life force passing into Merlin.
"þurhhælan" Merlin muttered, his eyes flashing gold for a moment. The forest around them seemed to stop. The very air that they knights, Merlin and Arthur inhaled seem to freeze. Merlin also froze, his eyes closing and the color in his face faded.
"Merlin?" Arthur asked panicking. Merlins eyes than opened, time started again and he gasp; his hand still held Arthur's in a tight grasp. This time not out of magical need but comfort.
"Thank you…" He croaked. Sitting up, his hand fell from Arthur's.
"No problem, now I can yelled at you for being so dumb! Have I taught you nothing Merlin! Never turn your back on a wild beast." Arthur yelled. Getting up off the ground, he held his hand back to Merlin to help him up. Gwaine rushed forward taking Merlin's other arm, raising him from the ground. "Don't worry Merlin that just Arthur talk for Im glad you're ok" the knight said smiling. Arthur rolled his eyes as they led Merlin back to the horses; they had hunted enough for one day.
"We can camp here for the night." Arthur said once they had found Merlin a log to sit on, the servant's face was still void of color. The camp was only half set up when Merlin lets out a groan, and his eyes flashed gold for a moment. The knights and Arthur turned to him all with questions and worries on their tongues, and then it started. The wind ripped though the camp and forest sending leaves and whole branches flying from trees. Merlin, who weighted little as it was, coupled with just being on death's door, was thrown to the ground. The log he was sitting on flying out from under him. Arthur rushed, as fast as one does on wind strong enough to send wood flying, over to Merlin pulling the gasping man to his side. Falling to the ground Arthur looked at the others, they were huddled in a group, the capes thrown over themselves and each other protecting them from the winds fingers. Arthur did the same, throwing his cape and Merlin's over their shoulders.
The wind was ripping thought he makeshift camp. Capes and leaves alike where flying in the winds grasp. Merlin, lying with his cape covering his face, as next to Arthur who was in the same position. The sound of the other knights was the only other sound that could be heard over the winds roars. Gwaine was complaining, Leon was telling him to suck it up and just take it.
"I think Leon is going to kill him tonight" Merlin laughed softly his voice little but a whisper, the sound was almost drowned out by the roaring. Arthur laughed in reply.
"I think you may be right, but he asked for it. He always asks for it" Arthur said.
A muffled yell was heard around the camp as Leon fist finally make contact with some part of gwains body. The other knights combined laugher one of the only things that could be heard over the wind it covered the camp in its booming blanket, making Merlin and Arthur join in."Don't laugh. That's abuse that it is." Gwaine tried to yell over the not only the wind but also the laughter that surrounded the camp.
The laugher soon died down enough for the knights to fall into a restless sleep and the sound of the wind taking back position as the main sound in the camp. Merlin however was still awake. His mind was racing with the events of the hunting trip, that landed them camped in the middle of a freak wind storm. He had told Arthur that he didn't wish to come, but in true Arthur fashion he had either ignored Merlins request of had somehow forgotten all about the conversation. Merlin had had a bad feeling about this hunting trip since Arthur told him to start making preparations. These feeling, that he had complained about all the way to the hunting ground, had earned him a boot to the head from Arthur once they had stopped.
"I said that this was a bad idea. But did you listen? No of course you didn't." Merlin said into the darkness, thinking that Arthur was asleep. But also on some level hoping that he was awake to hear the statement. He was rewarded with a clap around the ears from a King that was most differently not asleep.
"Don't say it Merlin." Arthur warned. "Maybe one of these days I will start listing to you. But today is not one of those days" Merlin inhaled going to speak, Arthur cut him off knowing what he was going to say before the servant even voiced it. "And no, tomorrow won't be the day either". Merlin sighed, rolling to face the King.
"Do you think that this wind will let up? It's been hours" Arthur rolling over as well, now facing the black spot that would be Merlin's face during daylight hours. "Maybe, maybe not. Can't you do anything?" The King asked. He was not asking his servant now, he was asking a friend. A friend who just happened to be a sorcerer. This little bit of information was not a widely know piece of information, the information its self was only known to a handful of people. Arthur and the knights of course were part of the handful, as was Gwen and of course Gauis. If it has been lighter Arthur would have seen Merlin shake his head, "I have tried. Nothing seems to work, which is another reason I was against this little trip. My magic seems to be not working as it should and the event this afternoon hasn't seemed to help it". This made Arthur start to worry. "Why is that?" he asks trying to keep his voice as calm as he can muster. But knowing Arthur as Merlin did he heard the worry as soon as the king voiced his question.
"It happens sometimes. It normally means Im just coming down with something, I cold maybe. But I did used quite I bit of energy this afternoon Arthur. Nothing to worry about sire. I just need some rest." Merlin answered in a hurry.
Light had started to filter though the trees, lighting the camp in a golden glow, Arthur sat up raising his arms above his head, yawning. The wind had died down to a dull breeze He looked around the camp, all the knights were still asleep their capes still over the heads; But what was odd was that there was no evidence of the wind at all. The forest seemed to be unharmed. But wasn't it hours ago that tress were being blown over and being carried across the forest, everything looked fine. The fire still lit thanks to a little help from Merlin was still cracking away as if nothing had happened, speaking of Merlin, Arthur looked to his left in search of his servant, but his sleeping place was empty. His cape still on the slightly damp ground.
"Merlin?" Arthurs yell rousing the knights from their sleep, each of them springing up swords in hands looking around for the problem that made their King yell out. "Merlin!" Arthur yelled again getting to his feet, his sword also in his hand. He crossed the camp, leaving the camp ground and making his way down towards the river. "Merlin you idiot! Where are you?" He yelled into the seemingly empty forest. No answer was heard.
"Merlin!" Arthur yelled.
To be continued….
So that was the first chapter of my, hopefully, first full Merlin Fic. Reviews and helpful hints are always welcome. I will be posting once a week if all works out great and I'm not hit by the evil being that is writers block. So until next time readers.