Disclaimer: Until the very end, I still do not own anything.
A/N: So, here it is! The promised epilogue of "Anceint Help". I'd save all my goodbyes and whatsoever at the end of the chapter :D For now, don't forget to review! Enjoy!
Epilogue: All Was Well
The brunette turned around and smiled upon seeing Queen Guinevere peeking inside the room. "Come in," she said, turning her head back at the small vanity mirror King Arthur was generous enough to provide in her bedchambers. She concentrated on pinning the small rose-shaped hairpin on her hair but gave up in the end.
Chuckling, Gwen strode towards her and helped her, easily putting the hairpin in place. "Where are the maidservants we've ordered to help you?" she asked, looking at Hermione at the mirror.
"They're noisy," Hermione grumbled, frowning a little. The small gloss on her pink lips made it shinier than normal and she sighed. "I-I'm honestly nervous and they twittered around." She craned her neck to look up at her friend. "I'm sorry if I wasted your generosity."
"Nonsense," the queen said, clicking her tongue. Her eyes skimmed down at her white dress, her eyes twinkling with unsuppressed mirth. "Hermione, you look lovely."
Hermione prettily blushed and slowly stood up from her small stool. Her white, wedding dress billowed behind her as she moved away to stand beside Guinevere. Her eyes surveyed her reflection, smiling fondly while brushing off invisible lint from her beautiful dress. Her veil was still placed on top of her bed and she sauntered towards it, clutching it to herself.
"Let me," Gwen said, stretching out her hand for the veil. Hermione obliged and gave her the veil, standing still as Gwen put it in place. "Oh, how the men will gape."
"You flatter me too much," Hermione said, her cheeks darkening.
The queen laughed and held both of Hermione's hands. She happily looked at her friend, her heart bursting with joy with the fact that today, her life would change for the better. "Because you deserve them, my dear friend," she said, smiling broadly. "Are you happy today, Hermione?"
A soft laugh escaped from her lips. "Whatever made you think I'm not?" she gushed out, flustered. "Good heavens, I think I am the happiest woman in the Five Kingdoms today!"
Today, she was to start on a new journey… a journey with Merlin.
After the fateful battle against Mordred, Arthur was heavily injured and despite the exhaustion she felt after giving all her strength to help the said king, Hermione fussed over Arthur's body. Her mind was racing and her heart was pounding quickly, remembering the Arthurian legends and how scholars and professors speculated that on the day of the Battle of Camlann, on the day Arthur battled against Mordred, the legendary King was to die.
And Hermione, for the life of her, could not just accept that fact.
Thus, she poured all her knowledge as a Court Physician and a sorceress at the same time to cure Arthur. Even Merlin had helped, listening obediently to Hermione's orders. It wasn't a wonder when Arthur's condition stabilized with Guinevere crying tears of relief as she stayed with her husband.
Since then, Camelot slowly built back to the way of their lives before the attack of Morgana and Mordred. Although the scars that were left were still fresh and festering, with the knowledge that their King and Queen were back, and very much alive, they slowly, yet determinedly started their life anew. Arthur had planned projects with his council, especially with the rehabilitation and reconstruction of all the buildings and infrastructures in Camelot. Food and clothes were immediately distributed while the castle was made as a temporary evacuation place while the houses were rebuilt and fixed.
It took almost a month or two, but life in Camelot was peaceful and wonderful again. Having returned to Camelot, and promising to stay forevermore, the title of the Court Physician was gladly given back to Hermione. She was ecstatic, of course, and had started brewing potions and curing people.
It was on one fateful day, though, when their life, specifically persons of magic, had changed completely.
Arthur had called for a kingdom meeting, with him and his council standing on a balcony while most of his people were gathered in the town square. There was inquisition in their eyes, curiosity as to why the king had called for all of them when he rarely did so. Hermione asked Merlin about it beforehand, but even the manservant was clueless to the king's plans.
"The events that had happened in the past two months had been drastic and chaotic, and as your King, I would like to ask forgiveness for being momentarily incompetent, setting you aside when you are supposedly the most important above all else," Arthur started.
To the utmost astonishment of the people, Arthur deeply bowed. Everybody scrambled to bow down back, dumbfounded at the fact that their king was humbling himself down before them.
"I have committed countless, unforgivable mistakes, and I will not forgive myself more if I will do more that would cause you distress and harm," Arthur continued, straightening up. "Therefore, I vow to all of you, my friends… my people, that I will become a better King than before, promising to put your safety and well-being first before my selfishness."
"To start," he continued, an unreadable expression now on his face, "I revoke the declaration of prohibition of the usage of magic."
His announcement had caused a small ruckus and Arthur had to raise his hand to put order. Hermione, whose eyes had widened in bewilderment, looked at Merlin beside her. The manservant had gone extremely white and Hermione feared he was not breathing properly.
"During the battle with Morgana and Mordred," he continued once the noise died down, "I was awakened from my blind resentment against persons of magic, and magic generally. There are people" – he shot a quick glance at Merlin and Hermione – "who proved themselves loyal and good, only using their magic to help who are in need. Forgive me, for I had been naïve, treating poorly of those who merely wished to practice their magic with freedom. There are, of course, certain limitations and those who wish to use their magic to harm others will most certainly be punished."
Merlin had been in a daze for that whole day and thinking about his flabbergasted look still did not fail but bring a fond smile on Hermione's face.
Things then continued to happen ever since that declaration. In the village, those who were persons of magic revealed themselves, were slowly accepted by the people. It was a change that was hard to accept. After all, there were those who shared King Uther's sentiment before. Nonetheless, the discrimination against persons of magic was slowly dwindling and Hermione knew that in no time, magic would be back fully and completely accepted.
A certain change, too, happened between Hermione and Merlin, and thinking about the night he formally proposed, Hermione prettily blushed and smiled.
She had suspected long before that something was to happen, especially because Arthur and Gwen couldn't help but give her pointed, meaningful, knowing looks. Merlin then asked her out-of-the-blue if she wanted to have a picnic with him, which she agreed on without any second thoughts.
He brought her to his secret place… their secret place, and they stayed until night had befallen. Once the nightingales' song was heard, Merlin bewitched it to once again be the beautiful, melodious sound she had heard before and he silently led her to dance.
As they swayed with the music, he whispered her proposal against her ear, followed by his promises of happiness and forever.
"Yes," she had answered, her eyes filled with tears of joy. And underneath the moonlight, they shared a kiss that spoke volumes of the love they held for each other.
Therefore, here was she now, dressed as a bride, with the usual pre-wedding jitters and cold feet. She lightly scowled at Gwen's amused looks.
"What if I freeze in terror?" she whispered in fear, allowing Gwen to limply pull her into a tight hug.
"You're being ridiculous, do you know that?" her friend asked, comfortingly patting her back. "Been there, done that, but trust me, everything will be worth it afterwards."
For some strange reason, Hermione's cheeks warmed in embarrassment.
There was a sudden knock on her door, and Gwen piped a happy "Come in!" Sir Gwaine peeked inside and upon seeing the two women, his smile widened. He courteously bowed down at Gwen, who lightly rolled her eyes.
"I'm still Gwen!" she exclaimed, which fell into deaf ears once Gwaine's eyes settled on Hermione.
His gaze turned fond. "You look beautiful," he said, prompting her to flush redder. "Are you really, seriously, absolutely sure you want to marry Merlin?" He seriously pointed at himself and stared intently in her eyes. "There is still a chance for you to run away with me, Hermione, and I vow to make you the happiest girl in the whole world."
"Oh, stop it, you," Hermione said, chuckling at his ridiculousness. Gwaine dropped his pretense and winked in jest. "Ragnelle will have my head if I run away with you."
At the mention of the lady, Gwaine's smile turned fond again. "True," he said, followed by a deep sigh. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." It made the knight laugh when both Hermione and Gwen earnestly nodded their heads in agreement. "Anyway, I came here to tell you that the wedding is about to commence."
Hermione took a deep breath, calming her nerves. "All right," she announced. "I'm ready."
It was time.
Merlin scowled, unable to properly button his sleeves. He blew out a frustrated breath, realizing in the processes that his hair was atrocious.
"For heaven's sake," he muttered, striding towards the table to grab a small bottle filled with something akin to wax, which, to his surprise, was actually placed on the hair. Sir Gwaine had graciously lent him this, pointing amusedly at his usually dishevelled hair.
He opened the said bottle and took a whiff and then made a face. It smelled pungent and he'd rather not put anything smelly on his hair on his wedding day today, thank you very much. Thus, he placed the small bottle back on the table and grimaced.
He was getting ridiculous and he knew it, but who could blame him? Today, he was to marry the person he wanted to be with forever and ever; it was only natural for him to be quacking on his boots, with feelings churning at the pit of his stomach. It was just annoying, though, that his mind was a jumbled mess, making him unable to properly prepare for his wedding.
His cheeks turned into a light shade of red, remembering the day when he proposed and Hermione accepted. It would be a huge understatement if he said he was happy on that day. Nothing, not even the happiest man in the Five Kingdoms, could compare to the happiness he had felt. Good God, he thought he had lost her forever and he was doomed not to see her again! To know that they were to get married now, a sacred vow filled with promises of loving and staying together for a lifetime, was a huge turn of events, albeit a wonderful one.
His train of thought then swerved towards the newcomer of his small room. After he and Hermione got married, they both decided it would be best if he moved back to her bedchambers. As the Court Physician of Camelot, all of her belongings, ingredients, knickknacks and whatnot were already installed inside.
"You're not yet ready?" King Arthur then said, raising an eyebrow at Merlin's obvious state of unpreparedness.
Merlin merely answered him with a deep sigh, and to his surprise, Arthur sauntered towards him and grabbed his arm. The King then helped him fix his cuff links, buttoned up the necessary buttons into their right holes, and stared thoughtfully at his hair.
"Can't your magic do something with your hair?" Arthur inquired.
"I might make a mistake and end up sporting pink hair on my wedding day," Merlin shot back, blanching at the thought. "I'd rather not take the risk."
Arthur snorted unregally and lightly patted Merlin's dishevelled hair. "Doesn't matter," he said. "Hermione accepted you when you aren't wearing wonderful clothes. I'm quite sure she will not leave you in front of the altar just because you have atrocious hair."
Merlin blanched more at the thought. "Thanks," he sarcastically drawled, this time desperately patting his hair down.
While he did so, Arthur walked towards Merlin's bed and grabbed his belt. He offered it to his manservant, who was mortified with the idea that he had completely forgotten about it. What would the people think if he marched towards the front, belt-less, and his trousers would suddenly fall? He shook that thought off, saving himself from getting nervous once again.
"Relax, you idiot," Arthur said, amusedly staring at his manservant while he fixed his belt on place. "You are to have your wedding day today, not your death sentence."
"Shut up," Merlin muttered, ignoring the fact he just disrespected his king. But Arthur seemed not to mind. In fact, he seemed much more amused. "Why are you helping me anyway?"
Arthur shrugged nonchalantly.
In spite of himself, Merlin grinned. "Don't you think the positions are reversed?" he asked. "Here you are, helping me to get dressed."
"Now, don't get too hopeful, you idiot," the king preached, shaking his head. "This is only for today."
"Of course, sire, I know that," Merlin said with a sigh. "After this wedding, I'd be back to good, ol' manservant Merlin."
A mysterious smile appeared on Arthur's face. "Hmm…" he muttered, turning away to hide his face.
Merlin's eyes slightly widened at Arthur's strange answer. Ever since the king recuperated from the mortal wound Mordred had given him, he was… different. In a good sense, of course, but Merlin was getting more and more flabbergasted with his attitude as days passed by. For one, he had revoked the prohibition of magic, meaning, Merlin could freely practice his magic. He had always dreamed for that day, fighting secretly, yet reverently, for his magic to become legal and not something viewed as an abomination. For that day to finally come, well, Merlin was absolutely in disbelief.
And then, there were times when Arthur relieved him from his work. He was gracious for Arthur's kindness, of course, but it was baffling and suspicious at the same time. Hermione seemed to know what was going on, but whenever he questioned her, she would merely laugh and give him a kiss on his cheek to silence him. George, Arthur's temporary manservant, seemed much more frequent beside Arthur and honestly speaking, Merlin did not like the idea.
He snapped off from his suspicious thoughts. Arthur was looking at him strangely right now but no matter how much he tried to understand the expression on his face, Merlin could not. "What is it, sire?" he asked, absent-mindedly looking at the hem of his tunic for some dirt or lint.
"I never really properly thanked you, did I?" the King said.
Merlin froze from his perusal and looked up at Arthur. The king lifted the corners of his lips, amused with his manservant's surprise. "Err… there were shocking times before, though," he lightly said, sheepishly smiling.
But Arthur shook his head and strode forward. With a smile on his face and a hand on Merlin's shoulder, he said, "Allow me to say it once again, then." Taking a deep breath, Arthur briefly gave him a withering glare. "But don't get too used to it, Merlin. I am, and will always be, your king."
His manservant only nodded his head.
"Thank you, Merlin," Arthur earnestly continued. "For staying by my side."
His words were simple, but nonetheless truthful. A full-blown smile appeared on Merlin's face, his heart humming with unimaginable delight. He never really expected anything in return for helping Arthur and Camelot, but perhaps if he really were to expect something, it would be Arthur's gratitude. And now, here was his king, his friend, thanking him for all those years where he stayed by his side and strived to protect him.
"You're always welcome, Arthur," he replied back with equal honesty. "Remember that."
The king smiled and nodded. Looking at him now, Merlin thought they had gone a long way. He wondered what promises the future brings for Arthur and him. Even if the future was still bleak and unpredictable, Merlin was absolutely certain of one thing – he wouldn't, for the life of him, tire from serving Arthur. He didn't really need to voice it out loud, because he was sure that Arthur understood Merlin's silent promise, too.
His thoughts were then halted when a new person came inside his room. Hunith bowed courteously at the king before smiling widely at his son.
"I'll be waiting outside," Arthur said, excusing himself and leaving the mother and son alone in the room.
"You look magnificent," Hunith complimented once Arthur was outside. Merlin flushed and sheepishly smiled, self-consciously taming his hair down. "Are you ready, my dear son?"
"I'm bloody nervous," he answered.
His mother laughed, ignoring the language he had used, and sauntered closer to him to give him a tight hug. "Oh, Merlin, I'm so proud of you," she said, fondly kissing his son's cheek. "You've finally gotten everything that you had wished for in the past."
Merlin smiled back and patted his mother's back. "I only did my best in everything I did, mother," he replied back.
"Do not give Hermione too much of a hard time, do you understand?" When Merlin nodded, she continued. "Her work as a Court Physician requires time and effort; hence, have patience when she does not have enough time for you."
The manservant remembered all those disappointing days when he had not seen nor hugged Hermione for a day. The thought wasn't exactly a nice one, but he sighed nonetheless. "I had practice before," he said, prompting Hunith to softly chuckle.
She pulled away from her son and looked at him with pride and love in her eyes. "I am glad you finally found your happiness in her," she said. "I foresee a wonderful future for you two, you know."
"I know," Merlin said, his eyes softening at the thought of Hermione. He swore to everything that was precious in this whole world that he would love her unconditionally and unceasingly.
Arthur then peeked once again, a small smile on the face. "The wedding is about to start," he said. "I think it is best if you go to the Hall of Ceremonies now."
Hunith beamed and Merlin slightly paled. Taking a deep breath, he stepped away from his mother and straightened up.
It was time.
He was holding onto her hand too tight but Hermione did not mind. Her hand had turned clammy in exchange, and well, she thought it was fair. All eyes had instantly settled upon them and beside her, she felt Merlin stiffen. He was never a huge fan of crowds, and to be the center of attention now must be taking its toll upon him. Hermione had to bite her bottom lip in order not to burst out laughing.
"Come now, love," she whispered, pulling his arm. They started to walk down the aisle and she beamed, her heart fluttering wildly inside her ribcage at that thought that any minute from now, she would be married to Merlin.
Some of the village people lined the sides of the hall, which was decorated wonderfully with flowers and ribbons. Gwen had spearheaded the arrangement of the Hall of Ceremonies and Hermione was floored by the beauty it withheld today. Her eyes caught Gwen's, who was right at the very front of the room, and mouthed a silent "Thank you." Gwen smiled in return and inclined her head.
She spotted the Knights of the Round Table, all lined up diligently at the sides. Her eyes quickly caught Sir Gwaine's, who sent her a playful wink, and she blushed, restraining herself from sticking out her tongue. Seriously, Gwaine could act immaturely sometimes. Nonetheless, he was a good friend.
Arthur stood beside his wife, an unmistakable smirk wide on his face. Hermione anticipated his announcement at their wedding feast and wondered what emotion Merlin would show upon hearing it. Her eyes quickly darted at the man she would marry and this time, she grinned widely. Despite his nervousness, Merlin's face was glowing with happiness.
Feeling her eyes on him, he looked down at her and he blushed, smiling in embarrassment. Momentarily distracted, he tripped on his own feet and almost toppled on the ground. Loud gasps from the guests resounded in the whole hall and Hermione had to pull his arm so that he wouldn't completely fall on the ground.
The brunette softly chuckled, much to Merlin's embarrassment, who then had flushed into a dark shade of red. Arthur mumbled 'Idiot' while Gwen laughed. Even the knights were laughing in the expense of her soon-to-be husband.
A lot of things had changed in Merlin, but well, sometimes, he would always be the clumsy young sorcerer she had come to love.
They finally reached the very front, with Sir Geoffrey of Monmouth presiding their holy matrimony. It thrilled Hermione to think that she was experiencing, first-hand, how a wedding during the ancient times was to be done. There were still the usual rings – simple, yet beautiful ones – which Merlin and Hermione exchanged.
Promises of forever and always, vows of happiness and adoration, declarations of protection and security, were exchanged. Everything went on so quickly and before she knew it, Sir Geoffrey was already presenting them to the guests as a married couple.
"I now present to you," he declared, smiling widely at the two, "man and wife. You may now kiss the bride."
Merlin turned to her and she blushed. Slowly, he removed the veil from her face and grinned widely.
"Finally," he murmured for only Hermione to hear, prompting the brunette to chuckle. He then bent down and Hermione closed her eyes.
As his lips pressed against hers, sealing a wonderful future together, the whole hall had burst into loud applause.
The feast was vast and scrumptious and Merlin was undoubtedly suspicious. He frowned incredulously when Arthur himself had poured him some more wine. He was the manservant, for goodness' sake! He was supposed to be the one serving the guests. But then of course, it was his wedding today… but still!
Hermione suddenly squeezed his hand, their linked hands hidden underneath the table, prompting him to look at her. She was chatting animatedly with Sir Leon beside her, her eyes lit up with happiness as a melodious laugh escaped from her lips. Her cheeks were a lovely shade of red and the little nose of hers was crinkling adorably whenever she was happy.
Dear God above, she was beautiful.
And she was his wife.
His heart skipped a beat, reality finally sinking in. He was married to her, to Hermione, and he was to spend his eternity with her and only her. The prospect of waking up every morning with her face the first thing he would see, the prospect of going home from a tiring day of work only to be welcomed by her, the prospect of building a family with her, with little brunettes with blue wide-eyes… it thrilled him to his very core.
She squeezed his hand once again and his eyes landed on their linked hands. Her ring twinkled even underneath the table, making him feel that ridiculous fluttering in his heart.
If he were to die today, then he would die a happy man.
Her eyes then turned to him and her smile widened. There was that same knowing look on her face again and he frowned.
"What are you hiding from me?" he whispered, annoyed that he was being left in the dark.
"Soon, love," she replied back, mindlessly brushing away some of his hair that landed on his face. His cheeks grew hot under her touch, but a small smile appeared on his face.
Dear God above, he loves her.
And she was his wife.
His attention was diverted to Arthur when the King suddenly stood up from his seat. The noise subsided as they all looked at their king, waiting for him to start talking.
"Let us all congratulate the newly married couple," he said, raising his goblet. "Merlin" – he looked at his manservant – "Hermione" – he looked at the Court Physician – "Congratulations." The whole table burst into a loud chorus of 'congratulations', making the couple blush scarlet with embarrassment.
Arthur then waited for the noise to subside before continuing. "As you may all know, both Merlin and Hermione had played an important role during the previous war that had happened to our kingdom," he said. "And as their grateful king, I think it is only rightful for them to be rewarded."
Merlin's eyes narrowed in suspicious. 'A reward,' he said, frowning a little.
"Of course, Hermione is still the Court Physician in Camelot," he proclaimed. "And she once voiced out to me that it would be convenient to put a small infirmary in the village."
Hermione's eyes widened, already suspecting where his words would lead to.
"My queen and I decided that it would be best if we are to build a small infirmary at the heart of the village outside the castle," Arthur said, smiling at the brunette's surprised gasp. "Because of this, it would be easier to be able to work with the sick and needy."
The brunette beamed widely. "Thank you, sire," she said with sincere gratefulness.
Arthur nodded and smiled in return. His gaze then landed on Merlin and that same knowing look was present on his face.
"And as for Merlin," he continued, looking back at his guest. "Some of you might think of him as my mere manservant and that is understandable. But then, my dear friends, Merlin had proven to me that he is a passionate defender of Camelot and… a loyal friend to me." Arthur's cheeks tinged with light red and he briefly glanced down at him.
On his seat, Merlin snorted. "King Arthur is complementing me," he said, a teasing grin on his face. "I'm at awe."
Arthur lightly glared at him, but there was a hint of playfulness in his eyes. "Therefore," he continued, "I think it is rightful that he is to be rewarded, too, for his bravery and loyalty. I declare then that Merlin of Ealdor will become my new Court Adviser and the official Sorcerer to the King and Camelot."
Merlin's eyes widened. Because of sheer surprise, he was able to knock off the goblet of wine from the table. Hermione, thankfully, was quick to react for she had immobilized the said drink before it spilled all over Merlin and ruined his clothes.
"Y-you're…" Merlin said, flustered. "You said you were joking."
Arthur shrugged, obviously amused with Merlin's reaction. "And I never built a stake for you, did I?" he asked. "Now stand up, you idiot, so that people can welcome you as the new Court Adviser and Official Sorcerer."
He blanched as all eyes once again settled on him.
"Go on," his wife urged, the smile on her face reaching her ears.
Wobbly, Merlin stood up, and the whole table had burst into loud applause. He was at loss of what to do, so he merely bowed down low. Constant 'thank yous' escaped from his mouth.
The feast continued and Merlin had let it pass in a daze. He was the new Court Adviser and Official Sorcerer to the King and the Camelot. He shouldn't be blamed.
A sudden burst of laughter from inside brought a small smile on Hermione's face. The wedding feast still continued and Hermione, not really knowing why, sauntered outside and was now on a balcony in the castle overlooking the whole of Camelot.
She marvelled at the beauty that the kingdom exuded. Electricity had not yet been discovered during this time; thus, there were lesser lights at night compared back home. The stars twinkled brightly in the inky, black sky and the moon, now a lovely crescent shaped, was peacefully sitting at the middle, gazing down at the creations below.
Her smile faltered as she remembered the Wizarding World. Sudden melancholy echoed inside her heart and she softly sighed. She was absolutely happy she went back to Camelot, but knowing that she could never go back to Hogwarts anymore brought sadness in her. Of course, she had chosen this, but that did not mean she wasn't saddened by the difficult choice.
She wondered what Harry, Ron and the others were doing now. She wondered if they still remember her. Dumbledore told her she would be gradually forgotten if she forever stayed in Camelot, and that saddened her. All those wonderful memories she shared with her friends and family back home… all of them would be forgotten because she chose Camelot.
In the end, though, she knew she would never regret her decision. Her happiness was here and although her friends and family loved her dearly and she loved them in return, something, or rather someone, all paled in comparison compared to all of them.
Hermione knew that soon, she would also gradually forget the faces of her friends in Hogwarts. The thought terrified her, but she knew that sooner or later, she had to accept it. The memories she had built in her world would all be pushed back at the deepest recesses of her brain, a mere shadow of a strange past that would make her think of a dream.
'At least,' she then thought. 'The Wizarding World is finally safe.' At least, she had thought, she was able to help save her world first from the clutches of Voldemort before choosing her own desires.
Her eyes landed on her wedding ring and she fondly smiled. She was married and truthfully, she was in disbelief. She once thought she would marry at a later age, being the typical workaholic that would focus first on her work before trying to build a happy family. But then, fate had a funny way of twisting her beliefs and now she was married to the legendary Merlin.
The thought of him warmed her heart. She swore she would make him happy, that she would support him in everything that he would do in the future. Now that he was the new Court Adviser and Sorcerer to the King and the kingdom, he was slowly treading to the path towards the greatness and fame he was always fated to reach.
A soft sigh escaped from her lips and lightly smiled. "What a tiring day," she murmured, lifting a hand and rubbing her right eye.
What a tiring four years, she quickly added in her mind. But despite all the hardships she had undergone, she was, without any doubt, very happy of how things turned out. She found a new home which she knew she would cherish and protect. She found new people whom she would love unconditionally and build new memories with.
She used to define Camelot as a legendary place where legendary people existed.
Now, she defined Camelot as home.
"What are you doing here?"
She smiled and turned around, only to see her husband standing questioningly in front of her. His hair was impossibly dishevelled once again and he looked a little flustered. She had an inkling even the feast inside was making him uncomfortable already.
Hermione outstretched her hand and waited for him to grab it. Once he interlaced his fingers with hers and stood beside her, she answered, "Thinking."
"Of what?" he asked.
The brunette shrugged and looked back at the beautiful scenery below. "Of everything," she whispered in reply.
Silence settled between the two of them and Hermione allowed it. His thumb gently rubbed her knuckles and she walked closer to him, warmed by his mere presence.
"You knew about it, didn't you?" he suddenly asked, breaking the silence.
"About Arthur's plan," he said, looking down at her, slight accusation in his eyes. "About making me his new Court Adviser and Sorcerer to the King and his people."
She sheepishly grinned. "He might have hinted it one way or another," she nonchalantly said. When he glowered, she chuckled and shook her head. "You should have seen it coming, you impossible wizard. After everything you did and sacrificed for Arthur and his kingdom, you should have expected to be rewarded in the end."
Merlin slightly frowned and looked at their interlaced hands. "I never expected anything in return," he truthfully confessed. "I was happy serving and protecting him."
Hermione's eyes softened and she fondly stared at him. No wonder he was destined to be great; he has a kind heart.
"But don't tell Arthur that," he immediately said, his cheeks tainted with pink. "He'd mercilessly tease me."
She laughed. Merlin smiled and shifted his gaze back on her face. For a moment, a troubled look crossed his face and he uneasily looked away from her.
"Do you miss Hogwarts?" he then silently said. "Do you miss your home?"
The brunette bit her bottom lip. He was undoubtedly terrified of her answer… terrified that she regretted going back to Camelot to be with him.
Somehow, she thought he was being ridiculous.
"Of course I'll forever miss my world," she shot back. She did not miss the frown that appeared on his face. "But, I chose Camelot over it. Selfish, I know, but you're here and I'm happy to be with you. I'm happy to be married to you. Are you happy?"
He seemed affronted with her question. "Of course I'm happy!" he cried with adorable passion.
The brunette grinned. "Good," she replied back. "Because I promise right now that I'm not going anywhere, so you're forever stuck with me."
"You're conceited," he told her, a tinge of fondness in his voice. "Downright frank, too."
She chuckled and took a few steps forward him. "So I've heard," she replied. Funny how that simple phrase turned into something meaningful to the two of them.
"But utterly beautiful, too," he whispered, gently cupping her chin and tilting it upwards. "And you're my wife. I-I still can't believe it."
"Hmm…" she muttered, her eyes already fluttering close. "I'm sure you'd be able to believe it tonight." She was being cheeky, even bordering improper, and she knew it. But it was amusing to mercilessly tease Merlin and now that she was his wife, she knew she'd have the privilege to do so anytime she pleased to.
Her eyes might be close, but she knew he flushed a darker shade of red. Grinning widely, she took a quick peek at his face and she could see how embarrassed he was with her words. Something flashed in his eyes, though, something she had never seen before, and soon, his lips descended onto hers and he earnestly kissed her. Her arms wound around her neck and she kissed him back with equal passion.
"I love you," he murmured in between their kisses. She smiled against his lips before pulling away, gazing up at him with all the unspoken happiness and love she held for him.
Merlin then completely pulled away from her and held her hand.
"Where are we going?" she questioningly asked.
He turned to her, an unreadable expression on his face, and she felt her heart skip a beat and her face flush with his gaze. "As the new Court Adviser of the King, I believe it will be a good advice to give to Arthur to end the wedding feast now, don't you think?" he asked, his hold on her hand tightening.
"Hmm…" she said, smiling prettily up at him.
He tugged her quickly back inside the feast, his footsteps determined. Hermione chuckled behind him and shook her head. She had this inkling he would do everything, and she meant anything, just to end this blasted wedding feast.
And well, finally.
As she gazed at his back, a wide grin on her face, she wondered of what things would come their way in the near future. In Camelot, anything can happen, and she knew she had to anticipate a lot of things.
But for now, she wanted to bask under the happiness that she felt because at least, all was well.
A/N: END OF STORY! Huhuhu, I am honestly a bundle of overwhelming emotions right now. I can't believe I was able to finish another novel-length story, and seriously, I won't be able to come this far without you, my dear readers. Truth be told, you are my driving force to continue this story despite annoying writer's block and bombarding school works.
Thank you to all those who reverently reviewed (you know who you are). Either they are compliments, constructive criticisms, and even flames, I was able to become a better writer than before (I think hahaha) all because of you. Thank you to all those who read it despite my obvious flaws, despite my annoying ramblings, despite my glaring mistakes, and gave this story a chance until the very end.
Merlin/Hermione will always be one of my OTPs and I hope this story made you one too! I wish that in the future, more awesome writers would be able to write awesome stories about this awesome ship. Perhaps, I'd write something more about them too, in the future. So yep, do watch out for me if ever I find the time to write another story.
For now, I'd be on a hiatus. College is messing up with my life and thank God I have my lovely friends (even awesome professors) because I might have gone insane now. So yes, a hiatus, with perhaps a small one-shot hither-thither. I do plan to update more of "Spot the Difference" and maybe even continue writing the outline of my new Merthur novel-length fic.
Once again, thank you everybody! You all honestly made me happy and rest assured, I will never stop writing :D
That's it for now! See you soon :)
With overflowing love,