And the second! Next chapter will get some action going! I'm not really sure how long this fic will be, but I'm aiming for 20 to 25 chapters...however, this is probably the longest work I've done in chapter sections, so I have no idea. Hope you enjoy!
Arthur quickly found a rhythm to his days spent at Merlin's mansion. Once a week Arthur met with Dr. Kerrington, and it was pretty easy to fake a sort of change, with Merlin's help. Merlin said the idea was that, to Dr. Kerrington, Adam would never fully recover, but he'd become a new person, a person with a new personality but grounded into this reality. That was simple to Arthur because he was pretty much doing this. All he had to do that was a lie was act like he understood that he wasn't actually King Arthur.
On a normal day, Arthur would wake up early and run the perimeter of the property—about six miles—and then go to the pool and swim some laps until breakfast was ready. Mrs. Brenden loved him; she told him that Merlin rarely had her cook anything for him, and she loved giving Arthur pastries and potato cakes or a fry-up. Arthur only ever had to cook dinner for himself (and only sometimes since Merlin often invited him to sup with him), as Mrs. Brenden also sent lunch down with Merlin in the afternoon.
Then he'd return to his cottage, and shower, then read or watch the TV for about an hour, before Merlin would show up. Merlin was always up early, off doing something or another. It wasn't that he didn't tell Arthur what he was up to, exactly. It was more that Arthur understood that there was more to his answers than Arthur understood, and so he stopped asking. He figured it had something to do with his quest, as he thought of it. They would sit and eat before heading to the office to discuss what needed to be done to defeat Lamia for most of the afternoon.
So far Arthur still had no idea what could be done. They had fought about it last week, only a couple days after Arthur left the hospital.
"What the bloody hell am I supposed to do, just run him over with a sword?"
"Yea, Arthur," Merlin had replied sarcastically. "That won't have any repercussions at all. I mean, it's not like you have any strategic ways of defeating him."
Arthur had fumed. "That's just the point!" He was up and pacing, photographs and newspapers fluttering as he passed by. "I know nothing of this country! Nothing of this world, for that matter! My strategies involve swordplay and castles—that has no relevance here, nothing!"
He had stormed out and jumped on the ATV, not returning until it became dark and Merlin had returned home.
Now it seemed just as futile, but Arthur and Merlin were way more civil after their argument. Today though, they weren't talking about Lamia.
"Are you sure you're going to be—"
"For the last time, yes, MERlin. I'll be fine." Arthur glared at Merlin, but the softness around his eyes betrayed his faux-anger. He actually was very nervous, and he knew Merlin was only trying to help.
"It'll be okay. Like I said, Mr. Pendleton, your father, understands that you won't be 'yourself.' He is expecting this. But he is…concerned…about your not visiting him at all. It was strange enough convincing him that living on my property might be best. I told him that you recognized me as a part of your dream, and that it would be easier to lessen the contact, at least at first…" Merlin paused. "What? What are you looking at me like that for?"
Arthur burst out laughing. "Hundreds of years later, you sure have gotten a big vocabulary. But you still haven't stopped the rambling." He couldn't stop laughing, and Merlin chuckled a little, before bursting into laughter with him.
Arthur paused nervously when the door opened for him. Taking a deep breath, he stepped out of the car and onto the sidewalk. In front of him was a massive building, a restaurant by the name of Carter's Steakhouse. He turned to thank the guy who had drove him, but he had already gotten back into the car and was zooming out towards a parking lot.
Arthur looked at his suit, grey with a blue-green tie and blue cuff links. Merlin had versed him on vocabulary for the suit and taken him to get a fitting several days before. He felt overdressed, but Merlin had told him he should try it out. He began walking towards the doors and was relieved to see that many of the other customers were dressed up as well. He approached the man seating everyone, and told him he was with a Mr. Pendleton. The man asked for a moment and looked at his chart, then motioned for him to follow.
They wove through tables and people, and Arthur found himself face to face with Mr. Pendleton. Mr. Pendleton was a thin, tall man, who looked like a shrunken version of a self no one else had seen for a long time. He actually looked like he could be Arthur's father, which, now that Arthur thought about it, had to be since Arthur was Adam, somehow. It was still confusing, but he put that thought aside. Adam's father was greying, his hairline receding and there were crow's feet around his eyes that made him look as though he had seen happy times once.
Now he looked uncertainly at Arthur, unsure of what to do.
"Hi Dad." It surprise Arthur that he could say that, even with some emotion to it. It obviously surprised Mr. Pendleton as well, and as Arthur took his seat, Mr. Pendleton looked at him with an appraising look, one slowly filling with hope that Arthur recognized, and dreaded.
However, the rest of their evening was formal, and surprisingly easy enough for Arthur to manage.
"What have you been doing, with Dr. Emerson?" Mr. Pendleton asked politely after they had ordered. (Arthur had ordered a 10oz New York steak and shrimp, with a side salad to the astonishment of his father, who ordered a 6oz steak and a side salad.)
"Well, I've been keeping busy. Mark-Dr. Emerson, of course-has me working out every morning, kind of like physical training, but he says it helps mentally as well." Mr. Pendleton nodded; Arthur knew he got updates from Merlin, which meant Arthur couldn't make a mistake in his memorized false activities. "Then I have a private session with Mark. After that, I am free to read, watch TV, or anything that he says will bring me up to speed. He also taught me how to use the ATV."
Arthur added that last bit as an afterthought, and was pleased to see it brought a bit of happiness to Mr. Pendleton's eyes. He didn't want to torture the poor man, after all, and it seemed as though he would be here for a while so he mine as well befriend the man.
"Well that's exciting! Did you enjoy it?" The ATV mention gave them something to talk about until after they had finished their meal.
Once Arthur finished, the conversation dried up and the men sat there looking at each other. Arthur realized that when he had been dragged here, he had only thought about how terrible it had been for him. However, Mr. Pendleton had lost a son. Perspective, he knew Gwen would have told him. So, when the meal was over and they stood up, he reached over and gave him a hug. Mr. Pendleton tensed with surprise but soon returned the hug. When they separated, Arthur thought his eyes were blurry so he looked at his feet to give Mr. Pendleton time to brush away the tears.
They walked out together. "I hope we can do this more often, Adam." Mr. Pendleton said. Arthur realized this was the first time he had called him by his name. And he didn't even know Mr. Pendleton's first name. But, he supposed, he didn't really need to. It was Dad, or Father.
"We will, Dad." Arthur said, surprising himself. What did he just sign himself up for, he thought as he got into the car—the guy had pulled up just as they finished their goodbyes. But Arthur knew why he had done it. He genuinely liked the father, and he didn't want him to be any more hurt than he had when his son had gone into a coma and come out as a legendary figure from myth. And, he thought as they went towards Merlin's home, maybe, just maybe it was nice to have a father who cared about him full-time.
The car driver, who had said his name was Chaz, pulled up to the mansion and let Arthur out. Arthur strolled through the hallways, but soon realized Merlin was at his cottage when he saw the light on. He walked down the pathway and had hardly entered the circle of light around the cottage when Merlin came bursting out the door.
"Finally! How was dinner? Actually, let's talk about that later. I know what you need to do in order to beat Lamia!" Merlin was literally bouncing on his toes, a big grin on his face. When Arthur looked at him with bemusement, Merlin continued in an enthusiastic tone.
"You're going to need to brush up on politics and basically the 21st century. You're going to work for the Prime Minister!"