Hey guys!

Well, here we are, at the end! I can't believe it's over already. I've been writing this fic for about five months now, but it feels as though it's gone so quickly. Anyway, the support and love I've received from all of you has been amazing, and I really wasn't expecting it. You've all been amazing and incredibly patient!

I wish I could thank you all individually, but sadly, it would take far too long. But I'd just like to thank all of you, whether you've stuck with this fic from the beginning or not.

So, here's your epilogue which, I hope, will tie everything together nicely for you guys.



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A few weeks later . . .

Knock! Knock! Knock!

"Come in!" Uther yelled, setting his glasses down on his desk. He'd had a long day, and a lot of paperwork to go over, so he was glad of the distraction. Putting a rather large pile of paperwork down on the far side of his desk, he looked up, as the door opened to reveal Morgana. "Ah, Morgana! Please, come in. Take a seat. Is something wrong?"

"No, not at all!" Morgana replied, smiling widely. She all dressed up in the outfit she'd bought weeks ago with Merlin and Gwen, but her hair was tied in a tight bun, as she wasn't quite finished getting ready. She'd been running around the house all night, frantically looking for her makeup. Though she had a sneaky suspicion that somebody (Arthur) had hidden it, in an attempt to be funny. He better return it when he found out what she did for him. "I just . . . I wanted to ask you something about the party tonight."

"What of it?" Uther asked, looking rather confused.

"Just . . . . I want you to promise me something," she began, as Uther began to look even more confused. A few weeks ago, neither her, nor Arthur, wouldn't dared have gone to their father about a problem such as this. But the whole situation with Mordred had changed Uther somewhat. He still wasn't exactly perfect, but he was improving. Both of them could see that he was finally becoming the father that they'd so needed whilst they were growing up. "Don't try to set Arthur up with anyone."

After Arthur had gone to his father about the situation with Merlin and Mordred, Uther had done everything in his power to try and sort it out. Although it may not have looked like it, he really did try. Although he didn't make it known. He didn't want Arthur to get his hopes up. If there was nothing he could do about it, then he didn't want to give his son false hope. Eventually though, some evidence arose for other crimes that Mordred had committed, which was more than enough to get him expelled from the school, and, eventually, arrested.

Arthur was extremely grateful for this, although he tried not to show it. He'd been the one to break the news to Merlin, and it had resulted in many tears from the raven haired boy. All through that night, Merlin had cried, and Arthur still didn't know whether that was from sadness, guilt, happiness or relief. He daren't ask, and he didn't think he wanted to. That was something personal to Merlin. He was just glad he'd been there to hold him.

Whenever Uther mentioned it after that, Arthur shrugged it off. He said it was what anyone else would've done in his situation, and that he was just glad it was over for "the poor boy". He thought it was best to keep their relationship a secret from Uther, at least until they were sure he could handle it. Still, he seemed to be doing pretty well at the moment, and Arthur felt that, given a few more weeks, Uther would be ready. But not tonight. So he'd sent Morgana on a mission to make sure that his father wasn't trying to set him up with someone like he usually did at his "gatherings".

"I would never -" Uther replied, seeming appalled at the accusation. But Morgana stopped him with a single look, raising her perfectly plucked eyebrows.

"I know you Uther Pendragon, and while I also know you mean well, I don't think Arthur's looking for a relationship at the moment." she explained, but saw that Uther still wasn't quite getting it. Either that, or he was feigning mock innocence. She could never quite decide when he was being sarcastic or not. So she pushed that little bit further. Arthur was probably never going to forgive her for mentioning this, but it seemed like it was the only way she was going to get through to him. "Uther, he's met someone."

"Met someone?" Uther asked, leaning across his desk, and Morgana almost had to laugh. He had the same look as the teenage girls at her high school, when they heard some new gossip. Like a hungry hyena that had just discovered some fresh meat. "Who?"

"I . . . I can't tell you. They got to know each other online, and well, things . . . . progressed." Morgana whispered, for fear that Arthur would somehow hear them from the other side of the house. Then again, let him hear, the bastard. That'll teach him for hiding her makeup. "Look, just, don't tell Arthur I told you, okay? He said he's waiting for the right moment to tell you, but he just doesn't want you . . . meddling."

"Okay, okay, no . . . meddling," Uther smiled, which was something Morgana hadn't seen in a long time. And it was . . . nice, though a little out of character. She smiled back, as if it were their little secret. "I'll consider myself told."

"Arthur, are you sure about this?" Merlin muttered, as he and Arthur walked into Uther's party. The music was blasting so loud, that Arthur barely even heard him, and the lights were dimmed. There were crowds of people all over the room, merging on the dance floor, and talking in small huddles. If there was one place Merlin felt he didn't belong, it was here. He didn't do big parties, he'd much rather stay at home, and curl up with a book instead. That's just the type of person he was.

"I'm sure, Merlin," Arthur replied, taking hold of his hand and squeezing it affectionately. Merlin was shocked. Uther was just across the room, he could catch them at any moment, and yet . . . Arthur didn't seem to care. Well, if Arthur didn't care, then Merlin couldn't think of any reason that he should. He gave Arthur's hand a squeeze in reply.

"But I look ridiculous," he whined, and Arthur sighed, letting go of his hand. He turned so that he was in front of Merlin, and gripped him by the shoulders, leaning in. He was so close, that Merlin could feel his breath on his cheek. He looked right into his eyes, and Arthur's warm, cerulean eyes met with Merlin's icey, powder blue ones.

"You look amazing, okay? Don't worry, everything's going to be fine," Arthur whispered, placing a quick kiss on Merlin's lips. This calmed him slightly, though Merlin still felt incredibly nervous. In fact, he was pretty sure he was shaking, which was embarrassing.

This was the first time he'd been around Arthur's family, well, members of his family that weren't Morgana or Uther. Merlin just wanted to make a good impression. After all, he wasn't really the type of person that Arthur went for. Heck, he wasn't even the gender that Arthur normally went for. Merlin wasn't bothered by that though, he would never hide his sexuality, not anymore. He was just worried for Arthur's sake, as he knew he wasn't out to his family yet.

And although he'd like to think that's all it was, he'd be lying.

Because next to Arthur, next to his family, what was Merlin, really? Arthur was rich, strong, beautiful, funny, handsome, and charming. Merlin was poor, weak, quite funny looking, and a bumbling idiot. He was nothing like Arthur, or anyone in his family, and he felt terribly out of place. Compared to them, he was ordinary. Not even that, he was less than ordinary, if that were even possible. And he felt it now more than ever. He felt ridiculous, all dressed up in a suit, pretending to be one of them. Because he wasn't, and he never would be. Arthur must know that, deep down.

"Merlin, what's wrong?" Arthur asked, obviously sensing Merlin's discomfort. He took him away from the door, and into the far corner of the room, where no one could hear them. He sat Merlin down, and sat beside him, placing his hand over both of his. "Merlin, look at me. What is it?"

"I . . . It's nothing,"

"It's not nothing. Something's wrong, and I want to know what it is." Arthur replied sternly. He hated it when Merlin was so dismissive, as if his feelings didn't even matter, as if his problems were any smaller than anybody else's. He hoped that, one day, he could show Merlin how much he really meant to him, and maybe then, he wouldn't be so dismissive of himself.

"Were you born this big a pain in the arse?" Merlin replied jokingly, but his smile was half-hearted, a distraction. Arthur raised an eyebrow, and was clearly not amused. Though a small, affectionate smile played on his lips. Merlin sighed. "I just . . . what must I look like to them? Compared to you? You're so . . . perfect, and I'm just . . . ordinary. I've got hardly any money, I work in a pharmacy on the weekends to earn what little money I do have, my ears are too big for the rest of my face, I'm gangly, I stutter, and I make a right idiot of myself whenever I get nervous. Arthur, I don't belong here."

"Merlin," Arthur sighed, pulling the rather skinny boy in for a hug. He rested his head on Merlin's shoulder, and whispered into his soft, dark hair; "It doesn't matter to me what any of them think. It doesn't matter to me what anyone thinks. You're perfect, okay? All of those things you just mentioned, they're what makes you you. And I don't think you'd be the same without them. I wouldn't have you any other way. So what if you're different to them? They honestly wouldn't care Merlin. I'm sure if you took the time to get to know them, and vice versa, you'd get along quite well.

Yes Merlin, you are a bumbling, stuttering idiot, with no common sense, the memory of a goldfish, and all the social abilities of a blind badger. But what you don't seem to understand, is that I didn't fall in love with you in spite of these things. I fell in love with you because of them. I love you, okay? You're perfect, don't worry."

"I love you too," Merlin replied, pulling back from the hug, and placing a kiss on Arthur's lips.

This kiss was slightly longer, and Merlin's soft, pillowy lips met Arthur's dry ones. It was all Merlin needed to calm him down fully, and he smiled into the kiss, trying to thank Arthur for his kind words. And with Arthur's arms wrapped around his waist, the rest of the world fell away, and it was just the two of them. Nobody was judging either of them, and neither were afraid of being judged. They were just simply two people who loved each other. And there was nothing wrong with that.

Unfortunately, and to Merlin's disappointment, the kiss was cut short, as Arthur stood up. He beamed down at Merlin, and held out his hand to him.

"Now come on, I want to introduce you to someone."

"Father, there's someone I'd like you to meet," Arthur said, walking straight up to his father, Merlin in tow. When they reached Uther, Merlin dropped Arthur's hand, but the blonde boy put his arm protectively around Merlin's waist. Whether his father could see this gesture or not, Arthur found that he didn't much care. Although he wasn't quite ready to come out to his father yet, if he figured it out himself, it wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Uther turned from the person he had previously been talking to, and beamed down at his son.

Merlin had to admit, Uther looked like a completely different man when he smiled. He was used to seeing the cold, unfeeling headmaster at his school, locked away in his office, and never coming out. Sat stiff and straight in his suit and tie. This Uther before him however, was an entirely different person all together. When he smiled, Merlin saw the creases of laughter lines around his eyes, which made him wonder if he'd ever seen Uther laugh before. He didn't think he had. He wondered if Arthur ever had either . . .

"This is my friend, Merlin." Arthur said, pushing Merlin forward slightly, as if he were presenting cattle. Still, Merlin smiled at the older man, who extended his hand. "You've met before obviously, but Merlin and I were never that close before. However, we got to know each other better over the internet, and . . ."

Uther didn't really hear the rest of what Arthur was saying. Got to know each other better over the internet . . . He's met someone . . . They got to know each other online . . . Suddenly; everything sort of came together in Uther's mind. The hand that his son had on Merlin's waist, the concern that had been in Arthur's voice, whenever they discussed what was going on with Mordred and the boy . . . . To be honest, Uther was surprised that it hadn't occurred to him earlier. It made sense, after all.

Arthur hadn't brought a girl home for months, perhaps almost a year, and now Uther knew why. It had been this . . . Merlin all along. All these months, Arthur had seemed so distant, so angry . . . because he was confused. Confused, about how he felt for this boy. And though it broke Uther's heart to think that his son had never tried to come to him about it, he understood why he had done so. For most of Arthur's life, he'd never been the father that he should have been. He'd never been there for Arthur, and had just been constantly pushing him towards things that he'd never wanted.

He only hoped that now, he could be the father that Arthur wanted. Hell, the father that he needed. And if he could become that person, maybe one day, Arthur wouldn't be introducing Merlin to him as just his "friend".

"Nice to meet you, Merlin."