Disclaimer: I do not own the Merlin series. Some of the content used is also not mine.

Chapter 1 The Dragon's Call

A young boy walks through countryside. Where he is headed will lead him to his destiny. His rucksack is being held steady by his hands. He is a skinny thing with raven black hair and deep blue eyes with a neckerchief around his neck. He joins a crowd as they wait for the king to address them from the balcony in the Square. A man is being escorted to where his to be beheaded.

Everyone looks up as the king starts to say, "Let this serve as a lesson. This man, Thomas Collins, is judged guilty of conspiring to use enchantments and magic. And, pursuant to the laws of Camelot, I, Uther Pendragon, have decreed that such practices are banned on penalty of death. I pride myself as a fair and just king, but for the crime of sorcery, there is but one sentence I can pass."

Uther gives a hand signal and the man is beheaded. The people gasp. The boy is too shocked to look away from this. His eyes turn up for a moment and notice a figure of a girl. The princess maybe?

"When I came to this land, this kingdom was mired in chaos, but with the people's help magic was driven from the realm. So I declare a festival to celebrate twenty years since the Great Dragon was captured and Camelot freed from the evil of sorcery. Let the celebrations begin," Uther exclaims, clearly not affected by just killing a man.

The boy then started having doubts about ever coming to Camelot. What if the king found out about his secret? His thinking is put on hold as a woman begins wailing.

"There is only one evil in this land, and it is not magic! It is you," she yells. "With your hatred and your ignorance! You killed my son! Before these celebrations are over, you will share my tears. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a son for a son."

"Seize her," Uther commands.

The woman mutters a spell and disappears in a whirl of wind and smoke. He boy gathers himself and enters the palace and addresses a guard.

"Where would I find Gaius, the court physician?" he asks. The guard points and the boy walks up steps and knocks on the open door to the physician's quarters and peeks inside. "Hello?" he then spots the man on the upper level tending to some books. "Gaius?"

He clears his throat. Gaius trips over backwards from the bookshelf stairs and the railing breaks. Using magic, the boy is able to save Gaius.

"What did you just do?" Gaius demands. The boy is reluctant to say anything. He knows he will suffer the same fate as that man if anyone found out he had magic. "Tell me!"

"I- I- I have no idea what happened," the boys says.

"If anyone had seen that..." Gaius began.

"Er, no! That was, that was nothing to do with me. That was...," the boys tries to say.

"I know what it was! I just want to know where you learned how to do it," Gaius tells the boy. "How is it you know magic?

"I don't," the boys answers. "I- I've never studied magic or, or been taught."

"Are you lying to me, boy?" Gaius asks.

"What do you want me to say?" the boy inquires.

"The truth" Gaius demands.

"I was born like this," the boy cries out.

"That's impossible! Who are you?" Gaius asks.

"I'm Merlin," the boys answers.

"Hunith's son?" Gaius asks.

"Yes!" Merlin says in relief.

"But you're not meant to be here till Wednesday," Gaius says.

"It is Wednesday," Merlin replies.

"Right. You better put your bag in there," Gaius says, pointing to the only room.

"You won't say anything about…" Merlin begins to ask.

"No. Although, Merlin, I should say thank you," Gaius says.

xxx

Merlin wakes in his new bed chambers after being awoken by the calling of his name, but it was not Gaius, and enters the Physician's Chambers

"Help yourself to breakfast," Gaius says.

Merlin sits down and starts poking at the unappetizing meal. Gaius intentionally walks to the edge of the table and knocks a bucket of water. Merlin stands up and stops it with magic. Gaius gasps and they look at each other. Merlin lets it drop.

"Did you incant a spell in your mind?" Gaius asks.

"I don't know any spells," Merlin says. "It just happens."

Merlin gets a mop and begins to clean.

"Well, we better keep you out of trouble. You can help me until I find some paid work for you," Gaius says.

xxx

Walking around, Merlin crosses the drawbridge gate into the training grounds. He hears a boy, more likely one of the knights, bulling a servant boy.

"Where's the target?" the boys asks.

"There, Sir?" the servant boys replies, pointing to the board.

"It's into the sun," the boy says.

"I'll put the target on the other end, shall I, Sir?" the servant asks.

He begins carrying the target toward another wall.

Merlin watches as the boy throws a dagger at the target.

"Hey! Hang on!" the servant yells.

"Don't stop," the boy says with a laugh. He throws another dagger. "Come on! Run!"

"Hey, come on, that's enough," Merlin tell the boy.

"What?" the boys asks, turning around.

He looks up and down at Merlin, taking him in

"You've had your fun, my friend," Merlin says.

"Do I know you?" the boy asks.

"I'm Merlin," Merlin replies, holding out his hand.

"So I don't know you," the boy says. Merlin looks down and lowers his hand. "Yet you called me friend."

"That was my mistake," Merlin replies.

"Yes, I think so," the boy tells him.

"I'd never have a friend who could be such an ass," Merlin says, starting to walk away.

"Or I one who could be so stupid," the boy retorts. Merlin stops walking. "Tell me, Merlin, do you know how to walk on your knees?"

"No," he responds, confused.

"Would you like me to help you?" the boy asks.

"I wouldn't if I were you." Merlin threatens, understanding now.

"Why? What are you going to do to me?" the boy asks.

"You have no idea," Merlin replies in a dark tone, taking the boy aback.

No one had ever challenged his like this before, and he liked it.

"Be my guest," the boy says. "Come on!" Having enough, Merlin takes a swing at him and the boy twists Merlin's arm behind his back. "I'll have you thrown in jail for that."

"What, who do you think you are? The King?" Merlin asks.

"No," the boys replied, getting real close to Merlin's ear, making him nervous. "I'm his son, Arthur."

xxx

Merlin could not believe what was happening. Had he seriously tried to fight with the prince? He would stay the night in the dungeons. A voice wakes Merlin in his cell the next morning. It was the same from the previous morning.

"Merlin..." it called.

Merlin hears it coming from the floor beneath him, so he gets up and backs away.

"Merlin" Gaius calls. "You never cease to amaze me! The one thing that someone like you should do is keep your head down, and what do you do? You behave like an idiot."

"I'm sorry," Merlin apologies.

"You're lucky. I managed to pull a few strings to get you released," Gaius says.

"Oh, thank you," Merlin replies with glee.

"Well, there is a small price to pay," Gaius says.

Merlin would spend the rest of the day in the stocks, being pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables by children. He meets Guinevere, the Lady Morgana's maid. Merlin replies that it was Morgana that he seen in the window. She is the King's ward.

xxx

Gaius and Merlin sit done for dinner later that night.

"I know you're still angry with me," Merlin says.

"Your mother asked me to look after you," Gaius replies. "What did your mother say to you about your gifts?"

"That I was special," Merlin says.

"You are special," Gaius tells him. "The likes of which I have never seen before. Magic requires incantations, spells. It takes years to study. What I saw you do was...elemental, instinctive."

"What's the point if it can't be used?" Merlin asks.

"That I do not know. You are a question that has never been posed before, Merlin," Gaius says. "Uther banned all such work twenty years ago. People used magic for the wrong end at that time. It threw the natural order into chaos. Uther made it his mission to destroy everything from back then, even the dragons."

"What? All of them?" Merlin asks.

"There was one dragon he chose not to kill, kept it as an example. He imprisoned it in a cave deep beneath the castle where no one can free it," Gaius says.

xxx

As Merlin walks across the Square the next day, he passes Arthur and his gang.

"How's your knee-walking coming along?" Arthur asks. Merlin ignores this and keeps walking. "Aw, don't run away!

Merlin stops and takes a deep breath. Why couldn't he just leave it?

"From you?" he asks.

"Thank God. I thought you were deaf as well as dumb," Arthur says.

"Look, I've told you you're an ass," Merlin replies, turning to face Arthur. "I just didn't realize you were a royal one." Arthur tilts his head some. "Oh, what are you going to do? Get your daddy's men to protect you?"

"I could take you apart with one blow," he says with a laugh.

Merlin slowly walks closer to Arthur, their noses almost touching and says, "I could take you apart with less than that."

Arthur stands his ground, loving this feeling of someone challenging him.

"Here you go," he says, handing merlin a mace, but he does not catch it. "Come on, then. I warn you, I've been trained to kill since birth."

"Wow, and how long have you been training to be a prat?" Merlin asks.

"You can't address me like that," Arthur says.

"I'm sorry. How long have you been training to be a prat, my Lord?" Merlin asks.

Merlin gives a little bow for added effect. Arthur smiles and starts swinging at Merlin. He backs Merlin into the market stalls.

"You're in trouble now," Arthur says as Merlin falls.

Merlin looks for something that could help him. Using magic, he entangles a couple of large hooks to Arthur's mace. Arthur untangles it and starts at Merlin again. Merlin trips Arthur, allowing him to pick up the mace.

"Do you want to give up?" Merlin asks.

"To you?" Arthur inquires. Getting distracted, Arthur is able to attack Merlin from behind with a broom, knocking him to the ground. "Wait. Let him go. He may be an idiot, but he's a brave one. There's something about you, Merlin. I can't quite put my finger on it."

The truth was Arthur did not want to hurt the boy any more. He knew somehow they would meet again.

Later that day, Arthur had found where Merlin was. He enters Merlin's chamber, grabbing a wet cloth from Gaius in the process.

"Merlin?" he asks.

He gasps and stands up.

"What do you want now?" Merlin demands.

"Sit done and take your shirt off," Arthur commands.

Merlin does so, not really knowing why. Was it because he was the prince and he had to do what he was told? It did not feel like that, though. He removes his shirt, revealing bruises.

"Why are you doing this," Merlin asks in a small voice.

"I don't know," Arthur confesses. "You're the first person to challenge me like that."

Merlin tensed some as he felt the cloth on his wound.

"I'm not a monster, am I?" he asks out of the blue.

"Why would you say that," Arthur wonders. "And no, you're not a monster."

Merlin becomes still as Arthur runs his fingers across the wound. Why was he feeling this way? Better yet, why was Arthur being this way?

"Gaius I'm sure will have something for you," Arthur says, getting up and leaving without another word.

Later that night, Merlin lies awake in his bed, thinking about his encounter with Arthur. Surely it was not customary for a prince in tend to peasants like that. There as something Arthur that drove Merlin crazy.

"Merlin..." a voice calls.

He gets out of bed and sneaks out of the Gaius' Chambers to follow it. He had to find out who was calling him. After detracting the guards, Merlin grabs a torch and heads down the tunnel stairway.

"Where are you?" he asks.

"I'm here!" the voice calls. The Great Dragon makes himself known the Merlin. "How small you are for such a great destiny."

"What do you mean? What destiny?" Merlin asks.

"Your gift was given to you for a reason," the Great Dragon says. "Arthur is the Once and Future King who will unite the land of Albion. But he faces many threats from friend and foe alike."

"I don't see what this has to do with me," Merlin tells the dragon.

"Everything. Without you, Arthur will never succeed. Without you, there will be no Albion," the dragon says.

Merlin shakes his head.

"No, you've got this wrong," he says.

"There is no right or wrong, only what is and what isn't," the dragon replies.

"If anyone wants to go and kill him, they can go ahead. In fact, I'll give them a hand. No. There must be another Arthur because this one's an idiot," Merlin yells out.

He did not care how compassion Arthur showed him in his chamber. He was still a royal prat who loved bulling people.

"None of us can choose our destiny, Merlin, and none of us can escape it," the dragon says. "Perhaps it's your destiny to change him."

The Great Dragon flees away.

xxx

The Banquet Hall was full of guests for the celebrations. When Gaius and Merlin enter, Merlin sees Arthur. Their eyes meets, but Arthur turns back to his mates.

"Merlin. Remember, you're here to work," Gaius says, noticing Merlin's lack of concentration.

"She looks great, doesn't she?" Gwen asks as she walks up to Merlin.

"Yeah," he relies.

Indeed Morgana was very beautiful, but then way was he only looking at Arthur? Merlin contributed this to his conversation with the dragon. Everyone becomes silent as the king stands up.

"We have enjoyed twenty years of peace and prosperity. It has brought the kingdom and I many pleasures, but few can compare with the honor of introducing Lady Helen of Mora," Uthur says.

The music begins and Helen starts to sing. Little did they know that Helen was really the witch of the man that had been beheaded earlier? Merlin notices that the court members are nodding off to sleep and presses his hands over his ears. Cobwebs begin to form over everyone. She pulls a dagger from her sleeve and before she can throw it towards Arthur, Merlin magically drops the chandelier on her. The room starts to wake. Uther and Arthur see that the woman on the ground is the witch. With one last attempt, the witch throws the dagger at Arthur, but Merlin gets hold of Arthur and pulls him to the ground.

"You saved my boy's life. A debt must be repaid," Uther says.

"No, honestly, you don't have to, your Highness," Merlin replies.

Arthur just stares at Merlin in shock. Why would this boy save his life after the way he had treated him?

"You shall be rewarded a position in the royal household. You shall be Prince Arthur's manservant," Uther says.

Everyone starts to clap. Arthur and Merlin look away from each other unhappily. This was not what they were expecting.

xxx

Gaius enters Merlin's room.

"Seems you're a hero," he says.

"Hard to believe, isn't it?" Merlin asks sarcastically.

"No. I knew it from the moment I met you. When you saved my life," Gaius says.

"But...that was magic," Merlin replies.

"And now, it seems, we finally found a use for it," Gaius says.

"What do you mean?" Merlin asks.

"I saw how you saved Arthur's life," Gaius says. Perhaps that's its purpose."

"My destiny," Merlin mutters.

At least that what the Great Dragon had called it.

"This book was given to me when I was your age," Gaius says as he hands Merlin the book. "but I have a feeling it will be of more use to you than it was to me."

"But this is a book of magic," Merlin realizes after looking through it. "I will study every word."

There is a knock at the door.

"Merlin, Prince Arthur wants you right away," the guard says.

Gaius looks over at Merlin.

"Your destiny's calling. You'd better find out what he wants," he says.

AN:

Hope you've enjoyed this and the little changes I have made. If it wasn't noticeable before, I'll be making this more into an Arthur/Merlin story. There was just no way around it. Colin and Bradley made it too easy to turn this into a slash.