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

Chapter 13 Le Morte d'Arthur

Arthur and Merlin, along the knights, were out hunting. Arthur stopped as he heard something.

"Merlin! Spear," Arthur whispers. Merlin drops it. Do you have any gifts, Merlin?"

"No," Merlin answers. And then something comes to him. "Well, I'm not naturally rude and insensitive."

"Just naturally irritating," Arthur says. He turns to Merlin after hearing an animal noise. "It's probably more scared of you than you of it." All of a sudden, the animal comes into view. It's more or a giant snake than anything. Arthur drops his weapon and they take off running. Merlin trips and falls. "Merlin!"

Arthur and a knight pick him up and they're running again.

"Have we've lost it?" Merlin asks, trying to catch his breath.

Uther tells Arthur to gather the guard to kill what Gaius called the Questing Beast at dawn.

"This is no ordinary beast, Merlin," Gaius says. "At the very heart of the Old Religion lies the magic of life and death itself. The Questing Beast holds that power. One bite, you die."

There is a knock at the door.

"Morgana," Gaius says in shock.

"May I speak to Melrin in private?" she asks.

Gaius nods and walks out, replying, "I needed to gather some herbs anyway."

"My lady?" Merlin asks as the door closes.

"You can't let him go," Morgana says.

"I beg your pardon?" Merlin asks.

"Arthur can't go tomorrow. He'll die," Morgana cries.

Merlin walks up to her and carefully places a hand on her shoulder.

"I promise you, Morgana. I will do everything in my power to protect him," he assures her.

"I know you will," she says with a small smile.

xxx

Merlin follows Arthur into a cave when they come upon tracks.

"What is it?" Merlin asks as they stop.

The beast appears from behind them. Merlin feels pressure on his chest. Arthur has pushed him back, silently telling him to run. Merlin gets on top of a rock.

"Hey," Merlin yells.

The beast turns to him. Merlin sees Arthur in unconscious, so he chants a spell, enchanting Arthur's sword and the beast. He runs down to Arthur.

"It didn't bite you, did it?" Merlin asks out loud.

To his horror, he finds blood. The knights find them and take him to Gaius.

"What's happened?" Gaius asks.

"He's been bitten," Merlin answers.

Gaius turns to Sir Leon.

"We must tell the King," he says.

Merlin slams his fist into the table.

"I tried to save him," he yells. Gaius puts a hand on Merlin's shoulder. "I'll find a cure."

"Merlin," Gaius yells as Merlin runs to his room and gets his spell book. "The King will be here any moment."

"He can't die." Tears are now coming down his face. He could not lose Arthur. "It is my destiny to protect. We haven't done all the things we're meant to do!"

"Then save him," Gaius says.

But Merlin could not by the tome Uther came in.

"I can't stay here," Merlin says, and he takes off to the cave to see the Great Dragon. "I have Arthur, failed my destiny."

"And yet you would not be here of that were true," the dragon replies. "There is still time to heal him."

"I will do anything," Merlin tells the dragon. "You know how I feel about him. You've always known."

"The Questing Beast is a creature conjured by the powers of the Old Religion. You must use the same ancient magic to save him. You must find those who still serve it. Those who hold dominion over life and death. Go to the place that men call the Isle of the Blessed."

xxx

Merlin was about to leave for the Isle of the Blessed when Gaius walked up to him.

"I'm sorry, Gaius," Merlin apologizes. "But whatever the price is, I will pay it gladly."

"I know your feelings about each other. When you're gone, how do think it'll affect Arthur?" he asks.

These are the words Merlin took with him as he left. He held the rabbit foot Gaius gave him tightly in his head as he arrived. All that is left of the place is ruins.

"Hello, Merlin," a female voice greets him. He turns and is shocked at the person he sees. It was Cara, or rather, Nimueh. "Do you know who I am?"

"Nimueh," he gasps. "You tried to kill me."

"Before I understood your importance," she says, walking closer to Merlin, who stands his ground. Even when she placed her hands on his chest, he did not move. She moves to his ear. "Yes, I know why you've come."

Merlin closed his eyes tightly as Nimueh nipped at his earlobe.

"Don't think you're magic can trick me," he says breathlessly.

"Your body language says differently," Nimueh replies with a laugh, running her hand down his front.

Merlin opens his eyes to see Nimueh's expression when she found she had not had the effect on him she was hoping she would.

"Not what you wanted?" Merlin asks with a smirk. "Sorry to disappoint you. Now, will you save Arthur?"

"I do not have the power to mirror life itself and yet give nothing in return," Nimueh says.

"I know that a price will be asked," Merlin tells her.

"To save a life, there must be a death. The balance of the world must be restored," Nimueh explains.

Merlin looks down for a moment, knowing what he must do.

"I willingly give my life for Arthur's," he says.

"How brave you are, Merlin. Yet you have given your life for him once before. Love can be a strange thing. If only it were that simple giving your life for his," Nimueh replies.

"What do you mean?" Merlin asks.

"Once you enter into this bargain, it cannot be undone," Nimueh answers. She holds up a cup. "The Cup of Life, blessed by centuries of powerful sorcery so that it contains the very secret of life itself. If Arthur drinks water from the cup… he will live."

She casts a spell, and it begins to rain and fill up the cup.

xxx

Gaius gasps as Merlin comes running into his chambers.

"We need to give this to Arthur," Merlin says.

"Whose life did you bargain?" Gaius asks, although he knew the answer in his heart.

They take off to Arthur's chambers. As Gaius is administering the antidote, Uther walk in.

"What are you giving him?" he demands.

Gaius and Merlin glance at each other for a moment, neither of them knowing how to answer him. Gaius then comes up with something.

"It's a tincture, made from the lobelia plant. An ancient remedy for poisonous bites," he says.

Merlin leaves, allowing Gaius to do his work. Gaius enters his chambers so time later where Merlin pacing back and forth, waiting for news.

"Did it work?" Merlin asks.

"The Prince lives," Gaius answers.

Merlin smiles and grows his fingers through his hair, tear something to form. He had done it.

xxx

Merlin wakes up the next morning to find that he is still alive. However, he learns that it is mother whose life has been bargained, and not his.

"I will make better," Merlin promises.

As he goes to see Arthur, the words of the Great Dragon fill his mind.

"You destiny is to protect the young Pendragon until he claims his crown. And when he does, magic can be returned to the realm. Only then will I be free," the dragon said.

"So that's all you cared about?" Merlin asked.

"You and Arthur are bound together, no matter how much you deny that truth," the dragon replied.

Merlin takes a deep breath as the memory fades and he enters Arthur's chamber.

"Ah, Merlin," Arthur says.

Merlin takes in Arthur state. He sits in his chair with supper in front of him, his arm in a sling.

"How are you?" Merlin asks, still standing by the door.

"Good," Arthur admits.

"I'm pleased," Merlin says with a smile. He takes a step closer. "I need to talk to you."

"You still haven't got it, have you?" Arthur asks. "I decide when we need to talk."

Merlin shakes his head and gets the never to walk closer.

"Not today," he replies in a low voice.

Arthur laughs and places a hand on his wrapped shoulder.

"I sometime wonder if you know who I am," he says.

"Oh, I know who you are," Merlin tells him, looking Arthur straight in the eyes. "You're a prat. And a royal one."

Arthur looks at Merlin in shock. This comment brings him back to the first time they met.

"Are you ever going to change, Merlin?" he asks.

"No, cause then you wouldn't feel the way you do about me. Promise me this. If you get another servant, don't get a bootlicker," he replies.

"If this is you trying to leave your job…" Arthur begins.

"No. I'm happy to be your servant till the day I die," Merlin says.

"Sometimes I think I know you, Merlin, Arthur replies, letting a smile out.

"I know you. And you're a great warrior. One day you will be a great king," he tells him.

"That's very kind of you," Arthur replies.

Merlin moves the plate of food to the side and sits on the table. Arthur leans back in his chair and looks up at Merlin.

"But you must learn to listen as well as you fight," Merlin adds.

"Any other pointers?" Arthur asks, this time leaning in his chair closer to Merlin.

"No. That's it," Merlin answers. He then leans closer also, their noses almost touching. "Just… don't be a prat."

Arthur grabs the back of Merlin's head.

"Is that any way to speak to your prince?" he asks.

"How am I to be punished?" Merlin wonder s, and for a moment he regrets his action. Arthur pulls Merlin's head to his, making their lips touch. Merlin is shocked as they part. He would have never imagined Arthur being the one to follow through. "I… I got to go. Goodbye."

Merlin hops off the table and leaves. At least he could die now knowing Arthur felt the same he did.

xxx

The next morning, Merlin finds a letter from Gaius telling him of his plan to sacrifice himself in Merlin's place. Merlin gets n a horse and rides as fast as he can to save him.

"Stop," Merlin yells as he finds Nimueh in the middle of her chant, Gaius on the floor.

Nimueh turns and smiles.

"Back again so soon, warlock?" she asks. "Perhaps I left you longing for me after all."

"Not a chance," Merlin replies with a laugh. He then looks over at Gaius. "What have you done?"

"Your mother is safe," Nimueh assures him. "The Old Religion does not care who lives or dies. Only that the balance of the world is restored. Gaius knew this. Now with my help, Arthur will become King."

Merlin shook his head vigorously.

"I will make Arthur King," he says, and he casts a spell, but Nimueh reflects it off of her.

"Your childish tricks are useless against me, Merlin," she replies, and she sends Merlin to the ground.

She turns away, thinking she has killed him, but Merlin slowly sits up.

"You should not have killed my friend," Merlin says.

He puts a hand in the air, causing a bolt of lightning, killing Nimueh and saving Gaius.

xxx

Arthur's eyes grow as he watches Merlin walk into his chambers.

"You're back," he says.

"So it would seem, Sire," Merlin replies.

This time, Arthur is the one to walk up to Merlin.

"I thought you had said goodbye," he tells him.

"So did I," Merlin admits. Arthur calls in one of the guards and whispers something in his ear. As the door closes, Merlin can swear he hears it lock. "What are you going to do?"

Arthur pushes Merlin up against the wall.

"I'm going to make you pay for kissing me and then taking off like you weren't coming back.

Merlin's head hits the wall as Arthur kisses him. His hands soon find Arthur's back. Arthur comes up for air and grabs Merlin's neckerchief.

"Now, let's get this bloody scarf off," he says.

AN:

This is the end of series one!