Merlin and Arthur Pendragon were sitting together on a park bench a few blocks away from their father's home. Merlin, who had been cornered and beaten after walking home from here the previous year kept looking around him anxiously and jumping at every small noise.
Gaius, the boy's new guardian since he had left Uther, had been wary about letting him go back to the place where he had been so hurt but Arthur had insisted that everything would be fine. He had taken Merlin to meet Arthur at the park not wishing to tell Uther that his two sons would be seeing each other that night before going to work and St. Mungos.
Morgana Pendragon, the boy's sister, was off spending the month with the Malfoy family which neither Arthur nor Merlin were happy about. When Morgana had asked their father if it would be okay, he had seen no fault in the people his daughter wanted to spend a month with.
"Stop jumping Merlin, it was just a squirrel" Arthur rolled his eyes at his brother as he looked over his shoulder in time to see a squirrel scampering up a tree.
"You never know" Merlin said back indignantly.
"Right, never know when a squirrel is going to go crazy and att—sorry" he said after seeing the look on his brother's face. Arthur had been upset when Merlin moved away and he wanted to act like everything was back to normal but he had just reminded the boy why he had moved in the first place. "Nothing's going to hurt you here"
"Why's that, cause you're here, I better start running" Merlin laughed and Arthur punched his arm "Hey!"
"I can take you on" Arthur said triumphantly. A mischievous smile curved Merlin's lips and he let his eyes glow. With no other warning, one of the trees that sat over the bench moved its limbs of its own accord and slapped Arthur with its leaves while Merlin laughed hysterically.
"Stop that!" Arthur grunted as he tried to smack the tree limb away from his head "Do you want to get expelled?"
"Of course not" Merlin said sobering up and stopping the enchantment on the tree "I've figured out over the summer that the trace that they have on all underage wizards doesn't apply to my special magic. As long as I don't use my wand, they have no idea that I'm using enchantments"
Once again Arthur rolled his eyes "Of course, so now you can use magic outside of school and I can't defend myself because they would know that I'm using my magic"
"Pretty much" Merlin replied happily.
"Have you found anything about why you have this magic?" Arthur asked. Merlin, before they had left for summer break the year before had told Arthur he was going to try and find out more about his strange magic.
"Yeah I did actually… well not why I have it, but I did figure out it's not just me. Morgana and Freya both have it, which you already knew, but so does Gaius"
"Gaius?" Arthur asked surprised.
Merlin nodded "Yeah, I was just going to ask him if he had ever heard about the Old Religion and he freaked out asking me where I had heard that. When I told him that Tom Riddle told me about it I thought he was going to faint he was so upset. After I told him the whole story he told me he could use some of that magic himself, though not much"
"Does he know why you have it?" Arthur asked.
Merlin shook his head "No, but he did say it was really rare and you can't just learn it".
Arthur nodded his head and leaned back against the back of the bench when Merlin asked "What about your sword, what'd you do with it?"
"It's hanging on the wall in my room, I had to tell father it was just a decoration before he'd let me keep it" Arthur explained his eyes glazing over slightly as he thought of his sword.
"Are you going to take it back to Hogwarts?" Merlin asked curiously. He could see how attached his brother was to that sword though he had no reason to be having only had it for less than a year.
"I'd like to, but I'm not so sure the teachers would appreciate me bringing a sword to school with me" Arthur explained "but I don't like the thought of leaving it behind either"
Merlin nodded, he felt similar, like he knew it would be a bad idea if anyone other than Arthur got their hands on the sword. He knew that if Arthur did not keep it close or Merlin did not know for sure that it was in a hard to access place, he would worry about the sword every second until he was sure it was safe.
"…I was actually thinking of asking you to transfigure it into a charm or something, so I could hang it on a necklace so I could keep it close—Melrin?"
Arthur looked over Merlin's shoulder to see what the boy was looking at and when he saw he stopped talking as well. A beautiful girl at least three years their senior with long black hair that reached down to the middle of her back and bright blue eyes was walking right towards them.
"Hey guys" she said sweetly "I was wondering if either of you would like a drink" she pointed to a small coffee shop across the street from the small park "the expiration date is tomorrow and if we don't give it away we'll have to throw it out, so how 'bout it?"
She held out a glass bottle of iced coffee to the two boys smiling brightly at them. Merlin, who was suddenly parched, held his hand out to take the drink "Sure, thanks"
She smiled wider and handed him the drink "Thanks, I hope you like it" she said flipping her hair over her shoulder and sauntering away back toward the coffee shop. The boy's did not notice however that she never went back into the coffee shop, instead she went to stand behind a line of trees where she could easily watch the two boys without being seen.
Merlin twisted the cap off the bottle and was about to drink it when he just stopped making Arthur ask "What's wrong?"
Merlin screwed the cap back on and set the bottle down between them "Just a weird feeling"
"Are you serious, I told you you're fine here, I'm not going to let anything bad happen this time Merlin, don't let that ruin your life" he said sadly.
Merlin shook his head, he did not know how to explain it, but something about the drink felt wrong to him "Come on Merlin, a beautiful girl just gave you a free drink and you're not going to drink of it because of a bad feeling?"
Merlin shrugged, what Arthur was saying made sense but he felt like it would be a bad idea to drink the coffee.
Arthur snatched the bottle up "Fine, I'll drink it, what would Freya say anyway if she found out you were getting free drinks from other girls?"
"Probably the same thing Gwen would say when she found out you were getting free drinks" Merlin retorted.
"Gwen? What are you talking about, me and Gwen aren't together!" Arthur said defensively.
Merlin raised an eyebrow in a good imitation of Gaius "Really Arthur, you must be the only one who doesn't see it and I'm sure even that isn't true. Why do you keep denying it, you two are meant for each other and I would not want her to know that her man was looking at other girls" Merlin taunted pulling the drink out of his brother's hands.
"And you're not scared of Freya?" Arthur asked smirking as Merlin hesitated again.
"It's not like it means anything!" Merlin said defensively "she just had to get rid of it before it expired, plus she's way older than us"
"Keep telling yourself that while Freya yells at you" Arthur taunted.
"Whatever, I'm drinking it" Merlin said with a resolve he did not feel and twisted the cap off again and tipped the bottle back. The cold liquid slid down his throat satisfyingly.
Arthur was smirking when Merlin looked at him "What?"
"See, it wasn't so bad, not like it was poison or anything" he said as Merlin screwed the cap back onto the bottle.
"Guess you're right, it just kind of gets to me that I'm back here, I feel like someone's watching me just waiting to—Ar…Arthur!"
Merlin felt his heart begin to race and his throat close up. He was taking in deep gasps of breaths his lungs unable to fill with oxygen "Ar—ur"
"Merlin, Merlin!" Arthur was screaming his brother's name as the boy's face started to turn red and he began choking. "Stop Merlin, please—Help! Someone help us!"
Merlin was losing consciousness and was sliding out of the bench, Arthur tried to keep him from hitting the floor but the boy kept falling. His body lay unmoving on the grass, his right arm outstretched in front of him, his long fingers touching the sidewalk that they were sitting next to.
A loud bang interrupted Arthur's cries for help and a long, triple-decker, violently purple bus with gold lettering that read 'the Knight Bus' pulled up in front of the two boys, a lanky teenager stepping off. His face was covered in pimples and his brown hair was hanging in his eyes, but Arthur was not taking any of that in, only that there was a bus in front of him.
The boy was opening his mouth to speak, but Arthur beat him to it "Please, something's wrong with my brother, he just collapsed, we need to get to a hospital"
The boy looked down at Merlin's gasping body and nodded, he bent down to help Arthur pick the boy up, Arthur's hand locked around the coffee, and they lifted the boy into the bus "St. Mungo's, Ern, it's an emergency".
First chapter of book 3, sorry you had to wait so long, I've been busy and I had an idea for two short fics. I'm still busy so I don't know when I'll be able to upload chapter 2, so I was nice enough to leave you with a bit of a cliffhanger, you're welcome! Please R&R.