A/N: Ten points to anyone who caught the Strongbad reference last chapter ;)
Shameless self-promotion: To all of you who enjoyed concussed!Merlin last chapter, check out my one-shot "A Moment Aside" for concussed&drugged!Merlin :)
Nance: It is my opinion that Gwen has to have a good sense of humor to put up with Arthur- even if she isn't particularly good at making jokes.
And now... SURPRISE EPILOGUE!
Got a bit out of hand and went further than I intended, but once again that's pretty normal for me.
I'm not even going to pretend there was any justification for the last part- it basically typed itself.
Despite his constant attempts to get up and 'dance with the unicorns' or 'help Arthur get himself unstuck from the privy- can't you hear him yelling?' Merlin recovered quite nicely and was soon making clandestine night missions to magically help with the rebuilding efforts.
The death toll had been miraculously low, all of them people from the lower town who had lived near the wall where it had been breached.
His surviving books having been retrieved from his tower, Gaius had researched and found some small mention of the phenomenon- apparently called a 'whirlwind' or 'cyclone'. There had even been some reference to it as a 'landspout'- this making more sense to Arthur, who had witnessed a waterspout once when sailing with his father.
At least it hadn't been sorcery (for perhaps the first time in the course of Arthur's life).
And so months passed, houses were rebuilt, Gaius had a new tower that was the spitting-image of the previous one, and life returned to normal. As normal as it ever was.
Several months after that magic was legalized due to some typical events that really don't need to be gone into, and Merlin's secret was revealed to a resounding lack of surprise (other than his own and that of Gaius who nearly had a heart attack).
That being the case, the new royal adviser and expert on all things magical returned to the forest and set the detached tower to rights; using it as a safe, isolated location to perform experiments and fickle spells.
Once the last of his Camelotian companions had passed from the earth, Merlin moved into the tower and spent his time surrounded by the familiar sights and smells of his youth. Sometimes it was too much and he would wander the world for a few decades, catching up on all the new innovations and helping out where he could; but for the most part he was content to wait, only involving himself in local affairs.
A new settlement sprang up near his overgrown tower after the fall of Camelot; it was small and close-knit, he liked it.
He became a bit of a legend in the village, the kind old man who seemed to have been around forever and may or may not be magical.
It was mostly the children he shared his magic with- the majority of them dismissing the memories as the fancy of youth when they grew into adulthood.
But every now and then there were those who held onto their belief and would, on occasion, come to him to perform a small bit of spellwork or a healing when things were desperate (Merlin had, at one time, served as official healer for the village but had long since fallen behind on medical practices of the day).
And so it was that, more than a millennium after saying 'farewell' to his best friend, the ancient man became partially responsible for bringing him back into the world.
It was a rainy night when the prematurely-balding and frantic man burst through the front door (it hadn't taken Merlin long to decide using a window as the entrance for the rest of time simply wouldn't do), very pregnant wife in his arms.
The warlock's eyebrows nearly hit the roof.
He had met both of them when they were younger and had his suspicions- but these two were now clear copies of their former selves.
He felt a stirring of hope as he looked at the blond woman's swollen stomach.
"Lie her on the table."
It was a perfectly nice padded table made for medical treatment- no need to hold onto all of the things of the past.
Uther started babbling uncontrollably, clearly out of his head with panic.
"She's early, we didn't expect- and then she... there was no way we would make it to the hospital in the city and she insisted-"
"Alright, calm down. Here, stand on this side and hold her hand. There's nothing to be worried about."
His gentle tone seemed to work and the once-king-now-accountant gripped his wife's hand tenderly.
Merlin took a deep breath.
Could this finally be it?
Wanting to prevent a repeat of past events, he extended his magic and soothed Ygraine into near-painlessness as he felt the babe within, guiding the birth with a flood of golden power.
Less than an hour later a smiling couple was cradling their new child as Merlin whispered "welcome back, Arthur."