Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin
Summary: AU. When Merlin's father returns suddenly Merlin realizes that his destiny isn't exactly what he thought it would be. Separated from Arthur, Merlin's life is turned upside down, never once suspecting that Arthur might miss him with the same intensity, or that their destiny is going to be tested and tried as his magic begins creating all sorts of troubles and attracting all sorts of potential love rivals...
Note: Icon that inspired story was created by jade_dragoness
Merlin heard the gasp first.
Opening his eyes and turning towards the sound, his eyes widened when he saw his mother standing in the doorway, watching them with eyes wide.
“Mother!” He pushed away from Arthur, going from pale to blushing red in seconds, stuttering as he ran his hand through his hair. “It’s---uh---I---Arthur!” He was stuttering like an idiot. “Arthur came!”
And his blush went darker as he realized how that sounded.
“Hello Hunith.” Arthur wasn’t at all frazzled, instead smiling charmingly at her. “It is good to see you.”
For a moment Hunith just looked between Arthur and Merlin, and then the biggest smile Merlin had ever seen graced her face as she entered the room, closed the door behind her, and went to embrace the crown prince of Camelot. “Arthur!” Hugging the blonde to her tightly, Hunith’s smile was blinding. “I knew you would come! I knew it.”
Arthur seemed as shocked as Merlin at Hunith’s actions, but he got control of his princely composure better than Merlin could, and awkwardly hugged the woman as well, patting her back and giving Merlin a confused look.
Merlin refused to meet Arthur’s gaze, instead hurrying towards his discarded shirt and pulling it on, feeling incredibly exposed now that he realized he was half-naked.
“I am so happy you are here.” Hunith pulled away from Arthur and smiled up into his face. “I knew it was only a matter of time before you arrived in Valador. Merlin has missed you greatly and I knew you missed him too.”
Arthur looked down at Hunith in absolute speechless terror.
Merlin recognized the expression on his mother’s face, it was the same one she’d been wearing in Ealdor all those months ago when she’d told him---.
“You two obviously are important to each other---need each other.” Hunith smiled tenderly. “You are like two sides of the same coin.”
It took all of Merlin’s composure to keep from covering his face with him hands or groaning in horror.
Arthur was never going to let him live this one down.
An amused chuckle echoed off of the walls, and Merlin was surprised that it’d come from Arthur.
“It truly is good to see you again, Hunith.” The blonde prince smiled at the beaming woman.
“I must tell Wyborn of your arrival.” Hunith smiled before hurrying out of the room, giggling to herself.
Merlin watched his mother go with a confused expression. “My mother truly loves you.” He snorted. “She obviously doesn’t know you as well as I do or she’d know you’re an insufferable prat.” He turned to Arthur, surprised when he noticed the blonde’s blue gaze upon him intently.
“I missed this, you know.” Arthur admitted softly.
“What? You missed me insulting you?” Merlin grinned. “And here I thought you were happy with a manservant who was quite content to show his talent at knee-walking.”
Arthur hesitated before making a face. “Merlin, the only one I wanted knee-walking was you.”
Merlin’s eyes widened and he scolded himself for not only blushing once more, but for suddenly having such a filthy mind. He’d only just realized what it was he felt for the prince of Camelot and yet that didn’t mean that his mind was reeling from the realization---it was happily supplying him with all of the things he should have been thinking while Arthur’s manservant.
“Well, how have you managed to survive this long without me?” Arthur wanted to know, leaning against the wall. “Not that, that I don’t realize that you aren’t as helpless as I thought you were.”
Merlin frowned, confused. “What exactly do you mean by that?”
Arthur paused for a moment, folding his hands over his chest. “I was at the marketplace earlier, Merlin. I---I saw Morgana lighting up like a candle and I saw you.” He raised his hand to silence Merlin when the man opened his mouth, continuing when the raven-haired boy did so. “This isn’t Camelot, Merlin. This is your kingdom, in which magic appears to be common.”
“Arthur---I---.” Merlin was desperate.
He wasn’t afraid for his life anymore, but trust was everything to Arthur and if he’d lost that trust in Merlin---.
“Merlin, my father will not hear of this from me.” Arthur whispered, blue gazes meeting and holding. “I am not here to cause problems for you or Valador. I might not trust magic, but I trust you. You have only ever used your magic to protect me and Camelot in the past, and I know that you would never use it to harm us.”
“I would never.” Merlin agreed, trying so hard to believe that it was going to be this easy, that things with Arthur were going to get better from now on…that somehow he hadn’t messed this up.
“That doesn’t mean that you did right in not telling me.” Arthur pressed. “We have a lot to speak of, Merlin. Don’t we?”
Merlin sighed and nodded. “Aye, sire.”
Arthur grinned. “You’re not my manservant anymore, Merlin, there’s no need for you to be referring to me as such, especially not as a prince of equal rank.”
“I was never beneath you.” Merlin then groaned silently at how his words were just so full of innuendo all of a sudden.
“I always knew that, Merlin, but those around us did not.” Arthur whispered, face serious. “You must remember that you are a prince now, and you must act differently as such. Your every movement will be observed from now on, and you must not only think of yourself, but of your kingdom as well.”
Merlin smiled, leaning against the wall. “You sound like Lancelot. He’s constantly bashing my head against the closest wall and reminding me about appearances.”
Arthur’s eyes narrowed. “Lancelot? He’s here?”
“Yes, he’s my Head Knight.” Merlin grinned, remembering his closest friend in Valador, and trusted advisor. “My father took him in after he left Camelot, and he’s been helping me tremendously. My swordplay in the marketplace? It was thanks to his teaching.”
Arthur frowned darker for some reason. “He teaches you to fight with the sword now.”
Merlin nodded, remembering how it used to be Arthur who would do so. “I have improved greatly under his tutelage.”
“I noticed.” The blonde prince pushed away from the wall and turned his back on the warlock, going to look out of the window. “So much has changed since we last met, Merlin. It, it will take me a while to digest this, I believe.”
“I---I’m just glad you’re here.” Merlin admitted, ducking his gaze. “I thought—I thought you hated me.”
Arthur chuckled softly, shaking his head, still staring out of the window. “You’re an idiot, Merlin.”
But Merlin just smiled brightly, happier than he’d been since he rode out of the gates of Camelot.
Morgana didn’t know what to think of Eldric.
The young third son of an ally of Valador had made his way towards her in the garden, and while he’d been charming and quite funny she’d sensed an ulterior motive in his company. He’d constantly slipped in questions, as if trying to interrogate her, especially on her relationship with Merlin and Arthur’s relationship with Merlin.
She wondered why he seemed particularly interested in Arthur and Merlin’s friendship, wondered why he seemed so much nicer to her now that he’d admitted that Merlin had confessed to him of Merlin’s real reason for inviting Morgana to Valador.
She wondered if he wished Merlin for himself, but while he seemed to be extremely protective and caring when it came to the warlock, Eldric didn’t glow the way someone in love did when speaking of the one they loved. He loved Merlin, yes, but it wasn’t that sort of love---or if it was he was hiding it very well from her---hiding it much better than Arthur ever had.
“He will have to marry eventually.” Morgana frowned, as she listened to Eldric’s monologue on how Merlin should be single and not have any distractions. “To produce an heir.”
“He doesn’t need an heir now.” Eldric announced vehemently. “He has much more important things he needs to ne concentrating now, and that is one of the reasons why I am glad that you are here as a ward of his now and not as his love interest.” He was incredibly blunt. “I hold no ill will to you now that I know you are magic like we are, and now that Merlin has made you his ward I offer you my friendship, but a relationship between you and he wouldn’t have been accepted. Not by the people.”
Morgana tilted her head, observing him. “How can you be so sure?”
“You are from Camelot, magic or not. And we hate Camelot, my father’s kingdom and Valador both.” Eldric announced. “You would do good in finding a husband here or at least allow someone else to court you to get rid of the suspicions the females of this court have placed on you.”
“I will not be courted just so that the insecurities of the women of this court may be appeased.” Morgana’s voice was firm. “I appreciate your concern and advice, but this is my decision on the matter and it shall not be swayed.”
Eldric frowned and was about to say something when the cry could be heard.
“Prince Arthur of Camelot is in the castle---with Prince Merlin!”
Eldric’s face went pale as he hurried to his feet, and without a ‘by your leave’ he raced out of the gardens.
Morgana watched him disappear and wondered if she should reevaluate his feelings for Merlin, but she couldn’t really care.
She just smiled and trained her gaze on the pond.
It was about time Arthur got off his butt and did something about this situation.
“Why are you not happy about this?” Hunith asked as she looked up at her husband. She’d been so happy as she’ hurried to find him, to tell him the news that Prince Arthur had come for Merlin just as she’d always known he would…and yet the expression on her husband’s face when those words left her mouth was unnerving.
“His destiny used to be tied to that of Prince Arthur,” Wyborn sat, looking at his wife. “But he knowingly broke it.”
“Broke it?” Hunith asked, confused. “I do not understand.”
“There was a boy, a druid child,” Wyborn admitted. “The Great Dragon warned our son that he would never live his destiny if he saved the life of that boy child, and knowing this, knowing that this boy would sever his destiny with the prince and make it void, Merlin helped him live.”
Hunith’s eyes went wide and she sat down next to her husband. “What are you saying, Wyborn? That Merlin and Arthur will not be together anymore? That Merlin chose for them not to?”
“I don’t think he understood the gravity of the consequences his actions had.” The king ran a hand through his hair. “He severed his destiny with Arthur, there is no destiny any further. If anything, he might have unknowingly forged one with the child Mordred instead, I am not sure. All I know is that since the encounter the fates have been at war, and Emrys is in the middle of it.”
“What can we do?” Hunith asked, ready to help her child in any way possible.
“There is nothing we can do.” Wyborn was sad to admit. “Even as a god my powers are sealed and useless, it all rests in Merlin’s hands, and to a much smaller extent in that of Prince Arthur, but a destiny severed is hard to reconstruct.”
“If anyone can do it, it will be those two.” Hunith was sure.
“They are no longer linked, my love, and they are now both princes with duties to their people.” Wyborn tried to get her to see reason. “Duties that can only tear them apart.”
Hunith frowned. “You told me that Merlin doesn’t conform to human standards, that he doesn’t need a woman to bear his child. He could bear them himself.”
Wyborn winced. “He can’t bare them himself, wife! He’s a man! God-child or not that doesn’t change the fact that he doesn’t have a womb or any of the necessary things to bare life inside of his body!”
Hunith was obviously confused. “Then, if that is so, how is it that Merlin can bear heirs if he doesn’t conceive them?”
Wyborn sighed and began to explain.
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