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
Arthur might have trusted Merlin’s magic, but that didn’t mean that he trusted magic in general. He’d seen it used for evil most of his life, and so one couldn’t really blame him for being on the alert as Merlin showed him around the castle. The hatred these people had for Camelot was enough to make Arthur wary, as did the near obsessive possessiveness they seemed to have for their prince.
If they had disliked Morgana as much as they had for being the ward of Camelot, he knew they would hate him terribly for being its prince, son of its tyrant king.
He wondered if Merlin had realized this and if it’d factored in his decision to have the maids ready the room next to his for the visiting prince.
But despite this Arthur couldn’t care. He’d gone up against wizards before and he’d survived.
All that mattered right now was the fact that he was with Merlin again, and Merlin’s face was radiant with its smile as he moved more like the excited manservant Arthur remembered him than as the regal prince he should be.
Everywhere they went the maids and servants whispered amongst themselves, some looking shocked and others downright disapproving. Arthur had never gotten this much attention in his own land, and it unnerved him just a little.
“So that is why you two became such close friends.” Arthur announced, blinking and shaking his head, unable to believe that all of the stories Merlin was telling him had happened beneath his very nose and he hadn’t realized it or suspected a thing. “That is why you remained friends even after you left. You---you weren’t courting her, you were making sure she was safe.”
Merlin nodded, smiling his quirky smile that Arthur had sorely missed. “Yes. Morgana is a very close friend of mine. But only a friend. I was worried about leaving her alone in Camelot without a confidant, and I didn’t want her to feel like I’d abandoned her.”
“What prompted the invitation?” Arthur asked, curious.
Now that he realized that there were no feelings between Morgana and Merlin romantic-wise, he’d calmed down, feeling very much like an idiot for the way he’d acted these last couple of months.
Merlin’s face turned dark. “Morgana started having visions of her imprisonment, rape, and death.”
Arthur’s face went furious. “What?”
His reaction seemed to relax Merlin, because some of the anger was gone from the warlock’s face. “She had a repeated vision about Uther finding out about her powers and having her imprisoned in the dungeons. As an extra punishment she was raped by the guards and then executed.” His mouth was a disgusted sneer. “She had to get away from there, and begged me for help, for sanctuary from Camelot and Uther.”
Arthur winced at the thought that his father would allow something so horrible like that to happen to Morgana.
He didn’t doubt Uther would, though, if he’d discovered that the girl he’d been harboring and caring for had magic within her.
“She was in a horrible state when she finally got here.” Merlin admitted, looking forlorn as they reached a balcony and he leaned against the stone railing. “I had to stay with her continuously the first couple of days, funneling my magic into her to keep away the nightmares, so she could have a night’s sleep.”
That explains the whole ‘the prince has locked himself in the Lady Morgana’s room’ thing the villagers were talking about.
“Have the premonitions changed?” Arthur asked, hoping to god that they had.
Merlin nodded, smiling. “Whatever it was that triggered her death in Camelot didn’t happen since she was here, so her future has changed, for now.” His face then went serious. “She’s going to remain here.”
Arthur was surprised at the realization that Merlin seemed very much a prince at that moment.
“She will never be safe while in Camelot’s walls.” The warlock’s gaze went over his vast lands, which spread out around the castle further than the eye could see. “But Valador is a kingdom of magic, they admire the magically-inclined, and what happened in the marketplace can only change their outlook for the positive when it comes to Morgana. They will accept her now. She will be at home here.”
Arthur joined Merlin, leaning against the stone. “While Morgana’s still the ward of my father he can order her to come back and she’ll have to obey.”
“We’re working on a way to break his hold over her.” Merlin’s face was unreadable. “I offered to marry her. As my bride, she would be safe and Uther wouldn’t be able to touch her.”
Arthur tensed immediately, knowing that his displeasure with this was visible on his face and yet not caring to hide it.
This was what he’d been trying to avoid!
Merlin had gone and done the noble thing and offered Morgana his hand in marriage.
The girl would have been insane not to accept this offer of protection.
“She refused me.”
Arthur’s eyes widened. “What?”
Merlin turned to look at him. “She refused my offer of marriage, saying that while Camelot and Valador needed uniting, that I was asking the wrong person to marry me.” There was a pause as Merlin’s eyes searched Arthur’s face. “Do you have any idea what she was referring to when she said that?”
Arthur knew his eyes were wider than usual, and that he might have the beginning of a blush creeping up the side of his neck, but he shook his head valiantly. He---he couldn’t believe---Morgana----Morgana had basically told Merlin to ask for his hand in marriage!
Camelot and Valador united…
Arthur let his surprise drain from his face and thought about it, not noticing that his shoulder was leaning against Merlin’s, or that the warlock was blushing slightly at the contact.
As a country united, one people, one governing monarchy, it would be the most powerful kingdom in the surrounding kingdoms. It would open up Camelot to magic, and slowly disperse the hatred the Valadorians had for them.
With a knight as King and a warlock as King Consort both the magically inclined and the non-magical person would feel safe to live in the kingdom and not fear persecution for living their lives normally.
The more Arthur thought about it, the more the idea grew on him.
He sent a sideways glance at Merlin, smirking softly at the confused and slightly embarrassed look he was getting in return.
Of course, there would be the issue of heirs, and the fact that since he and Merlin were both males they couldn’t exactly have any---but it wasn’t unheard of for an heirless king to pick a young child to train for such a position.
Merlin was usually a good judge of character, together with Arthur they could find someone who was worthy of the crown after their demise and who would be a noble monarch.
He was going to marry Merlin.
“I hope I’m interrupting.” An unfamiliar voice announced from behind them.
Arthur frowned as he turned the same time as Merlin, looking upon a redheaded male leaning against a wall, looking decidedly displeased. It was the same man who’d attacked Merlin this morning in the marketplace.
“It seems as though all of Camelot has decided to come knocking at your doors, Merlin.” The male announced, giving Arthur a decidedly unfriendly look before sauntering towards Merlin and putting a possessive arm around his shoulders.
The body language said it all.
Arthur narrowed his eyes, his fingers twitching in his desire to reach for his sword.
This man was displaying the same decidedly possessive attitude towards Merlin that’d made Arthur truly dislike Will.
“Behave, Eldric.” Merlin’s voice was tired, as if used to this behavior. “Arthur, this is Eldric, third son of king Midian.”
Arthur snorted, suddenly understanding.
King Midian wasn’t exactly an ally of Uther or Camelot.
“Merlin,” Eldric turned so that he was half leaning, half clinging onto the dark hair man, pouting into his face. “You promised you’d take me to the gardens to show me the new section Queen Hunith has cultivated since my last visit.”
Arthur narrowed his eyes.
“It’s amazing she gets anything done in the short span of time you aren’t here.” Merlin’s lips twitched. “You spend more time here than you do in your own kingdom.”
Arthur clenched his jaw.
“He has two other sons, he can spare me.” Eldric hid his face in Merlin’s shoulder, grumbling like a little child. “C’mon then, take me! We haven’t gotten to spend any time alone since I got here.” His hand trailed slightly down Merlin’s chest.
Arthur was two seconds away from proclaiming war on Udonia by slaughtering King Midian’s third son.
“Arthur.” Morgana’s voice drew everyone’s attention as she arrived with a wary Lancelot.
Arthur looked down at the woman he’d thought of like a sister and couldn’t help the deep feeling of guilt swirling in his gut. “I know, Morgana.” He felt horrible at the look of fear in her eyes.
The young prince did the first thing that came to his mind and he hugged her, surprising them both, but it was something they needed.
“He loves you.” Morgana whispered into his ear as she hugged him tightly. “Beware of Eldric. I don’t trust him.”
Surprised and pleased by her amazing ability to forgive and desire to help him, Arthur pulled back and gave her a blinding smile, oblivious to the slight hurt yet resigned expression on Merlin’s face.
“Your Highness.” Lancelot bowed to Arthur before turning to Merlin. “My Prince, I have need of a word with you.”
Eldric pouted, still half hanging onto Merlin. “Can’t you do it later? Merlin was about to show me the new addition to the Queen’s Garden.”
Emotions warred over Lancelot’s face.
It would seem the Head Knight disliked Eldric as well.
“El,” Merlin sighed.
“No, you’ve been paying attention to everything but me today, and I’m the one who breaks his horse’s back to be with you as often as I do.” Eldric held on stubbornly. “Least you can do is---.”
“Alright.” Merlin grumbled, turning to Arthur and Morgana. “Morgana, could you continue showing Arthur around? It will give you two time to talk in private.”
Arthur didn’t need time to talk to Morgana. What he needed was to pry Eldric’s sticky little fingers off of Merlin!
“Of course, your Highness.” Morgana’s lips twisted with amusement at the title as she curtsied and motioned for Arthur to follow her.
Arthur was about to protest, but the look in Morgana’s eyes warned him that it was in his best interest to follow her, so with a parting glare in a smug Eldric’s direction, he followed.
She better have something important she needs to say!
“El…” Merlin’s tone was a warning the moment Morgana and Arthur left.
Eldric sighed melodramatically as he made a show of letting go of the prince. “Alright. Two minutes with the knight. Then you’re mine.”
Rolling his eyes, Merlin turned towards Lancelot, and the knight could see the slight irritation on his prince’s face. “I’m sorry about that, Lancelot. He---you know how Eldric is. He doesn’t mean to be annoying, it’s just a part of his nature.”
“I resent that!” Eldric gave a little cry from where he stood.
Merlin’s eyes flashed molten gold, and with a jolt deep in his stomach, Lancelot found them both standing by the lake outside of the castle walls.
The knight looked around them before smirking. “He’s going to be mighty pissed when he realizes you just teleported us away.”
Merlin grinned mischievously. “I know.”
Sharing a laugh with the prince, Lancelot shook his head. “To be truthful, Merlin, I didn’t have anything important to say to you. Lady Morgana came to me with news of Arthur’s being here with you, and Eldric racing towards where the two of you were, and we both realized that you would need an intervention.”
Merlin smiled. “Morgana is a wise woman.”
“That is true.” Lancelot nodded.
Not that anyone couldn’t see how possessive and irritating Eldric was when it came to Merlin. Anyone could have told that Eldric, Arthur, and Merlin all together alone was a very very bad idea and would most probably end in bloodshed and war.
“So…” Lancelot smiled. “Prince Arthur has paid us a visit. I have to admit, I have been waiting for this day for a long time.”
“Really?” Merlin sent him a confused look before ducking his gaze. “I kinda thought he’d never come, that he hated me.”
“He could never hate you.” Lancelot snorted at the thought. “You are like two halves of one soul, two sides of a coin.”
Merlin made a face. “Have you been talking to my mother?”
“Queen Hunith?” Lancelot asked, confused, wondering what she had to do with what he was saying.
“Never mind.” Merlin waved off the question, looking somewhat troubled as he gave Lancelot a curious expression. “I think---I think he’s here to win back Morgana and make peace with our kingdom.”
He was loyal to his prince and kinda adored him…but Merlin could be terribly oblivious sometimes. It made Lancelot want to slap him up the back of his head and chide with a: ‘You Moron’.
“I doubt Prince Arthur has romantic feelings for Lady Morgana.” He tried to get through to Merlin as best as he could. “If you realize, he didn’t want to leave you with Eldric. If anything, he seemed, how should I put it, possessive.”
Merlin didn’t miss a beat. “Of course he’s possessive. The man’s a spoilt prat and he’ll always see me as his manservant. You know how Arthur dislike sharing what he thinks is his.”
Lancelot wondered how Merlin could have figured that part out and yet not everything in whole. “So you do admit that he is possessive when it comes to you.”
“And a giant prat.” Merlin grinned. “But that’s how he is with what he considers his. I’m used to it.”
“So you admit that Arthur considers that you belong to him.” Lancelot pressed on, trying to get Merlin to see what he was actually trying to say.
“Of course he does.” Merlin nodded.
“And why do you think he feels you belong to him?” Lancelot waited with baited breath.
“Because Uther gave me to him, remember?” Merlin made a face, as if worried for Lancelot’s memory or health---or maybe both. “I saved Arthur’s life and Uther rewarded me by giving me to Arthur as his manservant. Thus I was technically Arthur’s and so Arthur felt I belonged to him.”
“He still feels you belong to him.” Lancelot was doing his best not to lose his patience with the stubbornly oblivious monarch. “Doesn’t that saysomething to you?”
Merlin seemed confused, and opening his mouth to ask---.
“Merlin! That was a mean, dirty, and lowlife trick!” Eldric complained, huffing, as he hurried towards them. “If I weren’t so in tune with your magic I wouldn’t have known where you’d gone!”
Merlin rolled his eyes but smiled affectionately at his friend. “Yes, well, you’re a pain in the arse, El.”
“Meanie!” Eldrick grabbed Merlin’s arm and began dragging him away, complaining and teasing and had Merlin laughing in about six footsteps.
Lancelot watched them go with a frown.
Looking out of the window in her father’s workroom, Clara’s gaze fell on Lady Morgana and Prince Arthur, as they strolled the battlement, deep in thought. The blonde couldn’t hear what they were saying, and wasn’t good at reading lips, but she knew that whatever they were talking about made them both anxious, worried, angered and amused.
She didn’t truly care what they were saying, but it bothered her that they were here.
Clara hated Camelot, hated how under King Uthers command her mother had lost her life, and hated the fact that Prince Merlin seemed to be under some sort of spell when it came to those people.
No good could befall the kingdom as long as those two were still within the castle walls.
They needed to be driven out of the kingdom and back to where they came from.
The prince and ward mightn’t have made the decree to purge the land of magic, but they’d stayed there, standing by that murderer’s side, as countless innocents were sacrificed as Uther tried to blame others for his own part in his wife’s death.
She wasn’t going to allow Arthur or Morgana to destroy Valador the way Uther had done Camelot.
She just couldn’t.
Somehow, Merlin was expecting it when Eldric pushed him against a tree and brought his lips to his. Usually Merlin would push the younger prince away immediately, but the image of Arthur hugging Morgana, and of giving her the most blinding smile, was burnt in the back of his mind and he tried to erase it by kissing back angrily.
Eldric gave a little whimper of surprise before opening his mouth to the exploration, his hands traveling down Merlin’s body.
Merlin straddled the thigh thrust between his and pulled the redhead closer, trying in vain against the images of Arthur assaulting him. But it was as if the harder he kissed Eldric, the more he tried to forget Arthur, the more images of the blonde assaulted, the more Arthur’s laughter and voice surrounded the warlock.
With a growl of frustration, Merlin pushed Eldric off of him and ran a hand over his face, eyes closed, trying to calm down.
It wasn’t working.
Wondering why he felt so guilty, Merlin stormed away, feeling Eldric’s smirk on his retreating figure.