Sequel to: While You Slept
Pairing/Characters: Merlin/Arthur, Mordred, Will, Morgana, Gwen
Summary: Two months after Arthur was taken Merlin saved a young druid boy, raising and protecting the usually silent and possessive five-year-old, and eight months later Arthur returns to Ealdor with his knights and (reluctantly) Morgana and Gwen as well. Merlin is shocked to realize that the one he'd saved is the son of the man who's happily execute both Merlin and Mordred, and lies are told, while Morgana tries to help Arthur, who has a plan
Warning: AU, Pre-Slash
“Are you bloody insane?” Will exclaimed amongst the hustle and bustle of the next day, looking around as the knights prepared the horses. Everyone in the village were overly nervous about the situation, thinking that Hunith was horrible for sending Merlin and Mordred both to Camelot, and they’d said so to the young man.
Arthur had over heard more than a couple of the villagers saying those things, and he’d look quite insulted.
Of course he didn’t realize that they were all terrified about someone in Camelot discovering Merlin and Mordred were magic, so Merlin could understand his annoyance.
Mordred, for his part, seemed fine with the situation as long as he was with Merlin, and ignored the many young girls who cried about him having to leave. The boys all crowded around him, some in awe that he was leaving, some jealous, some asking to come along.
The quiet boy though snorted and stalked away with all the grace of a prince, going to Merlin’s side and reaching for his hand, squeezing it, only then letting someone realize he was somewhat nervous with the happenings.
Merlin squeezed back reassuringly before turning his attention back to Will. “It’s my mother’s will, and I trust her decisions. She feels that this is my destiny, to go to Camelot and help Prince Arthur.”
“You know nothing about healing.” Will hissed, sending a distrusting glance in Arthur’s direction.
“You don’t think this Court Physician isn’t going to realize it? And the prince won’t be unconscious during all the times you tend to him so you won’t be able to do you know what and what are you going to do in that sort of situation?”
Merlin gulped, having had nightmares about situations like that all night. “I’ll figure something out.”
“I don’t like this plan, Merlin.” Will frowned, nervous and anxious. “You’re my best friend, you’re my only friend, and it scares me to think that you and Mordred are going to be right under the nose of that insane tyrant.”
“I’ll keep Mordred safe.” Merlin felt a little insulted that Will thought otherwise.
“I know that. But who’s going to keep you safe, Merlin?” Will’s face fell, eyes trying to get Merlin to see reason. “You’re the clumsiest person I ever know, you’re used to using your magic around here openly. What if something happens and your magic just reacts in the middle of the Grand Court?”
Merlin gulped, his free hand going to around his neck, a neck he’d lose if something like that happened.
They turned to see Arthur feet away, standing next to two horses, one his own and the other he’d informed Merlin earlier that he and Mordred would be riding.
“It’s time to go.” The prince announced, eyes only on Merlin.
Not exactly sure why he felt like blushing whenever the prince looked at him that way, with that intense gaze that gave the illusion that Merlin might be the only one the blonde could see, the young warlock turned to his friend and hugged the brunet before he could say something else to try and scare Merlin into staying. “I will see you again, Will. Either you come to visit in Camelot or I’ll come back here for your wedding to Libya and laugh at you.”
“Why are you my best mate again?” Will grumbled, but he hugged Merlin tightly as well. “If you don’t feel safe, if you need any help, you send for me, you hear me? You send for me and I’ll be there and beat up anyone who tries to mess with you.”
Merlin smiled, hugging his friend tighter. Will was always ready to defend and protect Merlin, and he was going to sorely miss him while he was in such a different, and scary place as Camelot. “Thank you.”
Will pulled away and nodded, clearing his throat suspiciously, before going to his knees and smiling shakily at Mordred. “Now, you take care of your papa, okay? He’s a bit of a scatterbrain, and you know he’ll fall down a flight of stairs and die or something stupid like that if you and I aren’t always around to keep an eye on him.”
“Hey!” Merlin cried out, though more amused than insulted.
Mordred ignored Merlin, intense blue eyes on Will, and the young boy nodded in agreement to Will’s words.
“You’ll be seeing me again soon, but take care of him and yourself until then, okay?” Will smiled when Mordred nodded dutifully. “How about a hug? I’m going to miss those staring matches I always let you win.”
“You don’t let me win.” Mordred said in his soft, whispery voice, a small smile on his face. “You’re just pathetic at it and you say that to make yourself feel better.” And with that he let go of Merlin and threw himself into Will’s arms and hugged him tightly. “I’m going to miss you, uncle Will. Come soon.”
Will’s smile was tender as he wrapped his arms around Mordred and looked up at Merlin, who was smiling down at them. “I promise I will, kiddo. I’ll come help you annoy the princeling. We’ll have a great time together making his life a living hell.”
Mordred snorted in amusement.
Merlin placed his hand on Mordred’s head, gaze meeting Will’s and holding, letting his friend see on his face how much he’d be missed.
The three didn’t notice Gwen and Morgana watching and whispering.
They didn’t notice, either, how Arthur watched, his smile twisted into a vicious scowl, hands clenched unforgiving on the reins.
Hunith looked from her son to Prince Arthur, and back, sighing.
They still had such a long ways to go, both physically and emotionally, but hopefully their time in Camelot would help cement the bond that she’d been told of, the bond that she’d spent most of Merlin’s life not only getting herself used to, but expecting, and finally, becoming excited about.
She worried, she worried horribly, about Merlin and Mordred, whom she’d truly come to love as a grandchild…a very silent and somewhat intimidating grandchild, but beloved nonetheless.
Telling herself not to cry, that she had to be strong for Merlin, Hunith kept a smile on her face as she saw her son turn towards her and come to hug her once more, his body shaking slightly with the worry and confusion and his desire to stay by her side. For a moment she desperately wanted to tell him to stay, but she pushed aside that selfish desire. She knew that Camelot was the place where her son’s future lay, and she had think of her son’s future over her own selfish desires.
And it wasn’t as if she wasn’t welcomed to visit Camelot whenever the separation was just too much for her.
Prince Arthur had taken her aside just this morning and let her know that in the tower where Merlin and Mordred would be staying, that there’d always be a room ready for her whenever she wished to stay in Camelot, or at least visit.
He even offered to send a young physician to come and live in Ealdor with Hunith to not only help her, but to help the villagers slowly trust the soul for when Hunith grew wary of being separated from her son and grandchild she could move to Camelot permanently and leave the physician with the people, who’d be used to his presence by then.
It’d been such a generous offer that Hunith had been unable to say no to it.
And truth be told, she hadn’t wanted to.
The thought of maybe never seeing her son again had torn at her heart, and the fact that Prince Arthur had given her a way to be with her son again, it just said so many wonderful things about him, and about his character.
Prince Arthur was a thoughtful prince, and he’d be a wonderful monarch.
No wonder it was Merlin’s destiny to be by his side.
“When I feel the physician is sufficiently stable here I will come and visit.” Hunith promised her son, holding him tightly to her, remembering every wonderful memory in her life and they all had to do with him. “We will not parted for long, my son. I love you, and I will miss you with the fire of my spirit.”
“And I will miss you, mum.” Merlin whispered, clinging tightly. “What---what if I can’t do this? What if---.”
“You were born for such a time as this.” Hunith responded, knowing without a doubt that it was true. She’d always known that this time would come, that she’d be separated from him, and she’d worried constantly, wondering to what sort or man she would be giving up her child to.
But as she met Arthur’s gaze over Merlin’s shoulder, seeing the emotions warring over his face at Merlin’s obvious distress at leaving her, Hunith smiled at the prince, knowing that she was giving her son to a good man, a man who would be worth the short separation.
He would take care of her son.
She was sure of it.
Feeling something clinging to her dress, she looked down and smiled tearfully down at Mordred, who was standing next to her, his hand clutching a bit of the skirt of her dress, looking up at her a little uncertainly.
Merlin pulled away and wiped at his eyes, clearing his throat.
Hunith bent down and picked up Mordred, kissing his cheek and holding him tightly to her. “You take care of yourself, love. I will see you soon.”
“Okay.” Mordred hugged her, pressing his lips against her cheek in the first ever kiss he’d ever bestowed someone who wasn’t Merlin.
Merlin and his mother looked at each other in surprise and happiness.
“I love you two.” Hunith told them both, hugging them at the same time. “Take care of yourselves. You need each other more than ever.”
Both nodded and then Merlin pulled away with Mordred in his arms. He leaned forwards and pressed his own kiss to his mother’s cheek, whispered an “I love you” and turned, walking towards the prince.
Arthur watched Merlin, scowl replaced by a slightly worried expression, before it was masked by a carefree smile when Merlin finally looked at him.
Merlin got up onto the horse and before Arthur could even try to pass him Mordred, Will was there doing it.
“Take care of yourself. Both of you.” Will patted Merlin’s leg. “And I’ll be seeing you two soon, okay?”
Arthur forced himself to turn away and mount his own horse, graciously giving them the moment to themselves.
Merlin nodded, ignorant of this. “Soon.”
Will nodded. “Soon.”
Mordred sat in front of Merlin, thumb in mouth, hugging the hand Merlin had around him.
And then, with the prince’s nod in her direction, they left.
Hunith watched them leave Ealdor, and smiled as she watched Prince Arthur slow his horse’s pace so that he was beside Merlin, surprising her son, who’d obviously thought the prince would ride up front.
Arthur started talking, and Merlin stammered a reply that had Arthur chuckling, and Merlin offering him a shy smile back.
Hunith’s smile grew as she watched them and held her hands to her heart, knowing that this was just the beginning of something legendary…