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Well hello there! If you are reading this one than it means you are my friends now so let me welcome you to my world:
bradleysmile

th_fluttershy_animated_avatar_2_GIF

Don't you just love smiling ponies?

So now let's get this started shall we?

My name is Adva, in Hebrew it means the little waves of the sea and I'm from Israel.
I'm 21 and have been addicted to different fandoms since I was 15 and that's a lot for me, I got into fanfics through Xena: warrior princess and then had some minor obsessions over some things but it wasn't until I got to Merlin that I became really active and actually started writing tings.

I like to flail and squeal and generally makes a lot of noise so be warned *Ear plugs anyone?*

My muse is a slave driving bunny that likes to sleep a lot but when he is up he will kick my ass and force me to write.

My posts usually contain a strange mix of RL and fandom and fics and prompting are getting their own posts.

Currently in merlin_reduxnd having a lot of fun since my prompt is amazing and my muse is happy. Also having fun in dove_drabbleshich is always nice and you get to talk to the amazing kitty_fico yeah, join there!

As it is, I'm not much of a long fic writer so no paperlegendsor me just yet, maybe when I'll grow up.

I don't have a fic rec yet but I do have my own fic rec *Shameless me* :

My old sticky post hich isn't fully updated *Errr... lack of time?* But all my fics are on FFnet (link over there in the sideline) so if any of you want.... *puppy eyes*

Let's see.... what else....Oh yeah!

I love Merlin (obviously) and Sherlock and Grimm and all sorts of anime as long as they are boyXboy with the occasional non yaoi anime because I mean BLACK BUTLER, how can you resist him???

images

Other than that I recently got into manga and my phone is suffering from this...poor thing.

I think that covers it *nods to herself* yep.

I wish you all good luck since you are now part of my world *insert evil laughter*

oh yeah

See you around!

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Hi there

It's been a while LJ and I'm not sure why... it never seemed like the right time to post something and just... yeah.... So I started Uni and it's awesome so far. Going to study Asian studies has been the best decision of my life and I know I won't regret it even when it will get hard. But this isn't what I wanted to post about. I have a problem... I went out with this guy from my class and it was fun and all and the talking was flowing and everything was nice but then... When he tried to kiss me I was like.... 'errr don't' I didn't say it out loud obviously, but only because his bus just arrived and he had to go, to which I was really grateful. This isn't the first time it happens... I had the same problem with the guy I tried to date before that... talking was good and all but the moment it got physical I bolted. Like really fast. I really don't know what is wrong with me.... I don't dislike being touched by my family or my female friends or even my male friends but the moment it gets romantic, or has the possibility of getting there I just can't.... What is wrong with me???

Exams time!

So it's my first exam period in UNI and I might be a little freaked out.... I've always hated exams in highschool and apparently it didn't change a lot since then.   But that is not the problem here, the problem is that I can't express this stress since my family is in such a state that fear of failing an exam is really low in the list of things you should be bothered by. I mean, my big sis is dealing with lots of things because of her accident so what the hell is a little exam right?  And I feel awful for feeling stressed over an exam but I can't help it! And stress makes my mind go all mush and that makes me even more stressed! To top it all off, I got a 70 (out of 100) in my first exam today.... it's a pass and not my final grade in the course (Morphology btw) but it was so annoying because I really thought I was ready for this one!  But apparently no. I was not. I guess I should be grateful it's a passing grade and I don't have to go through the whole course again but still.... And I can't even cry because come on! It's a fucking exam! And that pisses me off even more! So I'm stuck in this terrible cycle of wanting to get sad over my grade but hating myself for wanting to get sad over a passing grade. Does that make sense???    So all in all, I think that by the time this will end my mind will decide to quit its job and leave me all alone.... bastard. 

Depressed as fuck

[Profanities ahead]
Just failed my Morphology assignment and I feel like crying.... I mean, if I failed a fucking assignment what the hell am I going to do in the fucking test??? And I made such stupid mistakes as well! And I still have tons of things to do but don't feel like doing any of them and just... fuck I feel like crawling into bed and do jack shit and just watch anime or read some good book or something.... Don't feel like studying anymore... Why the hell did I think it was a good idea to learn fucking linguistics??? Also discovered that I'm not the only one who thinks my Phonetics prof. is a total crazy and idiotic fucker. I hate UNI and I hate how my life are at the moment, can I get the fucking off this fucking train???

A call for help!

Hi there flisters! Long time no see eh? I'm really sorry for the lak of update or commenting a lot or anything remotly close to being active the way I want to be but UNI is driving me insane and this is the reason why I'm actually posting today.

So flisters I need your help in Phonetics! Basically we need to transcribe some sentences in different dialects to the IPA symbols, so if there are some of you who know what I'm on about and have links/PDF files anything (with answers if you please) that can help me I'll be really grateful for that. I have no idea what else to do and Google hasn't been much of a help...

Thank you in advance flist!

Just had to share this

I have no idea what they are saying but just seeing them makes me smile, hope it will make you smile as well:



Have a lovely weekend flist <3

First mid term ever!

So I'm after my first mid term and after being completely terrified calm and cool I finished it. I was sure I got some answers wring but after checking the material again I got them right! I love Phonology now.

Six degrees of seperation part 3

[Sis degrees of seperation part 3]

Arthur sat on his throne in the great hall, his head leaning back against the chair and his eyes closed.

Merlin was…he was… he betrayed him… he… And after last night…. He really thought…

Arthur shook his head, there had to be an explanation to this, there has to be-

The doors banged open, revealing an angry looking Gaius and a distressed looking Gwen and Lancelot.

"Gaius." Arthur said calmly and Gaius glared.

"What is the meaning of this sire?" He demanded. "I just saw two guards leading Merlin down to the dungeons!"

Arthur didn't miss the fact that he said nothing about his uncle.

"When I tried to talk to Merlin he didn't answer me! He didn't even look at me!"

Arthur's eyes narrowed into a glare of his own.

"Merlin betrayed us. He was working for Morgana, planning to kill me."

Gaius's mouth dropped open before he shook his head.

"No, that's impossible; Merlin would rather die than betray you."

"Well he didn't exactly denied working for her." Arthur hissed.

Gaius's eyes closed and when he opened them there was a pained expression on his face.

"It is possible that we missed something," He said quietly and Arthur glared.

"Like what?" He demanded.

"Well, it is possible that Morgana brought back a shade, a sort of a demon that will look like Merlin but is actually an empty vassal for Morgana's wishes. She could have told him everything she knows about Merlin, enough so he could pretend to be Merlin and…"

Gaius trailed off and Arthur closed his eyes in pain. For one night, it was so perfect.

"No." Lance's voice penetrated the silence and Arthur looked at him.

"No?"

"No. I refuse to believe that this isn't Merlin, I talked to him, he knew things that Morgana couldn't possibly know."

"Then how do you explain this?" Arthur asked his voice angry.

"Why don't we ask him?" Gwen offered, her voice trembling.

Arthur gritted his teeth before rising from his throne.

"Fine, let's go."

Five minutes later they were down at the cells, looking at Merlin's form curled in the corner, his eyes staring off into the air and mumbling to himself.

Arthur averted his eyes and turned to look at his uncle, his uncle was sitting on his cot, his back straight and expression proud despite being discovered as a traitor and thrown in the dungeons.

"Merlin?" Gaius's soft voice drew Arthur's attention back to the first cell.

Merlin shook his head and curled even deeper into himself.

"No…" He mumbled. "Go away… I want to wake up…" He whimpered. "Please Cornelius…"

Arthur frowned. "Cornelius?" He echoed and Gaius glanced at him.

"I don't know."

"Merlin, Merlin my boy, look at me," Gaius tried again and Merlin closed his eyes tighter.

"No, go away, this isn't real, it's another dream!" He opened his eyes and glared at Gaius.

"Where is Nimueh?" He demanded and looked around him.

Gaius looked taken aback. "Nimueh, Merlin what are you talking about? Nimueh is dead."

Merlin looked at Gaius, considering.

"Then Morgause," He said, rising up and moving closer to the bars. "Morgause is responsible for this?"

"Merlin what are you saying?" Gwen asked, tears streaming down her face.

"He thinks he is still dead…" Lance whispered, his eyes widening in realization and he moved to the bars, grabbing Merlin's hand through them.

"Merlin, where are you?"

Merlin stared at him with wide eyes and ripped his hand away.

"Are you kidding me?!" He yelled. "I've been through this once; I won't fall for this a second time! This wasn't really Camelot from the beginning right? That whole thing with Morgana… I should have known… but… I didn't… Cornelius told me not to go but I didn't listen…Oh god…" He groaned and slumped down, his head leaning on his crossed arms.

"Merlin…" Arthur growled. He has had enough of these games.

"What on earth are you blabbering on for the love of Camelot?!"

Merlin lifted his head to look at Arthur and tears streamed down his cheeks.

"This is all a dream don't you get it? You aren't real…" He covered his face with his hands and Arthur had to strain his ears to hear him.

"I don't know why I'm telling you this but…you are just a dream…"

"Doesn't matter," Gaius said immediately. "Just talk to us."

"When I just passed through the veil I… I reached the underworld, and apparently, I wasn't really popular there." He let out a bitter laugh.

"I sent a lot of people down there and they weren't too happy to see me. I was fighting for my life, err, sort of life, for the first two months constantly." He sighed and glanced at Gaius.

"Nimueh was the first to try and poison me but apparently when you poison someone in the afterlife he doesn't die he just gets into this, dreamlike world, like this one," Merlin waved around him. "And then Cornelius found me.

"Cornelius Sigan?" Gaius clarified and Merlin nodded, his brows furrowing.

"Like you don't know that…" He snorted.

"Carry on." Arthur said slowly, his heart in his throat; could it be that Merlin wasn't a traitor?

"He helped me to get out of that dream and taught me everything he knows about the underworld."

"Why would he do this?" Lance asked.

Merlin shrugged. "He said he had no quarrel with me and only Camelot and since I'm already dead there is no need to try and kill me again. So for the next three months we stayed together, he protected me when I slept and I did the same for him, it didn't stop other magi users from trying to kill me but… well… it's easier to kill someone who's already dead.

Arthur felt sick to his stomach. Merlin suffered all this while being dead.

"What then?" Gaius asked.

"The Calilach summoned me one day, telling me that the sacred goddess made a deal with the once and future king," Merlin's eyes turned to Arthur. "She said that you promised her to lift the ban over magic and embrace the old religion back," He snorted. "I should have known she was lying to me."

Arthur glanced at Lance and Gwen and was surprised to see only approval in their eyes.

"And then Morgana dragged my soul back, sacrificing Mordred in the process and I was back." He sighed. "I should have known it was a dream, there is no way Morgana would kill Mordred."

"Merlin…" Gaius whispered. "This isn't a dream."

But Merlin wasn't listening to him, immersed in his own world he carried on.

"She thought I was her slave, she was planning to use me to stop the wedding and kill Arthur," He turned to look at Gwen. "I'm sorry Gwen, even if it is only a dream."

"It's alright Merlin." Gwen whispered and he nodded a soft smile on his lips.

"Agravaine was with her when she brought me back which is why he thought I was her servant but the moment he left back to Camelot I killed her."

A distressed yell sounded from Agravaine's cell but they all ignored it.

"You killed Morgana?" Gaius asked his voice incredulous.

Merlin shrugged. "It's just a dream."

Arthur wanted to smack his head and from the look on Gaius's face so did he.

"And then I was back in Camelot and things looked so normal and real," His eyes wandered to Arthur again. "Better than real and then…" He stopped.

"I should have known it's a dream…" He mumbled to himself and Arthur groaned.

"He is an idiot." He told the rest and got several nods in agreement.

Unlocking the cell, Arthur stepped in and lifted Merlin up.

"You are an idiot." He told him and kissed him, ignoring the fact that they had company, ignoring the fact that Merlin kept pushing him back, trying to push him away.

"Stop," Merlin panted against him. "This is the worst thing…" He sniffled and Arthur smiled softly down at him lifting his chin gently and forcing him to look at him.

"Merlin…" He whispered, realizing that their company left and they are alone.

"Merlin this isn't a dream, you are alive and real and I love you."

Merlin didn't say a word as he kept on staring at Arthur.

"What do you want me to do to prove it to you?"

Merlin looked down and then back up. "Kiss me again?" He whispered and Arthur smiled.

"Gladly."

His lips pressed against Merlin's chapped ones and he stayed there for a while, just pressing their lips together, waiting for Merlin to relax.

A protesting moan from Merlin made him smile and he opened his mouth, letting his tongue out to caress Merlin's lips and coax them open.

Merlin opened up to him in an instant and Arthur drew his body closer to his, pressing them both flush together.

"Arthur…" Merlin whispered when they parted, panting against each other's lips.

"Hmmm?"

"Are you sure it's real?"

Arthur smacked him over the head.

"Ouch!" Merlin cried and jumped back, glaring at him. "What was that for?"

"You felt it?" Arthur demanded.

"Obviously!"

"See?" Arthur smirked. "This isn't a dream."

Merlin's mouth dropped open and then his eyes narrowed.

"So that means you threw me in the dungeons without hearing me out!"

Arthur flushed. "Now look…-"

"You are such a prat!" Merlin stomped past him and left the dungeons, leaving a stunned looking Arthur behind him.

Arthur rolled his eyes and stepped out of the cell, glancing at his uncle's frozen form.

"I'll deal with you later." He told him and left the dungeons.


Slowly and carefully Arthur made changes in the laws of Camelot, first allowing the druids to return to Camelot's grounds and welcoming Alator and his people.

"So when were you going to tell me you are Emrys?" Arthur asked after Alator and his men dropped down to their knees in front of Merlin, who stood there with a shocked expression on his face while Gaius face palmed.

"Err… someday?" He tried and Arthur smothered him with his own pillow.


He allowed magic users into the market, keeping an eye over his people mood and smiling when the children kept laughing at every new magic trick.

"So what sort of tricks do you know Merlin?" Arthur asked, lounging on the rug in front of the fire.

"Keeping you alive is the hardest trick of them all." Merlin replied from his seat on the bed, cross legged and mending one of Arthur's shirt.

"I'm not impressed." Arthur said with a smirk when Merlin lifted his head to glare at him.

"Oh really?" He asked slowly, laying the shirt down on the bed and dropping down to crawl on all four towards Arthur, a wicked glint in his eye.

"Really," Arthur breathed when Merlin reached him, leaning over him and breathing against his lips. "Got something more useful to show me?"

Merlin smirked and leaned even closer.

"Let me show you a trick your highness."


After presenting the court with evidence of Agravaine's betrayal Arthur ordered him executed. His Uncle tried to beg for his life but Arthur refused to listen. A traitor was a traitor, no matter who it was.

When Arthur declared the old religion as a permitted religion once more his court erupted in cries of protest, the people however were overjoyed and that was what mattered to Arthur.


"I still can't believe you did it." Merlin said, glancing down at the celebrations in the lower town in honor of the old religion.

"Why not?" Arthur asked, wrapping his arms around Merlin's waist.

"Well, it's just… It's weird and wonderful, but weird."

"How eloquent of you, my precious court sorcerer."

Merlin snorted. "Shut up prat."

"Hmm," He hummed, kissing his way up Merlin's neck. "Make me."

Merlin turned in his arms and smiled softly. "With pleasure."


When the last peace treaty was signed Merlin introduced Arthur to Kilgarrah.

"Merlin…" Arthur said urgently as he eyed the golden eyed beast before him. "Is that-"

"The great dragon, yeah." Merlin said with a smile.

"I'm very proud of you young warlock," The dragon boomed." You've done a wonderful job."

Arthur glared at it. "WHAT?! I was there too!"

The dragon's roaring laughter shook the earth and Merlin hugged Arthur' patting his shoulder.

"Don't worry my king," He whispered in Arthur's ear and kissed his cheek softly. "Everyone will know that."

And they did.

Six degrees of seperatin part 2

[Six degrees of seperation part 2]

4. Depression and reflection.

"I'm worried about him Gaius." Gwen said quietly as she mixed the grinded herbs in the bowl.

"By him you mean to…" Gaius said and poked at their dinner.

"You know who I mean Gaius!" Gwen said and glared at the back of the old man. "I…" She started again and stopped, not sure how to voice her worries.

Gaius sighed and turned around to look at her. "He is simply mourning Gwen."

"What?" Gwen said, confused, this was not the answer she expected.

"He finally accepted the fact that Merlin is dead and there is no getting him back." Gaius said in a sad voice.

"But… I mean… Merlin is…" She choked, trying to stop the tears that insisted on coming despite the time that passed.

"I know," Gaius answered and took two bowls with their dinner, laying one before Gwen and sitting in front of her. "But Arthur is only now coming to accept that and it can be quite difficult, especially since he refuses to accept any help or comfort from any of us."

Gwen stared at her dinner for a long time before she took a bite. "He isn't eating properly and Lance says that he is harsher in training than ever and the council meetings…. It's like…I don't know… he hasn't spoken to anyone other than orders for a month now Gaius, is that… is that normal?"

"Every man has his own way of mourning the loss of a loved one Gwen and Arthur was never one to seek comfort in others, not willingly at least."

Gwen nodded and sighed again, she couldn't imagine what it was like for Arthur to lose both Merlin and his father in such a short interval. While Merlin was her best friend he spent most of his time with Arthur, constantly following the other man, they were inseparable and despite the difference between their status they were friends and both men knew that.

Gwen just hoped that Arthur will get through with it and fast, they needed their king.


Arthur rode through the silent forest alone; he refused the company of any of his knights, despite his uncle's protests and Sir Leon's distraught face.

He just needed to be alone, alone without the constant reminders of Merlin that were in every corner in Camelot. Wherever Arthur went there was another reminder: In his rooms and the great hall, the council chambers and the lower town, every single place held some sort of memory from Merlin and Arthur couldn't take it anymore.

It's been four months since he preformed the ritual with Alator and still there was no sign from Merlin and Arthur lost all hope. He remembered the threat he yelled at the druid man but as the three months passed instead of rage Arthur felt only emptiness, vast numbness spread through every cell in his body and mind. There was no need for useless murder he reasoned as he allowed the month to pass and didn't send his knights after the druid or any other magic user.

Though he tried to escape them the memories of Merlin came back to haunt him at unexpected moments of the day. He could be walking with Leon down the cathedral's stairs and stop mid sentence just because the young man locked in the stocks looked so much like Merlin that Arthur was sure it was him, already moving towards the stocks only to be stopped by Leon's hand on his arm and his frowning face as he glanced between the stocks and Arthur's pained expression.

And every time it happen Arthur had to excuse himself from company and lock himself in his rooms where he raged and seethed, mostly at himself for being so stupid and not telling Merlin everything when he had the chance.

Dismounting his horse Arthur allowed the beast to wander by itself as he sat down near the creek, leaning against a tree and closing his eyes.

"This will be the last time Merlin," Arthur whispered to the wind and closed his eyes tighter, forcing the tears to remain unshed. "I tried, I swear to you that I tried, I did everything I could to bring you back but," Arthur swallowed around the lump in his throat. "It… I guess it wasn't enough, not to get you back."

Releasing a bitter laugh Arthur opened his eyes and stared at the water. "I even made a deal with a being of the old religion can you believe it? My father is probably turning in his grave but, if it got me you I couldn't care less only," Arthur bit his lower lip and clenched his fists. "It didn't work. The old religion betrayed me. I was ready to ruin it all, destroy everything that my father couldn't but then… I thought about what you'd say and how disappointed you'd be that I couldn't."

Arthur pulled the small statute from his bag and stared at it. "There are so many things I want to ask you, so many things I didn't get to tell you."

"Our people need me Merlin," Arthur whispered again and allowed the tears to slip now. "They need a strong king, one who is capable of taking care of them. Remember you told me once I will be a great king? I'm going to prove you that you were right Merlin, that for once in your life you were actually right about something."

Arthur allowed a small smile to grace his lips as he rose and took out a small boat from his saddle bag. Laying the small dragon in the boat Arthur held it above the stream.

"Just wait for me Merlin," He breathed to the dragon. "You promised to be my servant 'till the day you died, well guess what? I'm hiring you in the afterlife as well."

With that Arthur let go of the little boat and watched as it rocked gently on the surface before finding a rhythm and sailing down the stream.

Nodding to himself Arthur mounted his horse and turned back towards Camelot.

It was time he became the king Merlin expected him to.


5. Reconstruction and working through.

"So what are you saying Gaius?"

"Based on the man's description I can't tell what sort of sickness spread through that village sire, I need to examine one of the sick myself."

"That is out of the question." Arthur said immediately. "I can't risk your health when Camelot is in the middle of this flu plague."

"Then allow young Gwen to go instead." Gaius said with a smile at Gwen.

"What?" Arthur frowned and stared at the two.

"She is a very smart young woman sire."

"I know that, but-"

"Sire please," Gwen stammered with a bow. "I- I would like to go, to help those people and Camelot, I, it's my duty as the court physician's apprentice after all."

Arthur suppressed a flinch at the term 'court physician's apprentice' that was, after all, Merlin's title besides his manservant.

Gwen covered her mouth a moment later as she realized what she said.

"Oh! I didn't mean to-"

Arthur raised one hand to silence her.

"Very well, how long will it take you to be prepared?"

"Two hours sire."

Arthur nodded. "Good, I will summon the knights who will escort us."

Gwen and Gaius bowed and left the hall.

Sighing Arthur sent a page to summon his knights.

The journey to the village of Mouton went smoothly and without any hitches, Gwen collected everything she could about the infection that spread through the village and did her best to help those she could treat.

On their way back though, they met Lamia.


"So you feel that too?" Gwen whispered; conscious of the sleeping knights around them.

Arthur nodded; his face grim. "There is something strange about her that's for sure."

He glanced back at his knights as they slept in a close circle around the girl.

"Strange?" Gwen's face distorted as she glanced at the knights. "Sir Leon threatened you with a sword Arthur!" Gwen hissed and Arthur quirked a small smile.

"You don't have to worry Gwen; I'm capable of protecting us from Leon."

"That's not, what about Percival, and Gwaine? Are you capable of taking on all of them?"

Arthur frowned, she was right of course. Besides the more they delayed out of Camelot the greater the chance someone will try attacking his kingdom.

"What do you purpose to do?" Arthur asked and Gwen's eyes widened.

"Are you asking for my advice?" Her face showed the wonder she felt.

Arthur chuckled. "I appreciate your opinions Gwen and a good king knows when to take advice."

Gwen nodded and smiled.

"Well then, there is a small valley north of here, maybe we could tell them it's a shortcut and then make sure to separate Lamia from the rest, maybe once they are away from her they will wake up."

Arthur nodded, it sounded reasonable enough.

"Very well, you'll take the lead tomorrow."

He turned to take the first watch when Gwen's whisper stopped him.

"Thank you Arthur."

"What for?" He whispered back.

"Allowing me to come here," A blush was spreading over her cheeks now and Arthur smiled softly. "And, and listening to me."

"You are welcome Gwen."

When her breathe finally deepened Arthur's frown deepened as well.

It may not have crossed Gwen's mind but Arthur wondered why they were the only ones who weren't affected by the Lamia's spell.

It was obvious with Gwen, she was a woman, but Arthur…why didn't he… Shaking his head Arthur refocused on his new problem. His uncle brought up the marriage subject once again and Arthur, though reluctant to agree with him, knew that he had to think of something and soon. He needed a queen to take control with the support of his knights should anything happen to him. The problem was who.

While there were many eligible princesses in Albion who were more than willing to marry him he couldn't stand the idea that a strange woman will sit next to him at the great hall, share his meals and spend every minute of her day with him. Frowning again Arthur realized that he could only imagine Merlin doing that and that was… right. So a foreign princess as his wife wouldn't do which means he will have to choose some of the noble woman from Camelot's court, Arthur groaned inwardly, that would be even worse.

He glanced down at Gwen and then stopped. Why didn't he think about it before? Gwen was the solution! The people loved her and she will definitely have the knight's support should anything happen to him but the most important thing, she knew Merlin.

Nodding to himself Arthur decided that tomorrow he will ask her, the wedding will be held in a week and his uncle would stop pestering him about it.

Recoiling back from the Lamia's attack Arthur breathed hard. Gwen's plan worked perfectly only now he was stuck with the crazy monster while his knights were passed out.

The Lamia stopped and stared at him for a moment before it frowned.

"You are different." She hissed and Arthur smirked.

"I'm King Arthur, of course I'm different."

The Lamia smirked back and Arthur watched with weary eyes as she dropped to the ground and started twisting about.

Taking another step back Arthur readied his sword and waited for the creature to stop moving.

When it did the sword clattered from his hand and his eyes widened.

"You are King Prat that's what you are," Said Merlin as he rose from the floor, dusting his cloths.

"What's wrong Arthur? You look like you've seen a ghost?" Merlin frowned and looked around him.

"Arthur?" He asked again and Arthur swallowed.

"M-Merlin?" He stammered.

"Of course it's me! Who else would it be? Now come on, we have to find the others!" He moved towards Arthur and reached for his hand.

Arthur gasped when he felt Merlin's touch.

"You…you are real…" He whispered and Merlin snorted.

"Of course I'm real."

"I… no… you… you died… you… you were dead… you ARE dead." Arthur whimpered and tried to tug his hand away from Merlin's grip only to be pulled back into the other man's arms.

Arthur closed his eyes as he felt Merlin's firm chest pressed against his.

"Arthur…" Merlin whispered. "I'm real…open your eyes…"

"I… Merlin I… I need to tell you… I…" Arthur struggled to get the words out when suddenly he heard a terrible gurgling noise and he opened his eyes to see the Lamia lying in his arms, dead.

Gwen was standing right behind her, a sword in hand, staring at Arthur with wide eyes.

"Are you alright?" She asked; voice shaky with adrenalin.

"I… yeah… what-"

"I came in to find you wrapped in that thing with your eyes closed, mumbling something while she was about to take a bite of your neck!" Gwen yelled and Arthur swallowed, the pain at being so close to Merlin again was…

"Merry me." He blurted and watched as Gwen blushed and dropped the sword.

"What?" She squeaked.

"Merry me," Arthur repeated. "I… do me the honor Gwen and become my queen."

Gwen stared at him for a moment before she nodded, tears flooding her eyes.

"Yes. Yes, yes, yes, of course I will!" She hugged him then and Arthur buried his face in dark curls that were nothing like Merlin's.


"He is going to marry her." Agravaine's voice hissed and Morgana's face contorted in rage.

"The serving bitch?" She spat and Agravaine nodded.

"Like hell he would. That serving girl will not be sitting on my throne, wearing my crown!"

"What are you going to do? There will be no getting to her to kill her and I've already tried to dissuade Arthur from marrying her, telling him that a servant girl is sure to betray him but to no avail."

Morgana started pacing before freezing on the spot, her eyes rolled back and she swooned.

Agravaine hurried to catch her before she knocked her head on the hard wooden floor.

Half an hour later she gasped and sat up in her bed.

"I know what to do!" She yelled and smiled, a manic light shining in her eyes.

"And what are you going to do?"

"While Gwen may not betray Arthur, at least, not immediately, I know what would make Arthur cancel this wedding in a flash."

"Wh-" Agravaine looked confused.

"I know your little secret brother, are you ready to have it back?" She cackled and turned to her uncle.

"I need you to bring me something."

"Anything," Agravaine said, his eyes shining with devotion. "Anything for you."

Drawing a small map she handed it to him and smiled sweetly. "There is someone very special that lives here and I need you to bring him to me."

"Of course, what's his name?"

"Mordred." Morgana smirked as Agravaine left the hovel.


"What do you think you are doing?!" Mordred's distressed screams disturbed the birds in the clearing and Agravaine sighed, why wouldn't the brat shut up already? And what is taking Morgana so long; she should just kill the brat.

"Oh, come now Mordred," Morgana cooed sweetly as she sharpened the ritual knife.

"You said you wanted to have revenge on Emrys didn't you? Now is your chance!" She giggled and Mordred stared at her.

"I meant by klling his beloved once and future king! Not by… what are you going to do anyway? This isn't…" He swallowed down. "You can't possibly mean to-"

"Oh but I do, you see, I got an order from a higher being, the sacred goddess herself told me to do it. I'm sorry Mordred but, think of it this way, your death will help me to revenge my brother and his lying, treacherous warlock."

"No! No wait, I can, I can help you with that! I can-"

Agravaine averted his eyes when the brat's gurgles of death filled the clearing, it was much better than his screams though.

Morgana laughed as the blood poured from Mordred's slit throat and covered her arms, dripping into the lake around her.

"Sacred goddess," She screamed. "Here my call and grant me my wish! Bring back the warlock known as Merlin! Bring back Emrys!"

Thunder struck and Agravaine jumped when he heard an answering laugh joining Morgana's as the water darkened and swirled around her.

"Yes, yes, yes!" She screamed. "Bring him to me! Hand me his soul!" Reaching her hands forward Morgana screamed with joy as a figure rose from the lake, water cascading down plastered black locks and sharp, pale cheekbones; sliding down pale, long neck and lean muscles until they revealed the newly reanimated Merlin.

Agravaine stared as the until-now-completely-dead warlock glanced around him as he sat in Morgana's hovel.

"Merlin!" Morgana snapped and Merlin turned his head towards her.

"Yes?" He answered his voice still gruff.

"What do you remember?" Morgana hissed, her excitement sipping through her voice.

Merlin stared at her for a long moment and Agravaine frowned, it seemed like he was trying to decide what to answer.

"Whatever you tell me." He answered eventually and Morgana whooped with joy.

"You are completely mine aren't you?" She asked gleefully.

Merlin nodded and Morgana laughed.

"Behold uncle! The key to Arthur's destruction is his beloved servant!" Clapping her hands Morgana started telling Merlin everything he needed to know.

"Make sure Arthur goes hunting before the wedding," Morgana warned. "I'll take care of the rest."

Agravaine nodded and glanced back at Merlin. "Morgana, are you sure it is safe for you to stay alone with him?"

Morgana snorted. "He is my slave uncle; he obeys my commands not the other way around."

Nodding Agravaine mounted his horse.

"Be ready in two days then."

Morgana smiled and waved him off, laughing when Merlin did so as well under her order.


"What are you doing Merlin?" Morgana asked as she stared at the emotionless face of her once dear friend.

"Thinking what would be the least painful way to kill you." Merlin answered without looking at her.

Morgana gaped at him. "What did you just say?" She said, slightly alarmed.

Cold, dark blue eyes turned to stare at her and she took a step back.

"I said that I was thinking about the least painful way to kill you, my lady." He added with a small bow of his head and a small smirk.

Morgana gulped and gathered her magic.

"It won't work," Merlin said, sounding rather bored as he rose from his seat. "I must admit that I didn't think you would go through with the plan when I found out it involved killing Mordred but…" He shrugged. "I guess you wanted revenge more than anything right?"

Morgana could only stare in horror as Merlin waved one lazy hand and ropes wrapped themselves around her form, slowly tightening.

"Me- Merlin…" She croaked and Merlin turned these emotionless eyes at her.

"Are you going to beg for mercy?" He cocked his head to one side, his face still emotionless.

"I… what are you…" She gasped, the ropes cutting into her flash.

"I spent seven months in the underworld thanks to you my lady, I would say I was sorry for hurting you except, I'm not sorry, not really."

Morgana screamed in agony as the ropes squeezed her tighter, making it hard to breathe.

Merlin grabbed a satchel and started putting random things in it while Morgana whizzed in the background. Eventually he came to stand before her and looked at her for a moment before turning around and heading towards the door.

"Wa-wait…" Morgana whispered. Blood was oozing from several deep cuts on her arms and legs and she could feel her bones beginning to crack. "Plea-please… Me-Merli-n…" She watched as these emotionless eyes stared right back at her.

"I suppose that… you did bring me back…." He muttered to himself and Morgana could feel the tears of relief flooding down her cheeks and she smiled, or tried to.

"Ye- yes, I did…!" She did her best to speak.

Then Merlin smirked again and shouldered the satchel higher on his shoulder.

"Only to destroy Arthur," He said; voice cold and hard. "You deserve no mercy for this."

Opening the door he glanced one last time at the dying witch.

"Goodbye Morgana."

Closing the door he walked away from the hovel before his eyes flashed gold and a shattering sound sounded from within and Morgana found the strength to scream as a lamp broke down, lightning up the bed covering and setting them aflame.

"If you'll be lucky," Merlin murmured as he watched the hovel filling with smoke. "You'll faint from the smoke before the ropes will be done with you, that's how merciful I'm." Bowing one last time towards the hovel Merlin turned away and started the journey back to Camelot.


"Arthur I really think you should-"

"Uncle enough," Arthur sighed and took another sip from his goblet. "I have no intention of going on a hunt on the eve of my wedding day!"

Agravaine frowned and drained his own goblet before grabbing Arthur's arm.

"It's tradition Arthur! You must go on a hunt!" His eyes were slightly glazed and Arthur realized that his uncle was drunk.

"I think you've had enough to drink uncle-" He said slowly, waving his uncle's servant to order the boy not to give him any more wine when the door slammed open, revealing a distressed looking Lancelot.

Arthur was on his feet in a second as were the rest of his knights and Gwen.

"Sir Lancelot?" Arthur said with alarm.

"I…It's… I…" Lancelot opened and closed his mouth several times without actually saying anything and Arthur grew more worried as the seconds ticked by.

"Lancelot what is it?!" He demanded and that snapped the other knight out of his shock.

"Merlin." He said and silence spread through the hall.

Arthur could hear the blood pulsing in his ears.

"What?" He said very slowly, sure he misheard.

"Merlin is… he is back… I… I found him in the forest he…"

Arthur was in front of him in seconds. "Where is he?"

"Gaiu-" Lancelot started saying but Arthur was no longer there, he was running, his heart in his throat and his stomach trying to leave his body without his permission.

He slammed the door open and froze as he saw Gaius leaning over something that really looked like Merlin from the front door.

Gaius whirled around and stared at Arthur for a long moment.

"It worked?" Arthur whispered and moved forward.

Gaius looked back down, his hand clutching Merlin's.

"It- it would seem that way yes."

"So it's really him? Not a- a spell or some curse?" Arthur drew closer.

"I can't tell while he is still sleeping, but physically speaking he is Merlin, no doubt about that."

Arthur nodded as he finally reached the bed. Reaching his hand forward he frowned when Gaius grabbed it before he could touch Merlin.

"Arthur it's…" Gaius hesitated for a moment before speaking again. "It is possible to spell one's appearance." He said, his eyes moving down towards Merlin's sleeping form.

Arthur swallowed and nodded. He knew that of course, he was ready for the option that this wasn't the real Merlin but still…

"I know that Gaius." Arthur whispered and reached down.

Merlin's skin was soft and warm, dusted with soft black hairs on his arms and Arthur could feel the tension lifting from his shoulder.

Even if it weren't Merlin, even if it were some awful trick, at least for one night he will be able to pretend that Merlin was back.

Gaius smiled softly and turned around, only now realizing there were other people in the room.

"Sire?" Sir Leon sounded worried and Arthur lifted his eyes to look at him.

"Make sure our guests are being taken to their rooms," Turning towards Gwen he smiled at her. "You wouldn't mind if we postponed the wedding for now right?" His eyes wandering down to Merlin's sleeping form.

Gwen nodded immediately. "Of course, sure, that will be no problem at all!"

Arthur pretended he didn't hear the relieved tone in her voice or the way Lance's eyes lightened up with hope. He knew they felt something for each other but since Lance didn't do anything he thought… well… it didn't matter now, Merlin was back and that was the most important thing right now.


6. Acceptance and hope.

Arthur woke to a gentle hand shaking him softly, he rose slowly, and wincing as his neck and back protested the odd angle he fell asleep in.

"Good morning sire," Gaius smiled down at him and offered him a cup of hot liquid. "I figured you'd better be up before you are late for the council meeting."

Arthur groaned as he imagined today's council meeting, no doubt it will be full with questions about Merlin's sudden return.

"How is he?" Arthur asked and glanced at Merlin who was lying on the sick bed next to Arthur's chair.

"Still asleep I'm afraid," Gaius sighed and reached over to check Merlin's forehead. "It's no surprise though, I'm sure his body is in terrible shock from being… well," Gaius coughed a bit. "Alive."

Arthur chuckled. "As long as it's really him that's back to us I don't care if he sleeps for a week! He'll get the time off and will just work harder when he is back!" He winked at Gaius and rose from the chair.

"Send me a page should anything changes." Arthur said and left the room.

Smiling all the way to the council chambers as he imagined what it will be like to have Merlin walking next to him once again, yammering on and on about this thing or the other.

Yes, Arthur decided, today was a good day indeed.


He was less than happy when he made his way back to Gaius's quarters after council meeting which lasted till mid day.

As expected his council members wanted to know how exactly it was that Merlin was back with them, when Arthur replied that he didn't know as of yet they demanded he will throw him in the dungeons until they could find out more. Enraged Arthur refused to do so and so started a series of fights and arguments between Arthur and his supports (mostly his knights obviously, though some council members who knew Merlin were siding with him as well) and those who were just like his father, opposed to magic no matter what.

Arthur knew that when the time came and he will lift the magic ban from Camelot he will have to deal with them, but for now, all of that could wait; he just hoped Merlin woke up by now.

He was just reaching the door when he heard a loud yell from within and a crash as something broke down, swinging the door open Arthur stared at the scene before him with wide eyes.

Merlin was sitting upright in his bed and his hand was around another glass bottle, another, since the first one was laying in a shattered heap near Gaius's feet, Gaius who was standing shock still next to the door, staring at Merlin with frightened eyes.

"Merlin?" Gaius asked slowly and Merlin turned unfocused eyes towards him, shaking his head for a moment before focusing on Gaius's face.

"G-Gaius?" He croaked and then glanced around him, his brows furrowing in confusion.

"What am I- what is this- how did I-" He stopped and then looked back at Gaius.

"Gaius?" He asked again, this time with wonder in his voice and tears filling his eyes. "Is that- Is that really you? Am I- Am I back?"

Gaius let out a pained laugh and nodded eagerly, rushing over to his ward's side and enveloping him in a hug.

"It's you." He whispered and caressed Merlin's hair, allowing the tears to fall down from his closed eyes. "It's really you."

"Yeah," Merlin choked out and hugged Gaius back, his hands wrinkling the old man's robes and pulling him closer.

Arthur could feel the tears slipping down his own cheeks.

"Merlin…" Gaius cried. "My boy…" And then he straightened up and smacked him over the head.

"Ugh!" Merlin cried out and rubbed the side of his head. "What was that for?!"

"For being gone for seven months!" Gaius told him, his eyes narrowing and Merlin paled.

"Err, sorry?" He tried, wincing when another hit came at his head.

"You are going to concuss him at this rate Gaius." Arthur said, unable to stay quiet any longer.

Merlin's eyes turned slowly towards him, as if just now he realized Arthur was there.

"Arthur…" He breathed and Arthur swallowed, his name never sounded better.

"Hey." He said and Merlin choked, tears filling his eyes once more.

"Oh no," Arthur said, noting gratefully that Gaius left them alone. "Don't be a girl Merlin." He said and felt the tears springing to his own eyes, he missed saying his name.

Merlin snorted a laugh and sniffed. "Now who's being a girl?" He answered and then grew serious; reaching out his arms towards Arthur he smiled softly.

"Come here."

Arthur was there in less than a second, wrapping his arms around Merlin and sighing in content when he felt his arms closing around him.

"You are real." He whispered, burying his face in Merlin's neck and breathing him in, his hands climbed up Merlin's back and tangled themselves in his black locks.

"You are really here." He said again, hugging him tighter, allowing the tears he refused to shed in all those long months to spill now.

"I'm real, I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere." Merlin whispered back and Arthur swore that he felt Merlin's lips brushing the side of his neck before he pulled back a bit.

But Arthur had to make sure.

"Merlin, I need you to tell me something," He started and Merlin eyed him for a moment before his eyes widened and he gave a small nod, understanding.

"Sure, anything, whatever you ask."

"The first time we met, what did you call me?"

Merlin smiled, big and happy.

"Friend." He answered softly and Arthur's answering smile was blinding.

"Yeah, so welcome back home my friend."

Merlin closed his eyes at the sound of that and leaned his head on Arthur's shoulder, sighing contentedly.

Arthur just hugged him tighter.


The next morning Arthur woke up to the sun streaming into his eyes.

Groaning he rolled to the other side and closed his eyes again.

"I see some things didn't change." Merlin's amused voice penetrated the sleepy fog in Arthur's mind and his eyes snapped open, he sat up in bed and reached out, grabbing Merlin's arm and pulling him into his bed.

Merlin squealed when he went down flailing, falling head down unto the bed. Arthur wrapped his arms around him and pulled him closer.

"So it wasn't a dream." He mumbled, breathing in Merlin's scent.

"What? What are you talking about? And will you let me go? You are quite heavy you know have you gained weight?"

"Shut up Merlin." Arthur mumbled and laughed, his laughter increasing as Merlin stared at him with wide eyes.

"I missed telling you to shut up!" He explained. "From now on just talk! Talk as much as you like and don't listen to me when I tell you to shut up!"

"That's what I was doing in the first place." Merlin answered with a smirk and laughed when Arthur hit him on his shoulder.

"You need to get up though," Merlin said eventually, his hand rubbing soft circles on Arthur's back. "You are going to be late for training and I can't have you late in my first day back to work."

It took a moment for Arthur to understand what Merlin just said and then he glared at him.

"What?" Merlin said his voice defensive.

"What are you doing back at work?" He demanded, sitting up in bed but still keeping a hand on Merlin's arm.

"Oh, that," Merlin mumbled something, a blush covering his cheeks and Arthur swallowed. "You see, Gaius said I was driving him mad with my pacing and-"

"Pacing?" Arthur frowned.

"I was bored alright?!" Merlin yelled and then blushed even more. "I needed to do something with myself or I'd go mad and since Gwen is now Gaius's apprentice and already did all the work I decided to get back to work!" He finished brightly and then frowned. "Unless you don't want me to-"

"I do!" Arthur hurried to reassure him. "Of course I do you idiot! I just thought you'll need some more rest, you were after all dea-" He stopped there, unable to finish his sentence and Merlin looked away.

"That's why I wanted to get back to work sooner rather than later." He whispered and Arthur's face softened. "Of course I want you here," Arthur breathed and Merlin looked up, his blush returning. Arthur suddenly remembered where they were and he gasped. "I meant as my manservant!" He yelled and Merlin looked down, mumbling an 'of course sire' before he tried to pull away.

Arthur's eyes narrowed, he lost him once before he managed to tell him everything, and he wasn't going to do the same mistake twice.

"Merlin it's not like-"

A knock on the door cut him off and Merlin took advantage of this to slip off the bed and out of Arthur's reach.

A moment later the door opened to reveal a sour looking Agravaine, his expression brightened however when he spotted Merlin.

"Ah Merlin! There you are! Back to work already?"

Arthur frowned at his uncle. He never cared for servants, why would he care now?

"Indeed my lord." Arthur turned to stare at Merlin, his face showed no emotion and his back was stiff, this was the perfect posture for a servant, and this wasn't Merlin.

"Very good," Agravaine smiled and Arthur's frown turned into narrowed eyes. His uncle was up to something. "Well then, I will leave you to it, good day."

"Uncle," Arthur called out, voice even. "Was there something you wanted or were you simply looking after my personal manservant?"

"Oh!" Agravaine stared at him for a moment with a deer caught in the crossbow sight expression before he smiled. "I merely wanted to make sure you got up in time for training, after all you dismissed your old manservant but I wasn't sure if Merlin was already back on the job, once I saw him here I realized he was in fact back on the job!"

Arthur smiled warmly at his uncle; he didn't believe a single word. "Of course uncle."

Agravaine bowed and left.

"If he ever comes near you again when I am not there come straight to me," Arthur said, finally leaving the bed. "You are allowed to refuse an order from him."

Merlin lifted wide eyes and stared at Arthur before he smiled, big and bright and Arthur did his best to ignore the butterflies that took flight in his belly.

"Now where is my breakfast?"


"Merlin!" A scream was heard from across the corridor and Arthur and Merlin turned as one, Merlin, Arthur noted, tensed a bit more than usual and relaxed only when Gwen's running form drew closer, that is, until she nearly ran over him in her eagerness to squish him to death.

"Gwen, Gwen," Merlin whizzed and tried to push her away. "I do need to breath you know."

"You are really back." Gwen cried out and held him tighter. "I thought, Lance told me but I couldn't believe him until I saw you."

Arthur thought that the mention of his future queen and her once loved knight talking will cause him some amount of jealousy but no, he felt nothing, frowning Arthur coughed.

"We are running late for training Gwen." He said with an apologetic smile on his lips.

"Oh! Right, right! Of course you are!" She smiled and gave Merlin one more squeeze. "You are joining us for dinner tonight! Gaius says you are far too skinny for your own good."

Merlin gave a pained smile and nodded. "Count me in."

She gave a small bow and turned around, almost skipping from happiness.

"She really missed me huh?" Merlin mused out loud and Arthur snorted.

"We all missed you idiot." He grumbled and dragged a smiling Merlin to the training grounds, keeping the rest of the line 'some more than others' deep in the back of his throat.

When they got to the training ground Arthur had to shield Merlin from all his knights who wanted to hug Merlin all at once.

"Men!" He shouted eventually. "He just got back, give him some space." He added a warning glare to make sure they took him seriously.

Gwaine of course didn't take anything seriously. Pushing Arthur out of the way he hugged Merlin tightly and patted him on the back.

"It's good to have you back Merlin." He said his voice too gentle to Arthur's liking.

"Okay men. Let's start with the training!" Arthur gathered them around and they began.

Training didn't end soon enough for Arthur who was eager to be with Merlin alone again.

When he turned to call him however he was nowhere to be seen, frowning Arthur hurried back to the castle, catching the flipping end of his uncle's robe as he dragged Merlin after him. Narrowing his eyes Arthur followed them.

Agravaine dragged Merlin into a disused room and closed the door behind them, whirling around to face the reanimated warlock.

"Well?" He demanded.

"Well?" Merlin echoed and Arthur frowned, there was this tone again, so emotionless and dead.

"What do you mean well? What are you going to do?"

"I'm not sure I know what you mean by that my lord and I really must go."

Arthur heard footsteps walking towards the door and then stop.

"I would appreciate it if you unhandled me right now lord Agravaine." For some reason Arthur realized, this wasn't a request.

"How dare you? I-"

And then there was silence, Arthur moved closer to hear what they were saying when suddenly the door swung open and Arthur stared at Merlin's face.

"Sire!" Merlin exclaimed and looked over his shoulder at Agravaine.

"I-"

"Doesn't matter," Arthur said quickly, not wanting to discuss whatever it was in front of his uncle. "Let's go. Gaius needs to examine you before the council meeting."

Ignoring his uncle's presence and dragging Merlin behind him Arthur walked to Gaius's chambers.


"Healthy as a newborn," Gaius declared and clapped his hands. "You are good to go my boy, I've never seen you in better health, albeit a bit skinny but still, perfect health."

Merlin smiled and put his shirt on back again.

"So no weird signs or anything?" Arthur asked from the side, his arms crossed over his chest where he was trying to keep his heart in.

"None whatsoever." Gaius smiled and ruffled Merlin's hair.

"You are joining us for dinner tonight my boy?" Gaius asked and Merlin nodded and then stopped, looking at Arthur.

"That is," He started and stopped, looking unsure what to say. "I mean-"

"Oh, Arthur will come as well won't you sir?" Gaius said with an even bigger smile.

"It will be an unofficial 'welcome back' feast for you Merlin!" Gaius cheered and Arthur nodded.

"Sure why not? It will be fun eating with friends for a change."

Merlin grinned at him and Arthur's smile grew bigger.

"Then it's decided! Now let's go to this meeting before Geoffrey will have a heart attack."

On their way back to Gaius's quarters Arthur stopped them in a small alcove. Merlin eyed him questioningly.

"I heard you and Agravaine today." He started and Merlin kept on looking, his face unreadable.

"What is going on Merlin?" Arthur asked quietly and Merlin sighed.

"Can we talk about it after dinner? I just…I just want a bit more…" He stopped talking and just stared at Arthur until he sighed and nodded.

"Fine, after dinner then." He agreed and they resumed walking.


"To Merlin!" Gaius sad loudly and Merlin winced as the glasses clinked each other.

"To Merlin!" The room echoed and Arthur smiled as he glanced around the room at their friends. Finally things were as they were meant to be.

"So Merlin…" Gwaine slurred, already drunk even before they started eating. "What was it like being dead?"

Merlin choked on his drink and Arthur rubbed his back, forcing him to drink some water.

"Gwaine!" Lancelot chided and Gwaine looked slightly apologetic. "What…?" He mumbled.

Merlin's laugh was forced. "It's alright Gwaine, I know you must be curios but… you really don't want to hear about it, at least not before dinner." He finished quietly and Gaius cleared his throat.

"Right, let us eat yes?"

And so they all dug in, food brought especially from the kitchen and some favorite dishes of Merlin that Gaius and Gwen prepared. Merlin, however, barely touched his food.

"You okay?" Arthur whispered in his ear and Merlin shivered.

"I… yeah, just a bit tired that's all."

"Do you want to go to sleep?"

Merlin looked at him and frowned. "Where?"

Arthur frowned as well until he remembered that Gwen now slept in Merlin's old room.

"The antechamber, it's clean." He said with a smile, hoping Merlin wouldn't realize how fast his heart was beating.

"Oh," Merlin said and turned to look at him, his eyes were unreadable and he was flushed from the drinking, then he smiled and Arthur could breathe again. "That would be great!"

Arthur smiled back and then he noticed how quiet it has become in the room, turning to look at their friends he noticed that they were all staring at them.

"What?" He said, a bit defensively.

"Nothing," Gwen hurried to say, her own cheeks flushed. "Really nothing, everything is-hick-" She covered her mouth and her eyes widened as she blushed even more. "Oh dear," She mumbled. "I'm so sorry."

It was silent for a few moments and then Merlin snorted. Arthur turned to look at him and then smiled, the smile soon turning into a grin and it took a few seconds before the room erupted in laughter.

Gwen pouted and Lance patted her shoulder. Arthur decided he will break the engagement tomorrow.


Arthur supported a swinging Merlin down the corridor towards their room.

He shivered.

Their room.

"I can walk on my own you know…" Merlin mumbled against Arthur's shoulder and Arthur snorted.

"Yeah right, if I let you go now you'll fall."

Merlin's grip around his waist tightened. "Don't let me go…" He breathed and Arthur's heart clenched at the pain laced voice.

"Never." He whispered into Merlin's hair, his own grip tightening around his shoulders.

"Promise?" Merlin whispered again and Arthur waited until they were inside his room to answer.

"Merlin," He started slowly and said man turned from the window to look at him. "I… you should go to bed."

Merlin pouted. Arthur didn't know he could do that.

"You didn't promise." He whimpered and Arthur froze at the sight of tears welling up in his eyes, it would seem that Merlin was an emotional drunk.

"No, wait Merlin, don't cry! I promise! Of course I promise!" Arthur crossed the room in a second and wrapped Merlin in his arms, dragging him to his own bed, the antechamber damned.

"Shh…" He shushed him and caressed his soft hair. "Don't cry, of course I promise, I made a deal with the sacred goddess to get you back," Arthur said, missing the tensing of Merlin's form in his arms.

"What?" Merlin asked, alarmed as he lifted himself on one elbow to stare at Arthur. "What did you do?"

Arthur groaned mentally. He knew Merlin's opinions about magic and this wasn't how he intended to bring it up.

"Arthur…" Merlin growled and Arthur rolled his eyes, lifting himself as well.

"Look, it's no big deal okay? I promised the sacred goddess that if she brought you back to me I would lift the ban over magic and accept the old religion again, that's all."

Merlin glanced away and closed his eyes for a moment, when he looked back at Arthur they were filled with tears and he was smiling softly.

"You did all this for me?" He whispered, his hand coming to rest on Arthur's arm.

Arthur caught Merlin's hand and intertwined their fingers together.

"Of course, it was a small price to pay to get you back."

Merlin ducked his head and squeezed Arthur's fingers.

"So…" Arthur started and Merlin lifted his eyes to look at him. "You aren't mad then?"

Letting out a choked laughter Merlin shook his head." No, I… How can I be mad at you Arthur? You acted against everything you were raised to believe, everything you once believed in for me. You," Merlin fluttered a bit and then took a deep breath. "Despite being burned by magic so many times you were still ready to use it… for me." He finished in awe.

"For you." Arthur agreed and then, because he had to, because he wanted to since the moment he met him, Arthur kissed Merlin.

Sweet and chaste, just a press of their lips to one another but it still made Arthur's heart soar, his blood pounding in his ears in a way it never did when he kissed Gwen. Letting out a contented moan Arthur licked at Merlin's lips and smiled when he opened them, his own tongue drawing Arthur's in, pulling it closer and then wrapping itself around it. Eventually they had to break the kiss and Arthur stared at Merlin's flushed face, glowing in the moonlight streaming from the window and smiled, finally feeling at peace.

"I love you." He whispered and Merlin closed his eyes before he gave Arthur a shy smile.

"I- I love you too." He stammered and flushed a deeper shade of red.

Arthur grinned and packed him on the lips one last time before he pulled him down, wrapping his arms around him and sharing the same pillow.

"You sure this is real?" Arthur whispered.

"Why," Merlin smirked. "You've had this kind of dreams before Arthur?"

"Yes." Arthur answered truthfully and opened his eyes again to see Merlin's shocked gaze softening down.

"It's real, I'm real." He kissed Arthur's cheek and cuddled closer to him, his head on Arthur's shoulder.


The next morning Arthur woke up with a smile on his face, a smile that soon turned into a scowl when he read Merlin's note. Why on earth would he need to talk to Gaius so early in the morning?

Arthur was on his way to Gaius's rooms when he spotted Gwen in the courtyard below, deciding it was as good as any time to tell her his decision and also to find Lance and tell him to stop being such an idiot he changed his direction.

"Gwen!" Gwen turned around when she heard him and courtside.

"Good morning Arthur," She said with a smile and Arthur smiled, this was the right decision.

"Something's wrong?" She asked. Her eyes filling with worry.

"No, no, everything is fine I just," He took her to a private corner. "You should choose Lancelot."

Gwen stared at him. "What?"

"I don't, Gwen, I can't marry you, I can't be the man who will love you the way you deserve, Lance is that man."

Gwen didn't look really surprised, she just looked sad.

"I knew it, even before Merlin came back I knew that I was just, well, not a replacement but," She sighed and Arthur kissed her hand.

"You should talk to him; he is only waiting for you to say something, too noble for his own good."

Gwen rolled her eyes and laughed. "He is."

"Then go," He said, taking the ring she handed him back. "Go and be happy Gwen."

"Thank you Arthur." She said and hurried away, presumably to find Lancelot.

Arthur smiled and looked around the courtyard, his smile diminishing when he spotted Agravaine, once again dragging Merlin behind him, this time into the stables.

Narrowing his eyes he followed.

"Stop playing Merlin!" Agravaine was hissing.

"Arthur isn't here now so you can drop the act, what are your orders?"

"Agravaine-"

"What did Morgana tell you to do? How are you going to kill Arthur?"

Arthur stumbled back and knocked down a hanging saddle, Merlin was there in a second, his eyes wide with horror, Agravaine's expression identical.

"Arthur-" Merlin started but Arthur shook his head, drawing his sword.

"Not a single word. Don't talk to me." He yelled for the guards.

"Take these two down to the dungeons, I want them locked in different cells and under constant guarding is that clear?"

His uncle tried to argue but Merlin simply slumped in the guards arms as they took him away, all life seemingly sipped from his form.

I can finally post my story! :) So without further chattering this is my entry for the Merlin_Redux comm!

Summery: Based on prompt number 13 where Merlin walks into the veil instead of Lancelot and Arthur is left behind. Refusing to accept the fact that Merlin is gone Arthur does whatever he can to get him back.
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Arthur/Merlin
Warning: Violence?

Have fun!
[Six degrees of seperation part 1]

1. Shock and denial

Something was missing.

Arthur couldn't put his finger on what it was exactly, only that, something was missing, it was like a part of him went missing, a part he never knew he had and only now that it was gone he realized he found it.

Blinking his eyes slowly, Arthur opened them and looked around him, the stars twinkled and shined like tiny diamonds in the velvety fabric of the night sky, a fire was going somewhere to his right and though he couldn't see it he felt it's warmth, he took another deep breath and a small smile curled upon his lips, the air smelled different, without the decaying presence of the Dorocha and-

Arthur's mind froze, backtracking carefully through his thoughts he stopped at the last one: The Dorocha. He was obviously alive and yet the Dorocha were gone so that meant-

His eyes skimmed their camp quickly: All his knights were there with Lancelot standing guard and Merlin… Arthur's eyes widened as the name echoed in his mind.

"Where's Merlin?"

He didn't mean for it to sound so… panicky, but right now he didn't really care.

"Where is Merlin?" His tone rose sharply as he struggled to rise from his blanket.

"Merlin?" Arthur's voice echoed in the darkness around them and Arthur stared as none of his knights answered him.

"Where is that idiot?" He demanded; this was getting ridicules.

"Merlin!" Arthur roared and his hand reached for his sword, trying to get up.

"Sire he's…" Lancelot started and trailed off when Arthur's gaze landed on him.

"What? Taking a bath? Talking a midnight stroll? Where is he?"

Lancelot was quiet for a moment before he lifted his eyes to meet Arthur's furious gaze and suddenly Arthur couldn't breathe for there was pain in Lancelot's gaze, so much pain that Arthur's mind refused to think about the reason for that amount of pain.

"No…" Arthur's whisper was swallowed down by Lancelot's answer.

"He is dead sire, he went through the veil." Lancelot said, his shoulders sagging and his hands clenching.

"No." Arthur shook his head, finally rising from his blanket. "No." He said again, his eyes burning. "If this is your idea of a joke sir Lancelot I assure you that you and he will be thrown into the dungeons for the next three weeks! Now where is he?"

Lancelot took a step back and stared at Arthur as the prince's upper lip curled in disdain.

"Sire I swear this isn't a joke! He… Merlin he…" Lancelot's voice fluttered and something in Arthur snapped.

"Merlin!" He screamed. "Where the hell are you?!"

"He is gone Arthur!" Gwaine's voice pierced through Arthur's shocked mind and he whirled around, staring at the knight.

"He is gone," Gwaine said again, this time more quietly. "He went through the veil and…" He trailed off, knowing that nothing more needed to be said.

Arthur swallowed around the lump in his throat and shook his head.

"No," He said again. "No, no, no you… he isn't… he didn't…" In the back of his mind Arthur was aware that he dropped his sword; that he backed away from his knights and towards the lake, he heard Percival's concerned call of 'sire?' and Leon's soft voice telling him to let him be.

And then he was knees deep in the lake water and staring unseeing at the island before him, the cursed island that… no, Arthur shook his head again, no, Merlin wasn't dead, he wasn't…

Arthur heard someone choking and turned around frantically, knowing that it had to be Merlin, the idiot must have fallen into the lake or something, only to find nothing and to realize it was he who was choking, he who was gasping for air, tears streaming down his face as if he just lost his-

Arthur clenched his fingers; this couldn't be happening, Merlin couldn't be dead, they've been through so much together, they've destroyed the great dragon for god's sake! One single veil couldn't beat them, it couldn't separate them, couldn't…

Arthur swallowed again and clutched at his chest, his heart beating was unbearable and Arthur wanted it to stop, he wanted everything to stop! The pounding in his head and the beating of his heart and Merlin's blue eyes that stared at him from the depths of the lake and…

In the back of his mind Arthur heard the splash of the water and felt the coldness spreading through his limbs like the sweetest nectar he has ever tasted, he heard his knights shouts and felt them grab at his body and just before the darkness closed on him once again he saw Merlin and yes, Arthur thought, someone was missing.

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"Would you stop it my child?" Gaius's soft voice stopped Gwen as she moved towards the window again.

"I'm sure we'll hear when they are back." He said and Gwen swallowed around the lump in her throat because no matter who will be back she will lose someone dear, they will all lose someone.

"Do you think-"

"There is no point in doing much of that right now dear." Gaius said and Gwen cursed herself for talking too much, after all, Merlin was with them as well and Gaius was as worried as she was.

She bite her lower lip and tried to stop moving, her right leg started shaking again and she laid her hand on it only to notice that her hand was shaking as well.

"Here," Gaius presented her with a small vial. "Drink this; it's a calming draught-"

A sound from the yard caused Gwen to fly off her seat and the vial smashed on the ground but both Gwen and Gaius couldn't care less, they were already flying down the stairs and into the courtyard where the knights were returning.

Gwen's eyes stared at each and every knight that rode into the courtyard; Leon and Gwaine, Lancelot and Gwen ignored the relived sigh that escaped her lips when she saw him, Elyan and a smile curved her lips, Percival and finally Arthur's horse, her heart stopped, with Arthur's body draped upon it.

"Oh god…" Gwen's hands flew to her mouth as she followed Gaius down the stairs, the old man's speed a surprising thing in his age.

"Arthur…" She breathed and glanced at Lancelot who shook his head and opened his mouth to speak.

"He isn't dead Gwen," Gaius said quickly. "But I need to see this bruise, get him to my chambers quickly."

The knights moved quickly and silently as they carried Arthur's unconscious form to Gaius's chambers.

"How did it happen?" Gaius asked the silent room and Lancelot coughed.

"He, he was knocked over." Was all he said as he exchanged looks with the rest of the knights, Gwen frowned.

"Well, it doesn't seem too serious; did he wake since hitting his head?"

Gwen's eyes narrowed as the knights exchanged looks again.

"Yes," Gwaine answered. "He was his usual self." He assured the physician.

"Good, good, well, he'll just sleep it off." He clapped his hands and smiled at them. "Now-"

He started to say and stopped. "Where is Merlin?" He said, looking beyond the knights at the door.

Gwen frowned; she couldn't remember seeing Merlin when they entered the courtyard and-

Gaius reached the same conclusion.

"No." Gwen's eyes filled with tears at the pain that filled the old man's voice and the realization that came with it.

"Gaius I-" Lancelot started.

"No, no, no, not my boy, not Merlin, please no." Gaius said as he stared at them, his eyes pleading.

"There was nothing I could do." Lancelot said again, staring at Gaius's eyes as if he was trying to say something more.

"Oh god…" Gwen whispered as Gaius crumpled to the seat next to Arthur's bed and covered his face.

Lancelot turned to her, his eyes pained. "I'm sorry," He whispered. "I tried to keep him safe." He said and Gwen wanted to throw up because Arthur was safe but Merlin… Merlin was…

"His body?" She asked instead, because the least they could do was-

"There wouldn't be one," Gaius's voice trembled. "He went through the veil."

The only time Gwen saw Gaius cry was when Merlin was poisoned all that time ago and it was an awful sight, one that she never wanted to see again but now… Gwen's vision blurred by her own tears as she looked away, unable to see Gaius's broken expression.

"He will receive a burial ceremony worthy of a knight," Leon said, his face emotionless but Gwen could see the pain in his eyes. "He saved Camelot after all."

Gaius let out a hollow laughter and lifted empty eyes to look at him.

"Yes indeed, he saved Camelot."

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Arthur woke up to a pounding headache; he blinked his eyes open and closed them again immediately muttering a curse under his breath when the blazing sun scorched his eyeballs.

A muffled laughter sounded from somewhere in the room and then a loud crash and the curtains were drawn shut, plunging the room in blissful darkness.

"Better?" Merlin's amused voice sounded and Arthur opened his eyes fully to look at his manservant.

"Much." Arthur said and smiled at him, lifting his upper body to lean on the headboard.

His smile slipped away when he remembered his dream.

"I had an awful dream Merlin." He started and Merlin lifted one black eyebrow. "Do I really want to hear it?"

"Yes." Arthur said quickly and Merlin sighed and moved closer to the bed.

"Alright, let's have it. What was this awful dream about?"

Arthur opened his mouth and then closed it, unsure how to say it without sounding too… girly.

"You left me," He said and then amended quickly. "I mean, you died."

He expected Merlin to laugh or snort in amusement at him but Merlin didn't do any of these.

Rubbing the back of his neck Merlin sat down next to Arthur and Arthur was going to tell him to get off of his bed any moment now but then he looked into Merlin's eyes and frowned.

"Merlin?"

"It wasn't a dream Arthur." Merlin said quietly and looked away.

"What, what do you mean?" Arthur said, struggling to keep his voice level.

"Of course it was a dream! You are here aren't you?" He finished and reached for Merlin's hand only to gasp as his fingers passed right through it.

"What the hell?" Arthur tried again and again but every single time he did it the result was the same: He couldn't touch Merlin.

"Arthur, Arthur, stop it." Merlin's chocked voice caught his attention and he lifted his eyes to stare at him.

"Merlin what is going on here?" He whispered.

"I'm dead Arthur." Merlin said softly and the tears finally rolled down his cheeks. "I just had to see you again."

"No," Arthur said; shaking his head and rising up, bringing both his hands to cup Merlin's face only to pass straight through. "You can't be dead!" He was aware his voice was rising in levels but he didn't care. "You can't, I didn't allow you to! I never said you could die! I'm not ready for you to die! You said-"

"Arthur please, stop it." Merlin whispered and Arthur wanted desperately to hug him, protocol be damned. "I…"

"You promised. You promised you will be my servant 'till the day you die."

Merlin let out a chocked laughter. "I meant every word I said," His hand lifted to caress Arthur's cheek, the touch a ghost of a wind across his skin. "I didn't mean for that day to get here so soon." He finished and stared at Arthur helplessly.

"I just…"

"I can't let you do this Merlin." Arthur repeated stubbornly. "I can't let you go, I won't let you go."

Merlin closed his eyes for a moment and then rose from the bed.

"I have to go."

"What? No!" Arthur rose as well and moved to grab Merlin's arm, needing to pull the other man closer.

"I have already been here too long, I… I'm so sorry Arthur." And then he walked to the main door and left the room.

Arthur stared for two seconds before he rushed to the door and slammed it open, following Merlin into the hall.

"Merlin!" He screamed and then froze as he noticed they weren't in the hall outside his rooms.

Arthur stared at the clearing around him and turned in a full circle, looking for his manservant.

"I'm not ready do you hear me?!" He yelled into the empty air."I'm not ready to let you go that easily Merlin! I refuse to let you go!"

Arthur's knees gave way and he crashed to the floor.

"Please Merlin… I can't lose you…I just can't… please…"

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2. Pain and Guilt

"Sire."

"Merlin…please no…"

"Sire!"

Gaius's voice tore Arthur away from his nightmare and he opened his eyes, staring at Gaius's sad face.

"You were dreaming again." Gaius said and sat down next to Arthur's bed, lifting a small vial to his lips. "Drink this."

Arthur took the vial and stared at it. "Is it the dreamless potion?"

Gaius nodded.

"Good." He drained it in a single gulp and handed the vial back to Gaius.

He didn't want these dreams; he didn't need the constant reminder that Merlin was gone. He was going to be just fine. His father once told him that it was a servant's duty to sacrifice his life for his master and that is exactly what happened, his manservant did his job, there was no need to get all teary eyed about it.

"When will I be able to get back to my duties Gaius?" Arthur asked, eyeing the court physician and doing his best to ignore the new lines of age that seemed to appear over night on the old man's face.

"The moment you feel up to it sire." Gaius replied quietly, clearing away the food tray that Arthur didn't touch.

"Good." Arthur said and looked away, his eyes landing on the door to Merlin's room and he chocked, that excruciating pain spreading through his body again. He shut his eyes tightly and clenched his fingers, trying to breathe again.

"Sire?"

"I'm fine Gaius," He said briskly and rose in one fluid motion from the bed. "Just a bit dizzy is all."

"A side affect of your head injury," Gaius said slowly. "Maybe you should lie down some more and-"

"There will be no need for that, I'm sure my uncle is quite concerned as it is."

With that he left the room, the door slamming shut in his wake.

Turning around the corner Arthur stopped and gasped for air, his hands clawing at his chest where his heart refused to stop squeezing itself to death.

"Arthur!" Agravaine's voice echoed in the hallway and Arthur straightened up, plastered a smile over his face and turned towards his uncle.

"Uncle," He said with a smile.

"I was just on my way to Gaius to see how you were; you had us quite worried you know." His uncle's smile made Arthur's teeth grit.

"A slight bump on the head that is all," He said and gestured for his uncle to follow him on their way to the council rooms. "Nothing too serious."

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Gwen glanced at the training grounds and sighed again.

"Too much sighing isn't good for you my dear." Gaius said as they made their way past the grounds and unto the lower town.

With Merlin's death Gwen took his position, wanting to be there for Gaius.

"How can he do that?" Gwen asked again, voicing out loud what she's been thinking for the last two weeks.

"How can who do what?" Gaius said, pretending he didn't understand her question.

"Come on Gaius, how can he act as if nothing happened?" Gwen said, doing her best to keep her voice down.

"How can he act as if Merlin never existed? As if he didn't-"

"Gwen." Gaius warned and Gwen closed her mouth.

Sighing, Gaius led her to a small bench and they sat there. "It's not that he pretends Merlin didn't exist," Gaius started, his voice trembling just so over Merlin's name. "It's just that, Arthur isn't used to express his feelings, much less his pain and Merlin… Merlin is connected to both of these so he does what he knows best, pretend it didn't happen, pretend that everything is the same as it always been."

Gwen shook her head. "How can he do that? I… If I didn't have you or, or Lance I'd… I'd go mad." Gwen whispered and looked away, the tears coming back as they did every time they talked about Merlin.

"I know dear." Gaius said and pulled her to a hug, both taking comfort from the human touch.

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"Good morning father." Arthur said quietly as he entered his father's room, nodding to Gwen as she left.

"Happy birthday son!" His father smiled and Arthur stared at him.

"What?" Uther frowned. "You thought I'd forget your birthday?"

Arthur smiled at his father. "Of course not father, I even arranged your favorite entertainment for tonight's feast."

Uther smiled and started talking happily about Arthur as a little boy, laughing at his own memories and clapping every time Arthur asked a new question.

After leaving his father's room Arthur went straight to his own chambers; ordering the guards outside to let no one enter.

Sitting heavily on his chair in front of the fire Arthur closed his eyes; he didn't feel like celebrating his birthday, after all, what was there to celebrate? He is alive today only because Merlin-

Arthur shook his head; he won't think about it, he couldn't.

Grabbing the nearest object Arthur hurled it against the wall and ignored the guard's cries of alarm.

"Damn you Merlin…" Arthur whispered as he sank down, hours later between the wreckages of his room. "Damn you to hell."

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"Thank you all for coming!" Uther's voice carried in the great hall, followed by happy cheers from all the people. "Today we celebrate my son's birthday and I would like to have a toast to Arthur's health and for a strong Camelot!"

"To Arthur's health and a strong Camelot!" The crowd echoed and Arthur smiled at everyone, draining his cup again and lifting it for another fill.

"Maybe you shouldn't drink so much my lord." Sir Leon's concerned voice penetrated through Arthur's haze.

"Nonsense Sir Leon!" Arthur said cheerfully, his lips stretched in a fake smile. "It's my birthday! I'm just glad I'm alive!"

Sir Leon's face twisted in concern but his reply was swallowed as the evening entertainment arrived.

Hours later Arthur stumbled alone into his room, the amount of wine he consumed would give him a magnificent headache tomorrow morning for sure.

"You are such a prat!" Merlin said and Arthur whirled around to see Merlin finishing to sweep the room.

"M-Merlin?" Arthur stammered and took a step towards him only to stop. "No," He shook his head. "No, it's not you, it's a hallucination, you aren't real, I'm not-" His foot hit the edge of the chair and Arthur crashed down, scrapping his palm as he reached out to stop his fall.

"You are not real." He whispered again and closed his eyes, rocking back and forth.

"Why not?" Merlin's soft voice sounded so much closer and Arthur desperately wanted to open his eyes.

"Because… because…because you are dead!" He yelled and opened his eyes to stare at the empty room.

"You are dead," Arthur repeated to the empty air. "And I didn't get to tell you," He swallowed around the lump in his throat. "I didn't get to tell you so many things… Merlin…"

Arthur grabbed his hair and pulled, hoping that the pain in his head will lessen the pain in his heart.

"I didn't get to tell you how important you are… I didn't get to… you are my friend…"

Arthur crawled to the rug near the fire and curled there, his back to the blazing fire and his tears streaming silently down his face.

"Merlin… I'm so sorry…" Arthur whispered. "I didn't mean for you to die… you were never supposed to die instead of me…You weren't supposed to die at all…"

"I can't… This isn't the same without you Merlin… this isn't… I can't do it… you remember you said I would be a great king? Don't you want to see it?" Arthur's voice rose.

"Don't you want to see it?! Merlin! Answer me!"

A pounding on the door stopped Arthur from throwing an expensive vase at the wall.

"What?!" He growled and the door banged open, revealing a distressed looking sir Leon.

"Sire, your father-"

Arthur was on his feet in a second, his drunken state forgotten.

"What happened?"

"It would seem that the apple, Gaius said it is a poison he doesn't know and-"

Arthur stopped listening as he ran towards his father's rooms.

"How long does he have?" Arthur gasped at Gaius as he slammed the door to his father's chamber's open, startling both Gaius and Gwen.

"Sire I-"

"How long does he have?" Arthur repeated, catching his breath and staring at his father's pale form.

"A little over a day sire." Gaius said slowly, collecting his things.

Arthur nodded and sat down next to his father.

"Alert Geoffrey that he will be needed for a crowning ceremony in two days." He said coldly and Gaius nodded, leaving the room with Gwen trailing behind him.

"Sir Leon?"

"Sire?"

"Have we caught them yet?" Arthur knew that Leon won't need him to say anything more.

"We have."

"Good, they will be executed at dawn by pyre."

"Yes sire." Leon bowed and left.

Arthur sat there silently before he rose and went to the window, moving the curtains and exposing Camelot's view.

"Is it awful of me father," Arthur said slowly. "That I envy you?"

Silent was his only reply and Arthur leaned his forehead against the glass.

"You will die and move on to the next world to be with my mother while me…" He turned around to look at his father again.

"You left me all alone." Arthur whispered and he wasn't sure who he was really talking to.

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3. Anger and Bargaining.

Arthur took a deep breath and allowed the cold air to fill his lungs, letting the cold wash over him and numb everything within him. He opened his eyes slowly and glanced down, the lower town was shining with tiny lights now that winter was in full swing and everyone was enclosed inside with their loved ones. Arthur's fists clenched.

It's been three months since Merlin died and it seemed as though everyone forgot about him already.

His knights were laughing and joking as they used to and even Gaius seemed to be handling himself quite well with Gwen's help, which of course, in her turn seemed perfectly fine with the fact that her friend died!

Arthur grabbed the edge of the wall and tried to stop the boiling blood in his veins, it would seem that he was the only one who remembered Merlin, the only one who cared enough to keep on trying and find a way to get him back.

Arthur rubbed his neck and turned around, making his way back to the library.

For the last two weeks he's been here, forcing Geoffrey to uncover every single book of magic he has hidden from his father so he could find something, anything to get Merlin back. He didn't care how, only that Merlin will be back by his side.

"Sire?" Geoffrey's gruff voice sounded from his room and Arthur waved him off, signaling that he didn't need any help.

Blood spells.

Human sacrifices.

Eternal contract.

He looked through everything and always came up with one single problem- He needed magic.

Powerful magic and to Arthur's immense irritation, he didn't have any.

Arthur knew that if his father were still alive he'd be furious, more than that he might have even disowned Arthur but his father was dead and frankly? Arthur didn't care what he had to do as long as Merlin was back with him, he might even bring magic back, maybe, if the old religion promised to give him back Merlin.

Arthur paused; maybe he should talk to Gaius about it. Yeah, he should definitely go and see him right now.

Exiting the library quickly Arthur made his way to the court physicians' quarters and frowned when he saw his uncle exiting the castle.

His frown deepening Arthur followed his uncle with his gaze until he vanished into the stables, exiting a few short moments later on horseback.

His plan to talk with Gaius forgotten for the moment Arthur turned around and walked towards his uncle's rooms.

Arthur knew that he has changed since Merlin's death. Things that he was oblivious to in the past were now frighteningly obvious to him and so he wasn't blind to his uncle's suspicious behavior.

Encouraging him to start a war instead of solving it in a peaceful manner; sneaking out of Camelot in the middle of the night and other odd occurrences all added up to one conclusion: His uncle was up to something and Arthur will be damned if he allowed the man to carry on as he pleased.

As he walked towards his uncle's rooms Arthur wondered what he will do if his uncle turned out to be a traitor?

He couldn't kill him immediately, obviously, but having him in court might be a problem for future decisions…for example… bringing magic back.

Arthur's eyes narrowed as he neared his uncle's rooms, no one will prevent him from doing whatever it took to get Merlin back, not even his uncle, especially if he was the traitor.

Opening the door quietly Arthur glanced inside, making sure there was no one in before he walked in, he may be the king but being seen sneaking into his uncle's rooms in the middle of the night will set the castle's gossip chain on fire.

As he searched through his uncle's documents and various things he thought about the last conversation he had with the man.

They were seating in the council chambers after the rest of the council was dismissed and his uncle asked for permission to speak freely.

"You know I think of you as my son right?" His uncle asked and Arthur nodded.

"Of course uncle," Arthur took a sip from his goblet and stared at the man. "What is it?"

"Some of the people; have expressed their…concern…" His uncle started and Arthur's eyes narrowed.

"Concern?" He said quietly, his voice dropping to a near whisper, sounding so much like his father when magic was involved.

"Not anything too serious of course!" Agravaine hastened to say and Arthur noted that the man tried to wipe his brow discreetly.

"But there are those who wonder why you have yet taken a wife…" His uncle trailed off and Arthur stared at him for a while.

The truth was that the thought about marriage haven't crossed his mind at all, he knew that he will be forced to, for the good of Camelot of course, but the concept of having another person with him all the time… Arthur frowned, no, that wasn't right, the concept of having someone who wasn't Merlin with him all the time seemed…wrong.

Arthur fixed his uncle with a hard look as he rose from his seat, his uncle hurried to do the same.

"I hardly think it's appropriate to start talking about marriage when I lost my father three months ago." He said in a low tone and left the hall, leaving his uncle staring after him.

Sighing as he found nothing in his search Arthur left the room and moved towards his own chambers, it was too late to talk to Gaius and now that he remembered that talk Arthur knew he had another thing to worry about, he will have to stop all talk about marriage until he got Merlin back.

Nodding to himself Arthur climbed to his bed, not bothering with changing his clothes.

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The next night found Arthur walking slowly towards Gaius's rooms only to stop shortly before he reached them as he spotted a hooded man slipping inside the court physician's room. Curiosity got the better out of him and Arthur moved closer and leaned in to listen.

"Who are you?" Gaius's voice was heard and Arthur's hand moved towards his sword, ready to barge into the room at a second notice.

"Please Gaius," The man's accent was thick and Arthur couldn't recognize it.

"My name is Alator of the Catha; I'm here on a very important mission entrusted in me by the old religion."

Arthur's eyes widened and he wanted to break down the door and demand that the man will tell him everything he knew.

Gaius however didn't sound so thrilled.

"You do realize this is Camelot? You could get yourself killed for mentioning the old religion here." Arthur swallowed at the bitter tone in Gaius's voice.

"Then again," Gaius carried on, without letting the other man, Alator, talk. "Death might be the better case than some destinies." He said in an angry tone.

"You have suffered a great loss recently, have you not?" Alator said slowly, his voice oozing with sympathy and Arthur felt his eyes prickle.

"It doesn't matter," Gaius said briskly. "What do you want?"

"There is something I must know, our seers have seen a terrible tragedy has happened because of the meddling actions of the witch, I've come to see if it can be changed."

"What did they see?" Gaius asked; his voice cold.

"Emrys has died."

Arthur frowned, he didn't know anyone else has died recently besides Merlin, more so, he didn't know Gaius had known anyone by that name.

Gaius was silent for a few seconds before he sighed. "Your seers were right, Emrys died four months ago."

Alator let out a mournful cry and Arthur risked opening the door for a bit, the man's cries muffling the crack of the door.

Gaius grabbed the man's arm and led him to the nearest chair. A few moments later he collected himself and lifted his eyes to stare at Gaius.

"We must bring him back."

Gaius stared at him for a moment before letting out a harsh laughter.

"And how do you suggest we do that?" He asked bitterly.

"He passed unto the other world! These are powers beyond our comprehension! Dark magic that I will not work with," Gaius paused and closed his eyes. "He wouldn't want me to."

"I will be the one to do it then," Alator said and Arthur realized that whoever this Emrys was he was really important to Alator, important enough for him to use dark magic.

That man was exactly what Arthur needed.

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"We will need a bigger fire." Alator said and Gaius added another branch to the fire, they were in a clearing near a large lake and Arthur wondered what they were doing.

"And now, let us begin." Alator grabbed the bag he brought with him and pulled out a struggling falcon, the tiny hawk scrabbled for freedom before Alator crushed its neck in one swift movement, pulling out a sharp looking dagger.

"What are you doing?" Gaius said, his eyes widening when Alator sliced the bird's neck.

"Wha-"

"In the name of the old religion," Alator's voice boomed across the clearing. "I give you the blood of Emrys's soul!"

Pouring the blood into a large wooden bowl Alator moved on, reaching a bloody hand towards Gaius.

Arthur watched as Gaius handed him a piece of cloth, the cloth seemed familiar enough but Arthur couldn't put his finger on what made it seem so familiar.

"The physical symbol of his flesh!" Alator said again and tossed the cloth into the bowl.

"And now," Gaius took a step closer and presented his hand, palm up towards Alator.

"The yearning of a loved one!" Alator sliced Gaius's palm and allowed the blood to flow into the bowl.

Gaius took a step back as Alator lifted the bowl and poured its contents into the lake.

"Forces of the old religion!" He cried out. "Take our humble sacrifice and give us back the one we seek!"

Arthur held his breathe as the water's surface rippled and glowed before a figure appeared, inch by inch it revealed the figure of an old woman, dressed in robes with her mouth sat in a wicked grin, revealing missing teeth and narrow eyes.

"Alator," she said, her voice dripping with malice. "How dare you try and interfere with fate?"

"It is not I who interfered with fate Calilach!" Alator glared back.

"Emrys was taken from us before his time! His destiny has yet to be completed! The meddling witch-"

"Silence!" The Calilach roared and her figure flew across the water's surface to stand toe to toe with Alator's figure. "I decide when it is a being's time to be taken not anyone else! Destiny's wheels are moving according to the plan now that Emrys is gone, the once and future king is moving on the right path as well as the witch."

She raised one wrinkled finger toward Alator and Gaius. "You shall not interfere or I will make sure you will meet him sooner than expected."

With one last glance towards them she vanished back into the lake, leaving the clearing in pitch black darkness.

Creating a fiery boll Alator lightened the fire again and glared at the flames.

"This is not the end." He said and glanced up at Gaius.

"It is Alator." Gaius said tiredly and Arthur realized that he have never heard the man sound as old as he did now.

"With the Calilach keeping him there, there is no way we will be able to set him free, not to mention bring him back to this world," Gaius swallowed down and stared at the fire.

"This was a pointless attempt as it is," He sighed and sat down. "Merlin would have laughed at me for even trying."

Arthur's eyes widened when he heard Merlin's name. What was Merlin's connection to this sort of things?

"Merlin?" Alator asked, his brows furrowing in confusion.

"My ward." Gaius said and didn't carry on.

"Well," Gaius said briskly as he rose from his seat and stared at Alator. "I guess you will be on your way now?"

Alator rose slowly and glared once again in the direction of the water.

"I'll come back Gaius; I will find a way to bring him back."

Gaius didn't say a word as they collected their things and left the clearing.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Arthur paced up and down in his room, his mind whirling.

Surely this Calilach being couldn't be guarding all souls?

Merlin was no one from a backwater village who meant nothing when it came to destiny so surely it won't be that much of a problem to bring him back right?

Arthur was more than willing to give away everything he had to get him back.

Taking a deep breath Arthur left his rooms and went to search for Alator.

He found him three hours later, camping near a small river.

Dismounting slowly he approached the man who looked at him wearily.

"Do you know who I am?" Arthur asked; his hand curled against his thigh.

Alator nodded. "Arthur Pendragon, king of Camelot."

"That's right." Arthur said and then stopped; he wasn't sure how to approach the subject.

"What is it you want young Pendragon?" Alator asked, his face betraying nothing.

"I…" Arthur started and then stopped; taking a deep breath he looked Alator in the eyes and let the words pour from his mouth. "I need you to bring someone back."

Alator looked at him for a long moment before he spoke.

"Bring someone back from where king of Camelot?"

"The dead; He died for me and I…" Arthur swallowed down the lump that insisted on lodging itself in his throat. "I need him back."

Alator stared at him before he rose from his place on the ground.

"Do you realize what you are asking for Pendragon? This is magic we are talking about, dark magic, and it won't come without a price."

Arthur nodded; He already knew that. "I know; I'm ready for the consequences."

"Even if they will be the death of a loved one; a member of your family," Alator's voice was grave.

Arthur's eyes narrowed. "Can you do it or not?"

Alator looked taken back before he bowed his head. "What will you offer the old religion in exchange for your friend's life?"

Taking a deep breath Arthur stared at Alator before he answered.

"I shall accept magic back into Camelot, embracing the old religion once more."

Alator's eyes widened and he opened and closed his mouth several times before Arthur lost his patience.

"Look, can you do it or not?"

"I shall do it." Alator said quickly. "Meet me in the sacred cauldron in three days; your court physician will know the way." With that he vanished between the woods, leaving behind a determined Arthur.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Arthur closed his eyes and waited for the knock on the door, when it came he took a calming breathe before he answered.

"Come in."

"You called for me sire?" Gaius asked; his voice weary.

"Indeed I have," Arthur smiled and gestured for the chair in front of his. "Please, have a seat."

Gaius hesitated for only a moment before sitting down, when he did he looked Arthur straight in the eyes, Arthur allowed it, letting the old man to search for whatever it was he wanted to find.

"Is something wrong sire?"

Arthur allowed a small smile to cross his lips at the sound of worry in the old man's voice.

"Everything is well Gaius; I called you here because there is something I need to know."

Gaius nodded his head and gestured for Arthur to continue.

"You have been a trusted friend to both my father and I," Arthur started as he rose from his seat, preferring to pace as he got the words out.

"But of course sire." Gaius said quickly.

"I do not question your loyalty Gaius, this isn't what I called you here for; I called you here to discuss a matter of grave importance that must remain between the two of us." Arthur stopped pacing and turned to look at Gaius, the old man's expression was completely serious now.

"Anything for you, sir."

Arthur nodded." I need you to tell me the way to the sacred Cauldron."

Gaius's eyes widened and then returned to their normal size and Arthur knew he was about to lie to him.

"If you have any respect for me Gaius you will not lie to me," Arthur said quietly.

"I have seen you and the man Alator and I'm going to use him to get Merlin back."

Gaius's mouth dropped open and he swallowed several times before he found his voice again.

"Sire I-"

"I do not blame you Gaius, nor do I intend to take actions against you. I simply ask for your help, Alator already agreed to assist me."

"Sire, if I may speak freely?"

"You may."

"The old religion isn't a forgiving one sire, the price to bring someone back, even if it were possible is a terrible one, another man's life or worse, are you aware of that?"

"I do, I will tell you what I've told Alator, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get Merlin back."

"Sire this-"

"I plan on allowing magic back into Camelot, embracing the old religion once more if Merlin will return to me." Arthur exposed his last card.

"Please Gaius."

Gaius looked older than ever when Arthur looked at the old man battling with his own mind.

"Have you thought about Merlin Arthur?"

"What?" Arthur took a step back, he didn't expect this argument.

"Have you thought about how Merlin will react should he discover you took the life of another to bring him back?"

"I-"

"He sacrificed his life so that you and Camelot's citizens will remain safe and alive," Gaius emphasized. "And you will dishonor his memory by taking innocent life?"

Arthur's eyes narrowed. "Do you not want him back? I thought you, of all people, will support me! You have fought with my father countless of times on the subject of magic and now that I'm willing to bring it back for Merlin you seek pathetic excuses to dissuade me?" Arthur's voice was rising with every word.

"No sire no; I," Gaius's voice broke a bit and he took a deep breath. "You know that I would give anything to get Merlin back but…Have you taken into consideration the court; your people's reaction? Not only will you be bringing magic back and allowing the old religion to rise again but they will see someone they thought was dead for the last three months! How will they react?"

Arthur closed his eyes and allowed Gaius's reasoning to wash over him, he was right of course, after years of fearing magic and despising the old religion, if Arthur were to allow magic back into the kingdom just like that it will be… But then the thought of the years without Merlin that waited before him crushed upon his mind, filling it with loneliness and unbearable agony. No, he had to try.

"When the time comes the people will accept it all, as for the court, they will handle it," Arthur paused and looked at Gaius again.

"But I have to try Gaius, one last try before I'll admit that he is gone, before I…" Arthur trailed off, the thought of moving on and forgetting unbearable.

Gaius sighed and shook his head.

"I do not believe it will work but, I will tell you where the sacred Cauldron is and for what it's worth, you have my support in court, in everything Arthur."

Arthur smiled; the first real smile in so long as he clasped Gaius's hand.

"Thank you," He whispered, allowing the tears of relief to slide down his cheeks. "Thank you."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Are you sure you wish to continue young Pendragon?" Alator asked again, once everything was ready.

"I'm sure." Arthur answered, he was finally going to get Merlin back and nothing would stop him.

"Very well, let us carry on then." Alator reached his hand towards Arthur, asking for the first item.

Arthur pulled out a small kitten, drugged courtesy of Gaius, and handed it over to Alator.

Alator didn't say a word as he sliced the kitten's neck and allowed the blood to pour into a large bowl.

Next came a wooden statute that Arthur handed reluctantly, for some reason he loved that little dragon replica though he had no idea where Merlin got it from.

Alator frowned as he took hold of the statute but didn't say a word, grabbing a sharp dagger he reached for Arthur's hand and made a large cut in his palm.

Making sure the statute was well covered in blood; Alator raised the bowl to the fool moon and called out.

"Triple goddesses hear our call! We have come here to seek for your help!"

Putting the bowl on the water's edge Alator continued.

"The mortal man Merlin son of-" Alator glanced at Arthur who quickly replied.

"Hunith."

"Merlin son of Hunith was taken from us before his time, with this sacrifice we beg for your assistance and ask for his soul to return to the world of the living!"

Arthur waited with pounding heart as nothing happened for few long minutes; he was just about to ask Alator what went wrong when the water's surface started glowing as a white figure rose from it, its gowns floating all around her.

"Who has come seeking my help?" A feminine voice asked and Arthur could feel her gaze upon him.

"Arthur Pendragon, king of Camelot!" Arthur answered, taking a step forward.

"A Pendragon using magic?" The voice mocked. "How unusual," She floated closer to him and looked at him. "Is he really so important to you?"

"He is." Arthur replied immediately.

"Very well, what will you offer me in return for this… service?"

"I will accept magic back into Camelot; embrace the old religion as my own."

"Are you sure about this young king?"

"I am."

"Very well, then it shall be done, you will get your Merlin back, though, I can't say when."

"Wait! What-" Arthur started saying.

"The deal is done." The figure said and vanished, leaving Arthur and Alator alone.

"What the hell?!" Arthur whirled around to glare at Alator but the man looked stunned, staring at the point where the figure vanished from.

"Alator!" Arthur grabbed the man and shook him. "You lied to me! Where is Merlin?!"

"You heard her…" Alator whispered; his eyes still glossy. "You will get him back."

"When?! I want him now!"

"The goddess never lies; you will get him back, someday."

Arthur let the man go, his blood boiling and his head pounding.

"Mark my words Alator," Arthur hissed as he mounted his horse. "If I will not get Merlin back in the next three months you will regret the fact that my father died,"

Alator raised alarmed eyes to stare at Arthur.

"I will make sure to wipe every piece of magic from the face of the land; I will make the great purge look like a pathetic ambush."

"King Arthur-" Alator started but Arthur stopped him.

"Three months, after that you better be running first because I will be coming for you."

With that Arthur rode off, leaving a concerned looking Alator behind and a smirking goddess.

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