Chapter 1: Part 1
Arthur Pendragon, heir to the province Camelot and unwilling Sentinel, sighed as he sat in the United Kingdom and Irish branch of the Sentinel and Guide Center located in London. He had spent far too much time in the Center looking for his Guide. He’d gone through five Center appointed Guides, those unconnected to a Sentinel, but none of them had worked out in the long run.
His mother, Ygraine, was a Guide and had helped Arthur control his senses as best she could, but she had to take care of Arthur’s father, Uther, her own Sentinel. Uther never liked sharing his wife, not even with his own son, so Arthur decided he should look for his own Guide.
He had once tried working with Gwen, a childhood friend, but it was all wrong. Every time he used his senses, he zoned out and nothing Gwen would do, could bring him out of it. Plus, working with her left a slightly foul taste in his mouth. He wondered if it had to do with the fact that they were incompatible or the fact that he didn’t want to hurt his best friend, Lance who was also a Sentinel. Lance hoped Gwen would be his Guide and was devastated when she and Arthur paired up. Arthur was never more glad then when he and Gwen decided that they didn’t work well together, although they were great friends. He was also completely unsurprised when Lance and Gwen became an official Sentinel/Guide pairing.
Arthur had even been paired up with his sister Morgana for a while, but that was even worse than working with Gwen. He and Morgana had never truly gotten along, at least on her side. They didn’t always get along, siblings never did, but Arthur adored his sister with all his heart. He felt Morgana had resented him for some reason, even though he had always accepted her and respected her. But when she pushed his buttons, he pushed back and then they both ended up grounded. He didn’t really like to think or talk about his time with Morgana, as it hadn’t ended well.
Which is why he was at the Center again, looking for another Guide. Arthur shifted in his chair uncomfortably. Even though they were expensive chairs, they were still like a chair in a doctor’s office, supremely uncomfortable and known to make your backache. His wonky senses made the chairs even worse, he could feel every stitch and bump in the fabric, and was driving him a little mad. He glanced around the room and saw mostly young Sentinels and Guides sitting awkwardly. He was like them once, scared and unsure, waiting to be paired up with a life partner.
“Arthur Pendragon?” a secretary called out.
Arthur stood and went over to her. She smiled at him and he winced, barely even saying hello to her. His parents would have been horrified by his lack of manners, but his senses were in a jumble and even the bright white of her teeth gave him a headache.
“How are you feeling?” she asked.
“Fine,” Arthur lied.
“Sir, I’ve been doing this a long time. You winced when I smiled, so tell me the truth,” she insisted. She led him down a long hallway and made a left turn. She stopped in front of room number seven and opened the door. “In here.”
Arthur let out a sigh of relief as he stepped into the pitch black, soundproof room. “Okay, I’m not doing so well.”
“Just as I thought. Sit at the table and someone will be with you shortly.” With that the secretary left, shutting the door behind her and blocking out the rest of the building.
Merlin Emrys slinked through the back door of the Sentinel and Guide Center. He was late to work, but had no proper excuse except that he slept through his alarm. His Uncle Gaius, who was in charge of the Center, would probably yell at him, but Merlin hoped to avoid him.
Merlin first came to the Center when he was six along with his whole Year Two class. They were to be tested to see if they were Sentinels or Guides. Out of all the children, three were Sentinels and only Merlin was a Guide. He went home with a certificate, books, and some papers to give his mother. It was too much for him to take in. He thought he would be taken away from his mother and be forced to pair up with a Sentinel. As soon as he handed over the information, he burst out crying.
Some days he still felt like crying. He didn’t know anyone else in the whole Sentinel/Guide system that also used magic. It was too stressful some days, keeping the magic a secret and staying away from any Sentinel. If he bonded, then he’d have to tell them, and who knows what they would do with that information. Merlin had no interest in having a Sentinel. He would gladly help them find their own Guide instead, hence why he worked at the Center.
So, Merlin tried to avoid everyone until he got to his small office. He had almost made it when he heard a voice call from behind him, “Merlin!”
“Shit,” Merlin cursed under his breath. He turned around and smiled. “Uncle Gaius! How are you?”
“You are late,” Gaius said as he walked closer. “Any reason?”
Gaius raised an eyebrow and stared at Merlin.
Merlin was always weak against that look and he caved instantly. “Fine. I overslept. Happy?”
“Thrilled. Put your stuff down and go to room seven. Arthur is back and apparently close to a zone out.”
Merlin nodded. He had seen Arthur Pendragon a few times and read his file. He was twenty-eight, worked at the family company, his eyesight had tested off the charts, but his hearing and sense of smell could be stronger. He was also without a Guide and had been for several years. Guides without Sentinels were not that big of a deal, but Sentinels without Guides could be dangerous. They could go into a permanent zone out, which could lead to death, or even go crazy from having their senses be on overload all the time and have to be put into a coma. He didn’t always like what the Pendragons did or said, but he didn’t want the young nobleman to be unable to function for the rest of his life.
Merlin threw his things into his office then jogged down the halls until he found room seven. He took a breath, knocked on the door, and walked into the room and shut the door. Rooms one through ten always unsettled Merlin. They were soundproof, with no lighting of any kind, and kept at a mild temperature so as not to agitate the Sentinels anymore than needed. He stood by the door, letting his eyes adjust to the darkness. Before he could move towards the table, he was grabbed by his shirt and slammed up against the wall.
Merlin blinked, as he looked into the face an almost feral Arthur Pendragon. This isn’t good, he thought.
“Arthur?” he asked softly. He put his hands lightly on Arthur’s arms. He hoped words and touch would get through to the Sentinel.
Arthur only growled in response.
“Okay.” Merlin took let out a slow and even breath. He was slightly afraid of the out of control Sentinel, didn’t want his heart rate to spike and tip Arthur off. There was no telling what he would do if he knew Merlin was afraid of him. “I’m here to help you. And you do need help. Look at you, you caveman.” Merlin winced as soon as the insult had left his mouth. It had been unintentional, but Merlin’s mouth worked faster than his brain sometimes. He did hope, however, that Arthur was the type of Sentinel who responded to insults.
When the first Guide, Blair Sandburg, had come to visit he had given a lecture about how some Sentinels needed soft voices and kind words, while others need noise and harsh words to snap them out of a zone out or feral devolution. Only words though, Merlin thought. Never harsh touches or smells. Don’t ever look angry, even if you are. Even when in the middle of a zone out, Sentinels know what their Guide is feeling.
Arthur tilted his head, but didn’t let go of Merlin. However, he didn’t try to hurt Merlin; so, he continued ranting at the other man. “You’re a prat! You don’t just slam people up against walls. It’s rude!”
Arthur shook his head, as if to clear it, and finally let go of Merlin. “Who are you?” he rasped.
“Are you a Guide?”
“Yes,” Merlin replied suspiciously.
“Good. You can be mine.” Arthur proclaimed. He leaned in and kissed Merlin. Then he abruptly left the room.
Merlin stood there for a while, in shock. He touched his lips, then scowled and followed Arthur. “You! You can’t just–”
“I can,” Arthur called back. “You’re the only Guide I’ve felt a connection with, so you are mine.”
“It doesn’t work like that!” Merlin yelled as Arthur turned a corner. He sighed and leaned against a wall. This is exactly what he didn’t want. He didn’t want to connect with a Sentinel, it would make his life too hard, but it didn’t look like he had any choice. Merlin looked up and jumped a little as he saw Arthur standing right in front of him.
“Don’t you feel it?” Arthur asked quietly. He looked forlorn at the thought that Merlin didn’t feel the connection.
Merlin looked away. “Of course I do, you prat. It’s just so sudden. I never thought this would happen.”
“Neither did I,” Arthur grinned. Merlin found that he liked the happy look on Arthur’s face. It was so different than what he had usually seen. Before Arthur always looked unhappy and Merlin realized that he didn’t want Arthur to be unhappy anymore. Arthur grabbed Merlin’s hand and pulled him along. “We need to find Gaius, so this can be official.”
And I need to talk to him about my magic. Like, if I should ever tell you, Merlin thought. He sighed deeply, noticing that Arthur stumbled a little. He squeezed his Sentinel’s hand in reassurance.
Gaius stared at the two young men seated in his office. He never thought Merlin would be Arthur’s Guide. Merlin had mentioned that he felt something different when he looked at Arthur, but would never act on his feelings for fear of exposing his magic. And Arthur had never met Merlin until today, so he would have never known.
“All right boys, what shall we do about this?” Gaius asked.
Merlin looked to the ground, while Arthur frowned. He knew something was wrong with his Guide, but didn’t know what exactly. He wanted to fix it, whatever it was.
“Merlin will come live with me and we’ll have an official Sentinel/Guide bonding,” Arthur replied blithely. He was used to having his way and wasn’t expecting much resistance from Merlin.
“Don’t I get a say in this?” Merlin asked harshly. He objected to being bossed around. He would have to make sure that Arthur remembered he was Arthur’s other half, not a servant.
“What objections could you possibly have? I live in a nice flat, two bedrooms, if you need an office. It has a fantastic kitchen; I cook so you don’t need to worry about food. You won’t have to pay rent, since I own it. You won’t have to pay for anything ever again. I’ll take care of you.” Arthur would do anything for his Guide. He knew he just met the other man, but he felt there was a deep connection between them. Perhaps even deeper than the Sentinel/Guide bond.
Merlin closed his eyes and took a deep breath, trying to keep the anger from his voice. “I want to pay for things. I’m not an invalid. I want my job. I want my own friends. I don’t want to be controlled.”
“Fine. Anything. We can work it out. Just…move in with me. Please,” Arthur begged. He needed his Guide by his side for all times.
“Gaius?” Merlin asked in a strangled tone of voice. Arthur frowned, wondering why Gaius needed to have any say in their arrangement.
“It’s up to you Merlin,” his uncle replied. “All of it is. I shall leave you two alone to discuss it.” He stood and left his office. Arthur cocked his head in confusion.
“What was that about? Why does Gaius get a say in anything you do?” Arthur questioned angrily. “Is he hurting you?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Merlin scoffed. “Uncle Gaius is my mentor, I always ask his opinion on serious subjects and this is vaguely serious, don’t you think?”
Arthur shifted in his seat and grumbled, “Yes.”
Merlin nodded and left his chair. He began to pace the length of the office. “You know in America they have those mutant Sentinels?”
“Yes. Very rare from what I hear, and not just in America. Plus, those other superhero Sentinels.”
“Well, I’m rare as well.”
“You’re a mutant?” Arthur stared at Merlin, giving his Guide a slow once over. Merlin flushed from the look and stopped moving. Arthur then smirked. “I guess I could see that.”
“Thanks,” Merlin deadpanned. He flopped back down into the chair and faced Arthur. “But no. I’m not a mutant. Or a superhero. I’m a wizard– or warlock, whatever you prefer.”
“I use magic. I wield it.”
“Prove it,” Arthur demanded. His father had always told him magic was evil. “No good has ever come from magic,” Arthur repeated dully. It was what he had always heard his father say.
Merlin growled in irritation. “Magic is like anything else. It isn’t innately good or bad, it depends on the person.” He brought his left hand up in between them and held it open so Arthur could see. He concentrated and suddenly had a small flame floating above his hand.
“Oh,” Arthur breathed, leaning forward in excitement. “That’s…”
“Freakish. Unnatural. Evil.”
“Awesome. Fantastic. Beautiful.”
“Oh.” Merlin shifted in his chair. He closed his hand and the flame disappeared. He focused on his Sentinel and found that Arthur was awfully close to him. “You’re going to kiss me again.”
“I am,” Arthur replied. And then he did so. They kissed for some time before they heard a cough from the doorway. They sprang apart, looking towards Gaius, who was standing in the doorway.
“I see you figured it out,” he said with a smirk.
“Yes. We did.” Arthur stood and pulled Merlin up as well. They had a lot to talk about, not just the magic, but what they were going to do with their Sentinel/Guide bond. “We’re going to move him into my place, then come back here tomorrow to discuss our options.”
“All right. I’ll get the paperwork started. You both have your handbooks?”
“Yeah, Gaius,” Merlin said. “We can’t move me in today! I have too much stuff! I–oh god.” Merlin leaned against a wall and put his hand on his chest.
“What?” Arthur panicked. Merlin’s heart rate had spiked up and it was freaking Arthur out. “What is it?”
“I haven’t told my mum! She’s never met you! I haven’t met your parents! I can’t move in today!”
“Oh, I thought it was something serious.” Arthur relaxed slightly.
“This is serious, you prat! My mum will kill me if I move in before she meets you.” Merlin scowled, grabbed Arthur’s hand and dragged him down the halls. “Come on, let’s go meet my mum.”
“Okay,” Arthur grinned widely. He was glad his Guide was so accepting.
Gaius stood in the doorway of his office and shook his head as he watched the two young men leave the Center. He hoped that everything worked out for them.
Merlin and Arthur sat outside Merlin’s house in Arthur’s car. They had been sitting outside for twenty minutes and Arthur was starting to lose his patience. Instead of yelling, he took a deep breath and tapped the steering wheel with his fingers, before asking, “Are we going to go in?”
“What? Uh, yes. Yes. Let’s go.” Merlin reached for the handle, but Arthur pulled him close. He knew his Guide was nervous as well and wanted to take his mind off of things, if only for a little while.
The Sentinel stuck his nose in between Merlin’s neck and shoulder and took a deep breath. Merlin smelled like burnt ozone, chocolate, and old books. Arthur decided it was his new favorite smell.
“Uh, what are you doing?” Merlin held very still as his Sentinel sniffed his skin.
“Memorizing your scent, for when I get nervous.” He gave Merlin’s skin a little lick, and pulled away.
“Why would you be nervous?” Merlin’s hand hovered over where Arthur had sniffed and licked him, but it fell down by his lap.
“I’m meeting your mum, Mer-lin. Of course I’m nervous.”
“Arthur Pendragon doesn’t get nervous,” Merlin huffed.
“Sure he does. The real him, not the public face of him.”
Merlin snorted before replying, “You have multiple personality disorder, don’t you?”
“Ha, ha. Enough talk, let’s go.”
Arthur exited the car and waited as Merlin did the same. Then they made their way to the front door. Merlin opened it up and called out, “Mum?”
“In the garden, dear,” she called back faintly.
“Oh good. She’ll have shears to stab you with,” Merlin grinned manically.
“Not really making me less nervous here, Merlin,” Arthur hissed.
“Wasn’t trying too,” Merlin hissed back as the went out into the garden. “Wait here.”
Arthur nodded and waited by the sliding glass door. He glanced around the small garden and saw many flowers he couldn’t name. Merlin’s mum probably will get along great with my mum, Arthur thought. He then focused his attention on Merlin and his mother. The woman looked to be the same age as his mother, but obviously had done much more hard work than Ygraine Pendragon. He wanted to turn his hearing up to listen to the conversation, but figured that eavesdropping on his almost mother-in-law might not be the best way to meet her.
He swallowed hard as Merlin and his mum walked towards him. He wiped his hands on his trousers and held it out to her. “Pleased to meet you, ma’am.”
She pushed his hand away and swept Arthur up into a tight hug. “Call me Hunith, please.”
“Okay. Hunith.” Arthur shot Merlin a wild look over Hunith’s shoulder. His family wasn’t this expressive and Arthur wasn’t sure what to do. His Guide just smirked at him. Arthur glared, but patted Hunith’s back lightly.
Hunith pulled away and stared right into Arthur’s eyes. “If you ever hurt my son, nothing will save you. Not your abilities. Not the Center. Nothing. Understand me?”
Arthur nodded seriously. “I would never hurt him.”
“Good,” Hunith smiled at him. “Come inside and tell me more about yourself. Then later, I can embarrass Merlin with baby photos.”
“Mother!” Merlin groaned.
“Merlin!” Hunith replied in a similar tone. “Humor me; I never thought I’d get the chance to do this.” She leaned towards Arthur and mock-whispered, “He never brought anyone home before.”
“Oh, really?” Arthur asked, arching an eyebrow. He felt absurdly pleased to be the first person Merlin ever dated to meet his mother. He also felt a surge of jealousy at those other people, but pushed it away knowing he’d be the only one for Merlin from now on.
Merlin groaned again and covered his face with his hands. “I never should have introduced you two.”
Hunith laughed and took Arthur’s arm and brought him inside. Merlin watched them go with a smile on his face. “I’m glad you two get along,” he said softly, knowing his Sentinel could hear him. He didn’t think he could stand his mother and his Sentinel not being friends. Then he followed them inside. He had to hide the most damaging photos before his mum showed them to Arthur.
A few miles away, Morgana Pendragon paced in her flat overlooking the River Thames. Her hair was a ragged mess, knotted in places, like she hadn’t brushed it in days; half of her hair was up in a sloppy ponytail, while the rest was hanging around her face. She bit at her fingernails and muttered to herself. Watching her from a couch was Morgause, her half-sister.
“Morgana, my dear,” Morgause said calmly. “Please stop pacing; you will only work yourself up more.”
“I can’t. The visions never stop.”
“You just need a Sentinel to settle you.”
Morgana paused in her pacing then quickly made her way to her sister. She leaned over the back of the couch and got up close towards Morgause’s face, so that they were inches apart. “I had one,” she hissed. “But I–you–we lost him. I won’t ever have another one!”
Morgause was unfazed by her outburst and moved away from her sister. Morgana regularly had many such bursts of anger since losing Arthur as her Sentinel. She smiled fondly at Morgana and patted her cheek. “Don’t be so sure.”
Morgana cocked her head in confusion, but before she could ask what her sister meant, there was a knock at the door. Morgause’s smile widened and she left the couch to answer the door. Morgana watched warily as Morgause spoke to some people, but made no move to leave the room, so moved to sit on the couch. She wanted to know what her sister had planned.
“Dear, close your eyes,” Morgause said with a grin. She was hiding something behind her.
Morgana did as she was told and shut her eyes. She waited with anticipation and nearly jumped as a hand touched her face. Her eyes flew open and Morgana stared into the face of Mordred. He was looking at her in affection and amusement. Morgana let out a small shriek of delight and wrapped the boy up in her arms.
“Where did you find him?” she asked her sister, eyes dancing with glee.
Morgause kissed Morgana’s head and then Mordred’s. “I have my sources,” she smirked.
“Shouldn’t we go see your parents first?” Merlin asked as he followed Arthur up to his flat.
Arthur waved a hand at him. “They aren’t in the country right now. They come back next week.” He opened the door and let Merlin go in first. “Home, sweet home. When can you move in?”
“Next week,” Merlin replied with a smile as he walked into the flat. It seemed the only light came from the overhead lighting fixtures, which either had one light bulb in them or they were low wattage as Merlin had to squint a little to see the flat better. He looked around with a frown. There was one beige couch, in the middle of the room, with an empty kitchen off to the left. The blinds covering the windows were tightly shut, letting almost no light in. There was no radio or TV or even a table, not even a coffee table. Arthur had no pictures on the wall or any kind of decorations. If Merlin had to guess he would assume that the bedroom was in the same state of Spartan-like decorating. “It’s quite…bare. And there’s a lot of white.”
Arthur shifted uncomfortable as he shut the door. “Colors and clutter give me a headache. Wait, what do you mean next week?”
Merlin just smirked and moved closer to Arthur. “I, you big prat, am not that easy. You may have managed to blind-side me at the Center, but not anymore. I’ll have to meet your parents before any moving in happens.” He leaned in and kissed Arthur’s cheek and then quickly jumped away as the Sentinel reached for him.
Arthur growled and began to stalk his Guide around the apartment. Merlin laughed as he danced away from Arthur’s grasp time and time again. Finally, Arthur leapt over the couch and tackled Merlin to the floor.
Merlin expected to be kissed, but was instead surprised when Arthur began to tickle him. “Oh no!” He tried to shimmy away, but Arthur held him down.
“Oh yes!” Arthur replied gleefully. He hadn’t had this much fun in ages. “That’s what you get for being a jerk.”
“Me!” Merlin laughed breathlessly. “Stop it! You’re the jerk!” He shoved at Arthur’s chest.
The Sentinel finally stopped and lay on top of Merlin. “We can both be jerks, if it makes you feel better.”
“It doesn’t since I’m not a jerk.”
“You won’t move in with me until you meet my parents!” Arthur protested.
“That’s being sensible! I don’t want to move in and then your parents meet me and say, ‘Oh, he bewitched our boy!’ and try to separate us.”
“I’m not telling my parents about your magic, so pick another word.”
Merlin stared up at Arthur in confusion. “I didn’t think you would. Now that I think about, you didn’t seem surprised by magic at all.”
Arthur sighed and rolled off of Merlin to lie next to him. “It’s a long story. But, however they feel about you, they can’t separate us. Especially not once the paperwork goes through. And even if they tried, Blair and Jim would stop them.”
“I suppose that’s true,” Merlin replied. He was still curious about Arthur’s comment, but wasn’t willing to push the subject just yet. They had just met after all. He wanted to get his to know his new Sentinel more before asking big questions. He turned his head towards Arthur and asked, “So, what should do now?”
Arthur looked at him and smiled. “I’m sure we could think of something.”
Merlin laughed and leaned in to kiss his Sentinel. I wonder if Arthur’s parents are like Arthur. It would certainly make meeting them easier, he thought. Soon though, any thoughts Merlin had were swept away as Arthur pulled him closer.
Later in the day, Merlin walked around Arthur’s flat, wearing only his jeans. Arthur was in the kitchen, similarly dressed, making what he called, “A masterpiece, Merlin, truly.”
Merlin had laughed and let him do what he wanted. While Arthur cooked, Merlin got to explore the apartment. The rest of it was like the living room: white, barley decorated, and dim.
“We’re going to have to redecorate,” Merlin said as he walked into the living room. “Brighter light bulbs, we’ll have to open the blinds up, and add color and actual furniture.”
“Headache!” Arthur shouted from the kitchen.
“Yeah, I’m getting one.”
Arthur came up behind him and kissed his shoulder. “No, all that gives me a headache.”
“Well,” Merlin said slowly, as if speaking to a small child. “It’s a good thing you have a Guide now. I train Sentinels on how to adjust. I suppose we could do that while we wait for your parents to come back.”
Arthur huffed and moved away from Merlin. “I don’t know why you just can’t move in. I met you mum.”
“But I haven’t met yours.” Merlin rubbed his brow and moved towards the blinds. He opened them up, sighing as some light filled the poorly lit living room. “That’s much better. We can buy curtains, so it’ll block the light somewhat, but still let me see my way around.”
Arthur turned his head away from the windows, muttering about the light. Merlin closed his eyes and tried to remain calm.
“My eyes aren’t as good as yours, Arthur. I need to be able to see.”
“I don’t see why I have to change everything for you!”
“But I have to change everything for you?” Merlin laughed harshly. “This is a relationship, not a dictatorship.”
“I know that,” Arthur snarled. He sat on the couch and put his head in his hands. “My senses haven’t been in control for a long time. But with you hear, they snap into focus. It’s just giving me a headache.”
Merlin sat next to him and put a hand on Arthur’s bare shoulder. “That’s what I’m here for, you prat,” he said quietly. “I’m here to make your headaches go away.”
Arthur leaned into Merlin and rested his head on Merlin’s shoulder. “It’ll take getting used to. I’m used to living alone and only worrying about me.”
“We both have to get used to the changes, another reason I don’t want to rush into moving in with you.” He kissed Arthur’s forehead and then pulled back. “How about I stay for the week? Just as, you know, living together, to see how it works. I’ll bring some clothes over and things like that.”
“Okay,” Arthur exhaled. “Okay. Tomorrow, we’ll go get your things?”
“Yes,” Merlin beamed at him.
Arthur snuggled into Merlin’s side for a few minutes more before going back to the kitchen. He had made progress with his Guide, he didn’t want to ruin by feeding him burnt lasagna.
The whole week that Uther and Ygraine were gone was pure torture for Arthur. Yes, Merlin had spent the week at his flat, as they had agreed, but the Guide would leave and then come back. It was driving Arthur mad. He wanted Merlin there all the time. Arthur had assumed they could spend the week together to get to know each other; he had even taken time off work under that assumption. Every time Arthur had brought it up, Merlin just smiled at him and changed the subject.
“Well, it’s about to stop,” Arthur growled to himself. He had a foolproof plan to corner Merlin and talk some sense into him. He turned all the lights off in the flat and kept the curtains closed. Merlin wouldn’t know what hit him. Arthur hid in a corner and waited until the front door opened.
“Arthur?” Merlin called out tentatively into the dark. He was nervous because he knew Arthur was going to be home, and when Arthur was home he had some lights on. Merlin didn’t hear anything, so he carefully stepped into the apartment.
The door shut behind him and Merlin spun around. “Arthur? If you are going to do what I think you are going to do, I will light you on fire if you don’t stop.”
Arthur smirked and made his move. He jumped from his corner near the door and leapt on Merlin. They went down in a tangle of limbs. Arthur rolled them until he was on top of Merlin. He sat on the other man’s legs and held his wrists above Merlin’s head, effectively pining the wizard. Arthur knew Merlin could get out of it, if he really wanted to.
“Damn it, Arthur!” Merlin cried out. “What are you doing you large prat?”
“Making you move in with me,” Arthur replied. “I’m just going to sit here until you agree.”
“Here is on me?”
“Yes.” Arthur wiggled a little bit until he was more comfortable. There was the added side effect of making Merlin twitch with arousal.
Merlin closed his eyes and let out a sigh. “Arthur…”
“No. Look Merlin. I know we just met, but I– we are meant for each other. I can’t stand being apart from you, not even for a minute. So can you just move in please?”
Merlin stared up at his Sentinel before smiling. “Of course. Most of my stuff is here anyway.”
“What?” Arthur blinked. They had only grabbed enough of Merlin’s things for a week, he had been sure of it.
“I’ve been moving in little by little. Why do you think I went home to mum every night and then came here? I grabbed books, clothes, and movies, anything I could think of to place here. Your flat is sorely lacking in everything. Even though you asked–demanded–it’s still you’re territory.”
“I–you–what?” Arthur relaxed his grip on Merlin slightly.
Merlin laughed, shoved the shocked Arthur off of him and sat up, “You forget, I study Sentinels and Guides. I know everything about what makes you tick.”
Arthur just laid back and stared at his ceiling. “You mean to tell me,” he finally said after Merlin left his side and opened the curtains, “that you’ve moved in. Like I asked.”
“I’ve semi-moved in. Like I wanted. The only thing I haven’t done is decorated. I think we should do that together.”
“But you said no,” Arthur countered. “And of course I want to decorate our flat with you.”
Merlin smiled widely. “That was just to mess with you. ‘Sentinels can’t always get what they want’,” he quoted as he moved into the kitchen. “ ‘They’ll try to push their Guides around, but the Guides must stand their ground’.”
“I hate you so much.”
“If you keep saying things like that I won’t move my furniture in after we meet your parents.”
Arthur stood up and walked towards Merlin, wrapping him up in a hug. “They come home tomorrow. You can meet them then.”
“That’s fine. I can move in the day after that.”
“Or that same day.”
“What? Do you have an army ready to move my stuff over here?”
“Well, not an army exactly.”
“These are my friends,” Arthur tells Merlin later that day. They left the flat sometime around 4:30 in the afternoon to meet up with Arthur’s friends at a nearby pub.
“Gwen!” Merlin cried in surprise. “I didn’t know you knew Arthur.” He gave her a big hug and pointedly ignored the growls coming from Arthur and a man hovering behind Gwen. He had seen the man around the Center, but never learned his name. The man placed an arm around Gwen’s waist, pulling her back towards him, and glared at Merlin.
Gwen laughed and swatted at the man. “This is Lancelot, my Sentinel.”
“Ah! I’d heard that you picked one up, but I didn’t know who it was.”
Arthur threw a possessive arm around Merlin’s shoulders and said, “Well, now you met Lance and Gwen, meet the rest of them.” He pointed at the remaining three men and said their names, “Elyan, Gwen’s brother, Percival, we call him Percy, and Gwaine.”
“Seems our parents had something in common, along with Gwen’s, Elyan’s, eh, Gwaine?” Merlin joked.
“A horrible sense of humor?” Gwaine joked back. He pushed Arthur’s arm off of Merlin’s shoulders and put his own arm up there.
Arthur growled again and tugged Merlin towards him, effectively staking his claim. Gwaine just laughed at his friend and moved over towards Percy.
“Oh shut up,” Merlin scoffed. “You wanted me to meet your friends. Now that we get along you can’t be all grouchy and growly about it.”
Lance laughed and slapped Merlin’s back. “Oh, we like you.”
Arthur made a face at his friends. Percy took pity on him and said, “Come along Arthur. Help me get us some drinks.”
“I won’t move,” Merlin stated when Arthur didn’t move right away.
“Fine,” Arthur huffed. He kissed the back of Merlin’s neck before following Percy towards the bar.
As soon as Arthur was out of direct hearing range, Elyan leaned forward and asked, “How’d you meet him?”
“Well, he slammed me into a wall and kissed me,” Merlin replied with a large grin.
“Sounds like our Arthur,” Gwaine laughed.
Arthur watched as Merlin dancing with Gwen and Gwaine. He felt a surge of jealousy, but tapered it back with a shot of whiskey.
“Don’t be jealous, old man,” Percy said. He had an arm around Elyan, who was leaning against him drunkenly. With his free hand, he took a sip of water. “It’s not a good look for you.”
“I’m not jealous,” Arthur groused.
“Are too,” Lance said as he slid into the seat next to Arthur, bringing more beer with him. “I’m jealous as well. I don’t like the idea of other people touching Gwen, but it’s just Gwaine and Merlin.”
“Gwaine is a flirt,” Arthur frowned into his drink.
“He doesn’t mean anything by it,” Elyan mumbled into Percy’s shoulder. “He just likes people. ‘Sides he’s got us, eh Percy?”
Percy smiled fondly and ran a hand over Elyan’s head. “He does indeed.”
Arthur mimed gagging into his drink, while Lance laughed. Merlin came over just then and raised an eyebrow at his boyfriend. Gwen sat on Lance’s lap and took a swig of his beer.
“All right, Arthur?” he asked.
“Yeah. Percy was just being gross.”
“Nonsense!” Gwaine objected. He kissed Percy’s temple. “Percy is never gross.”
Merlin’s eyes widened, but he didn’t say anything. Arthur tugged on his Guides’ arm and pulled him onto his lap. Once Merlin was settled, Arthur leaned into his neck and took a deep breath.
“Stop being sappy,” Gwaine joked from across the table. “When is the ceremony? Can I be the best man?”
“Shut up,” Arthur growled, but he did move slightly away from Merlin. He would have more time for that when they got home anyway.
“You have lovely friends,” Merlin muttered as he swayed in place. Arthur put an arm around his Guide’s waist to steady him. The couple was in the elevator on the way to their flat, which made Merlin look a little green, but Arthur wasn’t sure the Guide could have climbed the stairs.
“You had too much to drink,” he replied with a chuckle.
“Still. Good friends. They threatened me when you and Gwen went to get more drinks.”
“Oh. Gwen threatened me, if that makes you feel better.”
“It does.” Merlin grinned dopily.
“At least they agreed to help you move in here.”
“I live here already!”
“Move your furniture then. For someone so resistant to moving in with me, you sure are insistent about where you live.”
Merlin squinted up at Arthur, as Arthur opened the door to their flat. “I’m fairly certain that doesn’t make sense.”
“It’s because you’re drunk.”
“Or because you’re a…a…prat.”
“You need a better insult, my love.”
“Shut it, dollop head.”
Merlin cackled and stumbled from Arthur’s arms and onto the couch. “I’m just gonna stay here. Wake me later.” He then proceeded to fall sound asleep.
Arthur shook his head and smiled fondly. He grabbed his Guide’s arm and put Merlin over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. Then he walked down the hall and into the bedroom, where he placed Merlin gently on the bed. Arthur stripped Merlin’s clothes off, took off his own and then climbed into bed next to the wizard.
He tried to go to sleep, but all Arthur could think about was that his parents were meeting Merlin tomorrow. He just hoped it went well.
Merlin looked around curiously as he entered Arthur’s family home some distance from London. It was stately and well kept, almost like a museum. Arthur had told him about it on the drive out.
“It was built in 1567 by my very great grandfather. It was updated a few times, once to include more practical plumbing and once to put in electricity and a phone line. Right now mother is restoring some of the areas back to their original styles while still keeping it modern.”
“Do you have the internet or whatever?” Merlin asked watching the countryside pass by.
“Yes, Merlin. It isn’t the middle of nowhere. Father likes to keep up with modern technology. They compromise, like all Sentinels and Guides do.”
Merlin’s head whipped towards Arthur. “You’re parents are a Sentinel and Guide?”
“I thought you knew,” Arthur replied cautiously as he pulled into the drive. “Is this going to be a problem?”
“No. No. I’m just…surprised.”
“Ah.” Arthur said nothing else as he climbed out of the car and waited for Merlin to follow. He wasn’t sure how to take Merlin’s surprise. He felt unnerved, not only because his Guide was nervous and jittery, but also because he didn’t have the best relationship with his parents. They made him feel guilty for being born sometimes.
Which led to where Merlin and Arthur were now; standing inside the hallway of Pendragon Manor. Arthur tugged on his sleeve to get him to move.
“My parents are out, but they’ll be back soon. Let me give you the grand tour,” he said while leading Merlin down the long hallway.
The only stopped a few times on the downstairs tour. Arthur barely showed Merlin the family room or the living room, even though they were right at the front of the house. They stopped in the kitchen so Arthur could say hello to the staff, then they swung by the dining hall.
“That’s a lot of paintings,” Merlin said as he walked in.
“Every head of the family since 1356.”
“Mother keeps meticulous records of our family. It goes as far back as 850.”
“Huh. I don’t even think my family goes back to the 1500s never mind the 800s,” Merlin laughed.
Arthur rolled his shoulders and coughed. “Yes, well,” he said uncomfortably. He wanted to impress Merlin, but he felt that all of this was having the opposite effect.
“You don’t have to impress me you know. I already love you. I don’t love your money or your title.”
“I wasn’t doing anything of the sort,” Arthur protested. His Guide knew him too well, even after a week.
“Sure,” Merlin placated with a small smile as he looked at each painting. “This is you?” he asked as he approached one at the end.
“Yes. I had it taken last year.”
“You aren’t the head of the Pendragon family yet.”
“It’s for eventually. It is how it’s always been done.”
Merlin nodded in false understanding as he walked towards his Sentinel. “What else will you show me?”
Arthur beamed and tugged Merlin down a side passage and stopped in front of a small door. He knew Merlin would like this part of the house. “This.” He threw open the door open and walked into a large room. “The library. I basically lived here until I was seven.”
Merlin blinked as he took in the large room. It was filled with books from floor to ceiling. It had a walkway above where he was standing and a spiral staircase leading to the second floor. “Wow,” he breathed out. “I would love to stay here all day.”
“I know the feeling.” Arthur walked towards a large fireplace that dominated the room. Merlin followed slowly, taking in all the books and occasionally reaching out to run his fingers over their spines. He looked up and saw a family portrait hanging above the fireplace.
“Who’s the girl?” Merlin asked.
Arthur jolted and looked around before whispering, “My sister Morgana.”
Merlin frowned in confusion, but asked in the same sotto voice, “Why are we whispering? I didn’t know you had a sister.”
“For the love of god, don’t mention her,” Arthur insisted. Even after knowing his Guide loved and cared for him, he couldn’t share Morgana with him. It was still too painful.
Before Merlin could ask more questions, the main library door swung open. A maid stepped in a curtsied. “Your parents have returned, Master Arthur,” she said.
“Thank you, Yvette. Tell them I’ll be there shortly.”
The maid smiled and nodded before leaving the two men alone again. Arthur turned towards Merlin and pulled on his Guide’s shirt.
“Some rules,” the Sentinel said quickly. “Don’t mention Morgana, don’t mention magic, don’t make any sudden movements towards Mother, and don’t look Father in the eye. He is of the older school of Sentinels and this is his territory.”
“That’s a lot of don’ts,” Merlin quipped uneasily. He tried to remember all of that, but he could only focus on Arthur standing in front of him and touching his chest.
“Merlin, this is serious,” Arthur replied, but his mouth did quirk upwards.
“I know, sorry. I’m nervous and I want to impress your parents.”
“Don’t worry about that. Nothing impresses them.”
“Oh, no pressure then.”
They both laughed before hugging. Arthur squeezed tightly and took a whiff of his Guides scent. It helped calm him immensely. He pulled away, but grabbed Merlin’s hand securely. “Now, come, my Guide– into the breach,” he stated.
Merlin took a deep breath as Arthur led him into the family room. The room was a lot like the rest of the house, refined and slightly old fashioned. He was afraid to sit down in case he broke a chair. Luckily, Arthur steered him towards the couch, but they didn’t sit down.
Uther stood by another fireplace, drinking a glass of brandy, while Ygraine sat in one of the chairs, drinking tea. They both stared at the couple in front of them.
“Mother, Father, this is Merlin, my Guide,” Arthur said, while keeping an iron grip on Merlin’s hand.
Merlin stood stock still as Ygraine and Uther’s gazes roamed over him. While they studied him, he studied them. Uther was older, in his fifties maybe, he had a rugged and worn look to him. Stress, Merlin guessed. There was a tightness around the older Sentinel’s eyes and even more in his shoulders. Ygraine looked younger, perhaps in her forties. She practically glowed, she had an otherworldly quality to her that Merlin was afraid to place. She seemed more relaxed than her Sentinel, put Merlin could see a line of tension running through her. Arthur, however, must have seen something in his parents’ faces that Merlin did not, as he relaxed his grip on Merlin’s hand and shoved him down on the couch.
Merlin grunted as he fell backwards. “Thanks, Arthur,” he grumbled.
Arthur smirked and sat next to his Guide. “My pleasure.” He still held onto Merlin’s hand like a lifeline.
Ygraine cleared her throat and asked, “Merlin, what does your family do?”
“Oh, um, my mother works as a nurse at the local hospital and I work at the Sentinel and Guide Center. That’s where I met Arthur,” Merlin said. “And you know my Uncle Gaius.”
“We do,” Ygraine smiled. “He brought Arthur into this world.”
“Mother,” Arthur whined. He was uncomfortable talking about his childhood, especially in his childhood home.
Uther turned away from the fireplace and towards Merlin. “What about your father?”
“He’s, uh, gone. He left before I was born,” replied Merlin nervously. He didn’t like being under the elder Sentinel’s gaze. Arthur, sensing his discomfort, growled lowly at his father.
Uther broke his gaze with Merlin to stare at his son. “Arthur…” he warned.
“Uther,” Ygraine spoke up. “You know better than to antagonize someone’s Guide.”
“Yes, dear,” Uther smiled warmly at her.
Merlin shifted stiffly. This was not how he imagined the meeting going. Arthur stood suddenly and tugged Merlin up. He dropped Merlin’s hand as if he had been burnt.
“We have to be going now. Merlin is moving in today. We shall see you later,” the young Sentinel said. He kissed his mother’s cheek, shook his father’s hand and left the room.
Merlin waved awkwardly before following behind his Sentinel. “Arthur!” he cried out. “Wait for me!”
Arthur stopped before he entered the car and waited for Merlin to catch up. “We need to leave.”
“I can see that,” Merlin panted. “We’ll talk about this at home.”
Arthur only grunted, but Merlin took that as an agreement.
They had driven home in silence. It wasn’t tense, but it wasn’t exactly comfortable. Merlin hadn’t even tried to turn on the radio, because he knew Arthur needed the quiet. However, once they were inside the flat Merlin lay down on the couch and began talking, while Arthur paced in between the couch and the coffee table. He had a lot of pent up rage and if pacing helped, Merlin wasn’t going to stop him. He just wished Arthur could express emotions like most people, but if the meeting with his parents was any indication of Arthur’s childhood, Merlin wasn’t surprised by Arthur’s emotional quirks.
“One time Blair came into town to talk to us Guides about…something. I can’t remember what it was now,” he said, watching his Sentinel pace back and forth in front of him. “Anyway, someone asked how come most the Sentinel and Guide pairings were of the same sex. Blair thought about it awhile before answering.”
“What did he say?” Arthur snarled tersely.
“That Sentinels and Guides were too…selfish. They were too possessive of each other to be able to share, even with their own children. He said maybe it was nature’s way to keeping them focused on their jobs.”
“Protecting the tribe.”
Arthur sighed and stopped pacing. He sat down on the floor, his hand near Merlin’s waist, and laid his head against Merlin. “You think that’s what is wrong between my parents and I?”
Merlin shrugged. “Maybe. I’ve heard of other Sentinels or Guides with kids, but I don’t know how they act. It’s not like it’s documented or anything. Hell, Blair doesn’t even know how people become Sentinels or Guides, much less anything about offspring.”
“Someone ought to research it,” Arthur muttered.
Merlin reached a hand out and stroked Arthur’s hair. “Just think, soon this day will be over, tomorrow I will move in and make your life hell,” Merlin said seriously.
Arthur brought his head up and stared at Merlin. “You’re lying.”
“No, I can smell it. You are lying. I don’t like liars, Merlin.” Before Merlin could move, Arthur pounced on him and began to tickle the wizard.
Merlin laughed, “No, stop, oh my god, I can’t breathe!” He gave Arthur a little shock with his magic. The Sentinel tumbled to the floor and looked up at his boyfriend in wonder. “Ha! You forgot about that didn’t you, you prat.”
Merlin jumped off the couch and took off towards the bedroom. He knew a way to get today’s mess off Arthur’s mind. Arthur chased after him with a laugh.
Mission accomplished, Merlin thought as Arthur grabbed him from behind playfully. As Arthur kissed him, any other thoughts Merlin had deserted him.
Chapter 2: Part 2
Merlin stood in the kitchen with Lance, putting dishes up, and watching as Arthur and Percy struggled to fit another of Merlin’s bookcases through the doorway to the flat. Arthur was on the outside, pushing, and Percy was inside, pulling. It wasn’t going so well, from what Merlin could see. Behind Arthur, Merlin could see Gwen and Elyan holding boxes and looking annoyed.
“You know,” Gwaine commented as he came into the kitchen. “You could have less books.” He had been in the second bedroom, organizing Merlin’s boxes of books.
“You could have less hair,” Merlin shot back with a grin.
Gwaine gasped playfully and touched his hair. “That could never happen.”
“Only because you’re a vain git,” Lance joked. “Now, help with these dishes.”
“And don’t break them,” Merlin warned. “My mother gave me those.”
“Is the lovely Hunith going to make an appearance today?” Gwaine asked with a leer.
Merlin glared. “Yes. After you all leave. So, don’t try to hit on my mother.”
Suddenly, there was a yelp that had the three men rushing to the front door. They found Percy hopping on one foot and swearing.
“Sorry, Percy,” Merlin said. “Gawine, Lance, grab that end and help Arthur would you? I’ll take Percy into the kitchen for some tea.”
“What about me?” Arthur asked plaintively.
“You aren’t in the flat,” Merlin smiled sweetly.
“I hate you so much.”
Merlin blew a kiss at his Sentinel and helped Percy into the kitchen. “Would you like anything with your tea, Percy?” Merlin smiled as he heard Arthur grumble.
Later that night, after their friends had left, Hunith did drop by. She even brought food, so much in fact, that it took four trips to her car and back until all it was brought in. Hunith bustled around the kitchen, putting the food away, while a meal of casserole cooked in the oven. Arthur watched her and scowled. He liked having things in certain places, and Hunith, as much as he adored her, was messing his system up.
“You can put it away where you want it when she leaves,” Merlin muttered so his mother couldn’t hear. Arthur nodded in agreement and moved closer to Hunith as she began talking.
“I don’t know if you cook Arthur, but Merlin is particularly picky with his food and forgetful about eating. The boy would eat nothing but coffee and doughnuts if I let him,” she said, tossing a fond look at her son, who just scowled back at her.
Arthur nodded seriously. “I usually cook for me, because of my senses, I have to be careful with what I eat. So I tend to eat plainly, but with lots of leftovers, but I’m willing to learn Merlin’s favorites. I have to take care of him.”
Hunith smiled widely and patted him on the cheek. “Good boy.”
“Hey!” Merlin protested. “I can take care of myself.” He leaned against the kitchen counter and sulked a little bit.
Hunith laughed in delight and kissed the side of her son’s head. “Oh Merlin. It’s nice that you think so.” She looked at Arthur as she continued, “He once shut himself in his room working. I was gone all day at the hospital. When I came home, it must have been, oh, eight at night. He hadn’t eaten all day and only remembered because I checked in on him. Poor boy nearly fainted when he stood up.” She took the casserole out of the oven and set it on the table to cool.
Merlin huffed and grumbled, “It was for a paper on Guides and Sentinels. And maybe I was also doing some magic spells, which take a lot out of me. So I need to eat a lot.”
Arthur chuckled and slung an arm around Merlin’s waist. “I’ll make sure he eats and doesn’t work too much. Don’t want him fainting, after all.”
Hunith smiled at them. “I know you will, Arthur. I trust you.”
Arthur swallowed hard and tightened his hand on Merlin’s hip. “Thank you, Hunith. That means a lot to me.”
Merlin pulled away from Arthur to hug his mother. Hunith pulled Arthur into the hug and held onto her boys for some time. Then she backed away and dabbed at her eyes. “Well, now that the required crying is over with, let’s eat.”
Merlin laughed shakily and Arthur cleared his throat. He was unused to showing his emotions, but his short time with Merlin had made him open up a bit more. The three sat down at the table and began to eat. While eating, Arthur realized, this is what he had been missing his whole life.
The next day, Merlin woke Arthur up at seven in the morning to go for a run around the city.
“Why do I have to do this?” Arthur grumbled as he put his shoes on.
“Because we are going to get you used to the smells of your neighborhood and then if anything is out of place, you will know instantly. Then I’m going to hide and you are going to find me,” Merlin grinned cheekily.
“Hide and seek at seven am is not fun.”
“You just have to get used to it!”
“We are not doing this every day!” Arthur protested. “I have to work and so do you!”
“Arthur,” Merlin said seriously, coming closer to his Sentinel. “I’ve you’re your file. You’ve cut yourself off from your senses for so long, you have to reconnect to them. This is the best way. You already know the scents of your house, now it’s time to branch out. Then we can work on your other senses, slowly and carefully.”
“Fine,” Arthur capitulated grumpily. “But you have to do something for me.”
“Magic?” Merlin asked incredulously.
“Yes, I want to see more of it. I want to know what you can do.” Arthur stared at his Guide, expectantly. Even though Arthur had been told that magic was evil, he was utterly fascinated by Merlin’s magic.
Merlin hesitated, but finally agreed. He wasn’t used to sharing his magic with anyone other than his mum and Gaius, but he would do anything for Arthur. “Deal, but only here at home. It isn’t safe anywhere else.”
“Good. Now let’s go running.” Arthur shuttered and moved towards the front door.
“Running isn’t a curse word, Arthur, really.”
“It might as well be.”
Merlin rolled his eyes and followed Arthur out the door.
Months later the couple had settled into a comfortable routine. A bit too comfortably, in Merlin’s opinion. He was slightly tense, waiting for something to happen and Arthur sensed that.
“Merlin, you have to relax,” the Sentinel told him one day.
They were lounging at home, with Arthur in the kitchen cleaning and Merlin doing paperwork on the couch.
“I can smell your tension from in here,” Arthur continued. His voice was rough, like he wanted to growl at his boyfriend, but he couldn’t. He had been working on staying calm when irritated by his Guide, but it was a daily battle, as Merlin was supremely irritating at times.
Merlin sighed and laid his head on the back of the couch. He pushed all the papers on his lap off to the side, disrupting his work for the time being. “I know. It just feels like something is going to happen and soon.”
Arthur scoffed and stepped out of the kitchen, drying a dish. “Don’t be foolish. What could possibly go wrong?”
“Oh, thanks Arthur. Now you’ve jinxed us!”
Morgana watched with a grimace from her scrying glass while her brother and his Guide bickered. “I can’t believe he picked that boy,” she muttered.
Next to her, Mordred scowled. “Who cares about Arthur anyway?” he asked petulantly. He hated it when Morgana paid more attention to other people. As her Sentinel, he should get all her attention.
Morgause rolled her eyes at the boy. She almost regretted finding him for her sister. “Morgana does and therefore so should we.”
“I’m a better Sentinel than him,” Mordred insisted.
“Of course you are,” Morgana replied distractedly, unaware of Mordred’s feelings towards Arthur. “I’ve seen this Guide somewhere before.”
Morgause moved over to the glass and frowned. “So have I, but where?” She tilted her head, but still couldn’t remember. “It will come to me. Meanwhile, should we start our plan?” she asked with a wide, maniacal smile.
Morgana smiled back at her. “Yes, lets.” She wrapped an arm around Mordred, who happily snuggled into her side.
Arthur growled and jumped up from his position on the floor. The Sentinel and Guide had taken to meditate at night. Well, trying to meditate. “This is ridiculous.”
“Arthur,” Merlin sighed softly. This was the third time that Arthur had broken his meditation.
“Don’t ‘Arthur’ me, Merlin. I feel stupid doing this.”
“Blair swears it works. If it can work for Jim and Logan, then it can work for you.”
“Can’t you just show me some magic?” Arthur whined. He really didn’t like meditating. He didn’t want to know what was going on inside his head, no matter if it would help him or not.
“Then you’ll meditate with me for a half an hour?”
“Okay. Sit on the couch.” Merlin stood and waited for Arthur to be comfortably seated, before opening his left hand.
Arthur cocked his head as Merlin’s eyes turned gold and his mouth moved, but was surprised when he heard nothing. Even stretching his hearing to its limits couldn’t make him hear what Merlin was saying. His eyes jumped back to Merlin’s hand where a dragon made of fire and gold was dancing in his hand.
“Merlin,” he whispered. “That’s wonderful.”
Merlin blushed slightly and the dragon turned into a lion and then a knight on horseback. No one had ever told him that before. He was still getting used to Arthur praising him for his magic
“Why can’t I hear you?” Arthur asked, fiercely curious. He was still wary of magic, but not Merlin’s. Anything his Guide did couldn’t be harmful.
“I don’t really need to say the magic spells, I can just think them. However, I got in the habit of mouthing them because it unnerved Uncle Gaius and my mum.”
“That is amazing, Merlin!” Arthur crowed. He reached out and pulled Merlin down next to him. He kissed Merlin deeply before pulling back and demanding, “More.”
Merlin laughed freely. He was glad Arthur loved his magic as much as he did.
A few days later, Merlin was busy working at the Center, doing paperwork, when Gaius popped his head into Merlin’s office.
“You have a visitor,” the older man said.
“Who?” Merlin asked while standing and stretching. He’d been sitting down too long. Most people he knew never visited him at work.
Gaius just shrugged. “Some young woman. She asked for you specifically.”
Merlin frowned slightly as he followed Gaius. He couldn’t think of any woman who would ask to see him. Gwen and his mother would just waltz right into his office. He waved at John and Sherlock as he passed them in the hallway. They had sent him a really nice fruit basket once they found out Merlin had finally acquired a Sentinel. Well, John probably had to talk Sherlock into it. For a Guide, Sherlock was very possessive of his Sentinel. Usually it was the other way around.
That’s not to say Guides aren’t possessive. We’re just more subtle about it, Merlin thought.
Gaius stopped suddenly at the lobby of the Center and Merlin barely stopped himself in time, almost nearly ran into his Uncle.
“Gaius?” the young warlock asked.
“What? Oh, no, nothing. I thought I recognized someone,” he replied swiftly. “I don’t know which young woman wants to see you.”
“You’ve didn’t meet her?”
Gaius turned to face his protégé. “No, Shelly told me and I wanted to know who would come here to see you at work,” he smirked.
“Ha, ha,” Merlin deadpanned. “I do have friends you know.”
“None that come and ask for you. I do have to make sure you aren’t cheating on Arthur.”
“Laugh a minute, you are.” Merlin stepped around his mentor and looked around the waiting area. He didn’t recognize anyone. He took a breath before saying, “I’m Merlin Emyrs. Someone is here to see me?”
A young woman with pale skin, long brown hair, blue eyes, and a big grin stepped forward. She was wearing blue jeans and a flowy red shirt. “That’d be me. I’m Nimueh.” She held out a hand and Merlin shook it.
Behind him, Merlin heard Gaius gasp, but when he turned around to ask if everything was all right, Gaius was gone. Merlin shrugged and turned back to Nimueh with a smile. “What can I do for you?”
She looked nervous before saying, “Can we go somewhere private?”
“Of course,” Merlin replied. He led her back to his office. It was a slightly uncomfortable walk for the Guide, as Nimueh kept bumping into him and encroaching on his personal space. He would move away from her, but she always followed. Once at his office, Merlin sat behind his desk, while Nimueh paced and touched everything inside the room.
“What seems to be the problem?” he asked with a slight frown. He didn’t like her touching his things. Mostly because he knew that Arthur wouldn’t like it, but also because it was very presumptuous of her.
“I think my brother is a Sentinel,” she blurted out. She stopped pacing and flung herself into a nearby chair. “My parents call it ‘nonsense’, but I’ve seen the signs. I took a course at Uni on Sentinels and Guides which told us what to look for.”
Merlin nodded. Those types of classes were very popular nowadays. “How old is your brother?”
“Ten. Almost eleven.”
“That’s good news then,” Merlin beamed. He grabbed a piece of paper and began making notes.
“How so?” Nimueh asked. She leaned forward out of her chair and looked at Merlin expectantly.
“At age ten, anyone can come here to be tested.”
“So my parents don’t have to approve?”
“It’d be helpful, but it’s not necessary. If he was nine or younger, than we’d have a problem.”
“That seems like an arbitrary number,” Nimueh frowned. She stood and came around to Merlin’s side of the desk and touched the back of his neck lightly.
Merlin swallowed and moved away from her. She dropped her hand, but stayed close to him. “It isn’t. Sentinels and Guides seem to manifest around that age, even if we are tested at younger ages. Parents don’t always believe that their children have these gifts, but the kids always know. And we don’t turn away anyone who asks for help.”
He pushed away from his desk and went to his filing cabinet. He pulled out some forms and turned back to Nimueh. “Just have your brother fill these out. You can drop them off tomorrow and then come back in a week or so.”
Nimueh smiled and made her way to the door. Merlin met her there, the forms still in his hands. He gave them to her and then was pulled into a tight hug. His eyes widened and he had no clue where to place his hands, so he did nothing.
“Thank you,” Nimueh whispered into his ear. She then kissed his cheek and pulled away. “I can find my own way out.”
Merlin watched her go. “Arthur is going to be so mad,” he groaned as he touched his face. He went to the restroom to scrub at his face and neck, but he knew his Sentinel would be able to smell the woman on him anyway.
Merlin was right. When Arthur came to pick his boyfriend up, he instantly scowled. “Who was here? I know that scent,” the Sentinel ground out. He moved around Merlin’s office, sniffing everywhere.
“Just some girl who needed help. And you know, other people,” Merlin said cautiously. He pushed Arthur out the door of the office.
“It’s all through here,” Arthur complained as they walked down the hallway to the front door. “It’ll get in my car too.”
“Then don’t smell anything. Dial it down to normal levels.”
“You mean like a normal person for a few minutes?”
“Yes. I know it’s beneath you, but you can do it. And expect that smell later, she’s coming back.”
Arthur huffed at his boyfriend, and then took a deep whiff of Merlin’s hair, as they got to the car. He growled unhappily as he said, “She touched you.”
“She gave me a hug, yes. Don’t worry, I didn’t hug her back.” Merlin put his things in the trunk and faced his Sentinel.
“Good. You’re mine.” Arthur grabbed the back of Merlin’s neck and pulled him close. “Mine. You hear me?” The Sentinel kissed his Guide fiercely, before pulling away.
“Yours,” Merlin agreed dazedly. “And you’re mine.”
They kissed once more before getting into the car and driving away.
Nimueh watched from an alleyway. She raised a hand and a globe materialized. She spoke into it, “The young prince is beginning to crack.” She smiled nastily and then she disappeared into the alley.
Once at home, Merlin put his clothes into the wash and took a shower, just so Arthur would calm down. Merlin had left the Sentinel outside cleaning his car of the smell. Sometimes Merlin felt as if Arthur loved that car more than him. As Merlin was washing his hair, he heard Arthur come into the bathroom.
“What does she want?” the blonde asked grouchily. He was not happy with some woman just touching Merlin. He knew it was unhealthy to think that, but the Sentinel/Guide bond thrummed against the wrongness of it.
“Who?” Merlin peeked out and saw his boyfriend sitting on the toilet, sulking. “And don’t sulk.”
“Don’t change the subject,” Arthur grunted in annoyance. “You know who. That girl.”
“She thinks her brother might be a Sentinel, but her parents don’t. She needed help and advice. Since he’s old enough, they can come in without their parents.”
“I should be there.”
“No way in hell. A possible young Sentinel does not need a full grown Sentinel in his face. If the kid needs guidance, you’d be the last person I’d call.”
Arthur scoffed. Merlin flicked water at him. Arthur narrowed his eyes and flushed the toilet in retaliation. Merlin shrieked and almost fell out of the shower. Arthur caught Merlin before he could hit the ground.
“Damn it, Arthur,” Merlin grumbled as Arthur stood him up.
“You still smell like her,” Arthur muttered as he sniffed the base of Merlin’s neck.
“I know how to fix that,” Merlin replied as he turned in his boyfriends’ arms to face him.
Arthur grinned wickedly and scooped Merlin up, carrying the wizard to their bedroom.
Later that day, Arthur and Merlin met their friends at a pub. Merlin blushed as Gwaine and Percy commented on his new hickeys.
“Shut up,” he mumbled. Gwen grabbed his arm and drug him to the bar.
“You can tell me all about it and we won’t tell them,” she said with a smirk.
“Joy,” Merlin deadpanned.
Lance threw an arm around Arthur’s shoulders as the other man sat down. “So, Arthur, when are you getting a new car? You’ve had that thing for at least four years.”
“Yeah,” Elyan jumped in. Picking on Arthur was one of their favorite things to do, especially since Merlin entered the picture. Arthur was much more relaxed and amiable when it came to jokes at his expense. Before Merlin, no one dared pick on Arthur for longer than five minutes, as the blonde would growl at everyone before stalking away. Now they could get in a good solid twenty minutes of ribbing before Arthur got really annoyed. “You always get rid of cars after two years.”
“I’m not getting rid of it,” Arthur stated. “I like it.”
“Are you getting sentimental over a car?” guffawed Gwaine. He leaned against Percy so he wouldn’t fall over laughing.
“Look,” Arthur sighed and shrugged off Lance’s arm. “It was the first car I bought, with my own money, not money from my parents, but mine. It holds a lot of memories for me. I keep lots of little things important people in my life have given me in that car. Also, Merlin and I have done…things in it.” Arthur shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Thinking about Merlin in his car always made him aroused and he wasn’t sure why.
“Aw, poor little Arthur can’t say sex?” Elyan teased. Gawine laughed harder, while Percy rolled his eyes. Lance put his head down on the table, hoping Arthur wouldn’t know he was laughing too.
Arthur scowled at his friends. “I can say sex,” he hissed. “I just don’t want you thinking about Merlin and sex together.”
His friends continued to laugh at him. Arthur sank down in his chair and sulked. “You guys are horrible.”
“No, man, it’s sweet,” Gwaine said, controlling his laughter. “It’s exactly the kind of thing Merlin would like and nothing you’ve ever done before.” He wiped at his eyes.
“And if your friends can’t tease you, who can?” Lance asked, finally lifting his head from the table.
“I guess,” Arthur grumbled. “Just don’t do anything to my car, like you did to my last one.”
“That was an accident!” Percy protested, sitting upright in annoyance, dislodging Gwaine in the process.
“One doesn’t accidentally drive my car into a lamp post!”
“Oh,” Percy sat back in his chair. “That one was all Gwaine.”
Gwaine squawked in indignation. That set Elyan and Lance back to laughing.
Arthur chuckled as well, before warning, “Just don’t let anything happen to my car.”
Meanwhile, at the bar, Gwen was trying to get information of Merlin, but to no avail. She sighed and flagged down the bartender and ordered a round of beers for the group, then she turned back to Merlin with a stern look.
“Merlin,” she started.
“No, Gwen. I don’t want to tell you anything.” Merlin held up his hands, as if that would keep Gwen at bay.
“Is it bad? Is Arthur hurting you?” she asked lowly.
“No!” Merlin shouted in outrage. Arthur’s head whipped towards him, but Merlin waved him off. “It’s just private.”
“Those hickeys don’t look private,” she pointed out with a sly grin.
Merlin flushed and tried to cover them up with his shirt, but failed as they were too high up on his neck. She took pity on him and patted his hand.
“I know that Lance’s likes to leave marks where everyone can see. It’s just a Sentinel thing.”
“I know that theoretically. I’ve read everything the Center has on possessive Sentinels and how a Guide should deal with that, but…”
“It’s still new for you?”
“Yes! I never thought I’d have a Sentinel, much less a possessive one. I mean, there’s this woman.”
“Oh dear,” Gwen sighed again.
“No, it’s just. She doesn’t know any better, she’s not a Guide or a Sentinel, but her brother might be,” Merlin rambled, waving his hands around. “And she got to close and she touched everything in my office. She even hugged me and Arthur didn’t like it.”
“They usually don’t. You know it’s hard for a Sentinel to focus on a Guide’s scent if it’s covered by someone else’s.”
“I know! I just didn’t expect such an extreme reaction.” He gestured to his neck. “I liked it though,” he admitted shyly.
Gwen smiled and leaned in to whisper, “I do too.” She pulled away as soon as the beers were placed in front of them. “Let’s go get these back to those morons at our table.”
A week later, Nimueh came back to the Center with a young boy, who had black hair and bright blue eyes. He had a sour look on his face, as if he didn’t want to be at the Center.
“This is my little brother, Mordred,” she told Merlin.
“Interesting names,” Merlin smiled lightly.
Nimueh smiled crookedly and shrugged. “Parents,” she sighed.
“I know what you mean,” Merlin laughed. He then held out a hand, which Mordred shook. Merlin felt a little shock run through him as they touched hands. He had felt the same shock when Nimueh touched him earlier, but he had written it off as static shock. “Nice…nice to meet you,” the Guide replied absently. He shook his head to clear it and motioned for the pair to follow him. “Down here are the testing rooms.” He showed Mordred into a room. “Your sister and I will be next door watching you. A series of tests will occur, just do your best,” Merlin smiled.
Mordred grunted and went into the room Merlin had indicated. The boy shut the door with a slam and Merlin winced.
Nimueh smiled weakly at him. “He’s just a little nervous.”
“There’s no need to be,” Merlin responded. “The tests are perfectly safe.”
They walked into the room next door and stepped up to a two-way mirror. Merlin had a clipboard ready. He made sure to stand a good distance away from Nimueh, but she was determined to move closer to Merlin, who edged away from her.
“Um, I have a Sentinel who would prefer you not stand so close to me,” he said, not looking at her. He stared as Mordred completed the first test, making notes on his clipboard.
“What if you want to date?”
“I’m dating my Sentinel.”
“Isn’t that weird?”
“No, I love him. Hmm, Mordred has excellent hearing. Definitely Sentinel levels,” Merlin mused. He scribbled down some numbers before going back to watching the boy.
“Isn’t he controlling and possessive? You can’t have friends?”
“I can. Arthur just has to meet them first, so he can get used to their scents.”
“But he is controlling and possessive of you,” Nimueh pushed. She moved closer to him, bringing her lips towards his face.
“All Sentinels are,” Merlin snapped as he jerked away from her. He glared at her, his eyes flashing gold. Nimueh gaped at him. He turned back to watching Mordred with a small flush. “He has a good sense of smell as well.” He wrote more information down.
Nimueh smirked and reached out to touch Merlin’s cheek. He flinched away when she made contact. He felt another fission of shock, like he had before, but this one was larger.
“Please don’t,” Merlin said, stepping farther away from her. “You’re brother is done. Collect him and go to the front.”
Nimueh frowned. “Fine, but I worry about you. The control Arthur has over you is dangerous.”
“You don’t know me. Or Arthur. You wouldn’t understand. Now please.”
Nimueh nodded and left the room. Merlin waited until he was sure the siblings were gone. Then he gathered up the test results and went to meet them at the front desk.
“We’ll take these tests and the paperwork you filled out and get back to you in about two weeks, but I think your brother is a Sentinel,” he told them, not looking up from his papers.
“Merlin,” Nimueh said softly. He looked up at her warily. “Take this. It’s my number. Call if you need help.” She handed him a piece of paper.
He took it, not looking at it and shoved it into his pocket. He glanced at Mordred, who was glaring at him. Merlin flinched. The boy was giving him a headache and he just wanted them to leave.
“We’ll call you when you need to come in,” he mumbled before turning and fleeing to his office. Once inside, he closed his eyes and sighed.
The same day, Arthur and Merlin were at a nearby park. They had advanced in Arthur’s training to where he new the sights, smells, sounds, and everything else around their block. Now they had ventured farther out and, once Arthur got the hang of it, he excelled at it.
Now, Arthur had his eyes closed and was trying to focus on the smells and sounds, but he could only hear Merlin beside him. While usually a good thing, was not what this exercise was about.
“Damn it,” he cursed, opening his eyes. “Something’s wrong. I can usually do this in my sleep.”
Merlin looked concerned and touched Arthur’s arm. “Are you all right? Are you sick?”
“No, I just can’t seem to focus on anything other than you, which I normally wouldn’t object too, but I’ve actually grown to like these lessons,” Arthur admitted.
“Progress!” Merlin cheered. Then he bit his lip and looked around. “It is a new area. We haven’t gotten used to this place yet. Should I try to leave you alone?”
“No. Yes. I don’t know,” Arthur sighed. He shakes himself. “Let’s try again.”
Merlin nodded. “Okay, but just let me know when you want to stop.”
Arthur grunted in agreement and closed his eyes again. He would master this, even if it took all day. He his mouth ticked upwards slightly as he felt Merlin grab his hand and hold on. Maybe all he needed was his Guide to anchor him.
“It’s working,” Mordred said as he and Nimueh walked into Morgana’s apartment. “The Guide is starting to wonder.” He rushed to Morgana and cuddled close to her. He had missed her all day. He hated being apart from her.
“And with my scent on him, well,” Nimueh smirked. “That will just drive the young prince crazy.”
“Good,” Morgause said from the bar. She had just finished a drink and began to pour herself another one. “Should we precede sister?”
“Yes,” Morgana replied as she put an arm around Mordred. She was in a trance like state as she continued, “The future looks good for us.”
A few days later, Merlin and Arthur were lounging at home. Well, Merlin was lounging while Arthur did the laundry. Merlin had tried to help with the chores, but when he didn’t meet Arthur’s exacting standards, Arthur banished him from cleaning anything.
“You are a pig, Merlin,” the Sentinel muttered loudly enough so his Guide could hear him. “What is even on your clothes?”
“Shut up, Mr. Clean Freak.”
Arthur glared at the back of Merlin’s head, but then broke into a fond grin when his lover flipped him off and said, “I can see you, you know.”
“Fine. I just know you fairly well.”
Arthur sniffed in fake disdain and gathered up all the clothes and took them into the laundry room. He was washing trousers for the first load, so he dug through all the pockets of Merlin’s jeans. He cocked his head when he stuck a hand in Merlin’s trousers and pulled out a scrap of paper. Merlin kept, and then quickly forgot about, all kinds of things in his jean pockets; gum, change, toys, and much more, but the Guide had never forgot paper before.
Arthur unfolded it and was hit by a wave of his now least favorite scent. It was the same scent that had been all over Merlin for months. It clung to the wizard like a bad penny. Arthur was probably mixing his metaphors, but he didn’t care. He felt dizzy as he read the note and the scent washed over him again. The Sentinel growled low in his throat. He had been assaulted by this scent for sometime now and this was the last straw. He crumpled the paper up and stalked back out into the living room where Merlin was rapidly flicking through TV channels.
Arthur grabbed his Guide by the back of the neck, hauled him off the couch, and pushed him against a wall.
“Arthur?” Merlin squeaked as he was slammed softly into the wall.
“What is this?” Arthur hissed, shoving the crumpled paper into Merlin’s face.
Merlin didn’t have to smooth it out to know what it was. He closed his eyes and sighed. “Nimueh’s phone number.” He had looked at it later, after she left, and then shoved it into his jean pockets. He had meant to get rid of it, but had completely forgotten about it.
“Nim– who’s that?” Arthur was still furious, but there was something niggling at his mind, trying to work its way through his Sentinel instincts. However, they had taken over, as he felt his Guide was being taken from him.
“The girl with a Sentinel brother? She thought you were too controlling and gave me that.”
“You didn’t throw it out?” Arthur slammed his hand on the wall next to Merlin’s head. His lover didn’t even flinch, he just stared straight into Arthur’s eyes. Arthur then brought his hands to Merlin’s shoulders and held on tightly, trying to ground himself.
“I forgot,” Merlin shrugged.
Arthur knew Merlin was telling the truth. Once something was in Merlin’s pockets, it was forgotten about until laundry day, which was why paper never made its way into his pockets.
“I–” Arthur started, but cut himself off with a low growl. He gripped Merlin’s shoulders tighter than he had before, this time making Merlin wince. “Something’s wrong. Can’t control senses.” Arthur groaned as he sank to the floor. His eyes were shut tight and he had his hands over his ears.
“Arthur!” Merlin whispered urgently. He wanted to help, but he wasn’t sure how. Even touching Arthur when he was in this state could send the Sentinel into a catatonic state or a Zone Out.
The wizard took a deep breath and reached out with his magic. He saw a faint barrier around his boyfriend. He even felt the same barrier all throughout the flat. He frowned. He had felt this energy before.
“Nimueh,” he breathed.
“You rang,” the woman in question spoke up.
Merlin blinked and focused on her. “How–?”
“Magic, dear.” She glanced at Arthur. “Shame about the young prince. He would have made a find king someday.”
“What?” Merlin asked in bewilderment.
“Poor little Merlin,” Nimueh mocked. “Your magic is nothing compared to mine and my coven.”
Merlin blinked at her. “What?” He was rapidly beginning to lose the point of this conversation and his patience.
“So much to learn,” she chuckled evilly. “Too bad neither of you will be around to see it.” She pinned Merlin to the wall with her magic. A stray thread of her magic knocked over a side table, a lamp, and even managed to break some dishes. “Oops,” she smirked unrepentantly and pulled out a dagger from thin air. “Murder/suicide is known to happen to unstable Sentinels and Guides. And our young prince has been highly unstable lately. Everyone’s seen it.”
“Because of you,” Merlin yelled. He surged against her magic, but wasn’t able to break it’s hold on him.
“I knew you’d figure it out someday,” Nimueh smirked. “Now say goodbye.” She magically unfolded Arthur from his curled position and laid him flat, then she held the dagger above Arthur and made a sharp thrust downward. Before it made contact with the Sentinel, it was stopped inches from Arthur’s heart. Nimueh struggled against the power holding her back, but it only held on tighter.
“You will not harm my Sentinel,” Merlin intoned from his spot against the wall. He had a hand reaching out towards her.
Nimueh looked at Merlin in shock. “No. I’m more powerful!” She let loose some magic and pictures fell from the walls, but she was still tightly held. She glanced at Merlin’s eyes and saw that they were completely golden. “Emyrs,” she whispered in surprise.
“I knew you would never learn Nimueh. No one should have woken you from that tree,” Merlin continued as if she had never spoken. “I’m still the High Priest, no matter my form. Not you. Never you. I’ve found my Sentinel once more and no one will take him from me. No one.”
He forced her upright. He wasn’t comfortable having her bent over Arthur still. Nimueh struck back with her own magic, this time knocking books off of shelves, but nothing could distract Merlin now. His magic tightened around Nimueh and she trembled in fear. Emyrs could easily kill her. Suddenly, from below her, Arthur groaned, “Merlin. No.”
Merlin’s concentration faltered for a second, but Nimueh didn’t have time to react before he was muttering a spell. Nimueh screamed as she disappeared. The dagger fell to Arthur’s side. Merlin raced to his lover and pulled him towards the wall.
“W-where’d y-you se-end her-r?” Arthur stuttered as Merlin helped him sit up. His senses were still overloaded, so everything from talking to breathing was a pain, but he wanted to be there for Merlin.
“Somewhere where she can’t hurt anyone,” Merlin replied as he touched the Sentinel lightly, not wanting to hurt him even more. “Okay, close your eyes and focus on me– my touch, my smell, the sound of my voice.” Merlin watched as Arthur did as he was instructed. “Good. Now take deep breathes. Yes, good. There we go. Good as new.”
Arthur snorted and opened his eyes to look at his lover. “We have things to discuss,” he said seriously.
Merlin nodded. “I know. Just later.” He leaned in and kissed Arthur hotly. He had come very close to losing his one true love.
Miles away, Morgana and Mordred sat cuddled up on the couch, watching as Nimueh attacked Arthur and Merlin. Suddenly, Morgana shrieked as her scrying glass exploded. Mordred darted for cover and hid behind the couch to avoid the flying glass.
“Well,” Morgause said calmly from a nearby chair, sipping her drink. “At least I know where I’ve seen that Guide before.”
“Are you sure you don’t need Gaius?” Merlin asked.
“Yeah,” Arthur muttered.
They had moved to the couch, leaving the debris from the fight on the ground. Both men were too tired to clean up. Arthur was lying on the couch, with his head in Merlin’s lap, with a damp cloth over his eyes. Merlin was periodically brushing his fingers against Arthur’s cheek, not only to ground the Sentinel but also to prove to himself that Arthur was all right.
“What happened?” Arthur finally asked.
Merlin let out a small sigh. “You know I have magic.”
“Yes, I hadn’t forgotten that my Guide is a powerful wizard,” Arthur snapped.
“Shush,” Merlin flicked Arthur’s ear gently, then rubbed it. “I have old, powerful magic, from an ancestor or something. I don’t know. Every time I tried to find out, I got headaches and something stopped me. I guess you being threatened broke whatever barrier was in my head. It’s strange having someone else’s memories and knowledge next to mine.”
“And what about me?”
“From what I can gather, your ancestor and mine were in love, but they couldn’t do anything about it. Yours was a king and mine was a servant. But now I’ve finally found you and I won’t let you go.”
Arthur reached out and grabbed Merlin’s hand, wanting a physical connection to his Guide. “Quite right. What about Nimueh?”
“She was an old student of his. Something happened, I don’t know what. I thought she was dead though.”
Arthur was silent for sometime before quietly saying, “She’s the one who caused my sister to leave.”
Merlin took the cloth of Arthur’s face and looked into his eyes. “What? How’s that possible?”
It was Arthur’s turn to sigh. “My mother can’t have kids, so my Father had an affair to produce an heir. Mother didn’t like that one bit and contacted Gaius, who knew all about magic. Father’s mistress had Morgana, who was a Guide. While Morgana and her mother settled into the house, against my Mother’s wishes, Mother and Gaius somehow got in touch with Nimueh. They did…something for her and some time later, I was conceived. Mother chased Morgana’s mother out of the house, but kept Morgana around, so I could have a playmate. Mother treated my sister like dirt and Father ignored us both.” Arthur paused. “I do love her. I always have. She’s my sister no matter what.”
“What happened to her?” Merlin asked quietly. He kept a tight hold on Arthur’s hand. He knew Arthur didn’t have a happy childhood, but this just made him angry. Treating their innocent children like that made him want to scream at Arthur’s parents.
“She was my Guide for awhile, but it didn’t take and she went insane. Plus, she started having these visions, which Gaius said were manifestations of her magic. Father hates magic, so he put her in an asylum. As far as I know, she’s still in there.”
“Why does your father hate magic? It gave him you. Don’t you go see her?”
Arthur shook his head. “Father won’t tell me where she is.” He smiled up at his lover. “As for Father, magic, and I, after I was born, Mother became sick for a long time. Whatever magic Nimueh had done took a lot out of Mother, but she doesn’t like to talk about it.”
“I can see why.” Merlin paused before asking, “Do you blame Nimueh for Morgana?”
“Without Nimueh’s interference Morgana wouldn’t be insane and alone.”
“But, you wouldn’t be here!” Merlin protested. He couldn’t stand the thought of not having Arthur around.
Arthur shrugged as best he could while lying down. “You could have waited a little longer, yeah?”
Merlin let out a choked laugh. “I already waited for 1000 years.”
“So a few more…?”
“Would have been pure torture.”
“Aw, love.” Arthur reached up and touched Merlin’s face. He then gave a little tug and Merlin came willingly. There was more to say, but it could wait.
Chapter 3: Part 3
The next day, Merlin walked into Gaius’ office and told him the whole story. Arthur was still at the flat recovering. Neither had had the energy to do more then sleep the night away. Once the older man heard the tale, he sighed heavily.
“I thought that was her when she first came here, but I couldn’t be sure,” Gaius said. He rubbed at his brow.
Merlin closed his eyes and lay down on the couch in Gaius’ office. “I don’t even know where I sent her.”
“Limbo. The Negative Zone. It doesn’t matter what it’s called, she shouldn’t have been able to get out.”
“How do you know?”
Gaius was silent for so long, that Merlin opened his eyes and sat up, worried something had happened to the older man. He stared at his mentor, who was just sitting at his desk, head in his hands. “Gaius?”
“That’s where I found her and that’s where I put her back.”
“For Uther,” Merlin growled, doing a very good impression of his Sentinel.
Gaius shook his head. “No, for Arthur. Nimueh was going to use him. I overheard her talking to someone about it. I don’t know what she wanted him for and I didn’t want to find out, so I banished her. She should have been in there forever, but I’m not as powerful as you. Or your ancestor.” He glanced at his assistant. “And I sense you’ve become more powerful.”
Merlin nodded. “I tapped into something when I fought Nimueh. I even know things about the family history that I’ve been asking about since I was a child. As for Nimueh escaping, she must have had help.”
“Indeed, but who?”
Merlin thought about it for sometime, before snapping his fingers. He looked at Gaius, his eyes gleaming gold. “I think I know.”
“Well, that scheme with Nimueh failed miserably,” Morgause said as she, Morgana and Mordred ate dinner. They had once again convened at the couch. Morgause wondered why they even had other furniture if they were never going to sit on it.
Mordred glared at her. “Nimueh jumped the gun. We should have waited another week.” He turned to Morgana and asked pleasantly, “What should we do now?”
“If we can’t drive Arthur crazy, perhaps we could tempt Emyrs away,” Morgana thought aloud as she pushed the food around on her plate.
“You need to eat, Morgana, so don’t play with your food. And if Nimueh couldn’t tempt that Guide, I don’t see why anyone else would work,” Morgause told her sister. She watched as Mordred gave Morgana some of his food, which the young woman then ate.
“Sister,” Morgana chided once she finished chewing. “The High Priestess wasn’t trying for that. But that girl, what is her name?”
“Freya?” Mordred supplied helpfully, giving Morgana more of his food. Morgause sighed and put more food on Mordred’s plate. He quirked his mouth in her direction in response, indicating his gratitude.
“Yes!” Morgana crowed, unaware of the food she was eating. She kissed the top of Mordred’s head. He beamed up at her, happy to have made her happy. “Yes, Freya. She’ll be perfect. Just his type.”
Morgause scoffed as she took a sip of her drink, but said nothing. Without telling her sister, Morgause decided to send someone else in, just in case things went wrong. She smirked behind her glass. And things tend to go wrong.
Arthur and Merlin had decided not to tell anyone but Gaius what happened that night. So when their friends came over for an impromptu party, after Merlin returned home from speaking with his mentor, Arthur had to blame the mess on his senses.
“There was a smell on Merlin I didn’t like,” Arthur said sheepishly as he and Lance swept up some broken glass. “I flipped out and broke everything. I already apologized.”
“Did he hurt you, Merlin?” Gwaine asked as he and Percy were placing books back on to the shelves. Merlin, Gwen, and Elyan were placing pictures back on the wall and generally straightening up the flat.
“No!” Merlin yelled in annoyance. He knew that they meant well, but that was a ridiculous thought.
“I had to be sure,” Gwaine protested as Arthur growled at him.
“Sometimes I think you all like Merlin more than you like me,” Arthur groused as he picked up some small pieces of broken glass.
“We do,” Gwaine replied cheerily. He ducked behind Elyan in mock terror as Arthur growled again.
“You do look pretty ragged,” Gwen said, taking the attention off Gwaine. She stared at Merlin’s pale face and the dark circles under his eyes. “Was it that woman you told me about?” she asked softly, hoping Arthur and Lance couldn’t hear her.
Merlin nodded slightly, before saying, “It was a long night.” The Guide sighed. “Once his sense smell got overloaded, so did everything else. It took some time before Arthur’s senses were back to normal again.”
Percy must have muttered something about Arthur’s senses, because the blonde growled louder, while Gwaine laughed.
Gwen nodded in understanding, ignoring the other men. “Lance has had that happen sometimes.” Her eyes glinted in amusement. “Arthur must have really hated that smell.”
Everyone laughed as Arthur flushed lightly. “Well it won’t be on Merlin again, will it?” Arthur muttered.
“No, it won’t,” Merlin promised. He ignored the strange look he got from Gwen and went back to cleaning his flat. Once their friends left, Merlin was going to have to ask Arthur some more questions about his sister. He had a feeling that she was some how involved.
“Now Freya, do you remember the plan?” asked Morgana, using a new scrying glass. Freya held the other glass as she stood outside the Sentinel and Guide Center.
“Yes,” Freya replied wearily. She was weak from being out of the water for so long. Her captors wouldn’t even let her take a bath, they just cleaned her with magic.
It had been three weeks since Nimueh’s failed attack on Merlin and Arthur. Morgana had wanted to start phase two earlier, but there had been an influx of Sentinels in the area, which had caused a delay.
“Good. No more delays. Get inside there and make sure no on suspects. Otherwise you might never get home,” Morgana smirked.
Freya flinched slightly, but nodded and made her way inside the Center.
Merlin sighed as he laid his head on his desk. It had been three weeks from hell. Not only had he and Arthur gotten into many fights over Morgana, but also two kids had gone missing in the woods earlier in the month. So Arthur, Merlin, and every other available Sentinel and Guide team had been tasked with finding them. The media coverage had been a pain, but the children were found alive and uninjured, so Merlin called that a win. On top of that, the Center had flown in Jim, Blair, Logan, and the mutant’s three Guides to find Mordred, who was now a registered Sentinel on the run. So far, they had no luck finding him. Merlin suspected that magic was covering the boy’s tracks, but he wasn’t willing to say anything just yet.
Merlin glanced at the couch, where Arthur was laying down. The Sentinel had never worked his senses that hard or for that long as he had when looking for the children.
“I can hear you thinking from over here,” Arthur muttered. He shifted slightly, but never opened his eyes.
“Just wondering if you’re still mad at me. How are you feeling?”
“Like I’ve been run over by a lorry.” He paused before continuing. “No, I’m not mad. I just–”
“Love your sister, I know,” Merlin interrupted. “But if I’m right and Morgause is Morgana’s sister…”
“It doesn’t seem possible,” Arthur stated dazedly. He always remembered his sister as the sweet tempered and loving girl who laughed and kissed his cheek. Yes, he remembered their fights, but they always made up. He never wanted to remember how Morgana looked when they were torn apart. She kept crying for him and begging for her Sentinel to save her. He didn’t have the heart to tell her, that he wasn’t her Sentinel. He opened his eyes and stared straight into Merlin’s eyes. They held the gaze for some time.
Merlin was about to say something, when there was a knock on his office door. He broke the gaze with Arthur. “Come in!” he called, shrugging as Arthur winced at the loud noise and then glared at him.
Gaius popped his head in. “Ah, sorry to bother you. I wanted you to meet our newest assistant.” He opened the door wider and stepped inside. A woman with long brown hair and dark brown eyes followed him in. She seemed paler than most people and Merlin knew by the way Arthur’s nose wrinkled, she smelled sick.
“Freya O’Lochlin,” she said, holding out a hand. She swayed slightly, but managed to keep herself upright.
“Merlin Emyrs, pleased to meet you.” Merlin took her hand, ignoring her slight flinch and the frission of energy he felt when their hands touched.
“Arthur Pendragon,” Arthur said as she got off the couch and shook Freya’s hand. He subtly wiped his hands on his pants after she let go.
“I’ve heard much about the both of you. It will be my honor to work with you,” she said, looking straight into Merlin’s eyes.
Arthur growled lightly, but Merlin put a calming hand on his Sentinel’s arm. “Thank you,” the Guide said.
Gaius raised a brow, but said nothing as he led Freya out of the room.
“Something is wrong with her,” Arthur said while moving closer to Merlin.
“I know. I saw your face.”
“I don’t trust her.”
Merlin laughed. “Color me surprised!”
“She just seems like your type.”
“Arthur,” Merlin turned to face his lover. “You are my type. No one else. Now, let’s do some exercises to stabilize your senses.”
“Not the kind of exercises I had in mind,” Arthur said cheekily as he pulled Merlin closer and kissed him.
“I don’t think this will work,” Freya said into her scrying glass. “They seem too in love.”
“Just keep trying,” Morgana hissed. “And make sure they don’t find Mordred or me.”
Freya nodded as she cut the connection. She desperately wanted to go home and helping Morgana seemed the fastest way.
Merlin was walking through the halls of the Center, going over some data when he ran into someone. His papers went flying as he and the other person fell to the floor.
“Sorry,” the wizard said, scrambling to gather his papers.
“No problem. I wasn’t paying attention either,” the other voice said. “I’m Edwin, by the way. I’m new here.”
“Oh yes,” Merlin looked at the other man, noticing his scarred face for the first time. There seemed to be something odd about the man, but Merlin passed it off as paranoia. Not everyone was out to get him. “Gaius was telling me about you the other day.”
“He knew my parents and helped me with my face,” Edwin replied, gesturing to himself.
“That’s Gaius for you. Always ready to help,” Merlin smiled. Edwin handed Merlin his papers back. “Thank you. See you around Edwin.” The Guide waved and left Edwin behind.
“Most definitely,” Edwin smirked as Merlin turned a corner.
“I think we should tell your mother about what happened with Nimueh,” Arthur spoke up over dinner that night.
“Why?” Merlin nearly dropped his fork in surprise. Arthur had not wanted anyone to know, not even Gaius. It had taken Merlin practically begging and saying that Gaius knew the story up to that point, so the older man might as well know the rest of it to get Arthur to agree.
“So you can stop looking at her sadly.”
“I don’t!” Merlin protested.
“You do. Just tell her what you want to tell her and stop moping about the place.”
“You’re awfully grumpy lately,” Merlin commented as he began to clean the dishes off the table. Maybe he did want to tell his mother, but he wanted Arthur to want it as well, not just give in because Merlin was unhappy keeping secrets from his mum.
“It’s that woman.”
“Freya? I haven’t spoken to her more than thirty minutes total and I know I don’t have her scent on me. You keep checking.”
“Oh, I know that,” Arthur waved a hand as he leaned back in his chair. “There’s just something off about her and that Edwin fellow. They smell like Nimueh. And you.”
“Arthur,” Merlin asked slowly. “Can you smell magic?”
“I guess so, yes. I have ever since I met you. It’s gotten stronger since that night. You reek of it, but I tolerate it because it’s you.”
“Gee, thanks,” Merlin snarked before asking, “What does it smell like?”
“You smell like burnt ozone. All magic users seem to smell of ozone and something else. I can’t always name the other smell though.”
“This is great! We could find Morgana with this!”
“What?” Arthur frowned as he sat forward.
“You know her smell, being siblings. Mix that with the magic smell and we would find her quickly.”
“So you can do what exactly?”
“To stop her from hurting you!” Merlin threw the dishes in the sink, not caring about the noise they made. Arthur was beyond frustrating sometimes. “I only want you to stay safe.” He turned to face his lover, hoping to make the other man listen to him.
Arthur’s face was blank and closed off to Merlin. Inside though, he was seething that his lover wanted to hurt Morgana. “The only one hurting me is you, saying that you want to go after my sister!”
They had had this argument before, but now was the time to settle the matter, it seemed.
“Arthur, for whatever reason she’s trying to kill you. To kill me! That’s what Nimueh was going to do,” Merlin defended his reasoning.
“I know!” Arthur yelled. He shoved away from the table and stalked into the living room. Merlin stood passively and watched as his lover came back. “I know, but I can’t kill her. I don’t want you to kill her. I want to help her!”
“You said yourself, Morgana went insane because of her visions.”
“She can be helped!”
“Morgause has twisted Morgana’s mind. She was always good at that. She’s convinced her sister, that only Morgause, and possibly Mordred, loves Morgana. No one else, not even her beloved baby brother.”
“Another one of your ancestral students out to get you,” Arthur accused
Merlin closed his eyes, took a deep breath, trying desperately to stay calm and continued on. “You don’t understand. Morgana thinks that you, Uther, and Ygraine all had it out for her. She doesn’t know you wanted to go visit her. She doesn’t know how much you love her. And I’m the only thing standing between you and death!”
“Oh please,” Arthur scoffed. His anger was beginning to boil over. He moved closer to Merlin, backing his Guide up against the kitchen countertop. Arthur didn’t want to hurt his lover, just intimidate him and get him to back off. “You’re just a klutzy Guide, who happens to be a-a reincarnation of that ancestor you talked about before!”
Merlin shoved Arthur away from him forcefully. He took a perverse pleasure in watching the Sentinel stumble slightly before regaining his balance. “That ancestor was the most powerful wizard to ever grace the earth. And I am the embodiment of magic.”
“You didn’t deny that this Morgause was a student,” Arthur sneered, turning the conversation back to the beginning.
“She was! He had many students and they’ll all probably want to kill me! With my magic they could do anything!”
“This isn’t like Highlander, if they kill you they don’t get your magic. Do they?” Arthur asked. He was unsure of his footing in the subject of magic. For all he knew, anything could happen in the magical world.
“Yes, that’s exactly how it works! Morgause could…could awaken the dragons and wreak havoc on the world!”
Arthur paused in his rebuttal. “Dragons? There are dragons?”
“Yes,” Merlin sighed wearily. He sat down at the table and placed his head in his hands. “There are dragons that are sleeping. I control them, being the last of the Dragonlords.”
Arthur stumbled towards the table and sat down as well. “My life gets weirder and weirder with you around.”
Merlin chuckled wryly, but said nothing. They sat in silence, as Arthur contemplated what his lover had told him and as Merlin wished he had never opened his mouth.
After some silence, Arthur spoke back up, “I don’t want you to kill her, like you did Nimueh.”
“I banished Nimueh. You said not to kill her,” Merlin replied.
Arthur blinked and laughed lightly, hoping to break the heavy mood that had settled over them. “Oh. I didn’t think you were listening. You never do.”
“I’m going to protect you Arthur, as is my duty as your Guide. I can promise not to hurt Morgana and I won’t even ask you to find her, but I will do whatever it takes to keep you safe,” Merlin swore.
Arthur sighed heavily. “I guess that will have to do.” He got up and kneeled down in front of Merlin. “And I suppose I shall do whatever I must to keep you safe from old students. Including Morgause. I just wish–”
“I know,” Merlin cut him off. He was tired and didn’t want to fight anymore tonight. He kissed his Sentinel. “We’ll figure something out. For now, let’s go to bed.”
Arthur nodded in agreement and stood, then helped Merlin up from his chair. He led his lover to their bedroom and lay down next to him. “We’re much better together than apart,” he whispered into the darkness.
Merlin’s arms tightened around Arthur and the two slipped off into an uneasy sleep.
It was a month before anything happened. Merlin could honestly say he hadn’t been expecting it. He walked into his office and was suddenly being wrapped in someone’s arms and kissed hotly. He pulled away, blinking, and pushed his assailant away.
“Freya,” he panted. “What are you doing?”
“I’m sorry,” she sobbed. “I had too. I couldn’t–”
“It’s okay. Just sit down.” Merlin guided her to the couch, where the woman collapsed, still sobbing. “Can you start at the beginning?”
Freya took a few minutes to pull herself together long enough to answer. “It’s a long tale Emyrs and I don’t have much time. I just want to go home, but I can’t until I’ve done what was asked of me.”
“So you are magical,” Merlin nodded. “I thought I felt it. I wasn’t sure though, it was nothing like I had ever encountered before.”
Freya nodded, but couldn’t reply, as she was crying too hard. Merlin, unsure of how to comfort her, stood and walked to his desk. He pulled out a box of tissues and handed them to her. “Here.”
“Thank you.” She took the box and wiped at her eyes and nose. She looked up at him and opened her mouth to say something, but was cut off by a loud explosion.
“What was that?” She shook her head and looked at him with wide eyes. “Stay here!” Merlin ordered as he left his office.
People were running out of the rooms and leaving the building. He saw Gwen and Lance and stopped them. “What happened?”
“Something blew. There’s a gas leak,” Lance said. “We need to get out of here before the whole place goes up.”
Merlin nodded. “Freya! Get out of here.”
Gwen and Lance exchanged a look as Freya exited Merlin’s office, but the Guide had no time for that. “Lance, make sure everyone is out. I want Sentinels combing the rooms, no one gets left behind. Gwen, call Blair. He needs to know about this.”
“What about Arthur?” Gwen asked as she watched her Sentinel take Freya away.
“Call him too.”
“Where are you going?”
“To find Gaius!” Merlin jogged off down a hallway.
Arthur pulled up to the Center, looking for Merlin, but unable to find him in the chaos. He did find Gwen, Lance and Freya huddled away from everyone else. He ran over to them. “Where’s Merlin?” he asked wildly.
“Still inside,” Freya said. “He was looking for Gaius. Both he and Edwin never came out.”
Arthur’s eyes narrowed at her. Freya nodded slightly. Arthur crowed internally. He knew that Edwin was a wizard of some kind.
“Any idea where they are Lance?” the blonde Sentinel asked the other.
“Last I heard they were making their way out back. But they never came out here.”
Arthur closed his eyes and dialed up his hearing, listening for his Guide. He found Merlin’s heartbeat erratic and underground. “They’re underground,” Arthur said in confusion as he came back to focus on the group. “What would they be doing down there?”
“There’s a basement,” Gwen spoke up. “During World War II people would hide in it when the bombs were falling.”
“That’s where the gas leak was coming from,” Lance said worriedly.
“We don’t have much time then, do we?” Arthur ran towards the Center, Gwen, and Lance following close behind him. They didn’t know what was going on, but they wanted to help.
Freya stayed behind since she didn’t feel well. However, she noticed a flash of long, blonde hair and narrowed her eyes. Freya took a deep breath and decided to follow the flash of hair.
Merlin awoke with a groan. He could barely see anything through the blurriness of his eyes. He hoped he didn’t have a concussion. He looked around carefully, trying to avoid jostling his already aching head. Edwin had hit him with something and if it weren’t for Merlin’s magic, it probably would have killed him. He noticed Gaius tied up, and conscious, to a pipe nearby, but the older man couldn’t do much since he was tied up too.
“Magic knots,” Edwin said from behind him. The other man came and stood in front of Merlin. Edwin looked like one big smear across his vision. “It won’t do you any good to fight. The more you struggle the tighter it becomes. Like quicksand.” He smiled widely at Merlin.
“Why are you doing this?” Merlin asked. He blinked a few times, hoping to clear his blurry vision.
“Gaius killed my parents, him helping me was just added mockery,” Edwin hissed as he knelt down in front of Merlin. “I only wanted to kill him, but my boss thought it would be better if I killed the great Emyrs too.” He laughed in Merlin’s face before standing. “Some great wizard you are.”
“Ugh,” Merlin grunted. “Morgause sent you.”
“Correct! And she said you were stupid!”
“He’s very smart,” Gaius said from the other side of the room.
“Ah, Gaius. My mentor and the murderer of my parents.”
“Gaius would never kill anyone!” protested Merlin. He had known the older man all his life, Gaius couldn’t even kill a fly much less a human being.
“He could have saved them!” Edwin yelled back. “The council ordered them put to death!”
“Council? What council?” Now Merlin was more confused than ever. He wasn’t sure if it was because of his headache or because Edwin was unstable.
“You don’t know anything, do you Emyrs.” Edwin mocked.
“But I do, Edwin,” Gaius shouted. “I know your parents were practicing black magic. Necromancy.”
“They wanted to bring my sister back!”
“She was dead! It never would have worked!”
Merlin groaned again. All the yelling was echoing around the small room and causing his headache to grow worse.
“It would have! If you had just let them try it–”
“They were going to murder another girl! Someone else’s daughter! I could never let that happen!”
“Merlin!” Arthur’s voice called out in the distance. Edwin cursed and spun on his heel to face Merlin.
“You did this!” he accused. “You brought him here! Why must you ruin all my plans?!”
“You kidnapped me! Of course my Sentinel was going to come rescue me!”
Edwin paused in thought. “I could kill him,” he said casually.
“You could try,” Merlin replied in the same tone. His eyes flashed gold and Edwin took a step back.
“You can’t stop me!” Edwin cried in fear. Morgause had said the ropes would hold even Emyrs, but the other wizard was too powerful.
“No, but we can,” said Gwen from beside Merlin.
He blinked at her. “How–?”
She just grinned and cut the ropes binding his hands. Behind Edwin, Lance was doing the same to Gaius. The Sentinel helped the older man up, while Gwen held Merlin steady as he stood and swayed. Edwin howled in rage and readied a spell. Before he could even start casting, a large rock flew at his head and knocked him out.
Everyone looked towards Arthur, who shrugged. “I have good aim.”
“And Gwen and I made an excellent distraction,” Lance beamed.
Gaius chuckled, and then groaned. Gwen left Merlin’s side and helped her Sentinel take Gaius outside.
Arthur made his way over to Merlin, slipping an arm around his lover’s waist. “You okay?”
“My head hurts like hell. The gas leak?”
“Lance and I took care of it. Don’t worry.”
“So this place won’t explode?”
“Not today. We can get it looked at later. Let’s get you home.”
“What about Freya? She kissed me. I think she was ordered too.”
Arthur scowled and tightened his hold on Merlin. The Guide winced at the treatment, but said nothing.
“She was outside,” Arthur finally said. “I don’t know what happened to her.”
“We need to find her. I want to help her.”
“No one deserves to be used just to hurt someone else. She wants to go home and I think she might die if she doesn’t.”
“Where is home?” Arthur grunted as he pulled Merlin up from the basement.
“I have no idea.”
Before they could go look for Freya, Gwen stopped them, pulling them away from the large group gathered out front of the Center. She glanced around, hoping all the Sentinels would be busy with keeping people calm and not listening to her.
“Lance and I, well. We heard the magic parts of Edwin’s ranting,” she said nervously. “Lance went back down there and tied him up, but he was still talking about being a powerful wizard. More powerful than Emyrs.” She shot a glance at Merlin, who flushed and looked at the ground.
Arthur reached out and touched Merlin’s arm, Merlin looked up at his Sentinel, communicating silently, before Merlin nodded. Lance stepped up behind Gwen and put an arm around her waist. The couple waited for the two men to speak.
“I am a wizard,” Merlin said in a low voice. “It’s a very, very long story, that doesn’t need to be told right now. Gaius and my mum know. Arthur obviously knows and now you do.”
“The others might need to know,” Lance said, watching the crowd, checking to see if anyone was listening. “If it’s always going to be this dangerous around you Merlin.” He smirked at his friend.
“Oh shut up,” Merlin muttered. He shoved Lance’s shoulder. “And I will tell them. Just not today– we need to find Freya first.”
“I saw her and some blond woman walk off together,” replied Gwen. “The blond looked furious and Freya looked, well, she looked scared and tired.”
“Morgause,” Arthur said with conviction. He had never seen the blond woman, but he just knew it was her.
“Who?” asked Lance. There were just too many people with strange names in his life.
“I’ll explain later, just like Merlin will. Can you tell Gaius that Merlin and I have run off to find old friends?”
“Sure. Call if you need help!” Lance yelled as Merlin and Arthur raced to Arthur’s car.
“They won’t,” Gwen guessed.
“Call or need help?”
“They won’t call,” Gwen stated. “They will definitely need help.”
“I know. Better call in the troops.”
“I need you to drive Merlin, which is dangerous for everyone, but I can’t drive and scent out Freya at the same time,” Arthur uttered as they reached the car.
Merlin made a face at his lover, he was a very good driver thank you very much, but got into the driver’s seat and started the car up. He waited for Arthur to get in, before peeling away from the Center and down the road. “Which way?” he questioned.
Arthur rolled down his window and took a deep breath. He felt like a fool with his head half stuck out the window, but now wasn’t the time for embarrassment. “Left.”
“Don’t get lost in the other smells, but don’t over-focus on Freya.”
“I know. I smell you and Freya, nothing else.”
“Right and then another left.”
“Are you listening for her as well?” Merlin quizzed as he drove the way Arthur commanded.
“Yes, once I get closer. That way I can memorize Morgause smell as well. It’ll help us find Morgana.”
Merlin took his eyes off the road in shock. The car swerved wildly. “What?”
“Eyes on the road Merlin!” Arthur shouted. “And keep going straight.”
Merlin’s eyes snapped back to the road and righted the car, thankful there were no other cars on the road, but he asked again, “What?”
“I do want to find her. She tried to kill you, and she tried to kill Gaius. I want her to stop hurting people. The Center could take care of her.”
“They might neutralize her,” Merlin mentioned sadly.
Arthur tensed up, but let out a breath, his shoulders relaxing a little. “If that’s what needs to happen, so be it. As long as she can be my sister again. Turn right, then stop. We can go on foot the rest of the way, they are close.”
Freya struggled against Morgause grip as the blond pulled her down the street. Morgause tightened her hold and yanked Freya closer.
“If you don’t stop, I will kill everyone in the area,” she hissed into Freya’s ear.
Freya went limp, allowing herself to be pulled along.
“You failed us, duckling. You know the price for failure.”
“I couldn’t, Morgause. How could I destroy them just so you can take over the world?”
Morgause sneered at the other woman. “It’s a good thing I sent in backup to finish the job. I knew you would fail us.”
“Edwin,” Freya guessed. “You sent him, hoping he’d kill Emyrs and gain all his power.”
“Yes. Then I could kill Edwin and the power would be mine.”
“You can’t even do magic,” Freya argued.
Morgause shrugged as she pulled Freya down an alleyway. “That hardly matters. Being able to control dragons is worth a little pain.”
“It could kill you.”
“Doubtful. Nothing can kill me,” Morgause laughed coldly. She stopped in the middle of the alley and pulled out a dagger. “This is far enough away from your home right?” She asked casually before she plunged the dagger into Freya’s stomach.
Freya gasped and collapsed to the ground. Morgause twirled the dagger and smirked. She was going to deliver another blow, but was stopped by magic. She whipped her head towards the alley entrance.
“Emyrs,” she spit out.
“The one and only. Drop the dagger and I’ll let you leave,” Merlin remarked. His eyes were golden and cold.
Morgause dropped the dagger next to Freya. “Now, let me go.”
Merlin released his magic and Morgause was flung down the alley. She slammed into a wall and was knocked unconscious. Merlin ran towards Freya, scooped her up and began walking back the way he came.
“How?” Freya wheezed. She was keeping pressure on the wound, but it wasn’t enough.
“Arthur followed your smell and then we followed on foot. We heard Morgause’s admission of guilt. Arthur took off once she stabbed you to get the car. We can take you to a hospital.”
“No.” Freya gripped Merlin’s shirt. “I need to go home.”
“Where is that?”
Arthur pulled up then and jumped out of the car. The men carefully placed Freya in the back seat and then got in the front seats.
“Which hospital is closest?” Arthur inquired.
“The lake,” Freya said again. Her voice had dropped to a whisper.
“The Lake Hospital?”
Merlin rolled his eyes at his lover. “No you, prat. The lake is her home.”
“I…I actually don’t understand that, but I won’t question it. Which lake?”
Merlin climbed into the back and placed pressure of Freya’s wound. Her own hands had slipped off and she seemed to be staring off into space. He began uttering healing magic, but he knew it wouldn’t be enough.
“Can you heal her?” Arthur asked as he drove down the city streets.
“Not for long. Healing magic is hard work. I can maybe stop the bleeding, but it won’t save her.” Merlin continued murmuring the spell under his breath, hoping to slow the bleeding.
“Unless we get her home. To the lake,” Arthur guessed.
“But which lake?” Arthur pressed. “There must be hundreds!”
“In Wales? That would take a longer trip than I’ve planned for,” Arthur confessed.
Merlin paused in his spell casting to give Arthur a withering look. “You utter prat. No not Wales, then her home would be the ocean wouldn’t it?”
“Tintagel Manor,” Freya gasped. Merlin winced, but kept the pressure up.
“Pendragon-Tintagel Manor, you mean? My family home?” Arthur spun the car around and began speeding in the opposite direction. “I hope no police pull us over right now.”
“Yes, your home is my home.”
“Well, that’s great. Just great. Next you’ll be telling me a dragon lives in a cave near my manor,” Arthur laughed wildly.
Both Freya and Merlin were silent. Arthur glanced in his rear-view mirror to stare at them. They seemed to be talking silently. Merlin caught him looking and gave him a weak smile.
“There’s a dragon living in a cave near my manor, isn’t there?” he asked flatly.
“Well, a sleeping dragon,” Merlin joked.
“Oh that’s so much better.”
“Just drive faster.”
“I just mentioned the police and you tell me to drive faster?”
Freya let out a watery chuckle. “Old, married couple.”
Merlin flushed and looked away from Arthur. He knew they argued like they had been married forever, but now wasn’t the time.
“No, don’t blush. It’s cute,” Freya whispered. “The Young Prince and Emyrs bickering like my grandparents.”
“You have grandparents?” Arthur asked with some doubt.
“Even magical beings have grandparents, Young Prince.”
“That’s like the fourth time I’ve heard that. What does it mean?”
“Enough talking,” Merlin interrupted. “More driving.”
Arthur glared at his Guide in the mirror. He was definitely keeping something from Arthur and he was going to find out what. “This isn’t over.”
“Shut up, prat. I need to concentrate.”
It took only two hours, instead of the usual three, to reach Arthur’s family home. “You must have used some magic, Merlin, I pushed the car to at least a hundred, and the police never even noticed us,” Arthur said jokingly as he swung the car into the driveway. Although for all he knew, Merlin had used magic to keep them hidden.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Merlin replied, confirming Arthur’s guess of magical assistance. He knew that would have tired his Guide out even more. “Help me, would you,” Merlin kicked the backdoor of the car open.
“Hey! Watch the interior.” Arthur went around and gently pulled Freya out of the car. He held onto her as Merlin took his hands off her wound. The wizard’s hands were covered in blood and he was panting. “You’ve used too much magic, you fool,” Arthur chided. Merlin shrugged. Arthur sighed and looked down at Freya. “I’m going to have to run,” he said apologetically.
“That’s all right. I can take it,” Freya murmured. “I feel a little better as I get closer to home.” She closed her eyes and laid her head on Arthur’s shoulder.
Merlin stepped up next to Arthur. “Where is it? The one thing you skipped on my tour is the most important thing.” Arthur snorted, but Merlin continued as if his lover hadn’t made any noise at all. “Maybe I can run ahead and see what’s going on.”
“Up the path and to the right.”
Merlin nodded and then took off. Arthur followed at a slower speed. He didn’t want to jostle Freya too much. He heard the front door of the manor open and his parents step out.
“Arthur?” his mother called in confusion.
He ignored her and continued towards the lake. Freya was looking paler than ever. Once there, he found Merlin kneeling next to the water’s edge.
“Merlin?” he asked as he shifted Freya in his arms.
“It’s empty,” Merlin replied in dull voice. He shook his head and continued in his normal voice, “It must be Freya.”
“Lady of the Lake. Keeper of the Sword,” Freya affirmed. “Put me in it.”
Merlin shrugged and waded into the water. Arthur rolled his eyes and followed. He ignored his father shouting his name from behind him and shivered as he stepped in.
“It’s freezing, Merlin!” he complained.
“I can’t do anything about that!” Merlin said as he floated in the water.
The deeper Arthur got, the lighter Freya seemed to become. Once he reached Merlin’s side, he let go of Freya and she floated on her own. The Sentinel and Guide treaded water, waiting for the woman to say something.
Freya opened her eyes after a few minutes and smiled. “Thank you,” she said clearly.
“Why couldn’t you come here yourself?” Arthur asked. “Mother and Father wouldn’t have noticed, it’s not like the Manor is guarded.”
“Morgause bound me to her, it was weak magic, but enough to keep me away from my home. Once she stabbed me, the bond was broken. I have to go now, but if you ever need help, come see me.” She began to fade away. Merlin reached out to her, but his hand passed through her body. Arthur pulled him away from Freya in suspicion.
Freya laughed in delight. “Oh, Young Prince, you do not disappoint. The sword is waiting for you whenever you are ready.”
“Great,” Arthur said. “I’ll keep that in mind.” He wondered what she was talking about, but decided it wasn’t important at the moment.
“And do see the dragon. He misses talking to you Emyrs.” With that said, Freya disappeared. The two men felt a warm breeze brush against their cheeks and knew it was Freya.
“Well,” Merlin said.
“Well,” Arthur replied.
They stared at each other before breaking into laughter. They had just saved a woman’s life and stopped two murderers in the same day, not many others could say that. Merlin grabbed a hold of Arthur and kissed him thoroughly.
“We’d better see to your parents,” Merlin said against Arthur’s mouth. “They look faintly furious.”
Arthur turned to look at his parents. His mother had a hand over her mouth in shock, while Uther looked furious. “Perhaps they didn’t know about the Lady of the Lake.” Then Arthur scowled. “Or perhaps they did know about her and never meant to tell me.”
Merlin ran his hand over Arthur’s hair. “They do love you.”
Arthur snorted, but began to swim back to shore. Merlin began to frown as they swum. The closer they got to shore, the deeper Merlin frowned behind. He tried to explain it to Arthur, but he couldn’t. He just knew that something was off in the air.
Morgana screeched as she threw her scrying glass to the floor. Mordred winced and covered his ears, scooting away from his angry Guide. He did not like her when she was like this. Morgause shook her head and took another sip of the tea she made when she finally came back to their base of operations.
“Sister please, my head,” Morgause whined. She rubbed the back of her head, where it had connected with a concrete wall. Emyrs would pay for giving her this splitting headache.
“That bitch screwed up all our plans! Now what should we do?” Morgana yelled.
“Why sister, isn’t it obvious?”
“No,” Morgana scowled and sat next to Mordred. He reached out tentatively to touch her and was pleased when Morgana pulled him closer.
“Emyrs is weak from all the healing magic he used on the water sprite. Now is the perfect time to strike them at the manor. The seat of your pain. The seat of your power.”
“The others can’t do any magic at all,” Mordred reminded Morgana. “And if Emyrs is so weak, he won’t be able fight the two of us off. Plus, whatever magic Morgause choose to use.”
“I don’t use magic, boy,” Morgause sneered. “I have something better.”
“Better than magic?” Mordred laughed in derision. He didn’t like Morgause when she had first brought him to Morgana, and he liked her even less now.
“Yes,” Morgause replied, eyes shining. “An army.”
Morgana shared a wicked smile with her sister. “Yes. The army would be perfect.”
Back at the Pendragon Manor, Arthur and Merlin reached the shore and were given blankets by Ygraine. Off to the side, Uther paced, looking murderous. Ygraine’s face was blank, but she touched Arthur more than she had at Merlin’s previous visit.
“What were you thinking, boy?” Uther roared at his son. Ygraine moved to her husband’s side, trying to calm him down.
Merlin flinched at the volume, but held his ground. Arthur’s face never changed and he stepped closer to his father as he said, “Saving a young woman. Who is apparently the Lady of the Lake.”
Uther’s face reddened in anger. “How do you know about that?”
“I know a lot of things, Father. More than you and Mother wanted me to know,” Arthur snapped. “Merlin and I are suffering the consequences of your actions.”
“Merlin,” Uther jeered. “What does he know?”
“Merlin,” Arthur said softly. “Knows everything.”
“Arthur,” Merlin whispered as he moved closer to his Sentinel. “Now isn’t the time.”
Arthur took a deep breath and stepped away from his parents. He turned his attention to Merlin. “What’s the matter, love?”
“Something is wrong in the air. I think they are coming,” Merlin said distractedly. He was trying to keep his Sentinel calm and figure out what was coming towards them.
“Who? Who is coming?” Ygraine asked in a tight voice.
“Me!” Morgana cried from behind them.
The group spun around and stared as Morgana, Mordred, and Morgause appeared from thin air. Arthur moved in front of his parents and declared, “You won’t harm anyone Morgana!”
His sister laughed. “How do you know?” She raised her hand and a bolt of lightning shot from the sky landing near the group.
“Arthur, I’m too weak right now to fight all of them,” Merlin told his lover.
“Can you keep them at bay so we can get inside?”
“Yes, but I can’t keep them out for long.”
Arthur nodded and said to his parents, “Stay behind Merlin and I.”
Merlin cast a shield over the group and they were easily able to escape inside the manor. Once inside, Uther slammed Merlin up against a wall.
“Magic user!” the older Sentinel growled.
Arthur pulled his father off of his Guide and shouted, “Stay away from him!”
“He uses magic!”
“I don’t care! I love him. You just don’t like magic because Mother and Gaius used it and Mother almost died. Now, be quiet while I think.”
Ygraine moved Uther to a nearby chair and kissed his head. She then moved to the window and gasped at what she saw. The other three looked outside as well.
“What is that?” Uther asked.
“An army,” Merlin groaned. “A magical army of undead from who knows where.”
“Who is controlling them?” Arthur questioned.
“Morgause, I suppose.”
“You said she can’t do magic.”
“Yes, but Morgana’s magic is limited to visions, incantations, and lighting spells. Mordred,” Merlin laughed tersely. “He’s far too young to control anything, much less an army of undead. I don’t know how Morgause does anything. Her mind was never very clear.”
“We’re doomed then.” Ygraine let out a little sob. Uther moved over to her to comfort her.
“If only I had some time to recharge,” Merlin said as he paced and tugged at his hair.
“Will we do?” Lance spoke up. Merlin spun to see Lance, Gwen, Elyan, Percy, and Gwaine grinning at him.
“How did you get in?” Arthur scowled. Then he grinned and ran to greet his friends. He didn’t think it was smart of them to show up, but he wouldn’t turn away their help.
“Through the cellar as you showed us,” Elyan piped up.
“What can we do?” Percy asked.
Arthur looked at all of his friends, then at his parents, and finally at Merlin. His eyes glinted as he ran through scenarios in his mind. “I think I have an idea.”
Chapter 4: Part 4 + Epilogue
“What are they doing in there?” Morgana growled. She was pacing in the driveway. Mordred watched her, while Morgause sat on the hood of Arthur’s car and checked her nails. Behind them, the army shifted and creaked. “And why the undead, sister?” Morgana made a face.
“They are easier to control. The fools inside are probably planning a way to fight back, but they can’t,” Morgause cackled.
“Why?” Mordred questioned the older woman. He knew that she had sent Edwin to blow up the Center, he had overheard her confessing to Freya while Morgana had been distracted by another vision and he was sure she was planning on getting rid of him once this was over.
“How can they possibly win? Two Sentinels and two guides against all of this,” Morgause waved her hand around, indicating the three of them and the army behind them.
“They do have Emyrs,” Mordred reminded.
“As I said before, that crackpot wizard needs to recharge. Healing magic is not his forte and it took a lot out of him to heal Freya. His shield was so weak, even you could break it.”
Mordred glared at her, but didn’t reply. He had wondered why they hadn’t attacked if his shield was so weak, but he had a feeling Morgause wanted to draw this fight out. He turned his attention back to Morgana, who had stopped pacing and was staring at the manor.
“They aren’t alone,” she said dazedly.
“What?” Morgause frowned at her sister.
“The cavalry has arrived.”
“Are you sure this will work?” Gwaine asked as he and Percy pushed a bookcase in front of the manor door.
“No,” Arthur admitted, “but I can’t think of anything else.”
“Are you sure you passed your military strategy class at University?” Elyan questioned jokingly as he and Lance lifted a couch and pushed it against a window.
Gwen and Merlin snickered as they shut the remaining shutters in the library. “That’s all of them,” Gwen stated as she dusted her hands off.
“Good. Mother and Father should have taken care of the ones upstairs,” Arthur glanced around. “I can’t think of anything else.”
“Percy and I will double check upstairs,” Elyan said. He slapped Percy on the shoulder and they jogged upstairs, avoiding Uther and Ygraine coming down.
“Arthur,” Ygraine began.
“Not now, Mother. I need you and Father to go the cellar. You two are the first people Morgana might go after since you caused her the most pain.” Arthur waved aside his mother.
“Arthur,” Merlin chided. He took Ygraine’s hand and said, “I know you did what you felt you had too, and I’m grateful for it. I love Arthur, but right now we have to fix what you did to that poor girl.”
Uther had growled when Merlin touched his wife, but a quick glance from golden eyes silenced him. “And you, Uther Pendragon. Well, it’s a good thing your Guide survived. I’d hate to see the havoc you would have wrecked had she died.”
“Everything is locked up tight up there,” Percy yelled as he and Elyan ran back downstairs.
“Now what?” Lance asked Arthur.
“Gwen and Lance, take my parents to the cellar and lock them up in the wine room, then hurry back here as soon as you can. Gwaine, Elyan, and Percy, man the windows. Let me know the moment anyone approaches the front door.” Arthur pointed at Merlin and then grabbed him by the shirtfront. “You and I, my Guide, are going to see a dragon. And maybe get a sword.”
“I’m sick of waiting,” Morgana whined. She stamped her feet petulantly. “I want my revenge now!”
“Soon sister.” Morgause soothed her sister and hopped off of Arthur’s car. “Even with back up, they can’t hope to beat us.” She walked towards Mordred and looked down at him. “Would you like a toy, little boy?”
“Sure,” he said suspiciously.
The blond grinned at him and conjured a sword from the air and handed it to the boy. He reached out, but paused as Morgana made a pained noise.
“Morgause, no!” Morgana cried as she moved towards Mordred. “He’s just a boy.”
“He’s your Sentinel,” Morgause corrected. “He should protect you. Like a knight. Right?”
“Right,” he replied. He finished reaching out and took the sword from Morgause. It was heavy at first, but he used some magic to compensate.
Morgana bit her lip and stroked Mordred’s hair. Suddenly this plan didn’t seem to be so brilliant. She didn’t think she could take losing another Sentinel.
Merlin and Arthur stumbled their way through the forest, looking for the dragon cave. They had been looking for at least ten minutes, but couldn’t waste anymore time.
“Are you sure there’s a dragon cave around here?” Arthur panted as he pushed aside another branch. He was tempted to let it go and have it smack Merlin in the stomach, but fooling around could happen on another day.
“Yes,” Merlin grunted. “I can feel him. Just wait.”
Arthur paused and turned to watch Merlin. His Guide closed his eyes and stretched his arms out side. Arthur glanced around in confusion.
“What are you doing, exactly?”
“Fine,” Arthur huffed with a roll of his eyes.
Finally, Merlin opened his eyes and smiled widely. “This way,” he pointed west.
“Did you talk to the dragon without me?”
“Just to find out where he is, you baby.”
Arthur made a face at his lovers back, but followed Merlin. Soon, they reached a large cave. Arthur grabbed Merlin’s hand. Merlin gave him a look.
“For safety,” Arthur commented. He wanted to protect his Guide, should anything jump out at them.
Merlin hummed, but didn’t say anything.
Arthur huffed again and led the way inside the cave. “Wipe that smirk off your face or I will.”
“Give us some light, Merlin. I don’t have night vision.”
“John Watson is a freak of nature.”
“Don’t let Sherlock hear you say that.”
“Just give me some damn light you dollophead.”
Merlin chuckled and muttered a spell. A globe of light bobbed ahead of the duo and lead right into an open cavern. They paused before stepping into the area.
“I’m guessing the dragon is in there,” Arthur stated.
“Probably.” Merlin sniffed and took a step forward. “It won’t be too bad, as long as he doesn’t want to talk to long. They could attack the house at any time.”
“And I still need that damn sword Freya mentioned.”
“Ah, the great sword Excalibur,” a deep voice rumbled.
The men jumped and looked up as a great, bronze dragon drifted down from a ledge and landed on a rock in front of them.
“That’s a silly name for a sword,” Arthur muttered as he pushed Merlin behind him.
“Well, I didn’t come up with it,” the dragon rumbled some more.
“Look,” Merlin spoke up from behind Arthur. “We need help. Morgause is attacking the manor with an undead army.”
“Hmm,” the dragon lay down and thought about it. “Steel usually sends the undead back to their rest.”
“Steel? As in swords.”
“This isn’t the 15th century!” Arthur cried. “It’s 2012!”
“So, no swords?” the dragon asked.
“I have some in the manor, but they are for decoration.”
“Are you sure, Young Prince?”
“Why do people keep calling me that?”
Merlin held up a hand before the dragon could talk. “Later. Undead army now. Anything else besides steel?” Merlin pushed his way past Arthur and got closer to the dragon.
“Fire,” the dragon smiled, showing all its sharp teeth.
Merlin swallowed, but didn’t back away. “Right. Steel and fire. I can manage the fire. Can everyone else handle the steel?”
“We did have to fence at school,” Arthur admitted. “But I doubt it’s the same thing.”
The dragon huffed and smoke exited its nostrils. Arthur took a step back, reaching out to pull Merlin back as well.
“Come forward, Young Prince,” the dragon commanded.
Arthur did as he was bid, but reluctantly and with great caution. As soon as he was close enough, the dragon lifted a claw up and brushed it against the Sentinel’s forehead. It muttered in a strange language. Arthur stumbled a bit, but regained his balance quickly. He shook his head and asked, “What just happened?”
“Now you know how to use a blade. Do the same to your companions Emyrs and they shall have the same knowledge. You know the words?”
Merlin nodded. “Yes, thank you. We shall be back once this is over.”
“You had better. It gets lonely in between your visits.” With that, the dragon flew off, leaving the two men behind.
“I have no idea what just happened,” Merlin admitted.
“Yeah,” Arthur agreed. He was still a little woozy from the magic cast on him. He shook his head again and said, “Let’s go.”
“We can’t wait anymore,” Morgana told her sister. She motioned to the army. “They are getting restless.”
Morgause looked around and sighed. “All right. Let’s storm the castle.” She raised her arm and the lowered it, pointing to the manor. “Attack!”
The army swept passed the trio and made its way towards the manor. Undead began to lay siege to the manor. They broke windows, banged on the doors, and even climbed the walls to attack from upstairs.
Morgause smirked as her army broke the front doors down. “Come, let’s see the army in action.” She marched towards the manor, with Morgana and Mordred trailing after her.
Arthur and Merlin barely made it back to the manor before the undead army began attacking.
“Your parents are safe,” Lance called out as they raced back inside.
“Good. All of you line up and hold still. I’ll go get the swords.” Arthur kissed Merlin and rushed off to the room he had termed the armory. The walls of the armory were lined with all kinds of weapons, most of them swords.
“Swords?” Gwaine asked.
“Just shut up,” Merlin ordered.
Gwaine’s mouth snapped shut as Merlin placed a finger on his forehead and muttered the same incantation as the dragon had. Merlin did the same to the others, even Gwen, and watched as they all staggered a little. Arthur came back, ladened with weapons and quickly tossed them out. Everyone seemed surprised when they caught the weapons and didn’t injure themselves.
“Magic,” Merlin grinned. He frowned as he remembered something. “We forgot to get the sword!”
“Damn,” Arthur cursed. “We’ll have to fight with out it.”
“When this is over,” Elyan said carefully. “You will both explain this.”
“Yes,” Merlin agreed. “We should fight the undead now.”
“Agreed,” Gwaine grinned and twirled his sword in his hands.
Everyone rolled their eyes at his antics, but prepared themselves for the coming fight. Gwen flinched as she heard glass breaking and Lance moved closer to her for comfort. She smiled up and him. The first few undead broke through the door. The group gripped their weapons tighter, while Merlin closed his eyes. The others were in a loose circle around him. They needed to give him enough time to not only recharge, but also find out where the army was coming from.
“If I’m right about this,” Merlin said as they waited, “Morgause could just keep calling more to fight us.”
“We need to stop the source,” Percy replied.
“Exactly. Just keep them busy while I find it.”
“If I say it’s this Morgause woman, would that be too obvious,” Gwaine said.
They waited in tense silence until one of the undead broke through. Gwaine charged forward and shoved his sword into its gut. It exploded into dust and another took its place. The others took that as their cue and surged forward, hacking at the undead, cutting off anything in reach. Arthur stayed with Merlin, watching his friends fight. However, he would occasionally dart forward and stab an undead that broke through.
“This steel works wonders,” Elyan said above the clanging of swords and the moans of the undead.
“Yeah, who knew?” Percy replied.
“What do we do once Merlin is recharge or whatever?” Lance asked as he took out two undead at the same time.
“Move back and draw them outside,” Arthur replied. “I don’t want the house to burn down after all.”
“Burn do–oh,” Gwen realized as she swung her sword high, chopping off a head of her attacker. “This is going to give me nightmares later, I just know it.”
“Agreed,” her brother said to her. “But it is so much fun right now!”
Gwaine’s laughter echoed Elyan’s. “Indeed. I believe I’ve figured out our past lives!”
“I’m ready!” Merlin yelled. He turned and ran for the back door, hoping to make it outside before the army reached the back of the house.
“Move back, now!” Arthur commanded as he followed his Guide.
The others nodded and ran after Merlin and Arthur. The army sensed their prey was on the move and made its way after them. Any undead members that got close to the retreating group were quickly dispatched.
“Behind me!” Merlin bellowed. Everyone quickly ran behind the Warlock and waited.
“Any time, Merlin,” Arthur pushed at his lover.
“They have to be far enough away from the house!” Merlin cried.
“Yes, but they are advancing towards us!”
After what seemed like an eternity, Merlin raised both hands and said under his breath, “Forbearnan.”
A wall of flame erupted in front of the group. The undead approaching them were set ablaze. The army halted its advance as the wall of fire did not come down.
“That should keep them out for now,” Merlin said as he turned back to his friends. He noticed their eyes were wide with shock and turned back to the fire he had created.
“But it won’t keep us out, Emyrs,” Morgause purred as she, Morgana, and Mordred made their way through the fire.
Merlin narrowed his eyes. “Morgause, how are you controlling them? Magic and you never got along.”
Morgause chuckled. “You think you know me, Emyrs. Well, you don’t. Things have changed in the past millennia or so.” She nodded to Morgana who waved her hands. “Look what we found in your cellar. Such large rats.”
Morgana produced Uther and Ygraine with a smirk. She pushed them to their knees. Uther looked livid, while Ygraine looked terrified. Arthur tried to run to his parents, but Lance and Elyan held him back.
“Don’t worry brother, I won’t hurt them. Much.”
“Morgana,” Arthur pleaded. “Please don’t do this. It won’t make you feel better.”
“Oh, but it will brother dear. I’ve suffered so many years at their hands and so did my mother.”
“Our mother,” corrected Morgause.
“Yes, our mother. You remember her, don’t you Ygraine,” Morgana hummed as she circled Arthur’s mother. “You chased her out of your house, but didn’t let her take me and instead of treating me as your own, I was treated like a pariah.”
“Not by me,” Arthur stated.
Morgana scoffed. “You were a child. What did you know?”
“I know I love you. I always have. I don’t care about your magic or your visions. I don’t care that we don’t share the same mother. You were always my best friend as a child and I was devastated when Father put you into that asylum instead of helping you. I want to help you, Morgana.” Arthur inched forward with each word he said. Morgana looked more and more stricken as Arthur confessed.
“Morgana, no,” Morgause entreated her sister. “He’s lying to you.”
“I’m not,” insisted Arthur. “Ask your Sentinel.” He reached his sister and parents and stood facing his sister. He reached out to touch her, but put his hand back down when she flinched. “Well, Mordred?”
Mordred cocked his head. “He’s not lying.”
“You never came to see me,” Morgana cried.
“I didn’t know where you were. Father wouldn’t tell me. Let me help you. Please.”
“No!” Morgause yelled. She shoved Arthur back. “Stay away from my sister. I alone love her and no one else. Kill them!” she yelled. Morgause pulled Morgana and Mordred back through the wall of flame and towards the lake.
“The sword!” Arthur barked.
His friends ran forward, surrounding his parents. “We can keep the army at bay as long as the wall holds up,” Gwaine said.
Merlin brushed his fingers over Uther’s and Ygraine’s foreheads as he had with the others earlier. “Give them our swords.”
“Won’t you need them?” asked Gwen.
“No. I’m going to fight Morgause with magic and Arthur, well Arthur is going to get a better sword.”
Before Merlin and Arthur could run off after the trio, Uther grabbed Arthur and hugged him. “Get your sister back for us,” the older man said clearly.
Ygraine’s mouth tightened, but she nodded and swept Arthur’s hair back to kiss his forehead. “Be safe my son. And you,” she turned to Merlin, “keep him safe.”
“I will,” Merlin grinned. He tugged on Arthur’s arm. “Let’s go.”
Morgause ran through the woods, with her sister and Mordred following her. “We need to make it to the lake before they do! That’s where the sword is and that damnable tree!” she called out.
“They are closing in on us!” Mordred announced.
“Ugh,” Morgause said disgustedly as she stopped running. “I’ll take care of Merlin, you two go on ahead.”
Morgana and Mordred nodded as they continued onward. Morgause smiled wickedly. I have a few tricks up my sleeve for you Emyrs.
“They have split up,” Arthur stated as he and Merlin slowed down.
“Morgause is probably ahead.”
“That means Mordred and Morgana are off to the lake.”
“Then that’s where you must go.”
Arthur looked torn for a second. He pulled Merlin close and kissed him fiercely. “When this is over, we are going on a honeymoon.”
“We aren’t even married yet,” Merlin protested.
Arthur raised an eyebrow at him.
“Okay, fine, we are, but mum will want a ceremony!”
“Fine, when this over we’ll have a ceremony and then a honeymoon!”
“Good.” Merlin nodded. He kissed Arthur once more before taking off after Morgause. Arthur watched him go then turned his attention towards the lake. He hoped Freya would keep Mordred and Morgana at bay for as long as possible.
The group left behind watched as the army of undead tried to unsuccessfully break through Merlin’s wall of fire. They stood in uneasy silence until Gwaine spoke up. “Well, what shall we do now? Have a roast?”
“Gwaine,” Lance warned. “Now isn’t the time.”
“Oh I think it’s the perfect time! We are protected by a wall of fire. Merlin is a wizard who made the wall of fire. Arthur has a crazy sister, who is also a witch. And his crazy sister has a crazy sister who controls an army of the undead!”
“Well, when you put it like that,” Percy joked.
“We have to stop this army,” Ygraine said seriously.
“How?” Gwen asked. “Merlin said Morgause controls it, but he also said she can’t use magic,”
“It must be unstable then.” Ygraine looked at her husband, who watched the flames in front of him. The only indication he was listening was the clenching of his jaw. “I used to practice magic. If you aren’t born with it, it’s always unstable.”
“What did Merlin say?” Elyan muttered to himself. “We need to find the source!” he crowed. “Once we find the source of these…things, they should go away and Morgause shouldn’t be able to control them anymore.”
“Where did they come from?” asked Lance.
“The driveway,” Uther replied. He paused as he thought. “Arthur’s car was the only thing in the drive.”
“She must have somehow used that as the source.”
“Arthur is going to be so mad at us if we have to destroy his car,” Gwaine laughed.
“Now we just have to get around this fire and pass all the undead blocking our way,” Percy said.
“Oh, is that all?”
“Gwaine, stop bitching and start thinking! We need all hands on deck for this one!” Lance ordered. “I know this is stressful and strange and down right unusual, but Merlin and Arthur need us. We won’t let them down!”
“That’s right,” Gwen said calmly. She turned to Ygraine with a critical eye. “And I think I know how to get around them.”
Arthur raced down the path to the lake as fast as he could. He had to stop Morgana from whatever it was she was doing. He turned a corner and skidded to a halt to watch as Morgana and Mordred wadded into the lake.
“Morgana!” Arthur yelled. He ran towards them and waded into the lake after them.
“Stay back, Arthur!” Morgana shouted.
She sent some magic his way, but he dove underwater to avoid it. Suddenly, he was being pushed out of the water and back onto dry land.
“What?” Arthur spluttered. He shook his head to clear it, but before he could right himself properly, he heard Morgana utter another spell. It blasted him right in the face. Arthur let out a yell of pain and dropped to the ground.
Arthur was blinded by the magic that Morgana threw at him. He fell to the ground, groping for his sword. However, he had dropped it when he began wading into the lake after his sister and her Sentinel. Once his sight was gone, his other senses overcompensated and Arthur groaned and fell to the ground.
“Ah, look at the big man now,” Morgana laughed. She kicked him in the stomach. “Now how will you stop us?”
“What do you even want?” Arthur moaned.
“Power, of course. What everyone wants.”
“No, Morgana.” Arthur pushed himself up, but Mordred pushed him back down. “Don’t do this.” He grabbed the boy’s leg, gave a tug, and heard him fall backwards. Arthur took a deep breath and tried to focus on Merlin’s heartbeat, even though the Guide was far away. He gained a little control over his senses and managed to stand up. He swayed as he got used to not being able to see, and stretched out his hearing, listening to the movements of Morgana and Mordred.
“I will, do this,” Morgana hissed. “I can take my revenge on your family.”
“It’s your family too. I love you. You’re my sister, why wouldn’t I love you?” Arthur asked. He wanted to swing around to face his sister, but he held himself still. He tilted his head, guessing that Mordred was off to the side. At the moment all he could smell was lake water.
There was a snapping sound and then suddenly a pain in his leg. He heard Mordred giggle, but didn’t waver. He had to stay upright and give his senses more time to adjust to one being gone.
“Stop. Morgana, we never have to see Father and my mother again. You and Mordred can come live with Merlin and me. I just. I don’t want you to be hurt,” Arthur choked out. “I never wanted you to be hurt.”
“Ha!” Morgana scoffed. “Uther told me you never cared for me.”
“He lied. I always loved you and wanted to see you once you left.”
Morgana paused. “Mordred.”
Mordred stopped moving around and said, “He’s telling the truth. His heart beat is steady.”
“Perhaps my sister lied?” Morgana questioned. Her voice was filled with confusion. Arthur knew that his words earlier had made a dent in Morgana’s anger, and he knew he could get through to her if only he a little more time.
“No!” yelled Mordred. “Why would she? She loves you and brought me to you.”
“We would have found you a Sentinel, Morgana. The Center can do that.” Arthur took a breath and smelled his sister’s perfume. She was closer than before. He reached a hand out and felt her grab his hand.
“You would have?”
“Yes. Whatever you want. Whoever you need. Just stop this and come home with me. We can–” Arthur gagged and lifted a hand to drag down his chest. When his hand hit metal and stopped, Arthur knew that a sword was sticking out of him.
Merlin burst out of the woods and into a clearing. He paused to catch his breath and looked around. It was eerily quiet.
“You never were good at hiding, Morgause,” Merlin said. “You always made it too obvious.”
Morgause laughed, but it echoed around the clearing. “I’ve learned many things since you left.”
“Perhaps, but Morgana is the true magic holder in your family. That’s why you need her.”
“Maybe. Maybe not. Shall we find out,” Morgause smirked and fired at spell at Merlin.
He dodged the spell and a group of trees behind him, caught on fire. “You have learned some things,” Merlin snarked. “But not enough.” He watched with satisfaction as a tree limb knocked Morgause to the ground.
“Arthur!” Morgana cried. “What did you do?” she hissed at Mordred.
“He was going to take you from me!” the boy sobbed. “I couldn’t stop myself.” He pulled the sword out of Arthur and dropped it to the ground. “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”
“The lake,” Arthur gasped out as he collapsed. “Freya.” He still couldn’t see, but he knew his sister was in a state of panic. He felt Mordred grab one of his hands.
“Come on Morgana, I can’t do it all myself,” he groused.
Morgana huffed and grabbed Arthur’s other hand. Together they were able to drag him to the lake.
Once out in the lake, Morgana shouted in frustration. “Nothing’s happening! Arthur you can’t die!”
“Freya!” Arthur called out weakly. “I need help.”
“Freya please!” Morgana shouted. “I’m sorry we used you. My brother needs help.”
Arthur blinked and saw white. Either my vision is coming back or I’m dying.
Next to him, he heard Mordred sobbing and muttering sorry over and over. He placed a hand on the boy’s head.
“Don’t worry,” Arthur choked out. “I know the feeling of your Guide being taken away from you.”
“Arthur…” Morgana trailed off with another sob.
“If I learned one thing in my time out of the lake, it’s that Sentinels and Guides are important to each other,” Freya’s voice echoed across the lake. “Let him go.”
Mordred and Morgana let go of Arthur and let him float out into the lake. They watched as he was dragged underwater. Morgana gasped and made an abortive movement to go to her brother, but it was too late. Arthur was completely underwater.
Morgause stood with a growl and shook her head. “Enough, Emrys, you won’t get a chance to surprise me again!” She yelled out a spell and Merlin found himself being bound tightly. He struggled against the magic, but to no avail.
Morgause laughed as she watched Merlin struggle. Then she began to strut around the clearing. “Do you know where we are?”
Merlin just glared at her.
“Of course you do, you know everything,” Morgause simpered. “One word and the tree rises from the ground. Then I place you in it, take the sword, and rule the world.”
Merlin grit out, “It doesn’t work like that.”
“How do you know?” she scoffed. “It’s been ages since you were here.”
Merlin was about to reply when he felt a sharp pain in his chest. “Arthur,” he gasped.
“Okay,” panted Gwaine. “Now that we are past the undead, what do we do?”
The group had just run past the undead army and managed to avoid them. They had to fight a few, but the rest were focused on that wall of fire. Currently, they were hiding behind Arthur’s car.
“Hope that Ygraine and Uther keep them distracted long enough so we can find the source of Morgause’s magic,” Gwen stated. She had a hard time convincing Uther, but Ygraine agreed to do magic one more time to help save her son. “So look!”
They all looked around the car for a key or a tin can or something, anything to indicate how Morgause was controlling the undead.
Finally, Lance said, “It’s time to look in the car.” He dove under the car and began searching for a bug or anything else that didn’t belong there. Elyan and Gwen searched inside the car, discarding anything useless and keeping anything they didn’t recognize. Gwaine and Percy searched the trunk and engine respectively, but couldn’t find anything. Gwen brought all the stuff she and Elyan had deemed possible magic artifacts and the group went through them.
“What do we do if we find it?” Elyan asked. “Better yet, how do we know what it is?”
“Break it?” Lance suggested. “That usually works.”
Gwaine held up an old fashioned key. “Anyone know what this is for?”
Everyone shook their heads.
“All right then.” Gwaine snapped the key in half. There was a moment of silence before Gwen peeked around the car.
“Still there,” she said. “That leaves one option.”
They all looked at Arthur’s car and grimaced.
“Arthur is going to kill us slowly,” Percy said grimly.
“Ah, your precious Sentinel,” Morgause chuckled. “Yes he should have been taken care of by now. My sister is so sweet and she listens so well.”
Merlin couldn’t respond, as the pain was overwhelming. He thought he was going to pass out, but managed to stay conscious. He heard Morgause chanting the spell to raise the tree. The same tree Nimueh had tried to put his ancestor in all those centuries ago. The same tree that his ancestor had trapped Nimueh into. It was obvious that Morgause knew how to raise the tree, she had to have learned it to bring Nimueh back, but she had no clue how trap someone in there.
Unfortunately for Morgause, Merlin knew exactly what to do.
While she was busy chanting, Merlin took the time to work on loosening the magic binding him. It wasn’t hard, since Morgause’s magic lost its potency as time went on. Once he was loose enough, Merlin began chanting his own spell, only this one was said in his head.
He cast a small spell to interrupt Morgause’s chant. She stopped, with the tree only having been raised three-fourths of the way and looked towards Merlin’s distraction, seeing nothing, she went back to chanting, not paying Merlin one glance. However, Merlin took the opportunity her slip in concentration afforded him and he slithered from his bonds and hid behind the tree. He let Morgause raise he tree fully before stepping out from behind it and standing right in front of her.
“How?” she snarled.
“Magic,” Merlin smirked.
Morgause howled in outrage and tried to force Merlin back towards the tree. However, Merlin could not be moved.
“I told you,” he intoned. “That’s not how it works.”
He moved to the side of the tree and finished reciting the entrapment spell in his head. Then, before Morgause could follow him, the tree trunk opened up and white light spilled from inside it. Morgause was suddenly ensnared in the light. She began to struggle but it was no use. The light pulled her slowly towards the tree.
Merlin watched passively. He felt a little bad for depriving Morgana of her sister, but Morgause was insane and would never stop and Merlin was the only one capable of stopping her.
Finally, Morgause was pulled inside the tree. She let out a wail as the trunk closed around her, effectively locking her inside. Merlin patted the tree and said, “Go back to sleep my old friend.”
He made sure that the tree began sinking back into the ground before leaving the clearing behind and racing towards the lake.
“All right,” Elyan said. “How do we break Arthur’s car?”
“Obviously we slash the tires, break the windows, and pull the engine out,” Gwaine suggested lightly.
“Burn it,” Percy grunted. He scowled when they all turned to look at him. “Any one else have any other idea on how to completely destroy a car?”
“That will take to long!” Gwen said in frustration. She glanced towards the wall of fire. “I don’t think Ygraine can keep it up much longer.”
Lance frowned as he circled the car. “There’s got to be–” He cut himself off when he saw the canister of gas that Gwaine had pulled from the trunk. He picked it up and shook it. “There’s a lot in here. Who has a lighter?”
Elyan grabbed a lighter out from the debris he and Gwen had pulled out of Arthur’s car. “Here.”
“Wait!” Gwen said. She rummaged through the car once more and pulled out a few things. She stuck her head back out. “Well? Arthur’s going to be mad enough we’re blowing up his car, we don’t need him angry at us for blowing up all his possessions in the car.”
“Agreed,” Percy replied. He took some things from Gwen and set them a safe distance away. “And now we know where to run once we light the car up.”
Once Gwen was satisfied that enough of Arthur’s possessions had been saved, she nodded to Lance. Lance nodded and began pouring gasoline all over Arthur’s car, making sure to get enough on the engine block, before taking the lighter from Elyan.
“Get back,” he said as he flicked the lighter open. The others ran to the spot Percy had marked and watched as Lance tossed the lighter onto the engine. Lance dashed towards his friends and grabbed Gwen. He shielded her body from the heat of the explosion and the glass that flew towards them.
Percy had used his body to knock Elyan and Gwaine to the ground, protecting them from anything flying towards them. He made sure they were all right, before looking at Lance and Gwen. Lance looked panicked.
“Is Gwen okay?” Percy asked.
“Yes, but the undead…” Lance trailed off and the group looked towards the undead army.
“If we blew up Arthur’s car for nothing, I will be furious,” Gwaine groaned. “I don’t want to die for nothing.”
Before anyone could reply, there was a loud popping sound and then another, and another. The group watched as the undead army popped out of existence one at a time. Once the army was completely gone, the wall of fire disappeared as well. The group cheered and hugged each other before running back towards Uther and Ygraine.
“You did it, Ygraine!” Gwen cheered. She hugged the woman tightly, ignoring Uther’s glare.
“Yes,” the other woman said breathlessly. “However it has taken a lot out of me. I must sit.”
She almost collapsed to the ground, but Lance and Percy were faster. The held her arms and laid her gently on the grass. Uther knelt next to her, put her head in his lap, and stroked her hair.
“You did well, my love,” he murmured.
She smiled up at her husband and reached up to pat his cheek. “Thank you. I know how much you dislike me using magic.”
Elyan interrupted the moment by clearing his throat. “Anyway to get in contact with Merlin or Arthur?”
Gwaine sat on the grass and pulled Percy down with him. “We should just wait. They’ll come to us. After all they are the big damn heroes.”
Merlin was panting by the time he made it to the lake. He saw Mordred and Morgana sitting by the edge of the lake and slid down next to them. He grabbed Morgana’s arm and turned her to face him.
“Where’s Arthur?” he shouted.
Morgana just sobbed and pointed at the lake. Mordred moved closer to his Guide and huddled close to her. Morgana used her free arm to hold Mordred close to her.
“I’m sorry Emyrs,” the boy sobbed. “I’m so sorry.”
“What happened?” Merlin’s eyes flashed gold as he tightly gripped Morgana’s arm.
“I stabbed him,” Mordred said flatly. “I thought he was taking away my Guide. I can’t live without her.”
Merlin closed his eyes and let out a shaky breath. That was one of the perils of being an untrained Sentinel or Guide. They didn’t know how to control themselves when their other half was being threatened.
“And then we took him out to the lake, to Freya, but,” Morgana swallowed back tears. “He just went under. I looked for him, but I couldn’t find him.”
Merlin let go of Morgana and sat back in shock. He could feel Arthur faintly, but it was growing weaker.
“Where’s Morgause?” Morgana asked warily.
“Locked in a tree,” Merlin replied numbly.
Morgana trembled, but just held onto Mordred tighter. The three of them sat at the lake edge for what seemed like years, unmoving and watching the water, hoping for Arthur to appear.
Merlin moved to get up, when a hand emerged from the water. It was clutching a sword firmly.
“Excalibur,” Mordred breathed in wonder.
“Arthur!” Merlin cried in relief, as his Sentinel became visible.
Arthur took the sword from the extended hand and made his way towards them. He was soaking wet, his shirt had a huge, bloody hole in the middle of it, but Merlin thought Arthur had never looked better.
“Crying for me already?” Arthur joked as he came closer. “I’m not dead yet.” Merlin laughed and flung himself at Arthur, who caught him cautiously. “Be careful, you dolt. I have a very sharp sword here. Which I can assume I don’t need anymore?”
“You will need it Arthur,” Morgana said, her eyes distant and unfocused. “Someday soon.” She came back to herself, with a small smile. Arthur let go of Merlin to hug his sister tightly. “Thank you,” she whispered. They stepped apart and Arthur immediately grabbed Merlin again.
“We’ll go on ahead,” said Morgana quietly. She tugged Mordred behind her and left the two men alone.
“Arthur…” Merlin trailed off. He had come so close to losing his other half and he had no words to expressive his satisfaction that everything was okay.
Merlin leaned in and kissed Arthur hotly. “I still want a ceremony, but we can have two honeymoons right?”
Arthur laughed loudly and kissed Merlin’s temple. “Anything you want, dear.”
Lance’s head snapped up as heard Arthur, Merlin, Mordred, and Morgana approaching. “Here they come!” he said excitedly. He stood up and gripped his sword and glared at Morgana and Mordred.
“It’s okay, Lance!” Arthur cried out. “Merlin and I fixed everything.”
Gwen stood as well and ran towards Morgana. She swept her old friend up in a big hug, and then kissed the top of Mordred’s head. Arthur looked over his friends, before seeing his mother lying down.
“Mother?” he asked as he made his way over to her. “Are you all right?” He sank down next to her and held her free hand.
“I’m fine, dear. I just used some magic. I’m not used to it anymore and I used it for far too long. Some rest and I shall be right as rain once more,” Ygraine said softly.
“Magic?” Arthur shot a look to his father, but Uther just looked away.
“It was my idea,” said Gwen as she dragged Morgana over. “Your mother kept the undead army occupied while we figured out how to stop them.”
Arthur nodded, kissed his mother’s hand, and then stood. He took Morgana’s hand and said, “Morgana and Mordred shall be living with Merlin and I.” He glanced at Merlin, to make sure that was okay. His Guide nodded, so Arthur continued, “You will start being polite to Morgana and she won’t stop using magic. If you care for her and me at all, I suggest getting your heads out of your asses. I, of course, shall come for visits, but not long ones. Not until you accept my sister.”
Uther nodded, before helping Ygraine up. Ygraine stared at her son sometime, before smiling and kissing his cheek. “My darling boy. It shall be as you wish.” Then the older couple made their way back inside.
“Should we help them clean up?” Gwaine asked. He was still lying on the grass in between Percy and Elyan, with a hand clasped onto both.
“Probably. They’ll get a hotel tonight though; maybe even get out of England for a while. We can clean up while they are gone,” Arthur suggested. He took Merlin’s hand in his and dragged his Guide away from the group. “Now that is over, I’m taking my Guide and going home to sleep for a week.”
Merlin frowned as he was pulled along. “How did you stop the undead?” he asked as he and Arthur got closer to the driveway.
“Uh, well, about that…” Lance started. He was cut off by Merlin’s laugh of surprise.
“What happened to my car?” Arthur yelled.
Months later, Merlin was sitting in a room at the Center with Morgana and Mordred. It was tucked away and no one used it anymore, so Merlin thought it would be the perfect spot to train them in the practice of magic.
“We won’t ever be like you, Merlin,” Morgana said. “My magic is mostly fire and visions.”
“I know,” Merlin replied. “But it’s always useful to know how to control it, especially if you have a vision in public. We can’t even blame that on Sentinel senses.”
“Speaking of which,” Arthur said from the doorway. He had managed to open the door without anyone hearing him. “It’s time for Mordred and I to go train.” He motioned for the boy to come with him. Mordred kissed Morgana’s cheek and then followed Arthur out of the room.
Morgana sighed as she watched them leave. She turned to see Merlin watching her. “What?” she asked.
“Why does Arthur still need Excalibur?” he asked quietly, as the door was still wide open.
“I just feel that he has to keep it. You never know when another crisis will pop up.”
Merlin exhaled, “Don’t remind me.”
Morgana giggled and poked Merlin in the arm. “I demand Guide lessons now.”
“You are so much like Arthur, it’s terrifying,” Merlin groaned. “All right, then. Impress me.”
Morgana threw her head back and laughed. Merlin grinned at the sight. He knew things wouldn’t be easy, but he knew they would get better.
Morgause grunted as she walked around the empty space. Nimueh was sitting down with her eyes closed, meditating.
“How can you just sit there?” Morgause growled.
“I’ve been here before. We can get out again and avoid Emyrs if at all possible.”
“I want my sister back!”
Nimueh opened her eyes and smiled widely. “Then you better start planning.”
The Great Dragon shifted in his sleep. Things were afoot, but with Emyrs and the Young Prince together once more, things shouldn’t get too out of hand. Although, he thought. One never knew. He opened his eyes slightly and looked towards the exit of his cave.
Perhaps it was time to make a reappearance.