“Did you see that?” Stiles exclaimed. “That was amazing! I’m amazing!” The pale teen was bouncing on his heals with elation.
“Calm down, you only managed a small flame. With practice, though, that can be a very powerful spell.” Deaton nodded encouragingly. “Especially for you, as a natural born warlock…”
“I know, I know you made me study it all before we got to the good stuff, as a druid you had to learn your magic with years of practice and as a warlock it’s just apart of me, yada, yada, different types of sorcery.” Stiles rolled his eyes in response as he interrupted his mentor.
“I’d hardly say you’ve studied it all, it’s been five weeks!”Deaton retorted. “There are thousands of years of history for you to master, you shouldn’t even be attempting the practical magics yet, but I’m afraid you’ll burn your house down if I don’t let you try here, and my clinic is far more fire resistant. You do seem to be somewhat of a natural with the elements, it would seem.” The vet added with a slight upturn at the corner of his mouth.
Stiles’s smile only grew wider with the praise. He held out his hand and whispered, “forbearnan.” His amber eyes shown bright gold for just the quickest of seconds as this time the flame that formed on top of the formerly barren candle was so tall it was towering above them and only mere inches from the ceiling.
“Ah. Let’s not test my protective ruins, eh? Lower it, it’s all about learning control.” Deaton looked more pleased than anxious despite his words of caution.
Instead of lowering the flame however Stiles kept his hand held out as his eyes glowed again. And, without words, the fire transformed into the unmistakable shape of a wolf that danced magically through the air around them.
Deaton couldn’t help but grin wholeheartedly at the display.
Stiles, however, looked a little sadden at the bright red figure as it continued its prance around the animal clinic’s back room.
Over an hour later and Stiles was finally mentally exhausted from his practice and decided he would head to Scott’s. His best friend had cancelled on him again last night as he had a date with his girlfriend, so Stiles figured he would see if they could finally catch up. He’d been wanting to tell him about his practice for some time now, but the two had barely seen each other over the past month since school let out.
The last time the rag-tag group of friends sat together for lunch, Stiles had excitedly told them about Deaton teaching him some of his druid ways. And Lydia, at least, seemed a little bit interested in his new pursuits. But, he hasn’t really had a chance to update them properly as they are now in their summer vacation between their Sophomore and Junior years of high school. And, the week prior to that, most of them were skipping as tests and grades were finished. Scott, Lydia, and Allison all still attended but Scott wanted to spend lunch with his girlfriend, the huntress, and Lydia was glued to Allison’s hip, too, now that Jackson had left for London. They must have spent it off campus, probably with the rest of the werewolves, because Stiles sat by himself at their table reading his new spell book.
Either way, he had yet to show Scott his new abilities. If truth be told, Stiles had hoped Scott would mention this to Derek, as the alpha had been absent from Stiles’s life since they released Jackson from his kanima ways and rescued Boyd and Erica from the Argent’s basement. He missed helping solve the supernatural problems and worried that perhaps he wasn’t as necessary a friend now that things calmed down. Maybe he wasn’t as helpful as he thought? Could a human be useful to a group of werewolves? What about a sorcerer? Stiles hoped so.
The blue Jeep arrived at the two story house which luckily had several lights on indicating Scott or Melissa or possibly both were home. Stiles jogged haphazardly up the steps ready to walk in as it was his second home only for the front door to be thrown open by Isaac.
“What do you want, Stiles?” The curly haired werewolf asked. It wasn’t curt, but nor was it a friendly greeting.
Stiles pushed past as he said, “nice to see you too, I really need to talk to Scott, he bailed on me again last night!” He added the last bit with a shout, which was unnecessary as the wolves all had excellent hearing.
“He’s not home.” Isaac frowned. “Out with Allison.”
“Wait why are you here then?” Stiles question suspiciously. Isaac wore loose jogging bottoms and a baggy tee. He looked ready for bed.
“Spending the night. Melissa doesn’t mind and well, they have cable, beats Derek’s loft.” The blond shrugged.
“Right… wait, Derek has a loft? Out of the train depot than, that’s good!” Stiles answered with forced cheer.
“Yeah… but I mostly stay here. Like I said, they have cable, and Melissa knows how to cook.” Issac looked expectingly at his classmate. “So, you going to stick around for Scott or…” he trailed off.
“Yeah, no it’s okay, just tell him I need to talk to him, I guess, enjoy your TV.” Stiles responded awkwardly.
He retreated back to his Jeep solemnly.
Scott didn’t call that night or the next one, or even the one after that. It had been a week when Stiles finally heard from his friend again. The two made plans to meet at Scott’s the following day to catch up on some video games and much needed bro time.
Stiles, however, didn’t spend his week in vein. He figured the best way to prove himself an asset to his group of friends would be to outsmart them. So he practice concealing spells and was becoming quite masterful, especially at hiding his scent and sound. If he could sneak up on a pack of werewolves, well they would have to acknowledge his abilities as worthy, right?
And so instead of coming over at four in the afternoon as planned, Stiles arrived an hour early in hopes of getting some practical training in, prior to using his techniques on the whole lot of them. He was hoping to make a surprised appearance at the alpha’s new loft. He couldn’t wait to see the shocked look on Derek’s face!
The McCall residents was surprisingly busy for a weekday afternoon in the middle of summer when he got there.
He hid his scent, heartbeat, and footsteps and let himself in. He did have a key after all, so that part was easy. The next spell was one that only sometimes worked properly for him. He threw a concealing charm on himself and prayed it worked as he stalked into the crowded living room. Erica and Lydia were sat on dining room chairs painting their nails. Scott and Allison shared the love seat, while Isaac sprawled out on the other sofa watching an old Disney movie. No one looked Stiles’ way! Success! But the mention of his name made his heart drop for a second as he thought he was spotted.
“Stiles is coming over soon?” Isaac questioned. “You going to tell him, right?”
“Yeah, I’ll break it to him gently. He’ll understand.” Scott reassured while keeping his face buried in Allison’s neck. She giggled.
“Wait. You didn’t tell him yet?” Erica questioned. “It’s been a month!”
Stiles went from discouraged, thinking his concealment failed to elated that it worked, to concerned, highly concerned that so many of his friends were lounging together talking about him. Keeping something from him, by the sound of things.
“I’m sure he figured it out, he’s not an idiot.” Lydia added as she inspected the color of polish on her newly finished nails as she held them up to the light. She looked right through the non-idiot as he held his breath, not from concerned for being heard but from worry at what secret they were all referring to.
“Yeah, I should have just told him right away...” Scott agreed as he stood up. “I promised him a Smash Bros rematch, so unless you all have been practicing you should head out before he gets here.” He added with a frown.
“Hey, I’m not half bad with Kirby, but I’m heading to the mall with Lydia and Allison.” Erica chimed in.
“I’m going with you guys, too!” Isaac reminded. “I don’t want to be here in case it doesn’t go well… I think he’ll be a bit mad. He tends to overreact.”
Allison shook her head in agreement. And gestured for the door to get her shoes on.
“What time are you guys going to Derek’s tonight?” Scott questioned. “Him and Boyd are planning our next training session, maybe we’ll get some training in tonight too!”
Stiles heart sank further. So apparently they had a big secret to tell him and they’ve all been hanging out together! He couldn’t help but feel a bit hurt and left out.
Allison moved right by him bringing Stiles back to the situation at hand. While they couldn’t see, smell, or hear him, they could feel him. His spell-work did nothing to make him impenetrable to physical touch. On instinct he crouched against the wall and continued to contemplate what he just overheard.
“So pack training night, you think?” Erica questioned with hopeful glee as she joined Allison by the door. “We should get their by six-ish. See ya then?”
“Yeah, hopefully, if all goes well with Stiles.” Scott added doubtfully.
Pack. Huh, Stiles never really saw it as pack and not pack so much as he knew about werewolves and helped said werewolves a lot and they kind of spent most of the second half of last school year together and he thought they were all friends. But, maybe he was wrong. Maybe they were all pack. And he was just Stiles. Maybe that was Scott’s big secret, after all, it didn’t sound like he had any intention on hanging out for long if he was going to be at Derek’s new loft by six!?
The friends said their farewells to Scott while Stiles continued to ponder over his new revelations.
It hurt to be kicked out of a pack he wasn’t even sure he was ever really apart of. But Lydia was human, immune to kanima venom, but human all the same. And Allison was human! A deadly one to werewolves at that. And yet, Stiles was the human that didn’t qualify as good enough to be pack? That seemed unfair, given his help. He told Derek where to find Boyd and Erica! He helped Lydia save her stupid boyfriend’s life! He held Derek up in a pool for hours! He helped Scott learn to handle his werewolf anger, all on his own the first couple of months when they thought Derek was the deranged alpha killer. Had that not been enough to make him worthy of pack? He’d proven himself resilient too. Peter kidnapped him and he survived. Gerard kidnapped him as well! He outlived the kanima attacks and survived crazy Matt’s hostage situation. And it still wasn’t enough?
Maybe the problem wasn’t what Stiles did or didn’t do, maybe the issue was Stiles himself. Derek did call him annoying. So did Jackson, and Boyd that one time. Erica seemed to loose her patience with him quickly too. And Isaac and him never had a problem until the former became a werewolf and then he adopted all the angry ways associated with their alpha. He was on friendly terms with Allison now, but he did keep his guard up around her as her grandfather had warped her brain once and her father was more than intimidating. He liked Lydia and he secretly thought she was warming up to him, but perhaps her cold front towards him was more real than Stiles first believed.
Well. He wasn’t going to show up falsely cheery to be told by Scott that they weren’t friends anymore and that he was never really friends with anyone else. Screw that! Scott had spent the better half of the month canceling or forgetting their plans. This time Stiles would leave Scott hanging. Just then the front door opened again and Isaac popped his head back inside.
“Dude! Scott! Stiles’s Jeep is in your driveway!” The timid werewolf yelled. “He’s not here already is he?” Isaac asked perplexed. How could they’ve missed him. They didn’t even notice his Jeep pulling in? That Jeep was so noisy even humans could hear it coming down the road a mile in advance.
Scott sniffed the air. “No, no he’s not here yet. You sure it’s his Jeep?”
“How many blue hunk-of-junk Jeeps are there rolling around Beacon Hills?” Isaac replied sarcastically.
Scott followed him outside to investigate. Stiles took the opportunity to slip out the front door too. Perhaps he’d walk home and leave them to contemplate how his car got there. He needed some fresh air now, anyways. Really without Scott who did he have? And Scott, it would seem, had moved on to wolfier pastures.
“But… how? Stiles!” Scott yelled foolishly.
Stiles continued walking home while trying to block out his friends, no his former friends’ attempts to find him as his car obviously didn’t drive itself over to Scott’s. As he walked he thought desperately how he wished he would just disappear. Maybe he could ask Deaton about visiting some of his old friends who still practice the Old Religion. It seemed like there were very few believers these days. Deaton had mentioned how exciting it was for everyone in the know to have such a young, new, warlock to train. It would seem that all of his druid friends wanted to meet with him eventually. Stiles was fairly certain his dad would let him go if he pushed the trip as educational… his dad was overworked at the station as of late and would probably welcome the knowledge that his son wasn’t running around being his usual delinquent self.
As he turned the corner he set his resolve. So what if Scott wanted to throw twelve years of friendship down the drain. So what if he was wrong to count the pack as his friends. Out there somewhere were people who were simply excited he existed and couldn’t wait to meet him. Stiles could count that as enough, right? He would. He refused to let the devastation welling up inside at the thought of running into Scott or the rest of the pack anytime soon wash over him. He’ll just go someplace they are not, someplace he can learn more about magic and train to improve his abilities. And maybe the next time he runs into the pack he’ll be a formidable opponent, if not an ally.
As he willed himself to stay positive he continued to walk without much thought as to where he was going. Until he ran into a wall.
Except he was still in the middle of the sidewalk. Fortunately, he was also still invisible, just in case a nosy neighbor was peering outside at that moment. They would not have seen him impeded in his path by a wall that didn’t exist. A wall that did not exist and yet, hit him square in the face. Stiles cautiously pushed at the air in front of him while massaging his forehead from the impact with his other hand. He felt it again a solid object right in front of him but it too was invisible.
Stiles continued to feel out the object that he couldn’t see and was alarmed to find that it was indeed a wall that stretch as far as he could tell in both directions in front of him. It’s like it was impossible for him to go forward. He started to panic a bit. Was this a result of his own concealment charm. Like a radius that contained him?
As he worried he continued to push and as he push he realized he was sinking into the object. Should he continue? Should he pull his arm away? Curiosity got the better of him and Stiles laid his sore head against the barrier in front of him and let it too slowly sink in.
To his astonishment, it was not the inside of a box or even the other side of the sidewalk that he saw. He laid his eyes on a thickly wooded forest path obscured from the sun with heavy shade from trees all around and just barely visible in the distance he saw what could only be described as a castle, it was such a large estate and it definitely wasn’t in Beacon Hills, Stiles would know. Which begs the question where is this new place and how can he see it by looking through a solid invisible wall?
Well only one way to find out. Stiles lifted one leg to press against the object that obstructed the sidewalk as his other arm emerged as well. It was eerie seeing both his hands just floating next to him as he waited for the rest of his body to make its way through the slow moving barrier.
A fierce wind whipped at his nose.
It was cold. Too cold for being so late in the winter season, but as this was typically prime hunting time, Arthur insisted on a trip to stretch his adventure bone as he had spent all winter cooped up in his castle. The king was cooped up with his queen-to-be, fiancé, Guinevere. So truly he had very little to complain about. But, hurting innocent animals for sport will always be a favorite among the newly crowned King and his knights of the round table.
As such Merlin found himself accompanying his royal highness on horseback, shivering. He was thinner than the knights and afforded much less luxurious cloaks. Fortunately for himself, he did have the steady hum of magic thrumming in him and on days like today he liked to pretend he could almost feel the warmth of it. But, there really was no where else he’d rather be.
Merlin was and may forever be the secret guardian of the king. And destiny or not, he couldn’t help but care deeply for the prat. And so he road out, after preparing the horses that morning with only a few complaints and occasional mention of the frigid weather. Really, he wasn’t even sure anyone heard his comment that he hoped the poor bunnies are still hibernating.
Most of the knights enjoyed their jesting with the manservant. So while the day was a bust on the hunting front and too chilly for anyone’s liking, they genuinely had a good time out of the confines of the castle walls.
As the day grew colder and darker Gwaine gave up on the pretense of not scaring the non-existent animals and started to talk nonstop, sharing tales of his nightly conquests. Also sharing friendly glances with Percival as he mentioned some of his less successful outings too. Just minutes prior, Merlin was told his complaining was the reason behind the lack of pelts acquired that day, but no one seemed to mind the enthralling tales of Gwaine’s drunken adventures. Percival added his quip occasionally correcting Gwaine’s story. Elyan laughed along, reminiscing himself as he had spent a fair few evenings learning the ways of the tavern from the boozing knight last season. Leon was more subdued and rode ahead with Arthur but he could be caught with a grin at the mention of some of Gwaine’s more ridiculous antics.
“And then, there was that one time, I was too sauced to make it to the Rising Sun, and stopped at the barn, for a quick toss in the hay with a stable boy…” the less than elegant knight continued.
“I remember that night!” Percival commented. “You didn’t even make it that far!”
The two shared a private laugh.
“I’m surprised none of your tales include Merlin, the lazy sod is always slacking off his duties for a night in the tavern.” Arthur commented as the group rode into the clearing where the ‘lazy sod’ in question would set up camp.
“No, I wouldn’t mind seeing my friend more often but you, Princess, occupy far too much of his time!” Gwaine retorted as he dismounted.
“He is my manservant!” Arthur huffed, indigent.
Both men turned to Merlin who usually would have piped up by than but the younger man was far too cold to care as he focused on keeping his shivering to a minimum as he rolled out their bed rolls and prepared a location for the much needed fire. Arthur and Gwaine shared a face of matching pity for just a moment before the former man schooled his features into something much more befitting of his royal station.
“Merlin! You idiot!” Arthur shouted, to get his attention. “You should have told us you were cold! Why is your cloak so thin and used? Take mine before you gather firewood!” He continued, causing the other man to roll his eyes. Of course his complaints went unheard and yet he was disrupting the wildlife?
Merlin very rarely operated according to standing, but he did at least have the sense to protest immediately because it would be unbecoming for the king to catch a cold while his servant was bundled up. Not even the warlock could come up with an excuse for that situation. Upon hearing their king’s offer, however, every knight followed suit insisting Merlin take theirs instead. He eventually accepted Percival’s, trusting that the knight meant it when he said he was actually quite warm from the ride, as the common born man usually held no complaint aside from the summer heat and his large stature not mixing well.
Merlin was grateful for the extra warmth, even if it had been a full day’s ride prior to the offer. He wrapped the cloak around himself and set out for firewood.
The next morning they were awoken by the sounds of something large crashing through the underbrush. The knights jumped to attention and scrambled to get ready. Arthur joined them but managed to look far more dignified as he rose for the day. No man stopped to appreciate the fire that had kept despite the fowl winds all night or the sleeping warlock, whom laid furthest from it, that huddled under not only his thin blanket, but the large knight’s cloak.
A gentle kick to his backside was all the waking Merlin would receive as the men quickly saddled up their rides and prepared to find the source of the commotion. Merlin scrambled along slowly, in his sleepy haze, wishing he could just use his magic to help him pack. He had assisted with Arthur’s bedroll, as the knights were ready to leave.
“Hurry up, Merlin!” Arthur said impatiently.
“Go ahead, I can’t possibly get this done in time for you to catch that dreadfully loud beast, I’ll catch up.” Merlin called as he bumbled about to pack away their dishes from the night before. “I’ll be right behind you guys, promise!” He added when the king did not respond.
He looked up to see they were already making their way out of the clearing on horse back. Oh. The manservant missed the glance of worry Arthur gave him before he led his knights away.
With the group gone, however, Merlin was able to pack more efficiently and quickly. A few flicks of his wrist and everything was where it ought to be on his mare’s poor, burden back. Merlin saddled himself up on top and went off to follow the trail of knights whom he hoped could manage this one without his magical abilities.
Of course that would be too much to ask. As it turns out, a griffin was the first creature they would encounter on this hunt. It rambled its way through the underbrush of the dense forest as if enraged. The source of its distress was not to be seen, nor was it’s conjurer. Merlin saw the direction of the beast’s path in relation to Arthur and the knights. He moved quickly in the opposite direction and started to trail it. In hopes of encircling the monster. At least he knew the spell required to enchant the knights weapons, he just needed to be there when the knights arrived to make their kill.
It all happened so quickly, he wasn’t sure what happened first nor who saw and suspected magic as Merlin surly knew was par for the course, but several things happened at once. Merlin caught up with the knights on a fairly wide forest path from the opposite side and in between them was the large winged beast roaring as best it could through its beak while pawing frantically at the ground. It had found a new target to take its anger out on. A scared and strangely dress boy with large terrified eyes who held his shaking hand up and was muttering something. Arthur narrowed his eyes at the boy’s stance and position with suspicion and Merlin gasped knowingly. He wasn’t sure what made him do it, he wasn’t even sure how he did it but Merlin stopped time. Everything froze.
The knights all looked poised for action and in truth one spear was already in the air on its way to the griffin. The beast was caught midair, himself, in an attempt to hoof the newcomer. The strange boy was also frozen but it took Merlin just a second to realize that he was frozen from fear and not from his handiwork on toying with time. The slight tremble was all that gave the guy away. The man slowly reopened his eyes and stared in aww at the beast that came so close to killing him.
“You are a sorcerer?” Merlin called out. “You were trying to do magic. You almost did! If they saw your eyes… you’d be put to death! Who are you? What brings you here? Did you conjure this creature?” Merlin had a lot of questions and used his most intimidating voice to squall any thoughts that he was to be taken lightly.
“I, I, can I move? Like out of its path, pl..please?” The kid stammered in a strange accent. Merlin nodded. He wasn’t keeping him held in place. The newcomer moved with wobbly steps slightly closer to Merlin so the two no longer had to shout. “Thanks.” He said with a lopsided grin.
“Are you the sorcerer who conjured the griffin?” Merlin asked again.
“What? Is that what that is? No!” Stiles managed to say while taking in not only the extraordinary beast before him, but also the mounted knights behind it, the spear left suspended in midair and the rather tall, thin man before him who wore a well used tan overcoat that clashed with his dingy red scarf. Isaac would probably like it…
Stiles continued to take in his surroundings and glanced once more at the castle towers just visible off in the distance and gulped. “Where, where is this?” He asked hesitantly.
Merlin furrowed his brows at the other man’s expression. The man wore the oddest, most colorful clothes, that ridiculously thin coat was white and red overlaid in the most peculiar fashion. And his pants were a faded blue in a material Merlin had never seen. And his hair stuck up as if by magic, which it very well might be. The man appeared genuinely loss, however, and the warlock couldn’t help but feel a tinge of pity for him.
“No? You say, but you undoubtedly have magic?” Merlin clarified with a question.
“Well, yes, but you do too, don’t you?” Stiles responded failing his arms around to indicate the situation.
Merlin wasn’t expecting such an easy confirmation as he hesitated to agree himself, with a nod of his head. “You know the punishment for magic users, then?” He decided he would continue to probe.
“Uh, no, not really, but I mean you are doing this right? Because I didn’t, I don’t think I could, maybe…” Stiles rambled.
“Who are you?” Merlin cut into the unusual man’s speech.
“Stiles.” He replied without a second thought. “Where am I?”
“This is Camelot, a kingdom where a magic user’s only fate lies in the pyre. What’s your name?” Merlin asked again.
“What? Stiles. Stiles? Stiles of where?” Merlin inquired without giving away his own identity.
“Well who are you then? Stiles of Beacon Hills, I guess.” Stiles huffed in response. “Camelot, like mid evil times with King Arthur and Merlin? What are we larping? You guys go all out…” he added doubtfully.
Merlin flinched back at the mention of his and Arthur’s names and couldn’t help a glance back at the frozen king. “You’ve heard of the king and his manservant and yet you were unaware of the dangers this land holds to our kind?” Merlin questioned skeptically.
“Manservant?” Stiles laughed. “What are you on about? Where is Camelot? Like am I in England? Because that would explain your accent I guess, but how am I going to get home?” He finished with a mutter.
“Camelot is one of the five kingdoms of Albion.” Merlin responded with a growing fear of where this outsider came from and how they got here. “You’ve obviously heard of our king. I find it alarming that you know the name of his manservant, are you collecting information for a foreign regime, then?”
“What? No. Listen, I was walking home, in Beacon Hills on a sidewalk and I ran into a wall, but I couldn’t see it, and when I pushed on the wall I fell through it to, well, here and then that thing chased me and I’ve been practicing for lacrosse and I definitely got faster, all the running around I’ve done lately, but that thing is fast and thank goodness you stopped the damn thing because I was just going to put it on fire and then it would have ran at me with fire and I would have been crushed and then burned, oh geez! My dad! He is going to be so pissed. Do you know how to leave this Camelot?”
Merlin was surprised the other could say all that without stopping for air, which is a feat as Merlin is a master at talking his way out of situations in his own right. He barely understood the ramble and use of foreign words, but once again he felt the kid was being honest.
“I’m Stiles, as I said, just a high schooler, I’m a sorcerer, no wait, a warlock. I think I fell through a magic wall but the wall doesn’t seem to exist here as I can’t get back the way I came. I need to go home. Who are you? Can you help me?” Stiles pleaded when the other wizard failed to answer his question.
“Stiles. Tell me what do you know of King Arthur and Camelot?” Merlin asked in a forced calm.
Stiles scrunched up his face in frustration. He thought back to what he was taught in school on the legends. “Not much. Camelot was a mythical place and the king united the lands with his knights of the round table and killed dragons and rescued maidens and saved the day.”
“He was this old wizard who helped Arthur become king. He was pretty funny in the Disney version…” As he spoke, Stiles glanced occasionally to the griffin, obviously concerned that the other magic user wasn’t giving the thing enough of its attention now.
“Old?” Merlin muttered to himself. This boy knew too much and too little for accuracy’s sake. “Okay, this is Camelot.” He finally managed to say and with a deep breath he added, “and that is King Arthur and I… I am his manservant, Merlin.”
Stiles was speechless for a full minute. He opened his mouth to reply several times only to close it again. What do you say to such a proclamation? If he wasn’t staring at a bird-horse monster, he’d doubt the other man despite the castle towers in the distance.
“I do not know of this Beacon Hills you claim, but here magic is outlawed. If they had saw you cast that spell you wouldn’t live to see the ‘marrow.”
“But, you have magic! You’re like… like…”
“The greatest sorcerer to ever live?” Merlin finished for him dully.
“Well, I wouldn’t go that far…” Stiles gesture with his hands as he failed to come up with his comparison of what Merlin was like. “But like, are you the only one in Camelot with magic then?”
“No… no, but it is unsafe. No one knows about me.”
“In the legends, you’re truly something. You defeated the evil witch, Morgana and saved Arthur.” Stiles said with some awe. “You’re usually really old and his teacher.”
“Old. Have you heard of Dragoon?” Merlin couldn’t help but ask. He found himself enjoying the conversation in spite of the mention of Morgana’s fall. She was currently in hiding but her recent takeover of the castle and mistreatment of its people during her short stint as regent left little doubt in Merlin that the lady of the court would ever be called friend again.
“…No.” Stiles replied after giving the question some thought.
“Oh. Pity. Perhaps I will be given an opportunity to compare legend with fact once this ordeal is over but let us focus on the matter at hand.” Merlin smiled.
Stiles thought that the smile on the legendary wizard emphasized how young the other man truly was. “Okay so what’s the plan? We kill the thing before we unfreeze time and call it a day?”
Merlin tilted his head at the unusual expression. “I’ll enchant the spear, unfreeze time and it will die.” He corrected. “You get back into position under its hoofs and act more scared and less like you were about to cast a spell. Once the griffin is gone, I’ll talk Arthur into employing you as a simpleton from the faraway village of Beacon Hills. You can claim to be a traveler seeking respite after a magical attack… that will quell his fears of your abilities. We are in need of laborers as it were.” Merlin felt sure they could pull this off.
“What about me actually going home?” Stiles seemed worried now. “I can’t… I’m so knew to this magic thing… I don’t know how.” He pleaded.
“If you’re employed at the castle, I can help. Gaius is my… friend, he might be able to help you too.” Merlin tried to reassure the stranger.
“Oh. Okay.” Stiles acquiesced. “But I am not going to stand under that thing!”
“You have to!” Merlin protested.
“No!” Stiles exclaimed. “What if they miss?”
“They won’t miss!” Merlin insisted. “Do you trust me?”
“No.” Stiles said with bulging eyes. “I barely know you!”
“I’m a warlock, like you!” Merlin said as if that explained everything.
“And I’m telling you that I can’t guarantee my aim, so why should I assume you can?” Stiles argued back.
“Just… get back in place! I’m going to release time, don’t do any magic! Nothing odd in front of the knights or it will give you away!” Merlin insisted.
And before Stiles could second guess his choices he did as he was told because Merlin chanted a spell under his breath and the spear glowed purple for a brief second and the rush of cold air overtook him again as time decided to move forward.
Stiles on instinct held up his hands in defense but this time rather than attempt a spell of fire he cowered behind them and said a silent prayer. His eyes were screwed tight as he heard the beast cry in agony as the spear made its impact in the griffin’s back. Worry overtook him once again as he felt this thing would surely be crashing down on him even if it was dead, given his stupid choice of location. He opened his eyes just in time to see the monster de-materialize and leave this earth in in a cloud of dust that simply vanished.
He stared at its former location with his mouth agape.
“You!” Arthur shouted. “You there! What were you doing? We’re you the sorcerer that summoned this beast?”
How many people would excuse him of such a feat?
“Ah no.” Stiles called back. He was shaking a bit from fear or the cold he wasn’t sure.
“That’s no, sire.” Arthur rudely corrected. “Who are you? Where do you come from so unprepared with such odd attire?” He asked as he rode closer.
“Ah, princess, leave the boy be, he was obviously terrified using his bare hands to hide behind…” Gwaine laughed as he joined them.
“You don’t seemed to be dressed for the day’s weather.” Elyan added.
“I… I’m from Beacon Hills…” Stiles tried to sound confident in his response in front of such intimidating company.
Merlin trotted over to distract just in time. “Aye. That’s quite a journey. You cold?” He looked around the group of knights. “I’m cold and the beast interrupted my breakfast. How about we remake camp and warm up in front of a fire… I can…”
“No we’re here to hunt.” Arthur stopped his servant from finishing his suggestion.
“I was going to say I can make camp and keep an eye on the newcomer, while you continue your hunt.” Merlin replied with a smile. He held out Percival’s cloak to the shivering teenager in front of them. His easy goodwill seemed to turn the tense interaction into something more hospital among the knights, whom grumbled in their agreement.
“What say you, Arthur?” Gwaine asked. “I could go for some breakfast myself prior to stalking the woodland creatures.”
“We could use the time to question him further, sire.” Leon suggested.
Arthur muttered his agreement to the plan but amended that at least one knight would stay behind with Merlin and the stranger.
Stiles was in amazement at how fast and well coordinated these men were in their bulky chainmail on horseback, and found himself struggling to keep up despite their slow pace.
Stiles helped prepare the strange breakfast and almost balked away when Merlin offered some of his share. The knights all looked expectantly, however and with great trepidation he bit into the dried and heated meat.
“It’s…. wonderful.” Stiles lied through his full mouth as everyone looked expectantly at him.
“Merlin fed me rat once…” Arthur told the fidgety boy.
Stiles couldn’t help his reaction, he spit out the food, covering the ground, and causing the knights to snigger.
“This wasn’t… though? I didn’t eat rat did I?” Stiles gulped and stared accusatorially at the warlock who was busying himself deciding the remaining meal amongst the knights and king.
“What delicacies are afforded to you in the Beacon Hills that would allow you to act so hastily towards a warm meal, rat or otherwise?” The king narrowed his eyes, still suspicious.
“Have you ever had curly fries?” The foreigner asked wiggling his eyebrows.
While the king interrogated the strange newcomer, the sun seemed to finally wake up and bring with it Spring. Even the birds started chirping again, which was a relief, as the forest was a strange quiet with their absence. The knights’ moods lifted as well and even King Arthur couldn’t help but smile as a deer stumbled stupidly into their clearing.
The hunting trip was a success, with several new pelts and plenty of meat to satisfy Cook in the kitchens. Everyone seems jovial enough in the return trip and Stiles was getting on alright with everyone, which was nice. But Merlin couldn’t help but wonder if the Gryphon and the extreme temperature was connected, and if so who was the cause? And more importantly, what did they want from Arthur?
Scott called for Stiles all afternoon. He called the sheriff, to no avail. He called his mother, who didn’t have a clue as to why Stiles’s Jeep would be over at their house. And, finally, he called Derek.
The alpha simply hung up when Scott told him Stiles was missing causing the teen to sigh in frustration and disappointment only to be surprised when a sweaty and out of breath Derek came panting into his view ten minutes later.
“Where did you guys see him last?” The alpha asked in lieu of an explanation.
“Derek?” Isaac questioned.
“When did he go missing? I checked on him during my patrol last night, he was fine?” The older werewolf ignored the incredulous looks he was now getting from everyone.
“His room isn’t even close to your path?” Erica accused.
Derek didn’t respond to this either and turned instead to the blue Jeep in the drive way, smelling the air. “His scent is kind of faint, like maybe a day old. Why was his car here for so long before your told me?” Derek glared daggers at his betas.
“It wasn’t.” Lydia told the man. “Allison, Erica, and I got here around one. He wasn’t here at that time.”
Derek sniffed the air again. “That’s impossible.”
“He wasn’t even supposed to come here until four!” Scott protested. “I was going to tell him about Isaac living with me before we all went to your official house warming party!”
“House warming?” Derek glanced at the crooked jaw werewolf.
“Well we were hoping we could do more of those training exercises, except maybe with Lydia and Stiles too. I’m not a fan of Allison playing bait for everyone…”
“She’s an Argent… I want you guys to learn how to defend yourselves against her…” Derek defended his previous training game.
“We had something else in store for tonight!” Boyd said as he finally caught up. “You know how Stiles said he was working with Deaton? The vet says he is a natural at elemental magic… Derek was going to ask him to hide with Lydia and use his water spell to wash away their tracks, making it more difficult to find them, while Allison defends them from above with her bow. We even mapped out a trail for the humans!” He finished excitedly.
“Wait, he can do that? Hide his trail? Do you think he is doing that now?” Erica asked her boyfriend with wonderment.
Derek’s eyebrows showed his alarm. “I didn’t tell him the path yet!”
Lydia pursed her lips in thought. “Maybe he isn’t missing, maybe he is hiding… if he came to your house earlier Scott and overheard us talking about you having to tell him about Isaac, maybe he heard that and overreacted…”
“I knew he would take it badly!” Isaac hissed. “You should have told him right away!”
“Tell him what?” Derek asked concern and anger both fighting for dominance.
“I was going to tell him that Isaac moved in with me…” Scott mumbled, feeling guilty.
“What?” Derek said aghast. “That was a month ago!”
“I’ve kinda been avoiding him, so I wouldn’t have to break the news…” The olive skin werewolf admitted sheepishly. “He really doesn’t like change!” He added defensively.
“Imagine overhearing that, though…” Erica continued to berate the guilty party. “It’s got to be worse! And, to know you’ve kept it from him for so long…”
Isaac shuffled his feet, wishing the attention was no longer placed on him and Scott.
“Well, we don’t have time to worry about this now!” Lydia said. “I think we should visit Deaton.”
“Why?” Scott asked as he stared at his yard, hoping that perhaps his best friend would pop out of a bush.
“Because he was working with Stiles, and could give us an idea of what he is capable and how to find him.” Derek answered, clearly annoyed.
“This will sort of be like training then…” Boyd added optimistically.
Derek gave his beta a warning look before it gave way to his worried-filled one.
Stiles took to life in a castle like a fish takes to the desert. That is to say horribly.
Servants are expected to wake before dawn, work all day for measly pay, until well past night fall, and do it all again the next day. There were no weekends or other time off. And as a stable boy, he had the lovely job of mucking out the horses…
He also found himself sharing the already cramped space of Gaius’s antechamber with the only person in the castle who didn’t skirt away from him in fear, Merlin. To make matters worse, the old secret sorcerer turned doctor didn’t quite trust him… The physician would often question his motives for being here, so close to his ward.
But what could Stiles do? He hardly had a choice…
So the Beacon Hills resident made the most of his time at Camelot and vowed to practice magic in the dead of night, with the legendary wizard, himself. The two boys were getting quite good, not even Gaius could argue against that…
He also found solace in the kitchens. It was less bustling in there, only a select few of the castle’s staff were welcomed. Stiles liked the head chef, appropriately called Cook, who seemed to take a liking to the outsider instantly. Merlin had told Stiles how strange this was and told him several occasions where running into the kitchens late had earned him a blow to the head from at least one cooking utensil.
Stiles showed Cook several new techniques and together the two of them started to experiment with recipes. Cook found the new boy’s insistence on frying potato slices in the pig fat unique and she couldn’t help but agree with the end results. The new dish was quickly becoming a favorite among the staff and royal court alike.
On the first official day of spring, Merlin found himself among the masses preparing for a feast. He wasn’t given much of an explanation, just that the great hall and King Arther both had to look immaculate. This order was delivered from the king, himself, so Merlin had more than an inkling that the feast was in honor of Gwen. She was the only one capable of changing the man’s usual jovial, if not rude, behavior into something resembling the stuttering mess he currently was as he attempted to bully his manservant into having several outfit choices ready.
The blond and well toned king chose a dress outfit of Camelot red and gold that only made the fact that he was a member of the royal household more obvious. He looked positively regal, and Merlin couldn’t help but smirk in the corner and sigh with relief as he did not have time to press the navy blue coat.
The warlock had planned on meeting Stiles in the kitchens for lunch again that day. The new boy was miraculously welcomed into Cook’s personal space. They would talk recipes and seasonings. He has been experimenting with spices on his new fried potato dish that everyone loved so much and Merlin was usually lucky enough to be among the tasters.
His plans were shattered as his king spoke next. “I was hoping to see more floral in the hall…” Arthur said more as an order than a casual statement. “Perhaps you could see what color dress Gwen plans on wearing and find some arrangements that would compliment her well?”
Merlin raised an eyebrow. “Me? You do know that my knowledge of flowers extends to their medicinal purposes… what do I know about them looking good?”
Arthur sighed heavily. “Yes, Merlin! You! Just make them match her dress! You can see color, correct?” He asked annoyed.
“Fine. But if I happen to get ones she hates just because they are purple…”
“She’s wearing purple? Maybe I’ll go with the blue…” the king suggested, distracted.
“No, no, no,” Merlin interrupted. “You look great!”
“You can’t tell me no!” Arther said as he pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’m the king!”
“Arthur, you look great!” His servant repeated, turning the man by his shoulders to face him. The two stared for a second longer than what would be considered acceptable into each other’s eyes. “I like the red.”
“Ermm, right.” Arthur said at last breaking the moment and facing the mirror again. “Just get flowers…”
So Merlin skipped his lunch and headed off to the lower town to see what was left from the florist. Nothing appropriate.
Grumbling to himself the manservant made his way out of town and into the woods beyond, hoping that he would be able to find the flora so he wouldn’t risk being caught conjuring it.
Instead, he found Morgana.
The witch laughed. “Merlin, Merlin, Merlin…. I see you're still running around under my dear brother’s orders… he still lets you tramp off into the woods unprotected? After the castle was so recently overthrown by a beautiful queen, too… your worth so little to him and yet your willing to kill his own sister to save his kingdom!” She yelled the last sentence, referring to the time Merlin had attempted to poison her to stop the dead knights from advancing.
The manservant stilled in his tracks. She was powerful, yes. But the great dragon had warned him that Merlin would be her downfall… perhaps this moment was it. She wasn’t even aware that he was also a sorcerer, yet. He still had an advantage.
“All alone in the woods…” she continued. “Oh what vengeful things I could do!”
“Why are you here, Morgana?” The warlock asked, proud of the stillness in his voice.
“Oh why?” She asked shrilly. “Haven’t you heard? My dear brother intends to set a date for his wedding! A wedding with my servant! I’m just here to give my blessing!” She taunted. “The two will be wed in a fortnight at most!”
Merlin swallowed thickly, she was probably right, having grown up in court, she was more accustomed to their ways of doing things.
“But imagine my surprise, stumbling upon….” Her curt voice was cut off as a large branch from the tree above her cracked and hit her head. The witch stumbled and swayed and looked around.
“Emrys!” She hissed, before disappearing in a puff of black smoke.
Merlin was stunned. He didn’t call on his magic, not just then and yet… a branch falling was his signature move…
“Oh thank god that worked!” Stiles called from behind a tree. “Did she just disappear? Can… can you do that? He wondered out loud. “Can I do that?”
“No… I’m not sure how she managed to vanish…” Merlin replied still looking at the ground where his former friend was standing.
“Who was she?” The eager boy asked. His face was alight with a warmth that Merlin was familiar with, the glow of an after battle.
The manservant’s face darkened as he answered, “that was Morgana…”
“Oh…oh! Did I just alter history? We’re you meant to… kill her just now?” Stiles asked, alarmed.
“No, I don’t know… we need some answers…” Merlin sighed. “But, I need to get back to the castle. Arthur…”
“Yeah, okay… what were you doing out here anyways?” The other asked.
Merlin had almost forgotten. The flowers! He quickly did several spells filling both of their arms with lavender and white colored lilies. Stiles stumbled back from the unexpected weight.
“How did you find me out here anyways?” The manservant asked as he led the way back to the castle.
Stiles told the other about his concealment spell and how he hides his scent and heartbeat too. He explained that he does this to get around the castle uninterrupted because a lot of people stop him and ask if he has tumbled in the hay yet. He’s not sure why everyone thinks he will fall in the hay, this caused Merlin’s ears to go scarlet. But, Stiles continued on about how he saw Merlin running out of the castle on his way to the kitchens, and decided to follow but got held up trying to slip past the gaurds without running into them.
They discussed in great details the benefits of being able to hide yourself and agreed to practice as soon as they could. Stiles was excited because so far Merlin or even Gaius were doing all the teaching, this would be different.
The rest of the afternoon went by in a blur. They both returned to the hall with the flora arrangements and proceeded to decorate. The king entered and instantly scowled as he saw the two joking merrily as they arranged the extensive amount of flowers.
“I see you are finding a place for yourself here in my castle. How are the stables treating you? I hope Merlin here is still doing his part when taking care of my stallion. He hasn’t slacked off his duties to you?” The king interrupted the two warlocks’ bout of laughter.
Merlin sighed, he had explained numerous times that it wasn’t his task to care for the then prince’s beloved horse, and it still wasn’t now that the man was a king, but that never failed to stop his sovereign from assigning him the menial tasks whenever he felt fit.
“How does the hall look?” The manservant chooose to deflect the subject, instead. “Fit for your queen?”
Right. Guinevere. Arthur recovered, quickly. “Yes, I’d say so. Have you checked on the kitchens? I asked they served that new potato dish again tonight, make sure it’s on the menu.”
This cause both Stiles and Merlin to break out into laughter again. The king grew more disgruntled and quickly excused himself.
“Why didn’t you tell him?” Stiles questioned once they were alone in the hall again. “About… Morgana?” He whispered the last word for dramatic effect.
“I don’t want to ruin his day… and he doesn’t know I was in the forrest and if we escaped the known sorceress’ clutches, that would raise suspicion.”
“So what are you going to do? Surely she will try again?” Stiles asked.
“How do you feel about dragons?” Merlin replied after a slight pause.
The evening was perfect as planned. Gwen looked stunning, no one could dare to call her just a commoner anymore and Arthur, well he was almost godlike with his crown not even needed as his golden hair provide the picturesque king in his blazing red overcoat.
But crowned, they both were, as the king presented to his people his queen-to-be and announced they would be wed in a weeks’ time. The castle was to have a nightly feast to celebrate, and on the last day she would be coronated and married.
Merlin smiled and clapped along with the rest of them, he was truly happy for his friend, Gwen. She deserved this and would be a fantastic queen to the people, but he would be lying if he didn’t admit that deep down there was a tug in his heart that told him Arthur was his. His fate, his king, his.. true love.
Gwaine and the other knights were quick to turn the jovial night of celebration into a ruckus one. Merlin quickly realized that Stiles was among them and he made his way over. The usually pale boy was drinking heavily from a goblet, turning his face a darker shade by the minute.
“Found a Camelot meal you can stomach?” Elyan asked from over the rim of his own goblet.
“It took some time, but I think so!” Stiles slurred his words.
“Whoa there now!” Leon cautioned. “Don’t they have proper mead and wine where you come from?”
“I’m too young to drink,” the stableboy replied with a hiccup and Merlin took that as his clue to jump in.
“I hope your not inebriating my friend here!” The warlock asked as sat down after officially being dismissed by the jovial couple at the high table.
“Too young?” Gwaine asked, slightly outraged. “What? Do they lock you up for sampling? I think I was weaned off my mother’s teat with this stuff!”
This caused another round of ruckus laughter and thankfully distracted everyone enough for Merlin to pull Stiles free of the confining table.
“Where are you two going?” Percival asked, slightly intoxicated himself.
This caught Gwaine’s attention and the loud night couldn’t hold back his accusation. “Ah, Merlin you do tumble! I had wondered! I was asking our young, Stiles here, about his time in the stables, and he was going on and on about brushing the mere’s hair… sweet thing, very innocent!”
Merlin blushed deeply and turned with his hands still clutched around Stiles’s wrist to exit the room as quickly as possible but his haste only served to have him run into a very solid object. The object turned out to be King Arthur, himself.
The king and his future queen were exiting the hall as well. Gwen was all bright smiles and radiant. Her fiancé, however wore a scowl with narrowed eyes.
“And where are you two going off to?” Arthur asked his servant. His dismissed for the evening servant.
“Merlin wants to show me something!” Stiles drunkenly told the royal couple.
Gwen sniggered at the obviously drunk stableboy who dared to address his king so plainly. Arthur did not.
“That’s ‘Merlin wants to show me something, sire!’” He said threw clenched teeth.
The anger took everyone by surprised and Gwen laid a comfortable hand on Arthur’s chest, telling him she’s sure the boy is just too impaired to know better.”
The action did seem to cause the king’s rage to simmer. Merlin stared at the hand, longingly, too stunned to defend himself.
“You better teach him manners!” Arthur said in a forcefully even tone. “But who am I kidding, he is probably learning the disrespect from you!”
“Why sire? What ever do you mean?” Merlin replied playfully, giving a short bow. An action usually reserved for the council chambers when in front of a delegation.
It did little to sway Arthur from his negative thoughts as the king only continued to dart his eyes between his servant and the boy he still clutched on one wrist.
After an awkward pause, Merlin attempted to break the silence by bidding the royalty a pleasant night. “Good evening Gwen and…”
“That’s good evening Lady Guinevere!” Arthur shouted, causing some of the patrons to look over curiously.
“This is what I’m talking about. She is to be queen and deserves to be treated as such!” Arthur stated flatly.
“It’s fine.” Gwen consoled her husband-to-be.
“We were friends, excuse my informality.” Merlin mumbled with a second bow, this one was not done out of jest however, and the motion broke the king’s anger completely.
Stiles, thankfully, had enough sense to keep quiet.
“Yes well, she is your queen now, so treat her as such and nothing more.” Arthur huffed, but it lacked any bite.
The sovereign held out his arm for Gwen who took it quickly and the two left Merlin and Stiles staring after them on the edge of the hall.
“Come on… let’s go.” Merlin said after a beat.
The two escaped the castle easily enough, given that one of them was severely more intoxicated than originally planned.
The manservant led his friend to a fairly secluded clearing in the forest and opened his mouth to speak, but the sounds that came out were foreign and strange. A moment later a large golden dragon fluttered into the clearing.
Nothing can sober a person up quite like having a dragon appear before you. Stiles stared with his mouth hanging open.
The dragon looked between the two and then opened his mouth to speak. “I see you have found a friend, young warlock, magic flows through him, but of his tale I know none…”
“It… it can speak!” Stiles stammered.
The dragon looked less impressed. “Why do you summon me?”
“Great dragon,” Merlin began. “This is Stiles from what I can only assume is a distant future, he does not know how to return, yet, but I have a more pressing manner…”
Merlin explained about Morgana’s intentions and asked about her strange new ability to disappear. The dragon told them it is likely she is using a dark crystal that allows her to return to its source. It is useful for retreating, but he put to rest the warlock’s fears that she would be able to appear suddenly in the thrown room.
“And if we break it? Her crystal, she wouldn’t be able to get away?” Stiles asked, boldly.
“Her time has not yet come to a close, I would not recommend interfering with her escape.” The dragon warned. “Her attempt to foil the wedding is a feeble one. She is not ready…”
Merlin thanked the dragon but before he left, Stiles asked if the great beast knew of a way for him to return home as all of their research so far had proved fruitless. The dragon said the ability lies within himself and all he has to do is truly want it.
Stiles tried to make the invisible wall appear the entire walk home, to no avail.
The week went by with everyone working hard to bring the celebrations to life each night. They welcomed royalty form neighboring kingdoms. Everyone felt their fair share of extra duties. This meant that Stiles time was split between grooming the additional horses and helping the cook with the excessive demands in the kitchen. His make shift French fries were commonly requested.
For Merlin, however, the stress of the events were causing his king’s moods to swing dramatically and he was scrambling to keep up. Arthur would go from being jovial and doting when in the presence of Gwen to a shade of his former self in front of their guests. He would showboat and brag so much Merlin found himself wonder how his head could fit through doorways. The king was also broody and quick tempered whenever Melin was left alone with the older man.
Those moments had always been his favorites as Arthur usually became more relaxed and less reserved when there was no one around to keep the act up for, but as the nuptials grew closer his anxiety climbed and Merlin found himself the source of all that extra frustration. The berating was quickly becoming tiresome.
Not to mention that Merlin, with the help of Stiles, was guarding the castle ten fold, in hopes of foiling Morgana’s plans.
Their work paid off on the final morning of the celebration. The entire kingdom seemed to be brimming with excitement. It was a gorgeous day, even the weather seemed to be celebrating.
That was of course when the evil witch made her move. She rode straight past the castle guards using spells to light several homes on fire and threatening to do so to anyone who dare to stop her. The commotion quickly brought every knight in Camelot down on her, King Arthur was no exception.
Stiles saw all of this from his perch on the stables’ fence and quickly disappeared inside the building only to reappear a moment later once again fully concealed to the naked eye.
Merlin was the servant who fetched Arthur his armor for the confrontation and naturally stood to the man’s right as he strode out of the looming castle.
Morgana made her list of demands and threatened to bring fire down upon them all of the weren’t met. Her threats seemed to center on Gwen stealing her thrown and crown. That was the wrong move to make on Arthur’s wedding day. He excepted the witches offer of a proper duel of swords and Morgana had him right where she wanted him.
Merlin bit back his fear and knew that when the sorcerer would use her magic to gain an advantage he would counter. And so the duel began. And attempt to cheat, she did. But this was all a distraction as the courtyard was soon enclosed with several other witches, all working under Morgana’s orders. They brought fire and sparks to a sword fight as the knights broke off to tackle the masses.
Soon the entire square was alive with the chaos. Stiles ducked his way in and out of the throngs of people to stun the sorcerers unbeknownst to anyone nearby. It worked, he halted them just long enough for a nearby knight to land a fatal blow.
Merlin had his own battle to control as Morgana grew more and more bold with her blows of her sword. Arthur, who had more than earned his title of best sword’s man in Camelot was more than a match for her. The witch was growing more and furious as she heard and felt the screams of her followers falling around her.
“Die Arthur Pendragon and let magic reign freely in the kingdom of Camelot!” She shrieked as she let forth a large blue flame while simultaneously dodging a swipe of the man’s blade.
Merlin was ready and held his hands out and eyes alighting the shadow he crept in, he sizzled her flame until it smoldered out completely. That was too close of a call for his comfort, however, and was thankful for causing Morgana’s distraction.
“Emrys!” She hissed in a perfect imitation of the night a week ago. “Who are you? Where are you? Why do you help this man? You are a traitor to our kind.
Arthur continued his advancement on his distracted sister. She smirked at his effort.
“You don’t even know, do you? You have a sorcerer right here living in your castle walls, protecting you!”
Arthur looked outraged at the implication.
“Until next time, dear brother!” She called and this time Merlin saw the witch clutch at an amulet around her neck before she disappeared in a wisp of smoke.
The knights and court recovered quickly. The servants worked doubly to pull the event together and that evening after much consoling from Merlin to Arthur to put the events of the morning from his mind the king made Guinevere his queen and married her.
The two kissed passionately and only had smiles and eyes for each other. As soon as he was dismissed from serving them at the high table, Merlin congratulated the happy couple with a strangled voice that sounded strange, even to his own ears. Arthur stared at Merlin with a look of knowing sadness and it was just too much for the manservant. He left the hall as quickly as his feet could carry him. He missed the expression of concern Gwen gave both her former friend and her husband.
With much insistence, Stiles execrated himself from the knight’s table (they were going on and on about their amazing battle prowess that morning) to chase after the secret warlock.
Gaius followed soon after.
Merlin looked broken. Stiles smiled in a similar understanding, he did feel quite shattered after finding out his friends were forming a pack without him, it was that feeling that led his magic to take him here, this he now understood.
Gaius agreed once the newcomer had explained his thought process and looked knowingly at his ward, whom he has seen suffer many times at the hands of their king, but never quite like this.
“Do you just want to get away? Leave it all behind?” Stiles asked once the three had made it to their unofficial destination, one of the tallest tower’s turrets.
Merlin was mostly quiet during the walk. Gaius sighed, knowing where this was leading.
“I do…” Merlin admitted. The thought of greeting his master in the morning and knowing that more than likely Gwen would also adorn those sheets was just too much to take.
Stiles nodded and pushed on the surfaces all around them, he claimed he was looking for an invisible wall which caused Gaius to stare in concern.
The older man was talking about heartbreak in only a way a father could and it warmed Stiles’s heart to see it.
Eventually the youngest of the three sighed, “I really thought that would work and I could go home at last… not that I don’t enjoy it here, but well manual labor sucks… and your food is the worst… and I really need to google some things… and I miss my dad.” He added the last bit with a small voice.
Merlin perked up and remembered he wasn’t the only person suffering, currently. Silently he formed a dragon from the flames crackling in the torch that scarcely lit the room. Stiles smiled and made a wolf that chased after the flying beast…
After sometime Gaius got up, complaining of old bones needing rest. Merlin made his way to follow the man from the room thinking about the smile on Arthur’s face as he kissed his wife for the first time.
He hit it. A solid wall where there was none. Stiles couldn’t help but squeal with joy at the prospect. He ran straight into it, expecting things to go slowly as they did last time. It didn’t his body tumbled through the barrier between the world at a much quicker pace. He would have disappeared completely from Camelot with out saying goodbye if a hand on his back didn’t pull him back.
“Whoa! Are you okay?” A very startled Merlin asked.
Stiles smiled. “It’s my home! It’s beacon hills, more specifically its Deaton’s clinic! Do you want to come? The vet will love you!”
Gaius narrowed his eyes as he usually did whenever Stiles used too many words they didn’t understand. Merlin looked at his father figure sadly.
“I can’t believe I’m telling you to do this… but go quickly, before anyone sees.” The old man said while fighting back tears at the thought.
“Gaius!” Merlin said his name on an exhale, barely a whisper.
“Go!” Gaius insisted. “Clear your head, take a few days respite, mend your heart, and return to me…”
“But what about Arthur? The kingdom? My fate?” The warlock protested weekly.
“I’ll handle this here, just make sure you can come back Camelot needs you, still.” The physician said confidently.
Stiles looked away trying to give the two their private moment.
Merlin seemed renewed with life at the thought. The two had stayed up late into the evening hours everyday practicing spells and Stiles shared countless stories from his world. The thought of being able to experience such a wonder first hand was alluring.
The silence was broken when Stiles jumped on Gaius throwing everyone for a loop. “I’m gonna miss you, old man!” He said most informally as he swallowed the man in a hug. “Tell Gwaine and the nights that they will be missed as well!”
Gaius patted the boy’s shoulder, gingerly.
Stiles stepped away and gave Merlin a wiggle of his eyebrows that could only mean the two were going to be causing havoc on the mysterious world beyond the invisible wall, and then he leaped headfirst into the barrier.
Merlin gave Gaius a hug too, although his was much more tender. “I’ll return.” He said confidently as he turned towards the spot his friend had just disappeared through. “Thank you.” He whispered.
Gaius smiled and nodded and watched his ward fade away. The old man stayed in the room for over an hour contemplating the rash decision.
Led by their increasingly upset alpha, the pack gathered at the veterinarians. Deaton didn’t seem too surprised when they told him they couldn’t find Stiles. He told them all that the warlock was practicing several ways of concealing himself from them. He told them about his affinity with elemental magic too. They seemed impress by how highly they usually stoic vet spoke about their human, who may not be entirely so, anymore.
“So how do we find him?” Derek asked at long last.
“Oh I don’t think we have to look too hard!” Erica pointed behind the alpha at a spot in the ceiling.
Stiles head, followed quickly by almost the rest of his body appeared for just a moment. He smiled at everyone below, his anger long since forgotten now that he was home again, but a thin hand clutched the back of his strange woven shirt and yanked him back.
Derek growled as he leaped in a failed attempt to reach the teen before he disappeared from view again.
“What is that?” The alpha asked Deaton around a mouth full of fangs.
The vet looked scared up at his ceiling. “I… I don’t know… strange.”
“Is stiles okay?” Scott asked, completely panicked now.
They didn’t have to wait long for answers as Stiles appeared once again flying down at an even faster pace this time.
“Catch me!” He said with a large grin.
“Where…” The alpha started to ask but was interrupted as another figure fell from seemingly nowhere.
Boyd and Scott awkwardly caught the stranger before placing him on the ground.
“This is Merlin!” Stiles announced to the stunned room.
“What have you done?” Deaton questioned looking at the new occupant of his room.
He was dressed in threadbare plain clothing adorned with a blue tatter cloth around his neck. The boy was tall and pale and had unusually large ears, he was maybe a few years older than the teens in his clinic but not as old as Derek.
“The Merlin?” The vet asked in disbelief.
“Yes.” Stiles said in a chipper tone. “Well, it’s a long story… but first my dad! I need to tell him I’m back!”
“Back from where?” Scott looked at his best friend with wide worried eyes.
“Camelot.” He said quickly, “can I use your phone?”
“Sure,” Scott handed it over. “We didn’t really tell him you were missing yet, though, just asked him if he knew where you were…”
“What? It’s been weeks!” Stiles asked looking at everyone.
“It’s been hours, Stiles.” Isaac informed him.
“Oh!” Stiles looked at Merlin just to confirm that he did indeed spin weeks at the other man’s castle.
He looked around at the group again and locked eyes with a very concerned looking Derek.
“I’m okay, big guy.” He reassured. And hopped up on the vet’s examination table and started to tell the others his tale.
Merlin awkwardly didn’t know what to do as he stared at the lights and other strange equipment in the room. Catching on to his friend’s discomfort, Stiles used a lighter that Deaton had for their practice to start a flame. He morphed the flame into that of a wolf, getting cheers from some of the girls.
Merlin took that as his cue to make a dragon which promptly stared to chase the wolf. Everyone clapped along to the show except Derek who folded his arms and tried to look intimidating.
“Anyways...” Stiles continued his tale as Merlin grew more use to being able to do his magic openly in front of the group of people in front of him.
Scott hugged his friend several times and blurted out that Isaac was living with him now in the most awkward of fashions. Deaton looked over both time traveling men and declared them safe and sound from the experience and promptly kicked everyone out as his office had closed for the day.
“Well, now that we found Stiles, let’s have that house warming party!” Lydia suggested.
Allison clapped in agreement.
“House warming?” Stiles asked.
“Derek’s loft, only Boyd and Isaac have seen it, but Boyd tells me it’s nice…” Erica chimed in.
“Oh…. Oh!” Stiles exclaimed as he realized what that meant. “So I’m not like kicked out of the pack?” He questioned.
Derek growled at the suggestion.
“Of course not!” Scott said way too hyper, now that his friend was found. “Why would you think that?”
Stiles glanced at Merlin who smiled back, as he had to endure the man’s rants about not being good enough. “Oh no reason, really.”
The two shared look of understanding.
“I can’t wait to show you my Jeep!” Stiles exclaimed, causing most of the group to laugh and Merlin's eyes to light up, eagerly.