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Return of the King

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Title: Return of the King
Author: Froxyn
Rating: FRT
Pairing: Buffy/Giles, Uther/Morgana
Timeline: BtVS S5 – no Glory, no Dawn, no Riley. Also, the layout of Giles' apartment is a bit different. As for the Merlin aspect of the story, sometime after S1.
Synopsis: After Uther is transported into the 20th century, things become much clearer in his mind with a little bit of help. Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Merlin crossover fic.
Author's Note: Special thanks to wyvernwolf and fairygothmum for their wonderful betaing skills on this.

 

Uther Pendragon turned quickly, his red cape swishing around his body as he stared at the young man. His eyes narrowed dangerously, his gaze flicking towards Gaius for a brief moment before returning to the wide eyes of his son's friend.

"I'll have your head." He growled in a deep voice.

"Uther, I..." Merlin started, flinching as Uther's jaw clenched with anger as he took a step forward.

"Sire, Your Highness, My Lord, King..." His gloved hand curled in the collar of Merlin's jacket. "You are not to call me 'Uther' again."

"I'm sorry, Sire..." Merlin whispered urgently, biting his bottom lip as he glanced at Gaius. "It's not what it looked like, Your Highness..."

"Then perhaps you should explain." Uther pushed the young man away and glared at him. "There is no place in Camelot for magick."

"It wasn't magick!" Merlin protested quickly, shaking his head as he fumbled for an explanation. "It was...it was..."

"A party trick." A warm voice tinged with amusement stated from the stone archway.

"A party trick? Really, Morgana?" Uther asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm as he slowly turned towards his ward.

Morgana rolled her eyes and gestured towards Merlin. "Come now, Uther...does he look like a sorcerer?"

Uther's eyes flashed, the tip of his tongue darting out to moisten his dry lips. "Looks are deceiving, all too often."

"Slight of hand, smoke and misdirection." Morgana glanced at Merlin, a nearly imperceptible smile on her lips. "Nothing more. I taught him that particular trick myself."

Uther stared at Morgana for a long moment, anger and fear coursing through his veins. "Should I discover differently..."

"All of us will suffer at your hands..." Morgana finished, a chuckle in her tone.

Uther lifted his hand and narrowed his eyes. "Do not mock me, child. I would suffer far more than you, but I have a Kingdom to protect."

Morgana understood her King's words, those spoken and those left unsaid. Her smile faded and she gave him a gentle nod. "Yes, my Lord."

Without another word, Uther strode out of the room...his cape billowing behind him. Merlin and Gaius exchanged a nervous look as Morgana breathed a heavy sigh.

"Close, Merlin. Very close." She offered him a knowing smile as she backed out of the room. "You'll need to be more careful in the future..."

Merlin exhaled deeply as the heavy wooden door closed behind her. In the excitement, neither he nor Gaius had noticed that the stream of amber light had easily slipped through the mortar between the large stone blocks of the wall.

* * *

Uther grumbled, muttering to himself as he removed his cape before carefully placing his crown in the cabinet that his son jokingly referred to as the Crown Chest of Camelot. He shook his head as his thoughts shifted from Arthur to Morgana...sweet, lovely Morgana. The kindest soul he had known in...years. The one person who could calm him as quickly as she could enrage him.

He knew what that meant, but refused to acknowledge it any further.

So caught up in thoughts that were quickly turning sinful, he didn't notice the shimmer in the atmosphere around him. He tossed his leather gloves onto the desk and ran his fingers through the hair on the back of his head.

Morgana...

He sighed heavily, thinking that she was going to be his undoing one day. He just didn't know if it was going to be pleasurable or not.

He felt a tingle on his skin as he stepped towards his bed. He stopped, narrowing his eyes when the tingle increased to a loud hum. He took another step and felt the heat. He opened his mouth to call out for his guards, but no words came.

A bright light flashed as the portal was activated. And as it dimmed, Uther Pendragon was nowhere to be seen.

* * *

"Bloody hell..." Giles grumbled as he flipped through the book once more.

"Giles...soon would be good!" Buffy called, ducking the clumsy punch of the large demon in front of her.

"I'm trying, Buffy...but, it's hard to read the words..." He stated, holding the book up and squinting his eyes.

"Try harder!" She yelled, landing a kick to the demon's abdomen.

Giles glanced at her, quelling the urge to glare. "Perhaps you should come across a demon in a more well-lit area next time..."

Buffy heard his sarcastic statement, but didn't have time to reply. The demon was becoming more aggressive by the second. She did hear his excited 'ah!' and smiled even as she dodged the demon's lunge.

Giles recited the spell quickly and flawlessly, feeling his heart start to calm as the magick enveloped the demon. The ancient Greek words rolled off his tongue with surprising ease as he stood, finishing the last line of the spell.

The air behind him shimmered as a portal opened.

Uther Pendragon stepped into the cemetery, eyes wide with confusion as a man before him lifted his arm...a bright green light shooting from the palm of his hand and slamming into a...monster of some sort...a few yards away.

Uther swallowed thickly. He could almost taste the magick, the air was so heavy around him. And this man before him...the magick flowed so easily from him.

Uther flinched as the monster exploded when the man shot another beam of light at it. His jaw clenched and his eyes narrowed. This man must be stopped.

Giles gave a surprised cry when he felt a warm hand on his shoulder. He whirled around, dropping the book to the ground. He tried to take a step back, but the other man's hand tightened...strong fingers gripping his jacket.

"Buffy!"

Uther glanced at the blonde girl running towards him before he spoke, his voice deep and commanding as he stared into Giles' green eyes. "That was magick."

Giles nodded slowly, placing his hand over the one on his shoulder and trying to pull free from the other man's grip. He was unsuccessful.

"You are a sorcerer. By the Order of Camelot, I sentence you to death by beheading!"

Buffy grabbed Giles with one hand and pushed Uther with the other, glaring at the older man as he stumbled backwards. "One...he's not a sorcerer. Two...Order of Camelot? Three...there'll be no beheading of anyone, especially not him. And four...Order of Camelot?? Who are you and what fantasy world are you living in?"

Uther straightened and brushed the palm of his left hand over the dark maroon tunic he still wore. He was suddenly very thankful that he had yet to remove his tunic and leather pants before he had been whisked into this strange place.

"I am Uther Pendragon...King of Camelot." Uther announced proudly...even menacingly. "The use of magick is punishable by death...though you state he is no sorcerer, magick flowed from his fingers...his very essence..."

"Uh-huh...you come near him, you have to deal with me." Buffy stated matter-of-factly.

"You are but a mere child, younger than Morgana..." Uther stated, narrowing his eyes dangerously at the one called Buffy. He was very surprised to find that she did not shy from his glare...much like Morgana didn't. "There is no place for magick in Camelot...not any longer."

"Hate to tell you, but...you're not in Camelot anymore, Toto."

Giles smiled at Buffy's quip, but kept his eyes trained on Uther. The King looked taken aback, glancing around his surroundings for the first time.

"Toto?"

"No Wizard of Oz in Camelot?" Buffy asked, allowing her eyes to take in the other man's clothing...his very authentic-looking clothing.

"Wizard of..." Uther shook his head quickly. "There are no Wizards in the Realm of Camelot...not since the night my son was born."

"Arthur." Giles stated softly, automatically taking a step back when Uther snapped his eyes towards him.

"How do you know my son?" Uther growled.

Buffy's eyes widened as she looked at Giles. "Like King Arthur? And the Knights of the Round Table and stuff?"

"Arthur is not King...he has been crowned Prince of Camelot..." Uther felt his confusion overwhelm him. "This...this is not Camelot..."

Giles cleared his throat and met the older man's eyes. "No, Sire...this is Sunnydale. Sunnydale, California...and the year is 1999."

Uther's eyes widened. "Nineteen ninety...no. No...no, this isn't..."

"Hey...calm down, Pendragon..." Buffy said, wrapping her hand around Uther's right forearm.

His eyes flashed with anger. "Unhand me, you common – "

"Enough!" Giles growled, stepping forward and glaring at the King. "I understand your confusion...your fear...but, should you ever use that tone with her again while you're in our time..."

"Giles..."

Giles' eyes sparked with rage. "You'll know the abilities of a Watcher...first-hand. Mark my words, King Uther Pendragon…you are not my Lord. You'd do well to remember that."

Uther raised an eyebrow at the snarl in which his name was said. It was the same tone he would've used had someone spoken to Morgana in that manner in his presence. He had to admit that it intrigued him.

"A Watcher?" His eyes darted to Buffy. "You're the Slayer, then?"

Buffy snorted. "You don't believe in magick, but you believe in Slayers?"

"I never stated that I don't believe in magick, child. I know all too well that magick exists."

The three stood there for a few moments, staring at each other...each waiting for someone else to make a move. Finally, Giles exhaled a deep breath and placed his hand on Buffy's shoulder. She immediately relaxed under his touch.

That intrigued Uther even further.

"Alright. Your Highness, if you'd be so kind to accompany us to my home...we'll see what we can do about getting you back to Camelot."

Uther sighed heavily and ran his hand through his short, greying hair. Knowing he had no other choice at the moment, he gave the Watcher a quick nod…following a few paces behind the Watcher and his Slayer as they made their way through the cemetery.

Uther felt a sudden twinge in his chest. He took a shaky breath as it occurred to him that in order for him to return home, to Camelot…to his son…to…Morgana, he was going to have to become a willing participant in the very thing that he had abolished from his kingdom more than twenty years earlier.

And he was going to have to trust these two people…Watcher and Slayer…to find a way for him to return home.

* * *

Buffy looked up from her book as Uther paced back and forth across the living room. She glanced at Giles, not surprised to find him completely engrossed in research. After all, it wasn't every day that they were looking for a spell to open a portal that led to a very exact spot in another time.

She smiled as he ran his long fingers through his hair and then turned her attention back to the pacing King.

"Anxious to get back?"

Uther stopped and stared at her. "What?"

"You look like a lion pacing in its cage, waiting to attack." Buffy stated with a shrug. "I'm sure your Queen won't even realize that you've been gone…that's how most of these time travel things work…"

Uther lowered his eyes briefly. "I…there is no Queen."

Buffy tilted her head and regarded him carefully. "I thought there was always a Queen if there was a King."

Uther heard the genuine interest in the girl's statement. He cleared his throat and rubbed his fingers over his sternum.

"My Queen was taken from me twenty years ago…on the night my son was born."

"Oh…" Buffy whispered, her eyes showing sympathy for the man. "I'm so sorry…it's just…you looked like there was something more to get back to. I mean, more than Arthur and Camelot…"

Uther stared at her curiously. "Such as?"

"Love." Buffy's eyes darted to Giles.

Uther followed Buffy's gaze. "You love him."

She snapped her eyes back to Uther, surprised to see a tender smile on his lips. She relaxed and returned the smile, giving him a gentle nod.

"Yeah, I do…" She closed the book and placed it to the side. "Who holds your heart, Uther Pendragon?"

Uther's eyes widened, obviously startled by the question. "There is no Queen…"

"Maybe not, but…your heart doesn't belong to you anymore. You do realize that, right? I mean…if I can see it…"

"Buffy…" Giles sighed, turning around and shaking his head. "This is not the time, love."

"Sorry, Giles." Buffy offered, giving Uther another smile before picking the book back up.

Giles glanced at Uther, not surprised by the emotions he could see swirling in the King's green eyes. After all, Giles knew more of the legend of Uther Pendragon than Buffy did. In fact, he was quite sure that Buffy hadn't even known Arthur's father's name…much less known that the King had quite tragically fallen in love with his ward.

Giles hoped that he could help change the outcome of that as well…all Uther needed to do was admit the truth to himself. And to Morgana.

* * *

Uther stretched out on the bed in Giles' spare room, staring at the ceiling and feeling anything but relaxed. He had protested when the Watcher had stated that they'd continue researching in the morning. He had protested in a manner that had ended with the front of his tunic gripped tightly in the Slayer's hand, her eyes glaring at him...almost daring him to take another step towards the Watcher.

He suddenly had no doubt that she would do anything to protect her Watcher, who was also apparently her lover. They had made no secret of where she would be sleeping as they showed Uther to the guest room.

He grumbled softly, closing his eyes and trying to force himself to sleep...and to force the images of Morgana from his mind.

* * *

"How's your shoulder?" Buffy asked as she placed a line of kisses along the bruise that was forming.

"It'll be fine, love." He chuckled softly. "However, it probably would've been prudent to remove his hand from me before you pushed him away."

She lifted her lips from his skin and shrugged a shoulder. "Panicked. He said something about beheading and…this neck belongs to me, not him."

Before he had a chance to respond, her lips had found his neck. He allowed the sensation to carry him further into arousal before stopping her when her teeth scraped over his skin.

"Buffy..."

Buffy gave an exasperated sigh and pulled her mouth from his neck. "I've wanted you all night...you're not really going to tell me 'no' now, are you?"

Giles licked his lips and slid his fingers along her bare shoulder and down her arm. "There is a medieval king in the guest room..."

"And what's he going to do, Giles? Throw us in the dungeon for having premarital sex?"

Giles' eyes widened in alarm. "Premarital?"

Buffy rolled her eyes and ran her hand over his chest. "Calm down, I'm not proposing marriage...I'm just saying...we're not married, we have sex...what's he going to do about it?"

"Nothing, it's just...well, it's..."

"Strange? Weird? Incredibly arousing?" Buffy offered, scraping her nails over his left nipple as she glided her tongue over his collarbone. "God, Giles...don't make me wait until he's gone...please..."

He closed his eyes, knowing that he was quickly losing this battle. As he moved his hand to her firm breast, he conceded defeat.

* * *

Uther had given up on the idea of sleep actually finding him after a couple of hours. He was currently standing in front of the large weapon cabinet, admiring Rupert Giles' extensive collection of swords.

He pulled one out and gave a small smile. He glanced down the hall and tilted his head to the left when he heard a soft moan.

Uther Pendragon wasn't an idiot. And though his wife had died twenty years earlier, it hadn't been twenty years since he had felt the passion of a woman in his bed. He knew what was going on behind that door...and it made him miss Morgana that much more.

He narrowed his eyes at that thought, momentarily confused as to why the knowledge of what the Watcher and Slayer were currently engaged in would make him think of Morgana. And then he shook his head and returned the sword to its resting place.

He knew exactly why he thought of her.

For the same reason that each woman he took to his bed had dark hair, green eyes, and pale, creamy skin. They all reminded him of Morgana in one way or another...even if he hadn't wanted to admit it before now.

He moved to the window and lifted his hand to the wooden frame as he stared out into the darkness. Even if he allowed his heart to swell with love for her, she'd never return it. She saw him as a cruel tyrant, had stated so on more than one occasion. Why would she give her heart, her...body...to a person such as himself?

He swallowed the sudden lump in his throat and straightened.

She could never know his true feelings. He'd lose what he did have of her...and what he had, though sometimes fuelled by her anger, was better than having nothing at all. He'd just need to be strong...and strength, he had.

After all...he was King.

* * *

Giles leaned over and kissed Buffy's shoulder, his lips lingering on her warm skin. When she felt the bed shift, Buffy opened her eyes and smiled tenderly at him.

"Leaving me?"

"Mm, yes..." He answered, a smile in his green eyes. "Was hoping to make a quick exit before you woke."

"Too late." She murmured, leaning into him and pressing a soft kiss to his lips. "Love you."

"I love you too." He returned her kiss and ran his fingers through her still-damp hair. "Close your eyes, I'll be back soon..."

"Better be." She whispered as she obeyed his gentle command.

He chuckled softly and climbed out of the bed, raking his gaze over her nude form one more time as he slipped into his robe. "Have no doubt, love..."

* * *

Giles yawned as he made his way to the kitchen, his fingers running through his thoroughly mussed hair. He tilted his head as he noticed the King leaning against the window frame.

"Sire?"

Uther cleared his throat, but didn't turn towards him. "Uther. As you stated earlier, I am not your King."

"Very well." Giles said quietly, walking into the living room and glancing at the open weapon cabinet. "Is everything alright, Uther?"

"No." Uther answered softly, turning his head to find Giles looking at the cabinet. "Magnificent examples of weaponry you have there…Giles, is it?"

"Rupert." Giles replied absently, doing a quick mental inventory and relaxing when he realized all pieces were accounted for. "Buffy finds my love of swords a tad disconcerting, I believe."

"I would have thought that having a Watcher with an obvious admiration for finely crafted weapons would be beneficial to a Slayer." Uther stated, glancing at the bottles lining the second to top shelf of the bookcase closest to him.

Giles noticed the glance and gestured with a tilt of his head. "Would you care for a drink, Uther?"

"I rather think I would." Uther smiled softly, giving Giles a brief nod. "Thank you, Rupert."

As Giles poured the finest scotch he had into two tumblers, Uther cast his eyes down the dark hallway. After only a moment's hesitation, Uther met Giles' questioning gaze.

"How is it that you've come to..." He trailed off, uncertain of the terminology he should use to convey his meaning.

Giles smiled and handed the King a glass. "Fall in love with my Slayer?"

Uther accepted the drink graciously and lifted the glass in a silent toast. "Are you? In love with her?"

"Very much so." Giles breathed, glancing down the hall before lifting his glass to his lips. "I'm not sure that love can be explained...especially how one begins to fall into it."

"Mm." Uther murmured, sipping his drink.

"Do you know how you came to fall in love with Morgana?"

Uther's eyes widened, his fingers tightening around the tumbler. "I've not loved since Igraine was taken from me."

Giles shook his head, swirling the scotch in his glass. "No...you've not admitted to love. But, you do...love her, I mean."

Uther stared at Giles, for once in his life not knowing what to say. Giles took a deep breath and continued.

"Your hatred and fear of magick will eventually tear her from you...and irreparably damage any relationship you have ever had with her."

Uther's eyes flashed. "Magick stole my wife, Arthur's mother..."

Giles shook his head quickly. "No. Magick helped with the conception of your son. Magick did not take your wife, a misguided...some would say 'evil'...sorceress is to blame for your loss."

"Nimueh." Uther growled, his eyes darkening.

"Without magick, Arthur would not exist. Without magick, you'll not return to Camelot. Without magick, the balance between good and evil would shift...and evil would eventually rule the universe. Without Nimueh, your wife would still sit at your side and gaze at you the way I'm sure Morgana does now."

Uther's eyes lightened a shade as he processed Giles' words. Deep in his heart, he knew the truth. He knew that magick wasn't to blame...but so many years had passed, so much blood shed at his command...

"He knows what he's talking about, you know..."

Uther and Giles both turned towards the soft voice, Giles smiling adoringly at Buffy as she moved to his side. She leaned up and placed a lingering kiss on his cheek as her palm swept over his chest.

"You were gone for a little longer than 'soon'." She whispered, smiling as he blushed before turning her eyes back to the King. "What do you feel in your heart?"

Uther placed his empty hand on his chest, absently rubbing his sternum as he considered Buffy's question. "An ache so deep...so...hauntingly..."

Buffy gave a sympathetic sigh as Uther trailed off, lowering his gaze to the nearly empty glass in his hand. "For Giles to tell you that you need to be truthful about your feelings, tells me that he knows more than he's letting on when it comes to you and Morgana."

Uther's eyes darted to Buffy's.

Buffy smiled and slipped her hand into Giles'. "I'd like to think it's intuition, but it's not...Giles reads a lot, knows a lot."

"Buffy..."

Buffy chuckled softly and gently squeezed Giles' hand as she looked up at him. "I think you should just tell him."

"Tell me what?" Uther asked, staring at Giles. "What do you know, Rupert?"

"Maybe I shouldn't, it could change how -- "

Uther interrupted him, a surprisingly soft tone in his voice as his eyes glistened. "I beg of you, Rupert. Tell me what you know of Morgana and myself."

Giles paused for a moment, reading the King's eyes and then heaved a heavy sigh. "Admit to yourself, Sire. And then...admit to her. You'll not regret it, I promise you."

As Uther thought, Giles tilted his head and smiled.

"You'll need to restore magick to Camelot for your love to survive, my Lord."

A smile tugged at the corner of Uther's mouth. "You said that I wasn't your Lord..."

Giles whispered a string of words in a language unknown to either Buffy or Uther, smiling as the portal appeared to Uther's right. Buffy's whispered 'wow' caused Giles to chuckle.

"You aren't, technically. But you are King Uther Pendragon of Camelot...and you deserve the respect that that title should carry. Serve your kingdom well...serve your son and his friends even better. And drop to your knees at Morgana's feet and whisper your love for her...your dreams, your hopes...take her hand and pull her into your arms. Igraine would want her King to be happy. In Morgana lies your happiness...if you choose to admit it to yourself."

The portal widened as they watched. Uther smiled at Buffy and Giles as the pathway that led to his home moved towards him.

"Thank you." Uther whispered as he glanced into the portal. "My chambers..."

Buffy raised an eyebrow as Uther moved into the portal and disappeared from the living room. "So...when did you figure that out?"

Giles grinned as the portal closed. "About thirty minutes after we came home."

Buffy shook her head in disbelief. "Why didn't you say anything?"

Giles' grin softened as he turned towards her, gently stroking her cheek with his fingertips. "Because I had to convince him of what he needed to do. And that involved this little discussion we just had..."

"Oh." Buffy offered, leaning into his touch. "Think it worked?"

Giles smiled and touched his lips to hers. "Mm-hm...I'm fairly certain of it."

"Good...so we can go back to bed now?"

Giles laughed and slipped his arm around her shoulders as he led her back to the bedroom. Something else that he was fairly certain of was the fact that neither of them would be going to sleep anytime soon.

* * *

Uther swallowed thickly as he watched the portal close. He thought about Rupert's words...Buffy's observations. He glanced at his crown and furrowed his brow.

"What kind of King do I wish to be?"

He knew the answer, even as he asked the question of himself. A happy King.

'In Morgana lies your happiness...'

Without a second thought, he rushed from his chambers. The sound of his leather-soled boots against the stone floor announced his arrival in front of Morgana's door and he inhaled sharply as the door swung open.

Her beauty had always astounded him, and this moment was no different. She smiled in wonder as he stood before her, swallowing hard as he stared into her eyes.

"Uther?"

Her eyes widened in surprise as he dropped to his knees at her feet and took her hand in his. Her tears formed quickly and slid down her cheeks as he whispered his love for her, his passion...his hopes and dreams.

And when he begged her forgiveness for all that he'd done, all of the deaths he had ordered over the years, she fell to the floor in front of him and wrapped her arms around him. She whispered his name once more before experimentally touching her lips to his.

She felt him tremble, heard him urgently whisper her name before he covered her mouth with his. And when he pulled from the kiss a few moments later and ran his ungloved hand down the side of her face, she heard herself ask him into her chambers.

Uther smiled and stood, lifting her into his arms.

As Morgana reached over his shoulder and pushed the heavy door shut, a calmness fell over the Kingdom of Camelot that hadn't been felt for over twenty years.

The King...the true King Uther Pendragon of Camelot...had returned.

 

~ End