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Finding King Arthur - Part 5

Title: Finding King Arthur (temporary until I find something better)
Author: [info]elfflame
Fandom: Merlin (BBC)
Rating: PG for mention of death (for now)
Summary: Things have gone bad in Camelot.  Arthur has been missing for a year, and Uther and Gaius have been poisoned.  Merlin and the knights of Camelot set out to find their Prince before the kingdom can be claimed by Morgana.
Warnings: Death (not Merlin or Arthur), minor spoilers for season 3.
A/N: Short one today. Not up to doing more, but I'm still ahead, so we're all good.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

The room Arthur took them to was drafty and dusty, and Merlin doubted it had been cleaned since it had housed its previous guest, which must have been centuries ago, judging from the layer of dust on the floor.

"I'll light you a fire and get you some more blankets, if you like," Arthur told them. "Is there anything else you'll need?"

Gwaine had already tossed his bag on the bed, and was stretched out across it.

Merlin shook his head. "No. Thank you Ar…I mean…Wart." He frowned. You really don't remember us? Not even a little?"

Arthur looked at him for a moment, frowning, then shook his head. "I'm sorry. I really don't know why you think I could be this Arthur, but…"

"You are. I don't think it, I know it."

Arthur backed up a step. "No. I'm…I'm just…Wart." He was silent for a minute. "I wish I was, though…" He seemed so sad, and Merlin hated to see it.

"Then why…"

"Because…they've done so much for me. And when you find out I'm the wrong one…then what?"

"And what if you're not?" Merlin asked, even as Gwaine snorted.

Both men turned to him, and he rolled his eyes. "So much for you? They treat you like you're the only servant they have! Even if you're not the…" He glanced at Merlin, then changed his question. "Even if you're not who we think you are…I'd wager you're still far better off coming with us than staying here and being their whipping boy."

Arthur scowled at him. "They're not that bad…"

Merlin decided to hold his tongue on that one, but Gwaine had no such compu nctions. "How often do you go without lunch?"

Arthur hesitated. "Not…that often…"

Merlin frowned. Arthur wasn't exactly scrawny, but he did look a bit less muscled than he remembered him having. Gwaine might have a good point there…

"Well, wouldn't you rather be someplace where that was up to your discretion, rather than these two…"

Merlin cut him off before he could insult Hector and Kay. He knew Arthur's sense of duty wouldn't allow him to agree if he thought they were just here to insult his 'family.' "Perhaps…they could come with us… I'm sure there will be a tournament this fall. To celebrate the new king…" If they could just get him back to Camelot, that was… "And you and Kay could both compete. Maybe even become knights."

Arthur looked horrified at the idea. "Knight? Me? Oh, god no. I'm nowhere as good as Kay. I somehow always end up falling off my horse, or drop my sword… No, I'd make a horrible knight."

Merlin listened, flabbergasted. Arthur, not good as a knight? That was like saying the sky wasn't blue, and that flowers didn't bud in the spring. He glanced at Gwaine, who was frowning, and a thought came to Merlin, and he scowled. Somehow he had a feeling that Kay didn't like to be shown up, so he'd somehow managed to break Arthur's confidence… If Kay did come with them, he might need to accidentally sever the buckle of his saddle while they were riding.

"Well…it's…not the only job in the kingdom." And not the one they needed him for, after all. "I think you'd like Camelot."

"Is it as pretty as Hector says? He goes on and on about it for hours sometimes."

Merlin could imagine. He smiled and nodded. "Gorgeous. The first time I saw it…" He could remember the swelling feeling of 'home' as he'd topped the hill and seen the castle for the first time. Even after everything else, all the danger and worry and loss, it still felt more like home than anywhere else. But without Arthur there, it never would again. "I knew it was where I was meant to be." He met Arthur's eyes. "And you will love it there."

"I don't know…"

"What do you have to lose?" Gwaine chimed in. "You never know."

"Maybe," Arthur said softly. "I…need to go get ready for supper. But I'll see you both down there. You can find it okay?"

Merlin nodded, ignoring Gwaine's snort. It wasn't as if the place were that big. The Hall was practically just outside their room, if down the stairs. "Thanks, Ar…I mean…Wart."

Arthur frowned for a moment, but then nodded. "I'll see you then." And he turned and left.

Convincing Hector

They needed to convince Arthur to come back to Camelot, but after that first conversation, things only seemed to go downhill. Hector and his son seemed to have a strong hold over Arthur.

And Merlin still didn't know how they'd convinced him he'd been here so long. There was something going on here, but he couldn't tell what it was. Yet. Which meant staying at the castle for an extended period in hopes of figuring it out. And convincing Arthur to come back with them.

Hector's jovial mood seemed unaffected by their presence, but Kay grew moodier and moodier, and Merlin was beginning to wonder if he might not be the reason Arthur was here.

It drove him mad that he didn't know what had happened to Arthur to bring him here.

And Gwaine wasn't helping at all. Either he was challenging Kay to mock battles, or finding new and (to him) amusing ways to annoy him. And when he wasn't focused on enraging Kay, he was trying to get Arthur drunk.

Still, it meant he had plenty of chances to talk with Hector about his 'nephew.' When he could manage to get a word in edgewise. At first he though maybe whatever had taken Arthur's memory had also affected Hector. But then Merlin asked if anything odd had happened the year before, and the older man went silent for a moment, then quickly switched the subject.

Which meant he was either in on whatever was going on, or he at least knew what had happened.

The problem was, Merlin knew that calling him on it would do no good. The man was an expert in avoiding things he didn't want to talk about. And if they pushed too hard, he was likely to tell them to leave. But since they couldn't until Arthur came with them, he would just have to find another way to find out what had happened.

Next Part

6128 / 50000 words. 12% done!


Nov. 4th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
I keep seeing the Disney drawings in my mind for the characters instead of the boys from Merlin. I need to re-watch season 2 and start watching season 3.
Nov. 4th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
Hee. Yeah, doesn't help that I'm stealing so much from that movie. That should (mostly) change once I get them back to Camelot... :)

You definitely do! :D
Nov. 26th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, Gwaine! :-D

Looking forward to seeing Merlin solve this mystery!
Nov. 26th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
:D I may need to do a Gwaine-centric piece at some point. He's so much fun to play with.