Pairing/s: Merlin/Arthur (if you want - who knows where it will go)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Leon, Gwaine, Percival, Lancelot, Elyan
Summary: Arthur had been missing for months. Merlin wasn't sure he had found him.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: Not sure this entirely answers all the questions, but there we go.
“Are you sure?”
Merlin looked at Lancelot and shook his head, unable to voice his doubts. Seeing Arthur, knowing his prince was there, had caused hope to flare in his chest. A discussion with Gaius later, and Merlin had a plan to get Arthur back. It was mad at best, chaotic at worst. For all he knew, he was going to make matters worse, not better.
“What if you’re right and he is in there-,”
“-, and he sees what you are doing?”
Merlin ran a hand over his eyes. “It doesn’t matter.”
He meant it. He would rather die than let Arthur live like this. If he didn’t try something, anything, then he could end up killed anyway. Arthur wasn’t exactly in a friendly mood towards him right now.
Lancelot glanced over at Arthur – still sprawled across the floor – then to Gaius. The physician hadn’t said anything but looked grave. Merlin knew he didn’t approve of the plan, but neither of them had a better idea. This was better than nothing.
Merlin crossed the room, crouching down next to his master. He touched his shoulder lightly.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “Please forgive me.”
He hadn’t been able to move Arthur and hadn’t wanted to. He was scared that if Arthur regained consciousness before Merlin was ready, he wouldn’t be able to go through with it.
“I have to do this.”
Merlin stepped back, gesturing for Gaius to wake Arthur up. But Lancelot held out a hand.
“Just explain the plan to me again. You’re going to hit him over the head as hard as you can?”
“With magic,” Merlin said, wincing. It sounded dreadful when Lancelot said it like that. “And softly.”
“I thought you said it needed to be hard?”
“I’m going to hit him hard by being soft.” Merlin groaned. This was insane! “I’m not going to deliberately hurt him, put it that way.”
Lancelot nodded but Merlin could see the indecision on his face. His friend didn’t say anything though, only dropped his hand to grasp the hilt of his sword. Merlin smiled, reassured by the action. He knew Lancelot would protect him just as much as he would shield Arthur.
Strengthened by the thought, he nodded at Gaius. The old man pulled out a bottle of smelling salts, taking out the stopper and waving it under Arthur’s nose. After a few seconds, Arthur twitched. Then he jumped to his feet so fast that Merlin was surprised he didn’t fall over again.
Gaius moved swiftly out of the way as Arthur caught sight of Merlin. He snarled, stepping forward.
And Merlin threw his magic at the prince.
Hands held out in front of him, his palms facing Arthur, Merlin drove his magic into the man. Instantly, he felt the block, the curse, around Arthur’s mind pushing back, preventing him from reaching the real man.
Merlin gritted his teeth, focusing like he had never done before. Arthur tried to take a step towards him, but the magic held him in check. He glared at Merlin, but the warlock was reassured by the bead of sweat running down Arthur’s face. The prince could feel this, meaning Merlin’s magic had to be having some sort of impact.
With a grunt of his own, Merlin slammed another bout of power into Arthur’s mind. He distantly heard Lancelot calling his name and knew why; he could feel the trickle of blood running from his nose. If the curse didn’t break, if Arthur didn’t give in, Merlin knew he couldn’t keep this up.
“C’mon,” he muttered, his gaze fierce as it locked on Arthur. “Come back.”
Arthur tried to step forward again and Merlin let out a yell, throwing everything he had at Arthur. He fell to his knees, his vision weaving as he tried to keep the magic flowing. He was losing strength though; the curse was too strong…
As soon as the whispered plea escaped his lips, he felt something change. The resistance around Arthur’s mind was weakening. Swaying, Merlin climbed back to his feet, maintaining the pressure. He kept going for a few moments, then suddenly staggered forward as the curse snapped and his power flooded into Arthur’s true mind.
Merlin hastily pulled back, letting his magic settle. Once he could see straight again, he looked at Arthur.
And it was the blue eyes of his prince looking back at him.
“Merlin?” Arthur’s voice was frail and weak. He tried to step forward, but his knees buckled. Lancelot moved faster than Merlin had given him credit for, catching the prince before he hit the floor.
“He’s unconscious,” the knight reported. Gaius moved in, checking Arthur’s pulse and generally examining his patient.
“I think his body is feeling his imprisonment now the curse is no longer keeping him going,” Gaius reported. Merlin stared at him, barely comprehending.
“He’s back?” he muttered weakly, wiping the smear of blood from his face. Gaius nodded.
A chair was shoved under him as Merlin too felt his knees give way. Lancelot squeezed his shoulder.
“I’ll send for some food. For you both.”
He strode to the door, but Merlin only had eyes for his prince. Arthur was pale, dark shadows under his eyes and his cheeks hollow and gaunt. Gaius was right; the curse had been keeping him going.
Somehow, seeing him look so weak was the best sight that Merlin had seen for a while. It meant it was truly his prince. He had done it. Arthur was safe.
“Next time your plan involves almost killing you both,” Gaius said, easing himself into a chair. “Remind me to try and talk you out of it.”
“It worked though, didn’t it?” Merlin gave a shaky laugh as that reality hit home. He had done it!
“It was chaos,” Gaius said sternly. His expression softened. “But yes, it worked. I’m proud of you, my boy.”
Merlin didn’t deny the tears in his eyes as he watched Arthur breathing steadily.