Character/s: Arthur, Gaius and Merlin
Summary: Arthur discusses things with Gaius and Merlin hears the reason he’s been waiting for.
Word Count: 992
Prompt: #13 Time
Author's Notes: Making the most of my time this week, with last week seeing me unable to post. I think this prompt fit in better anyway, so it turned out alright. Oh, and it’s the next part of the Seen and Hidden ‘verse too.
Gaius was in the middle of preparing a remedy for an ill cook when he heard a faint knock on his open door and the distinct sound of someone clearing their throat in preparation to speak.
With his back to the door, he was in the middle of pouring a few drops of a key ingredient into the concoction for the cook. “I’ll be with you in a minute,” he said to his visitor as the first drop fell from the vial in his hand.
Four drops later, Gaius placed the vial back on the table and turned to find the King standing just inside his doorway. “Arthur,” Gaius exclaimed in pleasant surprise. “If you are looking for Merlin, I’m afraid he isn’t here. I sent him on an errand but he should be back soon,” he added in presumption.
“Actually, Gaius, I came to see you,” Arthur corrected.
“Oh, well then what might I do for you, Sire?”
Arthur proceeded to close the door and then walked further into the room as he started to speak. “I wanted to talk to you about the magic laws.”
“I see,” replied Gaius. “Shouldn’t we call a meeting…?”
“I wanted to make sure you were agreeable to my plan before I announced it,” Arthur answered, “because it involves you personally.”
Gaius wasn’t sure what to say to that. He looked around and sat down on a stool.
Arthur moved to sit on the bench opposite. “Gaius, I want to appoint a Court Advisor,” he said, cutting to the chase. “One with abilities in magic and I need your help.”
“I’d be happy to help in any way I can, Sire.” Although Gaius was honoured Arthur might think of him in that sort of role, he couldn’t help but think it would be a good opportunity for Merlin.
“You were a good friend and advisor to my father and you have been to me too. You have invaluable knowledge of the Kingdom, Court and of magic. So I think you would be very well suited to be the new Court Advisor’s mentor.”
“Excuse me, Sire. The Court Advisor’s…?” Gaius asked to make sure he heard the King correctly.
Gaius nodded slowly while his mind ticked over at the implications.
“I would like you to teach them the ways of the Court, the Kingdom and all you can about magic. I trust you’ll do a great job.”
“I’m honoured, Sire,” Gaius replied with a smile.
Arthur stood up and stepped towards the physician, patting him on the shoulder. He looked down at the old man and smiled happily. He always felt at ease with Gaius. Almost as much as what he felt with Merlin by his side. He hoped that the new Advisor would fit in well with them.
“Thank you, Gaius. I knew I could count on you.”
“I do have one question though”
“How do you plan to choose this new Advisor? There would be a lot of people wanting to get into the role if word got out too far and most likely to be for the wrong reasons. There are a lot of people that still hold you accountable for your father’s actions and would plot to take Camelot from you, if given the chance. You will have to be careful with who knows your plan and who you choose.”
“I have already thought on all that. I know it will have to be someone I can trust with my life,” Arthur answered. “I think it would have to be someone young as well. I don’t mean to offend…”
“I understand, Sire.” Gaius’ mind’s eye could picture Merlin standing happily beside Arthur in distinguishing garments.
“You wouldn’t happen to know of anyone suitable, would you?”
“Umm…” Gaius hesitated. He wanted to say ‘Yes! Someone very suitable’ but the King would ask questions. “I think an acquaintance of mine might know of someone. I’ve lost most of the contacts I had when I was younger, before your father…”
“It’s alright, Gaius. I’ll find someone. If you ask anyone, ask of young sorcerers with great potential. That is what I am really looking for, I suppose.”
“I will ask around, Sire.”
“Thanks again, Gaius.”
“My pleasure, Arthur,” Gaius said with a slight bow.
The King smiled and turned to walk out the door. He pulled it open only to have Merlin, who seemed to have been about to open the door from the outside, stumble into him. Arthur took a few quick steps back to get out of his manservant’s way but this only served to make the situation worse. Merlin continued to stumble forward right into Arthur’s chest.
Arthur pushed his servant back into an upright position and shook his head. “Honesty, Merlin.”
“Sorry, Arthur,” Merlin said with a half grimace, half smile which said ‘Pleeeease, don’t punish me.’
Arthur just rolled his eyes and moved past his servant and out the door.
When Merlin saw him turn down a far corridor, he stepped back inside Gaius’ quarters and closed the door.
“Is he serious?”
“I believe so,” Gaius said and then raise his eyebrow. “Merlin, how long were you standing outside?”
“Long enough. I heard Arthur’s voice and saw the door was closed. He sounded serious; talking about you being a good friend, then he mentioned wanting you to be a mentor to a Court Advisor on magic. Gaius, do you know what this could mean?”
“Now Merlin, don’t get ahead of yourself. Your life may not be on the line any more, but you still can’t be sure how Arthur might react.”
“But would you really trust anyone else to be by Arthur’s side? He needs me, even if he doesn’t know the whole truth of it yet.” Merlin exchanged knowing looks with Gaius.
“I have to… it may be my only chance,” Merlin said quietly.
Gaius knew his young charge had a point. “Choose the time wisely.”