Pairing/s: hints of Arthur/Gwen if you squint with your head tilted to one side.
Summary: The knights are there for Arthur after Uther's death.
Word Count: 898
Amnesty Post Prompt: Prompt 7, Family
Author's Notes: Think this is all I'm going to have time for. Oh well, four for one prompt wasn't bad, got some of the ones that I had missed done.
Merlin knew that Uther’s death had hit Arthur hard. It wasn’t as if the man had been the strong King in his later days as he had even the year before, the sting of Morgana’s betrayal causing a wound so deep that even Gaius had no remedy. But still, even the shadow of a man had still been Arthur’s father, and to lose him in such an unexpected way – it was clear that the King was struggling.
That was why, on a cold and frosty morning, he was standing outside, freezing, waiting for Gwaine. Leon, Percival and Elyan were already there, Gwen being the decoy and keeping Arthur occupied so that he didn’t notice the absence of his servant.
“Where is he already?” Merlin muttered, almost jumping up and down on the spot from where he was so cold.
“Here.” Without hesitating, Elyan drew off his cloak and offered it out to the shivering servant. Merlin shook his head.
“Considering the reason and the purpose behind what we are doing today, Merlin, I think you can. Would defeat the point otherwise.” Merlin couldn’t argue with that and draped the warm cloak around his shoulders, trying not to obviously snuggle into the warmth. Gwaine took that moment to arrive, mumbling some excuse about kitchens, pies and apples. His friends all just looked at each other with amused expressions before Merlin stepped forward. In a way, he didn’t even think about what he was doing, the fact that a mere servant was taking command of knights. Instead, he just knew that they were all there for the same reason – to help a friend. Just because that friend happened to be the King of Camelot was neither here nor there.
“Are we ready?” Having made sure everyone knew what the plan was, Merlin turned and almost tripped over the end of Elyan’s cloak. Percival’s hand shot out to catch him and a small chuckle left the knight as Merlin blushed. Smiling in gratitude, Merlin led the way.
Thankfully, they got there without any mishaps, although Percival made himself Merlin’s shadow after the servant nearly tripped over for the fourth time. For his part, Merlin was just glad that he didn’t have to wear a cloak like this all the time, it would be hopeless. They met Gwen coming in the opposite direction, her eyes sad. Elyan looked protective, but Merlin sighed. Arthur wouldn’t have done anything as such, he just wouldn’t have been very good company.
It was time they tried to change that.
Reaching the royal chambers, Merlin took a step forward. Leon caught his elbow, hauled him back and pointedly knocked. Grinning sheepishly, Merlin waited for the answer until leading the way in.
“What are you wearing, Merlin?” Arthur was over by the fireplace, glancing around with an incredulous expression as his servant stepped through the door.
“Considering you have one exactly the same, I thought it would be obvious.”
“I know what you are wearing, what I want to know is why.” Arthur huffed, folding his arms and looking expectant.
“I was cold.”
“So you just thought that you would take a cloak, one of the Knights of Camelot, I might add…”
“He did not, Sire. I gave it to him when I could see how cold he was.” The rest of the Knights stepped through the door and Merlin smiled at seeing Arthur blink in surprise. These men might have been closer to him than most, but they didn’t normally turn up unannounced. He looked like he was going to say more when Gwaine stepped in.
“That’s right. Why should Merlin be cold when we are warm? We are all men, meaning we are all equals, brothers.”
“Knighthood is a type of brotherhood, Sire, you know that.” It was Leon’s turn to step forward now. “But I think you also know that it goes beyond the call of duty and therefore beyond stations. Merlin is as much one of us as you are.”
“You are, Arthur.” Percival moved now, cutting in before the King could speak. “You are one of us.”
“What is your point?”
“That you are not alone, Arthur.” Merlin spoke softly, contentment in his heart as he realised that he was not the only one who would give absolutely everything for his king. “You may have lost your father, but you haven’t lost all your family. We’re here, Sire, right here where we have always been.”
The whole group fell silent, waiting for Arthur’s reaction. He seemed to simply stare at them for a long moment, clearly not wanting to draw attention to the tears building in his eyes. His emotions had been running high for so long, their words were clearly getting to him.
“Family, Sire. Brothers.” Leon stepped forward, grasping Arthur’s arm. The King’s face split into the first true smile that Merlin had seen for days as the rest of the Knights stepped forward and repeated the process. As Elyan stepped back, Arthur turned to Merlin. For a moment, they just locked eyes, a look passing between them that said for more than words could ever say.
“Well you’d obviously be the runt, Merlin.”
“Of course, Sire.”
Merlin smiled, his expression mirrored on Arthur’s face. It was good to have him back. Not their king, not their leader, master or fellow knight, but their friend.