Title: I have a surprise for you, Sire.
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin; mentions of Gwen, Gaius, Ygraine, Balinor
Summary: Merlin gives Arthur his best surprise yet.
Warnings: Umm, I don't know if this qualifies as warning but here goes: slight Harry Potter crossover alert!
Word Count: 975
"How much longer is this going to take, Merlin?"
Merlin rolled his eyes as he took a turn and led the king down yet another corridor. Even though he knew the end result was worth it, Arthur really tested his resolve sometimes.
"Almost there, sire. A little more patience, if you will."
"You know, Merlin, you need not bother with this. There is no way you can top the surprise that Guinevere gave me last year."
"I am well aware that only Lady Guinevere has the right to produce your heir, sire. I assure you I do not even want to try," Merlin replied. When a second had gone by without a counter coming forth from Arthur, he turned back to check if he had gone too far. Arthur was glaring at him, of course, but thankfully the corners of his mouth were twitching to keep from smiling and Merlin breathed easy again.
"And what about the year before that?" Arthur thankfully veered off-topic, though it was still on annoying grounds. "How can you possibly top what you gave me that time?"
Merlin smiled as he recalled what Arthur was talking about. His king had a point. It was pretty tough to top replicating the entire universe in the king's royal chambers and showing Arthur every star and every galaxy he had wanted to see and then some, watching the child-like enthusiasm in his king's eyes. It was a memory Merlin treasured very much, especially because it helped him to overcome the desire to turn Arthur into a toad when he was being too much of a prat. Now, for example.
"I shall attempt to, sire," Merlin tossed out as they finally reached their destination - Merlin's own chambers, since Merlin had only just managed to master the spell successfully that morning and did not want to risk failure by changing locations.
"So, what is it going to be?" Arthur, despite his doubts earlier, was already rubbing his hands with anticipation.
"You'll have to go in there, sire," Merlin pointed to the closed doors.
"What-- you're not coming with me?"
"I don't think you would want to share this with anyone, Arthur."
A frown appeared on Arthur's face. "What did you do, Merlin?"
"Trust me, sire," was the only thing Merlin could come up with, since any kind of clue might give his plan away and he was not sure how to explain it yet.
Arthur, being Arthur, looked Merlin in the eye for a second trying to gauge whatever he could from him, shrugged once, opened the door and stepped in. Merlin quickly shut the door behind his back.
He took out the stone from his pocket, turned it thrice in his palm and tried to hurry with the spell.
"Take your time, Merlin. It's not like I have a kingdom to attend to or anything," Arthur called out from inside, predictably impatient. Merlin would have said something in reply but he felt the spell take shape just then.
He heard a thud from the other side of the door, sounding like Arthur had backed up against it. Merlin, yet again, questioned his decision, wishing he had Gaius here again like he had last night, to run it through with him. Unfortunately he hadn't worked out how to use the Resurrection Stone simultaneously for two people and he was not willing to try now of all times.
It had taken him a little more than the last year to get his hands on the stone, and the whole of last week to work out how to make it work for another person while he had the stone in his own hands. Fortunately, Merlin was the most powerful sorcerer of his time, a fact he was never more thankful of. He just hoped that Ygraine will explain all of that to Arthur like she had promised Merlin, and that Arthur wouldn't faint, or worse - flee, before she was done.
Merlin waited there in front of his chambers, trying not to eavesdrop on anything that was happening inside. As much as he wanted to know if his plan had gone alright, he knew he needed to give Arthur and Ygraine the privacy they needed. He could well recall the hour he had spent with his father when he had used the Stone that first time. He only hoped that he had brought Arthur the same joy now that he had felt then.
Merlin did not know how long he waited, lost in his thoughts. After what might have been an hour but felt like days to him, the door opened. Merlin watched with trepidation as Arthur walked out slowly, head down, fringe hiding his eyes. Heart in his throat, Merlin reached out tentatively.
“Arthur?” he called softly as he moved to stand in front of the king.
He watched as Arthur seemed to break out of a trance and swipe at his eyes almost absent-mindedly. He looked up at Merlin, and a series of emotions – sorrow, awe, pain, joy – quickly chased each other on his face until they were replaced finally with some unreadable emotion. Then, almost an eternity later, his face softened and he gave out a watery chuckle.
“Looks like you have Guinevere beat after all, Merlin.”
Merlin sagged with relief. “Thank the lords!” he cried out and a grin split his face. “For a moment I thought you were going to have me executed for daring to…” he pointed at the door, still not having managed to conjure up the words.
“Yes, well, I thought about it,” Arthur said, catching Merlin around the neck and leading him away in the direction of his own royal chambers. “Then I figured that you have set yourself up for punishment enough.”
“Of course, Merlin. Just think about how you are going to top this one next year.”
Author's Notes: Title fail. Unbeta-ed. Also, for anyone interested: The Resurrection Stone