Title: Now You See Me
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Leon, Gaius
Summary: Merlin is missing. Reveal fic. Sort of.
Warnings: Not really anything I can think of.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: Beta-ed by brrger. Who, when asked to suggest a title for this, came up with "Gossip Girls". Which is strangely appropriate. Needless to say - title fail.
Suddenly he heard footsteps coming towards the chamber and the doors were flung open. With his heart in his mouth Merlin watched as four pairs of feet stormed into the room. Not for the first time, he questioned his sanity and his decision to hide under Arthur's bed - again - when he should be halfway out of the kingdom by now.
"…ant him found at any cost as soon as possible, do you hear me?!" Arthur was telling his men, his knights, if their feet were anything to judge by.
"Yes, Sire! He shall be found before nightfall," a cocky knight - Sir Erek from the sounds of it - assured Arthur. Merlin snorted in his head. As if Sir Erek knew the first thing about catching sorcerers.
He saw two pairs of feet exit the chambers at once. The third pair however paused on its way out and turned around to the fourth pair, which had not moved from beside the table and was closest to the bed.
"What is it, Sir Leon?" came Arthur's voice, clearly belonging to the fourth person.
"Sire, I— I know it is not my place, but Merlin was— It was quite clear that he was protecting you from the other sorcerer. I only wish to point out that-- "
"I know," said Arthur, his voice tight, cutting Leon off. He sighed, and after a long moment turned around to face his first knight and said, "Do me a favour, Leon. Bring him here, don't take him to the dungeons right away."
Merlin's mouth opened in shock.
A pause. Then—
"Yes, Sire," said Sir Leon's voice, calmer than before. He turned on his heel without another word and walked out. Arthur walked up to the door after a moment and closed it. He turned and returned to the table, this time pulling out a chair and sinking heavily into it.
Not ten minutes had passed when he heard a heavy knock on his door. Arthur - from what Merlin could tell - scrambled up to get to the door. He opened the door, but then the sudden burst of energy seemed to drain out of him, and he sagged a little and moved away from the door. Merlin saw another pair of feet, this one clad in wooden slippers unlike the knights, and nearly groaned out loud. He had hoped to keep Gaius out of it.
“Sire, please,” Gaius said as soon as he entered the room. “There has been a misunderstanding— “
“Gaius,” Arthur tensed immediately and turned his back to the physician. “I know you probably think me a fool to not have noticed the magical nature of my own manservant for the last five years but much is clear to me now, and if you have even a drop of self preservation I would suggest you not try pleading his case.”
“Sire,” Gaius sounds pained, and this makes Merlin feel even worse. “I am not your enemy. Neither is Merlin— “
“Did you not just hear me?” Arthur growled as he turned, to glare Merlin presumed, causing Gaius to take a step back in a hurry. Merlin could almost picture his flinch. To his surprise, Arthur took a step back as well.
“Gaius,” Arthur continued, voice much softer than it had been moments back. “I shall give him all rights to speak his mind when I find him. Do not ask more of me,” Arthur almost pleaded. He turned back to sink into his chair once more.
“I thank you for your consideration, Sire. I could not ask for more.” Gaius turned to go.
“Gaius,” Arthur called.
“Yes, Sire?” Gaius turned around again.
“Do you know where he went?” it was Arthur who sounded pained this time, and Merlin found that he liked it even less.
Gaius seemed to consider the question before replying, “I truly do not know, Sire. I can only guess. But I do not joke when I say that you knew him better than me, your guess would probably be better than mine.”
Arthur snorted at that, got up to stand at the window turning away from Gaius again, and Merlin dearly wished he could see his expression.
“How could you say that, in the light of recent events? I thought I knew Merlin, I thought he was the best friend I had ever had. Apparently I did not know him at all.”
“No, Sire,” Gaius took a few steps forward. “Merlin is still the Merlin you knew. And when you find him he will prove it to you.”
Arthur remained silent.
Gaius seemed to pause halfway to taking a step towards Arthur, as if an idea had just struck him. He spoke after a moment.
“I can prove it to you sire. Now, my guess is that Merlin has gone to Ealdor or one of the neighbouring villages, but let us try your guess. Where do you think Merlin is, Sire? We will find him there, I’m sure of it,” Gaius seemed quite intent on dissipating Arthur’s doubts. Arthur must have thought so too, because he reluctantly stepped away from the window to rest against the wall next to it, one leg bending at the knee to rest against it. His thinking posture, Merlin recognised.
“If I know Merlin,” Arthur emphasised every word, thinking as he spoke, “and the whole castle is searching for him then he would— “ He straightened suddenly, his feet turning towards the bed.
Another pause, then—
“Thank you for your faith, Gaius,” Arthur said suddenly, walking towards Gaius, wonder lacing his voice. “I shall keep you informed of any news.” Arthur practically shove Gaius out, much to the older man’s surprise, if his spluttering was anything to go by. Arthur closed the door on his face and bolted it. He waited until both of them heard Gaius shuffling away.
“I hope you wont make me look stupid talking to myself all alone in my chambers, Merlin. Its very dirty down there, you know.”
And Merlin couldn’t help but smile wide.