Beren (beren_writes) wrote,
Beren
beren_writes

Fic: To You I Pledge, Merlin (BBC), Merlin/Arthur, NC17/18, 03/07

Title: To You I Pledge (03/07)
Fandom: Merlin (BBC)
Author: Beren
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Rating: NC17/18
Summary: Merlin lays his life on the line to save Arthur yet again, only this time there are witnesses, lots of them. Only Arthur prevents him going to the headman's axe straight away, but Arthur alone cannot save him. That is up to both of them.
Word Count: ~45,160
Ch 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 | Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch 7
My Fanfic Listings (LJ) | My Fanfic Listings (DreamW)

Chapter 3 Absence makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Merlin swam back to consciousness to the feeling of being moved and he felt a pillow being put behind him. He opened his eyes slowly and came face to face with one of the other servants that he didn't really know very well. They had passed in the corridors often enough, but they weren't on chatting terms. The man took one look at him, realised he was awake and very rapidly moved away, fear in his expression. It cut Merlin right to his heart and he had to look away.

Gaius was on his other side and he looked up at his mentor, unable to hide his grief at the other man's reaction.

"Don't fret," Gaius said, placing a gentle hand on his forehead and giving him a gentle smile. "I have a tonic you need to drink and then there is some food. Thomas was just helping me sit you up. Thank you, Thomas, you may go."

Merlin did his very best to ignore the fact that the man all but fled the room. The hatred and fear of magic was too ingrained in the inhabitants of Camelot and Merlin could almost feel it where he lay. It at least gave him something to think about when he felt the magic outside the room trying to reach him as the door opened and closed. It took more effort than he cared to admit to keep from reaching out, but he knew if he did he would not be able to stop.

"He was terrified of me," he said in little more than a whisper as Gaius picked up the small beaker from the table.

"Thomas is not known around the castle for his brains," Gaius said, as if it was nothing. "I am sure he was specifically chosen for his task to prevent there being any chance of him helping you. Those who know you, Merlin, are not afraid."

Looking into Gaius' eyes, he tried to believe that, but it was very hard. Magic corrupts the soul; that was what Uther taught his subjects and he wondered how many in Camelot believed that he was corrupted.

As Gaius helped him lean up a bit and put the beaker to his mouth he drank down what was inside and it showed how in need he was, since the relief of the liquid made it to his brain before the horrible taste. He felt a little more with it on this awakening, but the way Gaius had to help him lie back again showed him how weak he was.

"Are you in danger because of me?" he asked as he watched Gaius pick up the bowl of broth next.

Gaius gave him a look that told him he should be worrying about himself for that question.

"Uther has not acted against me," Gaius replied gravely, "but I do not know what he is thinking. He allows me to see to my patients and to speak with Arthur about you, so I do not believe he will punish me, at least, not until he has chosen a course of action."

"You should leave while you have the chance," he said, all sorts of horrible ideas running through his head. "Go away from here, Gaius, be safe."

For that suggestion Gaius gave him a very hard stare with a particularly pronounced eyebrow lift.

"Stop talking nonsense, Merlin," was the short response before Gaius picked up another vial of something and offered it to him. "Let us concentrate on making you well and then we will worry about Uther."

Merlin thought it wise not to argue.

====

Someone opening the door woke Merlin as his body sang with the momentary flare of magic. It was just the same every time someone went in and out of the room, but he was managing to curb his reactions the more it happened. Even so he almost bit through his lip as his hands clenched in the blankets and he tried to stifle the moan that wanted to leave his throat. He longed to drag the magic to himself to will the door to stay open, but he held himself in check. As the door closed, the sensation was almost completely cut off with only the slightest hint that there was magic at all being left and he had to bring his breathing back under control as his mind screamed how wrong this was.

"You sense magic in Camelot," Uther's voice made him open his eyes and look at the King; "where is it?"

"Everywhere," was all he replied, because it was the truth.

"Magic is banned," Uther said with the usual hostility.

Merlin wanted to laugh, but he did not have the excuse of being as out of it as before, so he did not react as he wanted to. Instead he chose to be completely honest; if he was going to die for what he was then he was going to be true to himself.

"You can ban its use, but you cannot banish magic itself," he said, letting any anger he had for the King's attitude flow away so that his voice was just tired and quiet. "Magic is in everything, even you, Sire. That is what I feel. I never realised it, not until I woke up here."

He looked into Uther's eyes, almost daring the King to deny what he said was true, but all Uther did was sit down in the seat that Gaius had used before him.

"You play the fool," Uther said eventually, watching him closely, "you are not."

Merlin smiled to himself a little; sometimes he wasn't so sure.

"I am me," he replied, "sometimes that is a fool, just like any other man."

There was silence again and Merlin did not even try to figure out what Uther was thinking. He was alive for now and that was as far as his thinking went. Gaius had given him something to ease the pain of his shoulder earlier, which was why he had fallen asleep in the first place, and, even though his head felt a little woolly, the tonic was beginning to wear off and his shoulder was starting to hurt again and it was distracting. He really could have done without another visit from the king.

"You have deceived a great number of people," Uther said and Merlin knew he was being scrutinised, "yet you seem to expect us to believe you now."

Merlin grimaced at that; it did not help that he felt guilty about that.

"I know," he said, trying to divert himself from the dark thoughts that threatened, "but it's not like I had much choice. I didn't come here and plan to be anything but Gaius' assistant, but fate has a funny way of playing with my life. You made me Arthur's manservant and I've never met anyone who can attract trouble in so many diverse forms on a daily basis."

"He's the prince," Uther said tersely.

"He's honey to every wasp lurking in this kingdom," Merlin replied and then suddenly remembered who he was talking to, "Sire."

About all he could do in his current situation was think and it wasn't really helping his peace of mind. He had never been good at lying around to begin with and he was finding that his thoughts could become very dark when he had nothing to be doing.

"Why do you hate magic?" he knew he shouldn't have asked it, after all the king was there to question him, not the other way around, but, as Arthur was very fond of pointing out, he never did have the sense he was born with.

Uther's expression was thundery.

"Impertinent wretch," was the king's response.

"I meant no offense, Sire," Merlin apologised quickly, letting his eyes fall to the floor, "I have nothing to do but think and I cannot help but wish to know why I must die for something that is not my fault."

He knew that Uther hated magic, that the king believed it was evil, but did not know exactly why and that bothered him. The fact that all Uther had to do was say the word and he would be without a head was not settling, but it also made him brave in a reckless way.

"Magic is evil," Uther said, clearly falling back on rhetoric, "I have seen it do terrible things."

"So have I," Merlin put in before the king wound into a great speech, "but I have also seen it do wonderful things."

"You cannot understand the evil that nearly destroyed this kingdom," Uther responded, eyes ablaze with righteousness; "Nimueh and..."

"Oh," Merlin said as one of the pieces he was trying to puzzle together in his head dropped into place.

"You know her," Uther accused and Merlin assumed the king had seen recognition on his face.

Merlin looked up then.

"About her we agree," he said in as flat a tone as he could manage; "she's dead."

Uther appeared honestly shocked by that statement.

"Explain," was the royal demand.

"When Arthur was dying I made a deal with her," he said, his voice clipped as the hatred he had felt tried to rise up again, "my life for his, only she tried to take another instead of me. She paid for her mistake."

The time on the Isle of the Blessed was etched in his memory and it still brought up strong emotions within him. He had never realised what he was capable of until that day, what his magic could do when he really needed it and he did not let himself forget.

"You killed Nimueh?" Uther looked completely astounded and maybe momentarily sad, but it was wiped away and the coldness was back in only moments.

"Yes," Merlin said flatly and suddenly found the thread he was picking at on the blanket incredibly interesting.

Uther sat forward in the chair and for the first time Merlin saw a flash of the man under the king. There was more history there than Merlin knew about, he was sure, but he knew well enough that he would also probably never know it.

"You admit how dangerous you are and expect me to ignore it?" Uther seemed genuinely confused about that part.

"I don’t like lying," he replied, since it was his underlying reasoning, "and you saw what I can do. There is no point in pretending anymore; if I am to die I want to be seen for who and what I really am."

That, at least, Uther seemed to understand.

"I do not understand you," Uther finally said and Merlin thought that, for the first time, they were really talking rather than throwing words at each other.

It was actually an unsettling experience.

"There is not much to understand," he replied, and he didn't think there was; he was not an overly complicated person.

It was funny how magic got in the way of things like that. His life and motivations were really quite straightforward, but no one was going to be willing to believe that anymore.

"Tell me about Nimueh's death," Uther decided as they looked at each other; "tell me everything."

Merlin was not in the least bit tempted to lie or tell half truths and so he gathered his thoughts and began to talk. His greatest secret was already known and everything else seemed small in comparison. It actually made his heart a little lighter to tell someone else the truth.

====

It had been days since he had been allowed to see Merlin and Arthur had thrown himself into his duties, but it could not stop the ache in his chest. He checked with Gaius at least three times a day about how Merlin was and he knew that Merlin was slowly becoming stronger. That was not enough, though, he needed to see with his own eyes and he knew there was only one way that was ever going to happen. His father was the only one who could give permission.

"Father," he greeted, walking into his father's private chambers, away from the prying eyes of the court, "may we speak?"

Arthur knew he was proud; it was how he had been brought up, but he was ready to put that pride aside and as his father looked at him he knew Uther saw it as well. Over the past few days most of their meetings had been cold and formal, but Arthur had decided that he had to put that away now.

"Come and sit down," his father said and the tone was not warm, but neither was it scathing.

It was more than he had been expecting; his father could be more stubborn than himself, and that was saying something.

"What is it you wish to speak to me about?" his father asked, even though Arthur was almost positive they both knew why he had come.

"Merlin," he said simply, since there was no hiding it.

He saw his father's expression close some as he spoke the name. Arthur knew Uther had visited Merlin at least twice, but he had no idea what his father had gained from those meetings.

"You show too much care for a servant," his father said, trying to sound dismissive, but not quite managing it.

"He is not just a servant, Father," Arthur had decided that plain speaking was all he had left; "he is my friend."

That made Uther frown.

"You are the crown prince," his father said firmly, "you cannot be friends with a commoner."

"Father, I have spoken to the older knights, I know that you were friends with a commoner," Arthur played the card he had kept hidden for a long time, one he had found when he had finally realised that Merlin was not really his manservant at all. "I have heard stories of the time before ..." he paused, knowing that he could be stepping over a line, "before the purge, when you were happier. Gaius was your friend then and I am sure he still considers himself your friend now, even though you do not allow it."

Surprisingly his speech did not throw his father into a temper, in fact his father just leant back in his chair and sighed.

"It can bring only pain," Uther said in a tired voice; "they are not the same as we. They live their lives by different rules."

For once he knew he was speaking to his father, not the king and Arthur's began to hope, just a little.

"I do not believe Merlin is like anyone I have ever met," he admitted honestly. "I can only guess, Father, but I believe you may think the same."

Uther gave him a warning look then and he knew he was close to the line.

"He is a sorcerer," Uther said, but there was no fire behind the words.

"I know, Father," Arthur replied with a nod, "I witnessed as well as anyone else, but I have seen sorcery before and I have been afraid, but when I saw this, I was not. I felt power in that room so powerful it should have scared me witless, but it did not, and I do not think it frightened you either, Father, or you would have had Merlin executed to safeguard Camelot no matter what I had said. I am not under a spell and Merlin could not possibly influence me from within that room and I still know that he is my friend."

Uther just looked at him for a few moments.

"What do you ask of me?" was the eventual question.

There was no condemnation in his father's voice or face, but neither was their acceptance.

"Please allow me to see him, Father," Arthur said, with as much feeling as he knew how to put into words. "Allow me to visit Merlin as you do."

The only sound in the room was the crackling of the fire as he awaited his father's reply, but he was sure his heartbeat had to be audible to Uther as well. Arthur honestly did not know what he would do if his father forbade him to see Merlin again.

"You have duties, Arthur," Uther said eventually.

"And I will not neglect them, Father, I swear," Arthur answered quickly.

More silence.

"Remember that Merlin is still a prisoner, Arthur," Uther finally spoke again. "His life is forfeit under the law."

Arthur held his breath; he knew there was more coming.

"You may see him."

It was close, Arthur almost lost his composure at that, but he held it together, just.

"Thank you, Father," he said, standing up; "you will not regret this decision."

"I had better not," was Uther's reply, but it was nothing Arthur had not been expecting.

It was just after lunch and Arthur had knights to put through their paces and papers to read, but he went to work with a much lighter heart, knowing that he would be able to visit Merlin once he was finished.

====

There was just no getting away from it, Merlin was in a peevish mood. He was bored and totally unable to do anything about it; even sleep eluded him. He wasn't allowed anything like books and he didn't have the strength for even gentle exercise; most of the time he could doze when Gaius wasn't there to talk to, but not right then. When the door lock clicked, he was all ready to take his ire out on the poor servant sent to check on him, since he knew it couldn't be Gaius coming back yet. The fact people were afraid of him mostly bothered him, but in his current mood he felt like making them even more nervous. However, it was not a servant who opened the door and Merlin's mouth dropped open in surprise.

"Arthur," he said, both shocked and incredibly happy at the same time.

He knew Arthur had been by his side when he was unconscious, but had been forbidden to see him now he was awake, and just seeing Arthur's face brought him more joy than he had thought possible.

"Well you're looking more alert than when I last saw you," Arthur said, smiling back, "still stating the obvious though."

In his excitement Merlin tried to sit up a bit more, which was an incredibly bad idea as he found out very quickly as just about his whole body rebelled.

"Still an idiot as well," Arthur said and Merlin found his friend helping him to relax back against the pillows. "Is this something you do for everyone that comes in, or am I special?"

"You're special," Merlin managed to gasp out as he did his best to reassert his equilibrium; "it's the only way to get your attention."

He was struggling to ignore the fact that he still felt like he'd been mown down by a whole cavalry unit simply because he was so happy to see Arthur. It was difficult, but seeing Arthur again was something he hadn't even dared to wish for. His talks with Uther had given him a little hope that he wasn't going to be dragged down to the square without any warning to lose his head, but being allowed to see Arthur had been something he had refused to think about.

"Okay, so I may have missed a few things, but so did everyone else," Arthur said, making sure he was comfortable and then sitting down in the chair beside the bed.

It was Arthur's usual sprawl, casual but commanding and Merlin was overcome with the desire to reach out and touch. This time at least he managed to control himself, but it made him realise quite where his thoughts were going and, considering his circumstances, that rather surprised him.

"Yes, but I wasn't living in their pocket," Merlin replied, trying to keep the tone light, but it rather brought home one fact: he hadn't told Arthur the truth. "I wanted to tell you," he said quietly, "so many times, but I never figured out how."

He was surprised when he felt a hand covering his own.

"That's the past, Merlin," Arthur told him when he looked over, "you were going to tell me, just forget about the rest. I've spoken to Gaius at some length and I realise how much you have done for me. All we need to worry about is the future now."

It was a relief for him to hear that, but he couldn't help wondering if Arthur would have reacted quite so well if he had just told him. Arthur was a good man, but he had a hot temper. Even so he wished he had had a chance to tell Arthur before Arthur had found out.

"That might be very short," he said, unable to stop the black thought before it came out of his mouth.

"You're still alive, Merlin," Arthur said, sounding gruff and sure, "that in itself is a miracle, and I know father has been here to talk to you."

Merlin gave a little nod.

"He's a strange man," he said, still unable to decipher Uther like he thought he should be able to; "different to how I expected."

"What most people see is not all there is," Arthur said, sitting back in the chair again, "but enough about my father. How are you feeling? You're looking more alive."

Merlin smiled at that; he really didn't want to look in a mirror at the moment, he suspected it would not be pretty.

"I feel terrible," he admitted, but did turn his head so Arthur could see that he was smiling, "and I hate this room, but Gaius assures me I'm getting better."

"And we all know Gaius is never wrong," Arthur said and they both grinned.

His heart felt lighter just because Arthur was there and Merlin hoped his friend could stay a while. He didn't want to talk about anything important, in fact he just wanted to swap insults and make jokes and be like they normally were. Arthur was probably the only person who could make him forget what was really going on.

"I thought that was just what we all let him believe," he replied, simply because he knew it would make Arthur keep smiling.

It did too, Arthur even laughed. For a moment he couldn't help thinking how different it might have been now if Uther's war on magic had not brought new combatants to the court. Would he and Arthur have ended the night the way they had almost begun it, or would his confession have changed everything? It was irrelevant now, but it still bothered him and he ran the idea over in his mind as he looked at his golden prince. They were so close and yet separated by so much now and Merlin contented himself with just watching as Arthur began to talk to him. He didn't care what Athur was talking about, just that Arthur's was the voice doing the speaking.

====

The shards of glass hung in the air, twisting like tiny knives and glinting in the light and they moved closer and closer to Arthur. Merlin tried to stop them; he threw all his strength at them, but they just kept moving, agonisingly slowly, but moving nonetheless. Arthur seemed to be oblivious to the danger, just standing there smiling benevolently and ignoring all Merlin's shouts about the danger. He had to save Arthur, it was what he was born to do, but he couldn't. It was as if there was something missing, something he didn't have and he wasn't strong enough.

The shards of glass touched Arthur's skin, slowly digging in. Deep red blood began to run down Arthur's perfect skin and it was too much for Merlin.

"Arthur!" he yelled and woke up with a jolt, the name still on his lips.

His shoulder had been giving him some severe pain after a particularly stupid move on his part and Gaius had given him something to make him sleep. It had clearly been a bad idea, because unlike the pain medication that had just made him sleepy, this had put him right out and given him nightmares. He really didn't want to see Arthur being torn apart when he closed his eyes.

What shocked him more, however, as he began to recover was the fact that the person sitting in the chair was not who he thought it should have been. He had to have been well and truly out of it not to notice the door opening and he remembered Gaius being there and now a woman was sitting there just watching him; a woman he had never seen before. She was dressed like a lady and had long golden hair and blue eyes that he was sure he should have recognised.

"Bad dream?" she asked in a quiet, gentle tone.

"Yes, My Lady," he said, knowing that there was something that he should be realising, but unable to track it down in his still sleepy mind. "My apologies, but who are you?"

He could not understand why anyone else would have been allowed into the room, not unless Uther had decided something that he didn't have a hope of understanding. The woman smiled at his question, but it had an air of sadness.

"I am a friend," she said and there was something about her that made Merlin believe that she really was.

She just looked at him for a few moments, her open gaze taking him all in and he did not have the heart to interrupt her.

"You love him a great deal, do you not?" she finally said and for a moment Merlin did not completely understand her.

Then he remembered whose name had been on his lips when he woke.

"If you are speaking of Arthur, My Lady," Merlin replied, feeling awkward, but somehow needing to speak, "then yes, I love him. He is a great man."

When she smiled this time, his visitor's face held no sadness, only amusement.

"You need not try to hide the truth from me, Merlin," she said, eyes glittering with humour in a very familiar way that Merlin still couldn't figure out, "we are not speaking of the love of a man for his prince."

If he'd been a little more awake he might have panicked, as it was he was only rather shocked.

"You are good for him," the woman told him in a very motherly tone; "I approve. I was beginning to despair he would never see what was in front of him; he is very much like his father in that way. It took Uther over a year to propose, a year! Can you imagine?"

Merlin shook his head, trying desperately to figure out who this mysterious woman was. He had never seen her before and yet she spoke as if she knew him and Arthur as well as Uther. She appeared too young to be an Aunt or that generation of Arthur's family and Arthur had never spoken about cousins. It was very confusing.

"I do not believe Arthur is likely to propose to me," he said, unwilling to ask her who she was again when she had declined to tell him the first time.

"No, Dear," she replied, smiling fondly at him, "but then I do not think you would make a good wife."

Merlin actually laughed at that; it was true.

"I would make a terrible wife," he admitted even as he tried to relax again after his shoulder twinged and objected to the laughing.

"But he needs you, Merlin," the strange woman told him, tone very sincere now, "and he always will. Married you may never be, but your connection will run far deeper than that."

The woman was beginning to remind him of the dragon.

"You will have to find him a very understanding woman when the time comes for him to father an heir," the woman was almost talking to herself now and Merlin thought she was getting rather ahead of current events. "Possibly one who's heart belongs to another, just as his does. After all only the first boy child, as heir, has to be truly his, and Pendragons always father boys."

Merlin began to wonder if the woman was a bundle short of a haystack.

"But that is the future," she suddenly decided and looked back at him, smiling again, "and there is plenty of time for such things. I should not disturb you any longer; you need to sleep to regain your strength."

Standing up, she stepped towards the bed and Merlin felt the most delightful cool breeze as she did so. For some reason, looking at her he felt peaceful and he didn't understand why.

"Sleep now, Merlin," she said, leaning over him and gently brushing the hair off his forehead as his mother had often done when he was a child; "I will guard your dreams for you."

It was as if her words and her eyes were hypnotic and he found his eyelids so heavy he could not keep them open and he blinked once, then twice, trying to stay awake, but it was no use.

"Who are you?" he whispered as he slipped into dreamland once again.

As she had promised, this time his dreams were not bad, in fact they were bright and sunny and the woman was in them. He walked with her in summer woods and through summer fields and they talked and talked. She told him who she was and all about herself and he realised he should have known all the time, but when he woke the memories faded and he could not recall what she had told him.

====

"Gaius," Merlin said as his friend and mentor mixed something in a beaker beside his bed, "who was the woman sitting with me yesterday?"

Since then Uther and Arthur had visited and Merlin had been so tired that he hadn't had a chance to speak to Gaius. Her memory seemed to be lurking at the back of his mind, but it was very elusive and it took quite a lot of effort to make the mental image stay clear to talk about her.

"Woman?" Gaius asked, looking at him in a confused manner.

"After you gave me the sleeping draught," he explained, since he was well used to Gaius' occasional, confused old man act. "I woke up because I had a nightmare and she was sitting where you are now."

What he hadn't really expected was Gaius to look so dubious.

"There was no woman, Merlin," Gaius said in a gentle, almost patronising tone and Merlin had the distinct impression his friend thought he had been hallucinating. "While you were asleep I took the opportunity to visit some of my other patients and you were left completely alone."

"She wasn't a dream, Gaius," he replied, very sure of himself; "I spoke to her before I fell asleep again. She was tall and beautiful with long blonde hair and blue eyes. She reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t figure out who, and she spoke about Arthur and Uther like she knew them very well. I'd never seen her before, but she seemed to know me."

Gaius was giving him one of those very hard, penetrating stares.

"I do not recall anyone of that description being in court at the moment," Gaius told him after a moment. "Think hard, Merlin, who did this lady remind you of?"

It was clear that something about the situation did not sit well with Gaius, so Merlin did his best to do as he was told. He tried to picture her clearly in his mind and then put the scattered hints together.

"I'm not sure," he said, frowning as he thought; "she seemed to find many things amusing, but at first she had such a hint of sadness about her. Her eyes said so much more than her face just like ..."

He trailed off as he realised he had just tracked down the elusive connection his thoughts had refused to give him.

"Arthur," he said, feeling a little sheepish, but realising why he had assumed the mysterious lady was a relative of the royal family.

"All of Uther's family are dark haired," Gaius said and slowly stood up, "and I know of only one person who matches your description."

Merlin was a little confused when Gaius walked over to a small cupboard, opened a small drawer and pulled something out. Only when Gaius returned to his side and handed him a hand sized portrait did he understand.

"Is this her?" Gaius asked and Merlin could tell that something was going on behind his mentor's eyes, but not what exactly it was.

The portrait was quite a good likeness and Merlin nodded.

"Yes," he said, smiling at the memory; "who is she?"

Gaius sat down, rather pale and for a moment Merlin was worried.

"That, Merlin," Gaius told him, "is Arthur's mother, Igraine."

For a moment Merlin decided he had heard wrong.

"But she's dead," he said when he realised he hadn't.

"Yes," Gaius replied as if that much was obvious, "that is apparent."

"Gaius," Merlin said, not really believing what he was hearing, "I'm a sorcerer, but I don't usually go around talking to dead people. I felt her touch me, she was as real as you or I."

When Gaius did not immediately agree with him he began to worry. Looking at the portrait again he tried to think of a rational explanation.

"I have sometimes felt her presence," Gaius finally said after a long few moments of silence, "but I thought it my own fancy. Now I believe it may not have been."

Merlin had seen shades before; echoes of what had been, but the woman he had spoken to had been real and vital and seemingly alive. It seemed impossible it really had been Igraine.

"How could that be?" he asked, not understanding at all.

"Igraine's death was not a natural one," Gaius said and Merlin did not think his mentor really understood either, "and it would not surprise me if she remained to watch over Arthur. That she appeared to you and in here as well must mean something important. What did she say to you?"

That caused Merlin to look at his hands for a while; he was not ready to share the depth of his feelings for Arthur, not yet and not when he did not know if Arthur still felt the same way.

"She told me I was good for Arthur," he said, editing himself as he spoke, "and that she approved. That was all. Aren't the spirits of the dead supposed to bring deep and important messages to the living?"

Gaius smiled at that, strange given what they were talking about.

"To a mother such things are very important," Gaius told him and placed a gentle hand on his arm. "Igraine was never a woman to mince her words, Merlin, I believe you should be pleased by her visit. All I beg of you is that you do not mention her to Uther or Arthur; there is too much pain there for both of them."

Merlin nodded and tried to remember Igraine more clearly. He had so much to think about, as if he needed anymore.

On to Part 4
Tags: category: slash, ch_story: to you i pledge, fandom: merlin, ficfest: big bang, fictype: 30kwds up, fictype: chaptered, genre: fantasy, pairing: me - merlin/arthur, rating: r to nc17
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