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A Word for Forgotten Songs (15/?)

Title: A Word for Forgotten Songs
Fandom: Merlin
Characters: Merlin, Arthur, Uther, Gaius, Gwen, Morgana, Leon, OMC
Rated: PG-13
Word Count: 1,927 (this chapter)
Summary: A strange warrior arrives in time to save Arthur and Merlin from bandits. He is wounded and falls ill. As Gaius cares for the wound, he knows the blade was dipped in a potion that only affects those with magic. After he heals, Merlin talks with him of magic and Arthur spars with him. They then learn that the bandit attack was not random.
Author's Note: This has been sitting on my computer for over 3 years! It's still not done but I couldn't put off the posting any longer. The original character is from one of my series and I kinda place him in lots of fandoms. His original series starts here. The story is set in series 2, somewhat early on. It's unbeta'd so all mistakes are my own.

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Alan followed Merlin as they trudged up the steps to Gaius’ chambers. They had stayed in the background as Arthur let his father know they had returned, and, as Arthur had predicted, Uther would talk with them privately to discuss what they had learned. Until then, their time was their own.

Merlin opened the door and was immediately swallowed in a hug from Gaius. “I’m so glad you made it back safely.” He clapped Alan on the shoulders. “You as well, Alan.”

“It was a close thing,” Merlin said as he collapsed into a chair at the table. “Arthur knows Alan has magic.”

“What? How?” Gaius sat across from Merlin.

“It was nothing either of us did,” Alan said as he sat on Gaius’ bed. “The man who hired us to kill Arthur stated there was strong magic at the table.” Alan laughed at the physician’s face.

Gaius shook his head in disbelief as he stood. “Why don’t you tell me the whole story over dinner?”

The physician took down three bowls and scooped out some stew from a pot keeping warm over the fire. Alan pulled up a third chair and between mouthfuls, he and Merlin told Gaius the full story, not the edited version Uther would hear.

“Because of what the man said about the scrying, Arthur believes I’m the one with the magic.”

“He never did or said anything upon your return regarding this?” Gaius was mildly surprised.

“As the accusation came from an enemy and, as Arthur never witnessed it himself, he was willing to overlook it,” Merlin explained. “It makes me believe that there is hope if Arthur can accept that not all magic users are evil.”

“That is the most he can do without openly going against Uther. We’ll just have to adjust your story to explain why they went after you and Arthur in the forest. If we mention the scrying, Uther would come to the same conclusion as Arthur.”

“If it keeps Merlin’s secret, I’m okay with that.” Alan stood. “I’m going to wipe off the stink of travel and change clothes for the meeting with Uther.

Alan walked up the steps to the bedroom and closed the door so both sides could have some privacy. He pulled the sweat- and dirt-encrusted shirt over his head and tossed it to the hamper in the corner. He then dipped a cloth into the basin of water and did his best to wash off the grime all the while wishing for a hot shower. Maybe he could fit in a swim or something tomorrow. Anything to feel clean.

He crossed the room to the chest where his meager collection of clothes resided and put on a clean shirt and trousers. With fresh clothes and a somewhat clean body, Alan was ready to face the king when the call came.

Alan made a point of being loud when he opened the door to give Merlin and Gaius warning so they could end their father-son time in private.

“You look refreshed,” commented Gaius as he joined them.

“I feel it too - or at least as close as I can be with what I have at my disposal.” Alan turned to Merlin. “You can have your room now.”

Merlin got up from the table and bounded up the steps to his room, the door slamming behind him.

Gaius winced at the sound. “Sometimes I forget how young he is.”

“Going by the mess in his room, he’s not that different.”

“Oh, that’s very true,” Gaius chuckled.

“The fact that he has you to talk with, to share the burden, helps. If he had to shoulder this secret alone, he’d be a different person.”

“Even though having Merlin around has added years to my life, he has enriched it as well.”

The sound of something falling to the floor came from the other room. “I’m okay! Everything’s fine!” Merlin called.

“Best not tell him that,” Alan smiled.

“Best not.”

There was a knock on the door and Alan opened it to reveal one of the castle’s servants. He took a few steps into the room, warily side-stepping Alan.

“Mark, is everything all right?” the physician asked with concern.

“I was sent to tell you that the king wishes an audience with you. All of you,” he added with a look at Alan.

“Thank you, Mark.”

Mark was halfway out the door before Gaius was done.

Merlin chose that moment to emerge. He hopped down the stairs as he tugged on his right boot. “Was that Mark?”

“Yes,” replied Gaius. “Informing us that Uther is ready to see us.”

“Why did he hurry out so quickly? He usually likes to talk.”

“I think he was terrified of me,” Alan responded. “Why is that?”

As they left the room, Gaius looked at Merlin.

“Okay, why is someone I’ve never met that afraid of me?”

“Because you saved Arthur,” Gaius answered.

“And then Uther had you arrested,” added Merlin.

“Then you’re freed and go hunting with Arthur,” finished Gaius. “They don’t know what to make of you.”

“So they’re afraid instead?” Another servant darted out of their path. “No one thought to get to know me better?” He looked at Merlin. “Didn’t you try to set the story straight?” Alan didn’t know why this was bothering him. Maybe because people were only scared of he had given them cause.

“Being Arthur’s servant, I’m not really one of them. I’ve a tendency to get away with things they can’t.”

Gaius chuckled. “That’s putting it mildly.”

They entered the throne room to find it empty of people except for Arthur.

“You took your time.” He led them into a small antechamber where Uther was already seated and waiting for them. Alan bowed and moved over to the side. Merlin and Gaius bowed as well and Merlin shut the door behind them.

Uther motioned for them to sit. “Due to what Arthur told me earlier, I chose this room in order to keep this information as contained as possible. If word of this gets out, the ruse to prove Cenred wants Arthur dead will fail.”

“And he’ll send someone to really kill him,” Alan commented. He looked up when he felt everyone’s eyes on him. “Do you really think he’ll give up if this fails? He’ll find another way.”

“Alan is right,” Uther agreed though it seemed to pain him to do so. “Cenred will not stop until Arthur is dead.”

“There is another possibility,” said Gaius. “If we can connect Cenred to these attempts on Arthur’s life in front of witnesses, it would make him think twice before trying again.”

“Suspicion would fall on him if anything were to happen.” Arthur smirked at the thought. “But how will we do that?”

“I might have an idea.”

Alan told them his plan and, between the five of them, they planned Arthur’s death, funeral and resurrection.


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