Merlin had been having strange dreams again. He had been having strange dreams since the prophecy of Arthur Pendragon had come to pass. They were always the same, no matter how infrequent or frequent they were, the dreams never changed. It was himself, at least he thought it was, many years in the future, and Arthur fighting side by side. Lightening shot down from the sky to enchant Arthur’s sword, but the dream would never finish. Merlin would never know what the dream had meant or how it had ended.
He woke up to night and took a slow deep breath in. He let his feet slide from the warmth of his bed to the cool stone below, he shivered and pulled the duvet from his bed to wrap around his shoulders. His legs felt heavy with led as he walked through the castles halls.
Merlin was a personal servant to the crown prince, Arthur Pendragon. He had been made as much when Arthur had been a pivotal piece of a long prophecy for their dying realm. The King and Queen were barren, a shame that had been made known throughout the land, this in itself was part of a great and deep prophecy of a young child pulling the sword Excalibur from the stone it had been imprisoned in for one thousand years. Whomever could pull the sword from the stone would rule Camelot, but for as long as the lore had been told, none could.
Merlin nodded towards the guards as he pressed on further into the heart of the castle. None of them bothered him anymore, none of them could. He was more important than them after all. He began climbing the steps towards the royal bed chambers, his large duvet trailing after him.
Arthur had been a nobody, an orphan child with nothing to his name. But he had somehow always thought he was destined for greatness. He had tried pulling to sword many times before, they all had. It had been a harmless dream for the children of the orphanage. But one day was different. On the annual Excalibur Day in Camelot hundreds of men gathered to try and pull the sword from the stone. The King and Queen would stand ahead and watch and there was drinking and dancing and feasts amongst the wealthier of the realm. But the orphan children were always in attendance. Arthur had been laughed at that day as he began walking towards the stone, by the many men who had already tried and failed to pull Excalibur from its prison. But Arthur had turned to them and given a toothy grin before saying the words that had been engrained in Merlin’s mind since that day.
The men all laughed, and the crowds all laughed, but Arthur held his head high as he walked up to the stone. Hearing the sword scrape against the stone had been silencing, watching Arthur pull it out with ease and hold it high above his head had felt like waking up for the first time.
Everything had changed after that. Arthur had been the piece of an age old prophecy this realm had been desperate for. He was very suddenly the heir to the throne. The Crown Prince of Camelot. But to Merlin, he would always just be Arthur. Merlin’s best friend.
Merlin opened the heavy door slowly and stepped inside, taking care not to shut the door on his duvet again. The royal bed chambers were large, much larger than his servants quarters. The bed was big enough to hold more than just the small fifteen year old it currently held.
Merlin padded to the edge of the bed and stared down at the crown prince of Camelot. He looked different now, but he was still the same. Merlin reached a hand out and shook Arthur awake.
Arthur groaned and slid his icy blue eyes open. “What are you doing in here?” He whispered.
“I had the dream again,” Merlin responded. “Budge up.”
Arthur groaned again but rolled over to leave room for Merlin. “Was it the same dream?”
“Yes, its always the same dream.” Merlin looked up at the dark wood of Arthur’s bedchamber. “Do you think it never ends because we die in the end.”
Arthur sighed and turned towards Merlin. “It’s just a dream. It never ends because you wake up.”
Merlin took a slow breath in and nodded. “I just keep getting this odd feeling, like something is going to happen.”
Arthur turned around and sighed again. “Go back to sleep, Merlin.”
Merlin watched the other boy sleep before his eye lids finally began to feel heavy again. His sleep was not restful however, even in Arthurs feather bed. His dreams were filled with the same dream over and over again. It never showed him the end, it just began again with the great epic battle that had been playing in his mind for years.
Being a servant to the crown prince would be a very trying position if Merlin wasn’t who he was. But he was Arthur’s best friend. He had been far before prophecies were fulfilled, and he would be forever. With that advantage he was given far too many leniencies he was sure. The other servants wouldn’t meet the crown princes eyes or speak without first being prompted. But Merlin would shove the prince into walls and be chased around the castle and brought out the street rat side of both of them that no amount of nobility could squash it seemed.
When Arthur became crown prince his first and only request was for his best friend. He asked that Merlin be moved to the castle with him and be given everything he needs. He kept the promise he had made to Merlin years and years ago that they would always be together. It would always be the pair of them against the rest of the world. Merlin was made a servant and given his own bed chamber and free roam of the castle. And he got what he desired for than anything else as well, to never be parted from Arthur. They were a double act, the pair of them. Rarely was one seen without the other close behind.
He left Arthur’s bed chamber the next morning and made his way down to the kitchens. Climbing down the stairs as the smell of salted pork and eggs and fresh bread filled the air. He opened the kitchen doors stepping into the warm space.
“Morning,” he said leaning against the farthest counter. The cook glared over towards him before motioning for Arthur’s breakfast.
“You’re late.” She said eyeing Merlin up and down.
“And I apologize,” he put his hands together in apology before reaching for a piece of bread and a large mug of tea. Taking a large gulp of the hot liquid.
“That was for the crown prince.” the cook grumbled before refilling a fresh mug and putting an extra slice of bread on the tray. “Do not eat anymore of his breakfast. I won’t hesitate if they blame me for how skinny he is.”
“Pleasure as always, Mildy.” Merlin said leaving quickly away from the spoon she had flung in his direction. He chuckled and gulped down the rest of his tea, taking large bites of lovely crisp bread on his way back to Arthur.
Arthur had yet to move from where Merlin had left him, still face down asleep, his hair disheveled and his nightshirt rumpled, tangling his legs that splayed in either direction.
Merlin sat the tray of food on the large table and stepped up next to Arthur’s head. He snapped his fingers a few times which only earned him a groan and a swear.
“Let me sleep,” Arthur whinged. “I was up late consoling some lowly servant all night long.”
Merlin smirked and pulled the blankets away from Arthur’s body. “Get up you lazy sod. Before your breakfast gets cold.”
Arthur opened one eye to peer at Merlin. “Is there any left for me?”
“Of course there is.” Merlin said stepping away to grab the tray. He sat it down on Arthur’s bed as the other boy sat up and made himself comfortable. He looked down at his breakfast before glancing over to Merlin.
“Go on,” Arthur said quickly. So Merlin sat down next to him and grabbed up a portion of the salted pork.
Arthur leaned back and took long gulps of his tea before tearing into the eggs and pork. “What’s the agenda for the day then Merlin?”
Merlin chewed thoughtfully before swallowing and stealing the tea out of Arthur’s hand. “You have a meeting with the king and his general this morning. Training of course, there’s a knighting later this evening that you’ll need to be present for, and then your studies in between.”
Arthur groaned and leaned his head against Merlin’s shoulder. “Get me out of it will you?”
“Which part?” Merlin said taking another gulp of tea.
“All of it.” Arthur said closing his eyes.
“You’re the crown prince, get yourself out of it.” Merlin said.
Arthur sighed and sank further into Merlin’s shoulder. “We could go for a ride instead? Or just stay in here all day?”
“I’m not getting beheading because you want a lie in.” Merlin said meeting Arthur’s eyes.
Arthur snorted and took the last piece of pork before climbing out of bed finally. “They would never touch you and we both know it.”
Merlin stood as well and walked towards Arthur’s wardrobe, pulling out a proper outfit for his role as Arthur undressed.
“It feels like a good day today, doesn’t it?” Arthur said as he tied off his trousers and Merlin pulled his top over his shoulders.
They met eyes and both boys smiled. “Yes. It feels like a good day.” Merlin said, his dreams aside. He would ignore those and believe what Arthur had told him the night before. They were dreams, nothing more. He was here, in the palace. And Arthur was here, the crown prince. Today would be a good day. If Arthur said it, Merlin would always believe it.