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FIC: You Will Win 1/1

Title: You Will Win
Author: NightRider
Rating: PG
Fandom: Merlin
Characters: Arthur, Merlin, Uther, and Gaius
Spoilers: None
Beta: The forever amazing souleswanderer
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Merlin and no money was made from writing this story.
Summary: “You will win,” Merlin said, his eyes and his voice speaking with confidence and surety that Arthur never knew he possessed. “You will win,” he repeated. What was even stranger was Arthur found himself believing him.





The threat of impending battle did strange things to a man.

Arthur’s senses were heightened, he felt Merlin’s arms around his body as he tightened his belt, he smelled the salt on Merlin’s skin when he adjusted his armor, he heard the barest hitch in Merlin’s breathing when he passed him his sword.

“You’re outnumbered,” Merlin said quietly as he stepped away from the battle ready prince.

Arthur felt the weight of his sword at his side, taking a small measure of comfort in the familiarity of it. “Thank you, Merlin. I know.”

“Four to one,” Merlin continued.

“I was there for the scout’s report in case you’ve forgotten,” Arthur barked. “And the second one.”

Arthur spun on his heel and stalked out of his chambers with Merlin trailing behind him. “There was a second report?”

“Pity you missed it,” Arthur said over his shoulder. “Not only are we grossly outnumbered, but apparently they’re aided by sorcerers. Magical, isn’t it?”

“Sorcerers?” Merlin asked.

“You don’t have to sound so excited about it,” Arthur snapped, rounding the corner and to the massive chamber where they were planning their strategy. Where Arthur would tell his knights they would emerge victorious because God and country were on their side. They’d cheer, raise their goblets and claim allegiance to the throne. Then Arthur would lead to them to a battle they couldn’t win.

“I’m not excited,” Merlin said, sounding offended. “It’s just – doesn’t that change things?”

“All it does is increase my father’s dedication to the cause. It’s war, Merlin. We have to fight.”

“But you’re out numbered, and they have sorcerers.”

Every now and then Merlin could say something surprisingly intelligent and introspective, this was apparently not one of those times. If all he was going to do was state the obvious, he could go bother someone else for awhile.

“If you don’t have anything useful to say, go help Gaius prepare.” Prepare for the wounded if there were any wounded left to tend to.

“Arthur, Arthur wait,” Merlin said, reaching for his arm.

“Merlin, what on –"

“You will win,” Merlin said, his eyes and his voice speaking with confidence and surety that Arthur never knew he possessed. “You will win,” he repeated. What was even stranger was Arthur found himself believing him.

Arthur glanced at Merlin’s hand that was wrapped around the chainmail on his upper arm. His knuckles were white. “Go see to Gaius,” Arthur ordered.

Merlin glanced at his hand that was holding Arthur in place, his eyes widening as if he was surprised it was there. “Right, sorry. And good luck.” Merlin smiled at him, as if this conversation somehow solved everything and all was right with the world. Arthur shook his head and watched as Merlin disappeared down the corridor.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“It’s not possible,” Uther repeated as they rode through the gates of Camelot. “An army that large does not retreat.”

“Judging by all the tracks, they were there. The scouts weren’t wrong,” Arthur replied.

“But why would they retreat? They were aided by magic.” Uther rubbed his chin, his expression a mix of frustration and grimness. “What did they see that made them turn back?”

“There was no bloodshed. No bodies,” Arthur said. “The only thing that was exchanged was words.”

“Something happened there,” Uther continued. “Those tracks – the army fled. They were running away. Why?”

“Or they’re planning a better attack,” Arthur suggested.

“Victory was at their fingertips,” Uther muttered, his voice low so only Arthur could hear him. “They had no reason to retreat.”

Arthur made a noise in his throat, knowing whatever he said wouldn’t ease his father’s tension.

“We will continue to prepare,” Uther said. “Camelot will not fall.”

“Yes, father,” Arthur agreed.

Arthur let one of the stable hands take his horse and started for his chambers. After riding for nearly two days, he felt like he’d been to battle even though he’d never lifted his sword.

For whatever reason, he ended up Gaius’s chamber door. The door opened before he could knock.

Camelot’s armies weren’t due back for days, weeks even yet Gaius didn’t look surprised to see him. “Prince Arthur, are you well?”

“Yes, Gaius,” Arthur said, his eyes narrowing. What was Gaius hiding? “I was looking for Merlin,” he finally said. It was a good excuse, and not far from the truth. He actually felt like listening to Merlin blather on about nothing.

Gaius glanced at the closed door that led to Merlin’s bedroom. “I’m afraid he’s indisposed, sire.” Gaius shrugged. “Asleep.”

“Well, wake him up. It’s the middle of the afternoon!” Arthur started stalking across the room, pushing the wooden bench out of the way as he went.

“Prince Arthur,” Gaius said, his voice firm, as he managed to place himself between Arthur and door. Arthur had no idea Gaius could move that fast. “He’s not feeling well and needs his sleep.”

“He’s sick?”

“Yes, very sick. And contagious. I would hate for you to fall ill.”

“I’ll take my chances. Move, Gaius.” He pointed away from the door and eventually Gaius relented, stepping aside. Out of the corner of his eye, Arthur saw his hands nervously clinching in front of his stomach.

Arthur opened the door slowly and stepped inside. He stood over Merlin’s bed and realized there was some truth in what Gaius was saying. Merlin was pale, extremely pale, and his chest barely moved.

“Merlin?” Arthur said softly. He picked up Merlin’s hand and squeezed. He got no response for his efforts. He held Merlin’s hand over his body and released it, watching as it dropped lifelessly back onto the bed. “He’s not asleep. He’s dead.”

“Sire, please,” Gaius pleaded. “He needs to rest.”

“Merlin,” Arthur repeated. “I’m the one that went to battle, you idiot, and now you’re the one that’s lying here half-dead.”

Merlin’s mouth opened as if he was moaning, but no sound emerged. His eyes opened to half slits, and was that gold? His eyes were gold? Merlin’s eyelids lowered, his head rolling to the side as if that meager effort sapped whatever energy he had left.

You will win.

As soon as Arthur told Merlin about the sorcerers, something had changed. It was as if Merlin now had cause, had reason to believe Arthur would emerge victorious. It was as if Arthur had somehow provided justification for action, as if the battle was over before it had ever started.

You will win.

Merlin hadn’t begged to go with him. Merlin always went with him when he thought Arthur was going to be in danger, but for whatever reason, he’d let Arthur go without a fight.

He heard Gaius shuffling in the doorway, his eyes wide and full of fear. “Prince Arthur, I can –"

“It’s fine, Gaius. I’ll wait.” He pulled a chair away from the wall and sat down, his eyes never leaving Merlin. “I’ll wait.”

He leaned forward, his lips close to Merlin’s ear. “When you wake up, we’re going to have a long talk.” Leaning back, he settled down to do exactly what he’d said – wait.

~Finished~

Comments

( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
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archaeologist_d
Aug. 30th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
I liked that Arthur finally figured out that Merlin was a sorcerer and that he was the one who had turned the army back. I really liked that Gaius was so protective of him. Great job.
nightrider101
Aug. 30th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

I can't imagine Gaius being anything other than protective. :)

Thanks again for reading and reviewing!
aschicca
Aug. 30th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
You know what I loved the most? It wasn't the obvious "finally Arthur understood about Merlin's magic", even if I admit of course I loved that too *G*

It was that, when Merlin told Arthur he would win, Arthur believed him immediately. It shows a bond so deep between them and I love that. Truly :)

Thank you for another fantastic story! God, I miss Merlin... I can't believe we'll have to wait till the end of September for season 2... *pouts*
nightrider101
Aug. 30th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
I'm a sucker for 'Arthur finds out' stories. :) There are so many out there written by authors far better than me. It's a guilty pleasure!

God, I miss Merlin...

Me too! I can't wait to have something to look forward to again every week. :)

Thanks for the lovely review!
souzoukyuuketsu
Aug. 30th, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC)
That was short but I liked it =D Needs a sequel though...
nightrider101
Aug. 30th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it!

lol I was wondering if someone was going to ask for a sequel. We'll have to see if the muses cooperate. :) Thanks again!
(no subject) - tetsubinatu - Aug. 31st, 2009 01:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nightrider101 - Aug. 31st, 2009 01:36 am (UTC) - Expand
mullu
Aug. 30th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
I loved the scenario. Merlin rising on the battlefied, even though we don't get to see him (or maybe exactly beacause of that) is such a powerful image. And Arthur waiting (somehow, even though we don't get to see that either, I can only imagine him touched and understanding when Merlin gets up).

Loved it.

Just loved it.

Any chance of a follow-up?
nightrider101
Aug. 30th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
I didn't realize there was so much I didn't show the readers. Now I almost feel bad! Almost... :)

When Merlin wakes up I'm sure Arthur will be less than amused more because he marched out on a battlefield alone and without much of a plan, and even though he succeeded (for which Arthur is thankful), Arthur would inform Merlin never to do something so idiotic without at least telling him first. And then they'll cuddle... *ahem* :D Shameless slasher? Me?

I really appreciate your lovely review. It's always nice to see what the reader is thinking.

There's a chance of a follow-up. I won't promise anything, but I'm not against it. :)
angelqueen04
Aug. 30th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, this is great! I love how Arthur immediately responded to Merlin's faith, and then later figured out just what Merlin did in order to let that faith be realized. Excellent! :)
nightrider101
Aug. 30th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading and reviewing!
shinodabear
Aug. 30th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
*happy sigh* I do love your fics, hon.
I really like how it's all simply understood here. That Arthur knows he'll win because Merlin told him. That Merlin was the one who made the army turn back. That Gaius knows about Merlin. And, of course, I like that the audience understands that Arthur's okay with all that understanding -- he just needs to shout and throw some things when they "talk", most likely. ;)
nightrider101
Aug. 30th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
Aww! Thank you!

And, of course, I like that the audience understands that Arthur's okay with all that understanding -- he just needs to shout and throw some things when they "talk", most likely. ;)

Yes, exactly! Shouting and throwing things comes with the territory.

You always leave such wonderful feedback. I'm truly flattered!

jujuberry136
Aug. 30th, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)
Loved Gaius' attempt to throw Arthur off the case (though really he should know better by now), Arthur's reaction to what Merlin is, and Uthur's confusion :D

Very well done! Thanks for sharing!
nightrider101
Aug. 30th, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :)
open_atclose
Aug. 30th, 2009 10:18 pm (UTC)
Finally Arthur uses some sense and works it out! I loved this, great story.
nightrider101
Aug. 30th, 2009 10:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
chaseii
Aug. 31st, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
A friendship built on faith is a powerful thing... in my mind far more interesting, complex, and engaging than any foray into slash. YMMV, but I adore these characters as friends and allies, each trying to protect, understand, and/or defend the other.

I like that Arthur is observant and reflective, working out what had to have happened on the battle field.

While I'm betting the conversation he's waiting to have with the spent Merlin will be fraught with Pendragon temper, it will also be 'tempered' by his own faith in a friend.

Many thanks!
nightrider101
Sep. 3rd, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
I understand what you mean. :) While I enjoy, read, and write slash, I always prefer a story with plot over everything else. Delving into the the complex friendship between Arthur and Merlin is one of my favorite things to write about.

While I'm betting the conversation he's waiting to have with the spent Merlin will be fraught with Pendragon temper, it will also be 'tempered' by his own faith in a friend.

I couldn't have said it any better!

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I appreciate it!
noonwise
Aug. 31st, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
I love that Arthur clicks when realising that Merlin didn't ask to come with him this time. Great fic!
nightrider101
Aug. 31st, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine Merlin letting Arthur face danger without him. It was a big sign!

Thank you for the kind review!
animeartistjo
Aug. 31st, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
Oh, my gosh. Wonderful! So portent and full of awesome drama!

Hope to read more fic from you!
nightrider101
Aug. 31st, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I've got lots of bunnies hopping around so I'm sure more fic will follow soon. ;)
sheneya
Aug. 31st, 2009 08:12 am (UTC)
*Adds her own Sequel request*

Very good story.
nightrider101
Aug. 31st, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
I'll note your request for a sequel. ;)

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review!
lupus_malus
Sep. 1st, 2009 05:43 am (UTC)
I like this a lot.
nightrider101
Sep. 1st, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
nightrider101
Sep. 3rd, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome!

Thank you for reading and commenting! :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - nightrider101 - Sep. 4th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
angelqueen04
Sep. 5th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
I absolutely can*not* get over how wonderful this story is, and imagine when I come back to read it for the fifth time I realize that I never left a response! *facepalm* A really idiotic oversight on my part!

Words can't express how much I love this story! Merlin's unshakable faith in Arthur, Arthur's willingness to believe Merlin even when no one else would, and Arthur finally connecting the dots... it all came together so well.

Of course, I can well imagine the discussion that follows... Arthur giving Merlin a good lecture about rushing out without a plan, not telling anyone, how easily he could have gotten himself killed, and Merlin just shrugging and saying, "It worked, didn't it?"

Then Arthur will have to keep from bashing his head against the wall and muttering about idiotic, wonderful warlocks. Heh, well, he might not restrain himself from the last one. ;)

Wonderful, amazing story! :) It works great as a standalone, but if you feel the urge to write a sequel, I will so be there to read it! :D
nightrider101
Sep. 5th, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
Awww! Thank you!

The fact that you've been back to read this again means more than I can put into words. :)

You imagined the discussion that follows exactly how I picture it in my mind. Hm... I might not have to write it now! We'll see what the muses want. ;)

Thanks again for the fantastic review! You've made my evening!
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