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'Merlin!' Arthur snapped once he got back to the castle and into his own room. The clumsy servant ran right to his master, causing a smirk to grow across the young prince's face—power was something he craved. It was like oxygen.

'Yes, Arthur?' Merlin asked, giving a smile. Arthur couldn't help but give a slight smile back. Merlin was the only person he could even remotely consider a friend. He wasn't called a friend because he was a servant, and his Father would turn red if he learned his son, the future king, was best friends with a servant, but Arthur still considered him as such.

'Help me dress for tonight.' He commanded, as he stripped his shirt off. His tone softening as Merlin nodded and, smiling the whole time, set about getting everything ready. 

Arthur watched his fluid movements without seeing them. His thoughts were back on the young mouse of a girl from the market. Hermione was her name. He smiled at the thought. In Greek mythology Hermione as the daughter of the beautiful Helena, the women whose beauty caused the Trojan War.

He couldn't pinpoint what intrigue the girl held over him. She wasn't a princess or a duchess, no one of importance really. Given, she was very handsome. From the soft caramel tone of her tresses to the bright, curious sepia of her eyes. She looked like a mouse in a way, soft and innocent but she could put up a fight. Arthur smirked at that, he had learned that first hand.

But, beauty aside, the girl was simply a friend of a servant.

Arthur watched Merlin walk around the room, a tad happier then he usually did. Arthur's eye narrowed—maybe more then a friend.

Pride pushed to the front of his thoughts. 

What would the girl see in Merlin compared to him?

He wasn't use to being second best. And it wasn't something he particularity cared for.

'Merlin?' Arthur asked tentatively. He casually ran his finger around the tree carved around the oak-post of his bed. He had to be cautiously with his questions, no need to cause a stir. Especially with Morgana causing enough of that earlier.

'Yes, Arthur?' Merlin said, putting the last of Arthur's cloths on the bed. Everything was laid out, the sword as well.

'Why didn't you tell me your cousin and your....your...' Arthur let it trail of at that, looking to Merlin to finish the sentence.

Merlin picked up the hint, 'Hermione.' He said with a slight nod of his head.

Arthur darted his eyes to his hands, which were still moving around the smooth oak, 'Your Hermione?' He asked carefully.

Merlin gave a soft laugh, 'No, she's ah...Harry's...friend.' He looked to Arthur, his eyes saying that was all he knew. Merlin gave a shrug, what else was there really to do?

'So she's Harry's Hermione?' Arthur said, a slight quickening of his heartbeat. He couldn't explain why but an uneasiness settled across his demeanor as he thought about being second to a female, second to Hermione.

'No, Harry is dating a girl named Luna. They seem pretty serious.' Merlin explained, picking up the fresh tunic and gesturing for Arthur to stand up straight. Merlin walked over and pulled it over the prince's head and tied the strings, 'I believe Harry is going to ask her to marry him soon.'

Arthur nodded, pretending to not care. Merlin smiled knowingly, however. He had been with Arthur for over a year now and could see through every facade. 

Hermione had peeked Arthur's curiosity. And probably because she wouldn't buy into his game of sorts.

'So you don't know much more about her then?' Arthur asked, keeping his voice even. Merlin smiled as he tossed the clean trousers to the prince, who caught them and pulled them on. The unknown wizard reached next for the sword, he walked over and strapped it around his master's waist.

'I'm hoping to find out some more about her tonight.' Merlin replied. He grabbed the velvet blue cloak and placed it around the shoulders of the prince.

They both stood, looking into the full length mirror. Merlin smiling and Arthur scrutinizing. In his hands he held his golden circlet which declared him the future ruler.

'She's very handsome, isn't she?' Merlin said, looking at the reflection of Arthur.

Arthur's eyes fluttered up to look at the eyes of Merlin's reflection. They were narrowed slightly but not harsh. A slight gentleness melted the blue of the iris.

Merlin smiled, without saying a word Arthur had given him an answer.

'Well, we best get you down to dinner.' Merlin said, knowing he wouldn't get an actual answer from the prince, 'I have my own dinner to get too.'

Arthur placed the circle on his head and started towards the door, not another word said.

Merlin smirked at the room as he picked up his own cloak and followed after the prince.

Arthur stopped in front of the dinning hall's doors. Merlin stood off to the side of the door, his cloak draped over his arms.

Taking a steadying breath the prince waited a second as the court announcer stepped forward. Merlin smiled and leaned towards his friend. Arthur looked at him with rough, impatient eyes.

'I promise I'll let you know what I find out about her tomorrow.' And with that Merlin stepped back and headed for the stairs. Smiling as he pictured Arthur standing there, his mouth hanging open slightly and his eyes a tad softer.


I forced courage as I threw open the wardrobe, only gagging three times as I looked around it.

There didn't seem to be anything to sleep in, but that could be because their nightgowns looked like actual dressing gowns. 

I sighed and grabbed the first fluffy, white thing I could find and tugged it on. I grimaced at the scratchy fabric. 

Falling back on my bed I threw my arm over my eyes and signed again. Dinner had been alright, some sort of soup with potatoes and what I assumed, and prayed, was cabbage, and the boys kept conversation between the two of them—leaving me to focus on the foreign object in the soup a little too long.

I don't know if I fell asleep or not but a crash, as if something made of glass falling, startled me from my thoughts.

Jumping out of bed I rushed out of the room.

'What was that?' I called, running into the large one-room. Merlin looked up at me from where he crouched next to the fireplace.

He smiled his boyish smile at me as he knelt over the mess, 'I've always been a bit clumsy.'

I smiled as I walked over to him, relieved to find him there and not a stranger, my arms crossed over my chest, 'Would you like me to get a broom?'

Merlin stood up and shook his head, a playful glint in his eyes, 'No.' With that he turned towards the kitchen area and held his hand up. I watched, trying to figure out what he was doing, when all of a sudden his eyes went a blinding white and the broom flew into his hand.

I gasped and backed up, tripping over a few logs and landing, hard I might add, on the wooden floor.

Merlin chuckled but concern flooded his eyes when I didn't join in. Instantly he was by my side, helping me up and asking over and over again if I was alright.

'I'm fine.' I smiled, standing up and wincing at what I knew was going to be a bruise tomorrow, 'But what was...that?' I pointed to his eyes, which were now their usual water blue.

He smiled, as he helped me to my feet, 'I don't need a wand like you do to control your magic.'

'Amazing.' I whispered. He helped me to the couch and then sat down next to me.

'Do—do you think I could learn that?' I asked, gesturing to his eyes.

Merlin chuckled a bit, 'I'm not sure. I would assume you could, since our magic stems from basically the same place, but as you probably know magic can be fickle.'

I smiled and nodded, sort of sad I might not get to learn this new form of magic wielding. Everyone had labeled me the brightest witch of my age—I wanted to keep that title.

'So, I'm sorry we didn't get to talk a lot at the table tonight. It's just been so long since I've seen Harry.' Merlin said, turning his attention to the bright yellow and gold flames that licked the red-cobblestone of the fireplace.

'It's alright. Its...well it's nice seeing Harry have a real...well don't laugh...but a real masculine relationship.' I stated, pulling my knees up under my chin.

Merlin smiled and then looked down at his hands in his lap. He wore a simple loose white-tunic and baggy tan-pants. 

I scrunched my nose a bit, it was so unfair I couldn't wear my normal cloths. Wearing a skirt twenty-four seven, even while I sleep, is going to drive me crazy.

Without really thinking about it I started to fiddle with my cuff. I stopped, slightly annoyed with myself, when I realized what I was doing. I looked up to see Merlin just smiling at me.

'Would you like to talk now?' Merlin asked, looking up to me with friendly eyes.

I thought about it but then nodded, it wouldn't hurt anything to make a friend while I was here.

'So what is your full name Hermione?' Merlin asked, handing me a dark-maroon blanket as he turned away discreetly. I remembered what I was wearing and quickly accepted the blanket, not wanting to make him blush any more then he already was.

I smiled as I fiddled with my cuff once more, 'Hermione Jean Granger, yours?'

'Merlin Thomas Cathal.' He said, extending his hand, 'It is a pleasure to meet you.'

I smiled and took his hand, giving it a light shake, 'The pleasure is all mine.'

And we played twenty questions back and forth until I fell asleep.


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