Disclaimer: As always, I don't own 'Merlin'.
AN: Hi everyone! I know, I know, this has taken me forever, and it still wouldn't be up here if it wasn't for my beta Sesshouluver. So hands together for her getting back to me so quickly! Anyway, I hope people are still interested in this sequel, so don't forget to let me know what you think of it so far. Enjoy!
Arthur sighed as he made his way through the dark, cold castle towards his chambers. Only half a year ago this same castle had been under attack by the Great Dragon, unleashed after twenty years of imprisonment. Now, six months later, Camelot was finally starting to get back on its feet, though the lives that had been lost could never be replaced. Not the lives of husbands and wives, of children and lovers, of family and friends. It had left Arthur with not only a big aching hole in his heart, but also with a serious security risk since many of his knights had been among those casualties.
Three months ago his greatest worry had been Cenred's scouts and looming army. Then, seemingly out of thin air, a mysterious sorceress and knight had appeared, claiming to be sent by a future Pendragon King. They were apparently sent to warn Camelot about a vengeful sorcerer King of a country named Avian, and a dragon he had nurtured with one sole purpose: the complete anhilation of Camelot. Uther had quickly dismissed the story and thrown the strangers into the dungeons. However, with a little help from Gwen, Arthur had broken them out and they, the sorceress, knight, Gwen, Arthur and Merlin, had left for Avian to stop the sorcerer and take the dragon egg.
It had all been a whirlwind of revelations since then. Apparently this mysterious knight was his and Guinevere's future son, and the sorceress, Merlin and Morgana's future daughter. Oh, and did he mention Morgana being queen of Avalon? Or his useless bumbling servant being the most powerful sorcerer that had ever existed? And a Dragon Lord and a royal to boot. King of Avian for crying out loud. Sometimes Arthur still couldn't believe it himself. C'mon, they were talking about Merlin here. And for some reason Arthur still didn't really understand why his servant, no his friend, had insisted on returning to Camelot with him, leaving Avian in his Regent Fabian's care.
At least his trip to Avian hadn't been completely fruitless for Camelot's present condition. Morgana had been able to hold off Cenred's men through Morgause, and Arthur himself had met some interesting new people, brave and loyal, on this quest. And since there were not that many of noble blood left in Camelot, his father had allowed him to bestow these people with the honour of becoming knights of Camelot. After they had successfully struggled through his famous 'test', of course.
The people of Camelot and the remaining knights had been sceptical about it at first, but these men had already proven themselves in the last few months, and now even Sir Leon had become great friends with Sir Lancelot and the newly knighted Sir Percival.
Although Camelot was gradually recovering its strength, it was still not strong enough to resist the threat that was now slowly but steadily making its way to the outer city walls. There was an enormous army of sorcerers, lead by someone so powerful that he had just made a mountain disappear. And his father had all but told him this morning that it was his problem, and his responsibility to keep Camelot safe.
Arthur sighed again as he rounded a corner. He just felt so helpless waiting for the army to attack and readying his men, even though he knew they wouldn't stand a chance against magic. Even Merlin could only do so much. His friend had made it very clear that he no longer feared people - especially Uther- finding out about his magic if it meant saving Camelot. But Arthur could not accept that.
Besides, powerful warlock or not, almighty Emrys or not, Merlin was only human. There was no way he could defeat an entire army of sorcerers by himself, no matter how eager he might be to sacrifice himself to do it.
Arthur was so absorbed in his thoughts that he almost missed the silent footsteps following him. Almost.
He picked up his pace, opting for the longer route to his quarters to find out who was following him and apparently trying very hard not to be discovered. He suddenly whirled around and in one swift move pulled out his sword and held it an inch away from his pursuer's throat.
He hissed out his words, sword pressing even closer, "Who are you? How did you get in here?"
But suddenly his stalker shifted slightly and the single torch on the other side of the hallway now illuminated his face.
"Hi dad." The young man smirked up at a shocked Arthur, not a wrinkle of worry or fear at the sword's proximity to his throat.
The young man before Arthur breathed, "Yeah."
Arthur didn't move. He couldn't move.
"Um…would you mind lowering your sword dad? I'm becoming a little edgy."
Arthur blinked, confused, as he noticed he still had the blade of his sword at his future son's throat. He dropped it quickly and started to mumble, "B…but…but I don't understand. We sent you back only a few months ago. Is Elena here too? Didn't Merlin's spell work? What are you doing here?"
The small smile gracing Alexander's lips disappeared and became a grim line.
"That's a long story. I don't think it's wise to tell you about it in these open corridors." He said mysteriously.
"Of course," Arthur suddenly said, snapping back in his old self now that the initial shock wore off. He quickly continued his route to his chambers while asking, "Who else knows you're back?"
"Only you, and for the moment, I think that is for the best," Alexander said, following his father, though remaining in the shadows as much as possible.
"Why," Arthur couldn't help from asking, but his son didn't answer as he made his way past his father into the prince's quarters.
Alexander gave the main room a quick look over before he turned back to his father. "I…" he started, but was suddenly interrupted by the door abruptly swinging open.
"Arthur…" a panicked Merlin started as he all but fell through the door, but quickly stopped in his tracks as he noticed Alexander. The latter relaxed and sheathed his sword as he recognized his father's best friend. "Alexander," Merlin asked, his voice a mixture of confusion and surprise.
"Merlin, you idiot, close the door will you," Arthur hissed as he stepped past his friend and slammed the door shut himself.
"Arthur, what is this? I don't understand," Merlin said as he turned from Alexander back to Arthur.
"Neither do I Merlin. He just showed up behind me in the castle corridors only a few minutes ago."
This made the two men turn back to Alexander. The latter sighed as he sunk down on a chair, saying, "Actually, I've already been back for a while."
"Why," Arthur asked again.
"Didn't the spell work," Merlin asked worried because if it didn't where was Elena?
"No, the spell worked fine. We got back just fine." Alexander said.
"Well, why are you here then saying everything is 'just fine' when clearly it isn't? And why didn't you come to us before?" Arthur asked again, sitting down on a chair opposite to Alexander's.
"Because we made a mistake last time, probably by telling you so much about our future." Alexander sighed, mirroring his father's posture exactly.
"What kind of mistake," Merlin asked, still worried. Why was Alexander ignoring his question about Elena? The young prince and his future daughter had been inseparable the last time he had seen them.
"We don't know. All I know is that I have to find a way to set things right again."
"Okay…"Arthur hesitated at his son's cryptic answer, "So why come to us now?"
Alexander sighed again, "Because I don't have another choice. I didn't want this time to get caught up in this too, but she followed me and…"
"Ho, wait a minute," Arthur interrupted his son as he started to ramble, "What are you talking about Alexander? Who is after you?"
The future royal shifted uncomfortably in his chair before he answered, his eyes trained on the lone servant next to his father, "Elena."
Both Arthur and Merlin were too shocked to speak for a minute. "B…but…" Merlin finally started to stutter. How could his future daughter be a threat to Alexander? She loved him.
"It's her Merlin. She is the sorceress leading Avian's army, marching for Camelot. Marching for war."
Merlin's mouth just opened and closed, but somehow, no sound came out of it.
"What happened?" Arthur asked instead.
Alexander sighed frustrated as he stood and started pacing around the room. He replied in agitation, "We don't know. We went back, and one moment everything was fine, but then the other, she is all obsessed about these prophecies, and about the fact destiny can't be changed and stuff... It's like I didn't know her anymore. Only weeks after we returned she left for Avian, and instead of Bayren marching for Albion, she is using her right to the throne to condemn Avian to war."
Again, silence after that.
"I came back as soon as we heard of her plans, realizing that wasn't the Elena I knew, and something must have gone wrong in this time. When we were here the last time, I mean. And no dad, we don't now what changed her," Alexander added quickly as he saw his father's mouth open. "None of us do. That's why I came here, to find out. To safe her."
"Apparently she doesn't think she needs saving, since she came after you like this," Arthur added as he started to pace through the room as well.
"No," Alexander said softly, "She doesn't. But she feels threatened by it anyway, so she moved her time schedule."
"By a few twenty years that is," Arthur added sourly. He abruptly stopped pacing and turned towards his manservant, sitting shell-shocked in the chair.
"So, out with it Merlin, why did you suddenly barge into my chambers like that? What good news do you have to tell me besides your evil future daughter marching for my land?" Arthur asked his manservant, but all he got was silence. Arthur tried asking again, "Merlin?"
Apparently Merlin had gone into some sort of catatonic state after he had heard of his future daughter's fate, because all he could do was stare idly in front of him.
"Merlin," Arthur asked again, snapping his fingers in front of the warlock's face and still getting nothing.
"Should I get Gaius," A worried Arthur asked Alexander, but suddenly Merlin seemed to snap out of it, because it was his voice that answered.
"No, I'm fine."
Arthur didn't buy it for a second. Merlin had already liked Elena a lot before he found out she was his daughter, and though he might have only known that she was his for a few days when she was here, he had grown to love her instantly. Arthur understood all too well, since he had been going through the same thing with Alexander.
"I, um, I can't reach Fabian. I tried all day, but the stone just isn't working for some reason," He paused for a second,"I guess we know why now. Dear God, I hope she didn't kill him."
Merlin let his head drop into his hands.
Arthur sighed. "That's great…that's just great." He dropped himself back onto the chair.
Alexander spoke softly, "Look, I know this is a lot to take right now…"
"Gee, you think" Arthur said, the sarcasm dripping off of every word.
Alexander continued as though uninterrupted, "But we've got to stop her. And though I didn't want to get you guys involved, I just can't handle this on my own."
Arthur stood suddenly, "Alexander, this is my kingdom and my people we are talking about. Like it or not, this is about my friends and family too." He laid his hand on his son's shoulder and eyed his warlock friend, "You did the right thing by coming to me."
Alexander smiled the smallest of smiles and nodded, "Okay. But the fewer people who know I'm back, the better. I don't want things to get even worse."
"How can this get any worse," Merlin asked miserably.
"We could all be dead," Alexander said softly.
"But we are not," Arthur added firmly, clapping his son on the back, "You can stay here tonight, and in the morning we will find you some place to stay while you are here."
"Where have you been staying since you came back anyway?" Merlin asked the future royal.
"Um, the caves mostly," Alexander admitted sheepishly.
"The caves," Arthur asked indignantly, "My future son has been hiding around in caves for the last few months?"
"Dad…" Alexander grinned, "It's not the worse place I've slept in."
Arthur huffed again, "Well, that may be, but we'll look for something else anyway."
"Sure, what do you think about the chambers next to yours, Arthur? They're free, and I'm sure you're father wouldn't mind," Merlin said sarcastically.
"Merlin," Arthur said as he smacked his servant around the head, "Could you stop being the pessimist? It doesn't suit you. We'll figure this out."
Merlin turned around, raising his eyebrow as Arthur sighed and said, "Just…get some sleep, and we'll talk about this in the morning."
"Sleep," Merlin mumbled as he turned around and carried himself out of the room. This morning he would have given anything to have Arthur say those words. However now, he just wished he hadn't gotten out of bed in the first place.