Merlin hated them, detested them, even. It was easy to explain away magic; a trick of the light, or your imagination. Giant, black wings that protruded from your back, however, were a completely different story. When Gaius had first seen them, courtesy of him entering Merlin's room without knocking, the old man couldn't believe his eyes. He sat Merlin down, and they spoke in hushed words.

"Merlin, why didn't you tell me you had," the healer gazed around the room before continuing, "wings? Do you know what these mean?"

Merlin nodded. How could he not? "Yes, Gaius. 'Those that are born with wings have royal blood coursing through their veins.' I've spoken to Mother, and although she refuses to tell me who my father is, she swears up and down that he was not one of royalty. I have no idea why I have them. You'd think being the greatest Warlock to ever walk the Earth would be enough for one person, but no, I also have these massive wings. And they're black too! Uther's and Arthur's are both white. Theirs are pure and wholesome, while mine are just… dirty."

"Merlin," his guardian chided, "don't ever speak of your wings in that manner. You are blessed, these things on your back are beautiful." Gaius reached out to stroke one as if further proving his point. The softness of the feathers caught him off guard.

Merlin hung his head in shame, his wings drooping behind him in response to his mood. "But that still doesn't explain why I have them."

"I can't help but wonder if your destiny has something to do with it."

The fire crackled and a small burst of warmth spread across his back. Merlin lifted his head in curiosity. "What do you mean?"

The healer paused for a moment, searching for the right words to convey his thoughts. "You are Emrys, destined to bring about the future of Albion at Arthur's side. Not only this, but you are also the greatest Warlock to ever live. I can't help but feel as though, perhaps, the druids and all those with magic, see you as their king."

"You can't be serious, Gaius. Me, a king? No way."

Gaius shrugged. "It may also explain why they are a different color. Arthur, Morgana, and Uther are all biologically royal, but for you Merlin, your regality is symbolic, crafted through faith and hope. It could even be as simple as you having magic and they don't. Nothing is certain except for one thing," the old man leaned closer to his ward, "you can not let anyone - and I mean anyone, Merlin - see them. Could you imagine the pandemonium? As much as I know you'll hate it, you must keep them bound tightly, hidden underneath layers of clothing. I know it will pain you, but Merlin, they're not worth your life."

Merlin nodded solemnly, unconsciously tucking the appendages closer to his person.

I hope y'all enjoyed this. It was an idea that popped into my head and just wouldn't leave. I don't plan on continuing this story (since I have terrible luck with Merlin stories), but be sure to tell me what you think!