Footsteps thudded down the street, dodging people and carts and animals. The people shouted at the small boy as he weaved through them, cursing him or telling him to be careful. But the boy didn't slow, rushing as fast as he could to the castle gates.

Just as his destination was in view, two spears blocked his path.

"Halt!" The guards commanded, forcing him to a stop. "The castle is restricted to commoners without an audience."

"Please...! I have to get in! I have to see the King! It's really important!" The boy pleaded, trying to go around the guards, but was blocked off again.

"And why should the King have an audience with a whelp? His schedule is busy enough."

"But my dad...! He's hurt and in trouble and said not to trust anyone but the King and the Knights of the Round! Please! I need to see him!"

The guards shared a look before studying the boy. He had bright blue eyes, large eyes, dark hair, and shabby clothes. Not the son of a noble or anyone important... Probably a commoner from one of the outlining villages.

"We'll send someone to inform the King, but you'll have to wait here-"

"Wait..." The second guard murmured, staring closer at the boy. He had been new at the time, but he could remember the King's manservant that had gone missing nearly six years ago. The manservant that had the same blue eyes and ears as this boy... "Come with me."

"What?" The first guard's eyes widened, "He needs to go through the proper routes before being able to see the King!"

The guard ignored his partner, grabbing the cuff of the boy's shirt and dragging him with him. The young boy stumbled along, trying to keep up with the long strides of the guard. He was able to glance briefly around the courtyard before he was brought inside, through the many halls and then waiting outside two large wooden doors.

"Get the King, Queen, and Knights of the Round," The guard told to a nearby servant. "Tell them it's urgent."

The boy wasn't sure how long they stood there, his mind jumping back to his injured father left in the woods. Would he still be alive by the time they got back? Would the King even help him? No, his father said to put all his trust in this King, that he was different than the others. He had to trust his father's faith in the King of Camelot.

The doors opened before the boy knew it, staring with wide eyes as he was pushed inside. The room was large and bright, windows lining the walls, nothing like the throne room he was used to. People in fancy clothes stood along the edges of the room, watching him with calculated looks as he slowly made his way across to stand in front of the two thrones. Four knights stood lined up next to the King, who was also dressed in chainmail and armor. The Queen, who was sitting in her chair, rose with her husband when he drew closer to them.

The Royal pair had weird expressions on their faces as they looked at him, almost pained as they held their breaths.

"What's your name?" The King asked, descending the steps, "Why are you here?"

"My name's Gabriel," His hands clasped to his sides as he bowed deeply, "But please, Your Majesty! You have to help my father! He's hurt in the woods and made me come alone because he was too weak! He said you're the only ones I can trust to help! Please, he might die! You have to save him!"

The Queen, who was next to her husband, stepped closer to him and knelt down, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Who's your father, sweetie?"

He glanced at her, standing up straight as he reached into his back pocket, pulling out his dad's old red neckerchief. The whole room gasped at the sight of it. "He said this would prove I'm telling the truth, that his name is Merlin."

Gabriel hadn't even finished speaking when the King started barking orders to servants, demanding the Knights' and his horses to be ready. With a flourish of a red cape, he was suddenly kneeling in front of Gabriel.

"Can you tell us where Merlin is? Do you remember the area?"

"I- I can show you, I don't know this area well enough to tell you."

The King nodded, holding his hand out for the boy to take. "Then let's go, I promise we'll get your father back safely."

Gabriel looked at the offered hand, then up to the sincere eyes of the King. His father had told him many stories of King Arthur of Camelot, always so wishful that he'd one day get to meet him. And looking into those eyes, Gabriel could see why his father trusted him so much.

A single nod of the head, the boy placed his hand in the King's. "I believe you."

An emotion passed over Arthur's face, the two staring at each other for a short time before the King lead Gabriel and his knights out of the room, the Queen following behind. In the courtyard, there were five horses prepared; Gabriel had expected one of the knights to call him to them, to ride with one of them. But the King still held his hand as he went over to his horse... then grabbed the boy's waist to lift him into the saddle. Gabriel's eyes were wide, gripping the rim as he watched the King swing up behind him. He was going to ride with the King! This was certainly not like any Royal he ever knew...

As the Knights were climbing into their saddles, the Queen came up and gripped the King's arm. "Bring him home, Arthur."

He placed a gloved hand over hers, "I won't return without him, not this time."

Gabriel watched the exchange curiously. Had his dad really meant so much to both the King and Queen of one of the most prosperous and powerful kingdoms in the land? His dad, a lowly servant, was important enough for the King himself and his elite Knights to go looking for him? A smile started to spread across his face as he leaned back against the King's chest, bracing himself as the horses took off out of the citadel.

As much as he wanted to ask questions and talk with these people, the wind rushing past their ears wouldn't allow for conversation. It took everything in Gabriel's power to keep his eyes open to watch their surroundings for the path that he took.

It took a much shorter time with the speed of the horses to get to the area that Gabriel remembered leaving his father in; only an hour, compared to his on-foot journey of half the day. But as his eyes caught sight of the gnarled tree stump, he sat up straighter.

"It's around here!"

Arthur nodded, pulling his horse to a stop while trying to hold Gabriel steady. But the boy squirmed, trying to jump off the horse before they even slowed completely. It was only when the long haired knight quickly dismounted and grabbed him that Arthur had let go.

"Papa...! I brought them, just like you asked! Where are you?"

"You don't know where he is?" The blonde knight asked, swinging off of his horse with the others.

"He showed me the tree and the way to go," Tears built in Gabriel's eyes as he looked around helplessly. "He said he would go out of sight so bandits wouldn't find him...! But he's not answering! Papa!"

Arthur watched the boy turn around, desperate to find his father that looked so much like him. When Gabriel had first stepped into the throne room, Arthur had sworn it was Merlin de-aged. He had the same eyes and ears as Merlin, high cheekbones poking very faintly out of the baby fat of his face... Though this child was far more respectful to status than Merlin had ever been. But there was no denying that they had some very close relation with each other, and the more he watched the more he believed it really was Merlin's son.


Arthur's head snapped to the side, hearing a faint groan behind a nearby tree. He sprinted to the tree, dropping to his knees before his mind even registered the body laying half propped up on the tree.

He was beaten, bloodied and bruised, cuts over his face and hands tears in his shirt and pants that showed even more wounds. With the tears, his clothes were also burnt, singed around the edges and crisp and stiff in other places. His skin, that wasn't covered in injuries, was paler than Arthur remembered and a worrisome shade of blue.

"Oh Merlin..."

Blue eyes that Arthur had desperately missed opened faintly, a weak smile tugging on chapped lips. "N-Never changed... have-have you...? Still always... late."

Arthur couldn't help the relieved laugh that burst from him, eyes burning with unshed tears. "If anyone's late here, it's you, idiot. You're six years late, in fact. If you didn't want to muck the stables, you should've just said so."

Merlin let out a huff as the knights surrounded them, letting out their own happy exclamations. Gwaine knelt next to Arthur, his hand patting Merlin's shoulder.

"It's good to have you back, mate."

Merlin smiled at him just as Gabriel pushed through the knights, crying as he dove to his father's chest. "Athair...! I'm so sorry, I tried to be faster!"

"No, no, Gabe..." Merlin's hand brushed through the boy's dark hair, gently kissing his head to hide his wince as well as soothing Gabriel's crying. "You did good, a leanbh. You brought them just like I asked."

Arthur watched the scene with strange fascination, wondering what had happened to his servant while he was gone. They had all assumed he was kidnapped when he never returned to the castle after one of Gaius' chores took him into the forest, but could it have been something more? It had been six years since then, and Gabriel looked to be about that age... And then there was the question of why he was returning now.

"Let's get you home," Arthur said aloud, forcing his thoughts away for the moment. He could ask questions after Merlin was seen to by Gaius.

Arthur hooked his hand under Merlin's arm, Gwaine rushing to do the same on his other as they lifted him to his feet and put Merlin's arms over their shoulders. Wheezing and struggling, Merlin tried to help carry his weight to Arthur's horse. Merlin moved his head around, his eyes searching for his son's, "You ride with Sir Gwaine now, alright? He'll take care of you." Merlin then looked at Gwaine before being lifted on the horse, smiling as the knight nodded his head.

"Right," Gwaine grinned, "As if he were my own."

The group chuckled a bit before wincing at Merlin's pained cry as Percival helped Merlin into the saddle, his wounds stretching and pulling from the movement. Gabriel whimpered, burying his face into Elyan's legs.

"I'm okay... I'm- I'm okay," Merlin's murmured, trying to catch his breath, his hands gripping the rim of the saddle tightly and turning his uninjured knuckles white. "But uh, if it's all the same to you, sire, could we not... gallop back to Camelot?"

Arthur hauled himself up behind Merlin and took the reins, nodding. "I don't see why not. Last thing we need is for you to fall off and make Gaius' job harder."

Merlin's head lifted a bit, turning to look at him with a brightness in his eyes. "Gaius is still...?"

"Alive, kicking, and eagerly awaiting your return."

A sigh of relief went through the younger man, slumping forward a bit. "I'm glad... I was gone for so long, I didn't dare hope that he was still there..."

"Six years."

"Six years, two months, and fourteen days," Merlin supplied in that cheeky tone Arthur secretly loved, but as he snuck a glance at Merlin's face, his solemn expression didn't match his voice.

"As well as three hours, fifty minutes, and... ten seconds."

Merlin was still for a moment before turning around, giving Arthur a look as if he had grown an extra head. "You just made that up."

"I'm the King, Merlin. I don't make stuff up."

That got a snort out of the younger man, "You always make stuff up."

Gwaine seemed to be spurred on by that line, springing into a story that he started to tell Gabriel about his father and the King. The stories continued the trip back, mostly told by Gwaine, but the other knights sharing occasionally as well. At some point Merlin leaned against the horse's neck, his eyes closing and body going still. It caused a quick panic to go through the group, but Arthur determined that Merlin was merely sleeping and not... anything else.

They let him rest, deciding that he needed it after the ordeal he had gone through. Though it didn't stop Gwaine's chattering... They all listened as he recounted tales of Merlin and everything he liked about Merlin and how Merlin was the best person that ever walked this land, Merlin this, and Merlin that. Not too long ago, this kind of talk had all but been banned as it had been too painful for any of them to listen to. But now, with Merlin and his son safely with them, the topic was refreshing.

Especially when Gwaine and Elyan started arguing over how they remembered some events.

The ride to Camelot was livelier than it had been in many years.

As they rode into the castle courtyard, there was a mass of people waiting for them. Gwen and Gaius stood at the base of the steps, each holding onto each other for support as they watched the party return. Arthur could see Guinevere's free hand fly to her mouth as she spotted Merlin slumped over the horse. But as the others in the yard noticed as well, a cheer went up for the return of a beloved servant.

"Merlin...! Gaius called, rushing forward as the knights quickly dismounted to help Merlin down. "Oh my boy, what has happened to you...?"

"He's been beaten," Arthur informed, climbing down as well. "I'm not sure how bad it really is, but he was conscious when we found him. He passed out only an hour ago."

"What happened to him? Do you know?" Gwen came up, her hands fluttering over her friend as he was placed on a stretcher, but not knowing how she could help him.

"He was saving me," Gabriel sniffled, drawing their attention to him as Gwaine helped him off the horse. Tears filled those familiar blue eyes in a way that Arthur knew all too well. "The Queen... she wanted... but daddy wouldn't let her. He saved me and she hurt him. Please, he's all I have left... You have to save him!"

That left Arthur with more questions than answers... Somehow Merlin and his son had gotten mixed up with some evil Queen? An evil Queen that wanted Merlin's son? Once again, Arthur found himself studying the boy as Gaius placed a hand on his shoulder.

"I won't let your father die, little one. Let's get him to my chambers, quickly."

Arthur and Guinevere followed closely behind Gaius and the Knights as they carried Merlin to the physician's chambers. As they walked, a flash of purple caught his eye as he spotted a young girl hiding behind the castle doors, watching the scene. He smiled, but didn't have time to call to her as he hurried along after his friend.

The sun had already been low in the sky when they had returned, but the moon was high up by the time Gaius dubbed Merlin healthy enough to be carried to his old room. Gwen had to take Gabriel out of the room while checking and treating Merlin's wounds, seeing the broken body of his father after his shirt was taking off sent the boy into another crying fit. But they had returned shortly after Merlin was placed in bed, leading Arthur to assume that they had only been out in the hall.

Gaius theorized by the extent of Merlin's injuries that he had been tortured at some point, which was where most of the injuries came from. Magic had been involved as well, which was slowing the healing of the wounds, making it near impossible to tell how old they really were. Gabriel was not that much help in filling in any blanks either, always stuttering and stopping through his story and leaving deliberate blank spots. It was as if he was hiding something, that there was some part of his story that he was told not to tell.

Through the first night, Gaius had convinced Gabriel to sleep in the patient's cot, letting Merlin rest undisturbed in his bed. While the boy seemed reluctant to do so, he went more willingly after learning Arthur planned to stay by Merlin's side all night and would inform him if there was any change.

There was no change... Merlin slept through the night and the day. Arthur had duties he knew he should see to, but he couldn't just leave Merlin alone. With only mild guilt, he cancelled all his counsel meetings for the next three days. They were unimportant meetings, only about prospects for new roads or higher taxes to pay for new roads. Meetings that could afford to be put off for a while.

Arthur was glad for it as well, because it took two days for Merlin to finally wake up.

"Arthur..." A weak voice called, the King looking up from the papers he had delivered to Merlin's room. Merlin's head was tilted, his eyes blinking in adjustment to the sunlight. Arthur felt a tension in his chest release at the sight of his friend awake.

He shuffled the papers to the side and leaned forward, a hand going to Merlin's shoulder and squeezing lightly. "About time you woke up. What was it you always called me? A lazy daisy?"

A small laugh bubbled up from Merlin, his eyes closing once again but a large smile spreading across his face. Arthur soon found himself smiling as well, both of them relaxing in the other's presence and enjoying a familiarity that was believed to be lost. But then Merlin's eyes opened again and glanced around his old room, his smile softening.

"I always hoped he'd see this place one day- Gabriel?" Merlin's eyes went wide, pushing himself up as he frantically searched for the boy. "Where is he? Is he okay?"

"Easy now," Arthur placed a hand on his shoulder, guiding him back down. "He's safe, with Gaius and Guinevere touring the castle."

Merlin let out a sigh, slumping back and letting his eyes slip closed once more. Arthur watched the relief pass over his face, unable to hold back the questions that had been gnawing at him for the last few days.

"Merlin..." He struggled for words, searching the injured man's face before forcing himself to continue, "What happened? We looked everywhere for you, but now you just appear again and with a son? What happened?"

Merlin met his eyes but quickly looked away, his own eyes darkening. His mouth opened and closed several times, trying to find the right words. Finally he let out a sigh and pushed himself to sit up. "Slavers... caught me while I was picking herbs... Surprised me, coming out of nowhere, I didn't stand a chance. I'm not sure how long I was out for, but when I woke up, I was on a boat. There were so many others in those cells with me... Most of them in worst condition than I was." He quirked a bitter smile, "Even after I started mouthing off to our captors and they started to hate me, I was never given the worst of it. They took me across the sea, further than any map I've seen. I was supposed to be put in an auction, but the Queen of that land saw me..." His fists clenched, jaw locking as if this Queen was the worst part of the memory. "She declared me hers. I was brought to the castle, given a room that was furnished for royalty, I even had my own servant..."

"That sounds a lot like you were taken care of..." Arthur supplied after Merlin had gone silent for a moment longer than he liked. The words seemed to draw Merlin out of whatever thought he had gotten lost in, looking to Arthur with a teasing smirk.

"Oh, I was at first. It was rather nice too. I don't suppose you'd give me a servant now as a gift, hm?"

"Not a chance."

Merlin laughed, the sound light and refreshing before he continued with his story. "Yeah, it was nice at first. I wanted for nothing but my freedom. I was sick from the journey there and couldn't leave the bed for a time, and she would come to check on me several times a day. But when I was finally well enough to get up, I asked her about helping me return... That's when things started to go downhill. Her once soft and quiet demeanor became erratic, switching between emotions irregularly and with no warning. So I tried escaping... She somehow knew and was waiting for me. I was dragged back into the room by her guards where she revealed to know who I was. I had suspected it, but she finally confirmed as well that she was a sorceress - a powerful one. She threatened to wage war on you if I didn't obey her and stay at her castle... Everything that we were dealing with, with Morgana and the Saxons..." Merlin's dark eyes raised to meet Arthur's, "I did what I had to do to protect you, sire."

Arthur could feel that there was a weight behind those words that he was not going to find out that day, a deeper meaning behind what his loyalty cost him... He could only imagine what a deranged Queen would ask for. "You should have said no. We could have handled ourselves, we've dealt with crazy witches before."

"Not like her..." Merlin's eyes took on a haunted look, "She was nothing like the things we've faced before."


"So I made a deal with her," He continued, trying to make his voice lighter. "I couldn't just leave Camelot to the mercy of Morgana, and the Queen... wanted an heir." He glanced to the door, as if he could see his son, a small smile coming back to him. "Gabe was what came out of that deal, eight months later. He was premature, had us all worried about if he would make it or not... You should have seen him, Arthur... He was so small, so trusting, but a fighter. He lived... And while she intended him to be my ball and chain, the new reason I would be stuck there, I couldn't regret it. I couldn't hate him. I could only hate her... She wanted to use him as a tool... A weapon."

Merlin's mouth opened but promptly closed, seeming to struggle again on his words. He glanced hesitantly at Arthur before looking away, his hands fiddling with his blanket. "He... Sire, he has... magic. Strong magic. Woke up on his fifth birthday, screaming. He had unintentionally set his room on fire. It took both her and I to put it out. She's started training him... I couldn't watch her destroy him, Arthur. I had to get him away from her. I know how you feel about magic, but it's not his fault, he was born with it...! He's a good boy, Arthur-"

"Merlin, calm down," Arthur gave a faint smile, raising a hand to put a stop to Merlin's rambling spiral. "I know you've been away for a while, so I'll forgive you this once for not knowing one of our laws, but magic is legal in Camelot now."

Those big doe eyes blinked at him once, twice, and a third. "What?"

Arthur chuckled, as he looked down at the paperwork he had set aside. "Gaius... A month or so after you had been missing, he told us about you, about everything you did for us, for Camelot and me. We had thought you died... So I thought it best, in your honor, to legalize magic."

"Gaius...? So you... You know?"

"Most of it, yes."

Merlin let out a huff of air, slouching in the bed. "I... I never imagined... And you're not angry?"

"I was at the time, but I understand it now. The way I spoke back then..." Arthur shook his head slightly, meeting Merlin's eyes in a rare show of emotion, "Merlin, I'm so sorry for how I hurt you... You've done so much for us, suffered so much for us, and I thought I would never have the chance to properly thank you for any of it."

Merlin shook his head, "It wasn't your fault. I wanted to tell you, sire, I really did. You can't imagine how many times I almost came clean to you...! But I couldn't ever put you in a position to go against your father those first few years, then the timing was never quite right after you became King. So I hid it, guarded it deeply. You couldn't have known."

"I should've."

The warlock seemed to want to argue more over whose fault the secret was, but his door slammed open to reveal a small boy who waited only a moment before running inside and to his father.


Merlin smiled at his son, his arms opening just in time to catch the boy in a hug. "Did you enjoy your tour of the palace, a leanbh?"

Bright eyes gazed at him, nodding excitedly. "It's amazing! Gwen and Gaius and Rosewen showed me so much! And Gwaine and Elyan told me stories! And Percival and Leon even let me hold a sword!"

Merlin smiled at his son, nodding along as best he could with the fast rambling, but then his eyes drifted to the doorway as his friend and his mentor stepped through.

"Merlin...!" Gwen called, warm smile on her face as she rushed to hug him. "Oh how I've missed you!"

He closed his eyes in her warm embrace, being caught off guard by how much he truly missed her hugs. "Words can't say how much I've missed you too."

"I must say, Merlin," Gaius chuckled, taking his place next to his ward, "You've always known how to make an entrance."

Merlin laughed, lighthearted and bright, as he reached for the old man as well. His hug was not as strong and steady as Gwen's but it was just as warm and homey. He wanted nothing more than to stay in their arms and forget the last six years, but his magic tugged at his insides, telling him of another in the room. He pulled back just enough to spy the girl hiding behind Gwen's dress and diving back further once she realized she was spotted. His head tilted curiously, a confused smile spreading across his face at her antics.

"Ah," Arthur smiled, having seen the exchange. He held his hand out to the child who ran to him and clung to his leg. "This is my daughter, Rosewen."

Merlin's eyes widened, glancing between the King and Queen before smiling at the girl. "Why, hello there, Princess Rosewen. Thank you for showing Gabriel around today, I hope he didn't cause you too much trouble."

The girl gave a bashful smile, turning her head further into her father's leg. "No... He's really fun."

Gabriel, who had started to climb onto the bed with his dad, stopped to smile back at her. "You're really fun too, Rosie!"

The adults smiled at the two, the atmosphere further lightening as Gwen began to fill Merlin in on all that he had missed as a servant was sent to go get the Knights. Gwaine was the first to arrive, the room livening up drastically by the single addition. But the others started showing up as well, one by one, joining in on the chatter and each adding to the wholeness of their reunited group.

But it couldn't last... After the children left to play together and Merlin retold his story to the others, he could tell that there had been a misunderstanding when Arthur patted Merlin's shoulder. "You're home now, you and Gabriel are safe."

Merlin's eyebrows pushed together, looking around at each of them with an emotion they couldn't pin. "No... Arthur, everyone, I thought you understood... We can't stay."

"What do you mean?" Arthur shared a look with Gwen and the Knights before looking back to Merlin in confusion. "You can't stay?"

A reluctant shake of the head and downcast eyes were his answer. "We can't... The Queen will know we came here, she'll look for us. She'll destroy Camelot, rip it apart to find us if we stay. We have to leave before she gets here, lead her away to somewhere else where she can't hurt anyone. We only came to rest for a bit, for me to have some time to heal so I can regain some of my magic again. But we have to leave soon, within the week."

"No," Tears were in Gwen's eyes as she pushed through the group and placed a hand on his arm. "Merlin, you can't leave...! We just got you back, after so long... Doesn't your son deserve a place to feel safe, don't you? You can stay here, we can protect you...!"

A hand was placed onto Gwen's shoulder, halting her crying plea. Arthur stepped next to her, his eyes serious and face stern. Merlin couldn't hold his gaze, knowing that look as Arthur's rare moment of leadership that couldn't be argued with.

"Merlin..." Arthur's hand gripped his shoulder tighter. "This is your home. Your kingdom. We will fight to protect you and your son. We won't let her have either of you, I don't care how powerful you think she is. We've faced worse together and survived, I don't see how she'll be any different."

"You don't understand, Arthur..." Merlin shook his head, running his hands through his hair and gripping it tightly. "She's worse than Morgana was, she's ruthless and doesn't care about who she hurts in her rush to get us. She already destroyed her own citadel when we were escaping...! She killed her own people, what do you think she'll do to yours?"

Arthur knelt down, placing himself directly in Merlin's sights. A reassuring smile that Merlin couldn't understand on his face. "Merlin, you've been away for quite some time, so I understand that you don't truly understand the battles we've faced in recent times... Unlike her kingdom though, Camelot's citizens love their land and go to great measures to protect it. Even moreso now that we've become a safe haven to the magical."

Merlin hesitantly met his eyes, his own narrowing in confusion. "I don't understand..."

A laugh burst from Arthur as he patted his shoulder, "I'll tell you so you don't hurt yourself from thinking; who knows how long it's been since you actually had to use your brain. Camelot is surrounded by a magical shield powered by all of the druid tribes in our land, old witches have given us many artifacts of protection that are kept around the castle to keep evil away, there was even an old sorcerer that gave his blessing. Camelot will be safe from her."

Merlin's eyes had widened more and more listening to all that had been done to protect Camelot, tears slowly rising in them. His shoulders slumped, head bowing in defeat. "...And now you'll have me."

"You're hurt-"

"That's never stopped me before, Gaius can confirm."

A chuckle went around the group at the physician's sigh, imagining all too well the trouble that Merlin put him through in his younger years. But then Merlin pushed himself up, swinging his feet around to the edge of the bed. Arthur, Gwaine, Elyan, and Gaius all rushing to stop him, but Merlin held a hand up.

His legs shook under his weight, the arm that was gripping the bed frame to hold him up trembling as well. But he held his head high as he look Arthur in the eyes. "It's been a long time, and I know much has changed while I've been gone, but," His head lowered into a bow as he went down on one knee, "I'd like to pledge my and my son's loyalty to Camelot once more, Sire."

The air shifted in the room then, all playfulness and worry gone as the other occupants stood tall. Arthur's face was serious, but he couldn't fight off the small smile that formed at the sight of his friend. He stood in front of Merlin, looking down at him.

"While I never considered your loyalty gone, on behalf of my kingdom I accept your offer." He held a hand out, Merlin grabbing it and being hauled to his feet and right into the tight embrace of Arthur. "Welcome home, Merlin."

A/N: I started watched The living and The Dead some time ago and all I could see was a really hot Merlin with a son... And so this story was born. I may make a second chapter later on, but I'm not sure about that... I got a job recently and the only way I was able to write this story was because I'm on holiday break from it. But we'll see how it goes.

You may have noticed Merlin and Gabriel using words in another language at some parts in the story. I wasn't able to elaborate on it, but the place that Merlin was shipped to was Ireland, and those are (according to Google) Irish-Gaelic words/phrases. Merlin obviously would teach his son the English that's shown in the series, as well as him learning the language of his people. And you know Merlin didn't spend six years in a different kingdom without picking up some of what they were saying. So I googled Irish-Gaelic terms of endearment and got those.

Just imagine Merlin smiling at his newborn son, tears in his eyes as he whispers to him, "a leanbh..." (my child)

Or when Gabe is older and having one of those silly talks with his dad that children do, probably asking about Merlin's favorite treasure after a trip to the royal vaults or something and Merlin just laughs and says "You, a stoirin." (my little treasure) Maybe even throwing in a "now go play, a bhobain." (My little rascal)

Here is the translation list:

A stóirín - my little treasure

A leanbh - my child

Athair - father