Hello there, fellow Merlinians!

I must say, I was gobsmacked at just how well this story did, and so, as a thank you and in response to many of your reviews, I have decided to add an epilogue to answer all of your questions. I hope it seems like a good reason as to why our handsome young warlock lost his voice; it is something I pictured Merlin doing in the show haha!

Thank you all for your continuous support with my stories… I hope you enjoy! As per usual, please let me know what you think! :-)


Epilogue

Gaius supported his right hand with his left as he slowly tilted the vial of elderflower tonic, just enough to let a single drop fall into the powder mix below. With Merlin being out on a hunting trip with Arthur for the last three days, the elderly physician had been able to get more of his delicate work done; work that required a clear mind, a steady hand, and, above all, silence; three things that were a blessing in disguise when he was able to get them.

Leaning towards the vial with his mouth slightly open, Gaius licked his lips and ever so slowly began to cautiously tilt the vial, enough to allow the tiniest of droplets to form on the rim. He watched with baited breath as the small droplet started to cease clinging onto the glass as its decent began...

right as the door slammed open with no warning. With a startled shout, Gaius jerked out of his seat, his heart beating faster than it should be. Looking down at what now resembled purple powder swimming in liquid, all he could do was slump his aching shoulders and sigh in agitation. Tearing himself away from his ruined mixture - which he would now have to painstakingly start all over again - the elderly physician turned towards his main chamber door. He was rather surprised to note that no one was there, so it came as his second unpredicted shock of the morning when he turned to glance at his wards chambers, only to see said ward stood before him; his face of thunder having just slammed down his old magic book. The annoyance radiating from Merlin allowed Gaius to forget about his spoilt work.

The gift of speech returned to him. "Merlin, you're back! What in the name of Camelot is wrong?" Gaius asked, a frown marring his face. Where usually Merlin would respond with either cheek, a smile or a rant, the young warlock in fact did neither; he was too busy aggressively flicking the pages of his book in urgent search for something. When Merlin reached the end of the rather large book, he slammed down the back cover and spun on the spot, clutching his hair. Gaius was surprised at his wards unusual behaviour to say or do anything, and could only watch as Merlin sighed, slumped his shoulders and sat on the bench besides him. Having the usual calm Merlin back, Gaius ventured to speak. "What is it you are looking for? Perhaps an extra set of ey-" He was stopped mid-sentence by Merlin, who had just held out his finger in a 'stop' motion.

Gaius was stunned into silence again. This keeps happening too often for my liking.

Having regained his composure, Merlin sat up straight, opened the front cover of the book and held his hand out over it, before closing his eyes. Knowing what was about to happen, Gaius quickly glanced back at the main chamber door to ensure it was shut, and was pleased to see it was when he heard the sound of hundreds of pages rapidly flickering. This went on for a few moments, until Merlin seemed to have found exactly what it was he was looking for. With bright eyes, he turned the book towards his guardian, and prodded the art containing the spell he wanted with a long finger, and an expectant gaze.

Squinting, Gaius leant forwards to read the tiny writing. How he had ever been able to read it was a complete mystery to him. Reading over the part where Merlin had removed his finger from, a smile began to form; a smile that Merlin would later swear seemed almost…. smug.

"So you want your voice back now?" he asked in a knowing tone that caused Merlin's smile to falter. "Well I'm afraid, my boy, that there are some things I need doing before I can agree to doing this." He paused for effect. "Things such as herb gathering, ingredient preparation," he ignored the sigh, "a potion to be made that you caused me to mess up," Merlin rolled his eyes, "and for that cheek, the leech tank needs cleaning."

Merlin made a face of disgust at the reproach, before sealing his mouth shut – physically – and shaking his head with raised eyebrows in a defiant manner.

Gaius gave a loud mock sigh and made to stand, inwardly smiling at Merlin's apparent dilemma. "You'll need me before I need you!" he warned, just as Merlin's hand shot out and held his arm in a pleading manner. "Those big blue eyes may work on the ladies, Merlin, but they don't work on me. We do this my way, or no way at all. I doubt many others would read out a spell in Camelot… and remember, I can be just as stubborn as you can be." He stayed in his standing position as he watched his ward inwardly debate over his current situation, before Merlin groaned and relented, with a roll of his eyes and brief nod of the head. "Good choice," Gaius happily praised as he sat back down to take another look at the spell. Merlin smiled sarcastically, and Gaius was certain that had Merlin have his voice, a very sarcastic 'ha ha' would have accompanied said smile. "Edhwierft Merlin héafodwóp."

The physician's eyes glistened gold before returning to their ordinary colour. No sooner had he finished the spell, a loud 'whoop!' sounded besides him.

"Thank you, Gaius! I am never, and believe me when I say never trying that spell out again! Do you know how long it has been since I was last able to speak ? Four days. Four days! Not one or two, but four! I don't know how I did it," Merlin didn't pause for breath as he stood up and began bouncing around. "I really don't have a clue how I managed it! I've lost my voice before, but that was never my fault! And I can tell you one thing, Prince Prat," he ignored the 'Merlin!', "most definitely loved it! He has not shut up with the sarcastic comments and useless conversations; I thought I was going to mad! And the jobs! Gods, the jobs, Gaius! Such stupid, worthless pathetic little jobs he kept making me do because I couldn't answer him back! I don't care that he's the other half of my coin or my destiny; if he ever asks me to test the strength of a rickety old bridge hanging over a river and then laugh as I fall into it after conveniently remembering there is a stone bridge further along, I will turn his ears back into donkey ones and make sure he does nothing but bray for a very. Long. Time," he finished his rant in a dangerous tone and straightaway took a large gulp of air. Before he could start ranting again, Gaius warily clapped him on the shoulder.

"For a second there, I thought you had forgotten to breathe!" Merlin sent him an apologetic look. "Now, I'm sure I could hazard a guess, but how did you even lose your voice? " he questioned suspiciously. Somehow, just somehow, he thought he could tell what the answer was going to be; and the suddenly sheepish expression on Merlin's face told him his suspicions were correct.

Merlin scratched the back of his neck, wincing as he answered, "I err, found a spell that could silence objects and wanted to see if it could work on people, so I… tested it on Arthur, and it sort of back fired…" Merlin winced for real when he felt Gaius cuff him round the back of his head.

"You stupid boy! You could have been caught! How would it have looked if Arthur just suddenly lost his voice for no apparent reason? You know Uther's view on anything suspicious; he instantly blames sorcery! You're meant to be lying low for goodness sake, not pulling pranks!" He admonished angrily.

Merlin stared at his mentor shocked, whilst holding out his palms. "Whoa, Gaius, calm down!"

"Do not tell me to calm down! You ought to think yourself lucky that it wasn't permanent!" Gaius half shouted.

"Yeah, you're telling me…." Was the sheepish response that Merlin muttered. He observed his mentor for a moment, and, once sure he was going to start ranting again, lowered his palms.

Gaius sighed wearily. "Just think about what you're doing next time. If it was someone else, who knows what the reciprocations might have been."

Merlin let out a long puff of air. "It's just as well Arthur's so oblivious," he mumbled, testing the waters. At Gaius' glare, he stopped. "Well, it is true." Patting his knees, Merlin stood up and shut his magic book.

"I don't suppose it's too late to ask why you couldn't have come to me sooner?" Gaius questioned.

Merlin scrunched his face up in disbelief as he stepped over the bench. "After it being obvious to nearly everyone in the castle that I couldn't speak at all? I'd have been caught!" he responded incredulously.

Shaking his head at his ward's wisdom, or lack of, Gaius also stood up as Merlin went and hid his magic book. "You're learning I suppose. And where do you think you're going?" he asked, arms crossed.

Merlin stopped mid-step on his way to the main chamber door, and pointed at it with his thumb. "I was just going to go out. Why, do you want anything?"

Gaius stayed where he was stood and raised a grey eyebrow. "We had an agreement, Merlin," he stated, tilting his head back ever so slightly as the young warlock sighed. "Or I'm sure I can work out that spell you tried…. It has been tested after all…."

"You wouldn't… no. you wouldn't," Merlin squinted one eye daringly, trying to work out if his guardian was bluffing or not.

It would appear not.

"Pres swígian her-"

"Alright, alright! I'll do your leech tank!" Merlin burst out, glaring at it venomously. He missed Gaius' obviously smug smile. It would appear the physician now had a weapon to use against his stubborn ward.


TRANSLATIONS
Edhwierft Merlin héafodwóp – Return to Merlin his voice.
Pres swígian - to be silent
Voice – héafodwóp

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Lady Elrayen x