A/N: Uh, hi! I'm not sure if you remember me or not, it's been a few years since I posted anything. I never forgot about my stories, I often sat there reading through them myself. Things have just been... different over the past few years. Yesterday I binge watched the whole of series 1 of Merlin, after reading the whole what I had already posted for this story. I'm doing my best to get back into it, so I hope you enjoy this chapter.
Both the Prince and Princess were standing there in a bit of a daze. Arthur was still holding onto her tightly, knowing that if he let go for even just a second her legs would give way and she would go crashing to the chilly stone floor of his chamber. The last thing he had expected was for Lillian to kiss him like that, even though he had been planning on doing the exact same thing to her.
After a few more moments of calm, Lillian finally spoke. "I love you, Arthur. And I am sorry for everything that I have put you through." She said, her voice shaking almost as much as her body was. It wasn't easy for her, admitting that everything she had done had been stupid, that she had made so many mistakes, but she knew she had to. She didn't want to lose Arthur, that was why so many terrible things had happened.
The Prince gazed down at her, his eyes meeting hers. "I love you as well, Lily. And I'm sorry for everything that I have put you through too." It wasn't just her actions that had caused problems, and Arthur knew that. His own stupid ideas and actions had caused plenty of trouble in the past, and he wasn't going to make those mistakes again. Not ever.
She wanted to say something else, something important, but she could feel her legs trembling even more. "I need to move." She ended up saying, knowing that if she didn't get to the table soon she would end up on the floor.
Although Arthur wanted her to get better, and hated seeing her in so much pain, he was actually rather pleased that she had asked him to help. He knew just how stubborn she was, how independent she could be, so he understood just how much it had taken for her to ask him for help with such a simple task. "Whenever you're ready, Lily." His hands moved from around her waist and onto her hips. He didn't want to let go of her, but he knew he was going to have to.
Lillian took a very wobbly, small step away from him. She held her arms out to her sides, doing her best to keep her balance. "This isn't as easy as I remember it being. I used to be able to beat you in a race, now I can't even walk a few paces." The Princess muttered, willing her feet to cooperate and do what she wanted them to.
Something grasped one of her hands, and she looked to see Arthur there beside her. "You can do this, Lily. You just need to regain your strength and then you'll be back to beating me." At least he hoped she would.
She nodded at him, her hand gripping his tightly now as she forced her legs to work and her feet to move. All of her concentration was on moving, on getting over to that table so that she could sit there and eat something. So that she could prove herself and everyone else wrong, that she wasn't weak and useless. She wanted to see if she really could make things better.
It took some time, and a lot of encouragement from Arthur, but Lillian finally made it to the table. By the time she was sitting down she was utterly exhausted and ready to go straight back to bed. No, she wasn't going to do that. She was going to sit there and eat with Arthur and try to forget what had happened.
"Are you alright?" Arthur asked her, having noticed that she had gone a little pale. He was wondering if it really had been a good idea for her to move, maybe he should have stopped her.
"That was harder than I thought it was going to be." Lillian admitted to the Prince. "Much harder. But I made it." That was what she had to focus on, even if she did have someone helping her, she had made it up and off that bed and over to the table.
Arthur just opened his mouth to speak when the door to the chamber slowly creaked open and Merlin poked his head around the door once more. "I've got some lunch." He announced, before pushing the door open more with his shoulder and stepping into the room. With him he brought a large silver tray carrying bread, meat, fruit and a fresh jug of water. The young warlock couldn't help but frown when he saw how Lillian was looking. She really was looking pale and he sent a worried glance over to his master.
Lillian hadn't missed it, she had seen the worried looks between the two men. "I am fine." She announced while the food was placed on the table. "I've been laying in that bed for so long, of course I'm going to find it difficult and tiring to move around. As everyone keeps reminding me, it's going to take time for my body to heal properly." For some reason she felt like being stubborn now, she wanted to show them all that she was capable of looking after herself. Maybe then Arthur would start getting back to his own duties and not worry and fuss over her day and night.
"Just do not over do it, Lillian." Arthur ended up saying, knowing that there was no way he could try to argue with her right now. He had seen it, that look in her eyes again, that spark that showed him his Lily was still in there somewhere. "If you do, then you could make matters worse. I do not want to have to send for Gaius because you have exhausted yourself by being stubborn."
No matter how much she wanted to respond to that, to tell him that he was far more stubborn than she was, she held her tongue. He had helped her when she had asked, he hadn't told her no. "I won't, I promise." Her voice was quiet, but that was mainly because Merlin was in the room still.
A small smile crept across Arthur's face. "Good, now eat." There was plenty of food there, more than enough for the pair of them. He just hoped that she would indeed eat something and that she would start feeling better because of it. She hadn't eaten anything during the morning, simply drank water. The Prince knew that she needed to start eating properly if she was going to get strong enough to move around with assistance.
Although Lillian was hungry, she didn't eat as much as Arthur had hoped she would. She had tried, she really had, but she really was so tired now. The Prince had noticed this, he could see how she was struggling to stay focused and so he got up from where he was sitting and walked around the table so that he was standing beside her. "Come, I think that is enough for one day." He said to her softly, pulling the chair back slightly so that there was space between her and the table.
"You know what, I think I'll just stay here. I don't think I can get back to the bed right now." Lillian admitted. She wasn't admitting defeat, she was just admitting to the fact that she was utterly wiped out and just did not have the energy to force herself to stumble back over to the bed.
Luckily for her, Arthur had no intention of letting her walk back over there, or stumble. "You are not staying here." He told her, before leaning over her, sliding an arm behind her legs. Without any warning he swept her up into his arms. He had actually expected her to gasp in pain or something, but she didn't, she simply wrapped her arms around his neck as he carried her back over to the bed. She felt lighter. She had lost too much weight.
After carefully and gently placing her back down on the bed he walked around to the other side. He perched on the edge as he tugged off his boots. Arthur had a feeling that she was going to drift off to sleep at any moment, and he would admit that he could do with a little more sleep as well. He spent so much time during the night worrying about her, losing sleep because he was terrified that he would wake up and she would be gone. He dreamed, so often, that he was going to lose her and lose her for good.
It didn't take long for Lillian to make herself comfortable, her head resting against her best friend, before the pair of royals managed to find some peace and fall asleep. That was how Merlin saw them when he crept back into take away the half empty tray. He couldn't help but smile a little at what he saw, the Prince was only ever completely at ease when he was around Lillian. It was one of those rare moments when he got to see Arthur as not just a prince and fearsome warrior, but also just a normal man who was in love.
Darkness had swept across the sky when someone next entered the chamber, the pair on the bed still content in their sleep. While this person didn't want to disturb the pair, they knew that they had to, there was a reason for their visit after all. They were trying to be as quiet as they could, unfortunately their footsteps were not as silent as they would have liked, and Lillian's eyes quickly flew open. There was a hint of panic there, until she realised who it was standing there.
The man stood there smiling at her softly before she came to her senses and acted. "Arthur, you're father is here." She said, giving him a slight nudge, trying to wake him up. "Arthur…"
A few moments passed before the Prince finally decided to open his eyes. He was slightly surprised that his father was standing there watching them both, but he had nothing to hide. He noticed that Lillian hadn't really moved much, she was still tucked up against him and it looked as if she had no plans on moving either. "I came to see how you were, Lillian. I have been informed that the wound is healing well and that you should be able to move around more soon." Uther said, watching her closely, taking in all the details.
Of course the King had been constantly updated on how the Princess was, and not just from Arthur either. Gaius would let him know what was going on, and so would the guards who passed by or popped in to see Arthur. More people were checking up on her than she realised. Lillian was ready to answer the King, but someone else spoke before she did. "She has already been moving around. Lily managed to get to the table to eat earlier." Arthur announced proudly.
Yes, he was proud of her, he was always proud of her. The look on his face proved to his father that he was proud of her as well. The look on Lillian's face proved that she was just confused a little. "Well, that is good news. We finally have something to celebrate in Camelot." The King replied, raising an eyebrow at his son and giving him a questioning look.
Arthur knew exactly what was running through his father's mind, of what he was asking him about. "I think it's a little too early for any celebrations yet, father. Maybe now would be the time to inform the court of our return and that we are both fine." He couldn't outright say what he wanted to, not when he knew Lillian was listening.
There was a slightly disappointed look on Uther's face. "They will be informed tomorrow. I am just glad to know that you are getting better, Lillian." His eyes moved and landed on the Princess who was a little stunned that he was addressing her.
"Thank you, Sire. It… it hasn't been easy recently." She really didn't know what to say to him, and her nerves were creeping up on her.
"Of course, Lillian. I just hope that you are able to forgive my son for his actions. We all know he can act a fool at times." The King said, giving his son a very firm glare. "And how many times must I ask you, call me Uther."
She nodded at him, doing her best to hold back that uneasy feeling that she was feeling in the pit of her stomach. "I have started to understand why he acted that way, and of course I have forgiven him. I know that I have acted like a fool at times, and he has always forgiven me." That was true, she had done some things that she wasn't proud of, or that had upset her best friend, but he had always forgiven her, without question. "I find it very hard to stay mad at him."
Uther couldn't help but smile at this. He had always known that the pair of them were made for each other, and he never doubted that they would work through whatever problems they faced. This had been one of their biggest hurdles, and they had overcome it. "You have a good heart, Lillian. We are all very lucky to have you here."
Arthur could see that she was struggling, he knew just how nervous she became around his father, as well as the reasons behind it. "You're right, father, we are. I know that I wouldn't be the man I am today with her here." There was something else he was going to say, but a knocking at the door interrupted him. "Yes, come in." He called, recognising the knock straight away.
"Sorry, I've brought you and Princess Lillian some dinner, Sire." Merlin announced, entering the room with a tray filled with food. He was aware that the King was in there, he had been standing outside for a few minutes with the tray, listening. It had taken him that long to decide whether he should knock or just come back later, but going by the nervous feelings he was getting from Lillian he decided that it was best to just interrupt.
He began setting things on the table, even though he could see that Lillian was going to be having her dinner at the bed. As Merlin moved he ignored both the King and Prince, even he could feel the tension in the air. "Well, I am glad to see you are doing so well, Lillian." Uther eventually said, before looking at his son. "Arthur, a word. Now."
His face feel, he didn't like the tone his father had used to speak to him, but he knew there was no getting out of it. There was a very serious look in his eyes as well, it was just like someone was in trouble, and he had a feeling that it was going to be him. "Of course." He replied, carefully pulling himself away from his Lilly and getting up from the bed. "I'll only be a moment." He lent down and kissed her lightly on her forehead before following his father out of the room.
There was confusion written all over her face now. "Merlin, what's going on?" The young warlock heard a hint of fear and panic in her voice.
"Don't ask me, I'm just the help." He said, shrugging his shoulders. The truth was he wasn't exactly sure either. He hadn't really witnessed Uther speaking to his son like that before either, and he was pretty curious about what was going on as well. "I'm sure everything is fine. How are you feeling anyway?" Merlin was quick to change the topic, he didn't want her to be worrying over anything.
Outside of the chamber, the King was giving his son a very firm look, his arms folded across his chest. "Arthur, I thought you understood after our little chat this morning, life is too short and too precious."
"I know, father, I understand. I will, just not today. Everything has to be perfect, and I will only do it when Lily is in less pain." Ever since his father had given him the ring back he hadn't stopped thinking about it. There was a moment, when Lillian had been sitting at the table after lunch, when he almost took it out and gave it to her. But then he saw that she was so exhausted, and he knew it could wait. "Before the week is out, it will be done."
"Make sure that it is, Arthur. The pair of you have already wasted so much time by being stubborn." Uther told him, before turning and walking away without another word or waiting for his son to reply to him.
It took a moment for the Prince to regain his focus and enter his chamber. When he did he noticed Lillian was sitting up, a tray of food before her, and a rather grumpy look on her face. "Lily, what's the matter?" He asked, wondering why she was sending deathly dagger eyes over to his servant.
"Merlin simply refuses to let me even try to make it over to the table again to eat." She grumbled, already knowing that Arthur was going to be on his side and not hers. She knew that from the way that he had refused to let her stay at the table after lunch.
"Good. Because if he had let you then he would have ended up in the stocks, and I know you don't like it when that happens." The Prince replied, heading over to the bed. "I will make a deal with you. You stay right where you are for dinner, but tomorrow at lunch time we will try again at the table. How does that sound?"
Lillian looked at him and studied his face carefully. She wanted to find something, something that was telling her he was up to something. All she could find was his eyes pleading with her to listen to him. "Okay." She said, relenting. Right now she didn't have the energy to argue with him, but she was working on it.
Dinner was uneventful, just like Arthur had hoped. Lillian hadn't eaten a lot, but she had eaten something, which was better than what had been happening. On most days she would only manage a mouthful, but now she was getting through a little bit more, even if it was taking her longer. Merlin had cleared everything away and was busy doing the many other things that Arthur had asked of him, all ready for the next day.
While he was busy with those things, Arthur was busy running everything over in his head, wondering if he had forgotten anything, all the time keeping Lillian company. "Why are you looking so worried, Arthur?" Lillian asked him, having noticed that he kept drifting off into his own little world. She had also seen the look on his face, the confused thinking face.
Arthur couldn't help but smile at her, at least she hasn't lost any of her observation skills. "I'm not worried, Lily, I'm just thinking." He replied, before sitting on the edge of the bed next to her. "About what my life would be like if you had never come back into it." He often thought about that, about what would have happened to him if they had never found her. All he had to do was remember those times that she used her magic to help him and he knew the simple answer, he would be dead.
"You'd be in a lot more trouble, that's what I think." She replied, knowing full well that there was more to this than he was telling her. "And I'd probably be dead by now."
The Prince looked at her with shock. "Don't say that, Lily, that isn't true."
"Tell me, Arthur, what were you thinking your life would be like, hm? Answer me that." There was a hint of a smirk on her face as she spoke, already knowing that she had caught the Prince out.
"Well, I… I would…" She had him flustered and poor Arthur just couldn't get any words out. "Fine, I would probably be dead by now as well." He said, relenting. "We saved each other, Lily. And I know we are going to keep on saving each other." Arthur gently picked up her hand and softly kissed the back of it. "You mean everything to me, Lily."
The tears were already building in her eyes. If she were to be honest with anyone, she would tell them that she was an emotional wreck and that just the smallest little thing could set her off into tears. There was just so much going on inside of her head that she wouldn't think clearly. It was all a big ball of tangled string and she was struggling to get the knots out of it. "Arthur I…" Words failed her.
The Prince could see that she was struggling, he could see that battle raging on within her, he had always been able to see it. All he really wanted to do was help her, to make things right, to be with her forever. "It's okay. I know, Lily." All he could really do was hold her and assure her that everything would be fine in the end.
The hours passed, the sun set and the moon shone brightly in the sky above Camelot. Arthur was peacefully asleep, for once, one arm wrapped tightly around Lillian as she rested against him. But she wasn't asleep, she was awake and concentrating as hard as she could. After her little adventure to the table at lunch the previous day, she was starting to feel a spark of her old self once more. Of course, Arthur had already seen it, but now she felt it, and it gave her a push to try to change things.
What she was doing was difficult, for more than just one reason. She had the Prince beside her holding onto her tightly, she couldn't get him to release her, so she couldn't really move that much. Then there was the problem that she was already tired, and what she was doing was going to just make matters worse. Yet she was determined to do it, or at least try until she passed out from exhaustion.
"Lillian, what are you doing?" A voice suddenly called into her head. "Do you have any idea what time it is?"
A frown formed on her face as she tried her best to ignore the young warlock who was clearly not impressed that she was awake. She shook her head slightly before focusing her attention back onto the metal jug filled with water that was on the small table beside the bed, beside Arthur. "Āhweorfe." Lillian whispered, doing her best not to disturb the man sleeping next to her. It wasn't easy and she was worried that just the slightest little movement was going to wake him up, so far she had been lucky.
Her whispered words did nothing. "Āhweorfe." She said again, only a little more forceful. Still, nothing changed. It was frustrating for her, so many had told her that she could do this, that all she had to do was try, and now she was trying but nothing was happening. "Āhweorfe." Lillian let out a sigh, it seemed to be useless.
"Seriously, what are you doing?" Merlin called to her once more. "I can feel it, whatever it is you are doing, I can sense it. Please, Lillian, what's going on?" He was just worried about her, he just wanted to make sure that everything was okay. He knew that she would hear him, and he knew that if she tried she could answer him. Lillian wasn't trying to answer him, her eyes were still fixed on the jug.
"Āhweorfe." She said again, still in a whisper, but just that little bit louder. As with all the times before, nothing happened. "Come on, Lillian. You can do this." There was no way she was giving up now. "Āhweorfe." Much to her surprise, the jug didn't move a little, it pretty much threw itself onto the floor, landing with a rather loud crash.
A second later, Arthur was wide awake, looking for the source of the noise. His eyes were wide and wild, scanning the room before looking over at Lillian. "Lily, are you okay?" He asked, having no idea what had just happened or what had caused the noise that woke him, he just knew he needed to check she was okay first.
She nodded at him, her own eyes slightly wide. "Yeah, I'm… I'm fine."
"Are you sure?" For some reason, he didn't quite believe her. There was something in her eyes, something that he couldn't explain. She simply nodded at him, not sure of what she would really say to him. Arthur accepted her nod and then proceeded to look for the source of the noise once more. It didn't take him too long to spot the jug on the cold stone floor of his chamber, a frown forming on his face.
He threw the covers away from his legs and put his feet on the cold floor, before reaching down to pick up the jug. Just as his hand was about to touch it, it moved. The jug rolled and bounced along the floor. Arthur's hand stopped where it was in midair, his eyes fixed on the jug that seemed to be moving of its own accord. After a few moments, his hand began to move again, slowly reaching towards where the jug was now resting. He went to grab it, and just as before it bounced along the floor and further away from him.
There were now tiny beads of sweat forming on Lillian's brow as she focused as hard as she could on the jug. She had managed to make it move, the force of the movement taking by complete surprise. However, it really had drained her. She felt a huge wave of disappointment in herself for being so exhausted after doing something so small and simple.
The next time that Arthur reached out for the jug it didn't move and he managed to grab it without any problems. "Well that was odd." The Prince said, before turning and noticing the state that Lillian was in. "Lily, are you okay?" The jug was no longer important, and he put the jug down swiftly as he rushed back to the bed and placed a hand on her cheek. "What's wrong?" There was a clear hint of panic in his voice as he spoke to her.
All she could do was give him a slight smile. "Nothing is wrong, Arthur, I promise you. Now come on, let us go back to sleep." She replied, taking a hold of the hand that had landed on her cheek. She had managed to use her magic, it may have exhausted her and made her dizzy, but she had done it. For her, it was a very small victory.
A/N: Hello again! I'll be doing my best to move the story on in the next chapter, which I have already started writing. Again, I know it has been an awfully long time since I have updated not just this, but any of my stories. When going back through the files on my computer I was astonished at he dates of when they were first created and then last edited. I hope to post again soon!