It was the following week and Merlin was now four years old and seemed to be wanting to get into everything he wasn't allowed to. Arthur had just put Merlin to bed and decided to go straight to bed. He just blew out the candle and got into bed, letting out a happy sigh as he sunk into his pillow and closed his eyes.
"Argh!" Arthur shot up and turned to see a grinning Merlin. "Merlin I just left you asleep in bed."
"I wasn't asleep."
"I can see that. What are you doing here?"
Merlin climbed up onto the bed and got under the covers. "I don't like it in there. Wanna stay here."
Arthur sighed as he saw Merlin snuggle down and get comfy. "Tonight only Merlin." Arthur warned, but Merlin was already asleep.
A few days later Arthur was happy to finally, finally do some training. When he woke Merlin up that morning and told him they would be spending the morning on the training field he seemed excited and jumped out of Arthur's bed. One night of sleeping in Arthur's bed now turned into four, he would have to ask his mother later how to get Merlin out of that habit.
Arthur was sparring with Percival and laughing, happy that he could do a bit of training after going what felt like months, without.
Merlin was currently sat on the bench with his little legs swinging back and forth as he watched in awe. He tore his eyes from Arthur and looked to the side when he heard laughter and saw two knights who dropped their crossbows and picked up a sword and walked away. Merlin smiled when he saw that one of the crossbows had an arrow in it. Looking across the field he saw a line of targets. He knew he promised to sit and watch but he wanted to have a go.
Making sure Arthur wasn't looking his way, Merlin slid off the bench and hurried over to the crossbow and felt his little arms shake when he held it up in front of his face like he saw some other knights do. Moving his arms and hands about, Merlin managed to get his fingers on the trigger...
Arthur had knocked Percival's sword from his hand. "Well you have gone two weeks without training Arthur and you haven't lost your touch."
"Nope." Arthur shook Percival's hand and turned to see that Merlin was not where he left him. "Oh no." turning slightly to the left Arthur felt his stomach drop when he saw Merlin stood there with a crossbow in his hand, his fingers on the trigger. "Merlin no!" Arthur shouted as he dropped his sword and ran as quick as he could to the little boy. But it was too late. Merlin hand fired the arrow. Arthur followed the arrow. "Gwaine lookout!"
Gwaine who heard his name being called stood up straight and saw the arrow, panicking, he turned to the side and let out a gasp as he felt the arrow whiz past his groin, ripping his breeches there before a knight jumped forwards and held his shield, making the arrow rebound from that and embed itself in the grass.
Gwaine breathing heavily looked for his husband. "Percival?" he squeaked.
Percival ran over and put his fingers into the waistband of his husband's trousers and pulled outwards and looked down checking his husband's groin. "You're fine love. The arrow only ripped the outside of your trousers."
Gwaine merely nodded and dropped forwards into Percival's arms.
"Merlin." Arthur dropped to his knees and took the crossbow from him and chucked to the ground away from them both. "I told you to sit still and watch, you promised me Merlin and here you are causing trouble. You could have killed Gwaine if I didn't shout out to him."
"Arthur I am fine. Just a little shaken."
"That is not the point Gwaine. The point is Merlin did not do as he was told and because of it he could have killed you."
Arthur looked back at Merlin who had tears running down his face. "I am very disappointed and angry with you Merlin."
Merlin pushed Arthur back a little. "I hate you!" he shouted and right in front of a shocked Arthur, Merlin disappeared.
Arthur quickly stood up and turned to face Percival and Gwaine. "We need to find Andreia."
"Not only did she know of Merlin's magic, she knows him inside and out. If Merlin is upset she will know where Merlin disappeared to."
Percival and Gwaine nodded and the three of them went separate ways to find Andreia.
Arthur ran to the stables and quickly did up his horse and jumped on, urging the horse to run from the stables as he sped from the castle and into the forest. He found Andreia in the royal gardens with his mother and Morgana. After Andreia had told Arthur off for scaring Merlin that way, she told him she didn't know where Merlin was only that whenever he was upset, Merlin always told her he went to Arthur's place where he went for quiet time.
Arthur didn't know how Merlin found out about the place he went to be alone when he wanted time alone but he didn't care about that. He needed to get to Merlin.
Arthur stopped so far from the river bank and sighed with relief when he saw Merlin sat there with his legs crossed as he chucked pebbles into the lake. He quietly got off his horse and made his way over to Merlin and sat down cross legged beside him.
Merlin shuffled slightly away from Arthur and continued to throw pebbles into the lake.
"I remember when I was about your age and my father told me off when I did something similar. I admired my father with awe wanting to be just like him, watch what he was doing, do what he was doing." Arthur smiled to himself when he saw Merlin turn his head and look at Arthur to listen to him.
"One day I managed to slip past my mum and followed my father to where he went to train and I wanted to train with him. I picked up a mace and began swinging it around, nearly hurt not only myself but others as well. My father yelled a lot at me which really upset me. I turned and ran in tears and ended up bumping straight into my mother who was looking for me. That night when I was supposed to be asleep I heard my parents talking. Turns out that father wasn't angry, he was upset and afraid in case I hurt myself."
Arthur turned and smiled at Merlin. "That's what I felt when I saw you Merlin. I turned and panicked when I saw you weren't there and panicked even more when I saw that you had that crossbow. Merlin I am sorry for what I said to you. I didn't mean it. I was scared for you and lashed out when I shouldn't have."
Merlin handed Arthur a pebble who smiled and took the pebble, skimming so it bounced on the waters surface. "Merlin I was wrong. I shouldn't have left you there and expected you to wait whilst I trained. Do you want to come back and play sword fighting with me?"
"Really?" Merlin asked, beaming up at Arthur who smiled in return.
Merlin stood up and hugged Arthur who got to his feet, picking Merlin up. "I'm sorry Arthur."
"No Merlin. I am sorry for shouting at you and scaring you."
Arthur got on his horse and sat Merlin in front of him, holding the boy tightly as Merlin held on as the horse started it's trot back to Camelot.