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Merlin collapsed onto his bed, exhausted. As well as running about all over the castle alerting knights and informing councils, Arthur had made him clean his armour, muck out the horses and feed the dogs. Alith flopped down beside him and both fell asleep.

Merlin stirred in his sleep, Alith tossing beside him. The two of them were trapped in a nightmare.

Merlin saw a black wolf dragging Alith further and further away from him. He could only feel pain as he was dragged further and further away from his daemon.

"Alith!" Merlin woke up screaming. Alith leapt into his arms, obviously traumitized by the nightmare . She dug her little lynx claws into Merlin's chest.

"It's alright, I'm here," Alith whispered as she clung to Merlin with all her might. Merlin held tight to Alith, never wanting to let her go ever again.

"Merlin?" Gaius pushed open the door with his owl daemon, Daria, perched on his shoulder. He found his ward sitting on the bed, clutching Alith to his chest. "Merlin?" Gaius asked softly.

Merlin looked up. "It..it was just a nightmare," he replied shakily.

"It was more than that," Gaius said, rubbing the boys shoulder.

"They..they were tearing Alith away from me," Merlin let out a strangled sob and hugged Alith even tighter to him.

"Hush," Gaius replied gently, "it was only a nightmare." Deep down though, Gaius had a feeling it was much more than that. Gaius walked down to his quarters and pulled out a sleeping draught. "Here," he passed the vial to Merlin, "it'll help with the nightmares."

Merlin took the draught and drank it all in one gulp. He soon surrendered to merciful darkness.

Gaius looked at his surrogate son. For Merlin and Alith's sake, he hoped their nightmare was no more than a nightmare.

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