|Caring for You
Author: 0HappyEverAfter0 PM
Merlin is wore out after accepting a duel with another sorcerer. Arthur soothes him after wards by helping him bathe and dressing his wounds. Slash. Future!fic. Lots of h/c and fluff.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Merlin & Arthur - Words: 1,666 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 104 - Follows: 3 - Published: 11-04-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7523449
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This was wrote for the fluff fest over at LJ. Big thanks to cas for beta'ing this.
Summary: Merlin is wore out after accepting a duel with another sorcerer. Arthur soothes him after wards by helping him bathe and dressing his wounds. Lots of h/c and fluff. Please R&R!
Arthur hated this part of Merlin being Court Sorcerer. Being thoroughly uneducated in the ways of magic, he had never realized that sorcerers often acted with the same code as knights, and could challenge another to a duel; or kingdoms could have their sorcerer's battle as their champions. Had Arthur known all of this ahead of time, he probably wouldn't have let Merlin take on the title at all. Having to watch duel after duel made him anxious that one of these times Merlin would fail and he would lose his best and only friend. He had already lost Gwen to Lancelot, and while that had worked out for the best, he couldn't bear the thought of losing the only person he had left. Being the most powerful warlock to ever live did give favor to Merlin winning said battles every time, but it didn't soften Arthur's nerves in any way, shape or form.
This particular match was over what most of them were; rogue sorcerers hating the Pendragon name and wanting to seek revenge for the wrongs committed against magic. Arthur always tried to speak with them and make peace, but more often than not Merlin would have to get involved. So for what felt like the hundredth time, Arthur attended a duel between his Court Sorcerer and someone that wanted him dead.
Arthur watched with bated breath as the enemy wizard conjured a ball of red energy and hurled it towards Merlin. His hands gripped the side of the throne until his knuckles turned white. It shouldn't have been a surprise that Merlin easily stopped the attack by forcing the dark magic ball to dissipate, but Arthur still sighed in relief. How did Merlin handle this? All those years of watching him battle in tournaments and duels, often outmatched by people with magic, and yet he had always appeared calm on the sidelines, always there cheering him on. All Arthur wanted to do was yank Merlin out of the arena and lock him up and never let get in harms way again.
By the time the battle was over, Arthur felt exhausted from being wrought with nerves the entire afternoon. When Merlin was officially proclaimed the winner he smiled and clapped in a very kingly manner while on the inside he was cheering uncontrollably. As the crowd shouted his name, Merlin turned towards Arthur and gave him a slight bow and a secret smile only he would understand.
Knowing Merlin would be waiting for him, Arthur quickly made his way to their chambers. Upon entering he saw Merlin looking out of the window.
"You did well today Sir Merlin."
The other man looked up at him with a scowl. "I've told you not to call me that."
Merlin looked exhausted. He had tried to explain once that while he didn't have many limitations with his magic, he was still human and using magic expended his energy just the same as any other activity would.
"Well being a nobleman came with the title of Court Sorcerer. So whether you like it or not, you are Sir Merlin Emry's, Court Sorcerer to King Arthur of Camelot!" He said with a smile as he clapped Merlin on the shoulder.
Rather than returning the banter as usual, Merlin just grumbled and sat down at the table.
The king studied him as he wiped the hair out of his eyes and took deep breaths, his back hunched as if defeated. Arthur hadn't seen him looking like this since the BlackPlague came through and he'd exhausted himself trying to save every single person.
"Are you alright?" Arthur asked, taking a seat next to him.
"Yes, I'm fine. Just tired. I've been refortifying my protection spells around the borders. I've learned a lot more about runes since the last time I did them and they were too weak."
Scowling, Arthur grabbed Merlin's arms and flipped them over. Sure enough there were two fresh scars up both arms, both bright red and skin inflamed.
"Merlin! How many times have I told you not to use blood magic? You idiot. What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking about keeping you safe." Merlin said, looking up at him with tired eyes. "The runes were made stronger if they were carved in stone and then traced in my blood. I've been doing it slowly so now to wear myself out, but with the northern kingdom becoming restless I got worried and may have pushed it."
Arthur scowled at him and gently rubbed his thumbs over the wounds. "And then you agreed to a dual. Merlin you could have killed yourself. You can't put yourself in these positions."
Merlin's face turned stoney. "You know I won't apologize, it's my job to protect you."
They'd had this argument several times since he'd told Arthur about his magic. It always ended in a massive argument, both men wanting to protect the other at all costs. Arthur was about to launch into his long list of why Merlin couldn't do these things (the list that Merlin had memorized backwards and forwards by now), but when he saw the softness and utter exhaustion in Merlin's eyes he didn't have the heart for it. Instead he said,
"I love you too, you idiot. Go lay on the bed."
Merlin obeyed without a word, slowly sinking into their shared bed and letting the tension drain from his body. Arthur called for a serving boy and ordered him to prepare a bath and bring some bandages from the court physician. As his commands were completed, Arthur changed into his nightclothes and sat on the bed next to Merlin, gently brushing his fingers through his hair.
When the bath was finally ready, he roused Merlin and helped him undress.
"What are you doing?" Merlin asked, though it came out more like a gargled choke in his sleepy haze.
"I'm taking care of you." He whispered before gently kissing the warlock's temple.
Once Merlin was finally undressed, Arthur picked him up and set him in the tub. He shrieked at the cold temperature before warming it with a silent spell.
"Feels nice." He purred in contentment.
With a gentleness he only exuded around his lover, Arthur picked up a cloth and washed all of the dirt and grime from Merlin's body. He started at his shoulders; rubbing small circles until he was content the skin was clean.
Taking his time, he lifted one of Merlin's arms from the water and tenderly scrubbed up and down, being careful not to agitate his wounds. When he was satisfied he moved on to the other arm, using the same care and love to ensure all the dirt was removed from the cut.
When Arthur began to wash his legs, Merlin's eyes opened into sleepy slits. "Why have we never done this before?"
Arthur laughed and placed a chaste kiss on his lips. "Because I'm still the king and kings don't give other people baths."
Merlin chuckled and whispered "Cabbage head." before closing his eyes again. Discarding the rag, Arthur used a bucket to wet Merlin's hair and gently rubbed soap through it, taking his time to massage the scalp. Merlin hummed in happiness and pushed back into the touch. Once all the soap was washed out Arthur began to kneed Merlin's shoulders with strong hands.
"Lean forward." He commanded gently. Merlin complied and Arthur slowly traced his fingers over the soft skin of his back. Using his thumbs, he found each knot in the muscles around Merlin's spine and worked them out one by one.
"s'good" Merlin muttered half asleep. Arthur smiled and tugged his shoulder to have him sit back. He let him relax for a bit longer until his hands were starting to prune.
"Come on now, we need to get those cuts bandaged properly. What would Gauis say if he were still here?"
"He would say that magic can't heal everything and I should have put more effort into being his assistant."
"And he would be right." Arthur exclaimed as he helped the other man from the tub and wrapped him in a large towel.
"Hey now! I was too busy saving your stupidly brave arse to have the time!"
"Excuses, excuses." Arthur tutted.
Merlin huffed and sat down on the bed, holding his arms out to be bandaged. Arthur kissed his wrist before applying a salve to help with scaring and infection before wrapping it up and repeating on the other wound. When Arthur looked up at Merlin he had the beginning of tears in his eyes.
"I hate seeing you hurt for me. I hate watching you risk your life for mine."
Merlin smiled sadly and pulled them both into bed and under the covers.
"I love you too, prat." After a pause he added, "Thank-you for tonight. It was nice to be taken care of for once. It meant a lot."
Arthur squeezed him tight in response and swore to himself they would do this more often. He was letting Merlin overexert himself again and it just wouldn't do.
"I'll always take care of you." Arthur whispered, brushing a kiss over the shell of his ear. Merlin let out a contended sigh and snuggled closer to his king. Eventually Merlin's soft breath on his shoulder and the steady thump of his heart lured Arthur into a peaceful sleep.
A/N: Remember to review my lovely readers 3