Author's note: Welcome to the sequel for "The Love That Binds Us." I'll be posting mostly oneshots and the occasional multi-chapter episode-style short story. They won't necessarily be posted in chronological order, since I'll generally just be writing whenever inspiration hits me, so I'll always tell you at the beginning of the chapter how long it has been since the end of "The Love That Binds Us." Easy enough? Great! Then enjoy!
"I can't believe I agreed to be the bride," grumbled Merlin, entirely good-naturedly. He reached his arms around Mordred to undo the clasp of his deep blue cape. As it had always done, since the day of his knighting, Mordred's heart beat a little faster.
"It seemed fitting," Mordred answered. The knight turned to help Merlin off with his jacket in return. "Besides, you were a beautiful blushing bride."
Merlin snorted, but shook his head. "Nah," he said softly, "I couldn't hold a candle to you."
Mordred's fingers paused, lingering on a golden button as he grew warm and met Merlin's tender gaze. Consciously returning to his task, he looked down at Merlin's chest as his fingers delicately did their work. "You only say that to get me into your bed."
The warlock grinned as Mordred playfully shoved him.
"You can hardly blame me," he went on gaily. "When I stepped into that throne room, I thought for a moment that I'd stepped into a dream. You were, are, stunning, Mordred. More than you know."
Finally sliding his arms free of the jacket, a corner of his mouth pulled upwards. Stalking forward, he slowly walked Mordred backwards until the younger man's back came to rest against the bedpost.
"And I…" He planted a kiss beneath Mordred's ear. "…shall have you…" He sucked gently at Mordred's neck. "…tonight, and many more times in the future." Merlin straightened, slowly tilting his head so that their lips remained only an inch apart.
Mordred felt the breath on his lips, the heat, speeding his pulse and spreading from his lips, to his cheeks, his neck, chest, arms, hands. He swallowed dryly, licking his lips. Instinctively his head nudged towards the source of the tempting heat, but Merlin kept tantalizingly just out of reach.
"Merlin…" he breathed, straining further.
The older man smiled understandingly, but instead of granting him with the touch he desired, Merlin pulled far enough away that Mordred could no longer share his warmth. He pouted.
"I know, I know," said Merlin, placating his husband with hands raised. "But there's something I need to do first."
"Here, hand me your ring."
Perplexed, Mordred nonetheless twisted the wedding band off of his finger and rested it gently in Merlin's waiting palm. Merlin brought his hand to his face, murmured a few quiet words of sorcery, and then, much to Mordred's bemusement, blew air over the silver object.
Smiling shyly, Merlin stepped to Mordred's side, holding up the ring for him to see. Amazed, Mordred grabbed it back, staring at the words now engraved on the outside. He read them as Merlin spoke.
"It says, 'From the dawn of a new era to the twilight of our days, I will walk with you through all the steps of life' in the Old Tongue."
Listening in silence, Mordred placed the ring back on his finger, now wearing a promise he knew he would cherish always.
"You have given me the greatest privilege of my life," Merlin continued, "and I will honor it, and you, the best I can, forever."
Still staring in teary-eyed wonder at Merlin's handiwork, Mordred felt lithe fingers weave through his own. He squeezed tightly.
There were no more words shared—nor any that needed to be—as they instead shared their love another way, ushering in the newest stage of their lives with all the passion they knew would define it.