So, this is kind of my challenge to myself. I'm writing one fanfiction for each episode of Merlin. Some are one-shots, some are longer stories. I ran out of ideas for fanfictions so this is how I'm dealing with that. If anyone has any prompts for me, feel free to leave it in a review and if I write it after I finish writing these 65 stories, I'll dedicate it to you… so, thanks. And I give you Season 1 Episode 9.
Summary: This takes place after Arthur confronts Uther about having Gaius drug him. He leaves the throne room with a huge smile on his face. He walks right into Merlin who asks him about his good mood. Arthur, already giddy with what his father told him does something that was very unexpected. How will Merlin react? Merthur. This was written for my friend, who begged me to write something like this: I hope you enjoy it 3
Story 9: Unexpected
Chapter 1: Just Leave
"I believed you would die. And that was a risk I could not take. You are too precious to me. You mean more to me than anything I know, more than this entire kingdom, and certainly more than my own life," Uther said to Arthur.
Arthur stared. Uther's words were spoken with a sincerity Arthur rarely heard from him. "I… always thought that…" Arthur said, trying to find the words. He didn't want to say anything that would break this moment.
"What?" Uther asked him. He was trying to remain stoic and emotionless, but it had always been difficult to do that with his son. Somehow Arthur always managed to blur the line between Uther's obligation to his crown and his obligation to his son. When he had lost Ygraine, Uther had been determined never to let another person have that power over his heart. Somehow he had failed at that.
"That… I was a big disappointment to you," Arthur admitted. He refused to look at Uther for fear that he would see some sort of confirmation in his gaze.
Uther's expression softened. "Well that is my fault, and not yours. You are my only son. And I wouldn't wish for another," Uther said seriously. He meant his words. Arthur was so, so precious to him. Uther never knew how to show that, but he had always thought Arthur had realized that. Uther almost felt as if he had failed some sort of test. Every time he looked at Arthur, he saw his wife. It caused him unbearable pain, but the love he felt always overrode that.
"Thank you father," Arthur said quietly.
Arthur stood there, waiting to be dismissed. He looked at the floor. He couldn't look up for fear he would find out that he imagined the whole thing, that his father would turn back into the fierce warrior that cared more for his kingdom than his son.
Uther took a moment to examine his son. It wasn't something he said enough, but he was truly proud of who his son had become. He was only recently crowned prince, but he had grown up preparing for the part. He would make a fine king one day. With a little more training, Arthur may even be a finer king than he. That was the highest compliment Uther was capable of giving. "You're dismissed," Uther said after a moment.
Arthur nodded and left. He was so distracted by Uther's words that he wasn't paying attention and he walked right into something… well someone. Merlin.
Merlin looked up at Arthur surprised. For a brief moment, he worried Arthur had come looking for him. Merlin had completed his chores, so he couldn't imagine what Arthur would need. Arthur's chambers were clean, his clothes had been laundered. Merlin was running errands for Gaius, which Arthur knew Merlin always did this time of day. "Everything all right sire?" Merlin asked, trying to think of something Arthur could possibly ask of him.
"More than alright," Arthur said happily.
"What's put you in such a fine mood?" Merlin asked him surprised. Merlin thought Arthur would still be furious over the whole being drugged thing. He had certainly looked ready to kill when Merlin had seen him after he woke.
"My father," Arthur said, his grin widening as he remembered what his father had said to him. His whole life, he had believed his father resented him for his mother had passed away giving birth to him. It was more than a relief to find out that, while he doesn't show it, his father cares for him.
Merlin's jaw nearly dropped. "Did you say you're father put you in this mood?" Merlin asked uncertainly. Happy wasn't usually an emotion he associated with Arthur after he had spoken to his father. Fury, disbelief, and annoyance were much more realistic emotions to associate with the king. So Merlin couldn't figure out what Uther could have done to make Arthur… well… happy.
"Yes. Oh, I could just kiss you," Arthur said, his smile growing. He didn't know why his father's words had made him so giddy. Perhaps it was because after twenty years of believing Uther hated him, for the first time, his father implied that he loved him.
Merlin stared, worried that Arthur may have been put under some kind of enchantment. Merlin began thinking of counter curses, but he couldn't imagine someone cursed Arthur to make him happy. Arthur, true to his word, pulled Merlin close to him and planted a kiss on his forehead. If possible, Merlin's jaw dropped further. He couldn't help the blush that spread across his cheeks.
Now Merlin knew there had to be something wrong with him. He would have to consult with his spell book and see if there was an enchantment that could cause Arthur to go insane. Arthur wouldn't even hug Merlin, something that had been tried and tested and found to be true, much less kiss his forehead.
"Um… Arthur?" Merlin asked uncertainly. Arthur was still standing very close to him, far too close for comfort. "Are you feeling alright?"
"Yes of course," Arthur said. His eyes widened slightly as he realized what he just did. He took several steps back and looked at Merlin like he was insane. "Why wouldn't I be?"
Merlin shook his head. He didn't know what was going on with Arthur's strange behavior, but it seemed the Arthur he knew and loved was back. "No reason," Merlin muttered. "I'll… I'll just be going then."
Before Arthur had a chance to say anything else, Merlin scurried away. He was hoping he could convince Gaius to send him on an errand that would require him to spend days away from Arthur collecting herbs. Merlin groaned, knowing that would never happen.
Whenever Merlin complained about Arthur and asked Gaius to help him get out of a few days of work, Gaius just looked at him with a smile that hinted that he knew something Merlin didn't know. Gaius was strangely against Merlin running away from his problems. It was infuriating sometimes.
Merlin went back to Gaius's chambers. When he got there, Gaius handed him the usual tonics and brews that had to be distributed. Merlin took them gratefully and didn't even complain about having to deliver them in the cold. It was more time he could use to assemble his thoughts and figure out what happened.
Perhaps it was because there was something on his mind, but Merlin felt as if his deliveries went quicker than usual. His ears were frozen and he couldn't feel his toes, but he was barely aware of that. He couldn't stop thinking about what Arthur had done earlier that afternoon. It was messing with his head, driving out all other thought.
Sooner than he liked, Merlin was walking back to Arthur's chambers. He had put off doing his nighttime duties long enough that he was sure Arthur would be furious when he got there. But that was good. Furious was better than what he was before. Furious was normal Arthur behavior.
However, when Merlin got to Arthur's chambers, Arthur wasn't furious. He was looking at Merlin curiously. Merlin internally groaned. He really had hoped that Arthur had snapped out of the crazy he had slipped into that afternoon.
Without saying a word to him, Merlin started to do his chores. Being in Arthur's presence made him so nervous. He couldn't figure out why. He had nearly bumped into the table Arthur was sitting at four times. He had dropped just about everything he picked up. He was normally clumsy, but he was taking it to a whole new level that night. He hated that he couldn't concentrate.
It was when Merlin was preparing Arthur's fireplace that it happened. Merlin dropped the poker he had been using to move one of the logs back so he could add another one. The sparks had shot out at Merlin, causing him to cry out when some landed on him. They hadn't burnt him. They had cooled before they touched him, but it was the shock that made him scream.
Arthur was by his side in a second. Merlin braced himself for the insults he knew were coming. He almost welcomed them. But they never came.
"Merlin?" Arthur asked worriedly. Merlin had always been unusually clumsy, but nothing like this. And he had never been this quiet before. Arthur was starting to worry about Merlin's strange behavior. "Are you alright?"
Perhaps it was because Arthur wasn't acting very Arthur, or the fact that nothing was going right, but Merlin found himself snapping at the crowned prince of Camelot.
"No, I'm not," Merlin said angrily. "Because you're not alright. You are not acting like you. It's not okay. You would normally have called me a clumsy oaf and thrown in an insult about how your dogs could do my job better than me. You wouldn't look concerned and you definitely wouldn't have kissed me this afternoon. What is wrong with you?" Merlin didn't realize how harsh his words were until he saw Arthur's face darken. He felt a spurt of guilt rise in him. "Arthur, I'm…"
"Just leave," Arthur said, cutting him off. He turned away so he wasn't facing Merlin.
"But," Merlin said.
"I do not require your services tonight. Just leave," Arthur said. He wasn't shouting, but his voice was cold and angry. In an eerie way, his quiet voice was more frightening than if he had been shouting. Merlin knew he had really offended him.
Merlin sighed. "Yes sire," Merlin whispered. He walked to the door and left. He would give it the night. Give both of them time to cool down, then tomorrow they would talk. Calmly. Arthur would hopefully explain why he had behaved so strangely and Merlin would apologize for yelling at him. Things would go back to normal. Or so he thought.