Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin.
The silence of his chambers was deafening in the aftermath of hours filled with friendly banter and lust ridden gasps, the rhythmic slip slide of sweaty skin. And even now he could hear his name echoed off the stonewalls, Arthur. It was all he could hear.
His name mouthed from soft lips sounding like love, loyalty, forever.
Arthur lay back in bed indulging himself a few moments to gather his wits, blond hair lay damp against the nape of his neck, lips still pleasantly stinging from fervent kisses.
No one had ever kissed him that thoroughly before, either he hadn't allowed it or they hadn't dared.
The bed was a rumpled mess the likes of which only a good tumble created as the linens lay haphazardly across it bunched at his hips. They were in the middle of a warm summer and yet he felt cold, sort of hollowed out, which made no sense.
How could he miss fumbles kisses that were more enthusiastic than talented, and yet warmed a spot in his chest that had long since been empty?
How could he miss the tangle of dark hair that more oft than not resembled a badly sheared mop even as he carded his hand though it…how he could miss a tangle of limbs sprawled across his body, bony hips, and sharp angles, was beyond him, but he did. Arthur's lips still thrummed with the memory of magic, feeling its phantom touch, its cloying taste bittersweet in his mouth.
If ever he had imagined what magic might taste like – which he hadn't of course because that would be wrong and dangerous and treason – then this would be it exactly.
Wild and heady, it tasted like power, dizzying and delirious it had felt like falling and flying both, it had felt like wining a battle and pulling away had felt like the loss of one.
Wild and heady and dangerous with an aftertaste of honey…that was magic as Arthur would know it.
Maybe all sorcerers taste like honey and power, and maybe it was just Merlin, he had no way of knowing.
It wasn't many-a sorcerers or sorceress' for that matter, he'd snogged in the royal bed, or anywhere at all, and wasn't likely to in the near future either – he'd rather not risk the unseemly life of a toad.
Merlin had thrown a fit worthy of Morgana, so he was angry enough to do it too, best not to risk that just now.
Merlin and magic, funny how those were two words he'd never thought to hear in the same breath, and by funny he meant completely odd and slightly unsettling.
Merlin who bumbled his way about the castle corridors with his complete lack of deference, Merlin who called him Arthur as often as he called him Sire.
That Merlin, his Merlin, was a sorcerer.
Those two words, Merlin and sorcerer, were like comparing a sword and a stone, they had no business sitting in the same sentence and yet lo-and-behold, they did. Not unlike prince and peasant turned manservant, who had no business sharing a bed. But they were, and they did and now that he could see it, taste it, it fit.
Merlin and Arthur, their names fit like the pitter-patter of fate, they rang like destiny in the way Achilles and Patroclus were two of the same sword. It was strange to think of Merlin like that, as the other side of his blade.
Imagining it now Arthur could see how things could be, the good they might do – if Merlin wasn't as wretched a sorcerer as he was a manservant, because that would be disastrous forget Nimueh.
Merlin would kill him first, by accident. And wouldn't that be one for the history books?
'Here lieth Arthur Pendragon slain by his manservant whom accidentally lit him on fire.'
Merlin had nearly caught him on fire once, and he's fairly certain there hadn't even been magic involved, Arthur wasn't sure weather to laugh or pull up the covers over his head and bemoan his ill-fortune.
Fire would be the least of his problems if news of what passed between he and Merlin ever reached Morgana's ears, and he had no doubt she had eyes and ears in the castle of which he knew nothing about, then when word finally reached her it would no doubt go something like this:
'My lady, my lady! The prince has just shagged his innocent manservant senseless, his lips are swollen red with kisses and his clothes are all rumpled, even more than usual my lady! The prat sent him storming from the room, probably kicked him out, the poor thing!'
Of course she wouldn't have noticed Merlins lips, it was hard to get around his sick-y out ears to notice the cupids bow of his mouth made for smiling those daft grins and…Arthur coughed, returning to his diatribe.
And of course she wouldn't have called him a prat only Merlin ever called him that.
Oh yes, if Morgana ever hears of this I'll have to give up sleep for good.
Which is a pity. I rather liked sleeping, and so what if some nights I dream about my idiotic manservant and his perfect, pale skin and his too big ears. Dreams of nipping them and whispering filthy things the likes of which he's only imagined until he blushes red, and investigating how far down that blush goes…dreams of the throbbing pulse at his neck and how easy it would be to bite down…
He was Crown Prince of Camelot. He was one of the greatest warriors in Albion, he could dream about whatever, or whomever he bloody well wished! If that happened to be Merlin, well then whom but he would ever know?
Arthur tried out the words, softly as though afraid some spy stood in the shadows of his chamber waiting for him to make the ultimate betrayal.
"Merlin is a sorcerer."
The words were heavy on his tongue, as though they to held power and wished not to be said aloud. As soon as the words died eaten up by the silence of his chamber Arthur shuddered to remember all the times he had lived when everything in nature said he should not, to realize that it was Merlin putting down his foot and saying no, was enough to give him pause.
How many times had Merlin put his head on the chopping block?
Arthur didn't know for sure but he had a hunch that it would be more than he'd care to know. His father would say that he came first as heir apparent, but Arthur questioned this, hadn't others the same right to life? If he was another mans son, a man who was not king would his father say the same?
Hunith loved her son as though he was a great king already; Gwen's father treated her like a queen, and her smiles gold. If in some strange world Uther were not king and he no longer heir apparent, would his life still be so much more important?
These were thoughts Arthur blamed Merlin for, before him he'd never considered such matters. He'd accepted things as they were.
If his father was right, and he was the king after all, then servants were only there to serve their betters and live their insignificant lives. If that were truly so then must they do such significant things that make him step back and rethink everything he'd been taught?
According to Uther sorcery was all things wicked and wile.
Sorcery is all that was ugly and ill hearted in Albion and beyond.
Why then did not Arthur see these things when he looked upon Merlin?
He looked at Merlin and saw a peasant boy saving the runt of the litter from drowning, at risk of bodily harm from the stable master, he saw the boy willing to out himself to the king to save a dear friend – nothing in his actions bespoke evil.
He was annoying and reckless, when he saw a wrong he tried to right it – or most often he badgered Arthur until he did so.
He was foolish and naïve, a country boy who still hadn't learned to bite his tongue. But he was always loyal; he'd proven that much already.
What was sorcery but word, a word that his father gave more power when he made it feared, common folk shuddering at the mere utterance?
Merlin was foolish and reckless and loyal, and it just so happened he was a sorcerer too. While Arthur couldn't dismiss such knowledge out of hand, he also knew he would not stand to see the boy burned at the pyre.
Of course none of that had anything to do with the fact that he Arthur Pendragon Heir Apparent of Albion was smitten with his manservant.
Arthur was not one to wax poetic, so when he started thinking at random times 'Merlin eyes are blue as the midnight sky and twinkle twice as bright as any star' he knew that he was in trouble.
When he started wishing for Merlin's' presence at council meetings simply so there'd be someone there to look bored on his behalf, he knew he was in a lot of trouble.
When Lord Geoffrey had put his slimy hand on Merlins shoulder and tried leading him away from the dinning hall Arthur felt something dark and ugly twisting in his gut, and he knew he was done for.
Merlin was a sorcerer, and a friend, and now…now he was something more, something new and they were in uncharted territory. Arthur did not like to admit it but he had panicked.
He'd seduced Merlin but in the aftermath he hadn't known what to do, not with this feeling rattling around his chest. He can feel it growing with every backward glance.
It blazes to hot for contentment and happiness is to callow an expression whatever it is, he is, and he knows he has Merlin to thank for it – and if that thumping in his chest is love, well then whose he to argue.
And that is how he ended up alone in his bed after a good hour of fantastic shagging. Arthur Pendragon had gone to pieces in the soft lull that should have been afterglow when reality crashed down upon his shoulders like the proverbial weight of the kingdom.
Arthur closed his eyes and remembered.
AuthorNote: This is my first leap into the Merlin fandom, please let me know what you think!