A/N: Okay, so this is my first attempt at Arthur/Merlin paring. So if that's something you're no into, move away now and read something else. Otherwise, continue reading. Also, I have no Beta for this as I could no find one, so there are bound to be errors all over the place. If there is anyone willing to Beta the following chapters for me, then please leave a review or PM me to let me know you're interested. Anyway, I hope you enjoy. Reviews are loved. =)
Sometimes the way Arthur treated Merlin made him feel so angry, and yet, other times it would feel the complete opposite. Of course, right at this current moment, angry was probably the best word to describe how he felt. Arthur, being the royal prat he is, had been making Merlin muck out the stables, right after he'd already tidied his bed chambers as well as polish and cleaned Arthurs armour. He'd been at it for over four hours now.
Okay, maybe he wasn't that angry as he made himself out to be. As much as Merlin wished himself to be angry at the prince of Camelot, it was almost impossible. It didn't help that he was in love with the blonde haired, blue eyed complete and utter prat.
Even now, Merlin still wasn't sure what he had ever seen in Arthur in the first place. To be honest, he wasn't just sure, he had no idea whatsoever. The moment Merlin had stepped into Camelot and met Arthur, he found himself hating the arrogant prince for all that he was worth. But after he was appointed his manservant, Merlin began to realise the extreme amounts of pressure he was under due to his father and the citizens of the city. There was definitely a lot of strain on the prince's shoulders, which caused the sorcerer to see Arthur in a new light.
The number of times Merlin had found himself sacrificing everything for the prince's life was almost unbelievable even for him. But that didn't matter. All that Merlin cared about now was making sure he never lost the prince.
While cleaning out the stables, Merlin had no idea where Arthur was going, but he obviously was heading off somewhere. When Merlin had entered his chambers in the morning, he found Arthur's bed unoccupied yet again. Lately the prince had hardly been sleeping and it was beginning to worry the young sorcerer.
Even though Merlin had his limit with the princes abuse, Arthur was more arrogant and grumpier than ever due to the lack of sleep. Even though Merlin had queried about the sleep problems, the only response he ever got was I have things on my mind, now quit asking! Of course, though, that hadn't stopped Merlin from trying to find out what was on the princes mind that had been keeping him awake at night.
Typically, he'd found nothing. Whatever it was, no one seemed to know what was wrong with the Arthur, even Morgana, with her manipulative mannerisms and probing of information had failed and come up empty apparently.
Finally managing to clean out the stables, Merlin made his way back to Arthur's chambers to see if there was anything else he could do for him. But when he arrived, Arthur was nowhere to be seen.
After giving it a thought for a few seconds, he made his way up to Morgana's chambers hoping she would know where he could find the prince.
"Sorry Merlin, I've yet to see him."
Sighing, he began to make his way out of her chamber, but found himself unable to when Morgana blocked the door.
"May I be blunt with you?" Morgana was up to something, it was quite easy to tell with the smug grin on her face.
"As long as it doesn't involve lose of limbs, then yeah, sure." Merlin answered back with an unnerving chuckle.
"When are you going to admit you're feelings for Arthur?"
Hang on. What? She didn't just... she did. But how? How could she know? No one knows! Is it really that visible? Crap! Does Arthur know?
Merlin's mouth and mind were trying to keep up with each other, but it seemed almost impossible. While the dreaded thoughts of the revelation of his feelings for Arthur were racing through his head, his mouth was opening and closing trying to form some form of logically response. But of course, there was no logical response, not in this case.
"I don't know what you're going on about Morgana, but I really should be finding Arthur right now," he managed to force out eventually through the state of panic.
Merlin tried to push past Morgana, but she wasn't finished yet.
"Oh please, I see the way I look at him. I'm not blind, no matter how much people make it out to be. Now," she said clasping her hands together gleefully. "When do you plan on telling Arthur?"
"I... don't." Merlin couldn't look at Morgana in the face anymore. The solid floor beneath him was a lot better to look at, and a lot less frightening. "Please don't say anything to him... Does anyone else know?"
Rolling her eyes, Morgana walked away from the chamber door and sat down on the edge of her bed.
"Of course not!" she said half horrified, half smug. "They don't have my amazing powers of deduction."
"Thanks Morgana... Can I go now?" Merlin asked as he slowly backed towards the door.
"Fine, but if you don't tell Arthur soon I'll have to do it for you."
"You wouldn't!" Wait, he thought, she would. No doubt about it. "You can't! He'd kill me. You know what he's like. If he even suspected that I loved him my life would be in ruin."
Before he could say anything else, Morgana was waving her hand airily in dismissal.
"Oh please, Arthur would never do that to you. You're his best friend," she paused leaning forward off the bed a little. "And who knows, maybe our beloved prince has feelings for a certain dark haired servant also."
It was the probably the first time Merlin had really laughed since entering Morgana's chamber.
"Oh come off it. Arthur? Love me? Yeah right. You do remember he's the prince right? As in expected to marry a woman and provide an heir for the throne. And If I remember correctly, I am sure as hell not a woman since the last time I checked."
Merlin placed his hand over his crutch for Morgana's amusement, "Yep, definitely not a woman."
Morgana didn't seem to be playing her games anymore. Instead she was giving Merlin a dead serious look.
"Believe me when I say that Arthur does care about you, no matter how much you care to think otherwise. Just please, for Arthur's sake, tell him."
"Fine," he lied as best he could. "But I need to find him first, are you sure you don't know where I can find him?"
"He left to go hunting a little while ago. Apparently he had trouble sleeping again last night, and decided to go hunting alone to take things off his mind. I could probably say the same." Morgana seemed to shiver slightly as if she'd been hit by a blast of cold air.
"Nightmares again?" Merlin queered.
"They're just dreams, nothing to worry about."
Now she was the one who was lying. But Merlin let it pass and got as quickly as he could out of her room, in hope that she wouldn't ask any more questions about his love for Arthur.
Once Merlin had closed the door to her chamber, Morgana walked to her window and looked down as Merlin scurried off back to Gaius, probably to find something to do until the oblivious prince returned.
Honestly, she didn't understand why the two didn't just tell each other how they felt and get it over with. Men. Such complex brainless creatures who can't even admit how they feel without it turning into sometime much more than it really should be.
Arthur would be back from hunting soon anyway, with any luck Merlin would take into account what she'd said to him. If it came to it, though, she would get involved. If only the two noticed how they treated each other, especially Arthur.
Past that hard exterior, deep down Arthur really loved Merlin. It was that obvious, to her anyway, seeing that she'd managed to get the information out of him through persuasion a few weeks back. If only they realised that they both loved each other, maybe then they would truly be happy.
It didn't take Merlin long to get back to Gaius's quarters. Why hadn't Arthur told him that he was going out hunting today? It didn't make sense, Arthur told Merlin pretty much everything, and vice versa. Everything except him being a warlock that is, if Arthur ever found out he would definitely have him killed. That he was fairly sure of, and if not Arthur, there was no doubt Uther would.
Closing the door behind him, Merlin sighed and walked across the floor to head towards his bed but got stopped by Gaius.
"And where do you think you're going?"
"Well I was kind of hoping to get some rest," Merlin replied half asleep.
"There's no time for rest Merlin. I need you to go collect me some water from the fountain." Gaius gave Merlin a wooden bucket and directed him back out the door.
"This is so unfair," Merlin mumbled under his breath. "Last time I checked my destiny didn't entail getting water."
"Merlin, I realise you've been pushed hard lately by Arthur, but you must understand that you still have obligations other than the prince."
"I know," Merlin said. "Thing have just been a bit weird lately, that's all, and it's just getting to me."
"Would you like to talk about it?" Gaius asked softly.
"Nah, I'll be fine." It was sort of the truth, he would be okay on some level, but Morgana was right as always. Perhaps he really should tell Arthur his feelings, at least that way this whole business would be over.
"Okay, but if you ever need to talk about it..."
"I'll come and talk to you, I know," Merlin finished knowing what Gaius would say.
"Good. Well? What are you still standing around here for? Would you rather drink the bathwater again?"
He got the point. Leaving Gaius behind him, Merlin set out into the town eventually coming across the water fountain. Placing the bucket under the tap, he began pumping for the water. Seconds later the clear liquid came gushing out of the tap filling the bucket to the top.
Once the water had stopped running, Merlin picked it up and began heading back but was stopped when Gwen appeared.
"Hey Merlin, I was just looking for you. Well, not really looking for you, but I was trying to find you," she stammered trying to find the right words to say. "What I mean to say is, Arthur's back, he's looking for you."
"Great," he responded sarcastically. "Just what I needed."
"Anyway, I'll see you later." With a wide smile and a cheery wave, Gwen disappeared just as quick back into the crowd to attend to her duties.
Merlin huffed in annoyance. There was no rest for the wizard these days, it was just do this, do that, go fetch me water, why aren't you doing something instead of standing there like an idiot? It really was starting to get on his nerves.
It was beginning to get dark now. The sky was fading away as the stars, hidden by the clouds earlier, had begun to appear.
Once Merlin gave the bucket of water back to Gaius, he made his way to the prince's chambers and entered.
"Finally! What took you so long? I've been waiting forever for you," Arthur complained looking less than impressed.
"I'm sorry sire," Merlin apologized. "I've just been a bit busy lately, that's all. Did the hunting go well today?"
"I didn't go hunting," Arthur admitted as he examined his armour Merlin polished earlier. No doubt he was looking for specks of dirt Merlin had missed to nag him about. "I told everyone that to get some time to myself, that's one thing about this place, you can never get any peace and quiet."
"Tell me about it," Merlin grumbled.
"What was that?" Arthur raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, nothing," Merlin said with a slight chuckle suddenly feeling a bit better. "You could have at least told me where you were going, it's not like I would have said anything."
The prince shrugged his shoulders as he looked out the window at the darkening sky.
"Yes, well, I was trying to forget about you. I mean, you're always so irritating I'm surprised I haven't killed you yet."
The way Arthur seemed to be stammering made Merlin wonder about what Morgana had told him earlier that afternoon.
"You wouldn't do that," Merlin tested giving the prince his most impressive grin yet. "You love me too much to do that."
Arthur turned away from the window and looked at Merlin disgusted.
"Don't make me throw up. Who would ever want to love a clumsy idiot like you?"
Merlin took one glance at the prince before turning around and leaving Arthur alone as he slammed the door shut after him in. So much for Morgana being right this time. The way Arthur looked at him, it was a way he never had before. Full of hatred, but he was right. Who in their right mind would ever want to love Merlin? So far in his life, he'd never been kissed let alone anything more.
Arthur stood still realising what he'd said. How could he be so stupid? Merlin was everything to him, his life, his every waking thought, and he'd just told him no one could possibly love him. I guess it was just those words coming from Merlin's own mouth that caused his outburst. You love me too much to do that. He was right though, Arthur did love Merlin way more than he really should. Arthur was going to be hitting himself upside the head for the whole night trying to think of some way to apologize to Merlin. He really didn't mean what he said. Ever since Merlin came into the prince's life it had been so much better. There was something about Merlin that irritated the hell out of him, that being that he loved his manservant so much. The way that no matter what the situation, Merlin always had a way of making him feel better about himself, even cause him to laugh at the extremely pathetic and sarcastic remarks that weren't even funny.
The only person that new about his feelings was Morgana. Somehow she'd managed to force out of him his feelings for Merlin, even now he still had no idea how she had been able to do it. That was a few weeks ago now, since then she'd been trying to get him to admit his feelings to Merlin. Yeah, as if that was ever going to happen. There was no way, let along any point, that would cause him to tell Merlin his feelings, mostly because he already knew – well, thought he knew – the answer. As soon as Arthur would admit he was in love to his servant, he could already picture Merlin laughing in his face.
Ever since Morgana begged him to tell Merlin, he found himself unable to sleep and he didn't know why. Not even Gaius's sleeping drafts were working. It was as if some higher being was trying to force him into telling Merlin everything, but there was no way he was going to give in. Eventually the feeling would pass though; it was just a phase, nothing to worry about. Sooner or later he'd find a nice woman to love and everything would be back to normal.
That thought alone somehow disturbed Arthur. As much as he found himself wishing to be with a woman, every time he'd tried to picture being with a woman, and, or man, it always turned out to be Merlin he was thinking about.
Rubbing his hand through his hair, Arthur fell backwards onto his bed closing his eyes hoping that maybe he might get some sleep. He never did.
Eyes as black as the midnight sky transfixed themselves right at her, it was like looking down into the darkness of a well as it drowned her in its evil. You knew what was down there, but you could never really find out until you put the bucket down. And then she saw Arthur. The black cloaked figure began whispering words, the next thing she knew was Arthur clutching his chest as a misty light arose out of Arthur's body and drifted over to the cloaked sorcerer. The sorcerer opened his mouth to reveal his razor sharp teeth as the light disappeared inside of his mouth,seconds later he closed it. Then the man walked away, leaving Arthur on the ground motionless. He was still alive, she was certain of that, but he seemed dead as well. His breathing was still the same, and he blinked normally, but just lay there as if he didn't know how to get up, an empty vessel waiting for orders but never to receive any. It was horrible, it was worse than death. Then everything felt so cold, she began having trouble trying to breathe as the blackness of the man's cloak appeared from behind choking her.
Morgana woke up gasping for breath. Gwen appeared by her bedside in moments as she cradled her in her arm.
"It's okay, it was only a nightmare. It wasn't real." Gwen continued on comforting her as she finally calmed down, but that didn't stop her from worrying. That was the third time she'd had the same dream, and each time it felt stronger like it was getting closer.
Morgana placed a kiss on Gwen's lips before she left, leaving her in the room alone once again. Something was coming to Camelot, she could feel it.
To be continued...