Written for some of my favorite Tweeps who wanted to see a few things thrown into a MerlinxArthur fic. I'm nothing if not obliging. *grin. ForAlaerys – Very, very wet boys. For Jtsbbsps_dk – 'It was an accident! I swear it was!' and for Rainin9 – Magical bondage. Sorry, no beta on this one. I don't have a volunteer for my Merlin/Arthur stories yet. *nudge nudge. Besides, it was only supposed to be a drabble, but clearly that got out of hand. *facepalm.
With a wide yawn, Merlin stepped out of his room to join Gaius for breakfast. He prodded at the bowl of lumpy mush, not really having an appetite that morning, a fact that didn't go unnoticed by his guardian.
"What is it now, Merlin?" Gaius sighed. Merlin knew he'd been slightly moody since he'd gotten in last night, but he didn't know it had been wearing on Gaius' nerves so much. He offered a weak smile and tried to look more chipper.
"Nothing," Merlin replied, occupying his mouth with a bite of food so he wouldn't have to answer. The truth was, he had no real idea what was bothering him. He'd walked in on Arthur and Gwen having a heated conversation in Arthur's chambers the night before, and it had looked like they might have been…snogging. The fact shouldn't bother Merlin at all, but it did and he had no idea why. It wasn't as if he fancied Gwen. Not really. She was just a friend.
Still, something seemed to wiggle into Merlin's subconscious and made him wary…and grumpy.
"I'll need you to be very cautious today, Merlin," Gaius warned, seemingly willing to drop the previous line of questioning in lieu of a new one.
"What's different about today?" Merlin asked.
"Today is a very powerful day in the Old Religion. The planets are aligned in a way that only happens once a century," he explained.
"And that mean what to me exactly?" Merlin inquired, looking thoroughly perplexed, although, perhaps that was the reason he was feeling so off today.
"I'm not sure," Gaius replied, "and that's what worries me. I'm not sure what to warn you about, what to tell you to look out for, but I need you to be cautious all the same."
"I'm always cautious, Gaius," Merlin replied with a cheeky grin, to which his guardian merely rolled his eyes.
"Yes, that worries me as well," he huffed before clearing the table and shooing Merlin on his way.
"There's a monster," Arthur greeted by way of explaining why he was already suited up for battle when Merlin arrived.
"Of course there is," Merlin muttered. It seemed Camelot was consistently the target of magical creatures. Protecting the prince was a fulltime job. "Who put on your armor?" he asked. "I didn't think you were capable of dressing yourself."
Arthur gave him a look that was hovering on the edge of sneering and shooting Merlin a raspberry. "Thankfully Gwen was happy to help since my servant was late."
"I'll bet she was," Merlin muttered under his breath, eliciting another scathing glance from the prince.
"What do you have against Gwenevere?" he pressed.
"Nothing at all, she's just my friend," Merlin replied too hastily.
"Wait, is this about last night?" Arthur asked. "Are you jealous, Merlin?"
"Jealous?" he sputtered, curling his lip in mild disgust as he tried to imagine he and Gwen in the same lip lock he'd walked in on with her and Arthur the night before. "Absolutely not."
"Are you saying Gwen's not pretty?" Arthur asked, narrowing his eyes.
"She's fine. She'd perfectly lovely, she's just not…my type," he stammered.
"Oh? Well, what is your type, Merlin?" Arthur asked, his tone full of amused teasing.
"Isn't there a monster we should be slaying, sire?" he reminded Arthur, trying to wiggle out of this particular line of questioning.
"Fine," the prince muttered, rising to the bait, "but don't think we've finished this conversation."
"I wouldn't even begin to presume so," Merlin sighed as he accompanied Arthur through the castle and out the front gates.
It was almost noon and the knights of Camelot had still found no trace of the monster reported by the townsfolk. The prince had decided they should all split up into pairs and go searching in other sections of the forest. Merlin was beginning to wonder if there even was a monster, or if it had just been a conspiracy to lure him out into the forest for Arthur to question him insistently.
"So if not Gwen, who do you fancy, Merlin? Are you still pining over Lady Morgana?" the prince asked.
"I was never pining over Morgana," Merlin pointed out.
"Are you trying to say that the king's son is wrong?" he asked, trying for a very serious expression and failing miserably.
"If the crown fits, sire," Merlin replied with a cheeky grin. "Besides, what do you care who I like? I'm only your servant, remember?"
Arthur made the queerest expression, looking as if he was both shocked and a bit offended. "You're my friend, Merlin. Sort of."
"Your friend who mucks out your stables and polishes your boots and shines your armor," Merlin rambled on, interrupted by Arthur's annoyed glance.
"Okay, okay, I get your point. But you're also the friend who makes me laugh and who is fond of pointing out when I've been a prat-"
"Like now," Merlin interjected, but clamped his mouth shut when Arthur glared at him menacingly.
"Haven't I saved your life once or twice, and haven't I kept you on as my servant even though you're rubbish at it?" he added. "That should count for something."
"I've saved your life too, you know," Merlin countered. "Plenty."
"I wouldn't say plenty," Arthur corrected. "And it's usually an accident if you do."
"It is not," Merlin argued. He'd had about enough of constantly saving Arthur's neck and getting zero credit for it. He could feel his annoyance rising unchecked as he thought about all the things he'd had to do for the ungrateful prince. He wished he could just string the man up and make him understand why magic wasn't evil at all, and that he, the same servant who was constantly accused of being a bumbling idiot with no talent, was in fact far more likely to best whatever beasty they were after than Arthur was.
He felt the telltale tingle of magic flow through him and before he could stop, his hand shot out of its own accord and a stream of Latin Merlin didn't even think he knew went streaming from his lips.
Long, thick, dangling vines snapped in the air, making an ominous pop before they threaded around Arthur's body, pulling him from his horse. They held him tightly in the air as Merlin watched on, completely stunned. Arthur struggled against the binds, but there was nothing he could do to free himself.
"Merlin?! What is the meaning of this, how did you-" he demanded.
"It was an accident! I swear it was!" Merlin shouted, leaping off of his horse as he attempted to free the prince.
"You accidentally used magic on me?" Arthur seethed, his eyes flashing with anger. "I could have you executed for this."
"It wasn't me," Merlin tried, but Arthur only narrowed his gaze that much further.
"I saw you," he bit out.
"You're delirious. Perhaps someone enchanted you," Merlin suggested as he tried to pull Arthur down.
"You enchanted me you big clodpole," he growled.
"Aw, you enchant me too, sire," Merlin teased, knowing nothing else he could do to ease the prince's anger.
"That's…I didn't mean…You know that's not what…Merlin, just get me down from here or so help me god-"
"Well, see this is wherein the problem lies," Merlin began, interrupting Arthur's rant. "I could let you down, but then you'd just go running off to Uther and have me beheaded for magic, or I could leave you here and be forced to explain to your father why you're missing. Neither sounds like a good option to me."
"What do you suggest then," Arthur ground out, still struggling unfruitfully in his binds.
"I think we should talk this out, like civilized people and come to an arrangement," Merlin suggested.
Arthur pursed his lips and seemed to sag in defeat, his restraints keeping him upright. "All this time you've been a sorcerer?" he asked in dismay.
"Kind of," Merlin admitted.
"Kind of?" Arthur repeated. "What does that mean?"
"It means yes, I've been able to use magic all this time, but I wouldn't necessarily call myself a sorcerer," Merlin explained. "Besides, it sounds rather nasty the way you say it. I prefer special, or gifted."
The vines seemed to be draining Arthur of all his sense of humor though, because he didn't seem to find it amusing in the least. "Is that why you saved my life? To get a spot in the royal household?"
"What? No! Of course not, how can you even say that?" Merlin balked. "See, I knew you'd react this way. That's why I've been keeping it a secret."
"How could I have not seen it before? I thought I knew you," Arthur sighed.
"You do," Merlin countered. "I'm the same person I was before. I can just do this," he said and listed off a quick spell that made the vines lower Arthur to the ground, but they didn't unwind from his wrists or ankles.
"I always knew you were keeping something from me," Arthur whispered, "I just thought it was…something else."
"What did you think it was?" Merlin asked curiously.
"I thought that you…never mind. It doesn't matter anyway because that's not what you were hiding from me at all," he sighed, squeezing his eyes shut.
"What is it?" Merlin pressed. "It must have been important to make you sulk over it."
"I thought you liked me," Arthur blurted.
"But I do," Merlin sighed, rolling his eyes. "Haven't I just gotten through explaining that?"
"For a secret sorcerer, you're awfully thick, Merlin," Arthur grumbled. "I meant, like me, like me."
"I. Am. Not. Thick – oh. What?" he gasped. "You thought I liked you…romantically?"
"Is that really so farfetched? I mean, I am me," the prince added with a gallant smile that faded in the next moment as he glanced once more at his predicament.
Merlin opened his mouth to automatically protest, but words failed him as his recent bad mood suddenly made total sense. He wasn't jealous of Arthur at all…. He'd been jealous of Gwen. "Oh, no, no, no," Merlin muttered, holding his head as if it would hold the contents inside. "This can't be happening. I can't possibly have a crush on…you," he groaned.
Arthur's laughter filled the forest, making Merlin's skin rise with gooseflesh. "I knew it," he boasted.
"I'd hold my tongue if I were you. All you're doing is tacking on reasons for me to leave you here!" Merlin sniped.
"But you wouldn't do that," the prince replied confidently. "Because you love me," he added, his voice so sickeningly sweet and songlike that Merlin was thankful he hadn't been looking directly at the prince so the gloating prat couldn't see his slight grin. Merlin pressed the heels of his palms against his eyes and sighed in frustration. He would never hear the end of this now. There was no way in hell that Arthur would let this go. First the magic, then his romantic feelings for the infuriating prince-brat? What other secrets could he possibly reveal in one afternoon?
Oh, how he wished there was a spell to wash it all away, to make Arthur forget everything that happened since he'd arrived in the man's bedchamber that morning. Even the thought of Arthur's bedchamber made him grow warm and addled his usually sharp mind. This had to stop. There had to be a way to wipe Arthur's memory clean of these embarrassing and dangerous revelations but the book Gaius had given him was still locked safely under the floor of his room – far away from here.
Could he leave the prince here long enough to go back for it? Not likely. Besides, it would look highly suspicious if Merlin returned without his master. He searched his mind for anything he might remember, anything that could help, but it was useless. He hadn't had the time to read of memorize every incantation from that book, and even if he had, there might not have even been anything to help him.
But then that tingle returned, drifting through his body and he turned to face Arthur, whose gaze went wide. "Merlin, your eyes," he gasped. "They're gold!"
Merlin didn't hear him. He could only hear the foreign tongue whispering through his mind like a cool breeze. He closed his eyes and didn't know when the words began to bleed from his mind to his mouth. When the first drop of rain landed on his forehead, Merlin blinked and instinctually knew that this was the cleansing he'd desired. When the rain stopped, Arthur would remember nothing of his confessions.
He grinned and stalked toward his prince, his master, his crush and raised a hand to wipe a sodden strand of blond hair from Arthur's face. "None of this will matter in a short while," Merlin assured him.
"But," Arthur stammered, "How can you say that? How could it not matter?"
"Because you won't remember any of it," Merlin told him, almost sad at the loss. He knew it was for the best, however. No good could come from Arthur knowing his secret. Even if Arthur promised to keep the information from his father – which Merlin had no right to expect – it would be too big a burden for the prince and Merlin would have to spend the rest of his days walking on eggshells. And if Arthur went straight to Uther, than Gaius' life would likely be forfeit as well, since it wouldn't take a highly intelligent person to link them together.
"What?" Arthur shouted, twisting in his vine prison harder than ever before. "But you have no right to do that!"
"It won't hurt," Merlin assured him, not even sure how he knew that. "You'll fall asleep for a little while and when you wake up, you won't remember what you did today."
"Stop!" he shouted, and Merlin wondered for a moment if it was raindrops slinking down his cheeks or tears. He shook the thought away, knowing that he'd never seen the prince cry. "You can't do that."
"Apparently I can," Merlin replied. "What I can't do you threatening to have me executed the first time I irritate you."
"Do you really think I would do that?" Arthur shouted, but Merlin only shot him a withering glance. "Okay, that does sound like something I would do but, Merlin, this is important. I don't want to lose these memories."
"I'll tell you one day," Merlin promised. "When you're king and bring magic back to Camelot, I swear that I'll tell you about my powers."
"And what about the rest?" Arthur demanded.
"The rest?" Merlin asked, his mind filled with confusion for only a moment. He was so caught up in the spontaneous magic that he'd all but forgotten his other confession. "Oh. Why does that matter? You have plenty to tease me about without my feelings for you as new ammunition."
"So, it's true then? And you're just going to strip that knowledge from my mind?" he asked, his voice the barest of whispers.
"I have no choice," Merlin sighed. "It's all or nothing. Besides, it'll only ruin our friendship in the end. I doubt I'd be able to withstand your mocking on that particular subject."
"And who said I would mock you?" Arthur demanded.
"It's what you do," Merlin pointed out.
"What I meant was, who said I don't return your feelings?" Arthur whispered.
"Nice try, sire, but I saw you snogging Gwen, remember?" Merlin huffed.
Arthur's face contorted with frustration, but he looked tired from trying to fight his way out of the hold Merlin's magic had on him. "That was an experiment," he explained. "I couldn't understand my feelings for you. I thought…I thought that perhaps I just wanted someone that didn't care about who I was. So, I tried kissing Gwen because I was afraid to kiss you."
"You're reaching, Arthur. Do you really expect me to believe that you kissed Gwen as a substitute for me?" Merlin laughed.
"Now who's doing the mocking?" Arthur replied bitterly.
"I'm sorry, sire, but it's a bit farfetched to think that you would have even the slightest romantic inkling toward me," he replied, a sullen laugh on his lips.
"Why?" the prince demanded.
"You're royalty, and even with my magic, I'm still just your servant," he reminded.
"My friend," Arthur bit out, repeating what he'd said just before this nonsense got out of hand.
Merlin shook his head and ran a hand through his wet hair. The rain was pouring around them now, soaking through clothes and supplies and turning the ground below their feet to mud.
"Let's get this armor off of you before it rusts," Merlin offered, changing the subject.
"Trying to get me naked so that you can take advantage of me before I forget?" Arthur sniped.
"No!" Merlin shouted, lowering his hands from the fastens of Merlin's shoulder plates. "If you knew me at all you would know that I'm not capable of that."
"I have no idea what you're capable of, Merlin! I thought I did, but clearly I was wrong!" Arthur shouted, taking Merlin off guard. "I thought you were kind, loyal and true. I had no idea you'd been lying to me so thoroughly everyday. Realizing that you care for me erased my own troubles, but you want to take that away from me."
"I need to," Merlin countered. "What happens when we get back to Camelot and you feel guilty for lying to your father about me?"
"Don't you understand?" Arthur screamed at the top of his lungs. "I don't care about the magic!"
"Of course you care about the-" Merlin started but was interrupted by Arthur's shout of anguish.
"I care about you!" he finished. "I love you, you sodding idiot!"
Merlin blinked, unable to do anything else as he watched Arthur sag in his restraints. He was dripping now, his hair plastered to his face, his armor shining and his mouth parted and panting. Before he could stop himself, Merlin's lips were pressed against that wet mouth, kissing Arthur with a fervor he hadn't known he possessed. Part of him still suspected Arthur was lying to try and get himself freed of Merlin's magical binds, but when the prince's lips began moving against his own, his tongue probing his mouth, Merlin's doubts washed away with the rain.
Arthur's lips were insistent, his tongue hungrily absorbing every surface of Merlin's mouth. Merlin found himself moaning against him, returning the kiss with a yearning equal to that of his prince. Fingers fumbled over the heavy armor between them, memory guiding his hands because Merlin refused to stop kissing the man lest it all be a dream when he did.
Merlin never realized how long and thick Arthur's lashes were, or how perfectly smooth his skin was until he found himself pressed against a bare chest. "Merlin," Arthur gasped, "You have to untie me."
A slow smile quirked on Merlin's lips, and he shook his head. "But this is so much more fun."
"Merlin," he growled menacingly, but Merlin paid him no mind and instead sunk to his knees in front of the bound prince.
"I've already polished your armor and shoes this week," he commented, his magic making quick work of removing Arthur's trousers. "Might as well polish something else."
"You don't have to…ung," the prince muttered, his protests dissolving into a muttered sting of gibberish as Merlin took him into his mouth.
Arthur felt like satin on his tongue. Long and thick and kingly and Merlin relished the salty flavor of him. His fingers left white circles in Arthur's flesh as he clutched the man's thighs and worked his erection vigorously, the entire time wondering how far they could take things. Soon, Arthur would forget it all, and Merlin was tempted to lose his virginity to the crowned prince, but a voice in the back of his mind screamed in protest. It would be far too difficult to see the prince every day, knowing he'd had the man inside of him when Arthur wouldn't be able to remember. One day, whether he liked it or not, Arthur would be forced to marry and there was no way Uther would allow his only son and heir to conduct an affair with his manservant.
Not to mention, Merlin didn't have it in him to be Arthur's dirty little secret. He had enough to hide without adding this to the list. Either way, it was clearly for the best that Arthur forget it all, and Merlin only wished he could forget too. Only, the masochistic part of him reminded Merlin that he wanted no such thing, and that in all honesty, Merlin wanted to remember this moment forever. For one split second in time, the future king of Camelot wanted him and only him.
The feeling of Arthur growing and tensing in his mouth refocused Merlin's concentration and he gave a mighty suck on the delicious appendage, swallowing the effects of Arthur's powerful climax as he did.
"Bloody hell, Merlin," Arthur gasped, obviously reeling with pleasure. "I'll never call you an idiot again, I swear."
Merlin chuckled and got to his feet, frowning down at his muddy knees. The rain was already starting to let up; it was only a drizzle. Still, he enjoyed the sight of Arthur perfectly wet and at his mercy. "It was my pleasure, sire," Merlin replied, grinning and dropping into a mocking bow.
Arthur smiled across at him, his eyes alight with affection, but that smile soon faded, replaced with a look of pure sadness that was torture on Merlin's heart. "I won't remember any of this in a few moments, will I?" he asked.
Merlin bit the inside of his lip and shook his head. "No, sire, I'm afraid you won't."
"Stop calling me sire!" Arthur hissed. "And stop this magic. I don't want to forget any of this, Merlin. I don't want to forget," he repeated in a low sob.
Merlin stepped forward and pressed one final kiss to his prince's lips, savoring the flavor of him and memorizing the feel of Arthur kissing him back. This would all be over and passed in just a few moments. Merlin could already feel Arthur growing heavy in his grasp as the man sunk into drowsiness. "One of us will always remember," Merlin assured, and Arthur stared up at him with sullen eyes that slowly drooped into sleep as the rain halted and dappled sunlight lit the forest once more.
With a heaving sob, Merlin cut the binds away, carefully lowering Arthur to the ground. He had to use magic to assist in redressing the heavy prince, but soon, he had Arthur propped up against a tree as he napped away his memory of that afternoon. "I love you, you arse," Merlin whispered, pressing a kiss to Arthur's temple. "Even if you can't remember that."
He didn't know how long the man would be out, so he set about trying to dry their supplies and feed their horses. When Merlin turned back to check on him Arthur was rubbing his head and watching him with a queer expression. "What happened?"
"You fell off your horse," Merlin fibbed. "It was terribly amusing until you didn't get back up."
"I must have fallen hard," Arthur replied, staring at Merlin with those intensely blue eyes until Merlin was forced to look away.
"You'll likely be fine," Merlin replied, going back to the horses. "Nevertheless, we should have Gaius look you over when we get back."
"Right," Arthur replied. "What were we doing out here again?"
"Monster," Merlin replied blandly and helped Arthur to his feet, bringing their faces too close for Merlin's comfort. He could still remember the way those lips had felt beneath his own, the way the prince tasted. This was going to be harder than he thought.
"Of course," Arthur replied, checking himself over. "Did the monster do this?" he asked, gesturing to his muddy clothes.
"No, sire," Merlin replied, trying for his usual grin. "It rained."
"And I rolled around in it?" he asked, one eyebrow crooked in question.
"Sort of," Merlin chuckled and helped Arthur onto his horse.
"Well, did we kill the beast at least? I can't seem to remember anything." Arthur stared at him, expecting answers, but Merlin had no answers he could give.
"We never found it, sire," he whispered, wondering if there was a way to take his memory spell back without making Arthur think he'd planted false memories there instead. They needed to get back to Camelot though, so that Merlin could hide away in the safety of his own room until this day and his wild magic passed him by.
"I see. Well, we should keep looking," Arthur replied, looking terribly unsure.
"We should get you to Gaius first," Merlin objected, climbing onto his own horse.
Arthur agreed with a nod of his head and led the way through the forest toward Camelot, galloping slowly along the trail. They rode in silence, each lost in their own thoughts until the gates came into sight. "So," Arthur began, keeping his eyes straight ahead as he spoke. "What are we going to do about hiding your magic from my father?"
"Pardon?" Merlin gasped, staring at the prince.
"The king isn't as oblivious as he appears sometimes, especially when it comes to magic. You've done a well enough job of hiding it so far, but you could still get caught." Arthur was speaking, but Merlin could hardly hear the words. The spell hadn't worked and suddenly he had no breath. Did he remember all of it?
"I-I," Merlin gaped, unable to remember how to form sentences.
"And if you're worried about our new relationship, you shouldn't," Arthur continued. "I'm nothing if not discreet. Besides, you're my manservant. No one will even suspect anything unusual since we've always been seen together. In fact, I don't even think it will look too odd if you were to start coming to my chambers after dark."
"I already do that," Merlin pointed out, at a loss for anything else to say.
"Exactly!" Arthur exclaimed, looking back at Merlin for the first time. "And Merlin," he said, his previous grin falling into seriousness. "If you ever use magic to try and erase my memory again-"
"You'll have me executed," Merlin finished with a sigh.
"No," Arthur snapped with a glare. "I'll simply have you make it up to me until your jaw is sore."
Merlin blushed profusely and drove his horse to catch up to his prince's. "So, you remember all of it, hm?"
"Every last detail," Arthur replied with a cheeky grin. "Turns out, you're not a very good sorcerer."
Merlin balked and glared at his prince-turned-lover. "Well, it's good to see you haven't forgotten how to be a prat."
"Watch it, Merlin. I'm still the prince. Don't force me to give you a lashing. I wouldn't want your arse sore before the vigorous fucking I'm going to give you tonight," he teased.
"Keep it down," Merlin hissed in warning, his face flushed and pink. "Do you want the whole of Camelot to hear that you fancy your manservant?"
"One day," Arthur promised. "One day I'll announce it to the world." And with that, Arthur dug his heels into his steed and rode faster. Merlin let him have his grandstanding as he lagged behind, shaking his head in dismay and awe. Arthur would make a fantastic king one day, and Merlin would wager the man would make an equally fantastic lover – a bet he was secretly quite eager to discover – but none of that stopped Arthur from being a spoiled and irritatingly handsome brat.
Author's Note: So, that makes two for my collection. What do you think? More?