Five Truths About Arthur

1.

Arthur knew.

People may look at him and think that he's a bit oblivious to things he finds beneath him- but Arthur finds that it's beneficial for people to think that way. When people are certain you have no idea what's going on, they're more likely to be lax about leaving their guard down. It is similar to knowing another language and not letting on that you do- then people chatter on about anything they please certain you have no idea what they're talking about.

So it was these powers of perception that allowed Arthur to know beyond one shred of doubt that Merlin could do magic. This clarity of knowledge was followed not long after by the realization that he wasn't entirely correct. The truth of it was that Merlin was magic.

The knowing of this had come in stages. Let's not make any pretenses, from the first moment he'd met the boy something about him had stuck out as 'different'. Not just that he had the gall to speak up to the son of the king (which still made him smile just a little bit when he thought about it) but also this sense that there was something 'more' there. Something else.

Why Arthur could feel this he didn't know. It was the same something 'more' that he could feel around Morgana, of that he was certain and both 'more's' unsettled him, but only because he didn't understand it. The reason behind this truth dear reader, is that Arthur is a little bit magic too. He may not have visions, or the ability to move things with his mind, but Arthur's birth was made from magic and magic that strong always leaves a trace. That trace recognized the magic in the others.

So Arthur was skeptical of Merlin. Merlin who showed absolutely no adeptness at being his manservant and yet miraculously managed to finish his chores and still found time to investigate every little threat to his person that Arthur was ever aware of. Oh yes, he did notice this.

Denial is a heavy drug of course. When a hatred of magic is so ingrained in your own blood you don't want to believe those close to you have the ability to use it. But, sooner or later, the evidence stacks against you.

This is what he saw. The snakes that would come out for no one else until it was too late, came out in front of the entire audience when Arthur needed to fight. Merlin? No not possible, coincidence. When Gwen was in trouble Merlin confessed, and it appeared to be no easy thing for him to do. Truth? No- love. Right? Love. It had to be love.

Any suspicions died when Merlin was so willing to drink poison for him. Forget any notions of servants being worth little in respect to princes, Merlin was dying because of him- for him. It wouldn't be allowed. But a light, guiding him out? Protecting him and with such a warmth and familiarity... Merlin? No... no Merlin was sick, near dying. Couldn't be Merlin.

Now, Arthur disliked being made a fool of. It was one of his heaviest faults and that he was very good at pretending to be ignorant of his own faults was just- well a very useful skill. So when he'd been enchanted it was easy to feign no memory of it, but he knew what had happened, knew how close to death he had been.

He also knew there was no way Merlin could have knocked him out with a stick or a rock or whatever. Merlin had pulled him from the water, and he'd destroyed those things to do it. Arthur'd run out of excuses.

A black knight that was only killed after his father used a sword meant for him- and a tornado blowing their enemies away and Arthur found it difficult not to lash out in accusation. But then, Arthur knew something else as well.

Merlin- was loved. All sorcerers he'd ever known or heard of were feared, evil was supposed to be their weapon, tricks and power. And yet, Merlin was content to be a servant. Merlin had earned the loyalty of Gwen, one of the most honest souls in Camelot and Morgana as well, no easy feat. Merlin had done nothing terribly overt or spectacular but he'd managed to have Arthur himself risk his life to protect something that Merlin loved. Most of all, Merlin had a friend who loved him enough to accept the hatred of magic onto himself to keep him safe.

Arthur found if very difficult to be too angry about Merlin's magic when it was so obvious that it wasn't corrupting him. If nothing else it seemed to make him- better.

2.

Arthur Listens.

Contrary to what Merlin might want you to believe dear reader, Arthur does listen. Just because he doesn't always believe Merlin at first doesn't mean he's not listening. And honestly, Merlin is lying to him about something very important, why should he take everything he says at face value?

However, he does listen. Merlin's words had become something like council. When Merlin disapproves of something he's doing it- bothers him. Merlin has risked his life many times now to save his own and well it means something. He has someone else's expectations to live up to now, and oh he can see that expectation just about every time Merlin looks at him, stronger even than the expectation in Guinevere's honest face.

Listening to Merlin means catching the lies as well as the council. Every time Merlin covers up something he's doing with a lie, Arthur can see it. If only Merlin knew just how hard Arthur was working to let him do it. He had to be able to lie, too dangerous for them both to know right? If Merlin knew that Arthur knew then he could become complacent, Uther could catch him and then nothing Arthur could do would ever be able to repay Merlin for saving his life again and again. Then he'd never be able to live up to that expectation in those blue eyes.

But then- sometimes when he's listening to those lies, when he can hear himself making a snarky comment to let Merlin off the hook- he just wants to listen to the truth. But then, how could they continue as they do? Arthur tries not to listen quite so hard.

3.

Arthur Cares.

Every time Merlin's eyes search his own for some hope of being able to reveal his secret it stings just a little. He doesn't analyze the feeling, it wont do any good, this is how it needs to be for now. It's harder though, to feign ignorance and it leads to him doing stupid things. Things like letting his emotions lash out at Merlin and saying horrible things. Things like 'thank you for showing me again how evil magic is.'

No amount of telling himself that he was only helping Merlin keep his cover would be able to banish that image of tears forming from his memory. He would never admit it to anyone aside from maybe Morgana or Gwen but he considers Merlin a friend, perhaps even his most trusted, and with moments like that he was losing his faith in his keep pretending system.

Then of course Merlin would lie to him again, and lie by calling him fat or something no less! Now Arthur notices that no matter how often he says that he trusts Merlin explicitly, that he trusts him with his life- no matter the times that he's lived up to those expectations placed on him. Merlin doesn't trust him. Not with the one secret that matters.

For the best, he knows. He didn't want the secret- has never wanted the secret but now he maybe- does? He helped Merlin defend his home town, he helped the little druid boy escape, he passed the challenges after slaying the unicorn, thinking he was going to die for Merlin no less! Arthur had taken Merlin with him through every important task he'd ever faced- had lived up to every expectation Merlin had of him and still he wasn't trusted.

And worse yet- he didn't blame him. He understood it all, could see the strain of the lie on him and only wanted to ease the difficulty. He wanted to keep Merlin's expressive eyes from ever showing the pain of hiding his own identity from the world. Arthur found that he cared about that quite a lot.

4.

Arthur Wants.

This newest want of his was growing. That desire to be trusted by someone he trusted so implicitly. It gnawed at him the way the dogs would gnaw at a bone, trying to suck the marrow of the matter straight from his soul or some such thing. Arthur makes no pretensions of being a poet may I remind you dear reader, he leaves that sort of girly stuff up to Merlin.

He wanted not to know the secret, because of course, he already did- had for such a very long time now, no, not that. What wanted was for Merlin to come out and tell him, to take the risk. So stupid a thing to want. It would be utterly reckless, utterly stupid a thing for Merlin to do. And yet he practically craved it, waited for it, was disappointed when the moment wouldn't come.

Such a selfish thing to want, that absolute faith in friendship that he did little to encourage, and he didn't understand why it bothered him so much that he didn't have it. It was infantile, this desire. He couldn't understand it.

Obsession is a funny thing you know. So fixated on one thing that everything surrounding that thing is drawn in. Arthur, so observant of everyone else failed to realize he wasn't only fixated on this idea of being trusted by Merlin- he was becoming fixated on Merlin. He had an endless list of things for him to do, kept his poor manservant nearly constantly in his sight. Every opportunity to stop lying was given, every chance to slip up in front of Arthur was there- and well Merlin's perseverance was really pretty admirable.

Watching him so closely though, spending so much time around him and it wasn't long before Merlin smiling meant he was smiling. His demands and list of tasks grew less menial and more random, even falling into the practical joke range. Arthur's focus on getting Merlin to confess waned into simply wanting him around constantly. When he was there, the wanting was less, was more controlled but when he was gone he wanted him back, wanted. Wanted... something.

It took a dream, well lets be honest, it took several dreams (he kept trying to brush them off as meaningless) to point out to him just what he wanted, and where- when and how often he wanted it.

Arthur wanted Merlin, in his bed, (or the balcony or the forest, or over the dinner table- he was less than particular about that part). Arthur wanted Merlin NOW, and Arthur wanted Merlin as often and possibly for as long as he could have him. Well now. That changed things a bit.

5.

Arthur is Decisive

Many people, on having discovered that feelings about someone like Merlin were more than they thought they were (or should be) would probably take weeks, months even to agonize over what to do. For Arthur though, it was a non issue. Once he'd come to terms with the fact that yes, he wanted Merlin, it was all to hell with the secret staying secret between them! This wasn't some potential future queen he had to worry about here, no purity to maintain. Princes were allowed their favorites after all.

The only thing that kept him from barging into Merlin's room and hoisting him over his shoulder to carry him bodily to his bed was that this secret thing really needed to be out in the open first. Alright, so how did he go about convincing Merlin to spill the secret he'd been keeping from him for so long?

Well, it took Arthur a good deal of pacing and a couple more restless nights to stumble onto the answer. Merlin was in his room as he usually was nowadays and working, rather lazily Arthur would like to point out, on airing out Arthur's winter clothing when Author sauntered into the room looking for him.

"Merlin," he murmured, passing him and resting his arm on his shoulder. He meant only to get his attention but found that removing it just seemed far too disagreeable to bother.

Turning to look at him Merlin smiled a little, drawing Arthur's eyes to his lips for a moment, "yes?"

Clearing his throat Arthur dropped his arm and moved away, hands coming together to rest behind his back. "Stop pretending to work for a moment and come sit down." Looking over his shoulder at him he gestured toward a chair. "Please." He added, simply because he knew it would catch Merlin a little off-guard and he held back a smile when Merlin mutely complied.

Pacing a couple times in front of him Arthur glanced at Merlin, the smile to himself slipping out a little as he could see Merlin was having a difficult time not just asking him what he wanted. Pacing once more he turned to him and shifted his weight on his feet. "Have you ever had something that you wanted to tell someone, but you feel you couldn't because they'd probably react horrifically badly to it?"

Seeing the little bob of Merlin's adam's apple possibly should have made him gloat just a little but really all he could think about was running his tongue up his neck before sucking hard enough to draw a moan... He blinked and shook his head a bit, raising expectant eyes to Merlin.

After he'd let him flounder for a moment he spoke before Merlin could. "Because you see... I have this new secret but I can't tell anyone about it.. and I especially don't think I should tell you about it." Ah the confusion that jumped across Merlin's features was worth all of this troublesome set up- it really was.

"But you can tell me anything Arthur.." Merlin started with a frown, looking up at him. "You know you can trust me. You've said so before."

Giving a little nod at that Arthur resumed his pacing. "Yes I know... which is why it's bothering me so much that I can't tell you this. I feel like, like there's something in the way, a reason-" Turning to look him square in the eye Arthur moved back toward him. "You know you can trust me too don't you Merlin?"

A flash of guilt, that face was so easy to read if you knew what you were looking for. "Y-yes Arthur, of course, with my life."

"Not with your life," Arthur said, waving that away with his hand. "I mean with your secrets."

"But I don't- I don't have any secrets..." Merlin said, swallowing a little as he lifted his gaze back to Arthur's. "Well, uhm, Arthur I do trust you."

Leveling his gaze on him Arthur crossed his arms over his chest and moved to lean back against the table, watching him. "So you do have a secret?" A small nod was about all he could get from Merlin so he kicked his chair a little. "Well come on, tell me. You can trust me Merlin."

Watching those ears turn red Arthur bit the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling, arms crossed in his 'princely' way as he waited. "Can you promise you wont get mad?" Merlin asked, looking down at his hands as they fidgeted.

"Absolutely not." Arthur said with a short laugh. He sobered, "But I do promise not to do anything rash, now tell me before I have to order you to."

Watching Merlin release that frustrated puff of air he usually did when Arthur was being a bit difficult (and he never was difficult just to frustrate Merlin- he swears) Arthur smiled to himself and waited. "Uhm, I think this will work better if I just show you.." Merlin breathed out, looking around.

"Alright," Arthur agreed, mentally sending up a little prayer that Merlin wouldn't try turning him into anything. Could Merlin do that? He wasn't sure... But he was certain he just wouldn't look good as a frog- and it would make stage two very difficult indeed.

Instead Merlin nodded and took a breath before reaching his hand across the table and whispering something. Arthur didn't quite catch what though because at that moment he was distracted by the brilliant gold that Merlin's eyes flashed and damn it all if it didn't take every ounce of willpower to make him look away to see what Merlin had done.

The candle sitting on the table, unlit and brand new before was now burning brightly and Arthur scooted back a little from it before looking back to Merlin. Taking a moment Arthur cleared his throat. "You're a sorcerer?"

Watching the way Merlin swallowed and hunched his shoulders like a puppy about to be kicked Arthur found himself digging his nails into his arm to keep from reacting. "Yes..." Merlin breathed, his voice barely audible as he waited for the rage to hit.

Honestly, didn't this boy have any faith in him at all? Leaning forward he placed his hands on either side of Merlin's chair causing his head jerked back up to look at him. Smiling a little he saw some of the fear in Merlin's eyes switch back to that confusion before he leaned in closer. "It's about time you told me you clotpole." And then he didn't give him even a moment to respond to that as he leaned in to press their lips together.

Merlin's lips were shocked into stillness for half a breath before they melted under him and then Arthur found that it was his own throat releasing the soft sound as he slid his hand into Merlin's hair and pulled him roughly deeper into the kiss.

Heat flared up between them as fire became flame from candlewick and it took no time at all for that kiss to become needy, desperate. Free hand fisting in Merlin's shirt he pulled him up out of the chair and tugged him in against him as his tongue pushed passed yielding lips to taste him. And oh did he taste ever so good, like hot cider on a winter's night, that sweetness melded with a hint of spice and alright maybe he could be a tiny bit of a poet but who wouldn't be with that taste under their lips?

Malleable, compliant but only for a moment before Merlin was kissing back with as much desperation and need as Arthur felt. His hands urged Merlin's body closer, that thrill surging through him of finding that what he'd longed for paled in comparison to the reality of how good he felt against him.

Merlin, obstinate, difficult, wonderful Merlin, pulled himself back from the kiss with a gasp and Arthur was forced to open his eyes to at him. "You knew?" He managed to gasp.

Oh, that. Arthur decided Merlin was far too lucid if he could ask questions like that. "Yes," he answered simply before he leaned in run his tongue up his neck like he'd been wanting to.

Groaning softly Merlin's hands tightened against the purchase they had found on his arms. "How long?" he breathed, obviously set on these questions of his.

"Too long," Arthur whispered against his skin before nibbling his way back down his neck, delighting in the shivers he could feel from Merlin.

"Why didn't you say anything?" Still asking questions, and people called Arthur dense...

Finding his pulse point he ran his tongue over it, "Merlin- let's talk about this later hm?" He breathed, sliding his hands down over his ass to press them together just as his closed his teeth over his pulse point and sucked.

Groaning Merlin rocked forward against him as his hands gripped tighter to Arthur's sword sculpted arms. No further questions arose as Arthur walked them back to his bed, lifting Merlin by his thighs to drop him back down on it.

There was the smallest pause in the moans as the two of them were occupied with trying to remove clothing as quickly as possible. Merlin's were simple enough, pulling right off but Arthur's, princely that they were, were being very difficult. Releasing a very frustrated sound Merlin place a hand to his chest and whispered another string of words that Arthur didn't catch but the results were spectacular as his clothes shredded against his skin.

A soft sound of protest fell from his lips before he simply shrugged out of the scraps, he hadn't liked those clothes much anyway. Having the naked, hard, greedy long lines of Merlin under him was much more important than any clothes. Catching those wandering hands he moved to pin Merlin back against the bed by them, feeling him tremble under his weight, under the strength in his hands. "Arthur.." he whimpered, turning his head to find his lips.

"You've been very bad Merlin," he breathed, moving slowly, so slowly to rock his body down, rubbing their hard cocks together. "Lying to your prince for so long."

A low, throaty moan slid from his lips as he arched under him, eyes fluttering closed. "Arthur I-"

"Shh," Arthur breathed, leaning down to catch a nipple in his mouth. "Your punishment is a few minutes of silence. Now catch the headboard above you- and don't let go until I tell you."

He half expected him to disobey as he released his hands, he never listened to anything else he said after all, but Merlin's shaky hands gripped as they were told. Grinning in triumph Arthur rewarded him with a slow drugging kiss that pulled a whimper from both their throats.

He longed to bury himself within Merlin's body, he knew his beloved servant wouldn't complain, would wager that he was just a greedy for it as Arthur himself was- but now was not the time. Now was for letting the lust overrule the rest, to let the sparks climb between them. Later would be a time for lovemaking, after all of the talking that was needed had happened.

Stroking his tongue along Merlin's he used all of his considerable skill to pull sounds from him, delighting in each new mewl that vibrated through his chest. All the while he braced against strong arms, keeping a slow, mind numbing pace of movement- chest against chest, legs brushing legs, cock creating delicious friction against cock.

When breathing became necessary he pulled back, sucking his lip between his teeth as he went and looking down at the lust drunk blue eyes. Chuckling huskily he ground down again. "Ah Merlin.." he breathed, "you want to touch me don't you?" Watching him nod he twisted his lips a little on the next thrust against him, watching the way those eyes rolled back at the motion. "It doesn't matter what you want just now though. Later, you'll have your chance to explore, I promise you. But for now."

Dropping his lips to his neck he moved down, nipping, sucking, moving over his collar. Down he went, picking a spot over his heart and there he made his mark. Drawing the blood to the surface he focused there, hips still slow, slick with the precum that built between them. Only when he was satisfied with his work did he pull back, pausing in his movements. "For now you are mine Merlin." He breathed, brushing their lips together again.

"Now," rocking again he picked up a harder pace and watching as Merlin gasped and lifted up under him. "Now you are going to cum for me Merlin. Show me that you're mine."

Crying out Merlin's hands gripped hard to the headboard and he lifted straight off the bed as he came nearly on command, eyes locked to Arthur as they flashed gold and the fireplace roared to life across the room.

That flash, the heat there in his eyes, the sight of Merlin coming undone under him and Arthur was following with a surprised gasp, their release mixing against Merlin's stomach as he rocked them through it. Panting Arthur slid forward on his arms, keeping his weight off Merlin but only barely.

"Arthur.." Merlin moaned softly, hands dropping from their hold to slide over his shoulders. "One other secret that I haven't told you-"

Lifting his head at that Arthur watched him with guarded eyes. "Another secret?"

Smiling a little Merlin's fingers moved to trace down his cheek. "I've been yours for a long time." Leaning forward he pressed their temples together. "You great clotpole..."

The warmth that slid through Arthur at that had him smiling and laughing softly with the simple happiness of it. With one smooth roll he moved to his back and pulled Merlin firmly against him, hands finding their spot in his surprisingly soft hair.

"Mine." Arthur whispered with the ghost of a soft smile.

It should come as no great surprise to you dear reader to know- that Arthur didn't want anything else.

~fin~