Slash pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Rating: M (more for themes than explicit content)
Warnings: Attempted rape (not explicit at all and in brief flashback)
A.N: H/C. Not beta'd. Sorry had to just get this posted but will def get beta'd if the offer is still there. The fic needs you :)

*****

He couldn't think, only feel. His vision blurred as his body shuddered through every broken cry.

Merlin pulled the sheet more securely over his head and pressed his face into the pillow to muffle his sobs. He failed however to suppress the painful memories, which threatened to overwhelm, as he recalled the events of the day. Soon it would be necessary to move, to pack and leave. Not yet. Now he would bewail what could not be.

Ignoring the pounding of fists against the wooden door, he wallowed in his misery knowing that nothing could penetrate the barrier he had created.

*****

That morn…

He'd spent ages preparing a magnificent breakfast of succulent sausages, ripe fruit and fresh bread smeared with honey and it was growing colder and less appetizing by the second. Not by his standards but Arthur would complain. It was hardly Merlin's fault if the Prince ignored every one of his calls.

"Come on you prat, get up," he muttered under his breath. It was all right for some. Merlin had risen with the larks but with rather less predilection for song.

The blonde head, scarcely visible, buried as it was beneath luxuriously, warm, comfortable sheets, shifted a little. Merlin prayed his muttering hadn't been overheard. The Prince could be cranky in the morning, rather like a bear with a sore head. He didn't think Arthur had cause to complain what with his luxuriously, warm...damn his own rag of a bed sheet. All Merlin knew was that his own bed didn't appear nearly as attractive as this one.

"Rise and shine!" he proclaimed in the cheery voice he knew irritated the Prince. Merlin had now decided there was actually no point in the softly softly approach. No matter what, he tended to receive the brunt of Arthur's temper. Not that he ever hurt him, not physically anyway, but he was oftenthe proverbial whipping boy to be lashed by Arthur's tongue.

"Bit longer...go 'way." The glimpse of hair disappeared.

Merlin almost laughed, so much did the Prince sound like a small boy, huffing against having to get up. It reminded him of his own childhood. Oh crap, he was the mother in this relationship. He may as well be he decided as he sighed loudly and looked thoughtfully at the plate of food.

"What a waste of food," he exclaimed. "Ah well, waste not, want not." Merlin awaited the expected response. He wasn't made to wait long.

"What!" A muffled shout.

Merlin smirked as the sheets slid away to reveal a bare chested and highly disgruntled Arthur. He quickly assumed a sweetly bland expression.

Rolling his eyes, Arthur sat up fully, and swatted his servant over the head.

"Very funny," he grumbled as he took in Merlin's considerable distance from his breakfast. "I don't know why I fall for that, I know you would never dare to..." He stopped as he took in his servant and the suspiciously innocent visage.

"Did you do something to it?" he grouched. "It isn't rat again is it?"

Arthur prodded a sausage cautiously which almost finished Merlin off but he managed to hide his choked laughter behind a cough.

"I don't know what to do with you Merlin..." Arthur growled. "And wipe that look of your face I can see your cheekbones are threatening to burst with glee."

Merlin's lips curled up against his will as he recalled the rat incident. He was immediately grabbed, hair ruffled wildly as his head was held locked beneath a muscled arm. Not again!

"Agh! Arthur let me go. No. Sto-stop it!" he squealed. Merlin relaxed slightly, heart racing, as he was put aside like a toy discarded by a big cat. He always found it a bit unsettling when he was that close to his master. Peeking up at Arthur, he was relieved by the expression on his face.

The blue eyes had softened and they were looking at him almost fondly?

Merlin grinned thankful that Arthur was in better tune this morning. It meant an easier day was ahead if they started with casual banter.

*****

Arthur swung his sword and in an instant had the upper hand. He assisted the Knight to stand and gestured for the next challenger to approach. It was early morning and the Prince was training his Knights as he did most days. It was extremely dangerous as they were fighting with no chain mail or protection of any kind other than a shield. Arthur wanted his men to be 'prepared for any eventuality'. Merlin was only glancing now and then for reassurance that Arthur was okay. He usually enjoyed watching, confident in his master's skill but with so much bare skin visible, he felt nervous and slightly agitated.

Applause rose above the sound of swords clanging and against his will; Merlin looked up to stare at the combatants. He observed the muscles playing underneath Arthur's skin. If you liked that sort of thing then the Prince was undoubtedly highly attractive - it didn't take a genius to figure out. He may not be a genius but he had eyes and they currently were trying very hard not to see, especially as they had extremely good access to the body in question. In response to these thoughts Merlin did what he usually did...pretended they didn't exist. Deciding that the Prince had no need of him now, he wandered off in the direction of the stables. He could always brush down Arthur's horse or muck out. Not exactly, a pleasurable job but it would distract him.

Shovelling dung was a revolting task and Merlin was concluding that he should get back to Arthur when a heavy hand on his shoulder made him jump.

"Eep!" he cried and immediately blushed. Standing before him was one of Arthur's Knights, who doubtless had never uttered such a girly sound in his entire existence. He couldn't recall the man's name, as to be honest, whenever grouped together, the Knights became a largish blur of red cloaks and biceps. Usually he focused his attention on Arthur. In his role of manservant-obviously. He did know though that this man hadn't been at the training earlier.

"Aren't you the Prince's servant!" he grunted. He was staring in an unblinking fashion, which made Merlin feel distinctly uncomfortable.

"Erm...yes..." Merlin looked at his feet, disconcerted by the gimlet stare he could actually feel. "Sir."

His fingers clenched around the shovel as he sent darting looks at the bulk in front of him. He was uneasy at the expression on the man's face although he wasn't sure why. It was impassive but made Merlin feel uncomfortable with its intense glare.

"I have decided that it would be beneficial nature for us to be better acquainted," he said with a gleam in his eye.

Not liking the turn of conversation and suspecting where this was going Merlin looked down again at his feet. His chin was grabbed and pulled upward so that he could meet the Knight's regard.

"Do not ignore me peasant, this is an honour which you will accept."

Not sure what to do he almost collapsed with relief at the sound of Arthur calling.

"Merlin!" He wasn't far away by the sound of it.

He couldn't move as the hand held him still. Blinking upward, he swallowed nervously and gestured with his head to the exit.

"Have to go...Arthur," he said uneasily. Merlin didn't like this, not at all.

"Thereyou are Merlin; I've been calling you for ages and for once will..." Arthur paused, obviously just now taking in the scene. There was quiet for a moment.

"Sir Durant," he acknowledged and, without withdrawing his attention from the Knight, barked, "Merlin go to my chambers and begin cleaning them thoroughly."

Arthur's mouth tightened as his servant still didn't move. "Now!"

Merlin scurried off only to happy to obey this order. Thankfully, the man's grip had eased but only after momentarily clenching at Arthur's final growl making it initially impossible for his prey to flee. Entering Arthur's chambers he stopped to catch his breath and wondered if he was being ridiculous for feeling as unsettled as he did. No. All of his senses warned against the man and he just knew there was something not quite right about Sir Durant.

He was in the middle of scrubbing the floor to a well-earned gleam when Arthur's door swung open with a resounding bang. Merlin had put all thoughts of the earlier incident from his mind pondering instead of what to do for his mother's birthday, which was approaching. Seeing Arthur watch him with a fierce glare rather brought it all back to a now bewildered Merlin. Why did he deserve such a look?

"That's me finished now Sire," he murmured quietly, deciding now was a time to be as unobtrusive as possible. "Is there anything else you require before the banquet?"

Now Arthur was making him uneasy. What had he done? Had he failed to complete some task correctly or to the Prince's standards? Struggling to recall everything that had occurred from the moment he'd awoken until now Merlin concluded that there was nothing that stood out.

"Erm, was there something else Sire," he repeated nervously and biting down on his plump lower lip. He watched blue flash, so briefly Merlin wondered if he'd imagined it.

Arthur marched over to his bed and flung several items onto it, some sliding onto the floor. Merlin was surprised to note that one of said items was Arthur's sword. He wasn't usually so careless with the weapon, which he treasured so highly and made Merlin polish more than actually necessary. (In Merlin's opinion).

He still hadn't said a word and Merlin began to back cautiously toward the door. He had never been scared as such of his master but something had obviously set Arthur off and it was never advisable to hang about if he was in a temper. Merlin frowned as he considered the Prince's behaviour.

Almost at the door, he reached a hand out for the looped handle. It was grabbed fiercely, and Merlin was suddenly swinging backward, landing on top of something, which absorbed his weight then cushioned it.

Opening his eyes, he stared into possessive blue orbs and realised in shocked amazement that he was laying on Arthur's bed. With Arthur!

"Now..." Arthur purred. "Why don't you tell me why you were propositioning one of the Knights of Camelot in my stables. Hmm?"

Merlin gaped, too taken aback to feel indignant or angry on his own behalf. Then he had no opportunity to respond as Arthur's mouth sealed over his as strong arms bound him close.