Disclaimer-Another fanfiction written and yet I still don't own Merlin.
Thank you to everyone who read, reviewed, alerted and faved.
A special thank you to Kironomi for her help with some of the plot lines.
Chapter 19-Bloom Once More
After Gaius had tended to everyone's injuries they all left the physician's quarters apart from Merlin. He had wanted to follow Arthur but now was probably not the best time.
Uther ordered a servant to send word to his absent knights informing them that Aradia had been dealt with and that they were to return to Camelot. He then saw to it that a very disgruntled Lord Bedros was released from the dungeons. The two men bickered for some time but eventually they came to an understanding. Bedros returned to his chambers for the night then the following morning he ate breakfast with Uther before he left the city wifeless, but still a friend of Camelot.
That afternoon Arthur was training with the knights who had recently returned to Camelot. As they had all been sent on a wasted journey Arthur was going relatively easy on them today and even allowed them to finish early.
Sheathing his sword, he crossed over to Merlin pulling off his helmet. He handed the helmet to the warlock then took the flask of water from Merlin and took a large gulp.
"Have you spoken to your father at all?" Merlin asked as he followed the prince up to his chambers.
"No not yet." Arthur replied. "Truth be told I'm trying to avoid it for as long as possible."
"Well I wish you wouldn't." Merlin said. "For all I know he still wants me executed."
"I'll never let him hurt you." Arthur told him reassuringly as he ruffled his servant's hair.
Merlin just grinned goofily and stumbled over his feet slightly before they entered Arthur's chambers.
"Father." Arthur said in surprise when he caught sight of the king stood by his bedroom window looking out at the courtyard below.
Slowly Uther turned round to face his son and his eyes strayed over to Merlin who promptly dropped Arthur's helmet to the floor with a clutter.
"My lord." A flustered Merlin said as he bowed respectfully.
"You are dismissed." Uther told him.
"Yes sire." Merlin replied as he walked backwards out of the room. "Of course sire. Please don't kill me sire."
Arthur shut the door on Merlin's face before he could say anything further and he then faced his father with his arms folded across his chest.
"I love him father." Arthur stated. "That's not going to change so you should just accept it. And I still mean what I said the other night. If you hurt him I will kill you."
"I see this boy means a great deal to you." Uther commented.
"He means everything to me." Arthur confirmed.
"What about him?" Uther asked. "Does he reciprocate your feelings?"
"Yes." Merlin called through the wood of the door.
"Go away Merlin." Arthur hissed. "I'm handling it. Yes, as you heard for yourself he does reciprocate my feelings."
"Good." Uther said. "Good. That's…that's very good."
The two Pendragon men fixed their gazes on different parts of the room both finding the conversation sufficiently awkward.
"I will not cause the boy any harm." Uther told his son eventually as he moved towards the blonde and placed a hand on his shoulder. "And if in a few years the two of you are still…still…in love…then I will not insist upon you marrying."
"But I do want to marry." Arthur replied. "I want to marry Merlin."
Uther closed his eyes and squeezed Arthur's shoulder trying to think of an appropriate response.
"Marriage between two men is unheard of Arthur." Uther finally said.
"So?" Arthur scoffed. "If people don't like it then that's their problem not mine. If it pleases you I'll make it a private wedding and keep our relationship discreet."
"That would be best." Uther answered as he clapped his son on the shoulder before dropping his arm to his side. "You…you have my blessing."
"Thank you father." Arthur replied with a smile. "That means a lot."
Uther cracked a smile in return before massaging his jaw as though the expression pained him.
"Well, I'll be on my way then." Uther said. "I should go and make peace with Morgana."
"Good luck." Arthur told him seriously.
"Yes." Uther replied grimly knowing he'd need luck on his side if he was to gain his ward's forgiveness. "I expect you to dine with Morgana and myself at dinner…assuming Morgana will turn up of course."
Arthur nodded and the king left the room walking straight into Merlin who was still on the other side of the door. Merlin grinned sheepishly and Uther raised his eyes to the heavens and shook his head before stepping around the serving boy and making his way to Morgana's chambers.
"So, you want to marry me?" Merlin asked teasingly.
"Shut up Merlin." Arthur retorted grabbing the dark haired boy into a headlock and messing up his hair.
After taking a few calming breaths, Uther Pendragon worked up the courage to knock upon Morgana's door. A second later Gwen answered it and fell into a curtsey before looking over her shoulder at Morgana and informing the ivory skinned girl that it was the king.
"Leave us Gwen." Morgana said and Gwen nodded before allowing Uther entry and then leaving the room closing the door behind her and heading away to grant them their privacy. "Uther, to what do I owe this pleasure?"
"I only wished to see that you were well." Uther told her before presenting her with a bouquet of flowers.
"They're beautiful." Morgana commented as she accepted them from him and placed them in a vase. "But it's going to take a lot more than floral gifts to earn my forgiveness."
"Of course." Uther remarked. "You've never been one to settle for a simply apology. When you were younger I had to buy you a new dress, a pair of shoes, a necklace and a horse just to make up for forcing you to dance with king Lucien's son at a ball."
"King Lucien's son smelt as though he bathed in dung and he kept slobbering all over me." Morgana huffed. "I deserved the gifts you bestowed upon me. That single dance was a very traumatic experience."
"I am deeply sorry for any past trauma I unknowingly caused you." Uther said. "And I am sorry for my reactions last night. Surely you know how deeply I care for you. I wouldn't wish you harm for all the world."
"Or I you." Morgana replied. "Well…sometimes I do,"
"I know I'm a difficult man to live with Morgana." Uther sighed. "And I'm even more difficult to love but you and Arthur are the most important things in my life. It pains me to be at odds with either of you."
"Then perhaps you should change your ways." Morgana suggested. "Listen to our counsel from time to time and learn to accept that your way of dealing with things is not always correct. Particularly when it comes to magic."
"You don't understand." Uther told her.
"I have magic, of course I understand." Morgana scoffed.
"Morgana, sorcerers, druids, witches, they are my enemies." Uther tried to explain.
"They don't have to be." Morgana replied. "I'm not. But if you continue to fight your one man battle against magic then you will always have magical enemies. You are so desperate to eradicate them that you kill anyone who is even suspected of possessing magic. Is it really any wonder so many people want you dead? Why is it you even hate magic so much anyway?"
"That…that is not your concern." Uther said as turned his back to her.
"Igraine." Morgana sighed knowingly. "It has something to do with her doesn't it? She was killed by magic."
"Yes." Uther confessed. "She was."
Forgetting her quarrel with the man Morgana moved behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist. He turned in her arms and held her close to him pressing a kiss to the top of her head.
"Am I yet forgiven?" Uther asked softly as he stepped back and tilted her chin up.
"Uther, I forgave you the second you knocked upon my door." Morgana answered with a smile.
The king smiled down at her before lowering his lips to hers. She closed her eyes and melted into the kiss.
"My lady." Uther said after breaking the kiss and stepping away. He then turned and left her chambers.
Once he was gone Morgana brought her fingers to her mouth and touched her lips. She waited a few minutes before opening her door and telling the nearest guard to send for Gwen, she had to tell her friend what had just happened.
That night, after sitting through a very odd dinner with Uther and Morgana, Arthur returned to his chambers where Merlin was waiting for him.
"Are you ok?" Merlin asked as the prince stepped through the door. "You look as though something's disturbing you."
"I could be wrong." Arthur said. "But I'm pretty sure my father and Morgana were…flirting."
"Flirting?" Merlin echoed with wide eyes.
"Flirting." Arthur confirmed.
"No, it couldn't be." Merlin replied. "You must have been mistaken."
"Yes, yes of course." Arthur agreed nodding his head. "Mistaken."
Merlin then helped the prince bath before dressing him into his nightwear.
"Goodnight sire." Merlin said.
"Merlin." Arthur called before the warlock could leave. "Stay with me."
Grinning broadly Merlin shrugged off his neckerchief and tunic before slipping off his shoes. He crawled into the large comfy bed beside Arthur and scooted into his arms. With a few choice words he used his magic to put out the candlelight.
"I want to hold you forever." Arthur told him as he carded his fingers through Merlin's ebony hair.
"Arthur." Merlin spoke as he sat up.
"What is it?" Arthur asked concernedly sitting up beside the pale-skinned boy.
"I want you to kiss me now." Merlin breathed.
The prince didn't need to be told twice and he dipped his head to meet Merlin's mouth and introduce their lips and tongues to one another for the first time. Kissing tenderly, they fell back onto the pillows with Arthur's arms encircling Merlin's waist whilst Merlin looped his arms around the prince's neck. They both moaned into the kiss before finally drawing apart to catch their breath, resting their foreheads against one another.
"I love you Arthur." Merlin told him breathlessly.
"Love you." Arthur replied happily.
In the morning, Arthur would wake to find Merlin grinning happily at him as soft rain gently drummed against the window. He would then yawn and stretch before sitting up in bed and looking over to the vase of dead flowers to find them in bloom once more.
Love, Hugs and Kisses, IceQueenRia xxx