God, he thought the whining would never end. "Merlin, come here!" "Merlin, polish my armour." "Merlin, clean my room and don't forget to change the linen." God his voice was annoying. But for Merlin, the voice of his best friend was all that he needed to hear to get him through a hard day's work, even though this particular voice was the one that was making the day so hard.
When he first came to Camelot, Merlin thought that no one could dislike Arthur Pendragon, Crowned Prince of Camelot, more that him. Every time he saw him, he was either chuckling about something with his knights, or making a fool out of an innocent servant. Prince or not, Merlin had thought, this is not someone I want to be around while I am here.
But after saving him from a disguised "Lady Helen", it became inevitable that most of his time in Camelot would be spent alongside the same prat that he planned to avoid. Becoming Arthur's manservant was said to be an honour, but at the beginning Merlin couldn't honestly see the sense in those who thought it. The young prince showed no mercy in making sure that Merlin was as busy as possible- all the time. Once Merlin even thought that Arthur enjoyed seeing him work in the long hours of the day, watching him struggle for his own amusement.
But after Merlin had found out that it was his destiny to protect the future king with his gift of magic, he began to see a side of the prince that he had never seen before. A side that was not demanding, obnoxious or even loud. Arthur, it turned out was a normal human being, just like everyone else. Well, Merlin had laughed, not exactly like everyone else, it seems him being a prince, and him being a warlock completely erases the definition of normal. He had begun to see Merlin as more of an advisor and even a friend at times, more than a servant. This side, it turned out Merlin actually began to like- which scared him.
He didn't know why every time Arthur walked into the room, his stomach would do a cartwheel. Or every time Arthur told him to grab his sword, Merlin would think of something completely different. Admiring his muscles and beautiful smile. He had begun to avoid the prince, sitting in his room for long hours of the day just like he was doing now, only with himself and his thoughts. He did not want to have these feelings, they were wrong. This is wrong. Arthur is a man for God's sake, how could he possible have feelings for another man? He wouldn't, he couldn't. His thoughts were interrupted by a loud banging at the door.
"Merlin?" Arthur's voice was so recognisable. "Merlin, are you in there?"
Merlin didn't know whether to answer or to just jump out the window. He needed to put these feeling behind him. Arthur was a prince and he, a clumsy servant. This starts now.
"Come in sire," he said.
The door creaked open to reveal Arthur standing in the doorway.
"Where have you been? I have been looking everywhere for you."
"Sorry," whispered Merlin, "I've just been here."
Arthur eyed him suspiciously as he walked in and closed the door his tall figure hovering high over Merlin. He pulled up a stool and sat down with him.
Merlin didn't know whether to scream in shock, fall into his arms or just shrivel where he sat. After keeping his secret of magic for so long, he wondered why Arthur could see that something was wrong. Was he that easy to read?
"Nothing is wrong, sire," answered Merlin. The prince smiled at him.
"You know Merlin, I am the prince, and you are not a very good liar."
Merlin just stared at him. He needed to get these feelings out of his head, whatever they are. He was about to speak when the prince started again,
"You know Merlin, you can tell me anything." Merlin smirked.
"Why? Is it just because you're the prince? Can't I keep some things to myself sometimes? Or do you make it part of your duty to stick your nose into everyone else's business?"
The prince looked like he had just taken a slap to the face.
"Well then I'm sorry for caring. Fine, my stables need mucking out, my armour needs polishing and my shoes need shining. And after that if you're not still moping around, then come and see me." And with that Arthur stormed out.
Merlin quickly got out of his seat and called after him, but the prince did not turn around. He was only trying to help, he thought to himself. God, what have I done?
God, what did I do? The prince thought as he walked out of Gaius' chambers. I had only tried to be nice, to show him that I cared. No, he thought to himself. I don't care about him, oh God.
It was about two weeks ago that he had realised that he had feelings for Merlin. At first it seemed fine, but after that it disgusted him. He was a prince, he could not have feelings for a servant, male or female, and especially not male. He had tossed and turned in his bed trying to forget about him, find ways to be as mean to him as possible, to make his life a living hell. But when the time came to do it, he couldn't. He would just look into those beautiful blue eyes and all of his plans would be forgotten. Recently he would even allow the other knights to hurt him during practice, punishing himself. But when Merlin came over to help him, he realised that it wasn't enough.
He didn't know what it was. Merlin's goofy smile, the way he was always helpful even when Arthur was horrible to him. It's like Merlin knew him better than he knew himself. He had talked to Morgana about his feelings for Merlin, hoping that she would help him find a way to forget them. But instead, she did the complete opposite. She encouraged him to tell Merlin about his feelings, thinking that Merlin felt the same way about him. How could he? Arthur had thought. But on the other hand, he didn't even know how he liked Merlin. He was such an idiot, dropping everything and always being late and… and…
Damn, Arthur thought as he flopped down on his bed. What am I going to do?
"So what are you going to do?" Arthur looked up to see Morgana in the doorway.
"What do you mean?" he asked bitterly.
Morgana pouted. "Did you tell him?"
"Why not?" She strode into the room and sat down on his bed.
"Because I-don't-like-him," he said grinding his teeth.
"Oh, yes you do," teased Morgana, "Even though you may not be able to accept it yet. You do Arthur Pendragon."
"Can you imagine what would happen if your father found out?"
Shit, Arthur had not thought about him father. God, the thought of him finding out made him feel sick. Imagine what he would do to Merlin?
"He won't find out, because there is nothing to find out."
"Arthur, why do you always push away every opportunity to be happy?"
Arthur was beginning to get annoyed.
"I do not push away every opportunity to be happy. There is nothing going on between me and Merlin. Ok? Have you got the picture? Not now and not ever."
Morgana looked hurt and she strode out of the room. Just before she left, she turned around to face him.
"You know what Arthur, if you want to die alone well then that's alright with me. Go, marry some noble girl and produce an heir. You're exactly like your father. All you care about is your selfish efforts to show your nobility and perfection. You think everyone else is so beneath you. Who cares if he is a servant? Who cares if he is a man? One day you are going to wake up to yourself and finally realise that you missed the one opportunity to make yourself happy. Then, you're going to come to me, and you're going to ask for my help. And do know what I am going to say to you Arthur Pendragon? Stick it where it fits, because I told you so."
And with that she walked out of the room closing the door behind her. Arthur stared at the door for about thirty more seconds until finally falling onto him bed, curling up into a little ball and facing the window.
He was a prince, and princes do not feel self pity. Arthur was disgusted at himself, once again, embarrassed even. He was supposed to be the courage of Camelot, standing up for the rights of all people. But the truth was…
He was scared.
He was scared of his own feelings. He was scared of risking his heart. He was scared of getting hurt. I cannot show weakness, he thought. Prince's are not weak. He needed to think of something, something that would stop these feelings, or at least the cause of them. Then he came to a conclusion.
"I have to fire Merlin."