A/N: Okay, so I was really sad after the last episode and finally got around to doing something about it. This is how I want Merlin to tell Arthur about everything.
Disclaimer: Merlin and Arthur do not belong to me, or else you'd have a very inappropriate show.
Fall Into Your Sunlight
They're lying down, side by side, barely feet away from each other on the soft grass that somehow still seems to tickle Merlin's back through the fabric of his shirt. The sun is setting lower and the sky displays the colours that blend together, the purples and the oranges, the reds, painting their own story across the large canvas.
Merlin doesn't know when this started, when they first just got up on horseback and travelled to this hill, but they do it often now. He thinks he doesn't particularly care though, as long as Arthur's soft breathing is his music and leaves the dancers.
He knows why they come here. Why Arthur decided to bring him here that day, when Merlin would barely utter a word or two to anyone, when every time Merlin would think about just lying down, having peace, being at home he would remember his father - and wasn't it extremely strange of him to call the man that after only one day? - and how they happy they would have been, together with his mother, being a family, having a proper home.
And when Arthur would say things like Merlin, did you glue your lips together by accident? or Are you sure you didn't hit your head on the way to my chamber, because I really wouldn't put it past you to be clumsy as well as an idiot - Merlin wouldn't reply with his usual free abandon and treat Arthur like nothing more than another boy who needed to sometimes be taught a lesson. No, Merlin daren't even open his mouth lest he babble out how he really, really just wanted to be himself and to have someone, like Balinor, like a father - but no, because then the dreaded feeling of Arthur knowing and not accepting and maybe even hating Merlin was just so unbearable that all Merlin had left was the power to deliver a nod, a thin smile and retire.
But somehow, Merlin thinks, Arthur must have known something surely, because why else would he bring Merlin away from the hustle bustle of the castle, the villagers who survived the fires, all celebrating the death of the Great Dragon. The feast held in honour of Prince Arthur and how he defeated the dragon and rid Camelot of the beast, how proud Uther was to have a son who could trounce even the evil of magic.
So Arthur must've suspected something, because he took Merlin by his arm the next morning, when Arthur had no specific duties to attend, and told him to pack some food for the both of them, that he should meet Arthur at the stables since he wants to show Merlin something and that the idiot should hurry up, already!
And remembering that day, Merlin is hit with a surge of warmth inside, and he thinks of course, it's Arthur and only he can be as commanding and prattish even when he's trying to comfort Merlin. He smiles to himself then and realizes that Camelot is home now, because Arthur's there, and even though he is never listening to any scaly cryptic creature again in his life, he believes that it is his destiny inside.
And he wants it to be, he thinks. He wants to serve this man, who would defy his father and risk his life to save his people from something he knows he can't defeat. This man, who would rather die trying than stay in the comfort of his own castle walls, and who cares enough to ask Merlin what's bothering him when he's quiet.
He wants to tell him the truth, because even though he dreads Arthur's reaction, he doesn't think he wants to keep lying to him and see the trust in Arthur's eyes that he does not deserve. He's lost enough, and losing Arthur to save himself for something so stupid when compared to them, Arthur and Merlin, is not something he thinks he can do.
The sky is darkening now, the oranges and the reds giving away to the purple, surrendering to it's shadows and Merlin thinks maybe he should wake Arthur now and they should go back before anyone starts worrying. He looks over to his side, gaze lowered so all he sees is the rise and fall of Arthur's chest and thinks of how this might be the only thing balancing him now. How each breath Arthur takes may shake his world if another does not follow, and how each exhale feels like a wind smoothing over his surface, bringing his world back to stability.
He's still lost in his thoughts when Arthur's fingers reach his shoulder, brush slightly and he yelps out in surprise because he didn't realize that Arthur was awake. Arthur heaves a bark of laughter at Merlin's reaction, all teeth and head bobbing against the earth lightly, the soft gold strands of his hair contrasting with the sharp green blades of grass. He loses his breath slightly and then lets out a chuckle too.
"Done pondering about the many difficulties of your life then, Merlin?" he says, grinning still.
"Yes, sire. Shall we head back or will your pratliness like to devour this food now?" Merlin replies and sits up to fetch his bag.
"I'll have you know, that Princes do not devour anything. And I would like to stay for a while, Merlin." Arthur adds, just because he can and Merlin doesn't know why, but he notices the way Arthur says his name, more fond than exasperated.
So Merlin unpacks the little bread and meat and cheese he took from the kitchens and sits down beside Arthur. He doesn't know what compels him, but he supposes that now is a good time as ever.
"Would you think differently of me if - I mean, you don't - " Merlin chokes on his words as Arthur stares up at him, a curious expression on his face, hand full of bread and crumbs at the corner of his mouth.
"Spit it out, Merlin." Arthur says easily, as if all they were talking about was the idiocy that was Merlin and his ineloquent ways. So he does.
"He was my father. Balinor, I mean." Merlin starts, but he doesn't meet Arthur's eyes to see his reaction and just continues, "Gaius told me, but he said I shouldn't tell you - because - well, since Dragonlords are not really, you know, welcome - "
"Did you know that when we went to look for him?" is Arthur's reply, and it makes Merlin's eyes snap up and see the expression on Arthur's face. It's unidentifiable though, Arthur has schooled his face into the same stony expression he wears in court when he does not want people to see his real thoughts. He looks like a Prince again, and in this moment, that thought scares Merlin. Too late to step back now, so Merlin just nods and waits for something to come forward.
He feels more than sees Arthur exhale, as if the revelation had stinted his world for those moments, stopped and shaken it up, and only Arthur's acknowledgement could set it straight again. Arthur nods his head, understanding fully for the first time Merlin's distant behaviour during their journey, Merlin's tears at the man's death.
"I'm glad you told me, Merlin." Arthur says and offers him the slice of bread he's been holding, like an offering, for the lack of anything else. Merlin takes with still shaky hands.
He knows now how much he cares for this man. His love for Arthur comes not as some epiphany, but like a knowledge, a fact. Like something that's always existed and just made an appearance from the back of Merlin's mind at this moment to remind him of how he had nothing to fear.
When Arthur takes his hands in his to still them, Merlin smiles and looks up into his eyes directly this time, drops the piece of bread and lets himself be pulled forward and close the bare inches between them.
Arthur kisses him slowly, with so much tenderness as though he thinks Merlin might break at any point, and Merlin wants to point out how he is not a girl you know, but he settles for kissing Arthur back for now. He pushes slightly and Arthur takes this invitation and opens his mouth and lets his tongue explore Merlin's. They do this for a while, tongues and lips, pushing licking and hot breathes and when they inch back, the sky is a dark canopy above them, decorated with the moon and stars blinking.
"Thank you." Merlin breathes on Arthur's lips. And Arthur being Arthur, just grins and asks oh so innocently that please, can he devour Merlin now?
Merlin laughs and it feels as if he letting a knot loose from his chest, like finally breathing after years maybe.
"I thought Princes didn't devour anything?" he says.
Arthur murmurs, "Yes, well - I changed my mind now, didn't I?" and that's all the warning he gives before diving in to capture Merlin's lips again.
Hope you enjoyed it! Reviews are love and will probably help me get through the upcoming exams :)