Written by: LadyFromPoland

English is not my mother laguage

Warnings: SLASH


Under the guise of friendship"

It always meant to be a friendship and nothing else. It couldn't be something more.

They knew the temptation. They felt it every single day of their lives, in their every simple move and word. But that situation was hopeless. Men's enticement had to stay in their minds and it could never be set free.

Merlin and Arthur had never talked about this what was between them. That conversation would break them deeply. They couldn't stop their feelings but it was better not to talk about them. Loving somebody is a one thing but knowing that the other person loves you too and you still can never be together is the other and the worse one.

Some people were wondering and talking about them. The way as they looked at each other and talked about one another was, at least, ambiguous.

One day Gwen waylaid Merlin in one of the castle's corridors.

"Can we talk?" she asked suddenly, smiling innocently as she often did.

Merlin hesitated. He had some chores to do and Arthur would say that he was late again.

"I won't take you a long time," the girl guaranteed him.

The dark haired boy sighed. "Fine..." he said. "But if Arthur..."

Gwen blushed a bit so he decided not to finish it.

"Arthur," she said. "Exactly."

Merlin frowned. He saw that his friend was nervous but he had no idea why. The flushing didn't help him too.

"What Arthur?" he asked really confused.

"Maybe I shouldn't... however... we're friends... I care about you... not in that way of course but..." Gwen started her babbling. It was sweet and cute but Merlin had no time.

"Gwen," Merlin said firmly. "Just tell me what's bothering you."

The girl glanced directly at him. She took a deep breath looking for the courage.

"What is between you and Arthur?" she asked fighting with the willingness to look down at the floor.

Merlin still glanced at her. He wasn't sure if he heard what she really said.

"So?" Gwen asked innocently, though it was not an innocent question.

"We're friends," the boy told her. "That's all." He really didn't want to continue this awkward conversation.

"I didn't ask about the friendship," she said blushing.

"I know that but there's nothing else." Merlin breathed deeply. "I'm sorry if I let you down. Now excuse me but I have work to do." He wanted to go away but Gwen stopped him.

"You don't have to pretend," she told him smiling. "I can see the way as you look at him."

"I look at him as a servant, Gwen," he said knowing that it wasn't true.

She laughed. "You're trying to pretend...." Gwen sighed. "But it won't help you. It will not change your feelings." Then she went away leaving confused Merlin behind her back.

***

This afternoon, when Merlin went to feed prince's dogs, Morgana paid a call on Arthur in his chambers.

"Morgana..." he said with his sarcastic voice. "What a pleasure!"

"You missed me, didn't you?" She joked.

"Of course," prince answered looking at his polished sword.

"Can I ask you a question?" Woman asked him suddenly trying to sound as innocently as she could. It warned Arthur. She was like this very rarely and it always meant something bad for him.

"You've already asked one but if it makes you happy..." he said still looking at his stupid sword. It started to annoy Morgana a bit.

"What is between you and Merlin?" She asked.

Arthur paid his attention to her. Woman's eyes were twinkling dangerously.

"What are you talking about?" he asked raising his right eyebrow.

"You're not so stupid, Arthur," she said smirking. "You know very well what I meant."

"I'm sorry Morgana but I have no idea." Prince shook his head.

The woman chuckled. "Maybe I was wrong... maybe you really are so stupid." She looked carefully at him. "I meant your affection for our sweet Merlin."

Prince laughed. "My what?" he asked. "You must have lost your mind, Morgana! You should better go to Gaius. Maybe he will find a cure for your mental disease."

"Gwen was right," Morgana told it more to herself than to Arthur. "You, men, are really hopeless. Our lovely Merlin said her today that there's only a friendship between you two."

"You see," Arthur said with a triumph. "I..." he thought for a while. "Did he really tell her that?" he asked. Morgana's eyebrow raised immediately. "Besides why do you say our Merlin?"

The woman smirked. "I knew that!" Arthur saw the victory in her eyes.

"What did you know?" he asked with curiosity.

"That you are jealous," she simply said. "You think that Merlin is only yours..." the woman teased him.

"Don't be ridiculous, Morgana." Arthur laughed but he felt the pain inside of his heart. Merlin would never be his.

"I'm not," she said smirking. "I heard what I wanted to. Good bye..." Woman turned around and went out.

Arthur stayed alone with his thoughts.

***

Prince Arthur was sitting in his favourite armchair, near the fireplace. There was a raining afternoon. He had some papers to read and analyse, however he had no head for that kind of things that day. Merlin, who polished his armour, didn't help him.

There was an awkward silence between them since Arthur's talk with Morgana. Prince didn't understand that. He felt odd because of his father's ward's words but his dark haired manservant didn't know that he knew that Merlin had had a similar conversation with Gwen.

The blond man still couldn't forget about Morgana's words. He cared about Merlin. He really did. Arthur would do anything for that boy.

He called him idiot, he often said that Merlin was the worst manservant ever but it was just a defence. But it was hopeless. The more he wanted to stop thinking about him this way, the more he cared about him. Arthur didn't know what he would do if someone brought Merlin any harm.

Suddenly prince thought that there was cold in his chambers and he sat in front of fireplace. Arthur looked at his friend. He was in the coldest part of the room. Abruptly he felt impossibly guilty.

"Merlin," he said out loud not looking at his manservant.

The boy raised his head. "Yes, Sire?" he asked.

It hurt. It pained him to admit it but Arthur hated when Merlin called him Sire that way. It was not an innocent joke and there wasn't any sarcasm in his voice. The dark haired man used prince's title as other servants did.

"Come here, to the fireplace. You must be cold," Arthur tried to say it indifferently.

Merlin nodded in silence. He took prince's armour and sat on the floor by the fireplace. The boy started his work again.

Arthur looked at his back, neck and hair. He could only glance at him, nothing more. It had to stay like this. He knew that nothing could never happen between them. It drove him crazy but it was true.

"What do you think, Merlin?" prince asked finally. He couldn't stand that silence any more.

"What do you mean, Sire?" he said quietly.

Arthur's heart was truly in pain. He didn't know how many Sire he would stand longer.

"What do you think when you polish my armour and do other chores for me?" the future king explained him as if it was the most obvious thing all over the world.

"It depends," Merlin answered and Arthur hoped that he had forgotten finally about his Sire. "But it's nothing what you would find interesting, Sire."

Prince was wrong. He wondered if it was the talk with Gwen which made Merlin behave this way. Arthur knew that another Sire would make him scream and he didn't want to scare the dark haired boy.

"You can go, Merlin," he said. "Leave that armour and have some rest."

His servant looked at him, surprised.

"Go, Merlin," Arthur repeated louder.

"As you wish," the boy told him. "Goodnight, Sire," he added bowing.

After a while prince was alone in his own chambers. He looked at the fire's flames and let an alone tear ran down his cheek.

***

Merlin closed the door of his room. He told Gaius that he wasn't hungry when the old man called him for a supper.

All that the dark haired warlock wanted then was solitude. He didn't like when he was so stand-offish by prince's side. But sometimes it was easier to pretend that they were only master and servant. Friendship was too close to love and it hurt.

"Arthur..." he whispered lying in bed.

The blond man was his destiny. He needed to protect him. Merlin couldn't just go away and leave Arthur behind. Even if it would make a lot of things easier.

Merlin fell asleep in the middle of the night but it was not a pleasant dream.

***

The next few days were very similar. Merlin acted as if Arthur was only his master. They both felt awkward in that situation and both of them knew inside that they hated it.

One day king Uther asked his son to talk with him in private. He told him that there were worrying news about the northern border of the kingdom. It was not something sure but king thought that someone trusty was supposed to check it. Uther didn't want to bother his subjects.

"So you want me to check it, father," price said looking at king.

"Yes, Arthur. How many knights will you need?" Uther asked.

Prince thought a while. "I will take only my servant," he decided. "The less persons the better."

King looked at his son proudly. "You're right, Arthur." Uther smiled. "Would you set out tomorrow?"

"Of course, father." The blond man took a deep breath. "Would you now excuse me?" he asked. "I should prepare for my journey."

King nodded. "I understand," he said. "You may go."

Arthur bowed respectfully and went out.

***

Prince walked into his chambers and saw Merlin. He smiled sadly. He decided to take the dark haired boy with him. They could have time for themselves and they could talk honestly finally.

"Merlin..." sorcerer looked at his master. "Tomorrow we'll set up to the northern part of the kingdom."

"Why?" Merlin asked forgetting about Sire.

"I have to check the borders. My father is worried. There are some strange news about the group of bandits in that area," Arthur explained.

"Maybe I shouldn't go with you, Sire," the dark haired boy said.

"You should." Prince looked at him carefully. "I have to have some company."

"But maybe you should take someone else," Merlin suggested. He knew that time only for him and Arthur was a bad idea.

"No, Merlin. I've already decided that you go with me. I'm not going to change my mind."

The young servant nodded in silence.

"Now, stop polishing my boots and puck us up. Our journey is going to last several days," Arthur said sitting in his favourite armchair.

"Yes, Sire," Merlin answer.

"We'll set up before the daylight," Arthur informed him and the boy went out.

***

Before the dawn came, two men left castle behind their backs. They rode their horses in silence. Prince Arthur didn't look like a prince. He knew that the disguise was a very important thing. He wore normal clothes and looked like an ordinary man. Despite his handsomeness of course.

In time of their first stopover Arthur decided to break that silence. He wanted his sweet and talkative friend back.

"How long is it going to last?" prince asked suddenly looking directly at the dark haired boy.

"What, Sire?" the warlock asked innocently.

Arthur sighed. "That!" he said a bit angrily.

The servant blinked a few times. He knew what his master meant but it was easier to pretend that he didn't.

"Sire?" the boy asked politely.

"Stop it!" Arthur couldn't help but exploded with an anger. "You can't calling me Sire all the time!"

"Why?" Merlin looked into prince's eyes. "You're my master. That's the way it ought to be."

The blond man closed his eyes. He had to calm down.

"You never called me Sire, Merlin," he said finally.

"It was my mistake, my lord," warlock simply answered. "I should show you some respect. You deserve it"

"You can show me respect in another way and you know that," Arthur told him it a little bit too loud. "I'm sorry," he added after a short while.

"You have nothing to be sorry for, Sire," Merlin said hiding his sorrow. "As I said, it has to be that way."

Prince shook his head. "No, Merlin," he said. "You won't call me Sire, for the sake of our mission. You can ruin my disguise this way! Is that understood?"

"Yes, Sire," the boy agreed.

"Merlin!" the blond man looked at his companion meaningful.

"It means... yes, Arthur," the warlock said. Somewhere inside he was really glad. He also missed calling Arthur by his name.

"That's better," prince admitted. "And Merlin...?"

The dark haired boy looked at him. "Yes?" he asked.

"It never had to be Sire. You know that." He sighed. "After all that things that we went through together..."

"I know, Arthur," Merlin said sadly looking at the ground.

"Now have some rest." Prince smiled at him softy but his friend couldn't see that. "There's a long way ahead us."

Arthur didn't know how long and difficult that way truly was going to be.

***

They spent the first night out of the castle under the trees. The weather let them.

The night was silent and peaceful. Men ate their supper which was bread and some fruit that Merlin had found in the forest. They talked but it was nothing important. Arthur also tried to joke a bit trying to cheer his friend up but he gave up soon. Merlin had no mood for prince's jokes about Morgana and other ladies.

"Good night, Arthur," the dark haired boy said finally getting away of the fire.

"Night," the prince replied automatically.

Merlin lay under the tree. He couldn't fall asleep but he pretended that he did. Somehow, he wanted Arthur to think that.

The blond man was looking at the fire's flames. He was getting used to it. Eventually, he also stood up and lay under the other tree. Arthur was tired and he fell asleep easily.

When Merlin heard his friend's light snoring he felt an incredible relief. He loved prince and that feeling was so strong. He knew that it couldn't simply let go. According to what the Great Dragon had said long time ago, his and Arthur's life's paths were linked together. At the beginning he had not believed that. But in time, much sooner that he had been able to admit it, he had seen another part of Arthur. That hidden one. Merlin liked it. He liked Arthur. He saw a friend in him. But again the destiny had shown him that it wasn't enough. The young warlock loved prince, the son of a person who hated magic, who wanted to kill all of Merlin's kind. As if the fact that they both were males wasn't complicated enough.

Finally the dark haired boy fell asleep as well. He needed that rest.

***

The next day Arthur woke up first. He sat by the Merlin's side and he was glancing at his sleeping friend's form for a while. The boy looked so lovely.

Prince thought that it would be nice if that day he prepared something to eat. Firstly, he thought about a rabbit or something like that. Merlin ate meat but Arthur knew that his dark haired friend didn't like much the idea of killing innocent animals. The blond man still wanted to make Merlin feel good, so he decided that a little hunting was not the best idea. Then Arthur remembered about fruit. He thought about the apple tree and decided that fruit and some other food that they had brought would be a good breakfast.

When Arthur came back with apples he saw that Merlin was already awaken.

"Where have you been?" the boy asked. Prince felt a fear in his voice.

"I brought us something to eat," he answered putting red apples on the ground. "See?"

Merlin looked at the fruit.

"Why did you do that?" he asked.

Arthur glanced at his friend. Sometimes it was so hard to understand him.

"What do you mean by why, Merlin? We have to eat something before we set out."

"But you shouldn't have," sorcerer said firmly. "It's my work."

Arthur came to him slowly and sat by his side.

"Why are you like this, Merlin?" he asked.

"I don't understand you, Arthur," the boy said. "I'm normal."

"No, you're not. You don't even look at me now. Have I done anything?" he really wanted Merlin to be like before. "Look at me, Merlin."

The boy shyly turned his head and glanced at the man that he fell for.

"You haven't done anything," Merlin whispered amazed by prince's deep eyes.

Arthur nodded slowly. "Now, let's eat something."

***

Merlin felt much better. He talked with Arthur a bit franker when they were riding their horses but still it wasn't that what it had been. The dark haired man would ride like this forever. He didn't want to go back to the Camelot. Only in time of their journeys he could dream that something between them would really happen. However the reality always came back. That kind of relationship could never be. They both were fated to the great things but they weren't fated to be together the way as they wanted to. At least the men thought that.

Besides Merlin thought about his secret. He didn't know how Arthur would react. Sometimes the warlock wanted to tell him, wanted to have no secrets any longer. But all the time he thought about Gaius. The old man said him so many times that there was not the time for the truth.

"Is something bothering you, Merlin?" the blond man asked him.

"No. Why?" sorcerer lied. He didn't like it but he was already used to it. It was a fate of a magic person in that kind of kingdoms like Camelot.

"You're a terrible liar, you know?" Arthur sighed. That was true. It was a miracle that Merlin with his magic abilities survived so many months in the place where wizards and witches were sentenced to death.

"Yeah," Merlin murmured. "Some people mentioned it in the past."

"But still you are a riddle," the prince continued.

"No, you're wrong." Merlin didn't want to talk about him as a riddle. It was too close to his magic.

"I'm not," Arthur answered. "But of course, as always, you don't want to talk about this. But you know that one day I'll read the book that you are, don't you?"

"One day, yes. But not today," Merlin wanted to finish that subject.

"So you admit that you are a riddle!" Arthur always got what he wanted to. This day Merlin was his prey.

"Fine!" the dark haired boy gave up. "But it's getting a bit cold and so... Maybe we should put up? It's going to get dark soon as well."

Arthur looked at the sky. His manservant was right.

"Alright," he said. "I'll hunt something to eat. My stomach is holding out for a meat!"

Merlin agreed with a simple nod. He also wanted to eat something more proper.

***

The warlock was sitting in front of the pile of wood that he had picked up. He was alone because Arthur went to hunt something for their late dinner. Merlin was not scared but actually he felt a bit lonely.

Just after a long time he realized that he was sitting in the complete darkness. Merlin was supposed to think twice before he said forbearneah spell making the fire this way.

When the fire burnt he heard as something fell on the ground.

Merlin turned his head and saw Arthur. The prince had a fear in his eyes but he was more shocked and hurt than scared.

"Arthur..." Merlin said standing up. "I... I can explain."

The dark haired boy's heart beat very fast. In fact, he had no idea what he would say.

"Magic..." It was all what the blond man could whisper.

Merlin wasn't sure if he could come up to Arthur or not. Eventually he decided that it was not the best idea now.

"I really can explain that," the boy said.

"Sorcerer." The price still stood in the same place. Merlin was not sure if it was the good sign or not. At least the blond man didn't hold his sword.

The dark haired boy closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath.

"I was born like this," he whispered when he opened them. "I had no choice... I'm not evil, Arthur. I'm really not."

Prince looked down on the ground. He couldn't stand Merlin's look any more.

After a short while, which seemed to be an eternity, Arthur turned around and went into the darkness. He needed to be alone. He needed the time to think.

"Arthur!" Merlin yelled but prince didn't react at all. The boy didn't dare to go after him.

He knelt down on the ground and hid his head in his hands. The warlock started crying. He wanted Arthur to know his secret but not this way. He was supposed to tell prince alone. But Merlin couldn't change what had happened.

Arthur came back but he didn't say even a single word. Merlin understood that. He lay under the blanket and couldn't fall asleep. The prince lay down as well. The dark haired boy knew that the man that he loved didn't let himself sleep. It was sick. Merlin felt sick. He didn't want his friend to be afraid of closing his eyes.

"I would never hurt you, Arthur," the warlock said into the darkness but he was sure that the prince heard him very well. "I never did plot against Camelot."

The prince lay under his blanket. He had always said his knights that no man was worth their tears. His father had told him this when he had been a child and he believed that. But now, the great warrior, the future king of the Camelot, let tears run his cheeks. Arthur was hurt. The man that he loved, the man that he had trusted the most, was a sorcerer and liar. However the prince couldn't believe that he was an evil man. Maybe he was the biggest idiot all over the world but he couldn't find any piece of evil in this sweet Merlin. The most painful thing was not that the dark haired boy had magic. The fact that Merlin hadn't told him his secret was the worst.

Arthur didn't sleep because he was too hurt. He believed Merlin's words that he would never hurt him. When the blond man had been walking in the forest he thought about his life since Merlin had appeared in it. He went through so many strange and dangerous situations. Merlin had always been somewhere by his side.

The prince started to feel that it was Merlin who had always helped him. He thought about that ball of light in the cave when he had gone for the flower which could save Merlin's life. He had known then that it was magic. However he had been sure that it was not evil. That light had led him so he had escaped.

There had been some moments in his life when he thought that his father was wrong. Arthur felt that not every person who possessed magic was evil. They, after all, could use their power for good things. He was a knight and he had a sword which could be dangerous in some people's hands. However the fact that he used it didn't mean that he was evil. Prince hoped that with magic was the same.

***

The next morning Arthur got up very early. He slept only one hour so he was really tired.

The blond man glanced at Merlin. The warlock was sleeping but he didn't look well. The prince was sad. He wasn't sure if he was ready to face the boy.

The future king made some food for himself and ate it in rush. When he was finishing, Merlin woke up and sat up. The dark haired man looked at Arthur sadly but he didn't say anything. It was easier. The sorcerer decided to wait for prince's words.

Merlin took several apples from the day before that he had in his backpack. He ate them fast, not even looking at Arthur.

"Fetch the horses." He heard the blond man's words after a long while. Then he dared to glanced at him. Merlin didn't find anything readable in his face so he did as he was ordered.

The young warlock thought that Arthur would tell him to ride away on his horse. But that words never escaped prince's lips.

"We should reach the border soon," the future king said.

Merlin was shocked. Arthur let him go with him. The boy felt something like relief. He thought that there was still a hope.

***

The men rode in complete silence. Their heads were full of worries and sad thoughts.

Merlin was on his horse a few meters behind Arthur. The boy looked at prince's back all the time. He was in pain and in love. He knew that his life would be easier without that blond crowned prat but it would also be so empty. Merlin would never give back one day with Arthur for many years of calmness without him. We call it love.

The hours went by and no one of them let himself to say something. Merlin and Arthur had to face that in their own way.

The prince's heart was broken in such a strange way. He didn't dare to look back at the dark haired boy. Arthur knew that it couldn't last forever. Any of them would stand it.

Men were nearer and nearer the northern border. The future king was supposed to be more attentive. However his thoughts weren't focus on anything but Merlin. It was a big mistake. Prince could lose what was the most precious to him because of that.

It happened very fast. Neither Merlin nor Arthur could react fast enough.

The arrow was shot from the trees and the quite little group of bandits appeared within the sights of prince and his servant.

That fatal arrow hit Merlin and the boy fell down. Arthur held his sword but he couldn't do anything at all.

The man who looked like a leader of that band had his dragger on Merlin's throat. The warlock could do nothing because he was unconscious. The fall must had been a reason.

"Be careful..." the dirty and ugly man told prince. "If you care about this boy's life."

Arthur tried not to panic, even though his heart was full of fear.

"What do you want?" the future king asked.

"Let's think..." the leader said. Arthur didn't like the note of his voice. "Money would be fine but..." The man laughed madly.

"What?" Prince's voice trembled.

"That boy looks quite pretty." Arthur froze. "Almost like a girl..."

The rest of the bandits laughed as well.

"A little fuck would be a nice addition."

Arthur was scared. Merlin lied him, that was true, but prince couldn't let that disgusting man put his dirty hands on him. The boy didn't deserve that fate.

"Don't..." the blond man whispered. "I'll give you everything. Just leave him alone."

"Ooohh..." the man looked at Merlin's pale face. "You don't want me to touch this boy, do you?" He touched sorcerer's cheek. "What a nice face."

Arthur's body shivered. "Don't..." he begged. Yes. The future king of Camelot was begging an ordinary bandit.

"Do you want to fuck your friend as well?" the leader of band asked. "I admit that he's so cute..."

"Take money," Arthur whispered. "And don't hurt him."

Prince threw him a bag with coins. The man picked it up and looked inside.

"You're quite rich man," he said frowning. "You don't look like one."

Arthur didn't care about his words. He only wanted them to go away and leave Merlin alone.

The ugly man glanced at the warlock's body. He hesitated and smirked.

"We got what we wanted to," he said to his companions. "We can go."

The prince felt unbelievable relief when the bandits went away. He slowly came up to Merlin and hugged him tenderly. He knew that the dark haired boy was safe now but he couldn't stop his tears. All what happened was a nightmare.

***

There was raining but both of males were safe in a cave. Arthur carried there his unconscious friend who was a sorcerer and who had never told him the truth about himself. But it didn't really matter any more. The blond prince decided to leave what had been in the past because it was its place.

Arthur was looking at Merlin's body. He had already dressed wizard's wound and he hoped that it would be fine.

It was quite cold inside the cave and the fire that he had made wasn't big enough to warm them up. The future king was not sure what to do. He had never felt so confused like then. It was not because of magic side of Merlin. Arthur was used to it somehow. It was because of the fact that his dark haired and beautiful friend could had been hurt in such a cruel way. He could had been raped by the ugly leader of the bandits. The thought that someone like that man could touch Merlin in that way was killing him.

Arthur touched warlock's pale cheek and whispered soft "I love you." For the first time he said it out loud, though his friend couldn't hear it.

He wanted him to wake up. It was quite late already and prince wasn't sure if that cave was the safe place to spend the night. However he had no choice.

"Wake up," Arthur said quietly. He smiled sadly and a single tear ran down his left cheek. It was so unprincely but he didn't care. "For once you would be an obedient servant and do as I say." Merlin didn't react. The prince was supposed to know that. The possibility that his friend would wake up because of Arthur's order was hopeless. "Come on..." the blond man whispered. "I know that I am an arrogant royal prat but... please, open your eyes as blue as the sky in summer's afternoon. You see... I noticed that. Besides I said please and I am quite nice. It's rather rare, don't you think?" Arthur sighed deeply.

Merlin didn't even move.

***

The dark haired boy's head was spinning around. He felt really bad. Something hurt him like hell and it didn't seem to stop soon.

Merlin heard a voice. He was not sure if someone was really talking to him or was it only his imagination. After a longer while he recognised the voice. It was Arthur. The sorcerer was supposed to feel scared but he wasn't. Prince's voice made him feel better and even safe. Merlin felt like at home. Arthur was his heart's home.

***

The blond prince lay down by Merlin's side. It was colder and colder with every single minute of waiting. Arthur covered them with a blanket and he dared to hug the dark haired boy. He knew that he wouldn't fall asleep. The future king was going to stay up through the night.

The warmth of Merlin's body was so good and in a strange way tempting. Arthur knew that the world saw that kind of things wrong but he couldn't find anything evil in that. It seemed to be as something the most natural under the sky.

The prince was looking at warlock's pale face. The boy was so beautiful and so young. Just like the blond man was. His ears were also so cute. He would stay like this forever only if Merlin was awaken.

Abruptly the sorcerer moved slowly.

"Merlin..." Arthur whispered with hope in his voice. He looked carefully at his friend.

The dark haired boy opened slowly his beautiful eyes. He couldn't help but smile when he saw prince's handsome face, full of worries and something else. However Merlin was not able to call it somehow.

"Arthur..." he said with his weak voice.

"It's okay," Arthur told him. "Everything's going to be alright. I promise."

Merlin was not sure what to think about it but prince's words sounded so certain.

"What... happened?" he asked slowly.

The blond man thought a while. He didn't want to tell him everything, especially not the part about the man who had wanted to rape him.

"Some bandits attacked us," Arthur told him, trying to sound calmly. "The arrow hit you but now everything is fine. We're safe here."

Merlin closed his eyes for a moment.

"What's happening?" The blond prince asked. "Does the wound hurt you so much?" The warlock could not believe that Arthur cared for him after all what had happened.

"It's... nothing," Merlin said slowly. "It doesn't hurt so... much."

"Are you sure?" The future king asked. He wanted to know the truth.

The sorcerer didn't answer.

"Why are you silent?" Arthur asked another question. "You're always so talkative."

Merlin looked into his eyes. "Why?" he said.

"What?" Prince's eyes were twinkling so amazing.

"Why are you so good to me?" The dark haired boy asked him suddenly. "I lied to you. I..."

"Ssshhhh..." Arthur smiled softly. "It doesn't matter any more. I just... I know that you're not evil. You're too kind. You're..." Prince's bit his bottom lip. "Just..."

Arthur couldn't stand it any longer. He leant down and kissed Merlin softly. It was their first kiss. It was chaste and tender. Warlock was shocked. He didn't suppose that his friend would do such a thing after all what had happened. But Merlin wanted it as much as Arthur did. The warlock kissed him back and it all was so good. After a while the dark haired boy felt prince's hands on his cheeks. Merlin gave his own palms into Arthur's blond hair and pulled him closer.

The kiss was no longer soft and gently. It was now passionate and hungry. They had been fighting with their feelings and desires for so many months. But it was hopeless. It always had been. No matter how many times they would deny it but they were made for each other. The boys couldn't win with their destiny.

Suddenly Merlin pulled apart. Arthur looked at him confused, breathing fast.

"What's... going... on...?" the prince wheezed.

The dark haired sorcerer just shook his head.

"Merlin?" Arthur asked even more confused.

"It's wrong, Arthur," he answered shivering. "It can't... we can't!"

"Yes we can!" The future king told him firmly. "Who said that we can't?"

Merlin looked at him frowning and with a hint of disbelief. "Who?" he asked. "The world! Haven't you noticed that people find it disgusting and... sick?

"I don't care what people think and say!" Arthur answered almost angry.

"But you should," Merlin said sadly. He looked down, not being able to stand his friend's blue eyes any longer. "You're the future king, after all. You... you need to find your queen and..." his voice broke. "And you have to produce an heir... and..." It was all too much for his broken heart. "Everything is against us. We are both males... You're going to be a king... Besides your father! I'm a warlock and you are the son of the man who hates all what is connected with sorcery and who would kill me if he knew the truth. And... you're a noble man and I am just a... peasant. It's really... really hard..." Merlin was not able to continue.

Arthur lifted the other boy's head up and made him look into his eyes. "I will not be a good king if I'm not happy, Merlin," the prince told him. "And without you by my side I will never be. I've understood it today. If you don't feel the same, I will understand... But if you do... just screw what the world think as well as I did."

Merlin's eyes were full of tears. He loved Arthur and his greatest heart's desire was the prince.

"Answer me, Merlin," the blond man insisted.

The warlock smiled softly. "I do..." he whispered. "I've... I have loved you all along."

Arthur smiled as well.

They started kissing again. Their languages danced together and it all felt so good. Too good. The boys touched each other. They discovered the bodies of one another.

Arthur was very gentle. He didn't forget about Merlin's wound. The prince didn't want to bring him any pain.

There was very cold in the cave. However the warmth of their bodies warmed them up.

Very soon the kisses and small touches became not enough for them. The young men wanted something else. Merlin's wound was the only problem.

"Wait a second," the warlock whispered pulling apart.

Arthur looked at him confused. He feared that the dark haired boy had some doubts again.

"No," Merlin said to him smiling lovely. "It just..." he pointed at his wound.

"Does it hurt you?" the prince asked worryingly.

"I'll deal with this." The sorcerer looked at his wound and his eyes shined with the golden light. The wound got smaller and now it looked more like a scratch. "Now is better. However the healing magic is not my speciality," he said honestly.

"Useful," Arthur said amazed. It was the first time when he saw magic in such a pure and safe way.

Merlin smirked. "What would your father say if he heard that you find sorcery useful?" he asked teasingly.

The prince laughed softly. "Kiss me..." Arthur whispered after a while.

The sorcerer did as his master asked.

A few minutes later they started to undress each other. It felt so natural. Their naked bodies, skin on skin. The pleasure that they felt. The boys would have had it long ago if they hadn't been denying their feelings.

Arthur decided to prepare Merlin. The act of love between two men was forbidden in the world's eyes but he heard a few times the stories about that kind of sin. Once, when he was fifteen, he asked how it worked between two males. The prince couldn't imagine it somehow. One of the knight told him about the "preparing". Arthur had no courage to ask him how did he know. The blond boy wanted to believe that the knight had no experience in a male sex.

After a short while Arthur replaced his fingers with his shaft. It hurt Merlin for a moment but the blond man tried to be as gentle as he could. The prince stopped, letting his lover get use to the new situation.

Finally, Arthur started to move and it brought them both an incredible pleasure. The sweet moans were heard in the all cave because of an echo.

Merlin and Arthur had never been so close to each other. They were now fully like one coin. They moved together and they felt and breathed together. They were an unity.

Both of young man could not last long. They came together screaming their names.

Merlin felt strange warmth inside of his gut. However he liked it somehow. It was so intimate.

Arthur felt the dark haired boy's warm cum on his chest.

They both caught their breaths, coming to their senses after a huge climax.

The blond prince collapsed on Merlin. He hugged him and it all felt so good.

Arthur lay down on the ground and let the warlock lay on his body. He stroked the boy's hair and after a moment they fell asleep. However they woke up time after time. They were kissing each other then and they were shagging.

The men couldn't have it any better way.

***

Arthur and Merlin acted in the castle like prince and servant. At least Uther saw it this way. It was the best solution for their situation.

For Morgana and Gwen they were under the guise of friendship. The girls knew the truth but they let the boys believe that they didn't know about their romance.

Even Gaius noticed something. He knew that Merlin escaped at night. He knew that he went to Arthur's chambers. He was supposed to tell him that it couldn't be. However he had no heart. Both Merlin and Arthur seemed to be happier than before.

The old man sometimes thought that they probably had a little chance. The boys faced so many dangers. Maybe they could faced that problem as well. Some things would be different in the future, in times of Arthur's reign.

oOoOoOoOoOo

An Epilogue

The Arthur was a great king. They say that behind every great man there is a woman. However in that case it was different. He had Merlin.

The warlock was a good advisor but most of all he made Arthur happy. He made him a better king.

"Have you ever regret that you didn't marry a nice princess?" Merlin asked his lover one day.

Arthur looked at him strangely. "No... of course not! What a stupid question!"

The sorcerer smiled oddly.

"What's wrong?" the king asked him. "Maybe you are the one who regret that?" Arthur sounded hurt.

Merlin touched the blond man's arm tenderly. "I'm not," he said firmly. "And I had never been and never will be."

"What's wrong then?" Pendragon asked.

The dark haired man, very powerful warlock, suddenly blushed deeply.

"Merlin?" Now king was really confused.

"I..." the wizard started. "Arthur... I need to tell you something." It sounded very serious.

"Go on," the blond man encouraged him.

"Something happened. Something what seemed to be impossible," Merlin stated. "Magic will never stop to surprise me, really."

Arthur looked directly at him with his light blue eyes.

"I'll give you an heir," he said finally.

The king blinked a several times. "What?"

"I'll give you an heir, Arthur," Merlin repeated. "I'm pregnant. We're going to have a baby!"

The blond man breathed deeply. Then he laughed and kissed Merlin.

"Are you really happy?" the sorcerer asked. It was a very stupid question.

"Happy?" Arthur asked. "Having a son or daughter with the man that I love? Of course I am!!!"

***

Seven months later they were endowed in double way. Merlin and Arthur had twins: a little prince and a little princess. Both blond haired and beautiful. However the girl's skin was paler than the boy's.

Definitely, the king and the sorcerer couldn't have it any better way.

The End