Disclaimer: Nope, not mine, no way. I'm not the BBC, are you the BBC?
Author's Note: I know I should be working on my WIPs, but this came to me in a dream! As so many of my fics do. And I had to write it. I know there's tons of pseudo-fairytales out there for like, every fandom, but I've never really seen a Goldilocks one for Merlin, or for any of the other fandoms I read. And really, how could I pass it up, with Merlin and his flashing gold eyes. I mean, seriously, it had to be written.
Summary: Merlin arrived in Camelot on an unnaturally beautiful day, and soon finds it's void of any kind of people, and makes himself well at home…
Warnings: NNGH! There's some bump n' grind!
Merlin arrived in Camelot on an unnaturally beautiful day. Like, really unnaturally beautiful. The sun was too not-warm, not-cold, the sky was too blindingly beautifully blue, the few clouds there were too-resembled sheep. But he was too busy being wide-eyed and innocent with his leather pack slung over his shoulders and an unnaturally high step.
He was going to Camelot. Camelot, where there were princes and knights and squires and horses. Well, Ealdor had horses, of course. But Camelot horses were Camelot horses. And he had the promise of a job in the castle. The castle! Prince Arthur lived in the castle. Merlin hummed to himself as he thought of the prince. He'd heard stories, even in Ealdor, which was out of reach of Camelot's kingdom. He'd always imagined the prince as tall (taller than him), dark (with brooding brown eyes and perfectly kept dark hair), and devilishly handsome (a smile with the straightest, whitest teeth one could have).
If Merlin weren't so caught up in his little fantasies on the way to Camelot, he might have noticed the odd lack of traffic on the normally very well traveled road heading in and out of Camelot. Nor was there any of the normal hustle and bustle in the courtyard. Merlin finally noticed the disturbing lack of well…anything, when he bumped into a discarded horse carriage. The horse was still tied up on it, stamping its front hoof nervously and snorting. The carriage was empty from a driver, or any kind cargo, which Merlin thought rather odd and kind of cruel.
He stepped up to the horse, stroking a hand down his nose, "Shh, shh," he whispered, soothing the nervous beast. He carefully untied the harness, then took the reins and looked around the empty courtyard, looking for the stables, or possibly the owner. And that's when he truly noticed the lack of people. "This is weird, horsy," Merlin whispered, though he supposed there was really no need to, since nobody was around to hear him talking to a horse, "Where d'you 'spose everybody's gone to?" he asked, leading the horse behind him, the horse going willingly.
The horse nickered as if answering, and if horses could shrug, Merlin supposed that the horse had just shrugged at him. "It's awfully strange. Maybe there's some kind of meeting," Merlin suggested. The horse whinnied at him as if to say, 'are you kidding? The whole of Camelot's in one meeting?'
"Well, if you're so smart, what do you think then?" Then Merlin snapped his mouth shut, realizing he was having a conversation with a horse, and it wouldn't do to appear crazy on his first day in Camelot, people or no people. When they reached the stables, Merlin was unsurprised to find there was no stable boy to take the horse. "He must be at the meeting, too," Merlin reasoned, then herded the horse into the nearest stall.
The horse snorted at him, as if he were saying, 'You're bonkers, aren't you? And you're still talking to a horse!' Merlin glared at the horse, offended and feeling silly. So he filled the horse's feed bag with whatever food he could find and fastened it to the horse, petting down his nose once more before stepping back to look around the stables, a frown on his face.
He followed his path back out into the courtyard, standing at the foot of the steps that lead to the castle. "Hullo!" he called out. There was no answer. So he cupped his hands around his mouth and called out, louder this time, "Hullo! I'm Merlin! I'm looking for Gaius!" '-us…us…us…' his voice echoed back at him.
"Well," Merlin huffed, heading away from the castle to explore the lower parts of town. Surely the lowly people of Camelot wouldn't attend a meeting. Or maybe the meeting was being held in the lower parts of town. Yeah, that would explain a lot! So, ten minutes later, when he arrived in the lower parts of town, oddly still, he tried calling out again.
"Hullo? Is anybody here?" he frowned at the lack of response. Okay, so maybe this was a little more than just a little odd. He peered into shops and houses as he walked the dead streets. A small ginger cat had taken to following him around. Merlin thought it weird that there were animals, but not humans. Or any sign of intelligent beings. Even a fairy would've been welcomed.
The cat purred and rubbed itself on his ankles when he stopped in front of an armory, scratching his head and tugging on his neckerchief. "This is weird, little kitty. Where's everyone gone off to?" The cat peered up at him and let out a baleful 'meow!' and blinked, before licking one of its paws and washing behind its ears. "Oh great, and now it's going to rain, thank you kitty."
And then he realized that he was now talking to a cat, and perhaps going a little bit insane. He turned in a slow circle, trying his best to spot anything out of the ordinary. But he'd never been to Camelot, so he didn't really know what was ordinary here. His eyes landed on a tower of the castle and he grinned, triumphant, as he saw smoke rising from one of the many chimneys on the castle.
"Aha! Of course! A meeting this important would be held in the castle," Merlin said triumphantly, "Why hadn't I thought of that earlier? It makes perfect sense, right kitty?" The cat looked up at him, staring at him as if he were crazy, which he supposed he was. "Come on, kitty, we'll go to the castle. Prince Arthur'll be there, and the king, and perhaps this mysterious Gaius, wasn't he expecting me? Mum should have told me there was a meeting."
The cat followed him obediently, and Merlin kept his eyes peeled the whole entire way to the castle for any kind of movement that wasn't cat or dog or horse or chicken or goat related. Or snake. He was certain he saw a rather large green snake. He couldn't be sure, but he did pick up the cat after that and cradled it to his chest and scratched behind its ears as if to protect it. When they reached the top of the castle steps, Merlin set the cat down, and it promptly scampered off after a mouse through a hole in the wall.
Merlin pulled the heavy wooden door open with some great effort, and then poked his head into the castle. The torches were all lit along the halls, and it was rather brighter in the castle than he expected, though it still smelt like what he'd imagine a castle to smell like; musty, old, grand. He could catch the whiff of the scents the lords and ladies used to attract other lords and ladies. He bought his mum a bottle once, for her birthday, with money he had saved up. She had cried. Merlin smiled a bit sadly at the memory, suddenly homesick. Or maybe people-sick.
He entered the castle, the door shutting with a too loud thud behind him. He glanced left and right, and finally decided on left, up some stairs with a giant statue at the top, which he supposed was some kind of lion-gargoyle-eagle thingy. From there he continued up some more stairs, and he stumbled into an apothecary looking place. There were beakers and tubes and weird colored liquids in them. A burner was left on, and something green and gooey and horrid smelling was spilling out of a cauldron. Merlin quickly shut the flame off with a wave of his hand, before the concoction exploded.
He looked around some more, righting things here and there on the table. He discovered a small room off to the side, with the bed freshly made and thought it looked rather bare, but nice. Finding nobody there, though, was an upset, so he left the place and headed back the way he came, following the smell of food rather than the sounds of people (of which there was still none). He arrived in a rather long dining room, though it was small, so it probably wasn't used for feasts or anything like that. There were three plates of food set out, still steaming, as if somebody had set them out just moments before.
Merlin frowned and looked around, "Hullo? Anybody?" he called out, expecting at least a servant to be there to have just set the food out. His stomach chose then to let out a rather mighty grumble, reminding him that he hadn't eaten anything since the night before, and it was now late afternoon the next day. He frowned and bit down on his lip, glancing around nervously. Maybe these were leftovers from the pre-meeting banquet. It wouldn't hurt if he just snuck a few bites.
He stood over the first plate, wrinkling his nose at the contents. There was lobster, and something he expected was boar, and some kind of poultry. It was all meat, steaming hot. He tried a couple bites of the lobster, decided he didn't like that, then tried the boar, which was better, but so hot that it dropped out of his mouth back onto the plate. He winced as he poked at his poor burnt tongue, and decided not to try whatever bird was on the plate.
He moved to the next one, and the plate seemed to be covered in greens of all sorts. A green leafy this, a small green that. He poked at a soupy green something with the spoon, and it 'burbled' at him. He wrinkled his nose again, then prodded something green with a fork and brought it to his mouth. It tasted like spinach, which any self-respecting person learned to hate in childhood. Merlin stuck by that hatred and decided not to touch any of the other green on that plate that offended him.
The last plate looked a lot more promising. There was what was definitely some chicken drumsticks, a nice, freshly baked roll slathered in honey and butter, some carrots and peas (a green he would eat), and some thick slices of cheese. His mouth watered just looking at it. He didn't even bother with a fork or anything, just reached down and grabbed up a drumstick, biting into it hungrily, eating as messily as he wanted, since it was just him there. He had planned on stopping at one drumstick, but when his stomach gurgled loudly, asking for more, he plopped himself down in the chair in front of the plate and ate the rest of the meal.
He leaned back in the chair, his hands resting on his stomach as he let out a groan of satisfaction after finishing the meal. He smacked his lips, and burped, happy he was able to express himself like that without his mother there to scold him or anything. Maybe this whole being alone thing wasn't so bad.
Eventually he stood from the table, deciding it was still weird that there were no people, and perhaps he should find this meeting. It might be important, now that he was a resident of Camelot. Vital information, and all that. He walked all around the castle, upstairs, downstairs. He wandered the wine cellars, and the dungeon. He had heard a weird rumbling and a loud flapping sound when he tried to go down one set of stairs, and immediately turned on his heels and headed the opposite direction, no desire to meet a giant bat today. The day was peculiar enough.
As he wandered, he started feeling a little more freaked out. He kept trying to convince himself of this grand meeting, but that was seeming more and more unlikely. He never really believed it, of course, it had only been a coping mechanism. But every room he entered seemed as if there were people in it only moments before he had gotten there. Every corner of the castle seemed well lived-in. And it was more than a little disturbing. He couldn't help but wonder if this were the work of magic. Evil magic, not like his magic.
His legs were sore and tired, and his pack was weighing heavy on his shoulders. He stumbled into some kind of throne room, opulent and big and a little cold. At the other end there were three thrones. One for the king, his ward and the prince, Merlin supposed. And they looked so inviting, though he'd probably get executed for sitting in royal thrones here. But his legs were so sore, and there weren't any other chairs around for him to rest in. He supposed maybe he could go find some other place, but honestly, how many chances did you get to sit in a throne?
He glanced around nervously, even though he knew nobody would be around, and promptly dropped his pack on the ground and ran straight for the king's throne because, well, why not? Who didn't fantasize about being a king (or queen) every once in a while? When he sat he found the throne was rigid and stiff and hard, with barely any cushioning. And the back was so rigid and straight that he had to sit with his back kind of arched or flat. And it was huge, it seemed to swallow him up, making him feel ridiculous. He couldn't even imagine himself being king.
He slid off the throne and patted at his bum, as if the throne had been dirty, which of course it hadn't, because it was a king's throne. The king's throne. He eyed the other two thrones, and decided on the cushier looking one, smaller than the king's throne. When he sat in it his first impression was very soft, and comfortable. But then he started to shift, and sink into the cushions. And it was narrower than he expected. It was squeezing his hips a little. He wasn't fat or too big or anything. Whoever this throne was made for was petite and probably a girl, with the way it cradled his bum as if it were succulent and full instead of skinny and bony.
The last throne seemed the least promising upon the first once over, and now it seems as if it's his last choice. So he squirms out of the narrow, cushy throne and makes his way to the last one, and drops into it, bone-weary and exhausted. He sighed, wriggling about a bit before he finds utter comfort in the cushions. His arms rest on the armrests, clutching the ends of it. He could imagine being a king now. Or prince. He leaned forwards a bit, straightening his back.
"You there!" he barked suddenly, pointing to an invisible servant, "Bring me mutton and ale and chocolate covered strawberries!" he ordered, then grinned to himself. There was a tingling under his skin; the tingle of power. Of magic and of the need to be really powerful. His hands clutched the ends of the arms of the chair, and he lifted his chin, as if looking down his nose at someone kneeling before him. "You understand, Arthur, you've done something horridly bad. There will have to be a punishment," he grinned wickedly, and the grin quickly turned into a look of horror as the chair began to shake beneath him and around him. It started to creak, and the back of it flew off, hitting the wall with a loud thud and a shower of sparks.
Merlin leapt out of the chair quickly, watching as the rest blew apart with the sparks of his magic. "Oh…oh no," he whispered, his eyes wide with horror. "Oh no, what've I done…" He quickly turned and ran for the door, scooping his bag up with him and hightailing it out of there. He ran until he couldn't run anymore, and stopped at a large wooden door. He pushed it open, peering inside.
There was a large, too-large bed. The bed was unmade, and Merlin figured these must be the king's quarters. He wouldn't dare think of sleeping in the king's bed, but he did step inside to make the bed with a wave of his hand. Maybe as an apology for breaking that throne. He closed the door tightly after that, then continued down the hall at a slower pace. He had given up on trying to find anybody. And he was too exhausted to put any real thought into it anymore.
The next room he found was terribly girly, but the bed looked nice. So he slid inside the room and sat on the edge of the bed, running his fingers over the fine bed clothes, his fingers sliding over them easily. He let himself fall back into the comfort of the bed, but instead of bouncing back, as he expected, he kind of just…sunk. And kept sinking. And when he was done sinking, he turned his head to spot a long lock of black hair on the pillow and scrunched up his nose. And the scent of the bed was floral and sweet and almost gag-worthy. Way too girly.
After a few gallant efforts of rolling himself out of the bed, he fell to the floor in a jumble of achy limbs. He grumbled and stood to his feet to seek out a suitable bed to crash and burn in. He stumbled numbly down the corridor, flung open a door, glared at the bed then collapsed on it on his stomach, not even bothering to get under the covers. He let out a groan of surprise at how comfortable it was. It was just the right firmness, and just the right size for his long limbs. He stuffed his face in a pillow, and it smelt of the outdoors and niceness.
And this was probably a royal's bed, but he figured he deserved at least one night's good rest if he were going to be executed for breaking a throne when the monarch returned (if he returned). He mumbled something incomprehensible to himself, nuzzling deeper into the bed and sighing. He heard a small 'meow' and the felt a warm weight curl up on his back. He glanced up to see the small ginger cat had found him, and was just as comfortable on this bed as he was. And he was glad he'd have company for possibly the last hours of his life. But he didn't have time to think much about that anymore, since he was quickly asleep and drooling and snoring in time with the cat's purring.
"Bloody bears," Arthur growled, stomping off after his father, Morgana and the knights. His boots were mud covered, his hair was plastered to his forehead with mud, his fingernails were caked with mud, and he was fairly certain if he smiled, his teeth would be covered in mud.
"Do quit your complaining," Morgana snapped, "You've been grumbling the whole way home, and I'm actually quite sick of it."
Arthur just glared at the back of her head when she turned around and then started scraping off the biggest cakes of mud from his face and hair and clothes. When they entered the courtyard he looked up, startled, when he heard a disturbing sounding 'pop!' A wide-eyed man holding a pitchfork was suddenly standing right next to him, staring at him as if he were a bear. Still a bear. Whatever.
Arthur just side-stepped him and let the knights behind him deal with it. As he went to continue on there was another 'pop!' and suddenly there was a woman with wet, soapy hands held out in front of her, her eyes equally as wide as the man's had been. "Erm, alright there?" Arthur asked, placing a hand on her shoulder to shove her gently out of the way.
"S-sire!" she squeaked, and then promptly fainted. Arthur frowned down at her, then turned to the knights.
"Take care of this," he ordered, gesturing to the woman. But his command went unheeded as all of a sudden the whole courtyard was filled with near deafening 'pops!' and he winced. All around him people were appearing out of nowhere, in the midst of various activities. One man was embarrassingly naked and still soaped up. Arthur had to resist the urge to snigger at that. He coughed into his fist, and his father turned around to glare at him, snapping at the knights to take care of this, and that they (Arthur, Morgana and himself) were going to clean up in the castle.
Uther had sent ahead for a servant to prepare baths in separate rooms that they wouldn't mind getting dirty. Arthur was thankful, since he really didn't feel like messing his room up badly. His last manservant had fled the country with a kitchen maid after getting her up the duff. Which, Arthur supposed, was just his luck. And now he was in need of a new manservant to clean his quarters, which, admittedly, got a little messy.
He was herded into the room to bathe, and did it quickly. But not too quick, because the mud was caked into every crevice of his body. Even crevices he didn't know he had. He nearly gagged when he climbed out of the tub to see the water had essentially turned into mud. Being a bear was dirtier than he thought. How had Morgana got away with being so clean? Arthur huffed to himself, then pulled his fresh clothes on, and headed out into the hall. Morgana was waiting there with a weird little smile on her lips. Gwen was there, behind Morgana. She was in a nightgown, so she must've just popped back into existence.
Arthur cursed that stupid sorcerer in his muddy grave, then looked especially annoyed for Morgana's sake. "Well?"
"Well," Morgana began, "It seems as if, along with the curse that turned us into bears, it magicked away all the town's people. And dropped them back in random places when we killed the sorcerer—"
"You mean when I killed the sorcerer," Arthur corrected. Morgana waved her hand and continued.
"Gaius says there's still people appearing, and that it'll probably take a few more hours until everything is back to normal," Morgana paused and grinned a wicked, curious little grin again, "But it seems there was one person here while we were gone…"
"Oh? Do you think it was the sorcerer?" Arthur asked, his hand immediately going to his sword.
"No, no, I don't think so," Morgana said, "Uther wants to see you in the dining hall," Morgana said, "I'll come with. Gwen, go get changed into something more suitable and meet me back in my room." Gwen bobbed her head and left, and then Morgana and Arthur made their way towards the dining hall. As they walked through the halls every once in a while there would be a 'pop!' and somebody would appear. After the first few times Arthur and Morgana stopped jumping and only sighed. When they reached the dining hall Arthur could spot nothing out of the ordinary. But his father was standing behind the three plates that were left out for them before the sorcerer arrived and frowning.
Arthur stepped closer, then peered down at the plates. There were signs that they were touched. His keen hunter's eyes could pick up on that. Well, he didn't really need keen hunter's eyes to see that his plate was completely empty. And he was hungry, since he refused to eat anything as a bear. "Well!" he huffed, crossing his arms.
"Somebody's been eating our food," Uther said.
"Well, somebody's been eating some of our food," Morgana said.
"Somebody's eaten all of my food!" Arthur snapped, and Morgana hid her snort as a sneeze.
The three continued on together, exploring the castle and looking for signs of whoever had been there in their absence. They made their way to the throne room, and Arthur's jaw would've dropped if he were a lesser man. Morgana's lips were quivering suspiciously, and Uther was glaring.
"Somebody's sat in my throne," Uther said.
"Somebody's definitely sat in Ar…I mean, my throne," Morgana said.
"Somebody bloody broke my throne!" Arthur shouted, glaring at the space where his throne used to stand. "This is ridiculous," Arthur ground out as they continued their way through the castle. They stopped at Uther's chambers, peering in.
"Somebody's made my bed," Uther said.
They continued their way to Morgana's chambers.
"Somebody's sat on my bed," Morgana said.
And then they moved onto Arthur's chambers. Arthur cracked the door open and peered in.
"Somebody's still—!" but he was shut up when Morgana pinched him, and he glared at her. She gave him a pointed look and nodded towards the door. He took another look and saw that it was just a boy, probably no older than him. He must've been one of the town's people who were still popping into existence every once in a while.
Uther cleared his throat and Arthur turned around, shrugging, "I mean, my room looks fine. There's nobody—" Morgana pinched him, "I mean, uh. There's nothing wrong with my room. Well. I'm bushed, good luck finding the sorcerer, father, Morgana," he nodded his head and quickly slid into the room. He took a few steps forwards, to get a closer look at the stranger sleeping, drooling, in his bed. There was a small cat curled up on his back, and Arthur scowled. He hated cats.
As if sensing that Arthur hated it, the cat leapt up and scampered under the bed as Arthur approached. The stranger didn't move. Arthur leant over the stranger, who was mumbling something in his sleep and flopping over onto his back. Arthur sucked in a breath. He wasn't a young kid like he thought. He was a man, and a good-looking one at that. He had a mop of messy black hair, and full lips, puckered in thought as he slept. His ears were a little ridiculously large, but it was kind of endearing.
Arthur thanked whatever sorcerer dropped this piece of delicious in his bed, and reached forwards to brush some hair from the stranger's forehead. The other man just mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like, 'not now, horsy' and proceeded to snore. Arthur snorted, then placed one knee on the side of his bed so he could lean over the stranger, his fingers still brushing through the hair.
He smiled as the other man sighed happily in his sleep, and Arthur thought it was weird and wrong for him to be so fond of someone he hadn't even met yet. Maybe he was still deprived after being a bear for so long. Without really thinking, he bent his head down to brush his lips against the stranger's high cheekbone, and then the other. The stranger let out an appreciative mumble, hand searching blindly until it curled around Arthur's wrist, trying to pull him closer in sleep.
Arthur laughed breathlessly, then pressed his lips to the full, pink lips beneath him for one, two, three glorious seconds, before the stranger gasped and sat up suddenly, smashing his forehead to Arthur's and mumbling a string of curses as he pressed his palm to his forehead.
"Ow! You great prat, why'd you do that?" The stranger demanded, glaring at Arthur.
Arthur quickly backed up and put on his 'haughty' mask, "You can't talk to me like that," he snapped, "You're sleeping in my bed."
The stranger looked confused for a minute, before looking around, "Oh. Well, sorry. It's just, I thought maybe I was late for the meeting, and they'd shut me out, and I was wandering for so long, and the first bed was the king's bed, and I couldn't sleep there. And the second bed was way too girly and smelly, and this bed seemed just right and I was so tired and I'm sorry, I'm talking too much aren't I?"
Arthur smiled a little bemused smile and shook his head before controlling his expression again, "Well, that's all good and grand, but do you care to explain to me why you're still in my bed."
"Oh god, sorry, prat," the stranger shuffled out of the bed, then stood, staring at Arthur expectantly.
"What?" Arthur snapped.
"You…why did you kiss me?" the stranger asked curiously.
"Well…erm, I…" Arthur paused, clearing his throat and drawing himself up, he was absolutely not blushing. Princes didn't blush. "Well, I thought perhaps you were under a spell by the sorcerer that had turned us into bears, and maybe only a kiss would break the spell. You know, magic is a little odd like that."
The stranger snorted, and then laughed, and then coughed into his fist, "I think you've got the wrong fairytale."
"Excuse me?" Arthur snapped.
"Nothing, nothing," the stranger shook his head and then stuck his hand out, "I'm Merlin, from Ealdor. Sorry to have mucked up your bed. Perhaps you can direct me to Gaius?"
"Oh, you're the one Gaius is expecting?" Arthur asked, looking at the hand and pointedly not taking it.
"Yes, well. I should get going, I don't want to be around when the prince discovers I broke his throne," Merlin said, turning towards the door.
"Wait wait wait!" Arthur barked, his hand snapping out and catching Merlin's wrist, pulling him back, "You broke my throne? You?"
Merlin glared at the offending hand, and then at Arthur, before his eyes widened in shock and horror, "Oh…oh my god, you…you're Prince Arthur? Oh my god, I'm so dead, I'm so dead…"
It was Arthur's turn to laugh, though it was a little maniacal and bitter before it turned genuine. Merlin kept apologizing and swearing he was dead and then started rambling off his last will and testament before Arthur shut him up with a kiss. Merlin stiffened, his eyes wide as the prince kissed him. Arthur stepped back, and Merlin looked as if he had just run him through with a sword instead of kissed him.
Arthur grinned, "Well, if I'm really that bad of a kisser, I suppose I should have you thrown in the stocks…"
"No! You're not…I mean, I was just…" Merlin groaned and ran his hand down his face and took a deep breath. "I'm sorry," was all he could think of saying before he launched himself at the prince, a little cautious with this kiss as if the prince might bite him.
Arthur grinned into the kiss and pressed his hands into Merlin's rather bony hips and figured he could get used to his. Merlin was all awkward angles and gangly limbs and eager tongue, like a puppy that hadn't yet grown into his ears or paws yet. It was a refreshing change of pace. Never mind that he could possibly be kissing a criminal at that moment, because the opportunity was too golden to pass up.
Arthur wasn't sure when he had started backing Merlin up towards the bed, but Merlin let out a yelp when he fell back that made Arthur laugh. He stared down at the disheveled and flushed Merlin, his smile softening. He sure knew how to pick them. He preened a little at his good taste, ignoring the voice inside him that told him that he didn't really pick Merlin, that Merlin was just kind of forced on him. He turned around and headed back towards the door.
"Hey! What're you doing?" Merlin asked, sounding offended and worried, and a little pushy. Arthur decided he liked that, even though he'd have to try to correct it, as any prince would.
"I'm locking the door. My father will want to try to look for me, and I can't really have him walking in while I'm doing something he really shouldn't see," Arthur said, bolting the door and turning back to Merlin. He was pushed up on his elbows and positively beet red.
"Your…father. The king. Oh god, your father is the king," Merlin bemoaned, looking a little less attractive and a little more like a simpering simpleton that was ordered to the dungeons
Arthur rolled his eyes and stalked over to the bed, pushing Merlin back and pinning him there with his weight across Merlin's lap as he straddled his waist. "Do shut up," Arthur demanded, before bending his head to claim Merlin's lips in another kiss. Merlin must've not been as worried as he was making out, because he surged up into the kiss with a fiery passion that surprised Arthur.
He didn't know where this 'Ealdor' was that Merlin was from, but damn, they must be good at this sort of thing there. Merlin was making wanton little noises and returning Arthur's kisses while his hands scrabbled to un-tuck Arthur's shirt to slide his hands against bare skin. Arthur liked that.
When Merlin pulled back and started shifting about so they were the right way about on the bed, he pushed Arthur back onto his back, and straddled Arthur's hips and pushed his shirt up to start almost hungrily gnawing on Arthur collar bone. Arthur really liked that. He was so used to taking charge in bed, that he liked this change of pace so much that he went along with whatever Merlin was doing to him.
His shirt was removed, as was his scabbard and belt. And by the time Merlin was in a similar state of undress, Arthur could no longer hold still under the ministrations, and flipped them back over so he was pressed flush on top of Merlin, whose eyes were wide and the pupils blown wide with lust. "Oh, Arthur, Arthur," Merlin groaned, and Arthur supposed he should really have told Merlin that it was inappropriate to call him by his first name, seeing as he was a prince. But it was a little too late, and what they were doing already could hardly be called appropriate at all. What was one more thing?
Merlin's hands were fumbling with the laces on his trousers, and Arthur really didn't want to wait, so he just ground his hips down into Merlin's. Merlin stopped his fumbling and groaned, his hands shooting up to curl over Arthur's shoulders. Arthur rather enjoyed Merlin's reaction, so he repeated his action, feeling Merlin's hardness press against his own in such a delicious way that he couldn't help but groan at the sensation.
Maybe it was the excitement of doing this with a stranger, or maybe it was Merlin himself, but Arthur was speeding towards the finishing line and had no intention of slowing down until they were both brought to the brink. His hips continued to roll down into Merlin's, and Merlin kept pressing up into him, his lips hot and messy against Arthur's jaw as he whispered filthy words of encouragement that nobody should ever say to their prince.
And then Merlin shuttered and shouted beneath him, arching up and staying pressed to Arthur as he panted through his climax, his eyes shut tightly. Arthur found himself wishing he could see what Merlin's eyes looked like as Arthur brought him over the edge. But he didn't have long to wonder, because soon he was coming as well, making a thorough mess in his trousers. He dropped in a mess of jelly limbs to the side of Merlin on his stomach, panting with the exertion of a job well done.
Merlin lay next to him, staring blindly up at the ceiling as he tried to catch his breath. He looked worried, instead of the satisfied he should be looking. Arthur found himself wanting to soothe Merlin's worries for some inexplicable reason that he didn't want to explore. He leaned over and pressed small kisses to Merlin's jaw, then to the corner of his lips.
"How would you like a job?" he asked, his lips pressed against the adorably large ear. Merlin shuddered, and Arthur stored that in his memory for later use.
"A…a job?" Merlin asked, still breathless.
"Mhm," Arthur answered, "Working for me, as my manservant. You'd still have to report to Gaius, of course. But I suddenly find myself in need of a new manservant, and I'm sure he wouldn't mind."
Merlin was quiet in thought for an impossibly long time, as if he really had to consider the offer. Seriously, who would turn down the chance to be the prince's manservant? Especially after what they had just done.
"Well, I guess so," and Merlin really did sound reluctant, and that served to make Arthur a little angry. He pushed himself up on his elbows to stare down at Merlin.
"That's great! You can start by cleaning up the mess we've just made, and then after I'll need you to fetch me dinner, since you ate mine, and then afterwards you'll get started on fixing my throne. I can't very well be princely-like without a throne," Arthur ticked off the tasks on his fingers, ignoring Merlin's offended glare.
"You're a prat, you know that?" Merlin grumbled, but there was something akin to fondness in his voice.
"Hm," was all Arthur replied, before kissing Merlin soundly.
And they lived happily ever after…ish. Because of course there was that old witch that tried to kill Arthur, and that snaky shield, and the afanc, and the griffin, and the Black Knight, and the questing beast…And well, you know the rest.