A Secret Everyone Will Know
Merlin was nervous. His palms were sweaty, his eyes were shifty. He knew he needed to speak to Arthur. Today was the day; today Arthur would know the truth and probably everything would change. Well, not really everything, but some things! Hopefully. Today was the day that hopefully some things would change in a good way. Yes.
He turned on his heel and his previously stuttered and jerky movements became a determined march. 'No turning back now, Merlin,' he thought. 'Get it over with.'
As he rounded a corner and saw Arthur's door Merlin's fast paced abruptly slowed. His locked knees loosened and threatened to fold under his slouching weight.
'Tomorrow,' he thought. 'Tomorrow is the day.' He began to turn.
Apparently having heard Merlin's clunky steps approaching his door, and their subsequent faltering, Arthur stuck his head into the hallway with an angry expression already glued to his face.
'Definitely tomorrow,' Merlin gulped.
Arthur's eyes locked on Merlin and he called out to him in a stern, unamused voice, "Did you plan on doing your job today, Merlin? Or should I just sack you now and rid myself of the trouble later?"
"Arthur!" Merlin tried to put a smile into his voice. "Sire! I was just coming to see you."
"As I would well expect considering it's well past dawn," Arthur replied. "And look, no breakfast tray. What a surprise."
Merlin's face drooped, his nervousness showing through. "Yes, well," he quickly tried to think of an excuse. "That's where I was just headed."
Arthur raised an eyebrow. "Funny, since the kitchen is the other direction." Merlin managed a dry chuckle, as if to say, 'you know me.' "It's too late now, Merlin. Get in here, I need your assistance. Or should I be calling for a new servant?"
"No, no, I'm here. I'm coming, sire. Sorry. Sire." Merlin rambled as he quickly turned his body back around and jerked toward the chamber door. Arthur huffed and went back inside.
The door swung shut behind Merlin as he rushed inside. "Sooo..." he began.
Arthur had seated himself on the edge of his bed, wearing a shirt and pants haphazardly fetched from the dresser. "You don't expect me to go meet my knights wearing something that looks like...well, like you, do you?" Merlin flushed and walked over to the dresser to get something more appropriate. "Although admittedly," he continued, "even my old clothes look better than those rags you wear."
Merlin internally huffed. Arthur was obviously in a mood and this was obviously fate telling him that now was obviously not the right time to tell Arthur. He may or may not have thrown the new clothes at Arthur's head before walking to the armor laid out in the corner. Arthur began pulling on the new pants with an annoyed expression. "Excuse me, Merlin, but if anyone has the right to be angry here it's me. My lazy servant never brings my food and hasn't been here to dress me. So now I'm hungry and late."
Merlin dropped the gauntlet he had been holding and spun to face his master. "I'm sorry! Okay? I was very preoccupied this morning and I forgot. It happens! You said you didn't want breakfast anymore! Do you want me go back and get it now?" His voice was becoming hysterical the longer he talked as the stress of what he was going to do weighed on him. "It's like you think there's nothing else going on in anyone's life besides yours. Your stomach, your clothes, your schedule. I just..." His voice caught and the power behind his words failed. "I can't..."
Arthur's bewilderment was obvious. 'What brought that on?' he wondered. 'Was this about...' "What were you preoccupied with?"
Merlin's eyes widened briefly before settling into a determined look. "Arthur, I need to tell you something."
Arthur turned around to the bed behind him, back turned to Merlin. "No, you don't."
Confused, Merlin continued, "It's important, Sire."
"Surely not," Arthur stated.
"It is!" Merlin insisted. "Arthur, I-"
Arthur quickly interrupted, "Don't say anything, Merlin."
Arthur turned back around to face Merlin. Looking serious, he told Merlin, "I already know."
Merlin took a quick step backward, surprised. "You...do?"
"Yes, Merlin, of course I do. This will get you killed, idiot! Say nothing." Arthur's voice was stern.
"Well, I suppose it could, yes," Merlin started. "But if it stayed between us..." he trailed off.
Arthur rolled his eyes. "It should stay between you. Don't give it voice."
Merlin's eyes dropped to the floor. He hunched his shoulders and meekly asked, "Does this mean you don't agree?"
"Of course not! It's illegal, Merlin. And we're not going to talk about it." He answered softly.
"Sire, it's important to me," Merlin spoke to the ground. "I need a friend. I thought...I thought you could be that friend."
Arthur replied, "I'm the prince, Merlin. I have a duty. I don't want to be the one who executes you for this. Friend or not."
Merlin raised his head to look at Arthur. "I guess I just didn't think it would be that big of a deal."
"A big deal? You didn't think magic would be a big deal?" If his open eyes, dropped mouth, and raised brow didn't show it, Arthur's voice clearly displayed his disbelief.
"My magic?" Merlin focused sharply on the prince.
"Yes!" Arthur exclaimed. "I mean..." Quieting his voice, he continued softly. "Yes, Merlin, I know about your magic. And it is a big deal so you need to keep quiet about it, even to me."
Merlin quirked his head to the side and replied, "Well, yes, I knew you knew about that."
"You...knew I knew?" Arthur narrowed his eyes.
"And you said nothing?" The confusion in the room was palatable.
"Well you never said anything either!" Merlin defended. "I thought it was some kind ruse you were trying to uphold."
Arthur brought his hand to his forehead. Shaking the disbelief from his mind, he simply asked, "Well then why were you going to tell me about it if you knew I already knew and obviously was willing to overlook it by the fact you're still breathing?"
Merlin blinked. "I didn't come here to confess my magic."
"There's something else?" Arthur said, incredulous.
The corners of Merlin's mouth slightly upturned. His eyes shone. His breath quickened. "I'm in love," he softly admitted.
Arthur's jaw dropped. "Love?"
Merlin clasped his hands. "She's...Arthur, she's wonderful! She's the most beautiful woman in the castle. She walks on clouds. She smells like roses. She-"
"I get it, I get it! You're in love. And how well do you know this beautiful angel who smells like roses?" Arthur bluntly asked.
"Oh, I've known her since I came to Camelot," Merlin answered with a smirk.
'Huh,' thought Arthur. "Do I know her?" He asked aloud.
Merlin looked a little sheepish at that. "Yes. You see, that's the bit that's the problem."
"Well, out with it," Arthur demanded.
"Morgana! Merlin, I thought we had this discussion!" Merlin nodded his head at that. Arthur continued, "You can't be with Morgana. I know you've had this little infatuation with her for some time, but you have to get over it. She's a noble. You really will face serious problems if you pursue this."
Merlin's head dropped. "I know. I know, Arthur. But I know she feels the same way."
"Even worse!" he exclaimed. "If anyone finds out-"
"About that," Merlin cut in.
Arthur groaned. "What happened?"
"I may have gotten her pregnant," Merlin answered with a big grin.