Sometimes - Arthur/Merlin One shot
Summary: There is just a few seconds of hesitation where blue eyes meet blue eyes and Merlin realises, He knows, He knows.
Notes: Morgana is not evil. I hate her evil! I Love Morgana! I know its legend and all but come on! =[ Good Morgana for the win! Anyways- Rant over- Enjoy!
Sometimes Merlin wonders if Arthur has always known, even subconsciously, of his magic. After all Merlin would be the first to admit that he is not the best at keeping secrets, or lying or improvising, or getting his stories and excuses straight, or anything for that matter. So the fact that he has managed to evade anybody finding out about his magic thus far is nothing short of a miracle, this of course ignoring Gaius, his mother, Will, other sorcerers and that one time he admitted his secret to the king in order to save Guinevere from execution.
Apart from those incidences however, he seemed to be doing a rather good job at keeping his magic hidden from the world. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, there is something in Prince Arthur's eyes that serves to tell Merlin otherwise, a sort of knowing, an understanding, something that Merlin can't quite put his finger on but is there nonetheless. Whatever it was only really occurred in the moments that Merlin was forced to lie to Arthur, or the moments where Merlin had to use his magic in such close proximity to the prince. Every time Merlin lied to Arthur, "I knocked you out sire." "It was just a good guess sire." "You did it sire!" he thinks he sees it in his eyes, somewhere deep and more than likely unnoticed by the prince himself. Maybe its betrayal, maybe its sadness, maybe its disgust. Maybe Merlin will never know.
The time he remembers most, and sometimes, he's not sure why causes him to feel a flicker of regret, even though it would mean certain death if the truth were to come forth, is after he had sent the dragon away and Arthur had awoken, no doubt with a headache. It was the moment he turned to him, fake smile perfectly in place and cried, "You did it sire!"
The prince on the ground hadn't immediately celebrated as Merlin had expected. No, there had been just a few seconds of hesitation where blue eyes had met blue eyes and Merlin had realised without a doubt that he knows, he knows. The thought, however was quickly wiped from his mind as the prince threw his head back with an excited cry, happier than he had ever heard him, later to return to the palace as a hero. And Merlin could just imagine how Arthur would react if he found out that it was his own manservant who had released the beast in the first place, certain death would be the preffered punishment to Arthurs rage.
Merlin knows that sometimes Arthur wonders why he is so tired, that sometimes Arthur wonders of the real reasons behinds Merlins constant tardiness, or terrible serving skills. Merlin also knows that although Arthur wonders it doesn't necessarily mean that he cares. Merlin doesn't ponder the reasons why that might just hurt him, a tiny bit. So when Arthur asks, whether it be because he genuinely cares, simple curiosity or because he is frustrated with Merlins inept serving, Merlin has to lie again and that is what all of this comes down to in the end, he thinks, lying. Merlin hates lying. He hated lying to his mother every time she asked him if he were okay and he told her yes he was when no he really wasn't. He hated lying to Gaius when he told him that no, he wasn't overworked, yes he could handle the next beast that threatened Camelot or its crown prince, yes he could handle the sorcerer out for Uthers blood when really he just wanted to sleep, just one break where he needn't worry. He hates lying to Gwen, Morgana even Uther, but mostly he hates lying to Arthur, he doesn't often ponder the reasons why he finds it simple to lie to the others but so difficult to lie to Arthur. Maybe it is because Arthur knows. But no, he doesn't know, not really.
Merlin hates lying to Arthur, which is why, the one time he tells the truth, when Gwens life is on the line because of Merlins own stupid way of trying to help, he is shocked when Arthur lies for him. And lying is what Arthur is doing because Merlin knows without a doubt that Arthur isn't just sticking up for him, isn't just calling him an idiot, isn't just putting his arm around him and telling his father, the king, that Merlin is an enchanted fool. No. Arthur is lying to his fathers face because theres an almost undetectable hesitation to Arthurs words that Merlin only recognises because he's been with him so long, theres a tension in the arm wrapped around his shoulder and there's a look in his eyes that Merlin can read as saying, Shut up you fool. You're not a sorcerer. He'll kill you. As Merlin leaves with a glare, ignoring the snickers and murmers of "Poor enchanted boy." "The things the sorceress must have promised him and done to him." he thinks that maybe, if Arthur was willing to lie for him, then maybe he needn't fear Arthurs reaction when he does tell him the truth. He ignores the voice that tells him that Arthur already knows, because were that true then he would surely be dead by now and of course if he thinks about it now maybe Arthur wasn't lying, no, he obviously thinks Merlin is an insufferable fool trying to save a friend. Yes, that's it. Merlin finds it easy to forget the urgency in the princes eyes, because of course Arthur doesn't know and why would he care to save him anyway if he did. Raised by his fathers morals, he thought magic wrong and evil. Should he find out his clumsy, ridiculous manservant were a sorcerer then Merlin would be dead before he could even speak the words 'death sentence.'
Sometimes, when Merlin isn't hung up on the whole secret magic thing, when he can see Arthur as something other than a, well a prince who would gladly see him murdered over his secret he can almost think of Arthur as someone else, a person, a royal person of course. Sometimes Merlin sees Arthur as a friend, sometimes when Arthur scolds him, or calls him an idiot or a clot pole his words are just this side of affectionate. Theres a small smile in the place there should be a scowl. Theres a fondness where there should be anger or disaproval and Merlin would admit, no matter how reluctantly, that you would probably see the same fondness, and maybe even, heaven forbid, respect in himself. Sometimes though, this fondness, or lack thereof if Arthur was in a really bad mood, irritated Merlin, honestly, it wasn't like he lay in bed the night before thinking up the many different ways he could find to irritate his prince, maybe I'll drop his armour down some stairs tomorrow, maybe I'll fall over a branch when hunting tomorrow and lose half of our supplies or maybe I'll just lie in bed for an extra hour before taking Arthur his breakfast. Well, maybe he couldn't be blamed for the last, his job required him to wake at ridiculous times in the morning and a normal servant needed sleep, let alone one who had to save their masters backside every five minutes. But the point was, there was times when Arthurs annoyance seemed more like something else, something like friendship, when a hard slap on the back seemed more like a hug between friends, when an arrogant smirk on Arthurs mouth and a roll of Merlins eyes seemed more like a fond smile shared between two friends. At times like these, though he wouldn't admit to it, it wasn't hard for Merlin to read deeper into things. It wasn't hard for Merlin to see something more than friendship. It wasn't hard for Merlin to want more. But then, when it seems normal and right, when it seems like more, something else comes along to remind Merlin that there is infact magic involved, because Merlin doesn't practice magic, no, Merlin is magic and magic will always be there. And then Merlin has to work hard to quell anything that could have been or should have been or never will be and that insistent voice that says Arthur knows, Arthur knows you. Because Arthur doesn't know, he can never know the real you. Merlin isn't really sure when his main grievance changed from Arthur not knowing about his magic, to Arthur not really knowing him. Merlin doesn't know when he went from serving to friendship to more, in his head at least.
There are times when Merlin forgets his feelings. There are times when Merlin just wants to shout at the prince, the prat. He wants to shout "It's me you prat! I did all of this! You'd be dead were it not for me!"
Before Morgauses challenge, in the woods as they are attacked by bandits and Merlin uses his magic to burn the spear that was no doubt aiming for the prince, theres a feeling of triumph as the bandit falls, until Arthur turns to him, "don't worry Merlin, I'll deal with this, you just lie there and make yourself comfortable." At this time Merlin must tell himself over and over that shouting at the prince is not worth losing his life. On Arthurs quest to find the golden trident, Merlin still to this day wonders why the prat couldn't have chosen something just a little easier, when Merlin had saved him from a hungry looking Wyvern and the first thing the prince had done upon awakening was to shout at him for ruining the quest. Merlin again had to remind himself that his life is more important than his pride, even if Gawain is rolling his eyes in the background, silently asking why he deals with Arthurs crap. But, then despite this there are times when all Merlin wants to do is hold Arthur close and whisper thank you thank you thank you over and over, because a prince shouldn't be risking is life for a servant. A future king shouldn't be giving his own life for someone whose life means nothing in comparrison. Even when Merlin is angry because afterall it was his job to protect Arthur and not vice versa he cant help but feel grateful, but then when he thinks on it, its happened far too many times than he would like to remember.
Merlin himself had swallowed Nimuehs poison so the prince wouldn't have to, yet the prince had gone to find the cure in perilous lands anyway. Merlin was chosen to fight the slave traders champion when kidnapped on their quest to find the cup of life and instead the prince had gone in his place. There were more times than Merlin could count when Arthur had pushed Merlin away from a fight, narrowly avoiding a wound himself. That time Merlin had, had to return to Ealdor to help his people fight and Arthur had arrived just after, ready to fight and train and if Merlin had heard Morgana telling Gwen that the reason for Arthurs arrival was Merlin himself, well then he certainly hadn't told anyone or mentioned it.
The point was, Arthur confused him. One minute Merlin lo- liked the prince and the next he wanted to throttle him. One minute Arthur looked at him and all Merlin saw was disgust and impatience, but then other times he saw adoration, longing, happiness and it was these times that Merlin thought, I hope he knows.
It was only after a short conversation issued by the Lady Morgana that Merlin could say he might just understand. It was only after he had mumbled, "He confuses me." to himself in the middle of a banquet that the Lady Morgana, who was over the other side of the bloody room had coercesd him into a conversation and Merlin still thinks she must have gained super hearing when she gained her powers.
"You see Merlin," she had said sincerely with one of her wide smiles that Merlin should have adored, should have found beautiful if only he could get the stupid pratty prince out of his head, "Arthur isn't good with words, or feelings, or anything other that brutish sports like hunting and jousting." Merlin did not miss her sly dig even when not in her brothers prescence. "If he felt something, or knew something, like our secret or someone elses feelings." Sometimes Merlin forgets that Morgana knows what he is, sometimes he forgets she has magic too. "He probably wouldn't be able to say it, he would probably be waiting for the other party to mention it first." She smiled knowingly and Merlin could not be sure if she were talking of magic of the weird flip thing his heart does when the prince smiles in that carefree way that Merlin has only ever seen directed at him in private. "But of course, Arthur is a brute and a stupid one at that. Have you seen Gwen around?"
Merlin thinks that girls can be cryptic and insensitive, but they may just be the smartest creatures he has ever faced. Morgana especially.
This is why, that night, after the prince is bedded down and Merlin is folding his remaining clothes before retiring to his own rooms and Arthur asks him why he and Morgana spent so long talking that evening Merlin finds it easier to spin a lie to the prince, because if he had managed to decode Morganas words correctly then the prince already knew the truth and what harm would it do because the time isn't right. And if Arthur knows everything then he should know that too. So there is the usual glint in Arthurs eyes that scream Liar Liar. Merlin thinks that Arthur understands that when Merlin says, "Goodnight sire," what he really means is I cant tell you, not yet. And when he says, "Sleep well." he means One day I'll tell you everything, one day you'll know me. The time isn't right. He likes to think that Arthurs mumbled insult of, "Girl" means Goodnight Merlin, and the small upturn of his lips that only someone as close to Arthur as Merlin is would recognise means I'll wait for that day- Idiot. Merlin also thinks this was the same night that he realised he was just a little bit in love with the prat. Maybe a lot in love with the prat. But just because he can read into things the prince says and does and just because Arthur may or may not know about his magic and he isn't yet dead doesn't mean anything. If anything its dumb luck. Merlin likes to think it was this night he realised, it is indeed much less embarrassing to ignore the many other nights he had woken, sweaty and sated, Arthurs name on his lips, erotic images of things he hadn't even known possible still in the forefront of his mind. Said images would often make it difficult for him to dress and undress said prince. These were times Merlin thanked his lucky stars that he was well versed in the art of lying. The point however, was not that he lusted after his prince, no, it was that now he was sure, well, almost sure, that he loved his prince and if that didn't make things just that bit worse then nothing could. The thing about Arthur though, is that he is discreet and hidden and Merlin thinks emotionally stunted. So to love him and to be a servant and another male and on top of all this a sorcerer. Well it could only lead to pain. But then sometimes when Arthur smiles lazily, or throws a pillow at him in the early mornings, or when he is watching him train the knights, he thinks that the pain might be fine, just for a while. Then he kicks himself for confirming Arthurs sentiments and thinking such girly thoughts.
It is only after weeks of knowing this and constant uncomfortable moments in the princes chanmbers that Merlin is sure is only in his head, that Merlin is cornered by the prince one evening. Its not as much of a surprise as it should have been when Arthur murmers against his ear, "Show me, Merlin."
Merlin wants to pretend he has no idea what he means, he wants to bolt from the chambers and hide in his room forever, he wants to cry and shout and maybe throttle Arthur for the pressure and fear. He wants Arthur to look into his eyes and see that he is screaming No. No. No. Now is not the time. He wants Arthur to step back a little because their cheeks are touching and the princes breath is hot against his ear and neck. "Arthur-" he begins only to be interrupted with a demand of, "Tell me everything Merlin." Which he knows to mean, reaffirm everything I already know Merlin.
He needs space, he needs Arthur to move his arms from one each side of his head, so he pushes gently on Arthurs chest and the blonde steps away compliantly, still close and on alert should Merlin choose to run.
When Merlin opens his mouth he means to deny everything, or at least try to, but the words that burst forth are not words of denial, are not lies, they are the truth and Merlin can barely register how good it feels to be telling the truth for once since his arrival in Camelot and afterwards when the prince shows no sign of anything, except maybe a slither of awe he again asks Merlin to "Show me."
Merlin thinks of the most harmless thing he knows and settles for playing with fire, which for someone with his track record of clumsiness probably isn't the best first thought, it doesn't matter now though. He raises a hand, and it feels so weird to be doing this with an audience. For this, he needs no ancient words or text, and he is well aware of Arthurs breathing beside him, of the choked breath that occurs the moment he knows his eyes are no longer blue, but golden, the essence of magic. The fire crackles loudly and then the princes attention is no longer on Merlin but on the tiny embers of fire that are rising out of the heath and floating as if with a mind of their own. They move slowly, lazily, gently and even Merlin who has been able to do this since the age of five finds it beautiful. This time they form the shape Merlin strives for, the embers coming together gently and in Merlins opinion beautifully as they form a mirror image of Arthurs face. "Merlin." Arthur whispers and Melins content mood is shattered along with the firey face before them, he has to concentrate especially hard to make sure that the embers return to the fireplace and do not land on anything particualry flammable, for example the silent prince beside him.
"Will I be executed?" Merlin asks, quietly, when there is no reply he babbles, "Not all magic is bad Arthur, sometimes it is used for good and its gentle and good. I've only even used magic for good. For you."
"Shut up Merlin." The blonde growls and Merlin cant stop thinking, Im dead, Im dead, Im dead. "It was beautiful."
And if Merlin was surprised by those words then, when suddenly he felt the wall against his back and Arthurs lips on his he was beyond shocked. He knows, Hes kissing me, he knows and hes kissing me. Yes! Yes! Yes!
"I've always known Merlin." Are the whispered words against his forehead, words that cut Merlin deep with guilt but also elate him in a way that he has never felt before. Then gentle lips trail from his forehead, to his cheekbones, down to his jaw to his neck, softly caressing, caring, comforting, hesitant, different to the Arthur Merlin has always known. "I've always known."
Merlin wants to apoligize, for all the times he lied, pretended, kept things, hurt him, he wants to demand at least a thank you or ask why Arthurs hands are there, and his lips are trailing there, why he is touching him there and what the hell is he doing now?
It isn't until much later that Merlin shoots up from the bed and cries, "Morgana!"
"Well I've never had that response before." Arthur frowns from next to him.
"She told you didn't she?"
"Right after I told her that I didn't care about her magic and that I would never turn someone I truly cared for into my father. But I knew before then. I saw you, just a few months into being my servant, you were too lazy to clean my armour yourself. By then you'd already saved my life on numerous occasions. Also, you're a clumsy oaf, I figured you were harmless."
Merlin snorts, "Arthur?"
"That thing you said to Morgana, about turning in someone you care about, you meant her right? Not-"
"You Merlin, Always you." If Merlin purrs contentedly at that point he will not admit to it the next morning.
"Arthur? Can we do this again?"
"Every night if you wish."
"I'd like that." he smiles with a soft kiss against Arthurs chest.
"When I'm king Merlin," the prince begins, "It'll be safe for you, we'll make magic good again, great again. Camelot will be fair and just, you'll live as an equal. We'll be spectacular Merlin, me the king and you- my advisor, the court sorcerer, my friend and lover. One day I'll tell the world Merlin."
Merlin wants to ask Arthur when he became such a girl, instead he settles for listening to Arthur talk of the future, how he will chose the knights on their skill and loyalty to Arthur and Camelot, not because of their blood or their nobiltiy, Merlin felt a thrill of happiness at the thought of seeing Lancelot and Gwaine again, he imagined Gwens reaction to Lancelots return, Arthur speaks of how he will return magic to its wonderous state, something to be awed and practiced for good, not feared. The laws he would change, the people he would help, the plans he will make. And Merlin thinks, before sleep takes him, that with a future that looks so wonderous and a friend and now apparently lover who knows everything, he could probably wait a little longer. He waited this long for Arthur after all. Besides, they say that the best things are worth waiting for.
So what did everyone think?
Let me know! xx