Merlin walked silently beside his prince, waiting for his inevitable eruption. Well, technically speaking Arthur was King since Uther died, but the prate refused to formally take the crown until he was wed. But regardless, he definitely hadn't planned on this confrontation happening in public, if at all. But this was Arthur and Arthur always worked things out of him in public, just to humiliate him, it seemed. So the dark haired servant continued walking along the corridor, trying to ignore the increasing stares. After a few minutes of silence, Merlin thought that perhaps Arthur would be calm. Maybe Merlin would be permitted to keep his head a bit longer. Maybe Arthur wouldn't make a scene. Maybe-

"You're getting married?" Maybe Merlin would do well to remember that he was dealing with Arthur, Prince Prat Extraordinaire. He sighed again. Then he responded, explaining what he really wished he didn't have to.

"Yes, Arthur. I'm getting married, tied down, what ever you call it." Other servants were stopping their own work to stare as Arthur stopped him, pinning him in place with one arm and making wild, very un-prince-like gestures with the other. Like pointing at him. There was a lot of pointing, and a lot of flailing. Merlin didn't think that was very nice, since Arthur happened to smack him a little with said flailing.

"Merlin, aren't you the one who told me marriage is reserved for loving couples? That it isn't a tool to gain status or money? You bloody hypocrite!" the blond ranted, his face reddening.

"You hardly know this girl, Merlin! Your marrying her because she's a noble's daughter? Since when, WHEN, Merlin, have you cared about social standing or appearances? If you did, you'd do something with your ridiculous hair!" Merlin silently snorted at this, even when Arthur was trying to stop him from doing something, he still found ways to insult him. Trying to put more space between him and the angered Prince, the ebony haired man took a step back before constructing his own retort.

"Arthur, it's the best marriage that would ever come to me. So I took it, because contrary to what you think, I'm not stupid," he countered, earning a sharp, harsh laugh from the blond. Merlin didn't think he was being amusing but apparently Arthur did-

Then Arthur roughly grasped his shoulders and slammed his frame into the stone wall behind him. Okay, so Arthur didn't think he was being funny. Big surprise, that was.

"You ARE bloody stupid!" Merlin silently wondered how on Earth he was taking this worse than when he confessed he used magic. Royalty were just weird people.

"You, are a sodding idiot Merlin, but I'm not going to stand idly by while you marry someone because you think you can't get better. Not after all the time you spend telling me about your romanticized values of love. No, I'm not having half my life wasted just because you're still a servant," he emphasized, reminding Merlin that he was going to be court magician once Arthur legalized magic. Ooh, happy thought...but right, he was busy being in an argument right now.

Arthur paused to bore his sky blue eyes into his sapphire ones. They searched his eyes for something, for what Merlin didn't know.

"Merlin," he said, tone low and laced with anger, "I can help you marry who ever you want. I'm the Prince and future King, I can easily give you word of recommendation. You don't have to do this Merlin." And then...Merlin felt his resolve break.

Because yes, he DID have to do this.

Merlin's features took on a dark look, and he glared up at Arthur through thick lashes. He brushed Arthur's hands off his shoulders slowly and very deliberately, visibly showing his anger.

"No Arthur. I DO have to do this. You don't know anything about, so don't try and fix it until you do," he growled, his voice dangerous. Every servant in the hall gasped, and a few dropped their various objects. Hushed whispers carried through their midst. He turned on his heel and started to walk away from the corridor, trying to escape before the rest of his walls broke down.

Arthur's eyebrows raised as he laughed. He reached out and gripped Merlin's exposed wrist.

"Merlin, don't try and act like it's a bigger problem than it is. What is it that's SO bad that word from ME couldn't help?" Arthur scoffed. Arthur dared scoff at this situation. That did it. Merlin wasn't one very susceptible to rage, but Arthur always found ways to bring rare things out. And now, now...Merlin was angry. And that was never a good thing. Dark hair flipping with his speed, Merlin whipped around to face the blond again.

"Well Arthur, I've never heard of there being TWO Kings of Camelot!" Now every servant went dead silent. A thump was heard as a few of them fainted and slumped to the ground. Arthur's face froze, and in freezing, his grip on Merlin lessened.

Then Merlin actually realized what he said.

Throwing one hand up to his forehead, he whispered to himself.

"Oh god, oh god...I have to...to...do some...laundry. Yeah, laundry," his voice cracked and trembled as tears welled up. Merlin withdrew his withdrew his arm from Arthur and shuffled away, wiping furiously at his falling tears as he sped into a full run. He had to get away. The sound of his worn leather boots slapping the floor as his feet smacked down on it was deafening in the silence.

And it woke Arthur from his trance. The blond started after Merlin in a rush, but then his sense came to him and he turned back toward the crowd.

"Get back to work before I make you all build stocks so I can put all of you in them!" he bellowed before taking off. The servants scurried back to their tasks. In their hustle, though, they all managed to stay out of the Prince's way as he darted through the halls in search of Merlin.

He finally succeeded in finding him a few minutes later as he was headed toward Gaius' chambers, his pace slowed to a walk and his fists clutching tufts of dark locks. His whole frame trembled, and it made him appear even more frail, if that were possible. Arthur trotted up to him and latched onto his elbow, spinning him around to face him while he caught his breath. He took in Merlin's crimson cheeks, and the shining tracks of fallen tears on them. This wasn't normal. Merlin was always the one smiling, no matter what...and it didn't feel right. Arthur wanted to speak, but the dark haired man spoke first, his breaths shaky.

"It's alright your Highness, I understand. I'll just get my things and I'll leave Camelot as soon as I've got them. Am I allowed to say my goodbyes?" he begged, convinced that Arthur was going to send him away. Arthur forced himself to glare at that fallen face, forced himself not to cry as well. Fortunately, another servant happened to pass by.

"You there," he called, pointing, "I want you to go fetch Merlin's things immediately. All of them. Am I understood?" The servant gulped and nodded, then fidgeted like something was wrong. Just as he wanted. Arthur looked toward Merlin again, and saw the tears forming at the edges of his red rimmed eyes.

"Sire, where would you like the belongings to be delivered to?" the servant asked timidly. Arthur smiled and pulled a shocked Merlin into him, embracing him.

"Take them to my room, please." He felt Merlin become stock still as the trembling stopped in response to the shock. Then his small body started to push away from him, but Arthur refused to let him go.

"You...you're letting me stay? And with my head attached?" he stuttered out, his voice a few octaves off. A hearty laugh escaped Arthur's lips at Merlin's silliness before nuzzling his head.

"Yes Merlin, you get to keep your head," he chuckled, feeling Merlin relax, "And you get to be first ever Co-King." Now Merlin pushed away from him and succeeded in breaking the embrace, the surprise and joy evident on his face. But then worry washed over his features.

"Arthur...do you mean that? Because even if you do, there's not ever been anything like this...or at least it hasn't been legal. What if the people don't approve?" he murmured, raising a hand to chew on his fingernail nervously. Reaching out to cup his face, Arthur tried to ease his worry.

"Of course I mean it. I'd have fired you a long time ago if I didn't like you at all, yeah? And as for the people...well, I can certainly just put up my crown if they don't like it." Merlin's blue eyes went wide.

"You'd do that for me?" Again, Arthur laughed. Dammit, Merlin was NOT being that funny!

"If you haven't figured that out by the fact that I've risked my life for you, you're denser than I thought. If the people don't like it, well..." A large rustling noise followed, sounding much like a stampede of horses.

Morgana appeared from around the corner, a mass of females with a few men behind her. Each one carried a torch that was lit by a magical blue flame, and Morgana smiled at the two boys.

"Arthur, don't worry about the people. We've all been waiting for this to happen, and it's about time!" she mock scolded, wagging her finger at them. This was a shock to the boys.

"Wait wait wait," interjected Merlin, "How could any of you know this was going to happen if I JUST admitted I like Arthur?" A girl with wavy long blond hair popped out of the crowd, a smile on her face to answer Merlin's question.

"We're fangirls dear, we can spot this sort of thing from a mile away!" she laughed. Arthur's eyebrows arched up.

"So...why have none of you ever tried to help us get together before this?" he questioned. Another girl popped up, her hair light blond and short cropped.

"We didn't know how you would take it Sire, and no offense, but none of us like the stocks." Merlin snorted, which earned a slap on the head. Arthur grinned at his his meek 'ow...' and kissed the top of his head. The result was a blushing Merlin and a loud cry of adoration from the mob.

Morgana snapped them back to attention with an exaggerated cough.

"Right then. Arthur, Merlin, don't worry about wedding plans, we've been working on them for months. You two just go get settled in together and we'll make the announcement of your engagement to the town, alright?" she explained, sending away various amounts of people to do tasks. Before either man had a chance to protest or respond, she spoke again.

"Well, farewell boys. Have fun!" And she disappeared around the corner again. They stood in shocked silence for a while, but we all know Merlin's never completely quiet.

"Well, that was...weird. How did they even know about us and where we were? Does she stalk us or something? I mean, I know she's like a sister to you but-" Arthur sighed exasperatedly and clamped a hand over Merlin's mouth.

"Shut up and kiss me." Merlin happily obliged, for possibly the first time in his life.

...

In the time that followed, I must say, Merlin and Arthur led extremely happy lives. As well as the fangirls, even though most of them died on the day of the wedding. Their species is now close to extinction. Merlin and Arthur have never been happier.

And...there you go. My first Merlin fic. Helpful words, please and thank you. :D