"Arthur? Where are we- Ow!" Arthur rolls his eyes and turns around slowly, as he had schooled himself to do instead of whipping around and running to Merlin like he wanted to do; but they weren't there yet- he wasn't far enough away from Camelot and those stone walls and treacherous towers built on a foundation of heartbreak and deceit.
He sees Merlin on the forest floor, trying to push himself up with his arms though he is weighted down the two bags of supplies that Arthur had asked him to pack. The Prince knew it would last them two days, he had deemed two days enough at the time; but now that he was outside the gates of Camelot with only Merlin for company, he realizes he could live this way forever.
As he watches Merlin push himself up, Arthur thinks that this is all he wants. That he truly needs. He loved Camelot, and his people; but he loved this more. He loved… Merlin more. He wanted them to have a life outside of Camelot with just the two of them. They could maybe even live in Ealdor, Merlin would help Hunith around the house while Arthur helped around town with the harvest.
A feeling rose in his chest as Merlin neared, breathing hard from the exertion of carrying two bags. His cheeks were flushed, his lips parted and his hair stuck to his brow with the sweat from the afternoon summer heat. "Arthur, good grief! If you're not going to help me, could you please just tell me where we're going!"
The crown prince of Camelot grinned, free and carefree as he shrugs and swipes at his long blonde hair that curled in front of his eyes. "Well, you idiot, if you moved faster, you'd find out sooner wouldn't you?" He doesn't even bother to tell his manservant that he couldn't speak to him like that. They were outside of Camelot now and his manservant- no, his friend, could speak to him however he wanted.
Merlin mutters something about him being an utter prat but Arthur just ignores him and pulls the two bags off Merlin and slings them around his own shoulders. He hears his friend gasp and stammer, but he says nothing, simply taking Merlin's hand as his friend slipped his cool hand into his. Here they weren't master and servant, they were equals- friends.
Arthur tries but fails to drown the feelings inside him that hopes they could be so much more.
He pulls a grumbling Merlin into a clearing, where the tall trees dotted the edges of it and the lake glitters a beautiful aquamarine as the sun light reflected off of it. Arthur wanted nothing more than to pull Merlin to him and jump into the cool, clean lake. "Arthur, this is beautiful…"
Merlin gasps, his pale, pink lips parted; his cheeks dusted a pale pink as his King's eyes watch him intently. His heart is beating fast in his chest when he sees it; the white teeth biting and gently pulling at his lower lip, the cheeky sparkle in Arthur's eyes that he begins to back away.
"Oh no, Arthur. This is my only set of- NO, ARTHUR! NO!"
Naturally the prat doesn't listen, tossing the bags to the ground and drawing Merlin to him as he leaped into the lake. The water is cool, and so pleasant on the skin, but Arthur barely registers it, he is too wrapped up in Merlin. The pressure of his long slender fingers on his cheek and hip. Underwater, he cannot hear anything; the pressure in his ears rising.
It is silent- but he sees. He stares into those dark blue eyes that glitters with happiness, the dark hair that floated up and rubbed against his cheek. The prince of Camelot feels his heart ignite as he watches Merlin's lips tug up into a wide smile. Surrounded by the cool water with both of them drowned in silence, Arthur drags Merlin's lips to his own.
He thinks he hears Merlin gasp, but he's too caught up in the warmth and heat of his love's lips against his amongst the chill of the water. He shivers when Merlin pulls away pulling himself and Arthur up to the surface. The prince realizes he's forgotten about breathing, he felt like the pressure of Merlin's lips to his own was all he would ever need to survive.
He wouldn't just be living merely alive and empty either, he would be happy. He was happy now. Merlin and Arthur break the surface of the water, gasping for air as their arms immediately reach for each other, fingers hard as they tighten their hold on one another. Arthur pulls his love's scarf off his neck with his teeth where he buried his face into the crook of his neck.
He presses his warm bitten lips against the cooled skin of Merlin's neck. He feels slender fingers tug at his hair as he sucks the skin between his teeth, biting down softly; testing. He hears Merlin breathing in his ear, breathless and quick. Arthur mouths the edges of Merlin's jaw, he wanted to devour every inch of Merlin's beautiful, flawless skin with his lips.
He does exactly that. Gentle and shaking hands explore each other's body, unsure and nervous as first time lovers often are. Lips travel lightly and teasing on heated, flushed flesh that cooled in the water no sooner than when lips moved on to another strip of goose-pimpled skin. Merlin and Arthur explored each other's bodies, gentle pressure of lips and fingers on old battle wounds and scars, soft caresses to cheeks and slow tugs of fingers in hair as they moved together as one being.
Names are whispered in out of breath voices and promises are sworn to their beloved. Promises that they could not keep, but they would try. They would always try. Their first gentle kiss in the lake to the loud labored breathing and raw screams replacing the beginning gentleness with the urgency of two people that wanted nothing more than to be closer; to be one would bond them together forever.
They would make sure of it. Merlin's eyes flashed gold, his smile relaxed and he begun to drift off to sleep, sinking deeper into the water before Arthur pulls him back up and carries his love to lay him beneath the cool shade of the trees. His dark head of hair lay on Arthur's lap, his fingers playing with Merlin's dark locks.
His eyes slip close as he watches his love's lashes against his pale cheeks, the steady rise of his chest. The young Pendragon decides there isn't a better way to fall asleep.
Arthur awakes later, with soft lips against his and a smile immediately lights up his face. He doesn't remember ever being so happy. "I-I love you, Merlin." He blurts out, before flushing a dark red and pressing his fist onto his lips; embarrassed. His love smiles, a wide smile that spoke only of love and acceptance that no doubt reflected his own.
But his eyes soon grow troubled and Arthur pulls back from their kiss, confused. "Arthur, there's something you don't know. I-I have…I mean, I'm…" His King simply smiles, and Merlin blushes as his gentle fingers lightly trace his flushed cheeks. "I know, love. I saw."
Merlin's eyes widen, no longer the bright smoldering gold, instead the beautiful deep dark blue that Arthur knew and loved so well. The idiot pulls away again, much to Arthur's frustration- and no, he absolutely does not pout. "But… Arthur, I don't think you understand! I'm a…"
Arthur shuts him up with a flurry of lips and teeth.
"I understand, Merlin. All that matters to me is that you're mine. I'm yours. Now, shut up and let me kiss you!"
Merlin happily obliges, but pulls away not a minute later, Arthur's face set in a indignant scowl.
His lover raises his hands in surrender. "Nothing! Just… I love you too."
Arthur pulls him back to his side with a smile.