It was a few weeks later when Gwen and Lancelot announced their engagement over dinner to their friends, which was quickly celebrated. They admitted to have been engaged for a while but due to Merlin's return they had decided to wait until things settled down. Merlin had been one of the first people on their feet to congratulate the two and Arthur had called him a softy when he started talking about how beautiful weddings were. So when the invitation came through the post with the date set months later, Merlin had grinned like an idiot and had spent endless hours taking Arthur shopping for wedding presents.
The wedding took place in a large garden out the back of a hotel where a huge tent was put up for the reception, rooms were booked for the guests and due to Lancelot getting a large raise, he could afford to make the wedding extravagant. Merlin watched as Gwen appeared at the end of the isle with her Father and he had never seen her so happy, the smile never left her face as she approached Lancelot at the alter. As the ceremony began and the vows were exchanged, Merlin couldn't help but meet Arthur's gaze who was stood behind Lancelot and looking over at him.
Unbeknown to many of the people here, they had left for the wedding during the middle of a heated argument. Merlin had been complaining about Arthur working too many hours and how he might as well have stayed with his people if Arthur was going to be away so much. Arthur had hastily remarked that maybe it was time Merlin started doing something with his time rather then sitting home like a pet dog waiting for its owner to come home. The argument had continued in the car and had ended with Merlin saying he'd be leaving at the end of the wedding, his plan being to return to his Father until things had cooled off.
It wasn't like they hadn't fought before. They probably bickered every day. Except never had Arthur looked so angry and both of them had said things that they had avoided. Arthur had even brought up Merlin's five year 'coma' and claimed that he had gotten used to Merlin not being around so if he left, he wouldn't notice. Now Arthur stood up at the alter as the best man and all Merlin could think about was how handsome he was. Even though he was a prat.
Arthur might have said all those things about not noticing if Merlin was gone but he didn't realise just how tightly he held Merlin during the night, how he woke up from nightmares claiming Merlin was still dead but had been easily put back to sleep by Merlin whispering comforting words, the nightmares forgotten the next morning. He prevented Merlin from using his magic on occasion, telling him that he was just being lazy and that Arthur would just do it himself. Merlin knew him better then that. Arthur was scared that if Merlin used too much magic that he'd die again, even after Merlin had told him that he didn't need to be worried about that anymore.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss your bride."
Merlin got to his feet to clap along with the rest of the crowd and averted his gaze away from Arthur long enough to watch Gwen walk back down the isle with Lancelot. The steps slow due to the fact Gwen was months into her pregnancy. He had suggested once that Gwen should wait until the babies birth until she got married but she had replied with 'I don't want to not be his wife a moment longer then I have too' and that had ended the brief conversation. They had put off their honeymoon because the baby was due so soon and Merlin planned on letting them know he'd happily look after their child when they eventually did go on their honeymoon.
That is if he still had someone to help him.
His eyes turned back to the tall blond walking arm in arm with Morgana and noticed Arthur blush when his sister whispered something to him. Merlin didn't notice that his hands had stopped clapping until Will asked if he was okay when he turned where he stood to look at him. He had quickly responded with a 'yes' and had moved to the tent with the rest of the guests. Finding his seat on the table filled with his friends, he glanced over to the main table where Arthur had taken a seat next to Morgana.
Gwen had apologised that she couldn't get him on her table but he had understood her reasoning. She either had her family sat with her or people who had been there during the years he couldn't be. Gwen's Father sat at her side, Lancelot's parents sat next to him and then Arthur and Morgana next to them and finally Elyan who sat next to Lancelot. It wasn't like Merlin was sat amongst strangers, Will, Leon and Gwaine were with him, along with people who apparently went to university with the happy couple.
After welcoming Mr and Mrs Du Lac, the celebrating began and Merlin easily fell into conversation with his friends. Trying to ignore the fact that he could feel Arthur staring at him. Only when the sound of someone clinking their spoon on their glass did everyone fall silent and Merlin looked over to see Arthur on his feet. The best man's speech was now up. He exchanged a small smile with Gwaine and took a sip from his glass of champagne, he was probably going to need it.
"Lancelot has been one of my closest friends for as long as I can remember. Our firsts for everything involved each other, he was there when I first rode a bike, I was there when he first punched a guy so I'm happy to say I was there when he first started falling for Gwen. They started as friends and that quickly blossomed into love, it's rare to see two people so in love that nothing gets in their way when being together." Merlin gripped his hands together as Arthur turned to look at him. "They know that whatever life throws at them it's better to face it together rather then alone. That every night they want to fall asleep with their arms wrapped around each other and wake up the same way. How every moment apart is agony and they count down the seconds until they're reunited. Their kind of love is treasured and will never fade, until the end of time." Arthur raised his glass and smiled, "I look forward to watching them grow old together and I ask you to raise your glasses to celebrate the start of their lives together."
As they all raised their glasses, Gwaine leant over and whispered, "Why do I get a feeling most of that wasn't about them?" Merlin didn't respond, instead he blushed a little and finished his drink in one. A few minutes later he was watching Gwen and Lancelot having their first dance, their eyes never leaving one another and a cliche song playing in the background. However Merlin was a sucker for cliches.
Leaning his chin on his propped up hand, he hummed along to the song and unconsciously moved from side to side. Gwen looked so beautiful in her long white dress and Lancelot had never looked so handsome, however none could be as handsome as the man he shared a bed with at night. That very same person suddenly appeared out of nowhere and tapped him gently on the shoulder, to which Merlin slowly turned his gaze away from the happily married couple to look up at the nervous looking Arthur.
"Would you like to dance?" Arthur asked. If Merlin couldn't tell how nervous Arthur was he would have mocked the seriousness of his tone. Giving a small nod Merlin got to his feet and felt butterflies appear in his stomach as Arthur took his hand to lead him out onto the now crowded dance floor. As they found a spot to dance, Merlin held his breath when Arthur pulled him into his arms and their eyes met. For once words were lost to him. What was he meant to say after everything they'd said upon arrival? It wasn't something they could ignore like all the other arguments they'd had.
"So have you heard that there's a bet on who will catch the bouquet?" Arthur asked and Merlin raised an eyebrow in question. "Most people have bet that it's Morgana who's going to catch it. Some have even placed bets on Gwaine catching it."
"Oh really? And may I ask who you've placed your bet on?"
Arthur smiled and pulled him closer, his lips gently brushing against Merlin's ear. "Who do you think? However I seem to be the only one who thinks the clumsy idiot Merlin can actually catch the bouquet."
"So not only am I a pet dog, I'm also a clumsy idiot?" Merlin asked angrily.
"Merlin, don't be stupid. I was only teasing-"
"Now I'm stupid as well?" He pushed Arthur away and glared, "Thanks for the dance but I've been insulted enough for one night." Merlin didn't wait to hear what he had to say and instead left the tent to get some fresh air, his arms quickly crossing to keep himself warm. He knew he was being sensitive but he was getting tired of the dinners sitting alone at the dinner table, arguing with a man who was rarely around and finding that his life revolved around one thing. Arthur. Since when did he become so dependent on one person?
"Weddings are normally meant to bring couples together," Morgana commented as she joined him and he smiled. His relationship with Arthur had never been normal. "What did he do this time?"
"How can he do something when he's never around lately?" Merlin asked and took a seat on a nearby bench. "Did he send you out here to talk to me?"
"You honestly think Arthur would ask anybody for help? Come on Merlin, you know him better then I do." She took a seat next to him and gently took his hand in her own, "Just give him time to sort everything out. Then he'll be the Arthur you fell in love with."
"He's still the guy I fell in love with Morgana, I'm not going to stop loving him because he's busy all the time. I just don't understand why he's always away. We had five years apart and when I got back, everything was perfect. We would talk for hours, sometimes into the early hours of the morning and we'd wake up in each others arms with huge smiles on our faces. He would look at me like I was his entire world. Now … I can barely get two sentences from him. The only time we properly speak is when we're arguing."
"Arthur has a lot on his plate right now. I promise you, things will look up soon."
"You know something don't you?" Merlin asked and got to his feet, looking down at her with worry. "Has he gotten bored with me? I know I can be annoying and I talk too much, I probably should be neater around the flat but he's never complained before. I can't even make up for it all with sex because he's never home-" he paused for a second "-oh my god. He's found someone else hasn't he? Someone who isn't annoying and can blow his mind in the bedroom-"
"Merlin!" Morgana was standing now and taking him by the shoulders, "Arthur has been so busy lately because he's leaving his Father's business. He has to find a replacement and make sure everything is in order, which should take years but he's attempting to do it in months. That's why he's been at the office so much. Not because he's found somebody else."
"Oh …" he drifted off and he felt his body relax, not realising how tense he'd been. "Why is he leaving Uther's company?"
"Because oddly enough he wants to spend more time with the annoying, talkative, unclean guy he's madly in love with at home," she smiled and squeezed his shoulders affectionately. "So give him a break alright? He wanted to surprise you and the whole thing should be over in a few days. Then you can go back to being the soppy couple that everyone despises."
"Morgana!" Gwaine called from the tent, "Bouquet time!"
Merlin followed after Morgana who dashed for the tent and he watched from the sidelines as the crowd gathered on the dance floor, Gwen stood at the front with a grin on her face. Crossing his arms over his chest and leaning back against a pole holding up the tent, he smirked when he saw Morgana shoving other girls to the side. "Are you ready?" Gwen asked and everyone yelled in excitement. "One, Two, Three!"
She threw the bouquet over her head and Merlin remembered the confidence Arthur had had in him at catching it, how nobody else had bet that he could. With a smile on his face, Merlin flicked his hand and time slowed. Making his way over, he managed to slip through the people and stood directly under the flowers. Making time go back to normal, he easily caught the flowers and gave a small jump in triumph. "I just lost £20!" He heard Leon yell from the crowd and Merlin laughed. That showed them.
His eyes scanned the crowd to find Arthur and his hands tightened around the flowers when he saw Elyan talking to him, their bodies closer then they should be and Elyan's body language perfectly clear. Merlin was walking over before he could stop himself and his magic came to life as he forced the two men apart, Elyan now looked shocked and Arthur looked scared what Merlin would do. "You need to learn to keep your distance from my boyfriend. Don't think I haven't noticed the way you look at him when you come over to see him, the way you watch him from across the room and that every chance you get you touch him. He's mine!"
"Wait a minute-" Elyan started.
"Elyan you should probably go," Arthur said from behind Merlin as he pulled Merlin away from Elyan. "You don't want to mess with Merlin when he's angry."
"I'll see you later Arthur," Elyan smiled and began to walk away. Merlin took a step forward with every intention of making sure Elyan got the message that he wouldn't be seeing Arthur later except Arthur took him by the hand and turned him around. For some reason it angered him that Arthur was trying to protect Elyan.
"Here are your damn flowers," Merlin spat and shoved the bouquet at his chest. Un-freaking believable, there he was trying to catch some stupid flowers and Arthur hadn't even attempted to let Elyan know he wasn't interested. Morgana might think that Arthur still loved him but his actions suggested otherwise. "Hey, can I get the keys for room 301?" He asked at reception and they handed them over when he gave them his name.
"Merlin!" Arthur yelled his name as he entered the building.
He vanished a second later and found himself stood outside room 301, not wanting Arthur to have the chance to follow him. Entering the room with ease, he took off his jacket and chucked it onto the sofa, his hands reaching up to loosen the tie around his neck. "Emrys let me in!" Arthur yelled from outside the door and Merlin flicked his hand, making a sign hang on the door that read 'prats not welcomed' and made his way to the bedroom. One good thing about Arthur was that he could afford a hotel room that might as well be a tiny flat.
"I was being polite when I said let me in, I do have a key you know, I booked this room myself." Arthur appeared at the bedroom door and Merlin turned to face him with a blank expression. "What was that all about? I was just talking to Elyan. You know, like me and you don't do anymore."
"And who's fault is that?" Merlin replied and his body tensed when Arthur pulled him closer by grabbing his tie. "You can't just ask me to dance and expect the argument to be forgotten. Elyan needed to be told to back off since you apparently can't do that yourself and I thought the flowers would be a nice gift since it's the only thing I can give you at the moment." His body tensed when Arthur's pressed up against his and the anger radiated off them both.
"You have no idea what I'm doing-"
"Leaving the family business? Yeah, knew that already. Which is why I understand why you've been so busy but it doesn't explain the fight, why we haven't slept together in weeks and why I have relationship with an answering machine at the moment. You must have a spare minute to call your boyfriend right?"
"Look, what I said back home … I didn't mean it. You're not a pet dog and I know I've been a crappy boyfriend-"
"More then crappy," Merlin muttered.
"Yes, more then crappy. In a few days everything will be sorted, I can be home all the time and you won't have to get jealous anymore."
"I am not jealous!"
Arthur pressed his lips to Merlin's jaw and smiled, "You're cute when you're jealous and extremely hot when you get protective over me. Especially when you tell people I'm yours." His fingers slowly began to undo the buttons of Merlin's shirt and he inwardly shivered.
"You need … to stop that," Merlin muttered and yet somehow didn't resist when Arthur began pushing him towards the bed. "Just because you're a good kisser doesn't mean you can … just take me to bed … and make me forget what a prat you are." Arthur just murmured in agreement and pushed the shirt from his shoulders, his teeth nipping at his sensitive neck. "Why can you make me feel like this when I'm so angry at you right now?"
"Because you love me," Arthur pointed out and moved to press his lips to Merlin's. His lips were forceful and as his hands slipped around his waist, Arthur managed to make him completely forget why he was angry at him. "You are also extremely sexy in a suit, did I tell you that?"
Merlin didn't reply, more like he couldn't since the air left him when his back suddenly pressed against cool silk sheets and he realised Arthur had managed to lower him down onto the bed without much effort. As he raised his arms above his head to grab the headboard so he was further up the bed, Arthur came down on top of him and stroked a hand from his neck to his waist as he claimed Merlin in another ravaging kiss.
Without much thought, he caressed Arthur with firm strokes when he lowered his hands to Arthur's shoulders and was gratified to hear a catch in Arthur's breath. When Arthur shifted his lower body, Merlin smiled against Arthur's open lips and his lover pulled away, a look of confusion on his face. "What are you smiling about Merlin?"
"Nothing … nothing at all," Merlin pulled him down into another kiss and felt Arthur's playful nips at his lower lip. "You do however have too many clothes on." In the blink of an eye all their clothing was removed and their bodies instantly pressed together for warmth, something they hadn't done in a long time. It was funny how even though weeks had passed since they had last been together like this, he still remembered every part of Arthur's body that liked to be touched and he knew exactly what to do to make Arthur squirm.
"When we get home you are not allowed to do that," Arthur commented as he pressed light kisses to Merlin's chest. "I enjoy undressing you. However I'll let you off the hook this time …"
"When did you get so forgiving?" Merlin asked quietly.
"Since I know there are numerous ways that I can torture you tonight in retaliation."
The next morning whilst Arthur was in the shower, Merlin was searching the room high and low for the car keys. They were due to leave the room in fifteen minutes and Arthur, like always, had left everything to the last minute. Including finding the keys to the car that was going to get them home without any hassle. Abandoning the idea that they were in the bedroom, he went out into the main seating area to see Arthur's jacket hanging over the back of the sofa. Bingo, they would definitely be in there.
Lifting up the jacket without much thought, he let out a small gasp as the contents of his pocket fell out and let out a small moan. Trust Arthur to stuff his pockets filled with junk. Bending down to scooped the bits and bobs up, his body froze when his eyes landed on a small velvet box that made women's heart beat rabidly in their chests. So why was his doing the same?
Stuffing the items into Arthur's pocket, he got to his feet and kept the small box in his hand, the jacket forgotten for the moment. His fingers trembled as he opened the box and Merlin's eyes fell to the small gold ring that had a dragon on it with a small red gem as its eye. Just like the dragon Merlin had painted above Arthur's bed all those years ago. As he heard the shower turn off, he shut the box and put it back where it belonged, the smile on his face having no chance in being hidden.
So it was no surprise when Arthur asked as he was leaving the bedroom, "What's made you so happy?"
Merlin looked at him with such joy and happiness filling him that he couldn't help but bring Arthur into his arms, burring his head in Arthur's neck in the process. When he'd first started having feelings towards Arthur they had been forbidden, their parents future plans to be wed getting in the way. Who knew it would be them that ended up getting married, having a family, starting a life together. At least, that's what the future held for them. "You are what has made me so happy and I plan on never letting you go."
I can't believe that's the end of the story *sobs* I seriously could write about these two boys forever.
Thank you to every single person who decided to read this through to the end, the support has been amazing and we've almost hit the 500 mark for reviews. It's been a fun few months writing this.
I will now be focused on finishing my other two smaller stories before I attempt another large one like this. I have a couple of ideas in mind but have no idea which one to tackle. If anyone fancies giving me a hand on which one to choose, let me know.
Once again thanks for reading and I look forward to reading what some of you thought. Until the next story :)