A/n: Thank you to those who reviewed/ favorited my last story, I love you guys for it! I hope you like this one as well.
Merlin pushed himself a little to the left on the stone bench. When he turned his head, a small smile forcing its way to his lips. Arthur, the ever unmovable, was glaring at him fiercely. He quickly smothered the grin, although his mouth was aching to smile again.
"You do realize I know exactly what you are doing, yes?" Arthur said scathingly, rolling his eyes and then turning to face ahead again. Merlin allowed another twitch of the lips before answering.
"That's what makes life fun," Merlin replied nonchalantly. He saw Arthur's almost imperceptible nod, and knew from all the time they'd spent together he was rolling his eyes again. Merlin bit his lip to keep the smile away. Arthur leaned forward, resting his elbows on his thighs.
"Merlin, someone else might notice. What would you do then?"
This time it was Merlin's turn to roll his eyes. "Arthur, I'm your servant! We're allowed to be friendly. And besides, it's not new news that we're good friends. They don't suspect a thing." He hated it when Arthur started in on the what-if-people-see talk. No one thought anything of it. After all, not even Gaius knew, and he knew Merlin better than anyone. No one else would know that the Prince and his servant were more than just good friends.
"I suppose," Arthur replied, not sounding convinced at all. Merlin glared at him.
"Why won't you just loosen up? This could be fun, you know, but only if you let it."
Arthur looked back at Merlin. "I'm the future king Merlin, I can't be-"
"You can be whatever you want Arthur. I don't know where you got this idea that the king of all people shouldn't be themselves. If the king isn't, why should the people."
"No one will accept this, Merlin. You know that."
"No I don't. And neither do you! I've seen plenty of couples who aren't men and women. There's nothing wrong with that!"
"I know!" Arthur shouted. He looked around the practice courts. He smiled reassuringly at the staring knights and waited until they were sparring again before continuing with a much softer voice. "I know. But the people don't."
"So teach them! Show the people there is nothing wrong with it!"
"Camelot needs an heir."
There it was. The stake right to the heart of their love. An heir. As much love and affection and guidance and happiness that Merlin could give to Arthur, he could not give him a son. That was God's little trick to them, one last thorn. Not only were they forced to hide their relationship, eventually something would have to change. Arthur was right. No matter how madly in love they were, Arthur needed an heir.
Merlin smiled again, but this one had a slight tremble. "We'll think of that when it becomes an issue. For now, can you please just forget about it?"
Arthur looked like he was going to object, then nodded slowly. He looked Merlin in the eye. "I'd say it, you know. If I could."
Merlin nodded once. He would too. They kept their eyes locked, their emotions shining in their eyes. Or was it the tears?
"Your highness," a breathless voice asked, throwing them out of their reverie. Arthur unwillingly looked up at the small messenger. "Your father wishes for you and your servant to come to his quarters. He has news."
"What news?" Arthur asked, his attention completely on the boy, who suddenly turned as bright as a tomato. "He didn't say sir. He just said he needed both of you," the boy muttered and then took off, obviously not eager to speak to the prince any longer. Merlin gave a half smile at his shyness before turning to Arthur.
Arthur was gathering his things, preparing to head to his father. His father was another problem in their relationship. Uther already disapproved of magic and Merlin himself. If he knew… it wouldn't go over well with the man. And if Uther knew about his magic. Well, he'd be thrown in jail and then decapitated for that one. Not a great way to make progress in a relationship.
In a way, it defined their relationship. It was nothing but secrets and lies. No matter what they felt for each other, Arthur never seemed to realize that the only way they could be truly happy was if they were open about it. Would it be hard at first? Yes, it would probably almost kill them. But then it'd get easier, and soon it'd be perfect. Why was such a brave knight such a cowardly man?
Merlin stared down at Arthur's hand. It swung by his side freely, stretching every few seconds as Arthur's nerves got the best of him. Merlin knew that already; he always showed his nerves in his hands. And now, more than he ever had before, he wished he could take his love's hand and take it in his own, grasping it firmly and making it clear that he was safe with him.
He flexed his fingers, looking away from Arthur's beautiful hands. Unfortunately, he chose to look away to Arthur's face, and met a pair of bright blue eyes that could rival the ocean. Merlin bit his lip, watching as Arthur realizes just what Merlin was thinking as he watched Arthur's hands. Arthur looks down, at Merlin's face once more, than ahead. He takes a deep breath and seems to come to a decision.
He begins to walk very quickly. Merlin looks behind him, expecting some giant army to be chasing them for how fast Arthur is walking. He follows silently, knowing Arthur doesn't like it when he's interrupted and he'll find out eventually anyway.
Arthur practically flies up a back staircase to the second floor. Uther's quarters are on the first floor. Merlin is starting to get suspicious, but still he keeps his mouth shut. It wouldn't do well to interrupt Arthur when he's like this.
However, when Arthur reaches the nook in the hallway, he suddenly swerves and darts into. Merlin, however, was looking behind him at that moment, and did not see his master and lover disappear into the alcove. He sped up, searching frantically for him, not at all expecting said love's arm to reach out and catch him in the chest, knocking the air from his lungs as he pulled him inside the alcove.
The alcove was so small they were chest to chest. He stared at Arthur, not at all understanding why they were here. Arthur rolled his eyes again- something Merlin loved- and grabbed the back of his neck, pulling him firmly to him. His pushed himself against Merlin, flattening him against the wall as his lips forcefully moved against Merlin's as he kissed him. But slowly, the almost painful kisses turned to something softer and sweeter, tasting bittersweet as their lips parted only for a moment before they found each other again. Merlin wrapped his arms around Arthur as his love did the same to Merlin's neck. Merlin smiled against Arthur's lips as they met once again.
This was not at all like Arthur. To kiss in broad daylight- in an alcove, but it was still very easy to be caught- was not at all what Arthur would do. Arthur seemed to have perfect self control, never letting his emotions show for fear of someone realizing what they meant. But now, as he stared into Merlin's eyes, there was nothing but love and affection on his face. He kissed Merlin quickly one more time before bringing his head back and grinning at him. Merlin grinned back.
"You're amazing, you know that Merlin," Arthur whispered, squeezing Merlin tighter. Merlin grinned and kissed him again before also pulling back.
"Your father is expecting us," Merlin reminded him softly, not at all wanting to face the old man after such a wonderful moment as this. He would do anything to have more moments like this with Arthur.
Arthur's lips twitched sadly. He grunted and looked at the corridor they were hiding from. Then he looked back at Merlin. After so many times of seeing that look, Merlin knew exactly what it meant: Arthur was barely holding back tears. He kissed Merlin once more, and then he was out of the alcove, striding purposefully down the hallow halls toward the stairs. Merlin stepped out, glancing back at the alcove once more before following his love.