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A Prince's best friend
Epilogue: How It Then Worked Out
For once, it didn't feel bad at all to wake up, spooned against a warm firm body and Merlin didn't worry it was a dream (because last night had felt far to wonderful and close and had left a faint ache confirming it was real, not any kind of illusion). He just cuddled closer to the warmth and thought that he wouldn't mind waking up every morning from now on in Arthur's arms in Arthur's bed, safe, secure, together. The warlock didn't worry about some untimely servant or guard barging in or even the king himself finding out about his and the prince's relationship. He didn't worry about having to tell Arthur about his magic, because he had a feeling deep in his chest that it would work out fine, that what they had couldn't be broken. Arthur really was more caring and selfless than he let on. Last night had been solid proof of that. Oh well, mostly selfless. He might've been a bit selfish last night, but it hadn't been bad either.
(The prince had been quite pleased to find that Merlin had never really been intimate with anyone before, and thus was very eager to teach him about sword polishing. Merlin was never going to look at that particular chore with the same eyes ever again.)
Everything was simply utterly perfect.
A hand came up to stroke his ears, maybe automatically by now, but it paused as it encountered morning-tousled, soft hair and no triangular-shaped furry ears. Merlin felt something was different, and there was none of that twitching that had been a constant these last few days. He rolled onto his back, lying comfortably. No tail … The spell had broken!
Merlin was very happy, but also a bit saddened; he'd really enjoyed being scratched behind the ears, even by prat princes. Especially by prat princes.
"I liked those ears," Arthur muttered, only half-awake, nuzzling into Merlin's neck. Arms wrapped around the boy tighter, so he couldn't escape, which Merlin had no plans to d anyway. "Stay," the prince commanded.
"I won't ever leave," Merlin promised, really promising something deeper, more important than this moment, gasping when Arthur touched that sensitive spot near his collarbone and he pressed closer to feel more. Wonder if Arthur would have anything against trying what they did last night again? (And again, and again, and again…)
It came to no surprise to any of the knights, half of the servants, some of the councilors, the court physician, and probably many other people who didn't speak of it openly, when neither prince nor servant were nowhere to be seen in the castle for hours.
Gwaine was held hostage by his brother and fellow knights who thought it was best they leave on a long patrol somewhere along the northern border (of course after making sure Percival and some of the more reliable, strong men were left behind to guard Camelot). No ale or other alcoholic beverages were brought along. That however didn't stop Gwaine from starting to make wedding plans. Sir Bors, who lingered in the city closely watched by his wife, eventually regained his sanity.
Lady Morgana appeared incredibly pleased for days and her maidservant kept blushing furiously at the mention of the prince, the prince's manservant or the two in any kind of combination. Well, mostly at the combination. Of any kind. Especially intimidate ones. Swords and shields were also quite sensitive subjects.
The dragon in his cave got himself a well and good laugh. Again. (Those tiny two-legged beings were certainly too amusing for their own good; it took them forever to realize things and act them out and accept their Destiny.)
King Uther was befuddled as to the strange atmosphere among his councilors and glared at people more than usual (his poor servant ended up in a nervous crying heap) and honestly couldn't for his life believe Gaius when the physician claimed that prince Arthur had fallen ill and better spent the following days in his chambers, "taking a break from the stressful court life." He had an inkling that the servant boy, Marvin or whatever his name was, had something to do with it but couldn't pinpoint exactly what or why. It probably had to do with said servant's mysterious absence from the moment the black kitten came onto the stage. People's odd behavior had started with that cat. Everything started with the cat.
Yes, it must've been the cat, the king decided, and thought it best to ban those infernal creatures from the citadel. Preferably the whole city. Maybe dogs could be trained to take care of that rat problem.
Whereas Felines, of All and Any Kind, Species, Shape or Colour, Were No Longer Welcomed in the Kingdom of Camelot as Decreed by Its Great (Marvelous, Superb, Self-righteous, Prominent etc etc) King Uther Pendragon During the 24th Year of His Reign.