Disclaimer: I don't own "Merlin". It is a TV show which belongs to BBC.
Storyline: Merlin, the Court Magician, tells Arthur that he's going to marry a noble lady. The king doesn't want to accept it because Merlin doesn't really know her and he always said that people should marry for love. Arthur is ready to do everything to change Merlin's decision.
English is not my mother language.
First of all... I passed my exam! :D I'm so happy!
I know that I promised to publish the first chapter sooner and I'm sorry that I didn't. I hope you'll enjoy it now! ^^
Engagement of an idiot
Arthur was sitting in his favourite chair, drinking a chalice of tasty wine. It was a year since Guinevere had decided to spend her life with Lancelot. It was a painful experience for Arthur. All these years of worshipping the forbidden love when his father had been still alive and these months of courting Gwen after he became a king were lost. Nonetheless, Arthur didn't feel betrayed any longer. The pain let go quickly and few days after Gwen and Lancelot's wedding, he was feeling quite well and he was ready to face his future.
When everything seemed to be perfect again, something unexpected had to happen. Arthur thought there was nothing in the world what would surprise him more than Merlin's gift of magic. However his best friend was never going to stop surprising him.
The warlock had knocked on his door the previous day and he simply admitted that he was going to marry Rowena, the daughter of some rich nobleman. After the revelation Merlin just got out of Arthur's chambers and was avoiding him for the next day.
The news turned the king's world upside down. Merlin didn't know anything about Rowena. Arthur had never seen them talking. The idea of Merlin's marrying anyone was preposterous but idea of his marrying someone who was practically a stranger to him was simply repulsive. Arthur couldn't allow this. He needed to stop his best friend before it was too late.
First of all he needed to find the reason of Merlin's decision. Then he would use many arguments to convince him that the reason wasn't really reasonable. The king wasn't, however, aware that convincing Merlin to tell him the truth was something near impossibility.
"Merlin!" Arthur's voice echoed through the corridor. It wasn't probably the way the king was supposed to behave but in this moment Arthur screwed it. Merlin stopped in the middle of staircase and waited until Arthur walked up to him. Any other person could run to his king the moment he heard his name. However Merlin was different and Arthur secretly respected him for this.
"Good morning, Sire," the sorcerer said kindly.
"Finish this charade," Arthur asked him. "Everybody knows that you call me by my name."
"Prat?" Merlin asked teasingly.
"That's not time for it, Merlin. We need to talk and you know that." Arthur took a deep breath. "You have to tell me why you want to marry the girl."
"Her name is Rowena," the warlock pointed out.
"Her name doesn't matter," Arthur said angrily. "You don't know her. Why do you want to do this?"
"I have my reasons," Merlin mumbled. "I've no idea why you're so concerned. I'm going to marry her, not you."
The king sighed. "I'm worried because you're my friend and I just can't see logic in your plans. She's practically a stranger to you. Marrying her would be the worst decision you ever made."
"You don't know anything!" Merlin raised his voice. "Besides you've got some problem with marriages. Gwen's left you and you can't move on. You should try to find your own happiness. You may be a king but no one is going to do it for you."
"That's not about me and Guinevere. That's about you. Don't mix these two totally different things." Arthur had his pride and wasn't going to let Merlin turn his own mistakes against himself. "I'm just trying to understand your behaviour."
"Then tell me Arthur, who I am?" Merlin asked, stopping.
"What?" The blonde blinked a few times.
"Just answer my question," Merlin said quietly.
"You're my friend, my advisor and quite powerful sorcerer," Arthur said after a while.
"Yes." The warlock nodded. "However for many, many years I was polishing your armour, mending your clothes and mocking your stables. I used to be nothing but your clumsy manservant. For many people I'm still a peasant who was cunning enough to convince you that my powers were worth something. I need those people to respect me and I can gain it marrying a noble lady."
Arthur was watching him in disbelief. "So it's all about bloody title?" Arthur shook his head. "You can't do this! It was you who were telling me about the romantic value of marriage. It was you who said that people should marry for love. I believed you! I thought that you were believing in the words you were saying."
"I believe in them," Merlin said weakly, astonished by Arthur's argument. "But it's not always so easy."
"It's easy," Arthur said stubbornly. "You don't have to marry her."
"You don't understand." Merlin sighed silently. "I will marry Rowena and I want you to respect my decision."
"How can I respect decision of a bloody hypocrite?" the king asked angrily. "I thought that this rotten world would never change you. Unfortunately, I was mistaken!"
Arthur was about to go away when Merlin punched him in his arm.
"You've got no reason to insult me," the warlock said miserably and ran away before Arthur could do anything.
Arthur felt horrible. Insulting Merlin was not the best way to convince him to change his mind. It was a tactical mistake. Arthur wanted Merlin to trust him. He needed to act slower and more carefully. Finally he needed to present Merlin the possible consequences of ill-conceived marriage.
However the first point of his plan was to go to Merlin and say sorry for his words. Normally the warlock would deny to talk to him for a few days before forgiving his prattish attitude. Nonetheless, Arthur didn't want to waste precious time. He didn't know the date of this fatal marriage, if any was already existing, but to make things slow, he needed start as soon as possible.
Arthur didn't understand why Merlin wanted to live in the chamber in the highest tower. It was quite tiring to get there. That was one of the reasons the king visited his friend so rarely. Normally it was Merlin who was going to king's chamber to talk about more or less serious subjects or remain in comfortable silence.
The blonde knocked on Merlin's door.
"Come in," he heard his friend's voice after a few seconds.
Arthur came inside and saw Merlin putting one of the books on a shelf. The warlock looked over his shoulder and immediately turned his head back. "Have you come to keep on insulting me?" he asked a little bit harshly. "If you did, then I need to warn you that I've heard much about myself in my life and you're not able to surprise me by calling me some other names. They probably don't exist."
"Merlin," Arthur groaned. "I'm not here to call you names."
"Then did something connected with magic happen during last few hours?" the warlock asked very professionally.
"You'd already know if something happen. You can sense such things," the king reminded him. "I've come here to tell you that I didn't mean the words that I said."
Merlin turned around to look Arthur in the eye. "That's something knew," he said quietly. "Are you sure you feel well? The Arthur I know wouldn't admit that he was sor..."
"That's the Arthur I know," Merlin said with a small smile. "Prat."
They were looking at each other for a while and then in the same moment they started laughing. They were laughing and laughing and couldn't stop. There was something magical in this moment and Arthur didn't want to break it. He missed such moments like this. It seemed like they were twenty again.
Finally Merlin managed to say something. "It's good to have the old Arthur back." He smiled joyfully at his friend. "I hope that you accepted my decision," he added more seriously. "I'm not going to change my mind."
"I don't like the idea of you marrying her," Arthur admitted. "And I don't really understand your reasons. I'm sure that we would think something up..."
"Arthur," Merlin warned him.
"I know!" the king sighed. "What I want to say is that if marrying that girl is something that you want, then I need to accept it."
"Thank you," Merlin said softly. His eyes were shining with joy. "You've no idea what it means to me."
The blonde smiled lightly, seeing Merlin's relieved and happy expression. "Nonetheless, don't make me like her," he said as quietly as he could. "She's stealing my best friend."
Something changed in Merlin's eyes and his smile. "Arthur," he almost whispered. "Is that what was troubling you?" he asked in disbelief. "I'll still be there for you, no matter what happens."
"I know," the king said. "We have destiny to fulfil. Albion is not going to wait forever."
"Yes. I still have one prat to protect," the warlock said more tenderly than it was proper.
"You know that you can't call me like this forever," Arthur said, swallowing hard.
"Who's going to stop me?" Merlin asked teasingly.
"Your king, warlock." Arthur smirked. "I'm not afraid of your clever tricks."
"I don't believe you," Merlin said, using his magic to push Arthur slightly. "You must be at least a little bit afraid of something that you can't control. That's the problem of all royal prats."
Arthur liked their teasing conversation but he didn't have much time for them. Instead of retorting, he cleared his throat and asked his friend seriously, "So you're no longer angry with me, right?"
Merlin hesitated. "I'm always slightly angry with you," he admitted.
"One side of the coin annoys the second one all the time. That's the base of its existence." Seeing Arthur's confused face, Merlin winked. "Okay, I'm not angry with you but you're annoying anyway."
"So you are," the king replied. "Would you like to eat supper with me?" he asked.
The smile on Merlin's face fade away. "I'd love to but I have plans. I've promised Rowena's family to eat supper with them. I'm sorry." The warlock smiled at his friend sadly.
"Oh... Sure. They were first." Arthur didn't look content and felt slightly hurt. Merlin had never before refused to eat the meal with him. "I'll leave you now. You need to get prepared."
"Arthur," Merlin said softly when the king was already crossing the door.
"Yes?" The blonde turned around hopefully. For a short moment he thought that the warlock changed his mind.
"Tomorrow we would eat the dinner together," Merlin suggested.
As a well-trained king, Arthur masked his disappointment without a problem. "It's a good idea. Have fun tonight."
Even as oblivious person as Merlin felt that his words weren't absolutely honest.