Chapter 24: Marrying
Merlin stood proudly beside Morgana as he watched his oldest friend and his newest friend get married to each other.
He found himself becoming rather emotional as the situation fully hit him, hastily blinking back the tears as the pair exchanged their vows, and soon finding a tissue pushed into one hand by an amused looking Morgana. His fiancée had obviously noticed that he had started to become tearful and he glared at her a little, despite his embarrassment, more than aware that she was amused by his weakness and, he thought, perhaps even a little turned on too - as if the idea of him being so emotional was appealing to her in some way.
After the ceremony, everybody made their way outside to have photographs taken, before making their way to the reception lunch. After posing with the bride and groom, the other Ushers and various guests, someone called out to Gwen to remind her to throw her bouquet and, turning her back with a delighted laugh, the bride threw the flowers rather wildly into the air and, Merlin noted with concern, not even close to the place where Morgana was currently standing.
Well, that wouldn't do at all.
He concentrated very hard and used a little magic to change the flowers' direction in mid-flight. Morgana was so surprise to find the bouquet heading straight at her that she barely had time to lift her hands to catch it before it landed on top of her head. Merlin laughed out loud at her flustered confusion.
"Well now, that was most unusual," Gwaine muttered next to him. "I wonder why it did that?"
"Did what?" Merlin replied innocently.
"You do know what that means, don't you?" the Irishman pushed.
"I don't know about you, Gwaine, but I must admit that I'm feeling rather cold and hungry now," Merlin responded innocently, leaving his friend staring after him with a confused frown on his face.
Despite saying it as a joke, Merlin was genuinely pleased to get back into the warm where all the guests were mingling and indulging in glasses of champagne and Bucks Fizz, whilst the tables were being set up for lunch and the Bride and Groom walked amongst the guest to be congratulated further. Morgana shared her time; spending some of it with the two young bridesmaids, some with Gwen as she mingled with guests, and the rest with her fiancé, surprising Merlin a couple of times by walking quietly up behind him and putting a warm hand gently in his as he talked to some of his friends.
At lunch, Merlin and Morgana were both seated at the top table, Merlin on the other side of Leon with Morgana on the Bride's side next to Gwen. After some very pleasant food, which Merlin would have enjoyed even more if everyone those around him hadn't kept asking him what he thought of it 'as a chef,' it was time for the speeches, and Merlin sat back with a relaxed smile, realising that he was genuinely glad that Leon had agreed to be Arthur's best man, after all.
It was a good speech and, as Merlin had hoped, was full of amusing and embarrassing tales about the young Arthur, along with some lovely comments about Gwen and how much of a positive influence she'd obviously had on her new husband. The bride and groom were due to speak to their guests too, although both fathers had understandably declined that invitation.
That Uther had agreed to attend the wedding at all was more than Arthur could have hoped for in his wildest dreams, and there was certainly no point in making the situation any more awkward than it already was. In fact, much the same could be said for Tom, with both fathers deciding to be quietly dignified throughout the proceedings and allowing their children to take most of the glory, as was only right and proper.
"Finally," Arthur concluded at the end of his speech, "My … wife and I ..." He paused and tipped his head to one side. "That actually sounds quite good, doesn't it?" Everyone laughed. "Anyway, as I was saying, my wife and I would like to thank two very special people, without whom this whole thing probably wouldn't have happened at all. My sister Morgana and our good friend Merlin … please stand you two." Merlin pulled a face, but did as he was bid, sending a slightly nervous look towards Morgana who gave him a surprisingly shy grin in reply as everyone clapped loudly in response to Arthur's pronouncement.
"In fact," Gwen contributed, "I do believe that they have something else to add?" Merlin and Morgana exchanged another look.
"Go ahead," he called over to her with a broad grin. "Seeing it was all your idea in the first place."
"Ah, well, Merlin and I both wish Arthur and Guinevere a very long and happy marriage," Morgana started a little nervously, "and we can only hope to follow their example." There was a slight pause as some people wondered if this was going where they thought it was. "As yesterday was the Twenty-Ninth of February, I took the opportunity to propose to Merlin and he was gracious enough to accept me … once he got over the shock anyway," she added as the whole room erupted into more applause and Merlin found his back firmly slapped from both sides.
"Merlin, how wonderful." Hunith was quickly by his side, throwing her arms around his neck enthusiastically.
"Ah, thanks, Mum."
"So that was why Morgana was so keen to get that prenuptial agreement signed?"
"Congratulations," Arthur said stretching over in front of Leon to shake his hand. "Although perhaps I should be offering my commiserations instead. Are you quite sure you know what you're letting yourself in for?"
"I heard that, Arthur Pendragon," Morgana's voice floated over from somewhere in the middle of a small crowd of well wishers, and the two young men exchanged a grin as the end of the announcements apparently gave the cue to all the guests that the dinner was over, with most people leaving their chairs and starting to mingle.
"We weren't that sure about announcing it today but Gwen said ..." Merlin started to explain as he and Arthur moved to one side to continue their conversation.
"No, she did ask for my permission and I agreed that this was the perfect opportunity. To be honest, it's rather nice to have a little attention pulled away from us for a few minutes," Arthur continued in a quieter voice, raising his eyes to the ceiling.
"We're planning something even smaller," Merlin replied with a nod. "Much smaller if I have my way."
"My sister does like to be the centre of attention in many things but … I expect she'll be happy enough to compromise in that regard."
"Will you be my best man, Arthur?" Merlin asked a little shyly.
"Me? But, what about Elyan or Will or Gwaine?"
"I'd rather it were you," he replied simply.
"Of course. I'd be honoured," Arthur replied, laying a friendly hand on Merlin's shoulder. "Come, time for a few more drinks before the first dance." He looked him up and down critically. "I take it that you are able to dance, Merlin?"
"Of course I can dance."
"What, and stay upright too?"
Arthur was surprisingly graceful on the dance floor, Merlin noted. The blond had approached Gwen with a deep bow, took her hand, and even raised it to his lips to kiss before taking her into a proper, old fashioned, ballroom hold and escorting her around the dance floor.
After a few more bars of music, the ushers and bridesmaids followed, and Merlin did his best to follow Arthur's lead, also kissing Morgana's hand, although he knew that he would not be able to follow Arthur's impressive ballroom stance.
"Don't worry about it," said Morgana, somehow guessing his thoughts. "Arthur's been taking frantic, professional lessons during the last few weeks and, if we really want to go along this route, I'm sure you'll have plenty of time to practice. As it is, you're doing pretty well. At least you're not stepping on my toes."
"Well, I'm just glad that you're dancing with me. Arthur was teasing me by saying that, as Maid of Honour, you should really be dancing with Leon."
"Yes, I know," she replied with a wicked smile. "He said that it should be fine because he doubted you were the jealous type. I told him that he had no idea what he was talking about and if he didn't want his best friend to be turned into a toad, he should let me dance with you instead."
"Quite right too," Merlin replied with a firm nod, "but such a fate would be no less than he deserved if he'd dared to lay a hand on my fiancée." Morgana raised her eyes to the ceiling, quite aware that he was exaggerating. "Seriously though, do you want to have a wedding like this, Morgana? Or would you rather a quieter affair?"
"Quieter, I think." She shrugged. "It's odd, sometimes, on occasions like today, my romantic side comes out and I think how lovely all of this would be but, honestly, when I try to imagine myself in this situation and showing myself off like this, I think that … perhaps ..."
"It might be a bit embarrassing?" Merlin suggested.
"You agree? I always thought you really were the romantic type. The way you set those two up – how emotional you got at the ceremony …?" Merlin pulled a face at the reminder.
"I admit that I did enjoy getting those two together and I love making romantic decorations for my customers but, as you said, appreciating such things and actually wanting it for myself?" He shrugged. "Well, they're really two different matters."
"Well, we've got time enough to discuss things – we can even postpone it to next year if you'd rather?"
"Now then, let's not be too hasty," he countered with a grin.
"Looks like Lancelot asked Elaine for the first dance as we hoped," Morgana observed, nodding her head to the other side of the dance floor. Merlin followed her gaze and grinned.
"Good, I was worried about how awkward today might be for him but, perhaps, if he can find love elsewhere ..?" He paused, looking more closely and smiling at what a handsome couple they made. "She's certainly pretty enough to keep him suitably distracted," he commented.
"Do I need to be jealous, Merlin?" Morgana asked, arching an eyebrow and Merlin swallowed hard, realising he had been staring at the young girl rather more than was polite.
"I was simply commenting on the fact that your family doesn't seem to be short of the good looking gene," he replied quickly.
"Smooth recovery. You're forgiven," she replied kissing him gently on the cheek.
Arthur and Gwen were to spend the night in the honeymoon suite of the hotel where most of the wedding had taken place, before heading to the airport the following morning to start their fortnight long honeymoon visiting those parts of the Middle East that had recently become popular and spectacular tourist destinations following decades of war and violent conflict.
Merlin and Morgana caught a taxi back to Kilgharrah's, both a little drunk and giggly, and were just heading up the staircase toward's Merlin apartment, when Morgana grabbed his hand and lead him towards the next flight of stairs.
"Where are we going?" he slurred.
"Upstairs. I want to show you something," she replied.
She took him up to the very top of the building and the door that led to the Penthouse suite where her studio was situated. Merlin realised that it had been ages since he ventured up here last, his mind going off on a tangent as he tried to work out exactly when he had last been here and why he had not checked up on her business a little more often and directly during the last few months.
Morgana fumbled with her keys for a moment before opening the door with a loud, 'ta-da!' and Merlin gaped at the sight before him; the whole of the main suite now beautifully redecorated and furnished as a liveable apartment. The ground floor was an large open planned living area with huge, comfy sofas looking out through the wall-to-floor glass window onto the Thames, and an incredible, modern, large kitchenette tucked under the mezzanine balcony. Even from his current position by the door, Merlin could see that much of that first floor seemed to be taken up by a very large bed and he knew that the enclosed room next to it, the one directly above Morgana's studio, would most likely be housing an en-suite bathroom. His heart started to pound as he realised just how perfect this space really was now.
"I thought you said something about doing a 'little bit of decorating'?" he commented.
"Yes, I did."
"But, Morgana, this is ..?"
"You once said I could move in here eventually, if that was what I wanted," Morgana reminded him.
"Yeah," he replied rather breathlessly, still looking around the place in awe. "I believe I did."
"But, when I started to organise this, I admit that I had no intention of living here on my own. I want this to be ours, Merlin, and you once implied that you might want that too but … Do you like it?"
"It's wonderful," he said. "Perfect, and yes, Let's move in here straight away." He pulled her into a close embrace, stroking her hair as he did so. "In fact, I think we should try out that bed right now, don't you?"
"I was hoping you might say that," she breathed, moving even closer to kiss his neck. Merlin pulled on every bit of magic he could and forced it to do his will, holding firmly to Morgana as the spell took effect, the dizziness from such a feat greater than any he'd experienced apart from that time at The Green Knight – although this time he was quite determined not to faint.
Morgana gasped as she realised that Merlin had just transported them both from the front door right up to the bed on the mezzanine level instantly.
"Uther was right about that play on words," she said, staring at him in awe. "Never mind the cookery, you really are a magician aren't you?"
"I think it's getting easier," he agreed, still a little out of breath. "If I keep practising ..." He shook away the last of the dizziness with a big grin. "Anyway, I did have ulterior motives for bringing you up here."
"Of that I had no doubt," Morgana replied. "Go on then, Sorcerer, I dare you to show me some real magic."
A/N Thank you for your support and lovely comments on this one – it's been fun. Kilgharrah's was initially inspired by the show up to series 3 but, now series 4 is over in the UK, I hope that will start to influence my story lines too. Feel free to visit my 'to do' list on my PP and let me know if there's anything there that you like or anything you would like me to add to it. It is getting rather large, but all of the ideas are appealing to me and are likely to be tackled at some point.