Title: Drunken Confessions
KMM prompt: What I want is round table knights + Arthur + Merlin, getting drunk and a drunken confession of either Freya and her death OR a past hidden relationship Merlin had with Morgana. I'm not fussed which way you go. Just want Merlin's drunken confession of his heartache and shocks/sympathy from knights/Arthur.
Warnings/Spoilers: Up to the end of Season 3, no Season 4. No beta. Minor Character Death.
Word Count: 3K
Disclaimer: Don't own or Freya would be alive.
A/N: Well this certainly took me a while. Sorry I had plans to fix this up, but the KMM comments were so nice, I felt ok posting as it was. This is me de-anoning. I haven't established my livejournal yet (for fics) so I hope people don't mind the ffnet layout. Also I wanted to post this before my Percival became too OOC. Also this is an apology for my super angst fic, only a little angst and Merlin loving. :)
Dedicated to the lovely OP!
Merlin swayed a little in his seat at the table. He knew he had no head for ale, but tonight's tavern special had been too good to stop drinking. Plus after recent events with Morgana, Merlin believes he deserves a night to get drunk.
Through hazy eyes, he glanced at the people surrounding him. He's on the little part of the table so he doesn't have anyone directly next to him. Perpendicular, to his left is Gwaine, Elyan and Percival. The former two are currently engaged in an arm wrestling contest while Percival looks on in amusement.
Then to Merlin's right are Arthur, Leon, and Lancelot. Lancelot shares amused looks with Percival across the table, as Arthur and Leon discuss the latest tournament Camelot had held to show to the other kingdoms that Camelot was strong (which was further helped when Arthur soundly beat all the other competitors).
Suddenly Merlin was made more alert when Gwaine accidently knocked into the passing girl carrying drinks and she spilled most of them on Merlin.
Merlin just sat there and blinked the alcohol out of his eyes while everyone erupted into loud laughter. The girl blushed prettily and ran back into behind the bar.
That garnered more laughter as Merlin just ducked his head down in embarrassment.
"Got quite a way with the ladies huh Merlin?" Arthur smirked at him. And Leon and Elyan started to chuckle again.
"Shut up Arthur." Merlin slightly slurred back and shook his hair a bit, making him appear like a drowned, drunk puppy.
"Ah. Leave him be Arthur." Gwaine said. "I bet Merlin here has no problem with the girls." And Merlin shot him a smile in appreciation.
However, Arthur being Arthur wouldn't let it go at that. "Haha. As if. The last woman I saw take an interest in Merlin was that barmaid where we first met Gwaine."
Gwaine's eyes lite up. "Mary? Oh dear Merlin that might have been too much of an endeavor for you. She's quite the fierce girl." Gwaine chortled as Elyan and Leon joined in, with a silent Lancelot and Percival observing.
Merlin was getting a bit annoyed. He thought he had an ally with Gwaine, but he just joined in with Arthur. A small part of him realized that maybe he was a bit of a maudlin drunk and knew they were teasing in good nature (or at least all of them except Arthur), and he should just let it go. However, Merlin wasn't great at listening to the more reasonable side of himself when he was drunk.
"I've had a girlfriend!" Merlin all but shouted to the table. And they all turned and stared at him.
Lancelot was the first to break the silence, "Well go on then Merlin, who was she?" he asked genuinely interested.
Merlin blinked in a vain attempt to clear his head. The voice was telling him to shut up and shut up now, but Merlin was far beyond listening to it.
"Her name was Freya." Merlin said reverently. "She had long dark hair that was so soft like those special sheet for the royal guest or the material the Noble women wear. What is it?"
"Silk?" Supplied Leon softly as everyone had now been captured by the love in Merlin's voice as he described his Freya. The others had drunk a few pints, but non even close to being as drunk as Merlin.
Merlin gave Leon a large grin and nodded himself almost off the chair. Fortunately Arthur caught his arm and Merlin graced him with a smile too.
"Yes silk. It was so soft and smooth. And she had these green eyes that would sparkle in the candlelight. They were like jewels, the most precious jewels in the world." Merlin trailed off and took a large gulp of Arthur's drink, but the prince didn't care as he was too wrapped up in this mystery girl of Merlin's. Arthur assumed she must have been from Ealdor.
Before anyone could say anything, Merlin continued. "And she was so nice. So kind and beautiful my Freya was. She understood me like no one else had or has ever since. My Freya just wanted to live in peace near wildflowers and mountains." Merlin sighed. He was beyond tears and he knew she was in a better place, but he still missed her.
Meanwhile Merlin failed to notice the poignant silence that had descended on the men. They all wanted to know what happened to the girl and were subtly kicking and glaring to see who would do it.
Finally Gwaine asked, feeling a little responsible since he hadn't dropped the subject in the first place. "Merlin what happened to Freya?"
Merlin looked up from Arthur's cup he had clenched in his hand. He had hoped with drunken logic that Freya might show up in his cup, but she hadn't. "She died in my arms."
This time Merlin couldn't stop the slow tears. Perhaps he had some left after all.
Gwaine had guessed as much from the way Merlin talked about her, but it was still hard to comprehend.
Lancelot looked devastated. He alone knew Merlin's secret, and how much of a toll it really took on him. He knew Merlin had been involved in much more then Arthur or the others had ever been aware as Merlin had told him of some of his adventures with Arthur. Poor Merlin never seemed to catch a break.
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Arthur in turn felt bad and squirmed a bit as the guilty feeling only Merlin seemed to inspire, started to knot up in his stomach. He soon felt the glares of the other knights as they slowly realized who was responsible for putting Merlin in this state. He was getting an especially hard one from Percival, who had quite taken to Merlin.
In an effort to distract them (a glaring Percival was a little scary) and get rid of this slightly alien feeling in his stomach, he refocused on Merlin and asked, "Was she from Ealdor?"
Merlin had taken to staring into the cup again and had brushed away his tears. He looked up at Arthur's question. "Oh. Um no. I met her a few years ago while I was in Camelot."
Arthur was shocked. No way he could have missed this. He might not be the most emotional man on the planet, but he think he would notice if his manservant had taken up with some girl and then lost her.
"What? That's not possible! When exactly was this?" Arthur asked a little demandingly.
And it was that tone that started to sober Merlin up. His eyes widened and he realized what he almost started to reveal. He stood up suddenly, knocking over his chair in his haste.
He was quite the sight. Hair still damp from the ale spilled on him earlier with his clothes sticking to him, making him appear smaller. His eyes were a little red from the silent tears and he had glistening tear marks on his cheeks.
"Uh I have to go. Gotta collect swords in the morning and then shine up some herbs."
Merlin then threw down some coins on the table and proceeded to trip and fall on the same girl who had spilled the ale on him earlier.
Both stuttered (and on Merlin's part slurred) through hasty apologies and Merlin staggered out of the tavern.
The knight sat in stunned silence when Lancelot, Gwaine, and Arthur stood up in unison. They all stared at each other.
"Merlin will need someone…"
"Well I better go help…"
"Idiot will probably hurt himself…"
They all stopped talking. Then Lancelot threw some coins down and made the decision for them. "I'll go then, shall I? I think I'm the most sober. Don't worry I'll come back after I get him to Gaius so you don't need to worry." He ended with a glare daring them to challenge him.
Gwaine extended his thanks while Arthur blustered about not being concerned about Merlin. This earned him another round of glares from everyone and he quietly thank Lancelot in turn.
Lancelot smiled stiffly and quickly went after Merlin.
Lancelot quickly caught up to Merlin and helped him back to the Physician's quarters.
"I didn't mean to leave like that. It's just that Freya…" And Merlin stopped and looked around. Lancelot had Merlin's arm around his shoulder and his own around Merlin's waist. It was getting late and there wasn't anyone around in the corridor. "Freya had magic." Merlin whispered silently.
Lancelot was not that surprised. When Merlin had said she had understood him he knew that she must have at least known about Merlin's magic, if not have some herself. Then Lancelot put two and two together. She had magic, and they met in Camelot, she was then killed.
"Did Uther execute her?" Lancelot asked gently.
But Merlin just shook his head with a sad smile. "No. Arthur killed her." Merlin said emotionlessly.
Lancelot almost dropped Merlin in shock. "What?" He asked loudly before he could stop himself.
By this time they had made it to Gaius' chambers. They quietly tip-toed in and made their way to Merlin's rooms.
Lancelot gently lowered Merlin into his bed and couldn't help tucking him in like a child. He knew better then almost anyone of how strong Merlin truly was, but he couldn't help it in the face of such a sad Merlin.
And though he knew he should, Lancelot just couldn't let go what Merlin had said outside in the corridor. "Merlin what did you mean that Arthur killed her?"
Merlin looked at Lancelot and then sat up and patted the very small space next to him on his bed.
Lancelot shucked off his boots and sat next to Merlin, and then was surprised to find Merlin had gently laid his head on his shoulder. Merlin looked so forlorn that Lancelot couldn't help jostling his arm around Merlin's shoulders.
"She was cursed Lancelot" Merlin continued sounding much less drunk. "Some man had attacked Freya and she had killed him in self defense. She hadn't meant to. Freya was too much of a gentle soul." Merlin said and then sighed heavily as he continued, "The man's mother was a sorceress and cursed Freya to turn into a winged cat at night and kill for the rest of her life."
More tears started to course down Merlin's face and Lancelot hugged him a bit closer, as Merlin wiped at them angrily. "We were going to leave." And here Lancelot's jaw fell in surprise. "But Freya had been caught by the bounty hunter who brought her here, see I helped her escape and hid her." Merlin explained. "Anyways, Helig" and Merlin spat out the name like the most vile of curses "Arthur and the other knights of Camelot had cornered her. She was in her Bastet form. Arthur…"
And Merlin paused again as he hiccupped on his tears and Lancelot almost crushed him to himself. A sad Merlin was a terrible thing to behold. Lancelot actual felt himself tear up a bit at Merlin's pain.
"Arthur gave her a mortal wound. I distracted the knights with my magic." And Merlin shivered at the memory. He had almost injured the knights and Arthur in his panic over Freya. "I took her to a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. It's would have been similar to a place where we would have lived."
Lancelot still reeled a bit at the thought of Merlin loving someone so much that he would leave Arthur.
"I held her in my arms as she died." Merlin said quietly. "Then I placed in her a boat and set it on fire for her burial."
Lancelot held onto Merlin. "Oh Merlin. Did anyone know?" It burned at Lancelot that his friend might have endured this alone.
Merlin sniffed and replied "Gaius did, but I don't think he truly understood. He wanted to turn her in. And I thought Arthur might have figured it out if he had pressed hard enough. He knew I was upset, but I convinced him it was about one of his prattish behaviors earlier."
Lancelot snorted at Merlin's complete disregard for Arthur's nobility, but inside he was shocked that Arthur hadn't been able to tell the difference. For all the deception Merlin has to employ he has never been good at hiding his emotions. A death of a loved one should have been all too obvious in Lancelot's opinion.
Merlin yawned and gave Lancelot a little squeeze, "Thank you Lancelot. It's nice to talk to someone about these things."
Lancelot squeezed back "No problem Merlin." And they disentangled and Lancelot once again tucked in Merlin.
Lancelot slipped his boots back on and turned to leave when a thought struck him. "Merlin was Freya…" but he shook his head. It couldn't have been.
However, Merlin wore a slight smile and said, "Yeah Lancelot, Freya was the Lady of the Lake who gave me Excalibur."
Lancelot smiled at that. "Good night Merlin."
Merlin answered him sleepily "Night Lancelot."
Meanwhile back at the tavern the rest of the knights had decided to gang up on Arthur.
"First you insult Merlin and get him all riled up that he has to defend himself. Then you make him leave all upset when attacked him." Gwaine admonished.
"I didn't attack him! And all of you were as much a part of this. You mentioned Mary and the rest of you laughed along." Arthur said in indignation (also quietly hoping that Percival wouldn't bring up the fact that he HADN'T laughed).
"That doesn't matter." Elyan said waving his hand away. "What I want to know is that if Merlin had lost a loved one while here in Camelot, how did you not notice?"
The glares were back. Percival's, who had grown to quite like Merlin, was especially sharp. Arthur crossed his arms subconsciously to protect himself. And isn't that rich? Protect himself from his own knights because of Merlin! Though he honestly had wondered the same thing himself.
"I am crown prince you know." Arthur said in hope that some of them would lay off when they remembered that.
"I don't have time to be aware of Merlin's love life and all the personal matters that go on in his life! Merlin's job is to attend to my needs, not chat about his life."
Surprisingly it was Leon who snorted at Arthur trying to make his and Merlin's relationship sound professional.
"Fine! So Merlin might not be the most conventional servant" Snorts all around at that one "but he is a private person. We don't discuss such matters and if we were to it's not any of your business. So drop it."
While the knights had righteous glares on their part, Arthur had Uther as a father and they all cowed to his glare.
Well almost. Percival quietly said, "You should have known."
The knights didn't add in their support, as Percival's quiet condemnation was damning enough.
As for Arthur his glare faltered and the knot in his stomach grew.
Conversion was stilted and awkward after that. Everyone couldn't seem to focus on a topic, and they all knew that they were awaiting Lancelot's return.
Lancelot finally returned to the tavern to find a surprisingly solemn group of knights. They all straighten up in their seat when he returned and took Merlin's.
"Is he ok Lance?" Percival asked.
Lancelot was surprised, but pleased that Percival seemed to have taken such a shine to Merlin. "Yeah Perce. He's just tired and will probably have a horrid headache in the morning."
Lancelot signaled to one of the girls for a drink. He really wanted one right now.
The girl quickly served him and he smiled at her in thanks, causing her to blush crimson and scurry away. Lancelot took a deep drink, stealing himself for what he needed to stay.
"Arthur, I ask that you lay off the subject of Freya in the future. Merlin will tell you when he's ready." Lancelot said sternly.
Arthur started to protest, but Lancelot was tired and in a very uncharacteristic move he shouted, "No!"
Well that shut up the whole tavern, and Lancelot felt a blush overtake him.
"Sorry, I meant I don't believe it would be good to confront him on this. Sire" Adding the honorific as a reflex almost. Lancelot greatly admired Arthur and all the work he has done, but he couldn't over look the injustice that was done to Merlin. However, he knew it was a fine line. A lot of Merlin's sufferings went unnoticed from Arthur just because he was unaware of Merlin's magic. The last thing Lancelot needed to do was out Merlin.
"Listen Arthur he told me more of what happened, and I really advise that you don't question him about it." Lancelot sighed. "You don't want to know."
Arthur didn't answer and it was impossible to guess what he was thinking as he donned, what Merlin called, his "court face". The serious tone in Lancelot's voice told him that he probably should listen to him. Last thing he needed was the feeling in his stomach to grow.
Arthur got up and nodded to Lancelot. "I'll be taking my leave now." Nods and sires followed in his wake.
Soon it was impossible for any of them to enjoy the tavern and they all decided to go to bed. Eylan walked with Leon and they discussed sword craft as they walked.
Percival, Lancelot and Gwaine all made their way slowly back to the castle. Finally Gwaine couldn't contain it. "Lancelot I know you wouldn't tell Arthur, but I'm Merlin's friend. Why did he leave in such a state?" Gwaine asked.
Lancelot shook his head. "Sorry Gwaine. Merlin asked me to keep it to myself." Merlin actually hadn't, but Lancelot was pretty sure that he hadn't wanted anyone else to know.
"I probably should have said this earlier, but you shouldn't bother Merlin with this either." Lancelot said.
Gwaine huffed in reply and felt his own knot in is stomach. However, his was not guilt, but jealousy. Merlin was HIS best friend. He should be able to talk to him about this.
Gwaine then sighed thinking that as Merlin's best friend, he should do what's best for his friend instead of satisfying his curiosity.
The knights then made their way to their beds and fell into a restless sleep.
The next morning Merlin awoke with a horrible headache and no recollection of the night before.
Therefore he was unprepared for a shockingly kind Arthur. He was greeted with a polite "Good Morning" instead of a goblet to the head. Then when he served Arthur his breakfast, Arthur made sure Merlin ate about half of it.
By the time Arthur was complimenting him on his work Merlin had had enough and dragged Arthur to Gaius' chambers, sure the Prince was under some enchantment or seriously ill.
Arthur, however, reverted back to his prattish self on the way, and cuffed Merlin about the head as they passed Sir Percival in the hall.
Merlin had hoped Arthur had broken the enchantment, but then continued to drag him when Arthur had then proceeded to pet Merlin's hair.
Merlin had been unaware of Percival eyeing Arthur sharply when he has cuffed him about the head, but stopped pulling Arthur when Percival said. "Training's at noon today sire, correct? I wanted to work on my quarterstaff today."
Arthur paled a bit and nodded to Percival who continued on his way.
As Merlin fussed over him while they waited for Gaius, Arthur contemplated the pros and cons of faking an enchantment or illness to get out of training today.
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