Disclaimer: Merlin belongs to the BBC, not me. I don't intend to profit from this writing.
So...yeah. I usually hate it when people write stories, even oneshots, which are not canonically possible, but I suppose that we all have times when we can't live up to our principles. :) This little piece tried to sprout as part of a longer oneshot I'm working on and then grew to the point where it fit neither the structure nor the tone of the original.
I had a good time trying to capture the characters' voices (especially Arthur's), so hopefully that worked well.
"I should have seen this coming, shouldn't I? An idea this harebrained, it was only a matter of time before Merlin the Idiot and Morgana the Mad came up with it!"
Arthur, High King of all Albion, is feeling trapped, despite the fact that he technically has absolute control over both of the people standing before his throne. "Technically" is quite definitely the operative word where his court sorcerers are concerned.
Merlin is examining the toes of his boots, and he at least has the sense to look embarrassed, but the lady Morgana is unrepentant.
"Seriously, Morgana? You want to marry him? He's—"
"He's what, Arthur? Are you honestly going to doubt Merlin's worth, after all he's done for you and for Camelot?"
"I'm not doubting his quality as—"
"Then what possible objection can there be?" Arthur opens his mouth, then closes it again. Some days he just hates his sister. She knows exactly why he objects to the idea of being related to his gobby, irritating manservant-turned-court-sorcerer. She also knows that he has absolutely no room to criticize members of the royal family who make unconventional matches. Speaking of which…
She smiles up at him, and no words are necessary. After two years of marriage, he can read both the sympathy and the barely-hidden amusement in that smile; she's in league with the rest of them. In fact, she's probably already promised to "work on him" for them if (when!) he says "no."
"Is everyone I trust turning on me today?" He crosses his arms dramatically and slumps back into his throne, a perfect picture of the only sane man in a room full of oddly persistent maniacs.
"He saved me, Arthur," Morgana says (wheedles, more like), "I was lost and alone, and he was the only person I could trust. I don't know what would have become of me without him."
Gaius speaks up from the corner where he's observing the proceedings, "Your Majesty, every legend in every book I own agrees on the proper reward for a peasant boy that saves a princess. Why ever not?"
'Because it's Merlin!' is what he wants to say. However, Morgana has a look on her face more fearsome than any monster he's ever defeated.
"Please, Sire," Merlin says, "We're asking, formally, because we want you to approve. But…have you ever known your sister not to get what she wants?"
"And I what I want is him, Arthur." Morgana smiles a witch's smile and slips a proprietary hand into the crook of Merlin's arm, "More than I've ever wanted anything. Just imagine what might happen if you denied me…"
Merlin's ears are turning pink, but he also looks undeniably pleased. Arthur shifts awkwardly in his throne. Deeply uncomfortable as the idea is (and Morgana quite definitely intended to make him uncomfortable) the two of them look…happy. And he still has vivid dreams about past occasions when Morgana decided to punish him for thwarting her.
Merlin finally manages to tear his eyes away from Morgana and readdresses the subject at hand.
"Sire, if we really wanted to we could elope tonight. You wouldn't be able to stop us."
"I could throw you both in the dungeons!" It's a weak attempt at maintaining control over the situation, but it's all he can think of.
"You could try," Merlin says, and gives the careless, maddening grin which in former (happier!) days would have landed him a clout round the head.
"Perhaps we should let him," Morgana says, turning to her—her conspirator (Arthur can't bring himself to use the word "love," even in his head), "It's been…what…two years since you've broken anyone out of the cells, my love. It might be fun."
"Arthur," Merlin says, "You can't stop us, and you can't even afford to exile us for disobedience, not when Caerleon's in chaos."
He's right (curse him!); the knowledge that the High King has two powerful magicians at his command has been invaluable in both calming the people and deterring external invasion. The people call them "Merlin the Wise" and "Lady Morgana the Seer," and stories of their deeds are already becoming legend. To lose even one of the king's magicians would be a blow to both morale and the defense of the kingdom. To lose both…
"But, sire, that's not really what this is about. What I mean is…if you and I going to be brothers, it would mean a lot to have your blessing." He looks his king in the eyes. Arthur looks back at him and takes one last stab at turning the world right-way-up.
"Morgana? Really? You're quite sure? Out of all the women in the world, Morgana?"
Merlin's smile is blindingly sweet as he slips one long arm around Morgana's shoulders. "Who else?"
He shifts his gaze to Morgana.
"Why Merlin, of all people?" His sister just smiles at his incredulity and snuggles closer to her conspirator's side, sliding an arm around his waist.
Arthur looks weakly from face to face, looking for a way out. Gaius meets his eyes and shrugs.
"You know my, ah, personal opinion, Sire. As your advisor, I see no way that such a marriage could harm the kingdom. In fact, the marriage of Merlin Emrys into the royal family could go a long way toward improving relations with the druids, and it would be in the interests of the crown to continue the line of the Dragonlords."
Gwen smiles up at him with the imploring gaze she knows he can't resist.
"Please, Arthur? I'd love to see them as happy as we are."
Finally, reluctantly, feeling his will break down, he turns his gaze to his stubborn, obnoxious ex-manservant and his headstrong, disrespectful witch of a sister. They're still leaning together, her head on his shoulder, but their eyes are on him.
"Please, Sire?" Merlin says, and now the teasing, cocky tone is entirely gone, "I swear I'll take care of her."
"Please, Arthur," Morgana echoes, "This is what I want. Please."
"You're both utterly mad." He rests his head in his right hand and waves his left vaguely in their direction, "Oh, very well. You two are lunatics. You deserve each other."
Suddenly, all is sunshine. Gaius smiles and gives Arthur one of his rare, precious nods of approval. Gwen slips her hand into Arthur's and squeezes, though wisely says nothing. Merlin pulls Morgana to him and rests his cheek against the top of her head, holding her close.
"On one condition!" Arthur says, deliberately harsh voice cutting across their excitement. He watches them all turn back to face him, frankly enjoying the fact that, just for a second, he's bullying them instead of the other way round. He enjoys the moment, then lets his face relax into a smile.
"I get to give the bride away."
His sister and his newly official brother exchange a glance, and then Merlin turns to Arthur and smiles.
"We wouldn't have it any other way, Sire."