Merlin didn't know what had awoken him that night as he lay in his bed and heard the wind howl up a fierce storm, perhaps it had been the storm it's self but he doubted that. You see Merlin had been having troubled nights and even more sleepless ones ever since he had kissed Arthur, crowned prince of Camelot. Yes, he kissed him, on a whim, out of the blue, right on the dollop head's lips. Why? Well he couldn't explain that even more then when he did the action. He chalked it up to the time just seeming right, Arthur had been looking at him in that odd sort of way he did when he turned his head to the side, his eyes squinted, and a lopsided grin on his face, and Merlin, without realizing, it, had leaned forward and kissed him. It had been so sweet, so innocent and sloppy, yes, but grand. After that, as Merlin pulled back, shock reeling in and Arthur's hand around his wrist in a tight manner, he ran, and ran, and had not seen Arthur since then. He was still his servant, but he was no more than a shadow, staying far away and out of sight.
Now, as his feet swung out of bed and hit the cold dirt floor, did he wonder if it was wrong to run from Arthur. He wondered if maybe Arthur would had kissed him again, because he did kiss him back or so Merlin thought-or was it imagined? Or would he have thrown him out of his sight? Merlin shook his head and put on his jacket and slipped out the door. A night walk should help, give him time to think.
He padded down the steps and looked at Gaius who was sound asleep in his bed. He had been so kind as to listen to Merlin's troubles and to offer some advice but it had not helped Merlin; no this was something Merlin was going to have to figure out on his own. He walked out of the chambers, took the stairs down to the main level, and made a trek up to the castle's main halls. He let his feet guide him as he walked, to where? He did not know.
He wished for the first time some evil plagued Camelot because then he could focus on that and not on the kiss nor on Arthur who was spinning in his head like a child's play top. Because if there was evil then he could see Arthur and not have to worry much because he had to be there to help him.
He thought back to when he had started to notice Arthur in a different way besides his master or unofficial best friend. It would have to be when Arthur had carried him when he was wounded or when he smiled at Merlin just anytime of the day, laughing with him, being with him. Or maybe he realized it when Arthur had first admitted to liking Gwen, maybe jealously made him see what he had blinded himself to. No matter, he thought, turning the hallway and walking past a statue of a horse and knight, no matter at all because it could never be.
He heard a low moan and whimper from one of the doors to his right, he stopped. He looked over and recognized the shape of Arthur's chambers in the darkness. He would know it anywhere; God knows how many times he had been out and in there in the day and night time. He heard a whimper again and he went to reach for the handle, but stopped. What if Arthur wasn't alone in there? It could be some girl in there with him and Merlin walking in on that was not going to help much. He pulled his hand away, but then heard a thump as if something had been knocked over. Then again, he thought in urgency, Arthur could be in trouble and if Arthur was in trouble then Merlin wasn't just going to stand around!
Merlin pulled the handle and the door shoved open. He poked his head inside and all was black as pitch besides for some small candles that Merlin had lit as the night had come to the kingdom before Arthur had come back to his chambers, he couldn't see a thing.
He let his memory guide him and he picked up a candle from the golden holder and walked over to the prince's bed. He held the candle closer to the form and saw Arthur, a tangled mess of sweat and sheets, pawing at the bed, his feet kicking out as if running, and his eyes waving in erotic motions as he whimpered. Merlin bit his lip, this was not the first time Arthur had suffered from night time terrors, no this had been going on since Morgana had switched sides and ever since Uther, the king, had taken to a dark spell. Arthur did not know Merlin knew about the nightmares or that it affected him at night, but this seemed worse than ever before.
"Arthur?" Merlin whispered to him trying to arouse him from the dream. Arthur barrowed deeper into the blanket and tossed and turned. His voice yelling, " No!" and " Stop, please!" Merlin summarized he was dreaming about when Morgana had taken Uther by the throat and shoved him against the wall, making Arthur watch as well as Merlin, and only by Merlin had Arthur not rushed out to face her.
"Arthur," Merlin said again and reached over to him and shook his shoulders, his tan skin, naked it was, was cool with sweat.
Arthur's eyes' shot open and they looked up at Merlin, but they really did not see him. Arthur rolled over, his hands going to Merlin's throat, and Merlin was tackled to the ground. Arthur instinctively went for his sword and pushed his self on Merlin to hold him. Merlin saw blurs of color as he tried to pry of Arthur's hands.
"Ar-" he wheezed, his hands going lack from the amount of air he was not receiving. He reached out to Arthur's chest, his nails leaving imprints on the flesh. "Arthur…..St….op…."
Arthur's eyes flashed open once more in a blink and he looked at Merlin and this time saw his hand around Merlin's throat and the blue tinged skin. He detached his hand and his sword dropped from the other, and Merlin breathed in heavy gasped of air and hunched over, his hands going to his throat. It was tender and he could feel Arthur's hands impression
"Damn!" Arthur swore as he looked at Merlin, Merlin saw him run a hand through his hair and he reached a hand over to Merlin, removing his from his neck and seeing the bruise that was starting to form. "Damn it, what the hell do you think you were doing in here!"
Ignoring the tingling sensation Arthur's hands brought, he looked up and said, his voice thin, " I heard you outside your door. I thought something was wrong."
Arthur shook his head, " What were you doing outside my door?" he asked in bewildered curiosity and was that amusement in his voice, Merlin thought.
Merlin placed a hand on his lap and looked away, blush on his checks was evident enough from the heat and Arthur titled his head to the side raising his eyebrows. Merlin cleared his throat, " I was….err," he sighed he hated this to be truthful and shrugged his shoulders, " Couldn't sleep. I have too much on my mind it seems, I thought a walk would help."
Arthur laughed a little, " I know the feeling," he muttered to himself and then stood. Merlin watch him stretch, his body's shadow dancing on the walls as he picked up the candle and put it on the table near his bed, and then he sat down, the bed dipping under his weight. He wiped his eyes and then his face, letting his hand hang limp over his knee. " I'm sorry for you know," Arthur motioned to his own neck.
Merlin stood up, nodded, and Arthur watched him, his every movement, and to Merlin it felt like time had stopped. He looked at Arthur; saw the scene when he had kissed him, felt his lips and his hands, felt his feet running away. He had probably lost it all in that moment.
Merlin looked away. " I should go, sire, you need your sleep," he went to the door and was about ready to open it when he heard the creak of the bed and footsteps crossing the room.
A hand went around his shoulders and a hand came to rest on his chest, his body was then rotated so he was facing Arthur and was mere inches from the prince who frowned. Merlin looked at his lips and then away, trying to pull back but couldn't.
"Are you going to run every time we are in the same room together, Merlin, every time I look at you in some way or talk to you? Because that would make your job a little hard wouldn't you think?"
"Wouldn't that be easier, sire, to stay away? What I did was something I should not have done, it was wrong on my part and I am sorry. I should have known better and I can't figure out why you have not sacked me or put me in the stocks only to think you are just as embarrass as I fear you to be or you like to see me scatter like the idiot I am."
Arthur reached over to Merlin and lifted his chin up so their eyes meet. He put his other hand on the door and leaned forward, their bodies inches apart, the only way you could tell them apart was by the heavy breathing that was different from one another's. The prince smiled and put his hand over Merlin's heart and Merlin wondered if he could feel it beating like a drum.
"What would be easier is not always right and what is right is not always what a person wants. You see Merlin, I am a prince and everyone expects something of me, something right, and something good, and sometimes I forget that I have to ask myself what I want to. I didn't know what I wanted for a long time; mostly what I thought I wanted I was only using that to deny myself. But what I want most, what I have always wanted from that day I meet you in the square and you told me off, from the moment you came into my service, from the time you risk your life, from the time you kissed me and ran away, what I want is you."
Merlin shook his head, tears coming into his eyes, " Why would you want me, Arthur? Mmm? You could have anyone in the kingdom!"
Arthur tugged at Merlin and let him lay against his chest; Arthur's heart in Merlin's ear was like music. He breathed in Arthur's sent and Arthur tightened his grip on him as if afraid something would take him away. " I could have anyone, yes, but they are not you."
Arthur pulled back and pressed his lips to Merlin's own, Merlin blinked as Arthur pulled back, "They would not be idiotic," he kissed him again, " clumsily," he kissed him once more, "manservant and best friend that I love and would die for without pause, they would not be the one I fall asleep thinking about every night or wake up to hope to see in the morning, they would not be my life as I have to come to think of you as," and then he kissed him again this time with more behind it than ever.
Merlin stood there in shock as Arthur pressed a hand to his check and titled his head back, and Merlin opened his mouth Arthur's tongue slipping in and their tongues played war. Merlin smiled against Arthur and the prince laughed as he pulled back. "There now, if you would have just let me do that before you left we would not have had this problem, hell I wish I would have done that when we first met, Lord knows I wanted to."
Merlin panted, " you should have, Arthur."
Arthur grabbed Merlin's hand and pulled him over to the bed and they sat upon it. Arthur lay back down on his back and blew out the candle, Merlin stayed sitting up unsure of what this all meant. Arthur leaned up on his arm and rolled his eyes and pulled at Merlin so they were lying next to one another in the dark, their warmth keeping the cold at bay.
" I want you to stay, I order you to in case you think you can go, we could both use some sleep and I want to see nothing but you when I wake up, Merlin."
Merlin didn't say anything for a minute but he did curl up against his prince and Arthur put a hand around him and held him against him and they fell asleep, no plague of dreams or thoughts crossing their minds only the thought of this was it, this was destiny as they slept in sound night.
"Good night Arthur," he whispered to the prince.
Arthur paused and then said in a low voice, " Good night, love."
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