Before I Was Yours


Before I was yours, Prince Arthur, I was Merlin's.

I saved him before I knew him, seeing a young man alone and in peril, and never once have I had cause to regret what I did.

He offered me the hand of friendship long before you did, and he was so open, so genuine, so honest in the offer that I could not help but accept and return it in kind.

He recognised my worth long before you did, and was so eager to let it be known to others that he dared to approach you on my behalf, trying to help me to achieve my dream.

He made me believe in myself and my abilities when I was ready to give up, and lent me the courage to pursue my ambitions.

If it were not for Merlin, you would never have given me a second glance, or the chance to prove myself.

If it were not for Merlin, we all would have been slain by the Griffin, our noble intentions and finely honed skills laid to waste and Camelot brought to ruin.

I saw what he did that night, and he feared my knowledge would be his undoing.

But I could never harm Merlin.

He earned my steadfast loyalty with his humble power, his quiet strength, his hidden courage, all masked and yet not so by his gentle, earnest, caring, generous, mischievous, and above all friendly nature.

He helped me to see you for the good man you are, and the great king you will someday be, but before you had my respect, Merlin did.

I defend you, Prince Arthur, first and foremost because Merlin defends you.

Merlin would give his life for you without a moment's hesitation, and I would give my life for him. So I can let no harm befall you, for the risk that it may fall on him first as he stands determinedly in its path, ever vigilant in your protection though you remain unaware.

I stand here and pledge my allegiance to you, and you should know that every word is sincere.

But I would not be here if it were not for the unassuming servant by your side.

Because before I was yours, Prince Arthur, I was Merlin's.


Before I was yours, Prince Arthur, I was Merlin's.

I did not know who you were when we first met, for if I had you would have been left to the trouble you earned. I had grudging respect for the way you stood up to that thug, but I was more intrigued by the skinny character you had with you. You looked as though you could handle yourself in a fight. He did not. Yet though he might have quailed a bit in the face of those odds, he did not abandon you. More surprisingly still, he held his own.

There was something about him. The only friends I had before Merlin were always of a temporary and drunken nature, but I found myself opening up to this boy. His earnest face, his easy smile, and his willingness to take care of me when I was utterly wasted all warmed me to him. He joined in my punishment for the drinks bill without complaint, and we shared in the pain of losing our fathers.

I have never known anyone like him.

No one before Merlin has ever earned my loyalty.

You may have been a close second, but it was Merlin who helped me to see beyond your exterior as an arrogant prince to the good and truly noble man that lay beneath.

I have risked my life on many occasions, but rarely for a good reason, and never really for anyone in particular. I did not think there was any man worth dying for.

But I would die for Merlin, and I know he would do the same for me. He would do it for anyone, but you most of all. I wonder if you realise.

I stand here and pledge my allegiance to you, and I will fight for you willingly.

But I fight, in large part, more for Merlin than for you. That boy will charge into battle at your side, just like he did on the day we met, and I would like to be able to protect him, if I can. Falling short of that, I will protect you, because keeping you safe is what Merlin wants more than anything else in the world.

And so the man who never stays in one place for very long, skipping out of town when he no longer fancies the trouble to be had, never venturing deeper than casual acquaintances or alliances of convenience, will be loyal to you.

But before I was yours, Prince Arthur, I was Merlin's.


Before I was yours, Prince Arthur, I was Merlin's.

I made a friend in Lancelot many months ago, and we fought together, travelled together, trusted one another. I respect him, and his opinions.

He told me stories of a far off city, and of a boy there who had set him on his current path. The tales captivated me, for I could picture the scrawny young man who fights to save others without ever asking for recognition or glory in return. Without ever meeting him, I shared in Lancelot's admiration for the lad.

For so long I have been a slave to revenge, thirsting for the blood of Senred and his men in recompense for the loss of my family. My motivations were always selfish, driven by hatred. But I hear of a boy who has not my skill or strength, yet selflessly defends others anyway at great risk to himself.

Lancelot received a summons from this boy, and his response was immediate.

I came with him to this place, to you, partly because I knew it would give me the chance to come up against Senred's army.

Mostly because I wanted to meet this Merlin, and perhaps learn from him what it means to struggle and fight for a cause beyond vengeance, for a reason that is worthy and honourable and just.

In person, he is just as Lancelot described. There is nothing knightly in his appearance, nothing in his exterior to suggest that he could be strong enough and courageous enough to fight for a kingdom.

There is something in his eyes, though. Some inner strength and determination coiled up tightly inside him, waiting to be released when the time is right.

You give a good speech, Prince Arthur, but it is the man at your side who gives me hope – for us, for the future, for myself. I cannot work out why it is, exactly, but though I do this for my family, for Lancelot and for you... I also do it for him.

Because before I was yours, Prince Arthur, I was Merlin's.


Before I was yours, Prince Arthur, I was Merlin's.

Not romantically his, not really, although there might have been something of a crush between us at the beginning.

But we were friends long before you ever deigned to notice my existence. I was just a lowly servant, and you were the stuck up son of the king. To be honest, you were so arrogant, lording your position over everyone and treating those beneath you with such disdain, that I did not care much for you at all. I did not think I ever would, because I did not believe you would ever change.

And then Merlin came along. He stood up to you, and he was the first person I had seen who would dare to do so. He won my admiration that day.

As time passed, Merlin proved himself to be a good friend. He saved my life, he supported me, he helped me out when I needed it, and he noticed me.

More than all of that, though, was the effect that Merlin had on you.

He changed you, Arthur. I had thought that when you became king we would be no better off than we were under Uther's reign, but once Merlin became your manservant I began to see the changes in you. They were slight and reluctant at first. Your stubborn nature meant that you resisted him, but Merlin drew out your goodness slowly but surely.

He has helped to make you the man you are today.

If it were not for Merlin, I doubt you would be the same person I have fallen in love with, and I doubt even more that you would have been able to overcome your prejudices to fall in love with me in return.

I owe Merlin so much, and so I would do almost anything for him.

You should know that I love you with all of my heart.

But before I was yours, Prince Arthur, I was Merlin's.


Before I was yours, Prince Arthur, I was Merlin's.

I have been your physician your entire life. I have treated your sicknesses, healed your wounds, and cared for your health. You and your father have always had my sworn fealty.

But it is Merlin that I am loyal to, first and foremost, because I have come to love him. He is like a son to me.

I had no idea, when that bumbling young boy strolled into my chambers that day, what an impact he would have on my life.

I know him well, perhaps better than anyone. I have seen his flaws and his weaknesses, I have witnessed his struggles and his hardships. I have tried to teach him, to impart to him some semblance of knowledge, and I have watched him grow into a wise and selfless young man. He is not perfect, by any means, but he has learned so much, and achieved so much.

I am unbelievably proud of him.

I know of his great destiny, and how it is so intricately intertwined with yours.

I would have supported you anyway, but I know just how important you are to Merlin and his future.

He has done, and will do, anything for you. I know what he has been through, what he has sacrificed for you. I know that he lives in fear of the day that you will discover his secret, even though all he has ever used it for is protecting you.

This time will be no different.

You will not realise it, but it will be Merlin who turns the tide of this battle. Merlin who saves the day once again. It has been Merlin who pushed you to do the right thing and fight for Camelot even though you have been wounded so by Morgana's betrayal. Merlin who gives you the strength and will and ability to continue on.

You do not know, but I do.

I am not sure what help I will be to either of you, but I cannot leave Merlin to face this on his own.

Because before I was yours, Prince Arthur, I was Merlin's.


I am yours, Prince Arthur.

You take it for granted that I will support you, and so I respond to your expectation with jest. You pretend that I have no choice, but I know that if I truly wished to withdraw you would let me. You are really very overprotective of me sometimes, especially since I am only your servant, and you are the crowned prince of Camelot. I am supposed to be the one to protect you, yet you have saved my life more than once.

At first I felt I was being dragged, kicking and screaming, toward a destiny that I did not want. I thought you were an arrogant prat who would make my life miserable, and I could not believe my misfortune when I was lumped as your manservant by Uther and your defender by Kilgharrah.

The first time I saved your life, it was reflex.

The next few times, it was semi-reluctant duty.

I do not know when it was exactly that I embraced my destiny whole-heartedly, or when I realised how much I would actually miss you if you were to die. I still do not even really know why I am so certain that I would lay down my life for you.

I do not think I wish to face a world that does not have you in it.

I know that I have been deceiving you, and you do not know who I really am. I fear how you will react when you find out; I worry that I will be one to add more betrayal to that which haunts your eyes now. You might well decide to have me executed when the truth comes out at last.

I am powerful. More powerful than you could ever possibly imagine. I could kill you so easily.

I could defend myself if you ever came after me.

But I wouldn't.

If you sentenced me to death, and killing you was the only way to save myself, I would not lift a finger. I would submit to the flames, though with deep regret and a heavy heart.

I could never hurt you.

I will join you in this battle, and I will help you take back your kingdom from your foes. I will risk my life, and do everything within my considerable power to preserve yours. I know what Camelot means to you. I am proud of you for being willing to take this stand, though you do not have the knowledge that I do to have true hope for success.

Someday you will be a great king. I hope I am there to see it.

If I am not, if this is the end, I will meet it without reservation.

Because I am yours, Arthur. Always yours.