Don't own :'(
A.N Here is another Merlin/Arthur story for you, I have a few of these partly finished so hopefully there should be some more coming up soon. Hope you enjoy XD
Arthur had had a long, tiring and overall annoying day. Firstly in training his knights had acted like a bunch of beginners. Seven of them had to be sent to Gaius to be healed after taking wounds that they should never have gotten. The target Sir Garath's servant had put up had fallen onto his foot when he was pulling out an arrow. Then before he could have more than two bites of his lunch he had been summoned to a war meeting that had lasted eight hours, eight hours! They had had food delivered but with 20 hungry knights, Arthur, Uther and his 15 advisers it didn't go far.
But what was really getting to him was the fact that he had barely seen Merlin all day. He had seen him that morning when he brought breakfast but Gaius had needed his help with a potion, then again when he had brought lunch but Arthur had been called away. And this was one of the few meetings recently where Merlin hadn't been present with Arthur.
It bothered Arthur just how much it bothered Arthur that he hadn't seen Merlin today, but the fact was he missed talking to Merlin, not spending his time with him. The meeting had been boring without Merlin there pulling faces at him when no one was looking, muttering amusing comments when he was allowed to stand close to Arthur - which now that Arthur thought about it was more and more often. And even though Arthur complained about him being the worst manservant ever, Merlin always seemed to know when he was hungry and would slip him bits of food without making it obvious.
Arthur sighed as he finally reached the corridors to his bedchambers, his thoughts had been drifting to his pale, big eared, sapphire eyed manservant more and more. This had moved far beyond the friendship that he had started feeling for his servant and had swiftly moved into feelings he had never felt before, feelings that had scared him enough to send him to Morgana's chambers after having a rather interesting reaction to walking into his chambers to find Merlin bent over his table scrubbing it. Arthur had never appreciated before that moment exactly how tight Merlin's pants were.
He had beat a hasty retreat to Morgana, who had at first been amused by his flustered pacing and incomprehensible rambling, before swiftly becoming concerned when she saw how distressed and frustrated he was. That whole thing had been an embarrassing and warming experience, he had found himself seated between Gwen and Morgana on Morgana's bed spilling all his thoughts, worries and feelings out to the two of them. After a long conversation the girls had made Arthur realise what his true feelings for Merlin were, that there was nothing wrong with it and then they had come up with a plot to seduce Merlin.
To start with he was nicer to Merlin, they still bantered and wound each other up, but Arthur had stopped with the useless comments, adding nasty chores to Merlin's lists, he snapped at him less and less and had nearly pulverised a knight who had tripped Merlin and nearly sent him head first down a staircase.
The knight had been lucky that five other knights had gone for him at the same time as Arthur meaning that he came away with a hell of a lot less wounds than he would have if any of them had gone for them individually. Merlin it seemed had managed to charm a good portion of his knights, mainly Sir Leon informed him because of the influence he seemed to have had over Arthur since becoming his manservant. They had all noticed how much happier he had been and that he had been more confident in himself rather than the arrogant front he had put up. Not to mention that he was more relaxed and easier to talk to. They had also noticed that Merlin stuck to Arthur's side no matter what was happening, this more than anything had won the knights respect.
Next on the charm offensive was Arthur asking Merlin to have his breakfast, lunch and supper with Arthur in his rooms when he could. Arthur enjoyed the extra, quiet time with Merlin and the chance to talk with him with no pressures, no fronts, no hurry for either of them to go get something done or an attack likely to happen at any moment, and no need to have to play the the Master/servant role, and for him Prince act. As directed by the girls, during the meals Arthur shared feelings and memories with Merlin and in return Merlin slowly and almost shyly started opening up to Arthur, telling him stories about when he was younger and even sharing his day with Arthur now.
Stage three consisted of Arthur going into town with Morgana and Gwen, he and Morgana had dressed in servant clothes Gwen had managed to get for them and wearing cloaks with their hoods up, and doing some extensive shopping. He was mentally scarred after that experience. The girls had dragged him from shop to shop, stall to stall with a single minded determination to cover every base of gift that Merlin would appreciate getting from an admirer.
And they had insisted on Arthur choosing all the gifts himself with their opinions on what he had chosen only. He had bought several high quality shirts in the blues and reds Merlin seemed to prefer - he had gotten patted on the head for knowing that detail…and some teasing. He had bought five other shirts in different colours as well, five tunics, eight pairs of trousers, nine neck scarves of varying quality, three new pairs of boots, some of the fancier foods he knew Merlin liked from sharing meals with him, and for when he revealed himself as Merlin's admirer he had found a beautiful pure silver ring embossed with a rearing dragon with sapphire eyes. Perfect.
Over the last two months he had sent a wrapped gift every day along with a note written by Gwen's neighbour whose writing Merlin had never seen before considering he knew theirs.
But now Arthur was down to a red silk neck scarf with a golden dragon stitched in silk on it- the best one he had bought - and the ring. Now he had to reveal himself to Merlin. Except he had no idea how Merlin was going to react. Morgana and Gwen had both assured him that they were sure Merlin's response would be favourable, as had an amused Sir Leon this afternoon just before Arthur left for lunch, Sir Leon it turned out watched him closer than he thought.
As Arthur reached his door he fingered the ring wrapped in the scarf that he had been carrying around in his pocket all day after retrieving them from Morgana's room where the gifts had been kept. He had planned on giving it to Merlin today after lunch together but those plans had been knocked off kilter by the war meeting. Groaning in frustration he pushed open the door and stomped into his room, only to freeze when he noticed the figure in front of his fire.
Merlin was lying on his side on the fur rug in front of the blazing fire, his back to it and a small smile on his slightly flushed face. Arthur noticed that Merlin had changed between finishing his work and coming to Arthur's room. He was wearing a pair of tight black trousers, a black cotton shirt that had designed slightly longer sleeves that fell to his knuckles and was laced up at the chest but revealed a small V and a teasing glance of his collar bones, on his feet were a pair of fur lined knee high leather boots. All things that Arthur had bought for him.
This caused a now familiar spark in his stomach to explode into a fire. As he had thought the black shirt went amazingly with Merlin's pale skin, highlighting it and setting off his red lips, he knew for sure that if he could see Merlin's eyes the blue would look even more startling than normal. He groaned in frustration as his pants tightened, another familiar sensation.
He closed his door quietly, and then on second thought locked it. No one would be walking in to interrupt him until he had confessed his feelings to Merlin. Then he noticed that Merlin had brought him supper, a platter was on his table with cold meats, potatoes, a mixture of fruits and bread - things that could last. A small smile crossed his face and his heart warmed at the thoughtfulness. Stripping out of his leather jacket and then his boots he took a moment to relax and take in the image Merlin made before crouching down next to him. He reached out and ran his fingers through Merlin's silk soft jet black hair. After a few moments of stroking his hair Merlin started to stir, slowly blue eyes flickered open. Arthur watched in amusement as awareness slowly crept into the blue eyes before he sat bolt upright blinking at him.
"Arthur? I'm…I'm sorry I didn't mean to fall asleep!" Merlin blushed.
"Its fine Merlin. How long have you been here?" Arthur asked also sitting on the rug. Merlin rubbed his eyes tiredly before looking out the window.
"Two hours. I thought you might be hungry when the meeting went on for so long," Merlin shrugged.
"You brought a small feast," Arthur chuckled.
"You barely had any lunch and I know they never bring enough food to those meetings so I just thought I should bring enough to make sure your not hungry, cause you get cranky when you're hungry,"
"Merlin your rambling," Arthur smiled amused.
"Sorry, I'll…I'm just going to…" Merlin stammered.
"Can you bring the food here? I'm too comfortable and relaxed to move now," Arthur sighed happily stretching out his aching legs. Merlin scrambled to his feet and grabbed the platter and flask back to the rug.
"I'll leave you to relax, goodnight Arthur," Merlin smiled.
"Wait!" Arthur said quickly and panicked before flushing. "I am hungry but there is no way I can eat all this by myself. I meant for you to eat with me," Arthur explained.
"But…it's salted pork ad gammon and…the king would throw a fit if he knew I ate them from the royal stores," Merlin protested.
"Then he can throw a fit. I want you to stay. We didn't eat together today, I want to relax and calm down after that meeting, please," Arthur requested quietly not meeting Merlin's eyes. He could practically feel the shock coming off of Merlin before he sat cautiously beside Arthur again.
"How was the meeting?" Merlin asked after a few moments of silence. Arthur smiled and rolled his eyes as he pulled off a strip of meat.
"We chased our tails for most of it before agreeing to send a diplomatic group first. It was completely pointless basically," Arthur huffed. "What did you do today?" He enjoyed the blush that spread across Merlin's cheeks whenever he asked that question or showed an interest in whatever Merlin did, it gave him hope.
"Nothing much. I did everything you asked before me and Gwen collected some ingredients Gaius needed, and chopped some of the older ingredients," Merlin shrugged. "Not really a busy day. Morgana came down and kept company with us for a few hours. I think she likes Sir Leon," Merlin grinned when Arthur's head snapped up.
"Why do you think that?" Arthur blinked.
"Oh come on Arthur! It's obvious! Her eyes follow him whenever he's in the same room as him, she actually acts shy around him, whenever she talks about him she blushes - and she talks about him a lot," Merlin was grinning widely now.
"She does talk about him a lot…do you think he likes her?" Arthur asked as he passed over half a piece of pork noting that Merlin wasn't eating.
"She's Morgana, of course he likes her. But he's shy around her as well, I think he thinks that she couldn't like him that way," Merlin mused.
"Hm. We might have to give them a little nudge in the right direction," Arthur said thinking of how much help the girls had given him. On that thought. "What about Gwen, anyone she fancies?" He asked. He frowned when something he couldn't read filled Merlin's eyes before he looked down.
"Yeah I think there is," Merlin murmured picking at his food.
"Ok, you ok?" Arthur asked, he hadn't wanted to upset Merlin.
"What? Yeah I'm fine," Merlin smiled at him but it wasn't Merlin's happy smile.
"No you're not, what's wrong? Have I said something wrong? Do you like Gwen?" Arthur frowned as he mentally went over everything they had spoken about.
"What? No…no…I'm sure if you asked her she would be thrilled," Merlin murmured picking a piece of pork and eating it clearly for a distraction.
"Ask her what?" Arthur was confused, sometimes Merlin's mind moved in leaps and bounds with wrong conclusions he could never keep up with. It didn't help that he was bothered with the fact Merlin was refusing to meet his eyes.
"Asked her on a date," Merlin muttered feeling to his horror his eyes starting to burn. He wished he had claimed tiredness now and left Arthur when he could have but his urge to spend as much time with Arthur as possible like this, when it was just to two of them and felt like it was only the two of them in the world had left him greedy for more time.
"Ask her on a…you think I like Gwen?" Arthur choked as he finally put the pieces together.
"Don't you?" Merlin looked up confused now as Arthur started to laugh.
"No you idiot! She's like a sister to me!" Arthur snorted trying to control his laughter.
"Oh…then why did you want to know if she liked someone?" Merlin frowned.
"Because her and Morgana recently helped with something very important to me and I would like the give them something back," Arthur smiled fondly at the other man while inside he was doing a happy jig, he was fairly sure the emotion he had seen had been jealousy, and as he was 99% sure Merlin didn't like Gwen that meant he really did have hope.
"Oh…what did they help you with?" Merlin hoped he would finally find out what the three of them had been whispering about and having secret councils from the looks of it.
"Well there is this person that I really like, falling in love with them to be honest. But aside from the few magic induced wooing events that we never mention again I have never tried to show anyone that I want a relationship with them so I went to them for advise," Arthur watched Merlin's face closely and this time saw the jealousy and hurt flash across Merlin's face.
"That's…that's wonderful Sire…I'm sure she is lovely. Its getting late I should…" As Merlin turned to stand Arthur waited for the right moment and snagged Merlin's arm and tugged, using Merlin's natural clumsiness to upset his balance and pulled him so he was sitting between Arthur's legs, his back pressed to Arthur's front.
"It is wonderful. I bought this for them, what do you think?" Arthur fished out the last present and held it flat in his palm in front of Merlin. It took a second as Merlin steeled himself before raising his eyes. Arthur watched him closely as he reached out to the bundle and undid the knot he had tied the neck tie in to hide the ring. He felt the moment Merlin tensed as the neck tie fell open revealing what it was and the ring inside.
Merlin froze as he saw the beautiful ring and realised that it was tied in a neck tie. He had of course hoped and dreamed that the gifts he had been receiving over the last two months had been from Arthur, but his common sense kicked in and he stopped himself from getting his hopes up, only to find himself day dreaming over the new gift. But seeing the neck tie he felt the hope rising in his chest all over again along with the warm, strong arm that was wrapped around his waist and holding him to an equally warm and strong chest.
"Well?" Arthur breathed into his ear not helping his wandering thoughts and hopes, or his flow of blood.
"They're…they're beautiful," Merlin breathed still staring at the two items.
"Do you think it will fit?" Arthur asked fighting to keep the smile from his voice.
"How should I know?" Merlin snapped slightly as his confusion, hurt and hope all tangled together.
"You could try it on," Arthur chuckled.
"They have the same size fingers as me?" Merlin refused to allow to get his hopes up. Arthur sighed at Merlin's insistent obtuseness. Taking the ring he lifted Merlin's hand and slipped the ring onto his ring finger on his right hand before undoing the knot of the blue neck tie around Merlin's neck and placing it to the side before tying the silk one on.
"Arthur what…what are you doing?" Merlin asked shakily as the hopeful voice got louder in his head.
"I'm giving you your last gifts Merlin," Arthur drawled in his ear as he finished tying the knot and gently traced his fingers along the pale expanse of Merlin's neck slowly and teasingly.
"My…my last gifts?" Merlin repeated as his brain short circuited slightly.
"Yes. Do you like them? Did you like all the others?" Arthur asked quietly as his hand reached down to take Merlin's hand and lift it to allow both of them to see the ring on Merlin's finger.
"It was you?" Merlin breathed out.
"Yes…are you disappointed?" Arthur asked feeling worry setting into his mind. Slowly Merlin tightened his fingers around Arthur's and then tore his eyes away from where their hands were joined to look up at Arthur.
"Why?" Merlin asked, he couldn't let himself get his hopes up only for this to be a joke or a confused display of friendship.
"Because I wanted to show you how much you mean to me, how much I am falling for you. I wanted to treat you and show how important you are to me. You don't have to feel like you owe me anything, if you don't like me that way then I will understand…" Arthur drew off as Merlin started chuckling, blinking down at him confused.
"That's why you have been acting the way you have the last few months? Asking me to eat with you, your insults have been less offending, you got someone else to start cleaning the stables…" Merlin drew off to start laughing again. Arthur felt worried as the laughter continued and loosened his grip on Merlin. "I'm sorry, no, I don't…I've been trying to figure out why you have been acting the way you have and trying not to get my hopes up," Merlin chuckled.
"Your hopes up?" Arthur asked hopefully himself.
"I…with the way you changed acting towards me and then the gifts starting I…hoped that it was you but I never…" Merlin stopped turned back to stare at their joined hands.
"You never what Merlin?" Arthur said into his ear before nuzzling the skin behind it delighting in the shiver Merlin gave at the contact.
"I never dared believe that it was true, that you would actually feel that way for me," Merlin practically whispered making Arthur tighten his grip around Merlin.
"You are the most important person in my life Merlin. I was in a terrible mood because I hadn't seen you hardly all day and it was all better when I saw you lying here," Arthur confessed dropping his head onto Merlin's shoulder. "I never thought that you would feel the same way for me, the only thing that stopped me from chickening out was Gwen and Morgana," Arthur chuckled.
"You know you didn't have to buy me things, they all must have cost a fortune, this ring must have cost a fortune!" Merlin started to say but Arthur shook his head without lifting it.
"Don't even think about it, you're not giving me any of them back. Even if you want nothing to do with me in that way then they are still yours, they are gifts," Arthur said firmly. "You are worth every penny Merlin, I want to spoil you and treat you, I want to give you everything you deserve and give you tokens of my love,"
"But I cannot give you anything near this in return," Merlin argued.
"You've given me so much more in return Merlin, before I gave you anything you gave me more than anyone ever can and ever will give me and you give me so much just by being with me every day. You gave me a friendship I have never experienced before, you gave me confidence in myself and my future, you have made me more human, more approachable and so made me closer to my knights and stronger," Arthur spoke what had been on his mind into Merlin's shoulder before lifting his head to see Merlin's eyes shining.
"I didn't do any of that, that was all you, the potential was there in you all the time, you just needed someone to believe in you," Merlin reached his free left hand up and cupped Arthur's cheek tenderly.
"And that, that is the greatest gift ever, you believed in me without expecting me to be continually perfect," Arthur smiled resting his forehead against Merlin's and peered into beautiful blue eyes. "You let me know that just being me was fine,"
"Arthur…" Merlin sighed tilting his head slightly. Taking the offer for what it was Arthur closed the space between them and pressed his lips to Merlin's, a sense of rightness and fire shooting through him at the simple touch. They simply sat with their lips pressed together before Arthur pressed a little harder and started moving his lips against Merlin's coaxing them into moving as well.
Merlin's head swam with the kiss and feeling of Arthur finally doing what he had dreamed about, he felt his eyes fluttering shut and simply followed Arthur's lead, enjoying every moment of being allowed to kiss Arthur. The softness of his new neck tie and the weight of the ring on his finger making everything sweeter.
Pulling apart Merlin closed his eyes and held onto Arthur's hand knowing that he had to tell him, knowing that he couldn't do anything more without telling Arthur the truth.
"Arthur…you need to know something before anything else is said or happens," Merlin said in a choked voice.
"I know," Arthur's response seemed to echo in Merlin's head for a minute before his eyes snapped open and he stared at Arthur slightly horrified.
"You…you what…no…" Merlin stammered.
"I know Merlin, the thing with the Goblin, it told me you were a warlock before it turned me into a partial donkey," Arthur rolled his eyes. "In the end I saw how lucky that was. Instead of reacting bull headishly and probably ruining everything, and putting you in danger, I was too ashamed to leave my rooms so I had time to calm down and think it through," Arthur smiled brushing a lock of raven black hair out of Merlin's wide eyes.
"You…you've known for months?" Merlin choked.
"Yes, I have been trying to figure out the best time to tell you without you freaking out, then operation woo Merlin went into place so I figured that I would concentrate on this first and if it worked we could discuss it," Arthur nodded.
"You know…" Merlin's mind was stuck on the fact Arthur knew and had still wooed him and wanted him.
"Yes Merlin, its not hard to understand. I figured out a lot of things that suddenly make a whole lot more sense than they have done over the years, and I'm guessing there's probably things that I haven't figured out. I know you have saved my life probably more times than I can count on my fingers and toes and yours - you have very distracting fingers by the way - I also know you have pulled a few pranks. And I understand why you kept it from me, why you were afraid to tell me, but Merlin there is nothing aside from betraying me that you do that will drive me away from you or make me stop loving you," Arthur said firmly, gripping Merlin's shin to make him meet his eyes.
"I would never betray you," Merlin answered even through his shock that Arthur really did know.
"I know, just as I will never betray you. So, will my boyfriend have supper with me?" Arthur grinned tugging the platter closer again and holding some gammon to Merlin's mouth.
"Boyfriend?" Merlin smiled.
"If you want," Arthur nodded, his nerves showing in his blue eyes as he scanned Merlin's face.
"I like the sound of that," Merlin said before kissing Arthur gently.
"Gawain owes me five gold coins, Arthur actually did it!" Morgana whispered high fiving Gwen outside the door.
"And Sir Leon really does like you," Gwen snickered as her friend blushed deeply.
"Yes well, we should leave them to it, I don't want to imagine what noises will likely be coming from that room soon," Morgana said flustered.
"You might not want to," Gwen snickered not moving.
"Come on Gwen, the boys are all waiting to hear what happened, including Lance," Morgana grinned when Gwen straightened with her own blush.
"Erm, you're right, we should respect their privacy," Gwen nodded hurrying down the corridor ignoring Morgana's snickers as she followed.