Howdy There Everyone.

So... I'm back for another un-betaed, inspired by the series and other films/books and such Fanfiction with a dash of fast heartbeats and something else.

Disclaimer: This does contain mentions of previous episodes within Season 4 so they're mini spoilers, some dialogue has been adapted from films such as 'Ever After' and 'Penelope'... but everything has been based upon 'Merlin'... quite obviously. So no law suit ;)

I was re-watching Season 4 this morning, you know, as you do... and realised how deep and intense some of Merlin and Arthur's scenes are... and then while watching it... I couldn't resist making my own ending.

This takes place after Season 4... So I'll stop talking and get on with it :)

...

For You

One Day...

What are days? They are for men and women to wake to, and they fall asleep knowing there will be another, whether it is to continue their happiness or prolong their sorrow. What are days for? They came and they go, events happening in between.

But if you asked a certain warlock this question, he would say that a day was a gift, a gift in which to make someone smile and strive for peace...

Merlin was currently residing in the musky, cob-webbed covered walls of a study, books from ages past; their crusty yellow pages softly weeping in their sleep as they wait to be looked upon again; littering the said study as if a whirlwind had carried such material and chose to dump its cargo here, in complete disarray. And it was here that, trying to ignore the insistent fragrances of several potions of varying colours: Merlin was trying to work and create something most special.

It was Arthur and Guinevere's first anniversary of their marriage today.

Merlin then felt his heart abruptly decide to stop beating. His bones started to ache and feeling rotten from the inside. His breath started to pick up in pace and yet seem to slow down to a deadly rate... It was now that Merlin realised that a tear was on his work, and that his hands had broken a slight cold sweat.

Merlin knew that things could never be how he wished, and he felt selfish for thinking that maybe they could. He had been here before, trying to turn back time, and he knew it was a dangerous state of mind to be in... The marks on his left arm, how the blade had so delicately pierced his snow white skin, the blood red staining him... enough proof.

Therefore, he shook his self, willing his heart to calm, breathing deeply and carefully.

The sting was still present while he worked, on Arthur's gift, but it had always been there and he knew no matter any amounts of magic – the pain would not rest, nor reside.

So he resumed perfecting Arthur's gift. It was a dagger's sheath. It had been crafted from the finest leather in all of the five kingdoms. Arthur deserved only the best. And Merlin had spent many a month, trying to make this one gift cry everything they had been through. The engraved design was beyond detailed. Such precise cravings had started to pattern the sheath, the gaps dyed to be that of a lush burgundy against the opulent bronze. The patterns themselves were of a Celtic design, each swirl intertwined with the next, to create such a dazzling display of craftsmanship, talent and devotion. Truth be told, Merlin had thrown away about four already, believing they were not good enough, but now he thought that maybe this was the one.

He wanted his gift to mean something, not a common possession that Arthur wouldn't need... Times were just now starting to look up in Camelot: the people had gotten used to Gwen as their Queen, despite some initial fear or disapproval, Morgana hadn't tried to kill anyone since last summer, but most of all, Arthur seemed happy. He and Arthur had been through so much: Witches, High Priestesses, fathers avenging sons and vice versa, monsters of all kinds, even the dead's spirits. But they had always pulled through, and now it was that Merlin understood the old saying of being the light after dark. And somewhere along the way, Merlin had accidently and unexpectedly... fallen for Arthur. Maybe it was from the beginning, but all Merlin really knew was that one day it just hurt too much, and he realised that he had been hiding all along.

But Camelot and Arthur were more important than Merlin's happiness, so he shrugged off more dangerous thoughts and completed his masterpiece, his gift to Arthur.

...

He was so excited. Of course Arthur wouldn't show too much appreciation, but the smile that was to grace his face would make all the hours worthwhile, even more so. Merlin loved Arthur more than a rose loved the sun. Wherever Arthur goes, Merlin would follow, and he would so gladly and willingly lay down his life if it meant Arthur's safety. Merlin feared no fate – for Arthur was his fate, and he believed in him with such undying devotion and such unconditional loyalty. He wanted no world or riches for his efforts in helping Arthur, the look in his eyes was enough. Such pure eyes of the clearest sapphire, with hair so soft and a body as if it had been carved by the gods themselves... Arthur was Merlin's Adonis. And the warmth that Arthur bestowed upon Merlin was like no other, the way he looked at him sometimes, and the very rare times that Arthur would say something that would make Merlin weep inside... Arthur was worth it, worth it all.

So... it hurt all the more, the moment Merlin opened the doors, a growing happiness shining through his goofy grin as he opened the grand oak doors to the court chambers... to find that Arthur was already holding a dagger's sheath, not the one within Merlin's hand, but one crafted by a professional, and it was Guinevere that Arthur was directing his smile to.

He felt the moment eat at his mind... like a storm truly brewing between his eyes. He couldn't stop, but let his growing, rotting anger and pain feed on him like a worm in the bud. It was truly clawing at him, his heart stopping and starting to such an irregular beat he couldn't breathe. His heart, or what was left of it... he wasn't sure if it was still there, was being ripped with such a rusty sharp blade of grief in the form of heartbreak. The pain spread through his body and was increasing in intensity and for one moment... he felt the world slowly collapse around him. His heart was rotting, withering in agony as it warped around his heartstrings, trying to escape his chest and find some salvation... But he was stuck, trapped, spellbound... within this moment, it was no mistake, and Merlin... truly thought, that his sore and swollen heart had stopped beating – so so sore from the slits within it... and everyone stopped to stare as the manservant wept these tears of blood.

'Merlin? Are you quite alright?' Arthur asked from his position on the high table, a look of pure perplexity stained against his face, his plump lips in a pout that may be amusing to some, however concerned to others.

Merlin knew that he shouldn't do this... but the shaking within his legs and the cold poison slowly beating within his veins was enough to make his lose his mind, and his heart.

'No... No... You poisonous whore!' Merlin couldn't control himself, as if some other greater force than himself was bewitching him to release his sorrow.

The court and the knights alike were stunned by this outburst... and the silence expressed their astonishment – but nothing compared to the look of slight bewildered horror on the King's face, to hear such words come from such innocent lips.

'I beg your pardon...' Arthur was feeling light-headed himself, not understanding what could have possibly sparked this rage within Merlin... but it was only now that he properly looked at him, and he realised that unshed tears were burning said manservant's eyes, and that he was shaking... and it was now that Arthur felt a pang of heart and couldn't understand why.

All eyes were on him, looks of disapproval and shame, even Gaius looked confused, but Merlin had started now... and couldn't stop himself, he was lost to his emotions.

'I told her what I was going to do... I told her that I wanted to give you something special to remember me by'

Guinevere looked out of place and guilty from her seat next to Arthur, but had sense enough to keep her tongue when she gazed upon a man broken. She looked between the gifts were Arthur, the grand sheathe only worthy to be touched by royalty's hands... but there was an airs to Merlin's that gave it that... that something more, more deep.

He was indeed shaking now, with hand gestures flying all over the place, Merlin felt his heart unravel, and he was gone.

'I spent a month trying to get this perfect for you' He brought his sheathe, his handcrafted and hard worked gift into the eyes of the court. But he held it as if it was poison now...

'I spent sleepless nights, trying to make something for you that wasn't just the normal gift anyone would give you... I wanted to make something significant and...' He felt his voice breaking with as liquid diamonds started to escape the safety of his eyes, and Arthur kept his perplexed frown, finding that his own voice had much retreated.

'I handcrafted it, I knew it was nothing much, but... but I wanted to show you that someone did care for you, that you weren't just there as a figure head to place responsibility and expectation upon, I wanted to show you that you had a friend.' He knew he was being over sensitive, he knew that he shouldn't be doing this, and his head was screaming at him to stop... but his heart splitting as if the most sharpest steel was slowly piercing the flesh.

'But what is it now? When I have been outdone by the Queen herself' Arthur looked somewhat offended in his frown, but if one were to look closely... Arthur harboured much affection for Merlin, and it was hurting to see him so distraught. Merlin dropped his gift, and in the silence it sounded much like a tremor would if it hit the Earth.

Merlin felt this getting personal, and he let himself come crashing down, he kept hearing the Dragon's voice to make him stop... but Merlin was in his haze of distress, and there was no turning back. He saw the breaking features of Arthur but... he needed to hear this.

'I have served you for what... seven years now. I know you better than anyone else. I have accepted you and believed in you, Arthur, when no-one else did, or even would. I have never betrayed you, and never will, unlike that whore that sits at your throne now, who has used your heart and even buggered one of your own knights!' He pointed his shaking hand to Guinevere and knew this was not fair to her... but he was... so tired of just standing by and letting his heart crumble. His whole body was consumed with a liquid tear and he was bleeding for all to see.

'I have seen you be betrayed by so many, Arthur... Morgana, Agravaine... even Guinevere. I have seen your heart be used and twisted until you have been wrenched of all hope.' It hurt... It hurt so much, but Merlin couldn't stop his heart bleeding and the years running past.

'But I will forever be loyal to you, sire.' The word stung both Merlin and Arthur... who was strangely quiet as the court looked on in shock.

'I was right about them... and you never listened to me. Never. I have tried to help and advise you, I have polished your armour, cleaned your clothes... I've even shovelled shit for you... and you still dispose of me as if I was a common disease, with a look of distaste on your face. I would never hurt you; I would rather face a thousand deaths, each one more painful than the last if it meant that you were safe. I have been the subject of your rage, I have even been threatened by you, however caught in the moment you were and still I am here. You speak of truth, honour and freedom... but you will blind yourself to what you do not like and condemn those who disagree... however subtle the punishment may be.' He stepped forward now, tears running down his face at free will and his body in a wreck.

'I would go to the ends of the Earth and back again for you, Arthur. I believe that you are a good man, only somewhat bewildered at times.' The truth of this remark weighed heavy on Arthur's face, and the silence grew even more deadly, more painful.

Merlin's voice grew as his heart continued to be slit.

'I have stood by as you make your way through this world, and I have only been used when seen appropriate. I have stood like patience on a monument, smiling at grief, constantly having to hide myself for the better of others, for the better of you. Everything I do is for you, I have served you for all this time and yet you still deny the one thing that I truly wanted...'

Silence...

'And what is that?' Arthur's voice was broken, thick with something, his eyes like of a watery sapphire, but no-one dare make the remark. The air was solid with emotion, and there gaze was held the entire time.

Merlin felt drained, as if the blade was twisting within him now. They say that time tiptoes by... but Merlin could only hear his footsteps running past him now.

'Was there a time, even in its smallest measurement, that you at least thought, that maybe... I was more than just a servant to you?'

His heart had been wrenched now, squeezed with nails of pain... and Arthur looked devastated. His Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed his emotion; hurt by the pain he had unknowingly caused Merlin. But the worst of it was: Arthur believed that somewhere in his mind he was conscious of all his actions, of all the times he had dismissed Merlin and then was proven that maybe he should have just listened. Guilt, regret and sorrow seeped into his face, as Arthur tried to hold himself from cracking.

Defeated, cold with the sensation of tears and blood on skin... Merlin went to the deepest part of his heart and drew something most raw. He reached within his dying jacket and extracted a sigil.

'What does this mean to you?' His voice was hoarse and deep with his previous raised shouting and trembling with tears. Arthur's gaze went from the eyes that held so much pain... to the delicate hand that possessed his mother's sigil... Arthur's eyes widened ever so slightly then. He was on the edge of tears, remembering the tender moment he had given Merlin this in the caves. He gripped his hands into the throne, feeling the need to be grounded and his breath was coming out of shaking parted lips, his heart softly weeping at knowing that he had hurt the most important person to him.

Merlin remembered the moment, how his heart beat fast and he thought that maybe Arthur did care for him... but recent events had proven otherwise. Therefore, with a distraught wave of his hand, he threw the sigil on the ground, where it landed with a gentle echo of metal, a sob in the silence.

'... Because I don't want it.' And with that... a single tear caressed Arthur's face, and his heart felt ready to burst; his heartstrings and mind so tenderly sore, his eyes now opened.

And with that, Merlin felt the urge to flee his life, he felt the need to be able to breathe and escape this entrapment, so he turned his back and ran to the court's doors... where, as his final confession, unlocked them with a whispered word and golden eyes. Their eyes met, and Arthur, however slightly angry, felt a melancholy so intense that his heart stopped, and he realised so truly and so sharply what Merlin had done all this time...

Merlin left then, and the court was dazed and silent still.

Arthur's mind was in a hush, several emotions present: wounded pride, hurt rage, heartbreak... but what was the most precise sting to his heart was how he may have pushed his heart, his Merlin, away from him forever...

He stood so weakly then, all eyes snapping towards him, expecting an action of authority and outburst... but he simply turned and slowly exited via the side door... a defeated and heartbroken man's step following him.

They say that a dead man is heavier than a broken heart, well was Arthur dead then, his heart sure felt... heavy.

When the door clicked into the lonely hinges, the court was in bafflement, confused, not sure how they should act...

Guinevere, light-headed and aching with guilt, decided to stand and go to Arthur. However, she was stopped before she even completely encompassed the option:

'We will not move' Gaius spoke with such authority, his aged wisdom seeming to boom the hallowed halls of the castle.

'This is not our business, and we will pay them the respect and the decency to not stick our noses where they are not wanted... this is between them, not us.'

Her eyes met that of the old man's and for once... Guinevere did feel something sharper than whatever it was before assault her body. She owned Merlin this much:

'Let us eat'... the Knights bowed their heads, as if confused and yet knowing all along, and the court stared at the food – not as hungry as they once were.

...

Arthur felt the rush of a thousand heartbreaks. His Merlin, his sweet, innocent Merlin, had been burdened with such a task and Arthur was too caught up in everything about himself that he couldn't see that the only person that mattered was slipping away, slipping through his fingers, caressing him with thorns on the way.

When Arthur got to his chambers, he felt hallow... as if his life didn't have any meaning anymore. And the sad thing was; is that Arthur still, hoped against hope that Merlin would be in his chambers polishing his armour or something, greeting him with that care-free, goofy grin that Arthur's heart loved so much. But of course, his room was empty, decorated with rich and opulent fabrics, sparkling jewels that reflected the light... and through all this – Arthur knew he would cry. He was fighting against it, for King's did not cry... but what was his life if Merlin was not in it?

He unlaced his cape with the Pendragon cape, and let it fall gracefully to the floor, then in a frail movement, sat in his chair.

He thought... and thought for a long time.

His mind was a storm of destruction, threatening to collapse his sanity – but he took a deep breath and concentrated... What fact he couldn't get over, wouldn't get over: was that Merlin had magic...

Just that alone hurt Arthur with such a precise stab with something sharper than steel; not because he feared Merlin, but because after all this time, he had hunted Merlin's kind. Believe him when he said he wasn't his father, Arthur didn't run into every village each week with a new army... but he wasn't ready to accept it – not yet. Arthur's initial reaction was to be increasing furious with Merlin, for he had lied to him for all this time. But could Arthur really blame him?

Arthur had lost both of his parents to magic, in his eyes, it was an evil and spiteful thing, an unnatural way for man to gain an advantage on those weaker than him, make them suffer... But Merlin was not those things, and Arthur frowned with a pouted look of concern. Merlin was pure, harmless and his clumsy manservant, Merlin was the last person Arthur believed to be capable of putting a castle into ruin... So had Merlin held these talents back? Had Merlin, all these years, hid himself in darkness? Had Merlin just stood there while he did nothing to help those with magic suffering? Had Merlin really stayed loyal to him?

Yes, was the answer... And Merlin had been right, about all of the others, and he was right in saying that when first approached with these ideas; Arthur had discarded Merlin with little more than a stern word... when he should have listened to his friend... Of course Merlin would never tell Arthur of his magic yet, Arthur would be brash. The guilt truly feasted upon Arthur's heart as a hungry animal would devour its prey, with bloody lips so full and teeth made for killing, ripping flesh and breaking bone – when he realised that all this time, he had been using Merlin, constantly thrashing Merlin between being maybe something more and dropping him when seeing fit. Merlin, in his selflessness and need to make Arthur the King he is, hid the very thing that made him shine, made him who he was. Arthur couldn't comprehend how painful that must have been, to live each day in fear of being discovered. But maybe Merlin wasn't in fear. Maybe Merlin believed that Arthur... that Arthur would see magic differently. Whatever it was, Arthur's heart was slowly peeling away as rose petals would in winter at the thought that maybe Merlin had hid himself because he was afraid Arthur would hate him... and that thought hurt more than most. How could Merlin possibly think that Arthur would hurt him? Weren't they friends? Weren't they destined for greatness? Together?

Then Arthur felt his heart whimper for he knew that of course... Arthur hadn't been the greatest friend as of late. Arthur remembered Merlin's eyes – how from a blue that was brighter and more vivid than the oceans and skies... had changed into that of a golden hue, decorating his beautiful eyes with an ochre lace of sparkle.

He had never seen such eyes...

And... then it hit him. Merlin had been hiding his magic from Arthur not just because he was afraid that Arthur would execute him... but because he was in love with him, and to have the one he loved look at him with such a look of disgust would have killed Merlin with droplets of tears and a freezing blood too terrible to comprehend. So Merlin had hid his feelings, and with a green and yellow melancholy, sank into the background, yearning for when things were different.

It made so much sense now. Merlin's actions, his voice, the way he moved... had been so that he didn't get too close. And... all this time, Merlin had been protecting Arthur as well. Everything fell into place: all the times something so luckily landed on an enemy, or how Arthur so narrowly escaped a slash of a sword, mysterious rock falls, or men flying back in mid-air... that had been Merlin.

... Merlin could be Arthur's exception; he thought that with a burning affection now. He didn't completely trust magic, couldn't instantly, but he'd try for Merlin.

And, it was now, that Arthur finally let the soft pulse of love entrap his body in such a warm bliss. All this time, he couldn't understand how he hadn't seen it before... he had been in love with Merlin.

The way whenever they touched, a surge of electricity would pleasurably assault Arthur's nerves. Or whenever they looked at each other... the chances that Arthur got to truly look into those eyes, and lose himself, Arthur found that his heart would beat fast, become mesmerised by the ravishing colour and make the promise of forever. Or whenever they would tease each other, they always held this unspoken emotion of something more, an undercoating of unsaid feelings. Or whenever before a battle, Merlin would look as if he was about to shatter, and yet held such a confident gaze, believing in Arthur... Arthur found that the reason for his quickened breath and warm tingling blood was because he was in love with Merlin. His heart... it felt as if his chest could barely contain it anymore, as if it didn't belong to him anymore... it belonged to Merlin. And if he wanted it, Arthur realised that he wouldn't need any grand ceremony, any great demonstrations or declarations of love... just the knowledge that Merlin loved him too. Just Merlin's heart, in exchange for his.

It was now that Arthur felt a sudden twinge of something cold though, as if he was running out of time, as if he was too late, and he had to hold the arms of the chair to steady the magnitude of the abrupt throbbing.

He was a King, and with that came certain and specific obligations. He needed to rein with a Queen and produce an heir to continue the bloodline, so they didn't fall into war and ruin once his time had come. Merlin was a distraction from all this. He would be disappointing his father's wishes. King's were not allowed such liberty: to be able to fall in love freely.

But he couldn't just let Merlin go... could he?

...

He was leaving now... leaving because he couldn't face Arthur after this, not after everything he had said.

The castle would provide his cover; the marble limestone coating its walls, oozing luxury and living of the highest standard as ornate windows would shine their rainbow glory; as if breathing beauty itself. Such designs would leave a peasant of the country dazzled: as they looked upon the vivid and vibrant velvets and lose themselves in the golden haze of jewellery, each diamond's sparkle an almost eerie persuasion to buy them among all others. And it was here, that one could find Merlin, tucked away in an attic, softly weeping his heart out. He was quite tall for his age, with onyx lace gracing his head. His eyes were of a colour one would associate with an ocean during a storm, having said this; his skin was in complete contrast: it held a liking to snow, in colour and texture. However, his greatest possession was of his hidden magic, a most powerful force, as if a flame had ignited within his chest from birth. But this gift was one that Arthur would fear, and Merlin wouldn't, couldn't, face Arthur now he knew; his heart couldn't take the rejection. So he was packing now with much due precipitance, his arms quite worn out from the vigorous motions. Merlin knew he shouldn't leave, knew it was the wrong thing to do, that he should stay and let Arthur shout at him and chastise his existence for lying to him this whole time. But Merlin was so tired now, so weak with the tears. It felt as if a blade had been slashed through his bones, the aching blood still overwhelming his emotions like poison. He couldn't do it, so with a quick note to Gaius... Merlin left without a backward glance – knowing this to be the last time he set foot in the attic.

...

When one leaves the castle, they should find that their path can go of two ways: one is to the west, where mountains stubbornly wait in their snowy slumber, grey winkled rock for as far as the eye can see. But to the east... is the forest, where a number of spirits and creatures make their home. It was this leafy trail that Merlin found his miserable track starting. It is silent now, save for the whispering of the trees as they delicately inform one another of a peasant travelling alone. The path he treads is swollen with dirt, layered by crushed amber and chocolate leaves, sounding like fragile bronze when he steps upon them. The sun is smiling above him, a molten gold; its shine falling through the canopy, creating patterns and beams as if they were teardrops of liquid yellow upon a lemon lace. The leaves on the oak trees are of a vivid green, each one an emerald sheet. Therefore, when the sunlight kissed their surface, a most beautiful brightness would embellish the foliage as an intense harlequin lime dances across the forest floor.

And here it was one could find a most young warlock crying into the forest, his tears twinkling in the sun as light reflected off them. How could Merlin expect Arthur to choose him? Even he wouldn't choose him... Merlin was everything that Arthur had been taught to despise: a peasant, a warlock... a distraction. Merlin wasn't right for Arthur, too much was against them, Arthur was a King and just that would separate them for a lifetime. Merlin was kicking himself now, for not only wasting all their time together but for not being able to be content with the relationship they had. Arthur had a smile that could light up the entire kingdom, banish evil to where it came from... Now he had just ruined all chance of seeing that smile ever again. He shouldn't have put that burden on Arthur, he didn't deserve it, he was happy with Guinevere and Merlin now thought that for once he should have learnt his place. He had seen Arthur broken, and it scratched and split his heart every time, but was it really right to say all those things? What had he been thinking? What had possibly been going through Merlin's mind at the moment he decided to pour his heart out? But Merlin knew this; he knew what had been circling his mind... just one simple thought of: You Belong With Me.

So, one can imagine the way in which Merlin's heart trembled, when he heard the distant press of hooves against the grass.

Merlin... dazed and confused, so suddenly light-headed due to the rush of the moment, the rush of hope, couldn't help but turn around. He was aware that if it wasn't who he thought it was, then he'd more than likely want to end his life there and then: he couldn't go on anymore. He asked himself if a broken heart still beat... but he never got to answer that question.

Because there, galloping in the distance...

Arthur.

The King of Camelot was riding through the trees, a desperate look of panic upon his face, as if he was about to lose something, or maybe already had and needed to save it before it surrendered to fate, and Merlin lost himself in this fair-haired man. His locks of blonde threads were pure gold upon his fringe, the sun reflecting off it with such a magnificent grace; with eyes more azure than the sky, such a vivid and deep hue one was more than likely to become mesmerised... Merlin was, as he glanced to the plump red lips that were so perfect, hiding what made Merlin smile when he pouted: Arthur's crooked tooth.

Merlin felt his heart race faster than it ever had, he felt his knees become cold and he felt the sudden urge to collapse. Why was Arthur here? Was Arthur here to yell at him? To bellow his annoyance that Merlin hadn't said goodbye? He didn't know, but the way in which his body shook with anticipation, his heart so raw within his chest... Merlin was left breathless, when Arthur leaped from his horse... now only feet away.

Silence...

Merlin didn't know what to say, but he did unexpectedly feel his throat contract at how intense and wrecked Arthur's gaze was. His eyes were slightly blood shot, as if he had been crying. He was burning Merlin's face and the tension got to such a magnitude that Merlin couldn't breathe.

More Silence...

Merlin didn't know how much time had passed, only able to feel and hear his own heart pound and hammer against his rib cage, as if trying to escape.

Then, Merlin found the will to speak:

'What are you doing here?' Instantly, as if it was a chain reaction, as soon as he started speaking Merlin felt his eyes rapidly water and contract with tears, his voice shaking between pain and misery, with a dash of confusion and overwhelmed feelings.

Arthur too looked as if he was ready to crumple, ready to let his knees break and lead him to the ground. His red shirt was damp with sweat and when he spoke, he sounded so vulnerable, so weak:

'I came... to seek forgiveness, from someone very dear to me' His voice was cracking between silent sobs and sudden tears, Merlin's heart mirroring that of Arthur': shaken and in a haze.

'What happened?' Merlin felt his tears ready to elapse and fall across his face, his vision now blurry from the water... and his heart just felt so sore from Arthur's sincere words of remorse.

'I couldn't give him what he wanted...' Arthur's felt his own heart begin to rot with the emotion, as if one could touch it, it would retreat in fear.

'And what did he want?' Merlin knew that if Arthur continued... then he'd break. They had been through so much together: from the singing witch when they first met to the labyrinth, from the Dorocha to Uther's death... and now here they stood – open-hearted, everything weighing upon this moment.

Arthur took one step forward, his skin and blood so sensitive to the ground, as if it was burning him from the inside. He looked extra long into Merlin's eyes, as the warlock felt as if Arthur was gazing into his very heart.

'... To be free... To not have to hide who he was, to be able to be in love' And in that moment, Merlin believed that both his and Arthur's heart beat at the same time... then stopped. It was now, that Arthur rushed forward, Merlin stepping back slightly. Both were so sore and tired, so tender from the cold blood, but the shattered and hopeful look in Arthur's eyes were more than enough to make Merlin release his held breath, however slightly. When Arthur spoke next, it was slightly hurried, desperate, and liquid emotion upon Merlin's ears:

'Merlin... I am so so sorry. Please forgive me for what I have done. You have always been there for me Merlin. I should have listened to you Merlin, understood that you were the only one I could trust. I know I didn't say anything and probably should have, but whenever I felt alone I would turn around to see who was behind me... and you were always already by my side, telling me, inspiring me to be true. You make me a better person Merlin. And I need you to know that... whenever you were lost, or in danger... that was when I was scared the most, Merlin.' Merlin hadn't realised that his eyes were drowned in tears, and he didn't realise how Arthur's were also. Arthur's voice was so traumatized, his lips shaking in the pouring of his heart.

'You... are my match in every way, Merlin. We were meant to be friends and at the first test of honour I betrayed your trust. I am nothing, without you. I would run into the fiery pits of hell for you and back again because... because you are the only person that matters to me, Merlin, and I was such a... such a prat for not realising it before' Merlin's face had cracked and they were both so close now, tears liquid diamonds in the sun. And Arthur for a moment grimaced to himself for his arrogant pride.

'Such a prat... for not realising that what I felt for you was... in fact... love' And it was now... now that Merlin felt his heart burst from its fleshy scars, burst from its swollen seams, and bleed such raw happiness. Merlin couldn't talk, couldn't breathe, and he couldn't remember a time when being so defenceless felt so good. He smiled then, the smile revealing such pearly teeth. He let out a little whimper of sobbing glee. The grin broke his face and brightened his eyes, as he looked to Arthur through his watery complexion and found that Arthur was smiling too, so brilliant and radiant, filled with such care-free joy and punctuated by the water droplets that caressed his face. It was now, that Arthur got on one knee... and Merlin felt his heart stop, his breathing race.

Arthur swallowed the lump within his throat, and did what he should have done a long time ago. His voice was still trembling with emotion, but the smile on his face made him look like an Adonis, and Merlin realised, with a sudden sharpness...that Kings weren't meant to kneel to anyone:

'I kneel to you now Merlin, not as a King, but as a man in love... I know I am not perfect, I know I have hurt you beyond that of what anyone should endure, and I fear that I'll never be able to have your forgiveness, and I know that I can be unreasonable, but I'll try for you. You've sacrificed so much for me and I... I'd give myself to you within a heartbeat' He produced a single band of platinum from his pocket, his eyes never leaving Merlin's... and Merlin began to feel shaken once more as the precious metal caught the sun and reflected it with colours one would except from a diamond if they held it against the midsummer sun.

Now... the tension had returned, and Arthur's voice was once again horse.

'Please...' He swallowed then, closing his eyes for a moment as he remembered how to breathe.

'Please... Please say that I haven't lost you, Merlin'

And it was now... that Merlin wanted to take back the years, take back any time wasted as he felt his whole entire being wreck with such a tremor of breathless emotion as a new sensation hit his eyes, more and more tears, as he felt his heart, or what was left of it, melt in such longing happiness and... freedom.

'Say it again...' Merlin closed his eyes, and let his tears drop without a care.

'I love –' Arthur began in with a chocked throat.

'No...' Merlin smiled with such a cheerful air and blissful feeling.

'No... The part where you say my name' Merlin felt his breath came back to him, and believed it was then that his heart started to beat again. He looked down at Arthur still, a steadfast grin upon his lips.

Arthur couldn't help himself but return the gesture, feeling freer, more liberated than he ever had before. His plump lips bobbing over his crooked tooth as he said once more, with such love and affection, in one breathless sigh:

'Merlin...' and as his name gracefully fell from Arthur's lips, Merlin felt his whole body sigh, closed his eyes as his tightened muscles relaxed, giving way to the overwhelming pulses of love that so tenderly endeared his being at hearing his name caress Arthur's lips.

... Moments passed as Merlin breathed steadily and Arthur looked at him with a slight look of worry.

'Merlin?' The warlock opened his eyes then, softly weeping and giggling to himself. His eyes met Arthur's, and he realised that his heart had been Arthur's since the beginning.

'Yes... yes, yes' Merlin couldn't stop as he continued to shake with uncontrollable delight and elation. Arthur's face shone with as he relished in rapture and placed the ring upon Merlin's finger... And as the metal glided across Merlin's flesh – it felt so prominent and so blissfully heavy.

Arthur raised then, their breath becoming one as they realised they were closer than once thought before. Merlin gazed into Arthur's eyes, both so intense as they recalled the years silently between them. Merlin felt Arthur lean closer, and he instantly felt the heat radiating from his skin. Arthur's lips parted then, breathing heavily upon Merlin's as he licked them moist. They both felt rushes and irregular beats and pulses of anticipation and love. Then, when their eyes met again, Merlin felt Arthur's chest press ever so gently to his, and the warmth that rapidly assaulted his nerves and blood with such ecstasy was overwhelming. Merlin's hand reached for Arthur's cheek and caressed the skin there, Arthur's closing his eyes as his breath quickened in elation. Merlin then felt Arthur's arms slowly slide around his waist and realised that they were flush against each other, their hearts beating at the same time, breathing the same air... and it was now, that Merlin felt his eyes lazily close and Arthur lean forward... and in one moment, he felt Arthur's lips gently entrap his within a moist haven of euphoria. He moved his lips in sync with Arthur's, both so slow, melting in the heated contact, delighting in the exhilaration and how their hearts were beating faster than ever. If possible, they leaned even closer then; increasing the pressure and Merlin felt a hot, moist muscle penetrate his mouth even further. Merlin greeted Arthur's tongue with his own, sliding, moving against him in their dance, shaking slightly in the trembles of ecstasy that pulsed from his heart in his blood. Arthur felt his entire flush, such happiness and such rapture cascading from his heart that his knees started to shake ever so slightly... They soon become passionate, tightening their hold upon the other and pressing their bodies closer, mouths ever so slightly frantic to absorb the other. They both felt the burn in their lungs and reluctantly parted for air...

And when they did, they rested their foreheads together, their noses lightly nudging the others. Finally... finally. When Merlin then managed to open his eyes, he met Arthur's which were ablaze with love... and Arthur then said one final statement that would make Merlin's heartstrings wrench:

'Forever Yours...' His voice was quiet and rough, but Merlin heard the emotion all the same. He then sighed again, breathing out and feeling so complete, happier than ever, and wondered if this was what destiny was... Then in one breath, Merlin sighed his love again, feeling his heart beat with such strength, such a tender throb:

'Always...'

The End

... :) I'd love to know what you think.

And Thanks For Reading x