Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin.
Arthur doesn't share.
He's known this since he was seven years old and Morgana had tried to take away his wooden toy soldier. The war would've been lost without the army's fearless leader and the prince of Camelot never lost a battle! He'd bit Morgana's hand until she let go (not a very princely thing to do, but it was Morgana after all) and the toy soldier was returned to him. She went and told their father about the whole thing, but he didn't care. He doesn't share.
Some would call him an entitled arse, but he couldn't help it. He didn't share his things, his friends, or his lovers. Not that he'd had many lovers over the years, but the point was the same. If something belonged to him, it was his. No one else's.
So now, many years later and behavior already rather ingrained in him, he couldn't help but feel obscenely perturbed about his manservant gallivanting around town like some whorish tart.
He had noticed Merlin's strange behavior two months ago, Arthur had been about to fall asleep when he realized his idiotic servant had forgotten to close the curtains. Mumbling under his breath about the man's debilitating incompetence, he'd pattered across the floor and grabbed onto the heavy material. Just as he was about to pull them closed, he saw someone slink across the courtyard. Upon further observance he discovered it was Merlin, he could recognize that surly mop of hair and red scarf anywhere. Curious as to his destination, Arthur watched silently until Merlin disappeared into low town.
From then on he'd kept a closer eye on his manservant and started noticing things he had been missing before. Merlin went on these late night runs more often than not and even disappeared during the day on occasion.
After much deliberation Arthur deduced that Merlin must have been having some sort of secret affair, as unlikely as it seemed, all other possibilities were even further out of the question. Upon coming to this conclusion, fury burned deep in his gut. Merlin was his servant, his friend, his advisor. No one else had any right to the man.
A very small part of him said that he was being unreasonable and of course Merlin had every right to do whatever he wanted in his free time. However the other part of him was furious over the matter. He had always though that Merlin had feelings for him; finding out Merlin was giving his affection to someone else made his gut twist in jealousy.
For weeks he had buried the irritation and tried to ignore the signs of Merlin's absence he felt every time the man rushed off as quickly as possible after attending him. He couldn't forget though. The more he tried to push away his frustration, the more it burned ugly and dark in his belly. His only reprieve was to keep focused on a string of magical uprisings throughout the outer villages. Magic users started to come out of the woodwork and demand justice. He had no idea what had suddenly caused the stirring, but he threw himself into his work and it was enough. For a little while.
His resolve broke the night Merlin didn't show up to attend him at all. Sure he had pulled away from his friend and given him the cold shoulder as a result of his own misgivings, but he never thought Merlin would abandon him. Righteous indignation swelled in him over this mystery lover of Merlin's. The man, or woman, had no right to take his Merlin away from him. He stormed over to the window and waited for any sign of the man. The longer he waited, the more infuriated he became.
Just as he began to imagine running a sword through his servant, Merlin walked out into the courtyard. Arthur took off at full speed, bounding down the castle steps and sprinting through the hallways. He reached the courtyard just in time to see Merlin's form disappear around the corner. Utilizing his years of training, Arthur followed after him. He knew it was a serious invasion of the other man's privacy, but he just couldn't take it anymore. He had to know who had taken Merlin from him.
'And what are you going to do after you meet this person?' Arthur's traitor of a brain supplied.
'I'm going to tear them limb from limb for ever touching him, and then I'll explain to Merlin that he can't ever leave me again.' he answered himself.
Of course that wasn't a rational train of thought, but he was too riled up to care otherwise. It was only his training that had him traipsing lightly rather than stomping in anger after his manservant. As they made their way through the lower town, he was sure Merlin would stop at some maid's house or maybe even the tavern, after one of the girls for hire, but he never slowed. Instead the man continued on with determination in his steps until they reached the city gates.
Confusion swept over Arthur as they left the walls of Camelot behind. Who could he be meeting that would require such secrecy and seclusion? He nearly tripped over his own feet realizing it must be someone inappropriate. Merlin couldn't be taken as anyone's consort because he was Arthur's manservant and Arthur didn't share. Everyone knew that. Except apparently they didn't know well enough to not have a midnight rendezvous with his servant.
Gritting his teeth in frustration, Arthur continued to follow after Merlin until they came to a small clearing. Hanging back, he found cover behind a thick patch of brush and watched as Merlin walked into the center of the field.
Arthur scanned his surroundings, waiting to see who would emerge from the shadows, but nothing happened for several minutes. He jumped in surprise when a booming voice filled the clearing.
"Kilgharrah, komm zu mir!"
His eyes snapped over to the source of the sound, landing on Merlin's small frame. His head was thrown back looking towards the sky, hair ruffling in the slight summer breeze. He spoke in a language Arthur had never heard before.
What was he doing?
A few moments later the dragon he had supposedly killed years ago swooped down and landed in the clearing.
How was that possible? Merlin had said he slayed the dragon before losing consciousness.
Merlin had said.
Merlin. The man who stood there speaking with that very same dragon right before his eyes.
Merlin had lied.
The one person in the world he had absolute trust in had betrayed him. How could Merlin do this to him? Before he could think of the consequences, he stumbled out into the clearing to ask him just that.
"What's going on here?" Arthur demanded.
Merlin and the beast stopped their...conversation. Since when could dragons talk anyway?
"Arthur! What are you doing here?" Merlin stammered, stepping towards him, then stopped when Arthur lifted his sword in his direction.
"I'd like to know the same from you. You lied to me! You lied about me killing the dragon and who knows what else. You're even in alliance with this, this thing!"
Merlin raised his hands in a quiet submission and took another step in Arthur's direction. "It's not what you think. Let me explain."
"Not what I think? There is no possible explanation that will make me think this is okay." He waved his sword towards the dragon. "That animal terrorized Camelot. Innocent lives were lost, my people were murdered before the both of us, and you were on its side this entire time? How is that okay?" He was screaming at this point, but he couldn't help it. Nothing had hurt this much, not since he discovered Gwen's betrayal.
"I should have killed him for that, but I couldn't, Arthur. He's the last of his kind and I'm-" Merlin took a big gulp of air and he looked as if he was about to cry. "I'm the last of my kind. I'm the last Dragonlord, Arthur. I had to protect him."
The pieces began to fall into place, and there were so many questions, but all he could think was, "You had to protect him over me? Over Camelot? I thought you were loyal. Out of everyone, I thought I could trust you!"
"You can trust me," Merlin answered and took another step towards him. "All I've ever wanted-"
"No. You don't get to talk anymore." Arthur closed the space between them and set the tip of his blade against Merlin's chest.
"You will not harm him, young King." The dragon lowered his head to peer at him, snorting smoke in his direction.
"And you will not harm him, Kilgharrah." Merlin spoke firmly.
"I should kill you," Arthur said without confidence.
"Maybe, but you should at least let me explain first. Please, Arthur," Merlin pleaded.
He felt confused. Merlin's eyes were as honest as ever, speaking of loyalty and friendship and trust, but the dragon's presence was a reminder of his betrayal. Nothing Merlin said could resolve their differences now, but he had to know why. If he was going to kill the man, he needed to do so with a clear conscience.
"Why? How?" Were the only words he could get out as he lowered his sword. Merlin visibly sighed and his shoulders relaxed a small fraction.
"I think we should likely start from the beginning," Merlin said and motioned towards Kilgharrah.
"Are you sure?" Kilgharrah eyed Merlin speculatively, who nodded in return.
"Tell him the prophecy," he confirmed.
Arthur listened quietly as the dragon told him about how a Once and Future King and his sorcerer, Emrys, were destined to bring magic back and unite all of the land. Albion. A kingdom where peace and happiness was known by all. When the dragon finished, Merlin turned towards him and looked him straight in the eye.
"You are the Once and Future King Arthur, and I am Emrys."
He narrowed his eyes and ground his teeth together to keep himself from running Merlin through like he wanted. "You're telling me you're a sorcerer on top of being a traitorous Dragonlord?"
Kilgharrah growled behind them. "He is not a traitor. He has done everything within his power to keep you safe all these years. You should give him your respect-" Merlin raised his hand to stop the dragon's rant.
"You are more of a dollop-headed prat than I thought if that's all you got out of that," Merlin said brazenly. "Did you miss the part where I serve you without erring and help you unite the entire land? I'm yours, Arthur. Always have been, always will be."
'Always yours.' Arthur repeated in his head. Wasn't that what had started this from the very beginning? He wanted Merlin to be his and only his. He wanted to possess all his loyalty, all his heart. While he wanted to kill the man a little less, it still didn't pardon his many lies.
"What am I supposed to do with you then? Huh? You have still lied to me for as long as I've known you. You've still made poor decisions that others paid for with their life. Do you expect me to act as if nothing's happened?" he asked honestly.
Merlin looked at his feet, the first sign he'd shown of being ashamed all evening. "I've done so many things I'm not proud of, but they have always been for you. I don't expect your forgiveness, but I ask your pardon. Let me stand in the shadows and do what a blade alone cannot. Let me help you build Albion."
Humiliation bubbled in his gut and poured out his mouth. "You think I need your help? I'm the King of Camelot and I don't need a servants help to reign my kingdom!"
Kilgharrah snorted behind them, but kept quiet this time.
"And what about when Morgana comes back to try and take the throne?" Merlin fired back immediately.
"I'll beat her back like we have all the other times," Arthur said indignantly.
Merlin raised his brow and remained silent. Eventually Arthur understood what he had implied. "You mean to tell me you are the only reason I'm still on my throne?"
"You can't fight her magic without magic of your own. She's very powerful," Merlin said softly.
Putting aside the fact Merlin had implied he was even more powerful that his King, Arthur asked the most important question. "Have I done anything on my own the past five years?"
Merlin looked shocked and took a moment before answering. "Of course you have. I only helped when magic was the only option, but everything else has been you. You are the greatest man I have ever known. The most honorable King that has ever reigned."
Hearing those words from Merlin had always made his heart swell with pride. Even now, regardless of the sting of betrayal, they still had the same effect. Sighing in defeat, he sheathed his sword. He still had no idea what he supposed to do, but this was Merlin, and he couldn't kill him when he knew the man had acted with good intentions.
"You're an idiot," Arthur said, not knowing what else to say. He rubbed his forehead, and tried to smooth out the tension and confusion. They stood there and stared at each other for several long minutes, apparently at an impasse.
After his thoughts cleared enough, Arthur finally spoke. "You are everything I have been taught to distrust and hate my entire life. I know you are not evil, and whether your actions were truly right or wrong, I know you thought you meant well. Still, I need time. George will take over your normal duties. In the meantime I will lift the ban on magic and you will travel to the surrounding towns to quell the rebellions that have broken out. Am I understood?"
Merlin kneeled before him and bowed his head solemnly. "Anything for you." This was the first time he could ever remember Merlin showing him any kind of formal respect. It didn't really fit him honestly.
"Don't come back until you're called," Arthur said sternly.
"I promise," Merlin responded quickly.
Arthur took one last look at Merlin and the dragon and turned around to walk out of the field. Just as he reached the edge Merlin called out to him.
He turned around and saw Merlin standing once again. "I'll miss you my prat," he said with a huge grin.
Arthur couldn't help but return the smile before he turned around and headed back to the castle. Three Months Later
Merlin's parting smile filled his dreams and daydreams, nearly every moment. He missed the man.
The council had been in an uproar for weeks after his repeal on the ban of magic. The people on the other hand celebrated and praised his reign for ending the fear they lived in constantly. As he had promised, Merlin left Camelot and traveled through her lands spreading the word of the lift on the ban and ensured peace.
It had taken Arthur a long time to reconcile his reality of the past five years to what had actually happened. A month after Merlin left Arthur broke down and asked Gaius to fill him in on everything he knew. The man had obliged and thanked him for sparing Merlin's life afterwards. It stung knowing Gaius thought he was capable of anything else. Mainly because he knew it was true.
Two months later Arthur was finally at peace with the truth. Everything Merlin had done, good and bad, had been done to protect him. He assumed that even keeping his magic secret was for Arthur's own good, for his people's own good, so Albion could exist.
Yes, he missed Merlin deeply. It was time for him to come home.
Not even a week after Arthur summoned him, Merlin strolled into his chambers like nothing had ever happened.
"Hello, Sire," Merlin said with a goofy grin.
Arthur quickly walked over to him and pulled the man into a hug. He smelled like the earth and sunshine. He smelled like home. Arthur clasped him on the back before pulling away. "I missed you."
Merlin's answering smile was blinding. "So am I forgiven?"
"I thought you only wanted to be pardoned?" Arthur asked cheekily.
"It's all I deserve, but it's not all I want." Merlin said quietly.
"What do you want Merlin?" Arthur asked just as quietly, raising the tip of his finger to stroke his cheek. Merlin looked startled, his eyes showing more fear than when Arthur had discovered his secret.
"Because what I want is for you to never leave my side again. I want all of your loyalty, all of your heart, all of you." Arthur continued to stroke his cheek as he spoke.
"I want that too." Merlin said.
Arthur nodded and smiled. "The reason I followed you that night was because I thought you had taken a lover. I thought it for months and it infuriated me anyone else could own a part of you. I don't share Merlin."
"Of course you don't, you prat. You-"
Merlin didn't get a chance to finish as Arthur dove forward and kissed him firmly on the mouth, gripping him tightly about the waist. Merlin moaned into his mouth and threaded his fingers through his hair, and tugged gently. They took their time exploring each other, using the kiss to say all the things that went unspoken.
Merlin's mouth was hot and wet and so intoxicating; it had Arthur dizzy with want. He pulled back slightly and nipped at Merlin's swollen, pink lips. Moving his hands from Merlin's waist, he gently stroked up and down his side, delighting in the shiver it elicited from him.
When he looked his friend in the eye, his pupils were dilated with lust. Unexpectedly, Merlin pushed Arthur back into the wall and wantonly ground his hips into him.
"Can I-" Merlin's voice was thick with arousal and a hint of fear as he snaked his hands down to the front of his trousers.
Unable to form much of a coherent thought, Arthur nodded in consent. He watched in rapt anticipation as Merlin swiftly undid his laces and then his own. The man's fingers were long and beautiful and Arthur couldn't wait to have them wrapped around his cock. Merlin didn't leave it to his imagination for long as he wrapped a hand around both of them and leaned forward to rest his head on Arthur's shoulder.
Not even his many, many dreams could prepare him for the perfection and overwhelming heat of Merlin's cock rubbing against his own. He groaned into Merlin's shoulder, feeling like he would come already just from those spindly fingers gently massaging them.
Ever so slowly, Merlin started pumping them together; making Arthur cry out with each pull. Nothing had ever felt so amazing in his life, his head spun with pleasure, his toes curled, and his gut tightened an almost unbearable amount. As their pace increased he couldn't help thrusting up into Merlin's hand, greedy with need. If it wasn't for his sheer determination for the other man to come first, he would have been finished already. The pleasure-pain of trying to stem off his orgasm had become too much when Merlin's hands gripped his shoulders tightly and he came over their stomachs; sighing with his release.
Arthur waited as patiently as he could for Merlin to come down from his high, desperate for relief himself. Finally, Merlin lifted his head from Arthur's shoulder and smiled lazily at him before sinking to his knees and taking the tip of him inside his mouth and sucking hard. That was all it took to send Arthur over the edge, crying out in ecstasy as long streams of his come shot down Merlin's throat.
Arthur fleetingly thought he should have tried to warn Merlin, but he didn't have the wherewithal to see if he was upset about it or not. Sated and sleepy, he sagged against the stone wall, welcoming the coolness against his heated skin.
Merlin stood before him and placed a sweet kiss at the corner of his mouth. "I always wanted to see you like this for me. You're beautiful."
Arthur smiled lazily. "You're such a girl."
Merlin grinned in response and wiped some of Arthur's hair from his brow.
"Show me," Arthur whispered, hoping he would understand.
"Are you sure?" Merlin said, just as quietly as Arthur.
"It's all I've thought about for weeks," he answered honestly.
Merlin whispered a few words and a blue orb of light appeared in the small space between them. Gaius had told him how Merlin had somehow managed to save his life even while unconscious and near death, but it was something else to see the proof right before him. Arthur couldn't tear his eyes away, heart swelling with his new-found appreciation and respect for his friend.
Eventually Merlin let it dissipate and eyed him with hesitation. Wanting to quell any remaining fear, Arthur leaned forward and kissed him long and slow, taking his time to massage Merlin's tongue with his own.
"You're amazing," he said with reverence once they separated.
Merlin smiled brilliantly then went about helping them right their clothing and clean up the mess they'd made. Arthur was preoccupied wondering how long it would take him to recuperate enough to take Merlin to bed and do things properly. A chord of satisfaction ran through him when his dick twitched in response to the idea.
"Do you want me to go back to my old duties now that I'm back?" Merlin asked, breaking through his thoughts.
"Of course not. I'm going to appoint you Court Sorcerer tomorrow," Arthur said and enjoyed the look of shock that spread over Merlin's face.
"You are?" he asked slowly.
"Yes, you idiot. Why wouldn't I?" Arthur said.
Merlin smiled wide and jumped back into his arms, squeezing him tightly. He nuzzled into the crook of Arthur's shoulder and brushed his lips over his neck. "Thank you."
There were too many things he wanted to say without enough words to say them, so Arthur squeezed back and started planning all the ways he could show Merlin just how much he cared. END
A/N: A review or two is always much appreciated!