Love for a Lionheart
Chapter 13: Idyll
Merlin carefully balanced a tall stack of sheets in his arms when he felt hands grab his jacket from behind and pull him into a hidden alcove in the palace, causing him to drop his sheets. "What the—" he started, but two fingers on his lips silenced him. He looked down to see his kidnapper was none other than Skye. He could tell by her smile that her spirits were high and mischief danced in her dark brown eyes. Merlin grinned at her and kissed her nose quickly. Skye was a vision in simple lavender dress with silver patterns making it seem as though her very body shimmered with magic.
"Run away with me," said Skye, sighing dreamily. The past few days have been busy for her and Merlin in different ways. She spent hours with Arthur and Agravaine getting caught up on Camelot's affairs and today her aunt Katherine and cousin Henry were due to come in to see her and inform her of Aidan's affairs as well. Merlin had been busy doing both Arthur's and Gaius' biddings and today he was preparing chambers for Skye's family. From the moment she returned, they promised each other they would sneak away from the castle and spend time together, but there schedules seemed to conflict.
Merlin smiled sadly as he looked over his shoulder to make sure they were still alone. "You know I would, but we've been busy. Arthur will know we're gone."
"I know, Lionheart, I know," said Skye. Peeking around the corner, satisfied that no one but Merlin was watching, her brown eyes glowed with fire and soon the sheets that Merlin dropped were stacking themselves and soon floated up into Merlin's waiting arms. He smiled, impressed by her skill.
"You've gotten better at magic," said Merlin, having seen some of Skye's skill for the first time since her return.
"Thank you," she said with a smile. "Are those for Katherine's and Henry's rooms?"
"They are," said Merlin. "I was about to prepare their quarters."
"I'll go with you," said Skye walking along side Merlin.
"Don't you have duties with Arthur," asked Merlin.
"They have been concluded for today. He said he had a private meeting with someone. So I'm free until my family arrives. Running away can be quite possible for us this afternoon." Taking half of the stack from Merlin's arms, she followed him into one of the rooms that was meant to be for Katherine.
"Don't give me that look," said Skye when she shook out a bed sheet to cover the bare mattress. "I'm the daughter of a huntsman, remember?"
"Who was once a prince," said Merlin, sighing as he allowed Skye to help him make the bed. His only qualm against her making the bed was the fact that in Camelot, even in Aidan, Skye was considered a royal. Even though she's proved herself to be capable, Merlin refused to let her do work that she shouldn't have to do. Whenever possible, he wanted to take care of you.
Merlin's thoughts were interrupted when a white fluffy pillow nailed him in the face. He looked up to see Skye smiling sassily at him and holding another pillow, ready to fire again. Despite himself, Merlin couldn't help but grin.
"Come on, Lionheart, there's no time to waste!"
With the help of Skye, Merlin finished his chores in record pace. As they exited the freshly furnished room, Merlin took Skye by the hand and touched a finger to his lips, silently asking her to keep a promise. With a nod, Merlin took Skye through a series of halls that mostly servants used. Luckily, there paths did not cross with anyone else, and soon they were outside, walking through a grassy area toward the woods.
"I can't believe we didn't pass anyone," said Skye, looking over her shoulder at the castle.
"You're right," said Merlin. He often crossed paths with Guinevere but even she was nowhere to be seen. However, Merlin didn't have a bad feeling, so now he could spend a couple of free precious hours with Skye.
With a decent amount of space separating them from the castle, Merlin and Skye stopped in a small, idyllist clearing. The clearing was green with lush grass and dotted with delicate flowers as the sun shone managed to break through in rays raining down in the secret clearing. It was a perfect place for two magicians to be alone.
Skye went to the middle of the clearing, and after testing the grass to make sure it was dry, she lied down in it, surprised by how warm the sunlight felt on her skin. Looking up at Merlin who simply smiled at her she waved for him to join her. With an easy smile he obliged, stretching out beside her. Together they rested side by side, their fingers entwined as they soaked up the sun in silence.
Merlin absently picked a flower before turning on his side to look at Skye. His eyes trailed from the top of her head, her chestnut hair shining red in the sun, down the planes of her cheekbones and down her neck, pausing briefly to watch the rise and fall of her stylishly uncovered cleavage in her gown. Merlin cleared his throat with embarrassment as he forcefully tore his gaze away from her breasts and the glowing pendant that rested between them, no matter how much he wanted to look.
"So," he said, watching as Skye opened her eyes to look at him. "You've gotten better with magic."
Skye grinned at him and nodded. "Indeed I have," she said. "Probably nowhere near as good as you, but good enough to hold my own. It is my skill in herbology that has surprised me most. Usually when it comes to herbs and roots, I follow my mother's books, but now, after meeting with the Vilia and discovering my heritage, it's as though nature and herbs are part of me. It's sounds silly, but it's like I know what to mix and what's poison and what's not." Skye shook her head and laughed.
"It's not silly," said Merlin, twirling the flower between his fingers. "That's still magic in every sense of the word."
Skye smiled faintly as Merlin reached out to put the flower in her hair. "Anyway, no more about me," she said. She had many more stories for him, but she would rather hear about him than talk about herself. "What about you, Merlin? Truly, how have you been?"
Merlin thought for a minute before speaking. "It's been an interesting few years," he said honestly. He told of her of his mission to be at Arthur's side which she already knew. He also told her of his father, which also knew. Merlin told Skye of his adventures as Emrys, the death of Arthur's father and everything else in between, only pausing to take a breath. When he was done talking, he sighed and looked apologetically at Skye. He would rather hear about her, but it felt good to finally share his story with someone else. "I'm sorry," Merlin said with a sheepish laugh. "I think I understand why Arthur tells me to shut up."
"No," said Skye with a shake of her head, her long hair falling over a shoulder. "I lived in solitude for over a year. I miss hearing voices that aren't part of my thoughts, and I miss being near other people. When you and Lancelot stumbled across my stream all those months ago, I thought I finally went crazy. I had to tell myself you were real." Skye smiled and touched Merlin's cheek. "It's good to see and hear you again, Merlin. I've missed you so much."
Merlin's blue eyes searched Skye's face for a moment. Carefully, he scooted closer to her, his calloused hand caressing her soft cheek. "My Lionheart," he whispered to her the nickname they gave each other, before pressing his lips against hers. Merlin felt her yield to his touch, and with all gentleness he pushed Skye on her back and climbed over her with unexpected boldness. Merlin heard Skye respond to his caresses on her waist which continued to give him all the courage he needed.
Skye continued to give into him; every place Merlin's hands lingers seemed to go up in flames and she wanted nothing more than to get as close to him as humanly possible…but now wasn't the time. In the middle of his kisses Skye gently turned her head to the side so his lips brushed against her reddened cheek. Merlin paused and looked at her.
"I'm sorry," said Skye, uncharacteristically shy.
"Did I go too far? I'm so sorry, Skye. It won't happen—"
"No," said Skye, placing her fingers on Merlin's lips. "It's not that." Skye smiled and kissed Merlin's jaw before sitting up and fixing her hair. Her father always taught her to be a young lady above reproach and to remember the importance and properness of purity, yet with Merlin there was a connection in the soul that she could not deny. "We've been out here for a couple of hours and with my family coming soon, I feel like we won't be able to have an explanation for what happened. Don't worry, Lionheart, our time will come."
Merlin nodded, knowing Skye was right. Maybe it was because he was raised by his mother and ever since he was a boy he knew that when he became a man he would wait until he was married to give everything to a woman. However, looking at Skye, he knew that with or without marriage, this was the woman he would be with until death parted them and he would give everything to her whenever she asked. Rising to his feet he helped Skye stand as well and together they walked back to the castle, knowing that one day they would no longer have to run away to be together. That was enough for the moment.
"Where is Merlin," yelled Arthur just as Skye and Merlin turned the corner of a hallway. Skye's eyes widened as Merlin pushed her back around the corner. Skye took the opportunity to make sure her hair and dress appeared decent before coming back around the corner, her head held high.
"What's going on here," asked Arthur, waving a hand between Merlin and Skye.
"I, er, we were…picking flowers," said Merlin after a moment's hesitation.
"Flowers," asked Arthur.
"Yes, flowers," said Skye, giving Arthur a smile. "Lady Katherine Fell likes flowers and I wanted to surprise her. I brought Merlin with me because I figured since he was in charge of preparing their rooms then he would be the expert on flowers to coordinate with the colors. Only the best for our guests, right?"
"Well, yes," said Arthur, narrowing his blue eyes at Skye who only smiled innocently in return. "Where are these flowers," Arthur asked suspiciously.
"Couldn't find any, I remembered that Katherine is allergic," Skye quickly said waving a hand through the air as though banishing the question. "Anyway, on our way back to the castle we heard the news of you and Gwen."
"Right," said Merlin, grinning widely. "Congratulations on your engagement."
This time it was Arthur's turn to blush. Despite the color rising to his cheeks, he couldn't help but smile. "Oh yes, thank you," he said, and for a moment he wasn't a king, he was simply a young man in love. Quickly the moment ended when he looked back at Merlin. "Don't just stand there, help me get ready, the Fell family will be here in a couple of hours!"
Arthur stalked back to his room, expecting Merlin to follow him. Skye and Merlin shared a look of relief before Skye hurried off to her room to change her dress and Merlin ran off after Arthur.
Skye was glad to find Alissa already in her room, even though the girl looked nervous. Her expression changed to one of relief when she saw her mistress. "Skye, where have you been? I looked for you everywhere!"
"Picking flowers," said Skye as Alissa hurried Skye out of her dirtied dress and into a gown of lavender and shimmering gold.
"Flowers," questioned Alissa as she helped lace the back of Skye's dress before hurrying her to the vanity. After removing blades of grass from Skye's hair, Alissa was able to pull Skye's locks into a sophisticated half up-do with a little bit of water and magic to secure it.
"Yes," said Skye, her cheeks instantly warming.
"You were with Merlin weren't you?"
Skye's silence said it all. Alissa smiled and touched Skye's shoulder. She viewed the liaison as a big sister and wanted all the joy in the world for her friend and mistress. "Lady Skye, your secrets are always safe with me," said Alissa.
"I know, I am so glad for your friendship."
Once ready, Skye reached into her jewelry box on her vanity and extracted two jeweled hairclips. Turning to Alissa she took the girl's hand and placed them on her palm, curling her fingers over them. "These are from Aidan," said Skye, looking up at Alissa's surprised blue eyes. "These stones are only found in Aidan, but the metal that they are melted to is from Camelot. I want you to have them."
"Skye, I can't take these—"
"You can," said Skye with a gentle laugh. "I want you to."
Alissa's eyes filled with tears as she hugged Skye tightly. "Thank you. I am forever indebted to you."
The ringing of bells that signaled the arrival of the Fell family made the women pull apart. Skye stood and smoothed her skirts. "Come meet my family," she said to the girl before practically running out of her room. Alissa quickly clipped the stones in her hair and followed after her mistress. Her stomach was heavy with guilt. She longed to tell Skye about her magic, but she knew she needed to wait for the right time.
"Lady Katherine, it is good to see you!" Skye pulled the middle-aged woman into a fierce embrace in front of the knights of Camelot and Aidan.
"It is good to see you well, child," said Katherine, the fine lines around her eyes crinkling as she smiled. "I'm glad to hear of your safety. We have much to discuss."
Someone cleared his throat behind him.
Skye knew that her cousin would look different when she saw him, but she still expected a boy. Standing at least a foot taller than her was a young man that was her cousin. "Henry, you've changed! How old are you now?"
Henry grinned and hugged his tiny cousin, pulling her off her feet. "I am 18 as of two weeks ago," he answered proudly. Finally he put her back on the ground, laughing as Skye smoothed her skirt. "Also, you're looking at the heir apparent of Aidan," Henry added in a serious voice.
"I do indeed have a lot to catch up on," said Skye, congratulating her cousin.
"Welcome to Camelot," Arthur said with a smile. "Please, feel free to rest here. We are honored to have you as guests in our home."
"We are honored to be here, my lord," replied Katherine as she walked up the steps to greet the king. "Aidan is forever in debt to Camelot for welcoming Skyelynn back into good graces."
"She saved my life and her reputation for loyalty cannot be compared to."
Henry and Skye trailed up the stairs after Arthur and Katherine and they were followed by a procession of knights and servants.
"Cousin," Henry whispered to Skye. Skye cocked her head to listen. "Who is the girl behind us? The blonde? She is a servant?"
Skye knew immediately he was talking about Alissa. "She is my servant, yes," Skye whispered back. "She's a lovely girl though, more of a friend, really."
"Ah," said Henry, taking this into consideration. "She is quite lovely."
Skye laughed at her cousin and his new infatuation. She hoped by the end of the week to play matchmaker at some point.
Supper that night was a loud affair. Everyone from King Arthur to the servants pouring wine in the dining hall seemed to be in high spirits. Voices rose up the high ceilings as more wine was indulged in. Finally Arthur rose from his seat to make an announcement.
"There are a couple very important things to be noted tonight. First, I would like to welcome our guests from Aidan who will be with us for a week. Secondly, I have decided to take a wife. She is a woman of honesty, beauty, and intelligence. She is a friend to many, will you please rise, Guinevere." Guinevere rose from her seat beside Arthur, curtsied and smiled before sitting down. A round of applause went through the castle. "Finally," Arthur finished, "there will be a tournament held in celebration of the engagement. All our welcome to participate, even our guests from Aidan."
Henry raised his goblet of wine in acceptance of the challenge.
Eventually the night wore on and guests began to trickle off to prepare for bed.
"Are you ready, my lady," asked Alissa when Skye rose from her seat.
"Oh, er, yes, but actually, Alissa, will you please tend to Henry and Katherine tonight? I want to make sure they get the very best treatment."
"Oh of course, Skye," said Alissa, instantly shy.
"Don't worry, Alissa, I've told them how important you are to me. My friends are their friends too."
Alissa smiled at Skye before going to show Henry and Katherine to their rooms. Skye paused to watch for a moment as Henry greeted Alissa with a kiss on her hand. Skye hoped that it was courage that made him so bold and not the wine in him.
In her room, Skye closed the doors to her chambers, a hint of a smile playing on her lips. From the shadows a figured stepped out, covering her eyes.
"Merlin," she said with a laugh, turning to see her sorcerer before her with the same smile on his face. He pulled her into a quick kiss before letting her go.
"What was it that you wanted to show me," asked Skye, raising a quizzical eyebrow at him.
"Watch." Merlin rubbed his hands together before cupping them over his mouth. He muttered words into his cupped hands barely audible to Skye. When Merlin's blue eyes lit with flames, Skye realized he had done magic. Merlin peeked in his hands, smiled and looked up at Skye.
"What are you doing," she asked.
Merlin walked to his beloved, his hands still clasped. When he opened them a beautiful butterfly with the bluest wings Skye had ever seen fluttered from Merlin's hands. Skye gasped in delight as the butterfly flew around the pair before flying up to a corner of her room, turning into a small shower of golden sparkles.
"Beautiful," Skye whispered, amazed by Merlin's abilities.
"Only for you," said Merlin before bidding Skye goodnight.
Author's Note: I just finished watching all of Merlin. I cried. Oh my goodness.
Also, I'm enjoying writing this story much more than my Rise of the Guardians story...maybe because I'm so immersed in "Merlin" thoughts right now.
Also also, was the scene in the clearing "too much" for my audience? Please, let me know! I love reviews, keep them coming! I especially need encouragement for this story. Even though I love writing it, the encouragement and reviews mean so much to me.
In conclusion...this story is in "season 4" of the Merlin plot. Expect to leave Season 4 within the next couple of chapters.