The merpeople whooped and Kilgharrah let out a burst of steam into the air. Balinor checked over each of his sons and tallied the casualties. Merlin caught sight of Arthur treading water and made his way over hesitantly.
Arthur grinned at him. "You were brilliant!"
Merlin let out the breath he was holding and tackled Arthur, drawing him in for another kiss. "You were too," he rasped in the other prince's ear. Arthur slid his arms around Merlin's bare waist and let the merman keep them both afloat.
Gwaine let out a wolf whistle followed by an ow! when Percival cuffed his head.
"It was you," Arthur said when they reluctantly pulled away from each other. Merlin still held Arthur above the surface, using a combination of strength and magic.
"You saved me from drowning." This was something Arthur had been thinking about the whole afternoon. "You promised me we'd meet again."
"And so we did." Merlin crowed triumphantly. "You saved me and I saved you so we're even."
"And so," Gwaine proclaimed in an imperious voice, "Prince Merlin saved the day. Again."
"Wait a minute. Prince?"
"Yeah? But youngest of seven so I'll never be king and neither do I really want to."
"You never told me you were royalty." Arthur accused.
"I never told you anything. I lost my voice."
Arthur gave him a look. "You could have mentioned it, I don't know, written it down?"
"Why, does it change things?" Merlin was confused.
"Well no, but it will make my father like you a whole lot more."
"Arthur, I'm the prince of merpeople and sorcerers. I don't think your father is welcoming me anyways."
"You have power and money. He'll love you." Arthur waved his arm dismissively.
Merlin made an exasperated noise. "Are you even listening to me? I. Am. A. Warlock."
"Yes Merlin, I got that part." Arthur said impatiently. "But my father doesn't need to know that. And when I'm king, magic will be brought back."
"You forget I'm also a man. Your father doesn't seem as open minded as mine." Merlin pointed out.
"Ah. What do you think about cross-dressing?"
Gwaine burst out laughing. "Ooh kinky. I think you should try it Merls."
"Oh my gods, see what you've started?" Merlin whined. "Now he's going to bring this up every day for the rest of my life."
Arthur suppressed a laugh. "I don't see what the problem is. You said you were open minded and you've got the figure for it-"
"No! I am not dressing like a woman!" Merlin shouted.
Everybody in the nearby vicinity stopped and gawked at him.
Merlin lowered his voice. "Are you sure you're fine with this whole magic merman thing?"
"I'm not daft, your kiss broke the spell. True love and all that, we're meant to be together. Why, are you trying to get rid of me?"
Merlin giggled. "Not at all, you dollophead."
Arthur snorted. "That is definitely not a word."
"I think I liked you better when you couldn't talk."
Merlin smacked him on the arm. "I think I should have just let you drown."
"Now, now Merlin, fight nicely." Gwaine teased. He and Percival appeared next to them.
Merlin swatted at Gwaine halfheartedly. "Arthur, this is Percival, second youngest."
Arthur shook Percival's hand with the arm that wasn't snaked around Merlin.
"And this is Gwaine, the fifth oldest. He's annoying as hell so feel free to ignore anything that comes out of his mouth. Gwaine, you know Arthur."
"He does?" Arthur asked.
"Uh yeah. He helped rescue your friend Leon."
"I am grateful Gwaine. I am sure Sir Leon would like to meet you sometime."
Gwaine smirked. "How about at your wedding?"
"Gwaine!" Merlin groaned and hid his face in Arthur's shoulder.
Arthur tightened his arms around him. "We could get married. I wasn't kidding. You have influence and wealth so my father can't complain."
"Contrary to your belief, I am not a girl so you are not getting a dowry."
Arthur kissed the tip of his nose. "So is that a yes?"
"That was just about the worst proposal I've ever heard."
"Heard many now, have you?"
"Enough to know that was bollocks." Merlin gazed at him petulantly.
"Must I really get on one knee?"
Merlin glared at him pointedly.
"Fine." But Arthur didn't move from Merlin's arms. "Prince Merlin will you do the honor of marrying me?"
Merlin pretended to think about it. "Don't you have to ask my father for my hand or something like that?"
"I thought we just established you aren't a girl. Or is there something you need to tell all of us?"
Merlin let out a dramatic sigh. "Fine, fine. I'll marry you."
Arthur hooted and stole a kiss.
Gwaine shook his head. "You two are sickening."
Percival gave him a shove. "I think they're sweet."
"That's because you are a closet romantic, you big girl." Gwaine replied scornfully.
"Hey!" Percival reached over to hit his brother but Merlin beat him to it. He flicked his wrist and said a few words.
"I think you're sexy when you do magic." Arthur whispered in his ear.
Merlin ducked his head and hid a grin.
Percival stared at Gwaine in confusion. "What did you do to him?"
"I took away his voice. Now he can't nag."
Percival doubled over laughing. "M, you are a genius. Why didn't we do this earlier?"
Gwaine glared daggers at his brothers. He pointed a finger at Merlin then slid it across his throat. You are so dead.
Merlin gave him a dazzling smile. "I dealt with it for three days. You'll live."
Gwaine opened his mouth and began cursing silently. Merlin, with a wicked smirk, lifted the enchantment just as he was expressing his choicest swear words very loudly.
Balinor turned and narrowed his eyes warningly. "Gwaine, watch your language."
Merlin snickered. "Oh Princess Gwaine, whatever are we going to do with you?"