Title: Subtlety
Summary: Arthur and Merlin believe that they are being incredibly subtle with their relationship. They are not.
Spoilers: All fair game. Arthur is King in this, so S4.
Warnings: Slash? Not so much a warning as an encouragement eh?
Rating: M (For sex in one scene.)
Genre: Romance
Word Count: 2,863
Disclaimer: I own nothing, no profit being made blah blah blah…
A/N: More fluff from me… I know, you're shocked. Actually, there is something a little bit shocking in this one- my first real attempt at anything remotely smutty! Eeeep! Do let me know what you think of it, won't you? Thanks for reading, and thanks to EVERYONE who has favourited/reviewed/followed my other fics. I love you all- you have no idea :D
EDIT: This is a resubmission because my format got messed up and without the formatting this could definitely get confusing. Sorry to let it out first of all! Fingers crossed it'll work out better this time. Anyway, onwards!

Arthur woke from his light doze when he felt his bed dip beneath the weight of another person. Grinning lazily, he opened his eyes as he reached for Merlin to pull him closer, something Merlin was only too happy to comply with.

"What took you so long?" Arthur asked quietly as Merlin shuffled beneath the covers and snuggled in close to Arthur's side.

"Your guards didn't fall for the usual tricks." Merlin mumbled in reply "I had to wait until they started playing cards down the corridor."

"Remind me to sack them in the morning."

Merlin smiled and nodded into Arthur's neck "Will do."


"Has he gone in now?" Frederick asked his companion over the top of the stack of cards they were pretending to play with.

"Yeah, just this second." Thomas replied with a grin "We shouldn't do that again, he was practically falling over himself trying to sneak in there."

Frederick chuckled and nodded his agreement "I know, but it was too tempting. We'll let him in early tomorrow to make up for it. It's a wonder the King didn't come looking."


Merlin felt a hand trail over the top of his shoulders as he sat on the grass polishing Arthur's boots in the sunshine of the training grounds. He smiled widely and looked up to meet Arthur's eyes as he kept walking, both men turning their heads subtly to keep eye contact for as long as possible without drawing attention to themselves.

They knew they shouldn't really do that in public lest someone notice but, really, they were only human.


Elyan and Leon exchanged a brief look of amusement as they watched Arthur smile to himself as he continued onto the training field drawing his sword as he walked.

Snapping to attention they fell into line as Arthur barked his first order and threw themselves into their training.


Arthur held Merlin close to him late into the night, dropping the occasional kiss onto the bare shoulder next to him and humming contently when Merlin's fingers traced aimless patterns onto Arthur's sternum, down, around and back up again.

"I should get going soon" Merlin whispered "Gaius might wonder where I am."

"Where did you tell him you were going when you left?" Arthur asked tightening his hold- the thought of Merlin leaving him always made his heart clench, no matter how short a time it was for.

"Nowhere actually. He doesn't really ask questions- he knows how much of a slave driver you can be" Merlin gently teased kissing Arthur's chest in a quiet apology.

"Oh really?" Arthur twisted and rolled the both of them over so that he hovered over Merlin. Staring down into his eyes he took a moment to marvel at the beauty beneath him before he swooped low and murmured "I can drive you crazy" against Merlin's lips but got no further as Merlin burst out laughing effectively shattering the moment.

"Oh, Arthur I'm sorry but that was ridiculous!" he giggled, wrapping his arms securely around the back of Arthur's neck making sure he didn't roll off of him in a huff.

"I was trying to be romantic you dolt" Arthur sulked dropping his head to Merlin's shoulder

"No, you were trying to be suave and you know it" another giggle "Just shut up and kiss me."

"I'm the one that gives the orders around here, you know" Arthur grumbled even as he lifted his head and leant down to meet Merlin's still grinning lips.


It was just past dawn when Merlin carefully made his way back to his and Gaius' chambers. He pushed the door open as quietly as the old door would allow and smiled in relief as he saw Gaius sleeping soundly. He and Arthur really needed to stop falling asleep together. He tiptoed up to his room and closed the door with a quiet click and dropped onto his uncomfortable bed for a few minutes before Gaius would come to 'wake him' none the wiser.

Gaius rolled his eyes as soon as he heard the door to Merlin's room shut. He had no idea why Merlin insisted upon keeping up the pretence of skulking back to his bed for a perfunctory 'wake-up call' when he had been with the King just moments ago. Surely it would save time to just begin his day where he had slept? He sometimes despaired of the boy.


"Oh Gods, Arthur! Oh…." Merlin trailed off unable to speak through the pleasure, instead mouthing words of encouragement into Arthur's neck.

Arthur himself was doing his very best to keep quiet. They definitely shouldn't be doing this but all higher brain functions shut down when he was in close proximity to Merlin sweating and the day really was unbearably warm. Focused solely on Merlin, pinned between his body and the cool wall of the armoury he reached one hand up to cup the back of Merlin's head to stop it hitting the wall as Arthur's thrusts became harder and more erratic. He was so close, and if Merlin's mindless whimpers and desperate clutching of his shoulders were anything to go by, so was Merlin.

"Merlin," he gasped out "Merlin we have to be quiet."

Merlin nodded jerkily, but Arthur doubted he had really heard anything. Merlin had always been very vocal and anyone could walk by and hear them. Merlin had locked the door, Arthur knew, but that didn't mean the room was soundproof. They had to be quie- "Oh Gods, Arthur." Merlin practically screamed Arthur's name as he came hard between their bodies- his arse clenching around Arthur's cock pulling Arthur over the edge with an admittedly too loud groan of "Merlin" on his lips.

It took an age for them to come down from their high, but as Merlin dropped his legs from around Arthur's hips and Arthur set Merlin down gently, kissing one another softly they both knew they were listening for anything to indicate that they had been heard.

"That was probably not the best idea" Merlin said with a sly smile, hitching his trousers back up around his hips and tying the chord tightly.

"You might be right." Arthur replied eyeing the rather obvious wet spot on Merlin's tunic and doing up his own breaches "but Gods it was good"

Merlin smiled widely and nodded "It really was" there was a pause "Okay, time to go. You go first and distract anyone outside- I'll slip out in a few minutes and get a bath drawn for us."

"Okay." Arthur leaned forwards and kissed Merlin briefly before looking down himself to check he was as presentable as he could manage, unlocking the door and slipping out. Thankfully, though Gwaine and Percy were milling around, no one had been near the armoury door. He and Merlin had gotten away with it. He grinned to himself and called for his Knights to attention for one last drill. He was half hearted in this drill, but it served its purpose as he spotted Merlin slinking out of the armoury and jogging towards the keep.

"One, two, three!" he repeated loudly barely even registering the answering movements in his Knights.


"Hello there friend!" one of the Knights called to the new squire Geoffrey causing the poor boy to jump and almost drop the swords in his arms "where are you headed?"

"U-uhm the armoury my Lord." He replied shakily not meeting the eyes of the Knight.

"Oh no, none of that 'My Lord' business for me; Gwaine will do just fine. Why are you going to the armoury?"

Geoffrey frowned and shifted the swords in his arms a little- they were all sheathed and perfectly safe for him to handle but they were heavy and he just wanted to put them down. "My master asked me to polish these and return them as soon as I was finished."

"Well tosh! It's far too nice a day to be heading to that sweat box! Why don't you just leave them with me and head off to the well for a nice cool drink hm?"

"I- uh- my master-"

"Don't you worry yourself about your master- I'll deal with him." The Knight, Gwaine lifted the armful of swords easily out of Geoffrey's arms and shooed him with a nod towards the well and a roguish grin "Off you go"

As the squire hurried away Percy met Gwaine and took half of his load. "Where'd Geoff run off to?" he asked.

"Oh, is he yours?" Percy nodded still watching the boy trot towards the well "He was heading to the armoury"

"I know, I sent him" he stopped as an unmistakable moan came from the room "Are they still not finished?"

"Apparently not. I'll give it to them- they've got stamina."

"I'm surprised either of them can walk! Frederick said they were at it just this morning."

Gwaine laughed loudly and shook his head "Young love, eh?"


"I'm telling you, they've been gone too long. Something's gone wrong. I knew he shouldn't have gone without me!" Merlin was pacing back and forth as Gwen sat next to Gaius on the bench of Gaius' work table.

"I don't even know why he couldn't wait a day for me to get better! Actually, I don't know why he didn't let me go with him at all! You told him it was just a cold but nooo Arthur 'I-know-better-than-anyone' had to slip away leaving a sodding note" he threw his hand up in exasperation, the note clutched tightly between his fingers "and now they've been gone too long and something's gone wrong and I'm never going to- Oh Gods what if I never see him again?" Merlin stopped pacing and stared towards his companions, but focusing on the bleak and desolate future without Arthur by his side. What if he never saw his smile again? Or hear his laugh? Or feel his kiss? Oh Gods he couldn't live without Arthur, he couldn't.

"They're just half a day late, Merlin. I'm sure they just got a little waylaid." Gwen tried to console her friend.

"Why does he insist on doing everything on his own, anyway? He's the King of Camelot! Shouldn't he be here in Camelot?" Merlin resumed his pacing

"I still have to be present in the outlying villages, Merlin" came the most beautiful voice Merlin had ever heard "Gaius, I wonder if you could take a look at William's ankle? I think it's sprained."

Gaius nodded and stood with Gwen to give William room to sit "Of course my Lord…" Gaius' words washed over Merlin in a blur of sound as he focused on Arthur standing in front of him trying to fight a smile.

Arthur inclined his head minutely and Merlin followed him to the far side of the room- they couldn't leave just yet in case the sprain was worse than thought and Gaius needed Merlin's help to splint it.

"Were you worried?" Arthur asked quietly trying to stop his hands reaching up and pulling Merlin to him.

"No" Merlin lied stubbornly barely stopping his lip sticking out in a childish pout "I just don't know why you couldn't wait for me."

"Because you were ill, Merlin. I left you a-"

"A note," Merlin gestured "yeah, I got it."

Arthur glanced towards Gaius Gwen and William before stepping closer and angling their bodies so he was mostly able to hide reaching out to take Merlin's hand briefly squeezing. "I was worried you would get worse and this was the best place for you to be." He explained quietly "I didn't want you to be ill and not be able to help you." He glanced back towards the three others in the room "I'm sorry I worried you, but William's ankle meant we were making slow progress home"

Merlin nodded- he understood but the panic he had felt at the thought of never seeing Arthur again was hard to forget. "Just promise you won't leave without me again?" he asked with a small voice

Arthur squeezed Merlin's hand again "If you are well enough to-"


Arthur met Merlin's eyes and sighed- he knew he could deny Merlin nothing "I promise." He whispered barely controlling the impulse to close the gap and kiss Merlin.


Gwen watched the pair across the room with a fond smile. Though their conversation was too low for her to hear, the love radiating from them was palpable. She had always known that there was something between Arthur and Merlin, but it wasn't until a few months previously that she had had her suspicions confirmed when she stumbled across the Prince pressing his servant into the wall and kissing him as if it was the last thing he would ever do.

She had stood quietly as Merlin pulled away from Arthur to catch his breath and rest his forehead against Arthur's. "It's going to be okay, Arthur" Merlin whispered "If your Father- If he doesn't recover. It's going to be okay. I promise you."

It had hurt at the time for she was certain that she and Arthur would one day marry but now, watching the two of them together she knew that whatever she and Arthur might have one day shared would have never measured up to the sheer love and affection between the two men.

She was waiting for the moment that Arthur would announce his and Merlin's relationship to the court and she would be the first to shout up and cheer for the couple who were finally able to express their love freely. A love as strong as theirs should never be hidden and shied away from. She hoped that one day, they would both realise that.


"Merlin," Arthur said one day as they sat at the table in Arthur's chambers "I think it's time."

Merlin looked up from the book he was reading and flexed his feet that were settled in Arthur's lap "Time for what?" he asked

"To tell people about us" Merlin opened his mouth to reply, but Arthur was determined "No, listen to me. We've been together for well over a year now and I love you more than I ever thought possible. Now that I'm King I don't have anyone trying to marry me off to some far off Princess and if we tell the court about us, then we don't have to keep sneaking around like this is wrong. I don't like hiding you Merlin. I don't like not being able to kiss you whenever and wherever I want. I don't like people not knowing that I love you and that you love me. I want to tell people, I want to tell everyone."

"Arthur" Merlin began slowly dropping his feet from Arthur's lap in order to lean over the table and take Arthur's hands in his own "I'm not sure that people will accept me. It's one thing to announce me as your court sorcerer but to announce me as your consort, too? It might be too much."

"It won't be, Merlin. I know it. The people love you."

Merlin shook his head "No, they love you"

"And as an extension, you! They know how often you've saved my life and all of their lives. Please Merlin. I don't want to hide anymore."

Merlin studied Arthur intently and saw nothing but determination and hope in his lover's eyes. He smiled and nodded "Okay."

"Okay?" Arthur asked barely believing his own ears

"Yes, okay. Let's tell people." Merlin just about registered that Arthur had stood before he was being swept up in strong arms and kissed to within an inch of his life.


"People of Camelot, I thank you for your time today." Arthur said from the balcony overlooking the courtyard "I promise that I will make this brief as I know you all have very busy lives to lead but I have something that I would like to tell you all personally."

A murmur of interest ripped around the crowd as the members of court hid their smiles behind their hands "I know that you have all noticed that I am yet to take a Queen and I would like to address this by stating here and now that I have not and will not be taking a wife, however, that is not to say that I am not in love. I have found the person that I wish to rule this Kingdom alongside and I hope that you will accept this person as my consort and love." Arthur turned to look slightly behind himself and to his right gesturing for somebody to come forward "People of Camelot- I give you Merlin; Court Sorcerer and Royal Consort."

The courtyard was deathly silent for a long pregnant moment in which both Arthur and Merlin hardly dared to breathe.

It was a single strong voice from near the back of the court that broke the quiet "Well, it's about time you came clean!"

With that the court erupted into laughter and cheers. Arthur's smile was blinding as he pulled Merlin close and kissed his forehead.

The resulting cheer was deafening.

Well there you have it... again. Hope this time this site leaves my formatting be *glares in general direction of ff*

Please do review. Thanks so much to those of you who have already favourited/reviewed even with my messed up formatting. Massive Love to you!