Ok - this was a fanfic written earlier this year, set after season 4. finn1013 badgered me (very kindly) to post it up here in response to last nights episode and all the Merlin/Mithian feels... sorry I got side tracked for a moment. Enjoy the fic. More will be up in a few days. (Rating will go up later on in the fic)
It's an odd feeling, attending the wedding of the man you thought you would marry as he marries another. It's… a hollow feeling, like your stomach has disappeared and your chest clenches as your lungs try to drop into the cavity.
But Mithian was a good princess, a good daughter and a good ambassador for her people. So she sat quietly as her maid bushed and twisted her hair into elaborate plaits, clenched her teeth as she was pulled tightly into her most resplendent gown, and graced the crowds with her gentlest of smiles.
She refused to watch or listen but she could imagine the whispers following behind her all day. Whispers perhaps of pity, maybe empathy, or more cruel whispers of comeuppance. But she held her head high and smiled to her peers, and allowed smooth conversation of politics and gossip with her fellow wedding goers.
She was sitting with her father and the rather large contingent of other lords and neighbouring kingdoms when the music began.
The king. Arthur. Quite beautiful in his formal robes, alighted the podium in front, a string of knights decked in Camelot red lined up in the front rows. Mithian heard the doors open behind her and the king's face opened. A smile that any fool could call besotted spread across the royal's face and his cheeks lit with a rosy hue.
That, Princess Mithian groused as the beautiful Queen Guinevere took her new husband's hand, is what she wanted. She didn't need wealth or titles or money or strength. She wanted someone who loved her with all his being and didn't care who knew.
Watching as the newlywed couple strode down the aisle hand in hand, no spare thought for any other, she knew she could never have had that with King Arthur. That she would have to find her own destiny.
That renewed sense of purpose and drive lasted her until the final toasts. They had been coming thick and fast once the wine begun flowing, every knight at the head table wanting to impart some well wishes, and in the case of the shaggy haired one, some tips for the wedding night.
The dancing had begun now and the formalities of the event broke down. Servants were sharing drinks around the edges of the rooms and lords and ladies flocked to the floor as the minstrels picked up the pace.
The blurs of colours as the dancers twirled by was mesmerising. Mithian sat at her table, long since abandoned to the revelry. The wine in her cup was rich, too sharp for her tastes but it pleased her gullet going down and warmed her belly.
She startled from her gaze at the softly spoken words and looked up to find Arthur's manservant, Merlin, standing before her. He looked quite regal in what were most certainly new clothes gifted for his master's wedding, his shoulders tall and broad, but his head dipped and his arms tucked behind his back in a sure sign of subservience the man probably didn't even realise he was doing. Mithian smirked slightly at the display of respect that she doubted Arthur ever got to see.
"I hope I'm not interrupting."
"No, no. Of course not." She gestured to the spare chair beside her and returned her gaze to the dancers. It felt nice to have the warmth of a body next to her own. Perhaps it was the wine talking, or the foreboding loneliness lingering in her heart, but she felt herself being comforted by the unassuming presence beside her.
Her memories of her last trip to Camelot may be tainted by her departure but the memories of Merlin painted a picture of a very capable, smart young man, deeply loyal and endlessly caring to his king and friends. This was someone she would not mind passing a few minutes with.
"Are you not dancing?"
Mithian broke her gaze at a portly lord and his wife as they circled around the floor, each grinning and laughing when one mis-stepped. "Are you offering Merlin?" she asked shrewdly.
"Oh no," he grinned waving a hand. "After much patient tutelage by our new queen it was deigned I wouldn't be allowed on the dance floor tonight. I fear you would not survive intact."
A small amused huff of air escaped from Mithian's nose as she had no doubt that it was true.
"But I am sure you could find some eligible bachelor to escort you to the floor."
She cast her eyes around the merry patrons left aligning the walls. Perhaps it was her wistful mood tonight but everyone seemed to be paired and partnered, had someone to share their evening, their bed, their life with. And here she was, sat alone with the servant of the man who rejected her.
Taking a deep breath she shook her head. Melancholy and self-pity were not true traits for the princess she wanted to be. And she had company, someone who had gone out of their way to speak with her. Forcing her mouth into a sardonic quirk she blocked out those thought's and focussed back on the eyes of her companion. "I am afraid the pickings are a little slim tonight Merlin."
"Nonsense," Merlin huffed, roughly pulling his chair in closer. "Just look at those fine examples of knighthood." Merlin gestured to the long table under the windows, from a sea of swaying Camelot red the shaggy haired knight popped up, dragging a dark skinned knight up onto the table. Each had a flagon of ale in hand and were singing, very off key, before Sir Leon yanked them backwards and they all fell out of sight with a thump and a chorus of curse.
Mithian felt her face break into the first smile of the day and attempted to hide her small giggle behind her dainty hand.
She returned her eyes upwards, now sparklingly with merriment, to the blue eyes of Arthur's servant, who was now looking at her with a soft smile, setting something warm and gold off behind his eyes. Mithian felt her breath catch for a moment in her chest.
"That's better," he murmured in approval. "I have no doubt you'll find your destiny soon. It will call for you when you least expect it."
"MERLIN!" A loud voice boomed from the end of the room. Mithian startled but Merlin simply rolled his eyes.
"And there is my destiny calling." He rose from his seat, brushing invisible dust from his breeches. "Don't spend the night in the corner. Ask one of the less inebriated knights to dance. I can tell you from experience Sir Galahad has the feet of an angel."
Merlin sighed but bent into a hasty bow that somehow seemed as elegant and regal as any prince that had come before. There seemed to be a moment, a tiny second of indecision before his hand came out and brought Mithian's own to his full lips.
The smooth press of lips to her cool hand sent an unexpected shock through her body and she felt a rosy blush paint her cheeks.
He looked up then, still bent over her hand like a knight in courting. "I am sure the fates have something grand planned for one as beautiful as you."
Before she could even catch her breath he made a hasty dash for the door following the bellow and summons of his king and friend.
Mithian didn't dance with anyone that night. She retired soon after that conversation and sat still as her maid let down her hair. All the while she rubbed her fingers over the tingling sensation on the back of her hand, where soft lips had pressed a promise, a charmed smile never leaving her lips.