Hey, I'm incredibly sorry that I've taken so long to update but I hope this makes up for it a bit. It's really been incredibly hectic with my exams and it being my final year of high school, and it didn't help that I had to rewrite most of this chapter a few times because I wasn't satisfied with it but I hope this makes it better and that the chapter is to your liking. Thank you for those who reviewed, I don't have many reviews so I really appreciate those who take the time for it. Also, while I was "away" my story went over 10 000 hits which I consider to be pretty awesome.
WARNING : The beginning of this chapter contains Arthur/Merlin.
Without further ado.
Chapter Seven: Merlin
Merlin had truly had been intending to finish his talk with Arthur, but somehow those intentions had disappeared when Arthur took charge and dragged him into an abandoned classroom before pressing him against a wall and ravishing his mouth. Arthur's casting of a one way silencing charm as well as a locking charm going almost unnoticed by him.
Still, some part of Merlin's brain that hadn't short-circuited when the kissing had started, tried to remind him of his and Arthur's earlier decision to restrain themselves from any romantic activities while they were here at the school, but the request seemed beyond unreasonable now, especially with all the extra hormones currently in Merlin's system.
Pushing these thoughts away, Merlin continued exploring the insides of Arthur's mouth with great enthusiasm.
"Oh gods I love you," Merlin mumbled feeling Arthur smile against his lips as they continued kissing each other.
"These hormones are going to be the death of me," Arthur groaned as he trailed his lips down Merlin's neck causing thrills of pleasure to run down Merlin's spine.
"You say that every time," Merlin accused but failed to put any heat into his voice as he arched his neck in pleasure.
"That's because it's true," Arthur insisted and Merlin moaned as Arthur bit down on the junction below his ear.
"So, how are the new fans?" Merlin panted when the two finally deemed it necessary to pull away from each other.
"Oh, they're aright, though I'd much rather spend time with the one I've got right here," Arthur mused as he looked at Merlin.
"I don't see any fans here," Merlin joked grinning, happy to see Arthur smiled because of it.
"No? Well then I guess we'll just have to change that," Arthur declared, giving Merlin a challenging look, pursing his lips as he pretended to think about it.
"Yeah, I suppose so," Merlin agreed but his smug look was swallowed up by Arthur mouth.
Why can't this go on forever, or maybe even go a bit further? Merlin wondered as he tangled his fingers in Arthur's soft hair. But suddenly, Arthur pulled away and it took a second for Merlin to register the sound of people talking, coming their way. Ah, that's why, Merlin thought, sobering up slightly.
Resigned to the fact that their make-out session was now officially over, Merlin forced himself to put some space between his and Arthur's bodies and Arthur performed a quick wandless spell to fix their hair and rumpled clothes.
"Avalon, I wish we were back home," Merlin groaned as he resisted the urge to attach Arthur's slightly kiss swollen lips once more.
"Well, you were the one who insisted we come here," Arthur pointed out, though his voice lacked any real annoyance. Merlin simply rolled his eyes.
"We should-" Merlin started but trailed off as the talking students finally passed by the class.
"…she said Umbridge is here to put Dumbledore out of a job. Do you think it's true?" a girl's voice questioned, sounding worried. Berating himself for getting carried away, Merlin frowned, his earlier fury remembered though at least it didn't return.
Arthur was grimacing when Merlin turned his attention on him again, now wearing a half-heated scowl; the prat had almost succeeded in distracting him.
Still, even with that realization, Merlin decided to leave the subject of Professor Umbridge alone for now, focusing instead on Arthur's injury. Looking down at Arthur's hand, Merlin was horrified by the sight of the feverishly red skin that was usually lightly tanned.
Merlin's eyes darkened at the barely visible words, "I will always show respect," that Arthur had been forced to etch onto the back of his own hand.
Merlin's throat tightened slightly at the thought of the pain the Blood Quill must've caused Arthur, the faint reminder that Arthur had been through much worse before, doing nothing to console Merlin.
There was a snort from Arthur which caused Merlin to look up into his smirking face.
"It's only a hand, Merlin," he stated sounding as smug and exasperated as he usually did when he was about to call Merlin a girl.
"Just making sure you didn't chip a royal nail sire," Merlin shot back, grateful for Arthur's attempt at lifting his spirits. Merlin had long since accepted that Arthur would always be unsure when it came to dealing with the more delicate emotions but you just needed to learn how to read him.
Merlin also knew that Arthur was busy rolling his eyes at him, but chose to ignore this in favor of calling up his magic. His eyes flashed gold as he murmured a simple healing spell, watching as the abused skin shriveled up and with a hard rub, the old skin came off to reveal a new layer of slightly pink but clearly unblemished skin.
Arthur shuddered and glared at the floor when Merlin finally released his healed hand.
"It had to be that one!" Arthur exclaimed and Merlin couldn't stop the exasperated smile that spread across his face.
It was no secret that Arthur hated that particular healing spell or that he never listened when Merlin explained the reason for using it, to him.
"We should probably get back," Merlin declared, deciding against trying to explain the healing spells workings to him once more.
It was only when Merlin and Arthur entered the Gryffindor common room and Harry, Ron and Hermione fell silent as they approached, that Merlin was reminded of Arthur's silent warning during their earlier confrontation. Crap, Harry and Ron had seen, and by the looks of it had also shared everything with Hermione. Pressing his lips together in concentration, Merlin felt his brows furrow as he thought about a possible solution to their new problem.
"You should probably go talk to them," he finally stated, looking at Arthur as he spoke.
"Emerson, you truly think they'd trust me after what they just saw?" Arthur asked with a raised eyebrow, the exact expression he usually wore when humoring Merlin.
"Well - I mean of-of course they would," Merlin stuttered, sounding more as if he was trying to assure himself than he was Arthur. Both of Arthur's eyebrows pulled up in disbelief and Merlin felt his reassurance dying on his lips. "Well you're more trustworthy- oh wait, that's me…" Merlin trailed off with a cheeky grin while Arthur's face pulled into his signature offended smile.
"Look, I'm serious, if we want them to trust us again you're going to have to be the one who explains it to them, otherwise I'll look like I'm trying to make an excuse for you," Arthur reasoned and Merlin grudgingly agreed.
"Fine, but if they don't believe me then it's your fault," Merlin stated and headed off towards the trio before Arthur could start arguing the point. Painting a sheepish look on his face, Merlin approached the group while tugging self-consciously at the hem of his school jumper. "Um… I wanted to apologize for what happened back there," Merlin began, his hands transferring from the edge of his jumper to the back of his neck and he cast his eyes to the floor as he continued his explanation. "My magic still gets a bit out of control sometimes-"
"A bit, a bit! You could probably have set her office on fire if you wanted to!" Ron cried out indignantly, drawing the eyes of some of the other students in the common room as well as an admonishing exclamation of "Ronald!" from Hermione.
Merlin, meanwhile, felt heat rise in his cheeks at the bold yet completely accurate, accusation. "I-I-" he fumbled for an excuse before Arthur came to his rescue.
"That's actually part of why we're here. Father says he has great potential but his magic tends to be a bit wild," Arthur explained, grimacing as he did so. "Though it seems coming here might've been a mistake," Arthur added in a slightly darker voice, looking for all the world as if he were planning on leaving the school immediately while also dragging Merlin away with him.
"So leave!" Merlin snapped, putting as much heat into the sentence as possible.
"What, and leave you here to fend for yourself? Your mother would murder me!" Arthur was quick to counter and Merlin had to resist the urge to grin.
"She's had plenty of time to do it before now, besides, everyone knows you're the one who needs a babysitter," Merlin reminded him, watching the trio's reaction out of the corner of his eye.
"Oh, shut up Emerson," came one of Arthur's standard replies as they turned to leave the common room and head up to their dormitories, as if unconcerned by what the Golden Trio now thought of them.
"Your magic's overprotective of Armand!" Hermione cried out in understanding, her gaze trailing from Merlin to Arthur and back again.
Merlin paused in his attempt to leave, pleasantly surprised by Hermione deduction skills as both he and Arthur turned back to the three teens once more.
"Unfortunately." Arthur agreed as they settled themselves into two of the available armchairs and the curious looks from Harry, Hermione and Ron pressed Merlin to explain.
"It was…strange, to say the least. Armand and I had barely known each other when my magic started showing, mum actually recons it's because of Armand that my magic started reacting so regularly so early in my life. True it's normal to have magical accidents every now and then, and normally there are strong emotions involved so most people start showing magic as early as one or two years old. But this was different." Merlin mused, the story they'd decided upon a few months previous, coming effortlessly to his lips. Still, they couldn't give much more than that away, not yet at least. "And Armand was no help! Of course I'd be the one stuck with someone who attracts trouble like a goblin to gold," Merlin grinned, earning a filthy look from Arthur for his terrible choice of comparison.
Pots and pans had been flying Merlin's way when Arthur had discovered that it had been Merlin who'd released the goblin and so Merlin was indirectly responsible for Arthur's donkey ears and tail.
"Oh do stop complaining!" Arthur huffed.
"What was it that you destroyed anyhow?" Harry questioned, drawing the two out of their argument.
"Blood Quills," Hermione gasped at Merlin's answer, hand flying up to cover her mouth. "They were used as punishment back in the early 1800's. Students were punished by having to write lines with the Blood Quills. They draw the user's blood, so the students would end up writing the punishing lines in their own blood while also having the words they wrote, carved into their hands. If this practice was repeated to many times within a short period of time, the scars become permanent." Merlin paused. "Naturally, the parents complained. They were declared illegal in the 1850's," Merlin finished his explanation, silently wondering how Umbridge had gotten her hands on the quills. On the other hand, the Ministry was known for keeping "artifacts" hidden in the millions of rooms within the Ministry.
Pulling himself back together, Merlin noted the shock on the trio's faces.
Since it was clear that Hermione already knew about the Blood Quills Merlin knew she was probably horrified by the fact that Umbridge had seen fit to use them as punishment on Arthur. It was times like these that Merlin wanted to reveal his true identity and watch as Umbridge fled in fear of him.
He quickly shook off the thought.
"How did you recognize it?" Ron asks looking quite awestruck, staring at Arthur's healed hand as if he might still be able to trace the damage that the Blood Quill had done.
"It has a very distinct look that hasn't been used in quill designs in decades. It's easy to recognize if you know what to look for," came Hermione's matter of fact reply, Merlin hid his relief when Ron finally looked away from Arthur in favor of turning his attention to Hermione, it wouldn't do for him to question why Arthur hand was suddenly fine.
The relief wavered when Ron spoke up yet again.
"But Emerson only saw Armand's hand," he was quick to object, though he only earned an eye roll from Hermione for his troubles.
"Oh please Ron, the Blood Quills were probably easy to smuggle in and she'd be catching the students completely off guard by using them. Apart from carving those words into someone's hand with a small knife or a wand, a Blood Quill is the only dark artifact that can cause that," Hermione explained, her voice equal parts exasperation and annoyance. Ron glared, clearly feeling that his question had been valid.
"Recon we should tell Dumbledore?" Harry asked looking slightly worried.
"Why would we? You saw the way Emerson threatened her, she'll probably be too scared to try anything of that sort again," Ron frowned though the admiration was still clear in his voice and Merlin couldn't help cringing at it as well as the attention that Ron had doubtlessly drawn back to Merlin because of that last comment.
It seemed however that Merlin had nothing to worry about as the trio was too engrossed in their quarrel to pay him much attention.
"We shouldn't take the chance and besides, I'm sure Dumbledore will be glad for an excuse to sack her," Harry reasoned, looking towards Hermione for her opinion but she seemed undecided.
Merlin was completely taken aback when Arthur suddenly decided to join the dispute. "If he does that, Fudge will just send another Ministry official in her place. At least this way we know to keep an eye on her," the firmness in Arthur's voice declared the matter closed. The trio nodded in agreement though Harry still looked somewhat skeptical.
Merlin paused only a second before seizing the opportunity to revert the atmosphere back to normal. "Maybe we shouldn't have come here!" he conceded to Arthur's earlier statement. "Just look at what's already happened and it's only the first week!" he griped.
"That's Hogwarts for you mate," Ron said with a slight grin.
"See, it's perfectly normal, nothing to worry about," Arthur said with his "it's just a flesh-eating monster, nothing to worry about" smile well in place. Merlin wanted to smile at how their roles had reversed.
"Oh ha ha, you don't have to rub it in, I know you didn't want to come but you'll just have to live with it." Merlin finally decided to switch back to their previous standing points on the subject.
"Fine, but your explaining to father if we end up at Death's door," Arthur bargained.
"Why me?! If I had a Knut for every time you got into trouble…" Merlin couldn't stop himself from teasing.
"You're one to talk, you're the reason I'm in trouble half of the time," Arthur countered irritably.
"Am not, if it weren't for you…" Merlin was about to start listing off Arthur's faults when a comment from Ron to Harry, caught his attention.
"Wow mate, they're just like you and Malfoy," Ron stated with some revulsion.
"What?!" Harry exclaimed looking thoroughly offended though Ron already seemed to be reconsidering what he'd said.
"No wait, there's nothing funny about Malfoy's insults," Ron corrected himself with a scowl.
Merlin shared a quick look of amusement with Arthur before turning curious eyes back to Ron and Harry.
"Malfoy? The guy with the blonde hair and apes for bodyguards?" Merlin asked, his observation making Ron snort while Harry grinned and Hermione nodded in conformation. "Do you fight a lot?" this time his question was directed to Harry, who instantly looked uncomfortable.
"Yeah, we've been enemies since we started here," Harry was quick to explain.
"Why?" Merlin couldn't help asking, brow furrowing as he leaned forward in interest. He could almost feel Arthur rolling his eyes at him though he wasn't looking his way.
The trio blinked, as if they'd never been asked that before. Finally, Harry decided to speak up.
"Well, he was a right git the first time I met him; going on about how half-bloods and muggleborns shouldn't be allowed at Hogwarts and that the only good house in Hogwarts is Slytherin. He even insulted Hagrid when he came to fetch me! He's an arrogant and self-centered git!" Harry ranted while Ron and Hermione nodded along, Ron more so than Hermione, though the three's opinions of the other boy was quite clear.
"And he's always insulting my family because of our… money problems," Ron's face as well as the tips of his ears, turned red as he added the last bit. "His father also gave Ginny a cursed dairy in our second year and his always calling Hermione a mudblood!" Ron raged, Hermione blushing at Ron's words while Merlin and Arthur grimaced and Merlin could clearly read the disgust at the situation as a whole, in Arthur's eyes.
Merlin suspected it was reflected in his own eyes as well.
The gap between purebloods and half-bloods and muggleborns as well as the secrecy of the wizarding world towards "muggles" had always been a sore spot for the two of them.
"Anyway, Ron and I recon his up to something, cause he's been acting so strange," Harry stated looking rather thoughtful while Ron nodded in agreement.
"Yeah, he didn't even confront us on the train, like he did last year and all the years before that," Ron added and Merlin could just imagine him adding the evidence up in his head.
"Oh honestly you two, just because Malfoy doesn't seem interested in tormenting you doesn't mean he's suddenly going to grow into a Death Eater, he might've actually decided to grow up over the summer," Hermione exclaimed, staring pointedly at the two boys as she said the last part, the "unlike the two of you" went unsaid.
"Come on, Hermione, he's a Slytherin, besides, he's father's a Death Eater, who's to say he won't follow in Daddy's footsteps?" Ron sounded exasperated, throwing his hands up in the air for emphasis. "Just look at the way he treats all of us!"
"I'm not having this discussion again," Hermione declared before grabbing her books and stomping off, clearly miffed and leaving Merlin wondering how many times said discussion had occurred before.
"Why's she defending the git!?" Ron complained as he glared at the retreating witch's back before turning his disbelieving gaze on Harry, who simply shrugged.
Saturday morning found the two Pendragons trudging into the Forbidden Forest at five in the morning.
Merlin was still sulking about being woken up so early and hadn't recovered by the time they reached a clearing that Arthur deemed satisfactory for sword practice.
"Alright Merlin, get your sword out!" Arthur ordered as his wand elongated into Excalibur, its blade glistening in the autumn sun.
"Do we have to do this?" Merlin complained, well aware on what the answer would be.
"Of course Merlin, we don't want you going back to the way you handled a sword before," Arthur answered as he did a few practice swings, he'd long since gotten used to his young body when they'd been preparing for the year while still at home.
"I killed an army of the dead with that handling I'll have you know," Merlin objected as he pulled his own sword out of his pocket, he'd long ago placed an undetectable extension on all his coat pockets.
"That's beside the point, Merlin," Arthur said sounding exasperated as he stepped backwards into a battle stance.
"Are you sure?" Merlin asked with a frown and a slight challenging smile. Arthur didn't answer and instead lunged.
The battle was fierce and intense as always, there had been a time when the two men had been stuck, both being able to predict the other's moves five steps ahead of the other's actual decision. Luckily they'd learned to work past it, learning new moves and forcing themselves to be unpredictable. It had been decidedly difficult but the end results had been well worth it.
In the end Arthur came out the victor and Merlin couldn't help smiling as Arthur offered him a hand up. There'd been a few decades, before Arthur started showing signs of magic, that Merlin had been the victor of most of theirs sword fights because of his magic that increased his reaction time. It had caused quite a rift between the two of them before it had settled again. Merlin had felt quite guilty for all his victories since his magic gave him an unfair advantage but Arthur had eventually gotten over it though something that was essential Arthur, had been lost in the process.
Merlin had been more than overjoyed when Arthur had started showing magic, bring the two back on equal grounds once more as well as giving Arthur his confidence back and opening a whole new world of opportunities.
"You have that look-" Arthur stopped talking rather abruptly and instead tilts his head to the side, clearly listening to something that the average person wouldn't be able to hear. Merlin froze, ears sharp as he tried to figure out what had caused Arthur's reaction. It wasn't long before Merlin found out exactly what had startled his husband into silence and he swore loudly as he transfigured his sword into a broom, Arthur following his example immediately.
Swinging their legs over their broomsticks, the two Camelotians took off into the air and out of the Forbidden Forest, rising high just as the sound of hooves became clear in the early morning stillness. "Well, so much for having sword practice there." Arthur declared, irritated.
"What are you moaning about, you won!" Merlin exclaimed as they sailed towards the Quidditch pitch.
"Yes but, you know as well as I do that that wasn't nearly enough practice." Arthur stated, aiming an accusing glare towards Merlin. "And if you weren't so keen to escape the centaurs' welcome greeting to you, we still would've been able to keep practicing." Arthur grumbled. Merlin rolled his eyes and instead landed swiftly. Arthur followed, swinging off of his broom before it had stopped, holding on to it so he could walk alongside his broom as it came to a stop.
"Show off," Merlin muttered, still slightly envying how Arthur's step didn't even falter on his landing, Merlin himself stumbled whenever he tried to mimic the motion.
"Of course," Arthur agreed with a charming smile. The smile didn't last long and changed into a frown as Arthur seemed to stare at something over Merlin's left shoulder.
"What's wrong," Merlin asked, turning around in order to follow Arthur's gaze. He quickly spotted the problem. Someone was sitting in the Slytherin spectators area, watching them them.
It took a second for Merlin to realize that it was the same person that Harry and the other two had talked about the day before, Draco Malfoy.
"What do you recon his doing here?" Merlin questioned, a frown now marring his own face.
"I don't know… Let's go find out," Arthur said, voice unreasonably dark as he started approaching the spectators area at a brisk walk.
Draco Malfoy didn't hesitate as he got up and fled, causing Arthur to speed up some more, Merlin on his heels.
They reached the exit to the benches before Draco Malfoy did and stood waiting for him as he came down, freezing at the top of the stairs when he spotted them.
"What are you doing here," Merlin spoke up before Draco Malfoy could run away again. From what Merlin had gathered about the boy, reputation meant as much to him as it had his father, making it very likely that he wouldn't run away once spoken to, for fear of looking like a coward.
"I could ask you the same thing," Malfoy answered, recovering himself and staring down at the two of them with a holier than thou expression on his face, Merlin almost rolled his eyes.
"Why'd you run, it only made you look guilty," Arthur pointed out in a resigned tone of voice.
"I don't have anything to talk to the likes of you, I have as much right to be here if not more than you!" Malfoy sneered but Arthur was having none of it.
"Then why did you run?" he asked again.
"You Gryffindors pretend to be noble yet you corner a bloke two to one," Malfoy mocked, avoiding the question.
Arthur looked ready to object again so Merlin decided to intervene. "Arth-Armand, just, let it go," he murmured and though it made Arthur frown, the blonde conceded, shooting Malfoy one last look before turning around and leaving. "You don't have to be so defensive around people, you know," Merlin told Malfoy before following Arthur in his departure, not allow Malfoy time to reply.
"What was that about," Arthur asked when Merlin had finally caught up with him.
Merlin rolled his eyes. "We wouldn't have gotten anything out of him with the way you were going about it," Merlin stated, voice edging towards laughter. "Besides…" Merlin considered barely catching the look of dread that flitted across Arthur's face.
"Not again Merlin!" Arthur complained and Merlin couldn't help smiling. Why wouldn't he try to help Malfoy?
Okay, I hope this chapter was at least slightly worth the wait, I can't believe I kept you waiting this long, I feel incredibly guilty but I'm going to try and update again within the next few weeks. Please review if you have anything at all to say or PM me if you feel you need a reply to your review before the next chapter arrives.
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