Arthur took a deep breath, facing his reflection and trying not to tremble. Merlin fluttered around him, adjusting his tunic just so and brushing the dust off his shoulders. "You shouldn't be so nervous, sire," the manservant stated, pinching a bit of fluff from Arthur's arm.
"I'm not nervous," Arthur snapped automatically. He attempted to flatten his hair, which for some reason was sticking up awkwardly.
Merlin shrugged. "I'm just saying you don't have anything to worry about," he continued. He scowled at Arthur's hair, contemplating how to tackle that problem.
Arthur snorted. "Like you would know anything about making love to a woman."
Merlin gave a light chuckle as he cupped some water from the nearby bowl and smeared it on his king's hair.
"What was that?" Arthur demanded.
"Water," Merlin said, blinking. "It won't kill you."
"No, no, not that," the king snapped. He glared at Merlin threateningly in the mirror. "That chuckle. What was it?"
Merlin shrugged, trying his best to be nonchalant. "Nothing," he replied. He smoothed Arthur's hair down, grimacing when he did not achieve the desired effect. "It's just that I may be more knowledgeable in those fields than you might think."
Arthur could not conceal his shock. He looked away from the mirror and fixed Merlin with a shocked gaze. "You're kidding," he said.
Merlin shook his head casually and took the brush to Arthur's hair.
"Who was she?" Arthur inquired eagerly. He hoped it was an ugly maid, or someone revolting, so he could tease his servant about it later.
"I really shouldn't say." Merlin hissed in frustration as Arthur's hair proceeded to stick up again.
Arthur smirked and gave his servant a playful shove. "Go on, tell me," he insisted.
"You don't know her anyways."
"Try me. Come on, I just want a name." When Merlin still refused to speak, Arthur turned his playful grin into a serious scowl. "Merlin, if you don't tell me, I'll have you thrown in the stocks again."
Merlin pursed his lips uncertainly. "You won't like it," he said quickly. "It's better if you don't know."
Arthur's heart suddenly dropped into his stomach. "Was it Gwen," he said. It was not a question.
"What? No! No, no, no," Merlin laughed.
"Then who?" Arthur cried. Now that he was certain it was not his love, he was blatantly determined to find out who had taken Merlin's virginity.
Merlin sighed, shifting his gaze to the brush he toyed with in his hands. "She'll kill me if she knows I told you," he said. "Well, I suppose she's going to kill me anyways, so what the hell. It was…" He broke off and cleared his throat. "Morgana. It was Morgana."
Arthur stared at Merlin. And then he blinked. And then he continued to stare. "Morgana?" he said finally.
"See, I knew you wouldn't like it," Merlin said hastily. He attempted to brush Arthur's hair, only to be pushed off by the king.
"You slept with—!"
"It wasn't my fault!" Merlin cried. "Well, I mean, it was, but it wasn't! She—she seduced me. Well, threatened me. Seductively! And I just… wasn't thinking," he finished lamely. He glanced up briefly. "Sorry."
"Don't apologize to me," Arthur said, too shocked to be angry. "Although I sincerely hope you don't meet my father in the afterlife. No matter how evil she is, he still won't forgive you." He gave a laugh. "At least it was only once."
Merlin avoided his gaze and nodded quickly.
Arthur hesitated. Everything in his head clicked. "More than once?" he asked, his voice going up an octave. Merlin looked everywhere but at Arthur and nodded. Arthur's jaw dropped. "How many times?"
In response, Merlin merely offered a shrug.
"You don't know?"
"It was a lot to keep track of!" Merlin retorted, a blush rising in his cheeks. "What with all the stuff you made me do and Gaius wanted me to remember, after twenty it just didn't seem important to keep count!"
Arthur's jaw was on the floor. "TWENTY?" he shouted.
Merlin winced. "Oops."
Steam was blowing out Arthur's ears as unfounded fury boiled inside him. Perhaps it was because Morgana was his sister, or that she was evil and trying to kill him, but the reason did not matter. "And you did this right under my father's nose?" he nearly screamed.
"More under his table, actually. And sometimes on it," Merlin corrected, then immediately regretted it. "I'll shut up now," he murmured.
"Oh no, don't stop now!" Arthur exclaimed. "By all means, keep telling me about your sexual exploits with my arch enemy and sister!"
Merlin bit his lip and picked at the brush bristles. "I'm really sorry," he mumbled.
"Don't be, I'm sure it was great sex," Arthur replied, sarcasm dripping from his words.
Merlin shrugged as if he could agree and went to brush his master's hair again.
Arthur smacked his hand away, appalled. "I can't believe you just agreed with that!"
"What? I'm not going to lie," Merlin argued. "Now quit fighting me so I can get you ready! Gwen is probably getting bored."
Arthur blinked, remembering that this was his wedding night. "Fine," he conceded. "But I'm not letting this drop, Merlin. You have a lot to answer to tomorrow." He scowled at his reflection. "Forget about my hair! Gwen will just mess it up later anyways." He blushed. "I mean… she probably will."
Merlin smirked. "Whatever you say, sire. Shall I get the door?"
Arthur scowled at him as he left the room, heading to the royal chambers.
The next morning, when Arthur woke with Gwen in his arms, after what was possibly the most amazing night of his life, he had one question on his mind.
"Gwen," he said gently. His queen, already awake, looked up at him with her big doe-like eyes. "Would you say you knew everything about Morgana's life?"
Gwen shrugged. "When she was here, yes. Why?"
Arthur sighed. "Did you know she was having… relations with Merlin?"
At this, Gwen laughed. "Would you like to know how many times I caught them?" she said teasingly. "Because I kept a tally somewhere…"
*Hehehe. Dirty Merlin. Under the table.*