For the story's sake let's consider Camelot and Mercia to be separate kingdoms, also AGE DIFFERENCE FOLKS, so if it squeaks you out, don't bother reading!
And as for all Merlin fans, I am so sad that it's over, I was hoping so much for a season 6 but I loved the final episode and it more or less made up for the loss. I loved Bradley and Colin's acting in it, they were awesome, I am going to miss this show big time.
Merlin and Arthur are a bit OOC in this story but I'll try to keep them in character as much as possible.
THE TRIALS OF ARRANGED MARRIAGE
Part - 1
As a result of the tension between Mercia and Camelot's borders...
The King and the parliament have not yet reached a decision about the future...
Mercian troops have been mobilised to the borders...
Camelot's King Uther stated he was going to resolve things peacefully between the two nations...
Queen Igraine saddened by the acts of violence between Camelot and Mercia's soldiers...
Uther switched off the flat screen high definition television with a scowl, every news channel and every reporter in the country was out for blood after the recent tension in the borders between Mercia and Camelot and Uther was not pleased with the way things were heading.
Igraine who was watching her husband closely from where she was reading some reports behind her desk sighed and stated "People always talk Uther, you've never let it bother you before."
"This time is not the same love, there is already talk of war...we cannot afford for war to break out now. We're not equipped enough to handle something like that yet."
"Hmm, Mercia is not ready for war either Uther, we should call for a peace conference."
"You think that plebian Balinor will see sense and agree? Besides if we propose a peace negotiation now we'll loose face in front of the public."
Igraine put down her reports and removed her glasses before stating, "I have an idea, one that will not make us or Mercia loose pride...well not when the reporters will be too busy chasing after some gossip anyway."
Uther turned sharply and asked "What do you mean?"
Igraine clasped both of her hands in front of her on the desk and in a feigned tone of innocence she said "Do you remember that when you and Balinor were friends we discussed about our children?"
Uther frowned and then he started laughing throwing his head back, not being able to contain his amusement but Igraine was undeterred and only glared at him when finally Uther said "You cannot be serious! Arthur and that...that slip of a boy?"
Igraine was not so pleased with the way Uther spoke about the Mercian Prince as she was still fond of the boy, "Uther, he's a very talented boy and a sweetheart to boot, I genuinely think he'd be good for our Arthur."
Uther was still incredulous and it showed in his face as he stated "This is ridiculous my love, Arthur and the boy hate each other! And what makes you think Balinor is going to agree to give his precious son away to us of all people?"
"Hunith loves Arthur, no matter if tension exists between our families now we used to very close friends before. She even sends Arthur gifts every year for his birthday."
"But that doesn't mean they'll be willing to give away their seventeen year old son in marriage to Arthur! He's barely street legal!"
"Actually Merlin will turn 18 this summer and Arthur has to stop with his dalliances and become responsible. I think Merlin will make an honest man out of him..."
"They have hated each other since their childhood, what makes you think they will be a good match?"
Igraine finally stood up and came around her desk to stand next to her husband, "Oh honey, that's just pig tail pulling, you remember the time Arthur took baby Merlin out for a whole day and we were worried sick about them, when we found them at last, do you remember what Arthur told us?"
"When I'm older I'm going to marry Merlin and run far away."
"Mhmm, just give this a chance alright….I'll talk to Hunith this week."
"Oh no, you're not leaving me to talk to Arthur alone about this, he'd be furious if we sprung this on him as soon as he comes back from states."
"Fine, we'll talk to him together when he comes back."
"So Arthur, tell us about how you feel about returning to Camelot."
Arthur who was dressed sharply in an Armani suit and wearing his signature charming smile replied "It feels good to be going back home, I've always missed Camelot all the years I've been here though the states offered me an opportunity to grow and experience things I never would have been able to in Camelot. And also it feels a little apprehensive as I don't know how much must have changed back home in the past four years."
"Ah, he's grown up to be such a handsome lad, and polite too to boot." Hunith exclaimed from the comfortable armchair she was lounging in and Merlin hated to see the fond look in her eyes.
Merlin snorted scowling at the tv and the perfect prince version of Arthur, he knew the real Arthur, the utter prat, lording his station over everyone and being a general nuisance and he said so to his mother, "Please mom, he's saying he was allowed to go about banging everything in sight in the states which he wouldn't be able to do if he were here, the prat!"
Hunith sighed, she knew about Arthur's reputation as a playboy preceded him and there was no easy way to deny it without seeming astute.
"So Arthur, lets get to know a little more about your personal life…Is there someone you're dating right now?"
Arthur looked contemplative for a minute before he said "No, I haven't been able to find the time for a serious relationship and as of now, I'm single."
Merlin again thought about how that must be a complete lie, Arthur was too busy jumping beds to ever have the attention span for a serious relationship more like. But to not sound like a jealous ex he kept his thoughts private as he was anything but jealous, he just didn't know why his mother made him suffer this interview.
"What do you look for in a romantic partner?"
Merlin's ears perked up despite himself and as the maids came in to serve them scones and coffee he relaxed back nibbling on his snack as he listened.
"I'm not too specific when it comes to romance, I'd rather discover the person than look for an ideal type, I like the element of mystery."
Merlin was at the end of his tether, he was envious of Arthur's ability to completely wrap people around his pinky finger and make them go in a gob smacked awe whenever he was near them. He was almost eighteen now and he still stumbled through most of his unavoidable tv interviews never liking the attention while Arthur was all graceful and shined amidst the limelight like a god born to have that commanding attention from mere mortals.
"Mom, I'm getting a headache, I think I'm going to retire to bed now."
Hunith looked disappointed but Merlin pouted and she sighed before waving her hands indicating that he could leave.
Arthur was having a hell of a time at the party his friends were throwing on his behalf; it was kind of a send away party with all the graduates and senior years attending. The booze was running free and Arthur surrounded by his closest mates was already on his third bottle of liquor, he had the uncanny ability to hold his alcohol well where his other friends were already soused to the gills and blabbering nonsense like true drunkards.
Gwaine was on top of the bar dancing shamelessly with his bare feet and Elyan and Percy were slumped atop their girlfriends who were equally drunk.
"So, who are going with tonight?" asked Leon who remained quite sober having drunk only a few rounds.
Arthur laughed and slurred "Don't know mate….I haven't even decided gender yet today."
"I noticed Vivian and Soph have been watching you"
Arthur turned to look and sure enough both Vivian and Sophia who were across the bar were shooting flirty looks at him, he winked at them which made them both giggle and turned back to Leon stage whispering "Who knows, maybe I'll have a threesome tonight."
Leon chuckled thumping him on the back before shouting "Lucky bastard!"
"Ah, I guess you should enjoy your immoral life now before you have to go back to the responsibilities waiting in Camelot."
It was Lance who said that and Arthur smirked at them both before he said "I'm going on the prowl now lads!" and sauntered his way towards Vivian and Sophia.
Lance was watching Arthur with a disapproving look once his back was turned and Leon said "Ah, don't be like that! We all know he can't have his life to himself when he returns to Camelot."
"Yeah but does he have to take it to this extent, knowing his parents I wouldn't be surprised if they hadn't already arranged his marriage in response to the rebelling he's been doing these past four years."
Leon spit out his drink in surprise and then stuttered out "I sincerely hope not, I would pity the person who has to marry him."
Lance smiled before he said "Me too."
Arthur woke up to the shrill ringing of his cellphone which did nothing to improve his massive headache, he groaned and rolled and extricated himself from the two warm bodies on his bed before he picked up his cell phone from where it was on the nightstand and shouted "Whoever this is, you better have a good explanation for calling me at this hour!"
Igraine was not pleased to hear the tone of Arthur's voice; she just knew Arthur had been partying out again, "Careful young man, is that any way to talk to your mother?"
Arthur sobered at that and blurted out "Mom, I'm sorry, why are you calling me at this hour?"
Just then Sophia woke up and on seeing Arthur was wide awake she began to drape herself over Arthur's back as she said "Come back to bed honey" in an annoyingly sugary voice.
Arthur however shook her off when he heard his mother's sharp intake of breath and sushed Spohia begging her to be quiet with his eyes to which she giggled loudly.
"I see you've been dallying again, when are you going to learn to be responsible Arthur?"
"Mom, please, can we have this conversation another time? My head is killing me!"
Igraine knew there was no use in trying to talk to him now; she would have words with him once he was in Camelot for sure. "Fine, call me back tomorrow."
Arthur turned back to Sophia who was completely naked adorning a Cheshire grin on her face and he pulled her hard against him as he threw the cell phone away asking "And where were we before?" seductively to Sophia who moaned and clung to him tighter.
Gwaine, Elyan and Percival were with him at the airport to send him off and Gwaine being the most mischievous of them all asked "So how was last night with Viv and Soph?"
Arthur smirked looking very pleased with himself which made all of them shake their heads at his smug superiority.
Gwaine clapped him on the back and said "Ah man, I can't wait for the day to see you tied down."
Arthur was confused at that and replied "If you mean marriage Gwaine that's one mistake I am not committing in my life."
"I don't think you'll have a choice, none of us do remember?" asked Elyan and Arthur knew exactly what they were talking about, they all belonged to a highly elite society where arranged marriages were the trend and Arthur being a Prince of one of Europe's most powerful nations made him an strong political ally which would make dukes and rich elitists parade their daughters in front of him hoping he'd marry one of them.
Arthur though was firm in his belief that marriage was a trap, he liked his easy, no strings attached uncomplicated sex life and he wasn't going to give in no matter how much his parents pressured him to.
"I'm not going to let my parents force me into marriage, I like my casual life, I'm never getting married." Arthur stated with confidence and Gwaine, Elyan and Percy laughed before Gwaine said "We'll see about that princess."
"Didn't I tell you not to call me that?" asked Arthur indignant just as Lance and Leon arrived with their luggage, they were going back to Camelot with Arthur as well and together with Arthur's bodyguards taking them through the crowd of onlookers and papparazi they boarded the plane, Arthur not even suspecting of what awaited him in Camelot.
Merlin was chewing on his food absentmindedly as he was still hung up on the problem that just refused to be solved, he had the maths book opened close to him and though it was considered rude and informal to do anything but eat at the dinner table Merlin's mom and dad were not too strict on following protocol when no one was around even if they were King and Queen and descendants of two of the most prestigious and rich families in Europe.
Balinor cleared his throat which grabbed Merlin's attention and when he looked both of his parents were looking at him with intent faces. Merlin chewed once and then twice and then put the book down as he asked "What is it? Why are you both looking at me like that?"
Hunith was uncharacteristically nervous as she asked "Merlin, you know well about the conditions between Camelot and Mercia's borders."
Merlin blinked unsure about what his mother was trying to say to him, "Yes…." And then a horrible thought struck him and he asked with wide eyes, "Oh God, old Uther has declared war, hasn't he?"
"Merlin" his mother chastised and Balinor grunted.
"No son, Uther has not declared war but he has put forth a proposal."
"A proposal?" Merlin asked intrigued now, "What proposal?"
Hunith then took over as she said "A proposal for peace, only a different kind of proposal too."
Merlin smiled then, a genuine happy smile thinking about how this could be a great thing for the people in Mercia before he asked "Well isn't that a good thing? Why are you having glum faces then?"
"Well Merlin, Uther and Igraine want both of our families to be united too."
Horror slowly creeped into Merlin's bones as he comprehended the situation and balked asking "He wants me to marry Morgana? She's two years older than me, not to mention I don't like girls and even if I did she's like an older sister."
Balinor who had had enough of beating around the bush broke the news to Merlin saying "They…no we have all decided that you are to marry Arthur Pendragon, the marriage will unite our families and bring peace between our people."
Merlin was stunned and in shock for just a minute before he stood up and screamed "NO, NO WAY IN HELL! ARTHUR PENDRAGON? You must be kidding me! NO WAY!"
He left the room in a hurry not wanting to hear his parents try to convince him or be in their presence for a second more. This was totally absurd and farfetched, Arthur? Marry Arthur? They were out of their minds.
"WHAT?" Arthur asked unable to believe what he was hearing, he was sure he must be having a ear problem.
"You heard us Arthur; you are to marry Prince Merlin Emrys of Mercia in March."
Morgana who was back from university for the holidays looked at Arthur with a haughty smirk, Uther as always looked cold and determined but what surprised him the most was that his mother was also looking at him with steely resolve in her eyes.
Arthur laughed in derision and said flat out "No."
"You don't exactly have a choice Arthur, it's either you accept or we force you to the altar." Uthers clipped tone was irking Arthur but he didn't dare leave the table or throw a fit, that almost never worked to get him what he wanted anyway.
"What the! You can't be serious, you want me to marry someone for the sake of political gain?"
"Do you have someone that you love then?" asked Igraine.
"No" Arthur was quick to refute and then thought better of it but Igraine was his mother and it was hard to lie to her.
"Then I don't see what the problem is, Merlin is an exemplary person and you have known each other since childhood so it shouldn't be a problem since it's not a stranger."
"Merlin is also six years younger than me!"
"He'd be eighteen soon, your father and I got married when I was sixteen and he was 27 and we are happy now."
Arthur couldn't believe how his world was being turned upside down in just a few days and how his parents were taking his choices and his life out of his hands. He was calm on the outside but on the inside he was furious and he was itching to just pack his bags and leave to a remote country where his parents will never be able to find him.
"What if I don't accept?" he asked and Uther glared at him while his mother looked disappointed.
"How can you not see how important this is for our people? Do you want a war to break out between us? As the next King of Camelot you must learn to sacrifice and think of others instead of only yourself and your irresponsible sex life."
Arthur was truly angry now and he banged the table as he screeched "My sex life has nothing to do with this!"
"Oh really?" Uther asked with deceptive calm, "What other reason would you have to avoid this marriage?"
"Marriage should be for the sake of love." He said with conviction he did not feel.
"Once you marry Merlin, you'll have plenty of time to fall in love with him." Igraine said with a soft smile which made Arthur groan.
"He's quite a likeable person Arthur." Igraine stated trying to make Arthur see sense and understand.
"He's hot too." Morgana butted in for the first time and Arthur turned to look at her, skepticism in his expression.
Morgana shrugged "It's been six years since you saw him! He's not the pale, lanky boy eager to run behind you like a puppy anymore."
"He has a lot of suitors in line for him; even the Prince of Cornwall and you know how it would be disadvantageous for us if they became allies." Uther said as he imagined the implications of it.
Arthur rubbed his temple where a headache was starting to bloom, he had never once expected his parents to spring this on him like they were doing now and he needed a break to sit and think.
"Can I be excused now?" asked Arthur rising from his chair without waiting for anyones approval.
Next part excerpt,
I can't believe I have to marry that prat will, it's completely unfair. He's old, he's arrogant, he sleeps with everything in sight, I hate this. Kidnap me out of here!
They want me to marry a barely street legal brat Gwaine! I don't care if he looks cute, he could look as cute as Justin Beiber and I still wouldn't care.
I will be updating broken bridge anytime this week so look out for the update and please review!
Although its belated, I wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!