Title: Comes the Storm Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Series: Merlin Rating: 18 Type: AU/ Angst
Summary: Camelot suffers under the threat of flooding during a great storm. The prince regent, Arthur Pendragon, and his manservant, Merlin, rush to join other knights in digging against the flood waters.
But it after the storm that the true story begins.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Merlin characters or anything from the universe of Merlin. I am just taking the characters and playing with them a while – promising to restore them whole and unblemished! Thanks to Shine Productions for creating these toys for me to enjoy. Please don't take any of my playing as having any bearing on the actual series. Enjoy.
Merlin watched the sky anger, throwing down great bolts of energy as the heavens tore themselves apart. He turned and stoked the fire in the Princes bedchamber, hoping to fend off the cold brought by piercing winds.
A great crack threatened to shift the walls as light sliced through the sky.
He could not recall such a violent storm. But Gaius had assured him that this was a natural force with no nefarious magical influences.
If only there was something he could do...
The great oak doors clattered open as Arthur entered his rooms, throwing his armour to the floor as Merlin scattered after the garments, collecting them.
"What good is a warrior when there is nothing to fight?!" Arthur demanded to the air.
"The people are afraid," he spat. "And there is nothing I can do about it."
Merlin felt his frustration.
Nature, it seemed, had triumphed where armies and magic had failed.
This storm was bringing Camelot to its knees.
"My Lord," a voice cried out, "there is flooding in the lower crop fields."
Arthur ran an irritated hand through his rain-drenched hair, "They must be dug free, or Camelot will have no wheat come winter."
The messenger hung by the door, awaiting his orders.
Merlins heart pulled toward his prince as he saw Arthurs shoulders sag.
The blonde man stripped away his armour, "Tell every able man to join us in the lower crop fields – and be prepared to dig."
The messenger left quickly as Arthur moved toward the table, pouring a glass of water. "Merlin."
"You are able-bodied, are you not?"
Rolling his sleeves to his elbows, he answered, "I am."
"Let's to it."
And with that, they left for the lower crop fields.
Seven hours later Merlin struggled up the royal, marble stair and all but collapsed into Arthurs room; landing with such a thud upon the ground he was surprised he hadn't broken through the ceiling of the floor below.
While Arthur, the other knights and men dug against the surging waves of mud-thick water, Merlin had dug with them and mystically protected his friends and countrymen from the worst onslaught.
Physically, the night had been tiring.
Mentally, it had been exhausting.
From further off, he heard the heavy footfalls of Arthur moving toward the room.
Heaving himself upright, Merlin dragged himself about the room and collected the debris in time for Arthur to enter.
His sword clattered on the ground, spraying mud across the floor. "Merlin," Arthur sighed, smashing a hand to his earth-smeared forehead. "Would you run me a bath?"
Restraining a heavy sigh, Merlin shuffled to the bathing area and shifted the iron water tank over the great flames to heat while he ground the herbs and flowers in a pestle before sprinkling them into the deep, walk-in bath at the centre of the room.
He had a few moments to spare and so, leaning on the window ledge, Merlin reached down to remove his soggy boots and squelched across to the fire-place, setting them down before rolling his socks away.
"Merlin!" Arthur called from the next room, "How long on that bath?"
Sighing, Merlin hung his head... then something occurred.
He had been around a lot of water after all. Throughout the night he had learned the intricacies of the element; how to bend it to his will... with a few whispered words, he felt the heat bubble up inside him and rush toward the water.
Within moments he had a hot, herbal bath for his friend. "Ready."
Arthur entered, wrapped in his crimson battle cloak.
Merlin couldn't help but raise a brow.
"It's cold," the prince explained, brushing past his servant.
"Of course," Merlin reached out and took the fabric from his prince, averting his eyes as Arthur lowered himself into the water with a satisfied groan.
The water happily sloshed and thwhaped about the future king as his servant longed for rest and sighed in silence to himself.
"I had thought I might never be clean again." Arthur laughed, "Bless you Merlin."
"It's what I'm here for." Merlin smiled, feeling his eyes slowly close against fatigue.
Arthur's sigh sounded patronising, "You are utterly insufferable."
Merlins eyes snapped open to see the blonde man stood, waist deep, in the misty water, his hands balled upon his hips.
"Sorry," Merlin muttered, "Did you want a drink?"
"Bring two," Arthur suggested.
Shaking his head, Merlin did as ordered, shuffling in and out of the bathing room.
He set the drinks down at the side of the bath to see Arthur staring at him.
"Was there something else?" He asked, wearily.
"Something else?" Arthur asked, somewhat exasperated. "You're tired. You're filthy. You're drenched. Just get in the bath."
It took a moment for the words to sink in. "What?"
"You heard me," Arthur stated, turning his nose up and pointing to the space beside him, "in."
Preparing to protest, the young man was caught off guard by the enticing curl of warmth that breathed to him from the scented water.
"I won't offer again." Arthur warned.
Before he registered what he was doing, Merlin had peeled away the soaked clothing and teetered down the steps into the water.
Arthur was laughing and moving toward the drink. "You've earned it."
Merlin let a groan escape him as he felt the warmth seep through his tight muscles. It was glorious.
The taller man handed him a drink, "And don't tell anyone about this."
Merlin was so grateful that it was all he could do to grin widely. "Believe me," He raised the cup to his lips, "I won't breathe a word."
"I saw you out there," Arthur said, "you worked hard."
You have no idea. "Thanks." Merlin leaned back, luxuriating in the embracing water, letting it take his weight and bobbing his feet above the surface as he sat on the sub-Aquarian bench.
Arthur was laughing again as he followed suit and floated to the opposite side of the bath, splashing his feet up and relaxing into the warmth.
Merlin could almost forget the rumbling thunder in the background; the worst of the storm had passed now and the furious skies had moved eastward. Camelot was safe. Arthur was safe. He was safe.
Life is good.
"This is good." Arthur smiled, flexing his back.
Merlin stretched out, "Yep."
The prince reached over and clunked their cups together, drinking deep and dipping himself beneath the water.
Watching with curiosity, Merlin followed suite, finishing his drink and sinking into the bath, letting himself feel the quiet contentment of having this moment with his friend.
Fate owed him a few more moments like this. Tranquillity; Merlin was suspended in warm, silent nothing. Wonderful...
When he surfaced, Arthur was already reaching for the soap, his goblet floating beside him. "Would you fetch us another drink each Merlin, I think that one was complete all too quickly."
Not prepared to argue with that offer, Merlin jumped up intending to go toward the steps of the bath, but as he cleared the water a great twinge of pain lanced up his back.
He couldn't help but cry out as he fell back into the water and the arms of Arthur.
"What is it?" His friend demanded with a degree of alarm.
"Nothing," Merlin hissed through his teeth, "just a pain in my back."
Arthur guided Merlin to his feet, bracing the younger mans hands on the edge of the bath, "It's just because you were using muscles you're not used to."
Pressing his lips together to stop himself protesting against undue movement, Merlin nodded.
"Tell me where it hurts." Arthur ordered, with a sigh of irritation.
There was a moment of confusion, but suddenly Merlin felt the pressure of Arthurs fingertips on his naked back as the prince probed for the tender areas.
Merlin almost jumped away, but the sharp spike of pain held him in place while Arthurs fingers roamed and he asked, "Here?" or, "Here?"
"Yep." He popped as Arthurs fingers found their goal.
The prince curled his hand around his Merlins shoulder and pushed into the area with a greater pressure.
There was something painful about the pleasure Merlin received in return and, in response, he let out a strangled cry.
Somehow, Arthur took this pathetic sound as a confirmation of his actions and pressed even harder on the area.
Merlin found himself pushing back against the pressure and rolled his neck as Arthur ran his fingers up the younger mans spine and back again, pausing at each vertebrae to push the tension out with a thumb and forefinger.
"That better," Arthur asked in a whisper, his breath catching Merlin at the base of his neck.
The sorcerer shuddered, feeling his skin prickle in reaction to the proximity of his friend and acknowledging the extent of his pleasure. "Much," he confirmed with a guilty smile.
"Oh, we aren't through yet," Arthur warned as the supporting hand left Merlins shoulder and he began to knead the darker mans shoulders.
Merlins legs almost turned to jelly.
The heat was increasing throughout his body as Arthurs hands flowed over and around the contours of his back. Arthur kneaded Merlins skin, spreading heat wherever he touched.
It took a moment, but when Merlin looked down he almost doubled over in embarrassment.
"What is it?" Arthur demanded in a panic, "Did I hurt you? Are you alright?!"
Trying to shrug out of the hands of his friend, Merlin twisted away. But all too late as Arthurs griped his arm and turned the other man into his body.
"Oh," Arthur exhaled with a degree of surprise.
Merlin felt a blush pink his cheeks as he stuttered, "I... I... well..."
"It's alright," Arthur assured.
Merlin glanced up to him, purposefully fixing his eyes just left of his friend, "It's not really... it's just..."
"Merlin," Arthur chuckled, "it happens to all of us."
Feeling his head shake, Merlin was caught off guard by Arthur catching his chin and tilting his head until his eyes met the crystal acceptance within him. "There is no need for embarrassment," the prince explained, "You're tired, it's warm, you're relaxing; it happens."
"I've just never..." words failed, "not with anyone else around, I mean..."
Arthur flicked his eyes below the water-line. "Could be worse," he quipped.
Merlin rolled his eyes.
Merlin was about to move away when Arthur squinted at him in such a way that he paused.
It seemed the confident prince was trying to figure something out...
With a gasp of surprise, Merlins toes curled in as Arthur reached a hand out and brushed the tip of him ever so slightly.
Arthurs gaze didn't waver; it actually seemed to deepen as he searched for a sign that his advance was unwanted.
Merlin was too shocked to give a thought to what his reaction might be. He had never denied Arthur anything. And, he doubted he ever could.
Taking the stillness as an acceptance, Arthur moved Merlin into his hand a little more firmly.
Jagged breath shook the sorcerer as he juddered with sensation.
"You can lean on me," Arthur suggested with a husky voice, "if you like."
Tentatively, Merlin placed his hands on Arthurs shoulders as the blonde began a slow stoke down his cock.
Arthur hissed as Merlins nails dug into his shoulders.
"Sorry," he offered.
Arthurs hand withdrew to the tip, "Ssssh," he soothed, rounding his fingers at the tip, "it's alright." Then plunging down on Merlin again.
The younger mans muscles reacted and he snatched Arthur closer to him, feeling the swirling heat leave the water and begin to envelope him.
"Tell me if it isn't right..." Arthur added, placing his free hand at the back of Merlins neck, catching the small strands of hair there.
"Mmmmnph," was all Merlin could supply as he shifted to place a hand on Arthurs muscular chest.
Arthur repelled a moment, but then came back with force as he shifted his rhythm to a smooth action that rocked the pair of them back and forth in the water.
Merlin was lost in the ebb and flow, his body chanting to the pace Arthur set.
Back and forth, wave after wave.
Outside, the thunder cracked and groaned as the prince built the pressure within Merlin to critical.
A great wave of sensation shuddered through the sorcerer.
Merlin held Arthur closer.
His grip on Merlin tightened.
Everything felt static; sparks of energy sizzled at their touch and Merlin squeezed his eyes as tight as he could to stop himself exploding.
Arthurs breath was hot on his temple as he hazily realised he had moved closer into the other mans arms; now holding him there with a looped arm about his smooth, bronzed hip.
Sweat glistened over Arthurs tanned body.
He moved further into the other mans arms.
Merlins skin was humming; completely out of control as he slowly became aware of the energy from golden magic glowing about him.
In the back of his mind, he knew he should stop this now. If Arthur was to notice the magic in the air Merlin's secret would be discovered.
He glanced at Arthur, but the blonde seemed to have all his concentration fixed on his task; equally squeezing his eyes shut.
His chest was heaving, making the pair rise and fall in time with the swell of water about them.
Arthurs fingers were in Merlins hair as he picked up the pace, rolling Merlins head back to expose his neck to the princes steamy breath as he tightened around him.
Merlin gulped in breath, feeling the shiver of cold air send him into a swirl of sensation.
It was all too much.
The scent of Arthur; the movement...
"I..." Merlin felt a swell within him, "Arthur..."
"It's alright," the blonde panted, "let it go."
And he did. Allowing the flame of sensation to overwhelm him until the pressure became too intense that it took on an energy of his own; surging through him until it found release.
Merlin exhaled, relishing the feeling.
The air cooled.
Arthur shifted beneath him, setting the sorcerer back on the bath seat.
Slowly; vision returned to normal, strength came to muscles...
There was a faint sound of water moving as Arthur climbed the steps to exit the bath and left Merlin to recover himself.
After a moment, Merlin stopped shivering and drew the energy to say, "That was..."
"Different?" Arthurs voice was light, a smile sounding through the word which came from somewhere behind the bathing area.
"You could say that," Merlin noticed the magical shimmer had faded as the storm outside rolled further into the distance.
He turned to look to Arthur, a blush pinking his cheeks.
The prince sat on the window shelf, his scarlet cloak wrapped about him baring his muscular chest, swooping about his centre and wrapping around his leg.
The scene itself was very appealing.
The pair shared a grin.
Merlin drew himself out the bath and stood before the prince.
Arthurs eyes roamed over his naked partner in an almost predatory fashion.
Merlin nearly squirmed.
"Aren't you cold?" The prince asked, regaining some composure.
Feeling the air prickle his skin, Merlin was in motion before the thought occurred. He moved straight to the prince and reached out a hand to trace a line from his knee to his waist.
Arthur inhaled sharply but made no movement as Merlin braced his legs either side of him.
Merlin paused to check his friends reaction; the blonde was simply looking at him, gripping the side of the shelf on which he sat with such force the stone might crumble...
It seemed the future king was holding himself in place... or holding himself back...
"Not cold now," Merlin explained letting his fingers trace back and forth on Arthurs exposed flesh.
"I should think not," the prince gulped, "Me either."
The feel of Arthurs smooth skin was silken beneath Merlins finger tips as his hand passed over the raising follicles.
Merlin frowned, his friend must be cold. Reaching to grip the velvet of Arthurs cloak exposed his neck to the prince.
Merlin was shocked to feel Arthurs lips lock on his pulse point, sucking the sensitive skin and nipping his as he withdrew.
Arthur said nothing, smiling and teasing Merlin with his playful eyes.
Something sparked in the air, golden and humming once more as Merlin allowed the moment to rage forward and he enveloped the prince.
The taste of Arthurs mouth was fresh and inviting as he pressed his advantage and spread his hands over the mans chest and ran them beneath the cloak to lock him into the exchange.
Arthur was quick to respond, pushing up to meet Merlins passion with his own.
Both men pressed against one another, panting wildly, impatient for the other to make a move.
Merlin couldn't help a small smile, after what they had just done how could either one of them need confirmation.
But Arthurs eagerness seemed to get the better of him as he reached out to take Merlins face in his hands and, with a smile and small shake of his head; he shifted the younger man closer to him.
Arthur teased Merlins mouth open with his tongue, tasting the shape and following the curve further in, allowing his hands to press down the sorcerers back, bringing them achingly close.
Merlin gasped into his friends' mouth, allowing the other to deepen the kiss and loose his hand to work its way around Merlins slender hip.
In a daze, Merlin realised Arthurs goal and shifted away, slightly disgruntled that Arthur was, again, taking control.
The prince frowned his confusion as the idea bloomed within Merlin... could he make the man before him as helpless as he had been? Would Arthur trust him that much?
Reaching up, Merlin kissed the man, quite sedately; his delicate fingers interweaving with Arthurs, trying to touch as much skin to skin as possible.
It was impossible to resist the flood of emotion that took over him in that instant. For all that Arthur had given him, Merlin wished to gift the young prince with the knowledge that he was exceptional.
Merlin sank to his knees, finding the hard floor softened by Arthurs rich, red cloak. It was time Arthur knew how the young sorcerer felt about him.
"Merlin..." Arthur hesitated, tightening his hold on the other man.
"It's ok," Merlin soothed, "I want to."
Something flashed in Arthurs eyes and the young prince breathed, "But I don't."
The warm feeling within Merlin fizzled out, leaving an acrid swell of embarrassment in its place. He blinked then awkwardly rose to his feet.
"I'm sorry," he found himself mumbling.
Arthur moved quickly then, "No!" The young prince shook his head, "No, I didn't mean..." an aggravated sound snorted from him. "You already do so much for me..."
Merlin looked up to Arthurs blue eyes, somewhat surprised the prince had noticed.
"And it's more than polishing my armour and fetching my food," the prince went on, shaking his head with slight aggravation. "I am not good with words..."
The younger man remained silent, almost afraid to interrupt as Arthur chewed his lip in consideration. "It would seem that you have made me a better person."
A smile began to form on Merlins lips.
"Not that you should be big-headed about that. It would have happened without you," Arthur insisted, "but I am glad you are here."
A blush flushed up the young sorcerer's body from his curling toes.
"It would seem that you are a part of me," Arthur continued, "perhaps the greater part. You give me so much. I wanted to return that."
Pride flushed through Merlin and the young man moved to bump shoulders with his friend.
Arthur huffed in amusement, but then hid his eyes as though the admission had taken something from him.
"Everything I do," Merlin found himself saying, "it's all for you Arthur." His hand reached out to embrace the prince's face as the blonde's wide ocean eyes softened. "There's nothing I wouldn't do... for you. No burden I couldn't carry. No danger I wouldn't face."
Arthurs smile warmly spread across his face, softening his eyes as he gazed at his friend. "I think you have proven that." His head dipped and he placed a sedate kiss on Merlins lips.
The wizard reacted quicker than he meant to, his hands shooting up into blonde hair, crushing their lips together as their bodies collided.
A laugh bubbled on Arthurs lips, but Merlin wasn't going to let himself be distracted. He wanted to claim every inch of the man beneath him. There was a need to be closer to the prince.
It started with a slight caress, Melins rougher fingertips tracing the sound of Arthurs laughter, feeling the fullness of the mans lips and slipping down the strong column of his throat.
A hand wound its way into soft, blonde hair while the other continued it's journey over and around the contours and muscles of the princes chest.
Arthur shivered, tightening his teeth enough to catch Merlins tongue.
The sudden shock sent Merlins knees weak and he melted down into Arthurs lap, awkwardly wrapping himself about the larger man.
The prince flinched as they touched, both aroused and straining.
Arthurs hand covered Merlins, pressing it into the warmth of his abdomen then pushing his fingers between the sorcerers.
Something ignited as Arthurs smooth skin slipped beneath Merlins and a charge sizzled in the air. It reminded him of the first taste of magic. The way the sensation fizzed around them. The way his heart thrummed…
Uncertain, Merlin let the prince move their joined hands downward until their joined hands met the keen flesh of their desire.
Both men inhaled sharply, finding their bodies moving in time.
Merlins eyes met the certainty in Arthurs as they stroked downward.
"Arthur," Merlins lip trembled.
Merlin shuddered; he wanted to speak, wanted to ask the prince if what they were doing was a good idea… If it would lead to consequences for both of them… but words failed as their joined hands tightened.
Their scents mingled in the heated room.
Arthurs mouth came down on Merlins shoulder and the young man surrendered to the wave of arousal that overtook him.
They both floated, ever so slightly in the golden light of heat and passion that magic wove between them. And if the prince noticed this new sensation, he hid his knowledge well.
Merlin felt consumed as their pace increased and Arthur teased his skin with gentle bites and small caresses.
Time swelled as sensation melted the world until Merlin couldn't conceive of anything existing outside of this moment and the two of them.
His body arched into his friend and he came.
Arthur wasn't far behind, breathing a contented sigh as they ended.
Merlins forehead rested on his friends shoulder, overwhelmed by fatigue.
He was vaguely aware of hands moving him, arms lifting him… a voice telling him to sleep and the warmth of Arthur by his side as night finally claimed him.
Merlin awoke to the brightest sun he could recall.
Slowly, sensation filtered through as he noticed how soft the royal sheets were, that the herbs of last night's bath scented his skin, that the sky was clear and how warm Arthur felt as he cuddled Merlin closer in his sleep.
The world was warm and perfect.
Somewhere in the back of Merlins mind, he knew that this was not how it could remain.
Arthurs hand snaked up to rest on the sorcerer's chest, "Are you awake?" He asked in barely a whisper.
Merlin considered not answering… but realised that there was a great deal they had to discuss.
He shifted back into his friend, bumping him and taking his hand to squeeze one last tender touch from their remaining moments. "I am."
To his surprise, he felt Arthurs hands rolling him to face the prince.
The blonde delivered a sweet peck on his servants lips and smiled brightly. "So… what have you to do today?"
Somewhat perplexed, Merlin frowned, "Whatever you desire, Sire."
A flash ran through the prince's eye, quickly covered by a wide grin. "I am liking the desire part of that sentence. Not liking the diminutive so much."
"Well… I do what you tell me."
The blonde moved forward to deliver another kiss, "Good again."
Merlin shook his head, unable to explain coherently as Arthurs smile morphed into confusion.
"Merlin," he sighed, "you aren't telling me that last night..."
Arthur swallowed, "You and I... only because you think I... that you didn't…"
Merlin was quick to move and place trembling fingers upon his prince's lips, "No." He smiled with joy, "No... no, I..." laughter bubbled forward. "I wasn't... with you..." Merlin blushed, "out of some form of duty..."
"I should hope not." Arthur snorted dismissively. But beneath the bravado was the insecurity surrounding his rank that Merlin had grown to adore.
"But I am your servant." Merlin hated the words as he said them. He felt so much more than that.
"You are more than a servant, Merlin."
He despaired, "Arthur. You thought your father wouldn't accept Gwen." Merlin swallowed, "What are the chances he will be happy about us."
The prince didn't seem to have an answer.
He moved forward, brushing Merlins hair with his slender fingers. "Perhaps we can't have this." Arthur moved closer, placing a kiss on Merlins lips, "Or this," his hand moved down the sorcerers' chest, "Or this…"
Merlin closed his eyes against the wave of desire that washed through him, resisting as much as he was able.
"But I will not give you up." Arthur affirmed, "You will be in my life, Merlin. As you are in my heart."
Merlin allowed the words to sink into him and he wished with all his soul that they might be true. But the greater part of him doubted it.
With all his might, he summoned a smile and decided that if he couldn't have the prince he would enjoy every moment they might steal.
"You won't be getting rid of me that easily, Arthur Pendragon."
Back to normal, Merlin thought, rousing to move.
"Where are you going?
"About my chores."
"I don't think so." Arthur laughed, propping himself up on an elbow to watch the man. "Last night I granted all the men who worked against the storm a day of rest."
Merlin frowned; he vaguely recalled the gesture but hadn't thought it applied to him.
"You're a free man for the day." Arthur told him. "You can do anything or anyone you want…"
"Anything you fancy?"
He joined Arthur back on the bed.
Perhaps stolen moments were the better ones in life.