Disclaimer: I don't own merlin.

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Arthur had not expected such an odd invitation. It was warm as spring had rolled in full, all the flowers were in bloom. Merlin had dropped a message on his desk in her hawk form, perched on his chair watching him as he read it. Arthur read over the message and nodded to the bird, which bobbed her head in return and flew back out his window. He watched his witch fly away and fade into the clouds.

"Sire?"

"Morris, tell Morgana and her maid that we're going on a trip."

"What shall I pack for you, sire?"

"What are you talking about Morris, you're coming along."

"Am I?"

"We're going to meet our friend in the woods."

"Oh. Oh!"

"Yes, now off with you?"

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Arthur traveled into the meeting spot with Morgana, Gwen and Morris. Merlin was waiting for him with Mordred draped on her lap. She smiled and waved at them. Mordred stood and smiled faintly at everyone but Arthur. They all dismounted and greeted the druid girl with hugs. Merlin embraced them.

"So Merlin, there's some sort of druid festival this time of year." Arthur asked as she finished giving Gwen a hug.

"A fertility festival!" Their faces all dropped. Morgana exchanged glances with Gwen.

"A what?" Morgana asked flatly.

"A fertility festival Beltane, also Mordred's birthday!" She nuzzled him once for good measure. Once she registered their faces her own expression dropped and flushed.

"Oh, well, you're not required to participate such acts, no one is. It's only married couples that engage in that behavior." She rambled frantically, waving her arms about. Evan Mordred was giving her a look. Then Merlin took a breath and continued.

"It's mostly dancing." She amended.

"But you'll be in ceremonial garments." She continued, biting her lip.

"It's fun, really! I wanted to share the fun with all of you! Come on." Merlin smiled. They remounted on their horse and watched in astonishment as Merlin turned into a beautiful black wolf and Mordred into a snake that coiled loosely around her neck. The wolf dashed off and the others followed on horseback. They walked off or a few hours until they upon an encampment. Merlin's tail began to wag. She dashed the rest of the distance and Arthur watched in surprise as the children immediately recognized her as "Lady Emrys" and hugged her as she licked their faces. She allowed the children to pull at her ears and al, nuzzling a few. The kids all giggled, one latching onto her head. She gently extracted her when she saw the druid elder. As she shifted into human form as the elder came to greet her.

"Lady Emrys, we're so happy you could make it." They watched Mordred shift back into human form as well.

"Well, I was raised a druid, I still like to indulge in the festivals." Merlin smiled.

"I hope you don't mind, but I brought some guests." The druids looked up at them.

"That's the Pendragon Prince, what are you thinking?"

"I trust him and his friends. They have saved my life and I have done the same for them. I trust them." The druids looked at each other and nodded.

"If you trust them, My Lady, we trust your judgment." Merlin smiled.

"Thank you." Arthur dismounted and stood behind Merlin, fidgeting.

"Are you sure we're welcome here?"

"Yes. They trust me." Arthur nodded, unnerved, watching Morgana ad Gwen get caught in the games of the children. Morris looked about and found himself being chatted up by druid girls. Arthur suddenly felt incredibly uncomfortable among the druids. Merlin, bless her, noticed quickly.

"Should I not have invited you?"

"What?"

"Was this insensitive of me?"

"No, no, don't worry about it." Arthur insisted.

Arthur was surprised to see how well Merlin lived among the druids. She played with the children and discussed with the adults. There wasn't much talking, a lot of it seemed to be he same way Mordred communicated, with their minds. He had lied. It did unnerve him, it reminded him of the day his men killed an entire tribe of druid innocents, and Merlin had nearly been one. The girl he cared for deeply, had almost died to the hand of his commands. The thought made his stomach turn unpleasantly. He saw Morgana and Gwen having ribbons and flowers tied into their hair. Merlin smiled at everyone. Arthur noted that Mordred was practically glued to Merlin's side.

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The women vanished at dusk. Arthur sat awkwardly with the men. They had insisted he remove his shirt, as the other men did, the boys did as well. Arthur and Morris, unnerved by being bare foot and chested, aided the other adults to build up a bonfire. Once night had fallen completely, some of the men and recently appearance women began to play instruments. That's when the women milled into the circle, taking seats among the men. Morgana and Gwen were among them. Garbed in simple white gowns with crowns of flowers in their loose hair. They sat by them, giggling like children. Arthur noticed Mordred take a spot in the circle but Merlin was nowhere to be found. Then the beat came alive and a figure danced into the middle. It was Merlin. She was wearing only a petticoat and some kind of breast binding that only made them look more enticing. Her hair was loose, a crown of white water lilies gracing her head, each curl shining in the firelight. She danced about, gyrating her hips and waving her arms with the grace of a serpent. There were bangles on her wrists that rang pleasantly every time she moved.

Overall, she looked ravishing.

Arthur watched bitterly as she pulled a young man up to dance with her. Arthur recognized him as the grandson of an elder. The dance they shared was sensual and heated. The young man's hands were touching places they had no right to be, hand dragging over her hipbones and waist. Arthur's mouth was hanging open. They separated with a spin and the boy pulled up another girl and danced with her in the same fashion. Merlin danced with another druid teen. Arthur couldn't tear his eyes away from Merlin's swinging hips and panting lips. Then they broke away and Merlin pulled Mordred up. Arthur grimaced. It wasn't as sensual, but his hands wandered over her hips in awe. Then they broke apart once more. Arthur watched Morris get pulled up by another scantily clad druid girl and Morgana and Gwen pulled up by young druid men. Then it was Merlin who approached him, and pulled him into the dance.

Arthur could have died a happy man at that moment. Merlin's backside rubbed against his front, his hands moving with her narrow hips. Her hair was right in his face, filling his nose with her strange earthy scent. Arthur let his hands wander, and she didn't seem to notice with the beat of the music. His hands went up to her waist and back to her pretty hips. Arthur's hands devoured every beautiful inch of her white belly, taut as a bow string. Arthur flattened his hands on her belly, dragging it to just under her small breasts. It was beautiful, it was wonderful and perfect. Merlin arched against him when the other girls did. She was just following the dance. She spun with the steps, looking him in the face. It was odd, dancing with a woman as tall as him, if not taller. Her mouth was so close. All he would have to do was lean in, and he would taste those lips he'd dreamed of for years.

Then the beat changed and Merlin spun from his grasp back to Mordred. Arthur was left standing alone. No girls wanted to dance with him. He was the son of Uther; his father had probably killed someone that each person knew. Eventually he sat back down. Arthur watched in surprise as couples began disappearing into the woods, giggling and laughing gleefully. Soon, all the unmarried druids were left behind, still dancing. Merlin was dancing with Mordred, a playful step instead of sensual. She whispered something like Happy Birthday to him, accompanied with a wet kiss on the cheek. Arthur looked about for the missing couples, but saw nothing. Eventually, Merlin tired of dancing and fell next to Arthur laughing, pulling Mordred down with her.

"Merlin, where did they all go?" He asked nervously as his companions joined them by the fire.

"It is Beltane, a fertility festival Arthur, use that brain of yours." She said with a scandalous giggle.

They slept in tents that Merlin set up. Merlin dressed again, hiding that white skin under layers of blue fabric. Merlin curled up with Mordred in one tent. Morgana and Gwen shared another. Arthur insisted on his own and Morris slept by the fire. In the middle of the night, Arthur woke up and went to sit by the fire. He sat, staring blankly forward. He heard footsteps and turned to see Merlin strolling over to him. She smiled at him, those eyes that he loved peeking out from under a curled fringe. Her hair was still loose; her flowers had been pulled out.

"Hi."

"Hi." He whispered back.

"What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing."

"Hmm, nothing must really confuse you." He hummed in response. Her imploring gaze got him to answer.

"Why didn't they kill me on the spot?"

"Who?"

"The druids."

"How do you mean?"

"Are you serious? Merlin, you of all people should know why the druids should hate me!" He hissed.

"Arthur, you're not heartless. They know what you did, but they know that I trust you. The druids all trust my judgment."

"They trust you enough to overcome distrust of Uther's son?"

"I'm Emrys; this is something you seem to keep forgetting."

"Merlin why do you trust me?"

"You've earned it."

"How? Because I saved your life once. Doesn't it ever occur to you that I'm a man and you're a woman, and that you presenting yourself into my company alone is dangerous?" Arthur leaned over, one hand on the ground next to her.

"I could take what I wanted, I could do to you as I please, and I have the power to get away with it." He leaned until she was flat on her back with him looming over.

"Why would you risk it?" He whispered.

"Because you're good man and you deserve my trust." She said. She was completely at ease, not at all perturbed about the fact that he was leaning on top of her. He got off flushing, rubbing his face.

"I'm sorry… I just…"

"It's alright, you're just upset, and you didn't hurt me. Just don't tell Mordred, he'll get upset." She smiled and kissed his temple, cuddling back into her shared bed with her husband to be. Arthur had never felt so cold.

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Princess: I am really sorry guys. I know I promised this months ago but the life of an art student is incredibly busy and re-watching, reinterpreting and retelling the story takes a lot of time and I like to have the rough writing of the story all done then post while doing the editing. Just some insight into my process. I really do appreciate your love so very much, hence the slightly belated Christmas present. Now that I' most done with holiday employment and school for the time being, I'm going to kick myself in the rear getting the second season rough done.

Reviews:

KhaalidaNyx: Yay indeed.

Hitomi65: thank you

Narutoske: I like to keep things fresh.

sKyLaR KnIgHt: No probs

GingerGeekGal1796: Thank you!

EmeraldFlames96: Most people can't.

You Are Super: Things will change as he grows.

The weasel is MINE XP: I shall!

Mishil: Mordred is wise beyond his years, and I try to portray him as such. I enjoyed all you reviews greatly.