Disclaimer: I do not own the Merlin series. Some of the content used is also not mine.
Chapter 4 Lancelot and Guinevere
Merlin walks down the steps of the castle as Morgana and Gwen go riding away with several of the knights.
"Where are they going?" he asks as he reaches Arthur.
"Morgana's on a pilgrimage to her father's grave," Arthur explains. He takes the bow from Merlin's neck, leaving the target board in Merlin's arms. "Now, run."
"What?" Merlin asks in shock.
"You heard me," Arthur says with an evil smile.
Morgana and her party had been attacked. Gwen had been recaptured after they had tried to run.
"I suppose you and Arthur are going after Gwen?" Gaius asks. Merlin turns as he begins to leave and gives him a look. "I'm not going to try to stop you, Merlin. All I ask is you make sure you come back safely, too."
Merlin hugs him before getting Arthur.
Arthur turns and finds Merlin on the ground. He had fallen off his horse.
"What are you doing?" Arthur asks.
Merlin looks up at Arthur in confusion.
"I must have fallen asleep," he explains, letting his head fall back to the ground. "Oh, I'm so exhausted. I can barely keep my eyes open." Arthur throws water on him. "Thank you. I feel so much better."
Arthur then sits next to Merlin.
"We'll rest for now, but not for long," he says.
Merlin nods and his head rest on Arthur's shoulder.
Merlin wakes up some time later and finds Arthur getting the horses ready.
"How long was I asleep for?" he asks.
"Long enough," Arthur says.
Merlin gives a more careful at Arthur as he gets up.
"Did you get some rest?" he asks.
"Someone had to keep watch. Now, come on. Guinevere's life is at stake," Arthur says.
Merlin walks up to Arthur and puts a hand on his shoulder.
"I've never seen you like this about anyone. I dare say even me," he says. "You really do care about her."
Arthur ignores that comment.
"Let's get moving. The ransom was supposed to be delivered to the Vale of Dinaria. If they're holding Gwen anywhere, it has to be there. We can save a day's riding of we cut through the Tunnels of Andor," he says.
Merlin knows something is not right.
"I know that face. I'm not going like this, am I?" he asks. "What's in there?"
"Wilddeoren. They feast on human flesh," Arthur explains.
"Right, we're taking the mountains," Merlin says, starting to turn. Arthur takes his hand and turns him back around. He then begins to lather his face when some berries. "What are you doing?"
"Wilddeoren are blind. They hunt by smell. Gaia berries will put them off the scent," Arthur replies.
Merlin is hesitant, so Arthur smears it on his face.
"Oh, these stink," he yells.
They enter the tunnel.
"That was my foot," Arthur angrily whispers as Merlin steps on it.
"Sorry," Merlin apologies. "How much further?"
Arthur covers Merlin's mouth and pulls him to the ground. A Wilddeoren comes right up to them and licks Merlin's face.
"Merlin?" Arthur asks as they both stand up after the Wilddeoren leaves.
"Catch me," is all he says before fainting.
Merlin woke to find Arthur by the lake, cleaning his face. He started to do the same.
"Gaia berries worked," Arthur says with a laugh.
"You didn't know if they worked?" Merlin asks angrily. "Now you tell me! Oh, what's that Wilddeoren eating? It's all right, it's only Merlin! Were you trying to get us killed?"
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have risked your life like that. Come here," he says.
Arthur sticks his hand in the water and runs it over Merlin's neck.
"They do say love makes you do strange things," Merlin says, his eyes not leaving Arthur's. Arthur gives him a confused look. "Your feelings for Gwen. I understand that nothing more can come between us. You have a duty to Camelot , and that's marrying and having an heir."
"I can stop this arrangement we have in a heartbeat," Arthur replies.
"Yes, I know," Merlin agrees with a nod.
"Then why can't I?" Arthur asks in a frustrated tone as he stands. "How can I be with her when I think about you all the time? Or that I can't stop it because I care about you more than anyone?"
Merlin gets up and takes Arthur's hand in his.
"You just did," he says.
Their lips meet. All this confessing was building them both up inside.
"It pains me that nothing can ever happen between us beyond my chambers," Arthur says.
"Who to say nothing can happen?" Merlin asks. "When you're King, you can change things."
They reach the castle by nightfall and scale the walls. When they find Gwen, they are surprised that Lancelot is with her.
As Arthur and Gwen get some rest, Merlin follows Lancelot, who is guarding.
"Is it true that Arthur came to rescue Guinevere because of the Lady Morgana?" Lancelot asks and Merlin sits in a log. Merlin does not answer. "He had feelings for her, doesn't he?"
What was he supposed to say? Arthur doesn't go that way. He's actually in love with me. No, he could not.
"What about you?" Merlin asks.
"My feelings do not matter," Lancelot says, but it was clear he cared for Gwen.
After Arthur had showed Gwen to Morgana, Merlin could tell Arthur was feeling down.
"Look on the Brightside, you've still got me," Merlin says, wanting to throw an arm around him, but decides against it.
"Is that supposed to cheer me up?" Arthur asks.
"Thought it might?" Merlin admitted.
"You really are a complete idiot," Arthur says with a loving laugh.
He grabs the back of Merlin's neck as they enter the castle.