[personal profile] ravenclawwit
Title: The World's Worst Manservant 2/2
Author: [livejournal.com profile] ravenclawwit
Pairings/characters: Arthur/Merlin
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: ~12,900 for the whole fic
Genre: Fluff, AU, Slash, Humor
Warnings: Spoilers for season one and AU for everything after that. Porn.
Summary: Merlin is a pretty rubbish manservant on the best of days, but some clumsy mishaps on Arthur's birthday leads to some revelations about his servant for Arthur.
A/N: I wrote this a looong time ago, at the end of season one, before season two even started, so it's only canon up to that point. Basically if you pretend S2 and S3 never happened, everything will make sense. As such, it's an AU. This is only my second fic ever, so I wrote this, had an internal crisis about actually posting it, and then forgot about it for nearly three years. So I'm not sure how relevant it is at this point, but oh well. :P
Disclaimer: I own nothing.

PART TWO


Arthur got up and dressed quickly in the clothes that Merlin had laid out for him earlier. He strapped on his sword belt, attaching Merlin's present by weaving the leather cord on his belt through the loop on the scabbard. Then he went to his chests and drew out his finest dagger. It had been a present from his father when he had attained his knighthood at the age of 18. It had a polished black iron hilt, inlaid with flat discs of cattle bone, each one carved with the Pendragon crest. The guard and pommel were of pure silver. It was Arthur's most prized possession and he rarely took it out. But he wanted to put his best into Merlin's gift, to show him how much he valued it. Arthur slid the dagger into the scabbard. The blade fit perfectly, the guard resting flush against the leather.

Arthur pinned on his mantle and put on his crown. He stopped in front of his mirror, checking his appearance. Arthur wondered what Merlin thought of his looks. Did Merlin think he was handsome? Most people do, thought Arthur. Still, who knew what went on in Merlin's head. Arthur grinned at his reflection. Sod it, I may be in love, but that doesn't mean I have to start doubting myself. I'm the best looking man in the kingdom. Satisfied, Arthur made his way downstairs to the Great Hall for the start of the feast.

When Arthur got to the hall, he was ushered into the anteroom by his father's retainer, Sir Gregory. Arthur was annoyed at this. He'd been hoping to get Merlin alone before the feast. To tell him, in no uncertain terms, just what his present meant to Arthur. Now he'd have to find another way. Arthur waited, and at last, the trumpeters began to play, announcing the arrival of the King in the Great Hall. Arthur could hear his father begin to make a speech, something about this day being a bittersweet day for him, having lost his beautiful Igraine and welcomed his beloved son on the same day. Arthur had heard this speech many times before, as Uther gave some variation of it every year on Arthur's birthday. Uther droned on a bit more, until at last he said, “Ladies and Gentlemen of Camelot, I give you your Crown Prince, Arthur!” Sir Gregory poked his head in the door and motioned for Arthur to come out.

Arthur entered the hall amidst applause and admiring murmurs. He smiled and nodded to everyone, making his way to the head table and taking his place at his father's side. Arthur immediately started scanning the room for Merlin.

Merlin was standing by the right wall next to Gwen. She was talking excitedly to him and he was laughing. Arthur wished Merlin would look at him instead of Guinevere. And suddenly, as if reading his mind (and Arthur privately thought that this wasn't beyond the realm of possibility), Merlin did look at him.

He was wearing the blue tunic that always looked so fetching on him along with the red ceremonial surcoat of the house of Pendragon. He had forgotten the hat. Arthur had only ever meant it as a joke of course, but Merlin's embarrassment while wearing it had been so amusing and well...cute, that Arthur had continued to force him to wear it to most formal occasions. He would definitely have to reiterate to Merlin later the importance of maintaining a professional appearance. Maybe he would make Merlin wear the hat in his chambers. Arthur had a sudden image of Merlin wearing the hat and only the hat while doing his normal chores. This thought was both funny and arousing and Arthur's lips twitched in amusement. Other things might have twitched as well, but as Arthur was wearing tight breeches and was at his own birthday feast, he thought it best not to continue this line of thought.

Arthur smiled slightly at Merlin and winked, and Merlin, to Arthur's delight, blushed a little and grinned that sweet, dopey little grin of his. Arthur felt very encouraged by this. He was just about to motion his servant to come to the table when the celebrations began.

First there was a minstrel singer hired by his father, who sang a song about Arthur and how great he was, referring to him in one verse as the “flower of Camelot”. He was embarrassed. Arthur would be the first to admit that he was, well, pretty incredible. Great warrior, killing machine, handsome, etc., etc. But being called a flower wasn't exactly his cup of mead. Still, he clapped when the minstrel was done and smiled in appreciation.

After the minstrel, kitchen maids suddenly appeared by the dozen, bearing pitchers of ale, which they set on all the tables. Merlin walked to the head table and took up the pitcher that had been set near the prince. He arched a brow at Arthur and asked, “Would the flower of Camelot like a drink?” His blue eyes were sparkling with humor, and Arthur was quite taken away.

Arthur smiled dryly at Merlin and lifted his cup. “The Crown Prince of Camelot would love a drink.”

Merlin filled his cup, smiling softly. Arthur wanted to speak to him, but he was in such close proximity to his father that he didn't dare, and Merlin was already moving back to his place against the wall.

There were many more entertainments including a juggler who juggled scarves and then knives (Arthur saw Morgana watching this with a bloodthirsty look in her eyes, as if she were hoping the poor man would impale himself for the fun of it), a storyteller who spun a very funny tale about “Lailoken the Idiot” who got into a sticky situation involving a stolen barrel of mead, a farmer's daughter, and a goat, and a trio of musicians who played song after song while everyone in the hall ate until they were ready to burst and got as drunk as humanly possible.

Except Arthur, who wanted to stay sober, so that he might have some hope of actually conversing with Merlin later (and maybe other activities, if all went well) without throwing up on his shoes. Arthur supposed he ought to drink more, and so have an excuse to call Merlin to the table to refill his cup, but since he couldn't actually say anything more during these short interludes than “more ale please”, Arthur decided it was rather pointless. No, any substantive conversation between them would have to wait until the feast was over. Arthur thought this was just as well. They'd be alone after all, and that was really what Arthur most wanted, to be alone with Merlin, with no other distractions and no rules about masters and servants and boundaries.

Next came the presentation of gifts. All the nobles had come bearing presents, most in an attempt to try and get in Arthur or his father's good graces. He received several swords, a brass hammered breastplate, a spear with a bronze handle, several casks of fine wine, a new and beautifully decorated saddle, and a set of bone gaming dice. His father presented him with three black horses, one of which was brought into the hall to show off its beauty and strength. Morgana gifted him with a set of silver jewelry, including a mantle brooch, a ring, and a bracelet, all extremely well made and quite beautiful. Arthur found however, that the bracelet had been engraved on the inside with an inscription that read, “To Prince Arthur the Great, from the Lady Morgana”. Arthur looked past his father to stare at Morgana, strongly suspecting that he was being mocked. She grinned and raised her cup to him before tipping it back and taking a rather unladylike swig. Arthur rolled his eyes.

It was at this point that Arthur was expected to make some sort of speech, something which he dreaded every year, but as he took up his cup and rose from his seat, he suddenly felt inspired.

“I am the most fortunate of men,” Arthur said, his voice ringing out over the hall. “To have such devoted friends and subjects who would come and celebrate with us, making our joys their own.” Catching Merlin's eye, Arthur casually swished back his mantle, revealing the scabbard attached to his belt. He saw Merlin's eyes widen in recognition. “But I feel especially blessed,” Arthur went on, “by the good wishes of those friends that are close to me, whose efforts and daily unfailing loyalty are always with me. Those who forbear with a Prince who too often gives way to temper and ill-humor, and yet who constantly toil for my good. Their sacrifices do not go unrecognized. To good friends!” Arthur raised his cup and drank.

The rest of the hall echoed Arthur's toast and drank heartily to it, blissfully unaware that their Prince had just toasted his own manservant. Indeed, many in the crowd that night believed that Arthur must have been referring to them, and were greatly pleased. Arthur only had eyes for Merlin. He was looking back at Arthur, mouth slightly agape. Then he blushed and bowed quickly to Arthur before dropping his eyes shyly.

Arthur devoutly wished that the feast was over. Merlin was driving him mad. He stood against the wall, glancing at Arthur periodically but looking away every time Arthur met his eyes. Arthur thought that Merlin had never looked so kissable, so shaggable. Arthur briefly considered just walking over, throwing Merlin down, and having him right there in front of everyone. Arthur pictured the looks of horror and shock on his guests' faces as he fucked his servant senseless on the hall floor and laughed out loud. His father gave him a strange look and Arthur quickly put these musings on hold for another time.

Just when Arthur thought the feast would go on forever, Uther arose and made a mercifully short speech. It was eloquent and graceful and tactful, but was really just a polite way of saying, party's over, get the hell out.

People began to move towards the doors. Merlin made his way to Arthur. “My lord?” Merlin asked quietly.

“Yes?” replied Arthur breathlessly.

“Can I see Gaius to bed before attending you? I think he's had too much to drink.”

Arthur cast his eyes over at Gaius, who was indeed looking a little green and wobbling unsteadily on his feet. Arthur cursed old men who couldn't hold their liquor. Then he sighed. “Yes, see the physician home, but be as quick as you can. I am very tired and do not want to be kept waiting.” This last was an utter lie. Though it was well past midnight Arthur wasn't tired at all. But he didn't feel in the least ashamed. He wanted Merlin to hurry, and if he had to tell a little fib to achieve his desire, well, all was fair in love and war.

Merlin nodded. “Yes sire, see you in your chambers then?”

Arthur nodded and Merlin smiled before running off to take Gaius' arm as he left the hall. Arthur watched Merlin and the other guests depart.

“That was quite a toast you made,” Morgana said, suddenly appearing at his side.

Arthur shrugged. “Yes, well, I had to say something, I figured it might as well be good.”

Morgana gave Arthur a knowing smile. “Please, I could so tell you meant every word. And as I knew the object of your heartfelt little speech, it was doubly enjoyable. The great Arthur, humbled at last by love.”

Arthur tightened his jaw and made to walk away. Morgana grabbed his arm. “Please Arthur,” she said, her tone and her expression softened, “I'm not making fun of you. I only ever wanted you to be happy. Merlin makes you happy, and I am glad for it.”

Arthur relaxed. “Thank you Morgana. And thank you for your present, the bracelet especially. And to think I thought I was being mocked.”

Morgana laughed. “Alright, so I was making fun of you a little. Forgive me. I do tease you, but you have always been a good friend to me, and there is greatness inside you, though well hidden sometimes.”

Arthur arched his brows in surprise. “A compliment from my lady? I must see that Geoffrey enters it in the court records. I wouldn't make it a habit if I were you. Father will think you've been bewitched.”

Morgana smiled and looked down at Arthur's hip. “That's a beautiful scabbard you have. Was it a present?”

“Yes, from Merlin,” Arthur said with a mixture of pride and embarrassment.

“I told you he didn't forget. It's a fine piece, it must have taken him a long time to make. He must believe you're worth it, and so you must be. Merlin is an excellent judge of character.”

Arthur smiled and turned to her. “What would I do without you, Morgana?”

Suddenly a faint shadow crossed her face and she said, “We'll be parted you and I, someday soon. It is not what I want, but destiny is the master of us all. But whatever happens, you must always believe that I love you in my heart.”

Arthur frowned at Morgana's strange words. “Morgana?”

Her face cleared as suddenly as it had darkened, and a mischievous smile returned to Morgana's face. She kissed his cheek and whispered in his ear, “Be happy, Arthur Pendragon.” Then she was gone, walking from the hall arm in arm with Gwen.

Arthur smiled after her, puzzled, before leaving the hall himself.

…............................................

When Arthur reached his chambers he took off his mantle and crown and put them away. He unstrapped his sword belt. He put his sword away, but laid Merlin's scabbard on the table, unwilling to have it away from his sight. He poured some wine and stood in front of the fire, waiting.

Merlin arrived five minutes later, forgetting to knock as usual. He leaned back against the door, slightly out of breath as if he'd run all the way to Arthur's rooms. Arthur felt a twinge of remorse about urging Merlin to hurry. “Is Gaius alright?” he asked.

Merlin nodded. “Yes. He just doesn't know when to quit sometimes. And he says I'm bad.”

“You are rather hopeless when it comes to drink. I still remember when we stopped at the inn in Willowdale after that hunting trip. Three tankards of ale and I had to carry you to your bed. Disgraceful really,” Arthur said teasingly.

Merlin smiled. “I'm lucky you were there to save me. I can only imagine the indignities I would have suffered if any of the others had seen me passed out after so little drink.” Among Arthur's knights, a man that couldn't handle his liquor was likely to wake up and find himself stripped naked and tied to a post in the town square or some other equally humiliating situation.

Arthur looked at Merlin seriously. “I'd never let them touch you.”

Merlin was suddenly embarrassed. “Oh. Well, um, thanks,” he said, ducking his head. Looking for a change of subject, he noticed the scabbard he'd made for Arthur on the table. Merlin walked over to the table, intending to put it away.

“No,” Arthur said, “don't put it away yet. I want to look at it.”

“I saw you wearing it at the feast. Did you like it?”

Arthur came close to the table and stroked his hand down the leather. “Like it? It's the best gift I've ever received.”

Merlin's mouth fell open. “That can't be true. Not with all those incredible presents that you got.”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “all from people who barely know me and care for me even less. I'd rather have your present than a hundred of theirs.”

Merlin was so stunned at this that he was speechless. “I'm pleased that you liked it,” he said finally.

Arthur picked the scabbard up and examined it. “The carving is really very good. You could go into trade in the city and make a living at such an art.”

Merlin winced. He stepped around the table to stand in front of the Prince. “Arthur please,” he said, “I know I'm a terrible servant sometimes and that I drive you crazy, but I'll try harder I swear. Please don't sack me.” Merlin's eyes were pleading.

Arthur put the scabbard down and placed his hands on Merlin's shoulders. “Merlin,” Arthur said gently, “I'm not going to sack you. I only meant that perhaps you'd be happier not having to work for me.” Arthur dropped his hands and looked down, ashamed. “I am not a very kind master to you. I'm ill tempered and impatient. I can't believe the things you put up with from me sometimes. I don't deserve someone as loyal as you have always been to me.”

Merlin shook his head vehemently. “That's not true. You can be a prat sometimes but I know you, the real you. You've done so much for me. Saved my life, saved my village. Like I’ve said before, I'm happy to be your servant.”

Arthur was suddenly nervous. There was no doubt in his mind that he wanted Merlin. But though he'd pictured this moment many times, he'd never bothered to picture a version where he failed. It was possible that Merlin felt nothing for him but friendship. Certainly Morgana had said that Merlin felt the same way about Arthur as Arthur did for him, but how could she know? Morgana was unusually perceptive about others, but even she was wrong occasionally. Still, he would never know unless he tried.

Arthur stepped closer. Merlin's eyes dropped from Arthur's gaze, but Arthur noted with growing confidence that he didn't back away. “You're more than a servant to me,” Arthur said softly.

After what seemed like an eternity, Merlin raised his eyes back to Arthur's cautiously. The look of naked adoration in Merlin's eyes told Arthur everything he needed to know. All doubts now removed, Arthur grabbed Merlin by the arms and pulled him forward into a searing kiss.

Surprised by the sudden crush of Arthur's lips against his own, Merlin gasped into Arthur's mouth. His eyes fluttered closed and his lips parted, seemingly of their own volition. Arthur wasted no time, deepening the kiss, licking playfully at Merlin's lips before darting inside to explore the velvety recesses of Merlin's mouth. He flicked at Merlin's tongue with his own, eliciting a breathy moan from his servant. Arthur broke the kiss and rested his forehead against Merlin's. He smiled in satisfaction. “You have no idea how long I've wanted to do that,” Arthur said.

“Really?,” Merlin replied, astounded. “I mean, I've wanted to too, but I didn't think that you wanted me.”

Arthur pulled Merlin closer and applied a few kisses on his cheek, his nose, his lips. “Well, I tried to deny it,” Arthur said, “but I've decided that self-deception is far too exhausting.”

Merlin laughed. “We can't have you overtiring yourself. I'm sure it takes all your strength as it is to be such an annoying prat all day long.”

Arthur grinned. Then he backed away from Merlin a few paces and put his arms out. Merlin stared at him blankly. Arthur arched his brow. “Well, are you going to undress me or what? I haven't got all night,” Arthur said in his most imperious tone. Then, still grinning, he gave Merlin a suggestive wink.

Merlin moved forward as if in a dream. He'd wanted this for so long, but had never thought it would actually happen. He was excited, with only a small undercurrent of fear running through it. Merlin's fingers shook as he began to untie the laces on Arthur's tunic. Arthur was staring at him intently and Merlin thought he might collapse from the heat in Arthur's eyes. Arthur curled his arm around Merlin's waist and pulled Merlin into his chest, which made Merlin's hands shake even more. He reached for the hem of the tunic and drew it up over Arthur's head.

Arthur, now bare chested, brought his arms down around Merlin and kissed him again. Slowly gathering courage, Merlin began to explore Arthur's chest and back, feeling the ripple of the muscles in his arms, lightly running his fingers through the hair on Arthur's chest, before trailing down to palm Arthur's hard flat stomach.

Arthur pulled away from Merlin's lips in a gasp. “Trousers,” he growled roughly. Merlin nodded and obeyed, tearing at the laces on Arthur's trousers in a frenzy. Arthur took over, grasping the waistband of his trousers and pushing them off his hips. He bent forward, pulling the trousers down his legs and stepping out of them quickly and easily. Merlin was, as usual, impressed with Arthur's natural grace.

He was even more impressed when Arthur straightened up. Arthur stood with his sturdy and well muscled legs braced apart, hands resting on his hips. Merlin's eyes wandered from the blonde springy hair that sparsely covered Arthur's broad chest as it trailed to almost nothing down his belly only to reassert itself as a dark blonde pelt above his groin. Arthur's pelvis was thrust slightly forward, and his cock (his very large cock, Merlin noted with some trepidation) rose proudly from its nestle of curls. Arthur was practically strutting. Merlin didn't understand how anyone could stand so unabashed like that when they were completely starkers, but he supposed if you had a body as flawless as Arthur's it came rather easily.

A low chuckle drifted into his thoughts. “Enjoying the show?” Arthur asked. Merlin tore his eyes away from Arthur's groin and turned a deep shade of scarlet. Then Arthur was pulling him close once more. He grasped the hem of Merlin's shirt and tore it over Merlin's head. Then he began undoing the laces on Merlin's trousers. Merlin tried to help, but Arthur slapped his hands away with a feral growl. Merlin buried his flushing face into Arthur's neck, arms wrapped tightly around Arthur's back. It was obvious that in this, as in everything else, Arthur was in charge. But for once Merlin didn't mind. Arthur's dominance was definitely a turn on, and really, Merlin only had the vaguest idea of what he was doing anyways. Best to just let Arthur lead.

Arthur finished untying Merlin's trousers. “Get them off,” Arthur commanded.

Merlin hurriedly pushed his trousers down. He almost fell over in his rush to get his feet out of the trousers, realizing belatedly that he'd forgotten to remove his shoes first. Arthur laughed at him, but held Merlin steady by the arm as Merlin kicked off his shoes and stepped out of his trousers.

Now completely naked, Merlin suddenly felt self-conscious. He couldn't help but compare his pale scrawny frame to Arthur's golden muscled beauty. Embarrassed, Merlin used his long arms to try and shield himself, curling one across his thin chest and using the other to reach down and cover his groin. He wasn't exactly small down there, but he certainly wasn't as big as Arthur.

Arthur frowned. “Don't cover yourself, I want to look at you.” Arthur grasped Merlin's arms and pinned them at his sides.

Merlin blushed furiously. Arthur couldn't understand why. To Arthur, Merlin was perfect, with his lithe body and his beautiful pale skin. Arthur leaned forward. “You're very pretty, Merlin,” he whispered in Merlin's ear. “You shouldn't be ashamed.” Arthur pulled him into a tight embrace, molding their bodies together.

“Not like you,” Merlin breathed back, reveling in the feel of Arthur's skin against his own.

Arthur laughed and pulled back to look at Merlin incredulously. “You can't honestly think I'm such a narcissist that I can't find you attractive because you don't look like me?”

Merlin giggled. “Well, when you put it that way it does seem sort of silly.”

“Yes. Not to mention that it would rather drastically reduce the number of people that I could get aroused by. After all, there really is noone like me,” Arthur said, stretching out his arms to show off his glorious body.

“Oh my god!” Merlin cried, laughing. “You are so full of yourself!”

Arthur grinned wolfishly and wrapped his arms around Merlin's waist. “Actually,” Arthur said, leaning in to trail kisses across Merlin's jaw and neck, “You're perfect for me. We're the same height, so I don't have to bend over to kiss you-”

“Yes, heaven forbid that the Crown Prince have to crane his royal neck,” Merlin said sarcastically.

“But,” Arthur went on, “You're still smaller and lighter than me, which makes this really easy.”

Merlin was confused. “It makes what really easy?” he asked.

This,” Arthur replied. And with no warning he bent and hefted Merlin over his shoulder as if he were a rag doll.

Merlin gasped as Arthur carried him to the bed. He dropped Merlin unceremoniously onto his back. Arthur crawled up and entrapped Merlin's body with his own, knees braced on either side, arms pinning Merlin's over his head.

“Is it completely necessary to manhandle me?” Merlin asked breathlessly. He was both flustered and extremely turned on by Arthur's aggressiveness.

“Yes. In fact, I think you like it,” Arthur said suggestively. He illustrated his point by reaching down and wrapping his hand around Merlin's cock. Merlin let out a strangled moan of pleasure. Arthur leaned down and pressed his lips to Merlin's, tongue thrusting into Merlin's mouth in perfect rythymn with his hand stroking Merlin's shaft. He released Merlin's hands and Merlin brought his arms down to curl around Arthur's neck.

“Feels so good,” Merlin whispered, arching into Arthur's touch. Merlin had never felt anything like it. Of course he had touched himself before; but having someone else's hand on his cock, Arthur's hand, was much more intense.

Arthur smiled wickedly and removed his hand, making Merlin whimper in dismay. “Sorry,” Arthur said, in a most unapologetic fashion. “But we're not here just for a handjob. Lovely as it is to see you squirm while I'm jerking you off, it's really not fair to make me do all the work. You're the servant after all.”

Merlin gave Arthur a filthy look. “Bastard.”

Arthur just grinned and winked. But he lowered his lips to give Merlin a surprisingly tender kiss. “You'll thank me later. Wouldn't want you to finish before the fun really starts.”

Arthur kissed his way down Merlin's throat, pausing to nibble at the little hollow above his collarbone. Then he found Merlin's nipples and spent a few minutes lapping and sucking and grazing his sharp teeth over them while Merlin moaned and gasped and writhed beneath him.

“Stop teasing,” begged Merlin.

Arthur chuckled and kissed Merlin's chest. He buried his nose in Merlin's flat, almost concave belly. “You smell so good,” Arthur breathed. Merlin somehow always smelled like apples and fresh hay. It was intoxicating.

Merlin threaded his hands into Arthur's hair and nodded. “You're lucky I took a bath today. I wouldn't have had time if you hadn't sent me away this afternoon.” Merlin paused. “Why did you send me away earlier?” Merlin suddenly asked, sitting up to look at Arthur.

Arthur sighed and sat up himself. “I can't believe you want to talk about this now,” he said darkly. Arthur wrapped his arms around Merlin's waist and hauled him into his lap. Merlin gasped as Arthur's shaft was suddenly pressed against his bottom. “We can talk, but make it quick. I can't hold on for much longer,” Arthur whispered. He wrapped his arms around Merlin's chest and pulled him back, so that he could kiss Merlin's milky throat while rubbing his thumb over Merlin's right nipple.

Merlin sighed and leaned back into Arthur's chest. “I know, but this is all just so sudden, and this afternoon I thought you hated me. You wouldn't even let me help you get ready for your bath-,” Merlin trailed off. He suddenly remembered that he'd been trying to undo Arthur's trousers when Arthur had sent him away. “Oh,” Merlin said.

“Yes, 'oh',” Arthur replied, moving his lips up to nibble at Merlin's ear. “I found the prospect of you undressing me just a little too exciting.”

“So, even this afternoon, you...you wanted me?” Merlin asked incredulously.

Arthur smiled into Merlin's hair. “Well, I've wanted you a lot longer than this afternoon, but yes. When I got back from patrol, Morgana cornered me and told me off. While doing so, she gave me the idea that perhaps you wouldn't be entirely averse to my attentions, were I to offer them. So when I got back to my chambers I found your presence especially distracting, as it were. I wasn't able to control my reactions to you, as I normally do.”

Merlin twisted around to look at Arthur in wonder. “You've really wanted me for a long time? How long?” Merlin asked.

Arthur flushed. He grasped Merlin's hips and rubbed his still hard cock against Merlin's arse. “Instead of talking about it, we could be doing something about it,” Arthur growled roughly.

Merlin gasped and pushed back against Arthur's length. But he turned his pleading eyes to Arthur's. “Please? I want to know.”

Arthur groaned into Merlin's shoulder. After a moment of silence, he said, “Since that day in the market, when you asked me how long I'd been training to be a prat.”

Merlin's jaw dropped. “You've wanted me since the second time we met?” Merlin cried, astonished.

“Please. Don't act all innocent. It was obvious you were flirting with me. Batting your eyes and looking so cute.”

Merlin laughed. “And yet you tried to beat me to death with a mace! You have an odd way of reacting when someone flirts with you!”

Arthur rolled his eyes. “Don't be ridiculous. I wasn't actually going to hit you. I could have easily killed you, but I deliberately hit things that were near you instead. I was just trying to instill a proper amount of fear in you. I thought you were adorable, but you still needed a lesson in respecting your betters. Still do, in fact.” He quirked his eyebrow at Merlin playfully.

Merlin shook his head in disbelief. “If you thought I was so adorable, why didn't you do something about it?”

“I had every intention of doing something about it. I was going to try and find an opportunity to get you alone, but before I had a chance, you had to be an idiot and save my life. My father made you my servant and then all bets were off.”

Merlin frowned. “Why?”

Arthur sighed. “I was always told that it was a bad idea to fool around with your own servant. Other people's servants, kitchen maids, stable boys, they were all fair game, but I was taught by both my father and my tutors that dallying with your own servant brought nothing but trouble.”

Merlin shook his head. “I don't understand. Why would it cause trouble?”

“Because if it were to go sour, your personal servant would be in a position to do far more damage to you than a regular servant. Betrayal, assasination, whatever. About six years ago, Lord Allen of Cabrion was carrying on with his manservant. Then he apparently took another lover. The servant was overcome with jealousy and he killed Lord Allen in his sleep. Slit his throat from ear to ear. They didn't find his body until morning and by then the servant had made his escape. “

Merlin twisted around in Arthur's arms to look at him. He tucked his head into Arthur's neck. “I would never hurt you,” Merlin whispered.

Arthur held him tighter. “I know. I trust you Merlin. I know you'd never betray me.” Arthur smiled softly. “In fact, I rather think of you as my guardian angel, my good luck charm.”

Merlin winced. Arthur's words made him feel uneasy. Arthur trusted him. Would that trust be broken if he knew Merlin's secret? But Merlin felt guilty about keeping it from him, especially now that they were about to become lovers. And that bit about being Arthur's guardian angel, his good luck charm, well, it was just a little too close to the truth.

“Arthur-,” Merlin began, wanting to confess.

“Please Merlin,” Arthur interrupted, “No more talking, I can't wait any longer.” Arthur pressed his lips to Merlin's, kissing him deeply. Then he gently tumbled Merlin out of his lap and back onto the bed.

Merlin sighed as Arthur spread his knees and knelt between his legs. His secret would have to wait. Merlin wanted this too badly to jeopardise it by revealing something which might change everything. Maybe this one night was all he had with Arthur, but he was going to have it.

Arthur grasped Merlin's hips and lifted, shoving a pillow underneath. Merlin looked up at him. “Arthur, have you done this before? You know, with a boy?” Merlin asked nervously.

Arthur smiled. “Yes, many times. Why?”

“It's just that, I, um, haven't ever done this before. Well, actually I haven't really done anything before.”

Arthur nodded. “Yes, I know. You have nothing to worry about. I'll be careful, I promise.”

Merlin blinked. “You know? How?”

Arthur hesitated and then he said quietly, “I asked Gaius for a book about magical creatures, after the famine incident. I wanted to be sure that I would never again kill anything that would put us into such a situation. There was a section on Unicorns.” Now Arthur looked somewhat sheepish. “I read that they're actually quite fierce creatures but that they will let themselves be approached by a virgin.”

Merlin blushed. “Oh.” He was rather embarrassed that Arthur had apparently known for months that he was a virgin.

Arthur smiled. He leaned down and kissed Merlin gently. “Stay here,” he whispered. Arthur climbed off the bed and walked over to his drawers, returning with a stoppered bottle. He knelt once more between Merlin's legs, using one hand to lightly stroke Merlin's shaft, making Merlin gasp. Arthur unstoppered the bottle, and poured some of the contents onto his fingers. Merlin saw that it was some type of oil with a light, almost flowery smell. Arthur slipped a finger against the entrance to Merlin's body, lightly circling his finger before pushing it into Merlin up to the first knuckle.

Merlin whimpered, feeling a heated flush break out over his body. He writhed on the bed, pushing back against Arthur’s finger. Arthur prepared him thouroughly, adding a second finger and then a third. He pressed against something inside that made Merlin gasp and dig his heels into the bed and then Arthur replaced his fingers with the thick blunt head of his cock. Slowly, inch by inch, Arthur pushed himself inside until he was fully sheathed. There was pain, but only a little, and when Arthur kissed him and began to move inside of him, all Merlin could feel was pleasure and want and above all, love. He had loved Arthur for so long, had thought his heart would break for loving him, but here, in this moment, in Arthur’s bed, their bodies melded together, Merlin realized that that had only been an inkling of how much he really loved him.

It was over quickly, as all first times are. Arthur laid on his back with Merlin nestled into his side. Merlin had his eyes closed, but every now and then he would open them and peek at Arthur from under his black lashes.

Arthur smiled lazily. “What are you doing?” he asked.

Merlin flushed. “I can’t stop looking at you. I’m not sure if this is real or not.” He said this last almost in a whisper, as if afraid that any noise could break whatever spell they were under.

Arthur laughed. “You can relax Merlin. This isn’t one of your enchantments, I assure you. That sore feeling you’ll have in your ass in a few hours should be indication enough that this is all quite real,” Arthur said teasingly.

Merlin gasped and sat bolt upright. “What? What do you – I mean – How? I’m not-” Merlin’s eyes were wide with terror.

Arthur sat up immediately, taking Merlin into his arms. “Shhhh. It’s alright Merlin. I didn’t mean to distress you.” Arthur pulled back to cup Merlin’s face in his hands. “I’ve known what you are for some time now. I know, and it doesn’t matter to me. I know my father is wrong about magic. Some use it for evil, it’s true. But I know you. I know you’d never use your gift for evil, or harm Camelot in any way. Your secret is safe with me, you are safe with me.” Arthur pulled Merlin close once more.

Merlin’s eyes filled with tears. They were tears of relief and of pain, for keeping his secret had been a heavy burden and a lonely one. Especially keeping it from Arthur, the one person who he wanted to know him for who he truly was. And now Arthur did. Or had, apparently for awhile. Merlin felt relieved and happy but also sad in a way that he didn’t really understand. Maybe sad that he hadn’t trusted Arthur sooner, or that his burden was now also Arthur’s.

He lay still, cradled against Arthur’s broad chest, the rise and fall of Arthur’s steady breathing giving him comfort. After a few moments he asked, “Why didn’t you tell me that you knew?”

Arthur sighed. “I didn’t know how to tell you that I knew. And I didn’t want to make you careless. I was afraid that if you knew that I knew, it would make you less careful.” Arthur looked at Merlin with concern. “Please Merlin, you must promise me to be careful. Nobody else must know. If you were ever found out, my father would have you killed. I’d give my life to protect you, but I fear that it would only mean we’d both be dead.”

Merlin nodded. “I promise. I’m just sorry that now I’m just another thing you have to worry about. You have so much responsibility already.”

Arthur leaned forward and brushed Merlin’s lips with his own. “You are worth worrying about. I can’t really do without you, you know. Even if you are the world’s worst manservant,” Arthur said with a grin.

The End.
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September 2012

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