Title: A Kiss is just a Kiss: Part 5 of A Recipe for Disaster
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur woke to someone kissing him.
Word Count: 1090
Prompt: #229: Learning
Author's Notes: From Season 2, 'Sweet Dreams' but diverting into AU territory
Disclaimer: I do not own the BBC version of Merlin; It and Shine do. I am very respectfully borrowing them with no intent to profit. No money has changed hands. No copyright infringement is intended.
When Arthur woke, he found there were fervent lips against his, searing, demanding, desperate. Warm and wet and just a hint of tongue, too. For a moment, he let it happen, dove into it and gave back as good as he was getting.
But when he reached up, wanting to cup the face of whoever was kissing him with such yearning and draw them closer, he found not soft skin and curls but a hint of beard. And large ears.
Arthur jerked back, out of reach. Merlin was standing there, eyes closed, his mouth red from the kisses he'd given Arthur. Merlin, his servant, Merlin, his friend, and the man he'd dreamt of at night. Merlin, the completely inappropriate wished-for lover.
For a moment, Arthur didn't know what to say. Even when Merlin opened his eyes and began to babble regret into the chasm between them, Arthur couldn't focus on words. He was still remembering the kiss, still longing to cross the distance and feel that warm mouth against his again.
Finally, his mind caught up with the reality of the situation. "What the hell was that?"
"Ummm…." Looking sheepish, Merlin stepped back. "You were enchanted?"
"Into kissing you?" Arthur wanted to turn whatever this was into a joke, try and put it behind them. Their relationship would never be the same if he admitted the truth. "Merlin, even a sorcerer wouldn't be that ridiculous."
"It's not… don't you remember wanting to marry Lady Vivian?" Merlin was wringing his hands, a sure sign of upset. But Arthur wasn't certain if it was the insult or the fact they'd just been kissing, hot and heavy, a few moments ago.
Merlin wasn't making sense, though. Arthur thought Vivian a foolish, vain woman, and he'd never look her way, not for all the gold in Camelot. But then, horror of horrors, he remembered.
He had been enchanted, ever since he'd found blonde hair under his pillow a few nights before. He'd been in a fog, seeing only Vivian, wanting only Vivian. And then they'd been caught kissing and wasn't that something that he'd want to forget and then the challenge and now his chest felt like it had been crushed.
Stepping closer, hands pressing against Arthur's armour, Merlin said, "You've been fighting King Olaf for Vivian's hand. He's hit you several times with mace and quarterstaff. If you aren't careful, he could kill you." He looked as if he were about to cry. "Please, Arthur, tell me it worked, tell me you're cured."
Arthur shook his head. He hated when Merlin was like this. "I'm fine. No marrying Vivian or anyone else, for that matter." When Merlin gave a long relieved sigh, Arthur said, "What did you use to stop the enchantment?"
Merlin just stood there a moment, mouth agape. Then he looked down and mumbled something.
Arthur wasn't having it. "What?"
Clearing his throat, still staring down, Merlin said, "True love's kiss."
It would have been hilarious if it had been anyone else but Merlin seemed serious. "True love's kiss? What?"
"Gaius found a cure but it involved kissing. True love's kiss and we weren't sure if you loved anyone, well not since Gwen, but we had to try because otherwise Olaf was going to kill you so we arranged to have some… people kiss you." Merlin looked up then, giving Arthur a tentative smile. "You seemed to enjoy it."
"You had people kissing me?! The Crown Prince." Arthur was horrified. If it got back to his father, it could be disastrous.
"Not to worry. We told them that you were trying to raise money for charity and that anyone who wanted a chance to kiss the prince had to pay a silver penny. It worked pretty well, too. They were lined up all the way back to the gate. We raised over a hundred sovereigns." Merlin's grin was idiotic but then when was it not.
"What?!" This was getting worse and worse. "How many people know about this? Does my father?"
Merlin nodded. "He seemed upset but Gaius explained the real reason and the king said fine." Flushing a little, Merlin said, "He didn't say fine in a fine way but kind of annoyed. But then when he saw the money, he was quite happy about it. He thought maybe you could do that again next year?"
Arthur would never live it down. What a disaster.
"Is everyone in the kingdom insane? Did you think that maybe I didn't want to kiss anyone?" Arthur supposed yelling wasn't going to help, but Merlin deserved it. He should have thought of something less ridiculous.
"Arthur, you were going to die. I would have done anything to stop it." Biting at his lip, eyes narrowed, Merlin was staring daggers at Arthur. "Besides, I thought you'd enjoy the kissing."
"I don't remember any of it, well except for you kissing me." Arthur scowled at him, pointing his finger in Merlin's direction. "Did you pay like everyone else?"
Merlin flushed scarlet. "You utter clotpoll." Then he stomped over, shoving Arthur's hand out of the way. "Take it out of my wages." And then Merlin leaned in, gathered Arthur's face into his palms, and kissed him.
An amazing kiss, quite better than the first one. Full of passion and lust and heat. There was wet and more tongue and Merlin was grinding against him and it was glorious.
Well, it would have been except for the horrible agony in his chest. He felt as if he'd been hit with a mace, and as Merlin pressed harder, he couldn't help a little grunt of pain.
Groaning didn't stop Merlin, though, and the kiss was everything Arthur could have wanted, he would have preferred it in a bed and both of them naked and unhurt.
But he had to push Merlin away. "Stop, stop. My chest." As Merlin let go, Arthur curled into himself, trying to breathe through the torment.
Merlin's hands were on him again, more physician's hands than lover's this time. "Arthur, I'm sorry. I'll get Gaius. That mace strike must have done more damage than we thought." And he raced out of the tent, leaving Arthur alone.
Eventually the pain subsided, and while he sat there waiting for Gaius's return, Arthur thought about what had just happened, the kisses, the lines of people paying, and Merlin's embrace.
Merlin had said that true love's kiss would cure him and he was cured and Merlin had been the last person to kiss him. And logic would dictate…