Character/s: Arthur, Merlin,
Summary: Merlin needed a hint that his destiny was worth it.
Word Count: 999
Author's Notes: I'm sick, so I don't know what this is.
Merlin held his breath as the lock turned and the gate opened with a rusty squeak. He even went as far as closing his eyes, convinced the noise would be enough to wake half the castle. Naturally, the half with Arthur in it and Merlin’s problems would have only just begun.
He knew he shouldn’t be doing this. Sneaking into the vaults was stupid. Using magic to gain entrance was suicidal. And seeking out the crystal in order to see what his future held was just plain idiotic. Gaius would turn him out on his ear if he had the slightest inclination of what his ward was up to.
But despite knowing all of this, Merlin was still going through with it. He had to, had to do something to remind himself this was all worth it. The dragon wasn’t around to tell him about his destiny now and if Arthur insulted him one more time, Merlin wasn’t sure he could be held accountable for his actions. The prince was trying at the best of times, but he was taking out Morgana’s loss on Merlin and his servant had had enough. After Freya, after his father and even after Morgana (she had still been his friend), Merlin couldn’t take another barbed comment.
Fate was on his side for once and not even a whisper of a guard’s presence emerged. Merlin slowly opened his eyes again and remembered to breathe, slipping through the gate and shutting it behind him. He had been down here enough times with Arthur that he knew where the crystal was being housed. Security was tighter now, but none of the locks or trip wires proved problematic to a warlock with Merlin’s power. It was ironic: magic users were the only ones with interest in what rested in these vaults and none of Arthur’s security measures would stop those with power.
Camelot’s defences were not the reason for Merlin’s midnight wanderings though. Once again checking the coast was clear, he lifted the cloth over the crystal. His breath caught and his hand gave an involuntarily tremble. Merlin could feel the power radiating from the crystal and knew he couldn’t turn back now even if he wanted to. He was drawn to it and before he was aware of his actions, Merlin had picked it up.
He backed into a corner, crouching down before staring into the depths of the crystal. Then he stared into its depths, losing himself in the magic and the images starting to play out in front of him.
He saw Arthur. The prince was smiling, a secret smile full of love and warmth. He looked happy and content.
Then Merlin saw himself. He was laughing, carefree and at ease, his hand resting on a table he knew to be Arthur’s. Another hand covered his own, the ring on the thumb revealing who it belonged to.
The image changed. Merlin saw his own head tipped back against a wall, his eyes shut and his mouth partly open in what was undeniably pleasure. The top of a blond head was just visible, pressed against his neck.
Arthur in the bath, Merlin’s hands massaging him in a way he certainly didn’t do now.
The images became clearer. Merlin pressed against the wall, his hands in Arthur’s hair as they fought for dominance in a heated kiss.
Naked limbs, writhing together. There was no denying the bed was Arthur’s and Merlin knew himself well enough to know who was lying with the prince. Their bodies moved together, Merlin’s nails dragging up Arthur’s back even as his legs splayed, granting the prince access…
Merlin dropped the crystal.
Heat flooded his cheeks and he was convinced the guards wouldn’t need a torch to see him; his own blush would see to that. His body reacted to the images still playing across his mind’s eye and Merlin gulped.
Shakily replacing the crystal, Merlin fled.
He didn’t stop until he was in the courtyard, drinking down the cool air and trying to regain control of himself. Gaius said the crystal only showed one possible outcome; that the future wasn’t set in stone. But Merlin knew there was no point in denying it.
His feelings for Arthur had changed months ago. It was the reason why Arthur’s comments stung so much, cutting him deeper than the prince knew. He thought his feelings had been unrequited and had been content to deal with it. These images though… what he had seen… The crystal strongly implied that Arthur was feeling the same way.
Merlin suddenly let out a laugh. He understood. He knew why Arthur had been acting like such a prat. The prince too had realised his feelings had changed and had no idea how to deal with his new emotions. Now Merlin was looking back on the last few weeks with that knowledge, everything made perfect sense.
The clank of armour made Merlin aware that he was standing in the middle of the courtyard in the dead of night without a convincing explanation. He was tempted to blame it on Arthur – it was his fault, after all – but realised that could lead to awkward questions. Merlin entered the castle at a sprint, darting back to Gaius’ chambers as fast as he could.
He knew he should sleep and that he had to be alert for work the next day. But as he collapsed into bed, Merlin found the images were playing across his mind again. This time, he shucked off his clothes and let his body react how it will as he pictured how Arthur had looked at him.
Until Arthur was ready to face what he was feeling, Merlin wouldn’t push him. But knowing that he wasn’t alone in this made it easier to handle. And when things got too rough, all he needed to do was imagine that smile and how it would feel when Arthur directed it at him for real.
For now, that was enough for Merlin.