Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Gwaine, Leon, Elyan
Summary: Beltane caught up with them in a little village near the western border.
Warnings: None. Mentions of sex? Also jealous!Arthur.
Word Count: 588
Prompt: #12 Tease
Author's Notes: Unbeta'd, so I apologize for any mistakes.
Beltane caught up with them in a little village near the western border. There had been rumours that Arthur decided to investigate personally that took a little longer to sort out. They had no chance to make it back to Camelot in time for the celebrations.
If he were to be honest, Merlin rather liked the village. It reminded him of Ealdor and the summers he had spent there. Beltane was always the highlight of the year, with the fires, the music, the dancing – and the certain undercurrent of excitement, so to speak. The feast at Camelot was glorious, but all the feasts were glorious in a fundamentally uninteresting way. Especially since he spent the majority of them standing behind Arthur’s seat.
Here, he could feel the drumming of life in the ground underneath. It made him reckless and giddy.
‘Ah. Beltane, a celebration of fertility and the joy of life,’ said Gwaine sagely. There were dancing girls that his eyes kept drifting to.
‘Peasants’ custom,’ Leon said.
‘Well, here’s a custom I wouldn’t mind introducing to the court,’ said Elyan. One of the girls was shedding more and more of her clothes the closer she got to the burning fire.
‘Try not to make a spectacle of yourselves,’ said Arthur. He didn’t look particularly happy.
It was then that one of the girls approached them. She was pretty and had long copper-coloured hair that she wore in a braid.
‘You’re not going to join in, sirs?’ she asked coyly.
‘We’re sworn knights. It wouldn’t be seemly,’ said Arthur.
‘They are. I’m not,’ said Merlin. He had been standing at the edge of their little group, quiet and lost in thought.
The girl smiled at him. He took her hand and let himself get pulled into the dance.
It had been a while; it had been too long. But the music was light and lovely and the rhythm of it was as familiar as his own heartbeat. His feet moved on their own accord and soon enough his whole body was moving, too.
The girl drew him close and threw her arms around his neck. She smelled of the forest. He was high on that smell, spinning her around in circles. She laughed and laughed, pressing her face to his chest and letting herself get carried away.
The music stopped and picked up again, and then there was another dance, and another. The night had fallen, the sky was littered with stars, and the fire kept burning.
Merlin lost track of time. Lost track of everything except the dance itself – the endless, spinning circle of people, in tune with the forest and the stars. He danced until he could dance no more and then collapsed, boneless, at a small bench further away from the fire.
‘You seem to be having fun,’ said Arthur.
He had been here the whole time. He wasn’t looking at Merlin, his eyes glued to the dancing villagers.
‘I am,’ said Merlin and added, teasingly, ‘Are you jealous?’
‘Of what?’ Arthur snorted. He tried to appear aloof but the pout and the frown on his face betrayed him. Merlin very nearly whooped for joy.
‘You are! I knew it.’
‘Don’t see anything I could be jealous of,’ said Arthur coldly. He finally, finally looked at Merlin. His expression melted away into something unguarded and impossibly sweet. ‘Okay, fine. I was. A little.’
Later on, in a quiet private spot under the starry sky, Arthur and Merlin did some celebrating of their own.