Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Every day followed the same pattern.
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: A Day in the Life
Author's Notes: Quite last minute, sorry!
Arthur woke with the sun. It had been drilled into him by the knights, even when they were forced to drag him from the bed when he was a teenager. He glanced around and knew that Merlin had only just left to get breakfast. While he waited for his servant, he contemplated the day ahead and what he needed to achieve.
Breakfast was much nicer these days. He had long since given up pretending that Merlin was just his servant during the day and lover at night. All it took was for Merlin to do something and Arthur would grin like a fool until he caught himself.
After he had eaten, it was the usual battle to get him into his armour. He knew Merlin was proficient by now and was just taking the chance to trail his fingers across Arthur’s skin while he could. But eventually – with a few kisses thrown in – Arthur would lead the way to the training grounds.
It used to be a distraction having Merlin there. Now, Arthur just wanted to prove himself to his servant – he would be the king Merlin saw in him. He trained his men hard, only letting them leave the training field when their limbs were trembling and sweat coated every inch of their body. Training lasted longer now than when he had accepted these new recruits and Arthur was pleased with their growing stamina.
With training done, he would retire to his chambers. Merlin should have left the training grounds while Arthur was still dismissing the men so by the time the prince reached his chambers, a steaming bath would be waiting for him.
Since Merlin had become his lover, his bath had become steamy in more than one way. It certainly took longer, with both him and his servant relaxing back in a daze, Merlin’s limbs still entangled with his own.
Arthur allowed himself to let his guard down in these moments; he admitted any fears or concerns he had for his kingdom. It still, even now, surprised him when Merlin found solutions to problems that Arthur had been agonising over for days. He supposed it was because Merlin didn’t have the pressure on him to make the right decision or face the consequences.
He would make a start on his paperwork while Merlin fetched lunch. He hated this part of his day but had learnt that keeping on top of it meant that he didn’t spend entire days stuck at his desk. It also stopped merchants complaining that Arthur hadn’t given them permission to import goods from other kingdoms. It was easier to spend an hour on it, then reward himself with lunch. He was usually starving by this point anyway.
Lunch was rushed – Arthur didn’t have the time to savour his food. He was due in the throne room in the afternoon. On some days, it was to listen to the grievances of the people. On others, it was to look over treaty and trade. And on some days, it was to ensure his father’s nobles that the king was still alive and well (no one saw through his lie but Merlin) and they had nothing to fear.
Arthur had hated the court sessions when he was young; it had been boring for a young prince to listen to his father deal with the commoners’ problems. But now he loved it. He listened to their very real problems – cold, hunger, sickness – and did what he could.
Sometimes he could spare rations from the kitchen, other times he sent Gaius down and made sure he covered any cost.
He had the power to help these people and Arthur intended to make sure he did the best he could.
If the session was over quickly, he could sometimes fit in a ride in the forest. He claimed that he was going on a patrol, or even going hunting, but most of the time, Arthur just enjoyed feeling the wind in his hair and breathing the fresh air. He could be a young man in the forest, not a prince trying to act as a king.
He made sure he returned before the sun set though. He wouldn’t invite danger now the kingdom was at peace.
Dinner was a more relaxed affair. Sometimes he dined with his knights, sometimes with Merlin, sometimes on his own. But he never attended a formal dinner with his father any longer. Part of Arthur missed it, but he didn’t miss the constant criticism his father pointed his way.
Arthur’s favourite part of his day was when dinner had been cleared away and only the firelight illuminated his room. He would undress slowly, his gaze never leaving Merlin as his lover did the same. They would fall into bed, hands and lips exploring each other as if they had never met before. Arthur still got the same thrill out of knowing that Merlin was truly his just as much as he was Merlin’s as he did when they had first made love.
It depended on the day as to what they did. Arthur liked watching Merlin – he enjoyed watching the man’s concerned expression disappear as he lost himself in the pleasure of their coupling. It made him look younger, more at ease, and Arthur felt smug that he was the one who could make Merlin let his guard down.
Eventually, they would fall asleep wrapped up in each other with the moonlight shining through. Merlin always fell straight asleep, but Arthur liked to take a while to study his sleeping features and admit to himself that he wouldn’t get through his days if he didn’t have Merlin motivating him – either literally or just through Arthur’s desire to make him proud. It was more of an incentive than his father had ever given him.
Arthur too would succumb to sleep, worn out from his day and too tired to dream.
When the sun rose the following day, Arthur was ready to do it all again.