Title: Written in the Moon, part 2 (part 1 was originally untitled)
Rating: R, just to be safe
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Valiant, Uther
Summary: In which Arthur's wedding day is perfectly imperfect
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: Perfectly Imperfect
Author's Notes: This is part 2 of this story. Part 1 can be found here or here (on ao3). It is a story for Kitty, who is lovely and encouraging.
Arthur jolted to attention when he heard Merlin yelling. He had been deep in the midst of brooding about the inequality of the universe. Sure, he was the crowned prince and had been born with a god-damned silver spoon in his mouth, as Merlin loved to remind him. But when it came to matters of love, he felt impoverished. His mother dead giving birth to him, his father resentful and distant. Never allowed to grow close to anyone, ever, because, “Princes can't have friends, Arthur. People will pretend to like you, only to use you for your power and influence.”
And when he'd finally found someone who had loved him as he was, warts and all—“And there are a hell of a lot of warts there, Arthur!” Merlin always teased—the soul marks had refused to come. Arthur had been sure that he had found his soulmate, but no. Uther had been so smug, claiming that even destiny knew that Arthur must marry for the good of the kingdom.
Arthur's bride-to-be, the Princess Elena, was all awkward manners and clumsy limbs, but she was also sweet and friendly and a dream on a horse. They could have been great friends. But since their forced marriage was imminent, he found himself angry and resentful towards her. Arthur stewed, a maelstrom of negative emotions. He kept his smile firmly in place, though. Everybody was watching him.
They were also watching the scene Merlin was currently making, hollering about needing to talk. Didn't the idiot realise that there was nothing to be done? What was he doing here, anyway? Hadn’t he told Arthur that he couldn't come and watch him marry someone else? Hadn’t he made up some fucking story about his mum being sick in hospital, just so he could abandon Arthur on the worst day of his life?
Merlin didn't stop making a racket even when Valiant intercepted him on his way to Arthur. Valiant had served as a security guard for years now, but when Arthur saw his meaty hands all over Merlin, he wanted to strangle the man.
“Let him go!” Arthur commanded, in what Merlin called his most prat-like voice. Valiant didn't look pleased, but he wouldn't ignore a direct order in front of all these people. He released Merlin, who darted straight to Arthur.
“Arthur!” he panted. “I have to talk to you!”
“In case you haven't noticed, Merlin, I'm a bit busy right now.” For some reason, Merlin's unexpected presence was seriously unnerving him. “It's going to have to wait.”
Arthur turned away, knowing he was in danger of revealing more than would be prudent. Merlin grabbed his arm. The touch sizzled like an electric jolt.
“This can't wait.” Merlin dragged him forcefully down a hallway and into a storage room. Arthur could hear the wedding march playing still. Several members of the wedding party had to enter before Arthur, but there was no way he could possibly make it back in time for his entrance.
Heaven help him, but he really would do anything Merlin asked.
Before Arthur could demand an explanation, Merlin dropped his trousers. “Look, Arthur! Look!” Then he leaned over a small table and spread his cheeks to give Arthur a perfect view.
It was one of Arthur's fantasies come to life, but he had no idea why it was happening now. “If you think this is going to change my father's mind—”
“Just look, you dollophead! Tell me what you see!”
He peered where Merlin was attempting to point and—god have mercy—there it was. A tiny but legible “Arthur Pendragon” in the unmistakeable script of the soul marks.
“Oh my god.”
If it wasn't the most eloquent moment of his life, who could blame him?
Merlin tried to get up, but Arthur held him in place. “Just—stay put.” He couldn't stop looking at his name, there, written on Merlin's bum, marking him as his own.
“How did you find…? Wait—is that oil?”
Merlin tried to stand again, but Arthur still held him down, not yet ready to face him. Arthur could see the tips of Merlin's ears turning red.
Arthur's voice broke. “You were going to—? With someone else?” He knew it was unreasonable, but the knowledge that Merlin could move on struck like a knife through a major artery. Only it was emotion spurting out at a dangerous rate.
He leaned his body forwards, till he lay over Merlin like a blanket, and whispered in his ear, “May I? Please say yes.”
When Merlin replied, his voice was hoarse. “Yes, of course. Anything.”
Arthur pulled back slightly, then reached to touch the name etched on Merlin's skin. Once he started touching, he couldn't get himself to stop, hand sliding over the previously-oiled skin.
“Who was it?” He was horrified at how hurt his voice sounded.
“Does it matter?”
Yes, it very much did matter. Arthur needed to know so he could find whoever it was and banish them from the country.
Merlin pushed up and spun around in a huff, trousers bunched at his ankles. “You should be thanking him, you clotpole! If you're going to be an arse about it, I might just go back and let him finish the job!”
“It was Gwaine, wasn't it? He always did have his eye on you.”
“Fine. Be like that. I should have known you'd be a jealous, egotistical—”
Arthur pulled him close and kissed him fiercely. That shut him up nicely.
There was a banging on the door, and a voice yelled, “Arthur! You in there? It's time!”
Arthur ignored it and tightened his hold on Merlin, pressing deeper into his mouth. As far as kisses went, it was the most perfectly imperfect one that he could imagine.
The door burst open and King Uther strode in, face puce with rage. He took one look at Merlin, half-naked, snogging the groom-to-be, and roared, “Guards! Arrest this man!”