Title: Honour Thy Commitment
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Gaius
Summary: Merlin doesn't understand why Arthur won't sleep with him.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: Hope you enjoy!
Merlin’s back hit the wall as he focused on the feeling of Arthur’s lips against his, the prince’s hands against his skin. He moaned, his own fingers threading through Arthur’s hair as he pulled him closer, looping a leg around Arthur’s.
Arthur moved, and it was enough for Merlin to feel the prince’s erection.
“Arthur,” he whispered, tilting his head so that he could kiss Arthur’s neck, knowing it drove the man crazy.
But the sound of his voice broke the spell. Arthur’s hands disappeared from under his shirt as he placed his palms flat on the wall. He trapped Merlin in a cage of his arms, but his head was hanging as he took a few deep breaths.
“You should go back to Gaius.”
“It’s alright,” Merlin whispered, reaching out for him again. “It’s alright.”
“No. Go home, Merlin.” Arthur lent forward and kissed him chastely on the cheek, taking away the sting of his words. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
Merlin knew there was nothing he could do as Arthur turned away. He had been trying for long enough, after all. Fumbling for the door, he sped back to Gaius’, grateful the physician was still on his rounds as he took the stairs to his room two at a time, slammed the door shut and dropped his breeches.
It was only when he had caught his breath and washed his hands did Merlin groan, flopping back on his bed and letting one arm cover his eyes.
For months, neither he nor Arthur could keep their hands off each other. But regardless of how much their bodies reacted or Merlin hinted, Arthur refused to take him to bed. Merlin wouldn’t have minded, apart from he knew that Arthur wanted it as much as he did. Something was holding the prince back and it was starting to drive Merlin mad.
Hearing the door to the main chamber open, Merlin made sure he was presentable before going down to greet his mentor. Gaius took one look at him and sighed.
Merlin flushed, knowing that Gaius was fully aware of what was going on. He turned away to hide his burning cheeks, but frustration got the better of him. Gaius was the only person who knew Arthur as well as Merlin did, and the only one Merlin could talk to about this. Before his shame got the better of him, he opened his mouth.
“Why won’t he sleep with me?”
“He wants me, Gaius, I know it! And he knows I want him. Why won’t he go through with it?”
“You realise how you are making yourself sound?” Gaius said sternly and Merlin’s flush deepened. He sounded like one of the workers at the pleasure house, desperate for sex. But then Gaius softened.
“It’s not to do with you, Merlin.”
“I don’t know what to say to him,” Merlin admitted. “He won’t tell me why; he just pushes me away whenever we get too close.”
“You are not his first, Merlin.”
Merlin had already guessed that; Arthur wasn’t his first either. But he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to hear about his lover’s past exploits.
“But he was only fifteen,” Gaius continued, oblivious to the raging emotions in his ward. “She seduced him, tempted him to bed. Arthur thought he was in love.”
“She vanished as soon as he slept with her,” Gaius said. “Uther was furious. She tarnished Arthur’s honour, spread rumours about his reputation. Rumours that a heart-broken fifteen-year-old has no idea how to counteract. Since then, Arthur hasn’t let himself be put in that situation again.”
“He thinks I’ll leave him?” Merlin muttered, stunned. “He thinks once we’ve slept together, I won’t want him anymore.”
Gaius nodded but Merlin barely noticed. He couldn’t work out if he was angry at the woman for using Arthur’s honour against him, or angry at the prince for not confiding his insecurities. Now that the magic conversation was out of the way, they were supposed to tell each other everything.
“Where are you going?”
Merlin hadn’t noticed that he had stood up. He shrugged and grinned.
“To tell Arthur he is being a prat.”
There were no words of warning this time, only an encouraging smile as Gaius gestured for him to go. Merlin grinned. No doubt the physician knew that Merlin was the only one to help heal Arthur’s vulnerabilities.
The castle was dark as Merlin moved back towards the prince’s chambers. He knocked lightly and pushed open the door. Arthur was ready for bed, but sitting in his chair by the fire with a goblet in his hand and a glum expression on his face. He instantly sat up, forcing his emotions away as Merlin slipped in.
“What are you-?”
Merlin moved across the room, putting a finger on Arthur’s lips to silence him. Then he knelt by his prince’s feet and leant up and kissed him deeply. But he left his hands resting on Arthur’s thighs and made no attempt to take things further even when he pulled away.
“You’re not getting rid of me, Arthur,” he said gently, “no matter what happens between us. If you want to wait, that’s fine. Just tell me. But if you don’t…know that I will always be here for you, no matter what.”
Merlin could see in Arthur’s eyes that he understood what Merlin was talking about. He sat back on his haunches and grinned, attempting to break the mood before Arthur closed down on him.
“But if you want to wait, please stop turning me on so much, it’s not fair,” he teased.
Arthur finally grinned and shook his head. He leant forward, cupping the back of Merlin’s neck and tilting his head up to kiss him.
“And you’re stubborn,” Merlin murmured before kissing him back.
Arthur might not sleep with him. But Merlin didn’t care. As long as the prince knew his servant would protect his heart and honour, no matter what.