Title: Yes, You Are
Pairing/s: Merlin/Arthur (implied)
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Merlin overhears Arthur say he has no honor.
Word Count: 600
From Wikipedia: In the early medieval period, a lord's or lady's honour was the group of manors or lands he or she held. "The word was first used indicating an estate which gave its holder dignity and status." For a person to say "on my honour" was not just an affirmation of his or her integrity and rank, but the veracity behind that phrase meant he or she was willing to offer up estates as pledge and guarantee.
“Yes, Sire,” answered Merlin, as flatly as humanly possible.
Arthur grimaced. Three days of nothing but one word answers. He really had never quite realized how much he depended on Merlin’s silly chatter—as well as his wise insights. “So, Merlin, any word from Ealdor lately,” Arthur asked.
“It looks like it’s going to be a rainy summer.”
Arthur started to pace around the room as Merlin continued to put away the clean wash. He grew more agitated by the minute. “This is intolerable. You are obviously very upset about something,” said Arthur, plopping into a chair at the table. “Sit down and tell me what is going on.”
Merlin approached the table, refusing to meet Arthur’s eyes.
“Sit DOWN, Merlin!”
“Yes, sire.” Merlin sat.
“Will you kindly look at me?” asked Arthur.
Merlin lifted his eyes to meet Arthur’s, and Arthur was completely shaken at the hurt he saw there. “Merlin. What have I done?” he asked, reaching towards Merlin’s hand which was resting on the table.
Merlin put his hands into his lap, but held Arthur’s gaze. “I now understand how little you truly value me. I had no idea. But now I know.”
“What? I have no idea why would you say that? What has changed between us?”
“Arthur, I heard you. I heard you with the knights. I heard you. I don’t know what you were talking about, but I heard all I needed to. I heard you say I have no honor. So now I know that no matter how it seemed, no matter what I felt or thought you felt, I have never been more than a servant to you. And that is all I will ever be to you.”
Arthur looked horrified. He shook his head back and forth in denial. “Merlin, please let me explain. Please. I promise, this is a misunderstanding.”
Merlin looked at Arthur doubtfully, but Arthur continued, “Of course you have honor. You are one of the best people I have ever known. You have more integrity than the whole court put together. You are as brave as the best of my knights. And sometimes you are more decent, kind, caring, and loyal than I have even dared to hope I could be. Merlin, you inspire me to be the most honorable man I can be.”
Merlin shook his head dubiously, “Then why did you say…”
“Merlin, honor means something else entirely in the nobility. It also means the estates that are held by a noble. I simply meant that you have no lands. That your family is not of the landed nobility.”
“Why were you talking about me and my family and our ‘’honor” then?
Arthur flushed. “You know how I have fought to open the knighthood to those who are not of the nobility. One day, I want you to take the place you deserve by my side as my most trusted advisor. I value you for so much more than polishing my armor and fetching my breakfast, and I want you to be acknowledged for the importance you hold. It would help the court to more easily accept your appointment to my council, your seat at the round table, if you had an estate. And that is something I could do. Something I want to do. Merlin, you must know how much I value you and need you by my side.”
Merlin gaped at Arthur for a moment. Then he rested his arms on the table and hid his head in his arms. “I am such an idiot.”
“Yes. Yes, you are.”