Title: Keep Calm and Carry On
Character/s: Merlin; Arthur
Summary: Arthur took Merlin as his lover
Warnings: mild crude language, it's angsty
Word Count: 1075
Prompt: # 269 belonging
Author's Notes: Not beta'd; just something I have been playing with that has kept me from working on any of my other half a dozen pieces.
PS the title sucks but I couldn't think of anything else
In the years he had been working for Arthur, Merlin had grown from being the incompetent peasant boy appointed for his act of bravery to a well liked, efficient and organized Manservant in charge of caring for a Prince. He had survived the hazing and jealousy of the other servants by being kind, helpful and forthright. He had earned the friendship of the Knights by demonstrating his bravery and loyalty. He thought he had earned Arthur’s love and care by showing his care and devotion. So when Arthur took Merlin as a lover, Merlin was rather pleased with this. He was attentive and caring though not in a romantic way exactly. Arthur had made it clear though that Merlin belonged solely to him, that he was not allowed to be with anyone else as long as he was with Arthur. After all, Arthur was Crown Prince and princes don’t share.
Merlin’s problem was that he loved Arthur. He really did and he thought, at first, that Arthur at least cared for him deeply. But as time passed, he began to question that. After Arthur had become King, things changed. He caught Arthur with someone else, more than a few times. In one case it was a serving girl named Eira, “Because you don’t have tits Merlin and I like tits.” On another occasion a stable boy, “He had been helping me to get Hengroen and that new mare into pasture together. It was a bit inspiring.” He knows there have been others as there are rumors with enough truth to them, but what could he say. He’s just a servant and, no matter what he wishes, no matter how much devotion he shows, no matter how much he loves, he has come to realize that it is all he will ever be.
Arthur entered his quarters with a smile on his face. He slipped off his cloak and hung it over a chair. “Due to a very short council meeting, I have the rest of the day free.”
Merlin didn’t stop what he was doing nor did he look up. “Must be nice.”
Arthur took a grape from the bowl on the table, “What are you upset about?”
Merlin held his emotions in check. He didn’t look up at Arthur as he worked at folding and putting away his clean clothes. “I’m not upset. I’m just.. tired.”
Arthur came up behind him, “Perhaps you would like me to put a little pep in your step.”
Merlin had already worked out a list of excuses. “I have a lot of work to do.”
Arthur put his hands on Merlin’s waist. “I know we just had a lovely tryst in the copse near the postern not two days ago, but that was two days ago.”
Merlin didn’t stop folding the tunic in front of him,“Not me.”
“Then in that hidden alcove near the library,” Arthur moved close enough behind Merlin to breath hot on his neck and ear, to allow him to feel the bulge in his trousers.
Merlin didn’t move. He closed his eyes to the feeling of Arthur, the heat and hardness of him so close, intoxicating. He kept his voice neutral, betraying no emotion. “Again, not me.”
“Well I know it was you in solarium,” Arthur said defensively.
Merlin had felt flat and tired and disappointed for so long that he was able to hide the deep sting of Arthur remembering that he fucked someone but not who. “If you don’t mind sire, I have duties to organize.”
Arthur grabbed his arm and spun him around to face him. His anger was clear. “You have no right to judge me.”
Merlin kept his head down. His voice was quiet and calm when he spoke,“I’m not judging you Arthur.”
Arthur stared at him for a moment trying to assess the veracity of his statement. He gave an amused snort. “Then let us have a bit of fun.” He reached for Merlin’s waist to pull him closer.
Eyes closed he took a deep breath, “Please don’t.”
“I’m the King, Merlin. I can do as I want,” Arthur said teasingly as he ran his fingers up and down Merlin’s arm.
Merlin knew he was now playing a dangerous game. “Does what I want count for anything?”
Arthur smirked and moved to place his lips on Merlin’s neck, “Of course. Do you want me to bend you over the desk or the table?”
“Please just ..don’t,” Merlin whispered.
Arthur felt a reproach in those words he had never heard before. He pushed Merlin back a step and really looked him. As a shrewd negotiator he was good at reading people. What he saw wasn’t someone tired or distracted, but disappointed. Arthur glared as he spoke,“You said you knew what you were getting into when we started this.”
Merlin swallowed hard. He had thought he had known. As a prince Arthur hadn’t been so ...loose. “Yes.”
Arthur stepped away toward the window and then turned back toward Merlin. “And now you want out just like that? You want to deny your King?”
Merlin looked up at Arthur with all the tired disappointment he felt showing on his face but he said nothing. Arthur moved quickly toward him, “I want an answer Merlin.”
His hands were suddenly the most interesting thing in the world as he took a deep breath. It felt now or never as a cold chill went down his spine. He didn’t know where the snarky boy who talked back to Arthur was hiding but he could have used him right then. He did his best to look Arthur in the eye as he spoke, a bit of heartbreak slipping through, “I always knew I would have to share you Arthur but at the end of the day I always thought there would be a small part of you that would belong to me in the same way that I belong to you.”
Arthur stared at him for a long time. Whatever he was feeling or thinking wasn’t evident on his face. There was no snarky comment or rebuke. No threats of the stocks or mucking the stables.
After a long moment of silent staring, Merlin knew the truth of it. He didn’t need Arthur to say anything. He did his best to stuff his feelings in a little box and shoved them down as far as they would go. “I’ll just be going.”