Word Count: 1044, oops
Summary: Merlin just can’t go skinny-dipping with the others. Arthur gets impatient.
Notes: Sorry, once again not beta’d.
"No.“ Merlin shook his head and grabbed the waistband of his breeches.
“Oh, come on, Merlin, don’t be such a spoilsport.” Elyan teased as he waded into the stream.
“You said you would swim with us.” Leon pulled his shirt over his head.
Merlin was pretty sure he never said such a thing. “I didn’t.”
“You already took off that old rag you call neckerchief.” Gwaine turned in all his naked glory and grinned at Merlin. “Now off with the old shirt and the breeches and there we go.”
“I’ll just sit here at the river bank, alright?” Merlin took his boots off, so he could stick his feet into the water.
“Take the shirt off, too. It’s way too hot today.” Percy smiled encouragingly.
Merlin felt stupid, being surrounded by all these fit men that were about to go for a swim and therefore naked. He would have loved to just toss his clothes and join them in the water. It had indeed been a very hot and humid day and the water looked very refreshing. He just couldn’t. Well, he could at least take his shirt off, as Percy had suggested.
The fabric clung to his sweaty back, so he got tangled in his shirt for a moment.
“You’re such a girl!”
He only heard the impatient voice of Arthur really close and then felt him tugging his breeches down just as Merlin managed to get rid of his shirt.
For a short moment, he thought about covering up but it was too late. The way everyone was staring at him told him that they had seen, there was no going back.
Elyan threw Leon a look and Gwaine grinned widely at Percy, but they didn’t matter.
Merlin swallowed hard as he dropped the shirt to the ground and looked at Arthur.
“That’s…” Arthur looked up from Merlin’s groin and Merlin straightened a bit more. “That’s a druid tattoo!”
Looking Arthur straight in the eye, Merlin suddenly felt very calm. He had been hiding who he was for such a long time and even though he had pictured the moment he would tell Arthur a lot different, he knew he should have done it a while ago. “No, Arthur, it’s not a tattoo.”
“A birthmark!” Elyan whispered in awe.
“What does that mean?” Arthur frowned.
Pulling himself up to his full height, Merlin took a deep breath. “I am magic.” Even though Arthur had loosened the laws on magic, he knew that this moment could end everything.
Arthur shook his head. “Oh, I know that you are a sorcerer, how stupid do you think I am? But…what’s that thing? A connection to the druids? And why do you say it’s a birthmark?”
Merlin blinked open-mouthed at Arthur.
“This is a most unfortunate look on you, Merlin. Not that you look a lot better on any given day, but…would you care to elaborate on this?” Arthur gestured at Merlin’s hip.
“You…you know?” Merlin blinked.
Gwaine splashed him with water. “We all know. Now get your skinny arse into the water, it’s getting cold just standing here.”
“He’s right.” Arthur nodded. “We all know. The whole court probably knows. You’re not as subtle as you think you are, Merlin. And now tell me so we can get over it and go for that swim.”
“It’s…only the most powerful sorcerers are born with this. Other magic users sometimes get it as a tattoo.”
“So you’re saying that you are so powerful that you already had this when you were born?”
After a moment, Arthur laughed. “Well, then. Let’s get into the water.”
Later, they were all huddled up around the fire with their blankets around their shoulders.
“So…you could make my horse go faster?” Elyan asked.
“You couldn’t handle if your horse went faster, you’re the worst rider I’ve ever seen.” Gwaine elbowed him.
“I could, but only would in an emergency.” Merlin smiled. “It would take its toll on the horse and we wouldn’t want that.”
“But you could clean the armoury a lot faster, couldn’t you?” Leon looked impressed.
Merlin nodded and laughed. “And from now on, I will.”
The knights chuckled.
“You could…” Percival looked at his plate. “You could make rations larger, could you?”
Throwing a side-ways look at Arthur’s plate, Merlin flung one of the pieces of meat over onto Percy’s plate without even lifting a finger.
“Hey!” Arthur glared but shook his head when Percy held out his plate for him to take the meat back.
The others laughed.
When all the questions and suggestions subsided and the knights talked amongst themselves, Merlin felt Arthur looking at the side of his head.
“I know,” he whispered.
“Don’t. When I put two and two together, I was very angry for a while and then very disappointed that you didn’t trust me with this.”
“But then I started to realize that you had never done anything to harm the kingdom or any of us. You only used your powers to protect us.”
Merlin couldn’t look at Arthur. “I’m sorry.”
“Must have been hard to have nobody to confide in but Gaius.”
Merlin’s head swivelled around. “You know that Gaius knows?”
Rolling his eyes, Arthur bumped his shoulder against Merlin’s and then pointed at himself. “Not as dumb as you thought.”
“Stop doing this.”
“What? Magic? I can’t. It is what I am. You could as well tell me not to breathe.”
Arthur sighed. “Stop apologizing. Just…don’t hide anymore, alright?”
They were silent for a while.
“I was really afraid that you would see me one day…”
Arthur chuckled. “I saw you. I saw you lots of times.”
“Why...what did you think?”
“That those glowing eyes look pretty damn sexy.” Arthur didn’t look at him but Merlin could see the slight blush on his face.
“Are you saying…”
“Seems to be a big day for revelations.” Arthur shrugged.
Merlin stared at him and couldn’t keep a wide smile back.
“Alright,” Arthur cleared his throat. “One more thing to do.”
“I think I need to inspect that birthmark of yours a bit closer.” He grinned and then winked at Merlin.
Merlin happily jumped up when Arthur announced he would retreat to his tent now and followed him quickly.