Title: I Gave You My Heart
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: It starts with a drop of blood on Gaius' floor
Warnings: The heart's a bit gross, but that's why I made it PG-13
Word Count: 764
Prompt: Bleeding Heart
Author's Notes: Yay for silly things!
It starts with a drop of blood on Gaius’ floor. Which is ordinary enough, if Gaius has a patient at the time. Merlin takes a cloth from the table, kneels down and wipes it up.
“Gaius?” he calls. There’s no answer.
Shrugging, Merlin washes out the cloth, puts it carefully back on the bench, for once managing not to knock off all Gaius’ remedies in the process. He walks across the workroom, stopping short just before his door.
A single drop of blood threatens to fall from his door handle.
“Gaius!” Merlin shouts, more urgent this time. Carefully, he takes his scarf from his neck and wraps it around his hand. It needed a wash anyway, and it’s all he has to hand. Merlin would rather confront a crazed murderer sooner rather than later, especially now, without witnesses, where he can use his magic almost freely. A servant’s word comes over a cold-blooded murderer’s, after all.
Bracing his magic, Merlin pulls open the door to find… nothing there.
Well, there is something. Sitting on his table, a small, fabric wrapped package. It’s obviously wet, and Merlin keeps his hand covered for fear of what he thinks is inside.
Slowly, he unties the knots holding it together, and lets the cloth fall open. Inside, a heart, carefully cut out, but still leaking blood. And the smell is just… atrocious. It’s clear that someone’s tried to mask it; rosemary protrudes from the arteries, like the heart’s been stuffed. The whole thing glistens, catching the light like a knife, unignorable, and Merlin-
No, Merlin doesn’t scream. Because he’s definitely a man. But he does make a sound of distress, running from the room.
Arthur’s jittery the next morning, leg bouncing as he sits at the table, crossing and uncrossing his legs, on at a right angle with the ankle over the knee of the other. He leans forward on his hands only to sit back in the chair. And his gaze keeps glancing up to Merlin.
“Oh!” Merlin says, having come to the only conclusion he can about Arthur’s behaviour, “I’m sorry I wasn’t around yesterday, someone had left this mess in my room and I thought it might be a death threat to you or something so Gaius and I had to research codes and symbols and then it stank so we had to find somewhere to put it and- Sire? Are you alright?”
Arthur’s gone very still, eyes wide, hands gripping the table so hard his knuckles are white.
“What sort of a mess?” he asks.
“Oh, just a heart,” Merlin tells him, shuddering.
Arthur’s head hits the back of the chair.
“No, Arthur, don’t do that! You’ll break the chair, and then I’ll have to fix it. It’s probably just your usual, some idiot who thinks he can kill you, nothing to worry about.”
Arthur does stop, but he doesn’t move from his slumped position. Just groans, then stays there, eyes shut. Merlin waits.
“It wasn’t a death threat.”
“Oh? How do you know?” Merlin’s too pleased to notice the despair in Arthur’s voice, turning away to tend to the fire.
“Because I sent it.”
Merlin spins, eyes wide, going immediately tense. Arthur ducks his head.
“A heart. I sent you a heart. I couldn’t send mine, because I need it… but I sent you a heart.”
Then, sure of rejection, Arthur pulls himself out of the chair and crosses to the window.
“That’ll be all, Merlin,” he says, and waits to hear the door close. He doesn’t, but he can’t turn and check, because that would mean facing things.
“You’re not very good at this whole wooing thing, are you?” Merlin asks, voice closer than Arthur expected.
“I know how to woo girls. Just thought you wouldn’t want that.”
“I think I’d have preferred flowers.”
Arthur’s answering sound is firmly noncommittal.
“Should I show you what I do want?” Merlin asks, and his voice is barely above a whisper, right next to Arthur’s ear.
Arthur finds himself nodding.
“You’ll have to turn round,” he says, and Arthur lets Merlin spin him by the shoulders.
Arthur looks down, taking in Merlin’s boots, which really could do with a polish, and the stitching is coming lose there… and there…
When Merlin kisses him, Arthur’s shocked. But it melts, quickly, into holding Merlin tight to him and pulling him back to lean on something, anything, for support, and tracing over those oh so kissable lips with his tongue, nibbling on them to reprimand them for tempting him every single day since Merlin arrived in Camelot.