Title: Sorcery and All
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Merlin receives a surprise on his way home to Ealdor.
Word Count: 891
Prompt: No. 293 - I'll Be Home for Christmas
Author's Notes: unbeta'd!
Merlin had expected the trek home to Ealdor to be lonely. He’d even brought with him a royal blue tunic of Arthur’s that wouldn’t be missed (Or at least he hoped). Just to have in his possession. If he caught Arthur’s musky scent as he reached into the bottom of his saddle bag, it was an added bonus.
Unfortunately, the smells of armour polish and myrrh made Merlin miss Arthur even more. He flopped back on his bedroll by the small fire and looked up at the gauzy veil of night studded with stars.
He was supposed to be happy that he could go home for the winter holiday, but it didn’t seem right.
So when he started singing a bawdy ballad with his eyes closed, he nearly jumped out his skin when he heard someone else complete the other line.
Merlin gasped and opened his eyes to find Arthur looking down at him, his arms crossed with an amused smirk.
Merlin scrambled up to his feet to stare at Arthur. “You’re real, right?”
Arthur laughed. “You dream about me often, Merlin?”
Merlin rolled his eyes. “In my most dreaded nightmares, you always seem to make an appearance.”
Arthur pursed his lips. He didn’t seem convinced.
“First of all,” Merlin said, “should you really be away?”
Arthur stretched his neck and legs. He groaned with satisfaction as his hip popped.
“Arthur. You’re king. You can’t just galavant across the land for the hell of it.”
Arthur threw arms high above his head, going on his tiptoes as stretched. “And you’re the court sorcerer.”
This was the stupidest thing Merlin had ever heard. “Yeah. Exactly. We really want both of the highest ranking officials of the Kingdom of bloody Camelot flirting in the middle of the woods.”
“If you’re flirting, you’re doing a terrible job.” Then Arthur sighed. “We've gone away for diplomatic relations before. Gwen and Leon handle the castle fine in our absence.”
“And this is for…diplomatic relations?” Merlin spread open his arms wide and looked around.
Arthur started to dig a small hole in the ground with his boot. “Relations.”
“What sorts?” Merlin looked down at the hole. It was quickly becoming a small pit. He started to fill it in, kicking the dirt. Arthur screwed his eyebrows together.
“Relations,” Arthur stressed, as if hoping Merlin would simply understand.
“With you…and Hunith.”
“So you…you mean…fam—”
“It is a diplomatic relation of sorts,” Arthur said quickly. He gave up on his small pit and plopped down on Merlin’s bedroll.
“So you’re saying…you want to meet Hunith as part of my family?”
“Yes?” Arthur said. His cheeks looked a little pink in the firelight.
“Yes or no.”
“Yes, of course yes!” Arthur clicked his tongue and turned his back to Merlin. “Don’t act so surprised.”
“I’m not surprised,” Merlin said slowly and sat next to Arthur, his hip pressed against Arthur back. He brushed the hair away from Arthur’s eyes. The tension in Arthur’s shoulders seemed to melt.
“Stop,” Arthur muttered. “You know I love it when you do that.”
“Fine,” Merlin said. He grinned. “I won’t ever do it again.”
Arthur’s eyes grew wide and then he craned his neck to glare at Merlin.
Merlin tried to keep a straight face as he watched Arthur’s resolve crumble.
“Fine…” Arthur said. “I suppose you may touch my hair.” He looked back into woods with defiant concentration.
“God,” Merlin said. “You’re actually quite cute sometimes. Like a jealous puppy.”
Arthur was used to this comment. So he simply curled his lip and grabbed Merlin’s hand and slapped it to his head.
A comfortable silence passed. The air was filled with the pleasant crackling of the fire and an owl hooting in the distance. “Thank you,” Merlin said eventually as he continued to run his fingers through Arthur’s hair.
Arthur hummed with satisfaction. “Yeah.”
“No. This means a lot. Coming with me. Now I can finally tell my mum that you know about my magic. I just recently became court sorcerer and all…she doesn’t know yet. And I want you to be there when I tell her everything.”
“I like your magic.” Arthur smiled. “Love it even. Because it’s a part of you and I…like you just as you are.” He turned to lay on his back and meet Merlin's gaze.
Merlin pursed his lips together to hold back the urge to beam. Then he waggled his eyebrows and teased, “Clumsiness and all?”
“Don’t be absurd, Merlin. That’s one of your best selling points.”
“I am supposed to be offended or pleased?”
Arthur shrugged. “Neither. It’s a fact of your nature.”
“I’m starting to incline more towards offended.”
Arthur rolled his eyes in the most exaggerated manner, lolling his head around and nudging his head against Merlin’s fingers. “Merlin, I fear if you can’t find the compliment in all my words of devotion, then you will never understand the depth of it.”
“You shouldn’t make it so hard. It should be plainly spoken, as the best compliments are.”
“There’s no fun in that.”
“Oh, there’s much enjoyment in it for me.”
Then Arthur tackled Merlin and kissed him soundly.
Later than night, they lay huddled together by the warmth of the fire. Arthur seemed absolutely smitten. “I knew this was a good idea. Happy holidays, my lovely sorcerer.”
“And to you, my lovely prat.”