Title:Every Bit As Much Yours
Summary: Arthur is pining, and writes a letter to help him cope with his feelings. Will he finally find his courage?
Arthur paced the length of his chambers, and sat down before the fire, head in his hands, but was up again within moments. He wandered over to the window and gazed out at the courtyard below. Sighing, he turned back to his desk and tried to throw himself into his work.
After several minutes of staring at the large map unscrolled on his desk, Arthur gave up his attempts to make updates, rolled up the map, removed a piece of parchment from his desk, and took his quill in hand.
Worst manservant ever
When you were putting on my boots this morning, I wanted so badly to take you by the elbows and pull you up into my arms. I long to see you look at me in wonder. To see that dopey grin light up your face until your eyes are smiling too. My heart is filled with longing. Last night when you left me, I lay in bed wishing I’d had the nerve to take your hand, to ask you if you wanted to stay. I told my pillow all the things I want to say to you—things that I want to whisper into those ridiculous ears—that there is no one else more dear to me, that my heart is yours, that it’s hard to take my eyes off of you. When you put your hand on my shoulder to bid me good night, a jolt of energy rushed through me. I only wish I had had the courage to put my hand over yours, turn to you, and let you see what was surely written on my face. I long for you, and hate my cowardice, but I seem to prefer to live with the dream than to take a chance and discover that there is nothing here for me to dream about.
You’ll never see this letter, but it helps me to write it and hold it near my heart. I love you. I love you. I love you. I am, and will always be, yours. How I wish you were mine...my Merlin. I am, as always, your Arthur.
Arthur put down his quill. When the ink was dry he held the paper to his chest, lost in thought. He was so startled when Merlin entered the room that he jerked in his seat. He stuffed the letter into his drawer, and barked out orders so that Merlin would have no opportunity to question what he’d been doing. When Merlin had finished the small tasks Arthur had set him to, he came to help Arthur ready for bed.
“Arthur…Arthur, are you quite alright?” asked Merlin.
“Yes, certainly I’m alright.”
“It’s just…I had to call your name several times.” Merlin placed his hand on Arthur’s forearm. Was that the hint of a caress? “Are you worried about something?”
“I am feeling something that I’m not accustomed to feeling,” said Arthur. “I think it’s called terror.” He looked up into Merlin’s concerned eyes, cracked a nervous quirk of a tiny smile, and placed his hand over Merlin’s. And yes, this was a caress.
Merlin had not moved away, though Arthur wasn’t sure he’d understood yet. So he reached up, and ran his fingertips gently along the side of Merlin’s neck, never looking away. Merlin stood very still, but didn’t break eye contact. A small smile played across his face, and then he leaned, ever so slightly, into Arthur’s touch.
Arthur’s eyes opened wide in wonder as hope fluttered free in his chest.
Merlin nuzzled gently against the palm of his hand, “Does this help with the terror?” he asked.
Arthur nodded and rose up to pull Merlin into his arms. Merlin snaked his arms around Arthur, and they stood, breathing each other in for many moments. “Arthur, you don’t have to—but do you want to show me what you were writing when I came in?”
Searching Merlin’s eyes, Arthur nodded. “I never intended to—but yes—I want you to know. In for a penny in for a pound, I guess.” He went to his desk, pulled out the parchment, handed it to Merlin, and then went back to stare out the window—though it was full dark, and there was nothing to be seen.
As Merlin read the letter that he’d never been meant to see, tears ran down his face. He carefully placed the parchment on the desk, and came up behind Arthur. He wrapped his arms around Arthur’s waist, kissed the side of his neck, and laid his head on his king’s shoulder. “You must know that I’m every bit as much yours, don’t you?”
“I had only hoped.”
“Well, now you know. And now I know too.” Merlin broke into a wicked grin. He pulled away a bit, reached for Arthur’s hand, and pulled him to the bed. “Now that we both know, let’s get started on some ways of making sure neither one of us ever forgets.”