Title: Not so silent
Word count: 1000
Prompt: Get out!
Summary: Arthur didn't realise he felt jealous...until he did.
Author’s notes: Well, it's been a while. I'm so out of practice. I've been desperately trying to start writing Merlin properly again but keep hitting blocks. I've got a story I want to develop, so figured using this as a way of exploring character development etc might work. It might make the world a little off, but it's part of Dust of Gold for anyone who is interested.
He entered the room, not paying attention to his surroundings. A low chuckle made him start and he looked around.
Lancelot was back.
He was already on his knees, although things hadn’t progressed beyond that. Freezing, he watched as Lancelot reached forward, quick fingers making short work of laces and Merlin shifted just so until his breeches moved enough to reveal him.
Arthur was moving before he thought about what he was doing.
Closing the distance between the door and the bed, his hand fell heavily onto Lancelot’s shoulder. It was a move he wouldn’t have dared only six weeks ago and if it had been anyone else, he still wouldn’t have dreamt of touching them without permission. The man looked up, startled.
“Get out,” Arthur said. His words were not the low command he hoped for, but a plea that he didn’t understand. Lancelot looked between him and Merlin and, when the latter nodded, scrambled to his feet, grabbing hold of his tunic. He glanced at Merlin.
“Call me if you want me.”
Merlin nodded and they both watched, silently, as Lancelot left.
Arthur turned back just as Merlin’s eyes flared gold and he flicked his hand, lacing himself up again.
“What do you think you’re doing?” his tone was mild. Arthur had learnt long ago that Merlin wouldn’t punish him for acting out of turn, but he wondered how close to that line he had just walked. He turned away but-,
“Arthur.” His name was a command. It was also a reminder that Merlin was the only one who used it. He turned back reluctantly.
“Why did you send him away?”
“I didn’t,” Arthur muttered. They both knew Lancelot wouldn’t have left if Merlin hadn’t gestured it was alright to do so.
“That’s not what I meant.”
“I don’t know!” Arthur scrubbed a hand through his hair. He did know. But he couldn’t admit it. Not to Merlin; certainly not to himself.
“Are you angry at me? Is that why you’d deny me the pleasure of being with someone I care for. Are you trying to be difficult? Are you jealous? Are – Arthur?”
He couldn’t help it. He had flinched, and Merlin had seen.
“Of course not.”
“You are.” Merlin stood up, standing in front of him. Arthur stepped back but the warlock didn’t crowd him.
“Don’t be absurd. I-,”
“You tried to kill me, yes, I know,” Merlin said, correctly guessing the end of his sentence. “But that was four months ago and you didn’t go through with it then. I highly doubt you’d go through with it now.”
The problem was that Merlin was right. After that first fateful night, Arthur hadn’t tried again. Merlin had a small cot brought in, allowing Arthur to spend his nights in these chambers without them having to share a bed. No one was any the wiser – certainly not Cendred.
He had spent a month hating himself for not avenging his father. Then a month hating Merlin – or hating the fact that he didn’t hate Merlin, that he couldn’t: everything the man did was to help people, to protect them, even Arthur himself.
But then… Then something had changed and Arthur didn’t know what it was.
The first time Merlin had brought someone into his bed, Arthur had put the pillow over his head and tried to ignore it.
The second time, he had bitten his lip, keeping quiet even as his body betrayed him.
The third, he had taken himself in hand.
His feelings – damn himself to hell – had started to change.
And seeing Lancelot there, knowing what was about to happen, he couldn’t deny he had been jealous. Merlin was the only one who still saw him as a person and even (despite it being treason to think so) as a prince.
No one else did. Not if they wanted to live to talk about it.
“I don’t know, alright?” Arthur snapped. “But if I’m supposed to be yours to use, then you can’t go around sleeping with anyone you feel like. People would notice and you’ll ruin this whole thing we’ve got going on here.”
He didn’t realise how stubborn he sounded. He didn’t notice a long-forgotten arrogance creeping into his voice or that he was making his message clear: he didn’t know if he wanted Merlin, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to let anyone else have him.
To his surprise, Merlin chuckled. “Cendred thinks you’re broken; obedient. There’s still a prince shining in you, Arthur. Don’t let that part of you ever disappear.”
“I-,” he flushed. He didn’t know what he wanted or what he was even trying to say.
Merlin reached out, a hand cupping his cheek. “It’s alright,” he said softly, “I’m yours as much as you’re mine.”
His thumb caressed his cheek lightly before Merlin turned away. He sat down at his desk, pulling his papers towards him. Arthur stared, more confused now than when he had walked through the door.
He froze for a minute before snapping himself out of it and starting on tidying the room, needing something to do. He had only put a few things away when he realised the scratching of Merlin’s quill had stopped. Arthur looked over his shoulder and saw the warlock was watching him.
“You can admit it, you know,” he said, a teasing note in his voice. “If you are jealous.”
“Don’t flatter yourself,” Arthur said, grinning even as he spoke, “what’s there to be jealous of?”
To his delight, Merlin pouted. “Apparently nothing if you’re going to get in the way of a man and his needs.”
“I’m a man too,” Arthur said, “and no one looks after my needs.”
His retort was childish, surly, a complete contradiction to the point he was trying to prove. But it worked – Merlin started laughing.
“You’re certainly not a boy anymore,” Merlin said.
Arthur told himself he was mistaken. But he couldn’t deny Merlin actually sounded appreciative of the fact.