Title: Big Step
Word count: 769
Prompt: Merriam-Webster Word of the Day 'promulgate' (to make known by open declaration)
Summary: Merlin and Arthur want to take the next step in their royal relationship
Author’s notes: Not beta’d. Sequel to Diplomatic Relations
„There is no need to promulgate this.“ Arthur paced the room.
„Big word...“ Merlin muttered under his breath but knew it was better to shut up when he saw the look his mother was sending him.
„Arthur.“ King Uther turned around. „You know that this...liason...is difficult at best. You will be the king of Albion one day and Merlin king of Ealdor.“
Hunith got up. „Let them decide how to handle that part when it's their time. At the moment we should decide on a course of action. So, boys, what are we going to do about the rumours?“
Arthur threw her a look and smiled and Merlin couldn't help but love his mother. He and Arthur had been dating for two years and things were serious. All the travelling and long-distance-relationship and just living for the weekends got to them, so they had decided that it was time to live together and see if their relationship would survive the real world.
He almost chuckled. They did not live in the real world. The real world was getting up to go to a job in the morning and come back late only to deal with invoices in the mail and loud neighbours. Merlin knew they would never have that. Both of them were born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths and only had to worry what their people thought of them.
Arthur looked outside the window. „Many people have house-mates...“
Merlin knew that Arthur hated that they might have to twist the truth for a while. But this was about them and not about the public. There was a little mansion – at least it was little compared to this palace – not too far away and Arthur could get away with moving there. Could they get away with him moving in with Arthur?
„People are suspecting.“ Uther took a deep breath that he let out as an almost-sigh.
„They know we are friends.“ Merlin knew that Arthur was brought up even more to not show his feelings outside the palace, but they had been seen together so often, shopping, dining, laughing together, going to concerts, being at the movies, what was the big deal?
His mother came over and squeezed his shoulder. „Let our PR assistants work something out.“
Arthur turned and when he saw Merlin smiling at him, his face turned into a soft smile. „We will not have a house-warming party or anything. Just...“ He looked at his father. „Can we redo some of the rooms? They are awfully old and stuffy.“
„We can do that ourselves.“ Merlin nodded. „A bit of wallpaper, some paint, how hard can it be?“ He had heard from his college friends how much fun getting a new place ready to move in was.
The look on Uther's face showed very clearly that he did not approve. „We will have the interior designers go over and look at the place. Some things just can't be changed.“
Arthur threw him a look and if Merlin wasn't mistaken, that meant that they had Uther on their side. He wasn't going on and on about making an announcement, he was thinking about them redoing the mansion. That was a good thing.
„So,“ Hunith smiled. „That's settled then. You will be house-mates for the time being and we will take it from there.“
„That went better than I had feared.“ Arthur pulled him close when they were finally alone.
Merlin snuggled really close. „We will have our first own place.“ Which wasn't entirely true. The place still belonged to Uther and therefore to the people of Albion.
„This will be all over the papers, you know that.“
Nodding, Merlin put a little kiss on the tip of Arthur's nose. „Everything I ever did was always all over the papers and I know it wasn't different for you. We will get through this.“
„So we just hide inside the house and let it pass?“
„Isn't that what royal dynasties did for centuries?“ Arthur grinned. „Should we finish that movie we started last night? I still have a good bottle of red wine, too.“
The way Arthur wiggled his eyebrows made Merlin laugh. For now, he didn't worry about the issue of what the public might think or the fact that they both were supposed to become king of their respective kingdoms. He was looking forward to moving not only out of Ealdor, but into a new chapter of his life.
Pressing a kiss on Arthur's lips, he smiled before he let go to find the remote control while Arthur went to get the wine.