stay with me
Title: stay with me
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: AU of 5x04 wherein Merlin discovers Hilda is actually Morgana before leaving Camelot. He rushes to tell Arthur.
Word count: 850
Prompt: Bingo Round 2 – 5x04: Another’s Sorrow
Author’s Notes: great timing that I rewatched this episode recently.
It was way past midnight, and way past Arthur’s bedtime, but Merlin didn’t care. It’s been months since he last heard her voice, but it was unmistakably her.
He had to stop Arthur from pushing through with the mission to rescue Rodor. If it’s a trap, Odin’s men would surely be there when they arrive.
He was thinking of several ways to explain it when he arrived in front of Arthur’s chambers. Not bothering to knock, he gently opened the door, eyes landing immediately on Arthur’s bed – he found it empty.
He panicked for a moment and searched frantically, then he saw Arthur by the window. He was in his night clothes, and the moonlight illuminated his white tunic as if it was shining, and his arms were crossed as he stared into the darkness outside. Merlin paused and he couldn’t help but stare.
It was Arthur who spoke first. “Are you just going to stand there all night, Merlin?”
Merlin shook his head to clear it, and closed the door behind him. The memory of what he’s supposed to tell Arthur came rushing back in an instant.
“I have to tell you something. Hilda – she isn’t who she says she is, Arthur.” Merlin’s voice lowered to a whisper. “She’s Morgana.”
He saw Arthur stiffen subtly as he took in this information, but he stayed where he was. “And how did you come to this conclusion?”
“I heard them,” Merlin said simply. “One minute she was speaking like an old woman, and the next, she sounded exactly like Morgana. It must be an aging spell.”
Arthur sighed and nodded. “Makes sense.”
Merlin paused. “Wait. You knew?”
Arthur stared outside for a few moments more before turning to Merlin. “I didn’t know she was Morgana until now, but I knew there was something off about her. Guinevere also came here not long before you did and told me about her encounter with them, and she felt it as well.”
Merlin nodded. Gwen has always been the most observant woman in the kingdom and her instincts were usually right. “So, you know we shouldn’t go, right? It’s a trap.”
Arthur sighed. “We’ll proceed as planned, Merlin.”
“What?” Merlin walked towards him and resisted touching him. “With Morgana involved, and knowing full well now that it’s a plan to lure you in and kill you, we shouldn’t go!”
“I can’t leave Mithian’s father to die,” Arthur said firmly.
“Send the knights, then! I’m sure they will manage –“
“What if there are other sorcerers there to meet them?” Arthur stared at Merlin. “I can’t risk it. Besides, cancelling our journey hours before we depart will raise suspicions. Morgana must be caught unaware.”
Arthur faced Merlin and took his hand. “Besides, she would be unaware of Camelot’s magical protector thwarting all her plans as usual,” he smirked.
Merlin scoffed, but smiled. “She must not know who I am, Arthur. It isn’t safe yet.”
“I know,” Arthur said as he pulled Merlin closer, their bodies almost flushed against each other. “That’s why you’ll keeping using your aging spell. I’m sure you’ll manage it better than her.”
Merlin raised an eyebrow. “I never thought I’d live to see the day when you’d actually compliment my magic.”
“Don’t let it get into your head, Merlin, you’ll still polish my armour and prepare my horses later.”
Merlin laughed. Ever since Arthur knew about his magic, he breathed easier, and laughed more freely. A huge weight fell off his shoulders, especially since Arthur didn’t banish him. Arthur smiled fondly at him, and it made his heart skip a beat.
“Come on. This is what we’ll do.” Arthur led him to his table filled with plans on the journey ahead. They went over their plan against Morgana, and debated until they reached an agreement on the best way to stop her.
Merlin yawned, and that’s when he realized how late it already was. From behind, he felt Arthur putting his arms around Merlin’s waist. Merlin turned towards Arthur and kissed him, a brief, chaste kiss on his lips. They parted and kept each other close. They stood like that for a long time, with Arthur stroking Merlin’s hair, and Merlin hugging him and planting kisses along his cheek and neck.
Arthur whispered, “Stay with me tonight.”
Merlin would usually shake his head and say no or not yet or people will see us. He was supposed to let go and leave, with Arthur’s lingering kisses and touches seared into his body, which he would feel for days.
Instead, Merlin nodded. “Yes, sire.”
Arthur led him to bed, and they lied down with Merlin’s back pressed against Arthur’s chest. He put an arm around Merlin’s waist and sighed. Merlin smiled.
He knew he had to wake before everyone else so he could slip out of Arthur’s chambers undetected. For now, before he faced the next day, and Morgana along with it, he wanted to be close to Arthur and feel him breathe – a reminder that he was alive.
He closed his eyes and slept in the arms of his love.