Title: Intimate Celebration
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Camelot is celebrating Arthur's victorious return. Merlin is not.
Word Count: 1008
Prompt: 50. Celebration
Author's Notes: Thanks to derenai for the beta. And as English is not mine nor her's first language, feel free to tell me if there are mistakes remaining!
A month had passed since Morgana's death and Arthur's victorious return to Camelot. Everybody had tried to overcome the losses, to rebuild their lives.
And now, the King had decided his people deserved some distractions. Therefore Arthur ordered a week of celebrations in Camelot. A circus was set in the lower town, the taverns offered free ale and mead; jugglers, minstrels and tellers wandered in the streets. In the castle, nobles and knights went from balls to banquets.
That night, the last one of the week, was going to be a landmark event. Arthur had ordered a big feast set in the courtyard of the castle where all the people of Camelot were invited. From the simple beggar to the rich lady. Servants, knights, merchants, maids, nobles. For one night, they would be equals, celebrating the restored peace.
A month earlier, Merlin would have been delighted to take part in such a historic moment. He would have wandered in the castle to spy on the preparations, sneaked in the kitchens. But now, he was just sitting in his room, eyes fixed on the floor, trying not to think about the moment he would need to go help Arthur dress for the feast.
Each moment Merlin spent in Arthur's company since their return from Camlann was full of tension. And the young man was only wondering how long Arthur would keep him by his side before he asked him to go away and never come back.
When Merlin had killed Morgana, protecting Arthur from death one more time, he had known his King would see him. Nonetheless, he hadn't hesitated for a second before casting the powerful spell. And he hadn't been surprised to see hate and stupefaction in his King's eyes. As he hadn't been surprised by the anger that came afterwards. The only thing he hadn't foreseen was the fact that he was still alive and still working as Arthur's manservant. Even if the King seemed to ignore him most of the time and act as a master should act with his servant. And, for Merlin, that coldness was more painful than death.
Merlin had acknowledged his feelings for Arthur a long time ago, and the fear to lose him during the battle had only confirmed that Merlin loved Arthur more than his own life.
But he knew that nothing would happen. Arthur had a Queen, Arthur had a kingdom to rule and Arthur hated him.
Later, as the sun was slowly setting behind the trees of the forest, Merlin knew he couldn't hide anymore. But he wasn't able to gather the courage to stand up.
Then someone knocked on his door. It was probably Gaius.
"I know, I know! I'm coming!"
"S…Sire…It… King Arthur summons you to his chambers," a feminine voice announced.
Merlin sighed. He was late and Arthur would be even angrier.
"Ok… I'll go."
Only a few minutes later, Merlin stood in front of Arthur's door. He knocked and waited for an answer. Since their return, Merlin had also started to act like a manservant and it was still so strange.
Merlin opened the door and froze.
Where he expected to see Arthur at his table or pacing in the room, he found him sitting on a wool cover in front of the fireplace.
Merlin was reduced to silence when Arthur smiled. A smile the young sorcerer hadn't seen in such a long time.
Arthur held out his hand toward Merlin who didn't move. It was so strange. Merlin looked around him. A big fire was burning in the hearth, on the floor, next to the cover there were plates full of food and a jug of wine.
Then Merlin's eyes came back to Arthur. He was still smiling. He wore his sleep breeches and a simple tunic. He seemed relaxed and happy.
"Sire… I don't understand," Merlin managed to mumble.
"Merlin, come sit with me… Please."
Merlin's lips made a "O" of surprise. Arthur had never said "please". So he sat on the cover, still wondering what was going on but unable to refuse.
"Sire… Are you not supposed to go to the feast, tonight?" Merlin asked uncertain.
"No… Tonight, we're going to celebrate together. Only you and me."
"Shh," Arthur interrupted, putting his index on Merlin's lips.
Merlin nodded. As everything seemed so strange and didn't make sense at all, it was better to listen to Arthur's explanations.
"Merlin… I want to apologize."
After the "please", the apologies were too much for Merlin. He started to wonder if Arthur wasn't bewitched.
"For the way I treated you since we came back. You didn't deserve that. Not after everything you've done for me and for Camelot. But… Discovering you had lied to me for years hurt. And I needed some time to forgive you. But now, I have and I hope you could forgive me, too."
Merlin hadn't called his King by his first name since Camlann and the sound of it made his heart beat faster. He had missed it.
"Of course, I forgive you! So… You're not going to banish me, then?"
And then Arthur laughed.
"Merlin! I couldn't live without you here, idiot!"
And before the young sorcerer could process what was going on, he was in Arthur's lap, strong arms holding him and soft lips kissing him.
Merlin was dreaming. It couldn't be real. But Arthur's hand sliding under his tunic seemed real. His tongue, too. So perhaps Merlin was finally rewarded… Or…
Merlin drew back suddenly.
"Is this because of the feast? You know, servants and master having fun together for a night?"
"No Merlin," Arthur answered, very seriously, "It's about me and you. It's about Arthur and Merlin. And, if you let me, it will be the same for every night from now on."
This time, Merlin was the one to kiss Arthur.
And, finally, he wanted to celebrate as much as every other inhabitant of Camelot. But in a more intimate way.