Summary: He smelled like honey cake and polish. And Arthur still remembers perfectly that delicious scent.
Prompt: 56. Reunion
Author's Notes: Thanks to derenai for the beta. And this is probably going to be the first part of a longer serie!
The forest was dark and humid, the soil flabby under Arthur's feet. He wanted to go back to the castle and play with his wooden knight.
He hated these hunting trips! What was the point of getting soaked and dirty only to hurt a wild animal? They had plenty enough herds around Camelot.
But the King insisted that his son accompanied him and some of his knights. Each time. Arthur was far too proud to complain, though.
As they finally settled for the night, Arthur took his opportunity to wander around the camp. He didn't like his father's knights. They were rude and smelled bad!
Arthur didn't go too far away. He knew his father would send a Knight to look for him if he disappeared for too long. He found a big flat rock in the middle of a clearing to sit on it. He fetched his favourite wooden knight and a little wooden dragon from his pocket. Then he started imagining stories about Knight Arthur who defeated the Great Dragon to protect Camelot.
He was still playing when he heard voices and steps in the woods. But it weren't the Knights or his Dad. The young Arthur hid behind the stone and listened. They were at least a dozen people. And one was laughing. A girl.
Then Arthur smelled it. The best scent he had ever smelled in his life. A mix between the honey cakes he was sometimes given by the kitchen maids and the sword polish his father's manservant used on the King's armor. And something else. Unique.
Arthur was so enthralled by the scent he didn't heard the steps coming closer, nor he saw the boy that was now standing next to him. He only noticed how the scent had got more intense.
"Oh? You have a Dragon?"
Arthur jumped and fell back in the fallen leaves. Above him, stood a slim black-haired boy. He was smiling.
And then, Arthur noticed that the wonderful scent was coming from the boy. And he wanted to touch him. Or to cuddle with him in the leaves.
"Emrys!" a distant voice called.
"Oh… I must go!" the dark haired boy said.
Arthur nodded. And he noticed the blue eyes. And the smile.
The boy waved and disappeared in the wood. Only his scent remained.
This encounter was still so vivid in Arthur's memory. Sometimes, at night, when he was alone in his bed, he could smell the boy's scent again. And see his face above him.
Each day since that day in the wood nearly twelve years ago, Arthur thought about the boy. He wanted to see him again… To smell his delicious perfume once again. He wanted to know who he was.
Arthur had kept the little wooden dragon as a reminder of this encounter. And even know he had grown up, he felt like the little toy was comforting him when he felt down.
But, as the years passed by, Arthur knew that he would most likely never see the boy again. He was probably a traveler, a merchant's son or a juggler, coming to Camelot only for a few days and was now far away…
And he was finally wrapping his mind around that idea when, one day, as he was training outside the castle, a thin young man with black hair and piercing blue eyes started to insult him.
As soon as he came close, Arthur smelled the honey cakes, the polish and that unique scent… And he wanted nothing more than take him in his arms.
He tried to resist this urge to touch that boy. After all he barely knew him. And the boy seemed to have not recognized him.
But then, Arthur saw something changing in the deep blue eyes.
It wasn't a question. Arthur let go of a breath he didn't realize he was holding back. The boy had recognized him, too. And he came closer, watching Arthur intently like he was making sure he was not making a mistake.
And the scent was stronger now, making the want to hold that boy in his arms come back. And this time, Arthur wasn't able to resist. But he was not fast enough. The young man had already his arms firmly around his waist.
"Finally," he murmured. "I've found you."
Arthur could only put his arms around his frail shoulders, slightly trembling. So many emotions were coursing through his mind. One of his friends coughed behind them, taking Arthur back to reality. He let go of the boy unwillingly.
The boy nodded and followed as Arthur went to the Castle. He wanted some privacy… He needed it because taking the young man in his arms had awakened some buried desires and he wasn't sure he would be able to control them. Not with this perfume all around him. And there would be enough strange looks amongst his Knight. It was not a common occurrence to see the Prince take a stranger in his arms like that.
Arthur felt the young man getting closer.
"You didn't tell me your name."
"Like the Prince?"
The boy had stopped. Arthur turned around to face him.
"I am the Prince."
The boy's mouth made a perfect "O".
"And you're Emrys, right?"
"Oh… It's only the name the Druids called me… I'm Merlin"
Arthur froze. He thought about his Father and his hate towards the Druids.
"Yeah… I was raised by them."
Arthur didn't know what to say. But Merlin was close again and his smell was so intoxicating.
"We will talk about that in private. Come with me."
Merlin followed him again and a few minutes later, Arthur was closing his chamber door behind him. As soon as the latch was closed, Merlin was back in his arms.
And it felt perfect. Arthur felt safe. He circled Merlin's waist and sighed of satisfaction.
They were still a lot of things to understand but for now, Arthur only wanted to enjoy this reunion.