Title:Matter of state… Matter of love
Rating: PG 13
Character/s:Arthur, Merlin, Uther
Summary: Uther saw Arthur and Merlin in the courtyard and decided to take the matter in his hands
Word Count: 974
Prompt: 58. Announcement
Author's Notes: Thanks to derenai for the beta
Uther looked through his chamber window to the courtyard. His son had just come back from a hunting trip with his manservant. He looked at them dismounting and giving the reins to the stable boys.
They walked through the court, talking animatedly. They were smiling. Uther frowned when he saw Arthur shove Merlin playfully before putting his arm around his manservant's waist.
That had to stop! It was becoming unbearable to see them like that! And that was clearly not a behavior appropriate for a Prince!
Uther decided to take the matter in his hands.
"Do you know why your father has called you?" Merlin asked as he helped Arthur to dress himself. After their return from the hunting trip, they decided to take a long bath together. Of course, they got carried away and now most of the water was outside the tub and both of them looked thoroughly fucked. What they were.
"No… I suppose he wants me to look at some renovation planning… Or something as dull as the potatoes inventory…"
Merlin laughed and kissed his lover.
"I'm sure you'll be able to survive… And don't forget I'll be waiting for you here."
Arthur smiled as he let his hands wander on Merlin's still naked body.
"I hope you're not planning on putting some clothes on?"
"Absolutely not," Merlin answered, grinning.
Arthur kissed him again as Merlin was smoothing out his shirt.
"I'll come back as soon as possible," the Prince promised with a last kiss on Merlin's temple before leaving the room.
Arthur sat in front of Uther at the council table. He was surprised not to see any maps or papers on the table.
"Arthur… I've called for you because we need to discuss serious matters… Matters that can affect Camelot's future."
Arthur nodded. His father was particularly serious so it must be something really important.
"We need to talk about your marriage."
The Prince gathered all his self-control not to sigh. He braced himself for a long speech he had already heard more than called for. How he should marry a noble girl who would be able to offer lands to Camelot's throne. How it was his duty as a Crown Prince to ensure Camelot's future and the peace of the Kingdom.
"There is something I've never told you… Because I thought it didn't matter", Uther continued, "But in the lights of the recent events…"
Arthur listened, curious.
"I've always said I hoped you'll marry some noble girl to strengthen a political union… But I can’t ask you something I wasn't able to do myself."
"What?" Arthur couldn't believe what he just heard.
"If… If you find someone you really love then you should follow the path of your heart, my son."
"But… But…" The Prince was left dumbfounded. Had his father been enchanted again?
"No buts. I know I hadn't always been so open about that but you should know I don't want anything more than seeing you happy… And, if that means letting you marry the person your heart has chosen then, I will."
Surprise was replaced by affection in Arthur's eyes. He wanted to thank his father but Uther continued:
"And if it occurs that this person is not really… Let's say not really made for a royal destiny then, I will not oppose to your union either."
"Not made for a royal destiny?"
"Someone who's not from a noble lineage."
Arthur started to understand where all this was going. And if it could have made him happy some months ago, now it was just strange.
"Father… I… I'm not in love with Gwen, you know," Arthur confessed.
"Gwen? Why are you talking about Morgana's maid?"
"But you said… You said I could marry her."
Arthur looked at his father who started to laugh.
"Oh Arthur! I know that girl is not really your type."
This time Arthur was lost. Or rather, he was afraid of what his father was implying.
"Father… What do you mean, then?"
"I saw you this morning. In the courtyard with your manservant."
"You love him. It's not a question, you know. Everyone with eyes can see it. And that he loves you, too."
The Prince was unable to talk. Since he had acknowledged his feelings for Merlin and decided to act upon it, he had done everything to hide it from his father. And now Uther was giving him his blessing to marry Merlin?
"So? When can I announce the betrothal of the Crown Prince? Because it's clearly not appropriate for a Crown Prince to court someone for so long and not proposing!
"Let me ask Merlin, first," Arthur managed to mumble, nearly choking. "And… Should I not ask his mother, too?"
"Oh, don't worry, that's taken care of! I've sent Leon to Ealdor to invite Hunith to Camelot for some days."
As he went back to his rooms, Arthur tried to process what had just happened… It was so unexpected. Then, Arthur had never felt so light in his whole life. He had found someone he loved dearly and he was going to ask him to become his husband and Consort. What more could he ask for?
Now, he just needed to find the best way to propose. And with Hunith coming in 4 or 5 days, he needed to find it soon.
He opened the door to his bedroom to find Merlin, still gloriously naked, sprawled on his bed, reading.
"Arthur! It was fast!"
Merlin put his book on the bedside table and rolled on his back, offering his body to Arthur's gaze.
"What did he want?"
"Nothing important," Arthur lied as he undressed to join Merlin on the bed.
And he prevented Merlin to ask more questions by kissing him passionately before showing him how much he just loved him.