Title: The Big Day
Pairing/s: Arthur/Gwen, Arthur/Merlin
Summary: As the big day is finally there, Arthur can't deny what he's feeling anymore.
Author's Notes: Thanks to derenai for the beta!
The warm water of the bath was helping Arthur's muscles to relax. But it didn't do anything to soothe his mind.
He was still dwelling upon the same thoughts… Thoughts he had managed to repel for years and that had come back as the day of his wedding was approaching.
All these things he had managed to deny for so long were now coming back with so much force he couldn't think about anything else.
How Merlin's smile always made his heart beat a little faster.
How he wanted to toy with that leather link around Merlin's slim wrist.
How his skin prickled every time Merlin touched him.
How a day without bickering with Merlin felt like a lost day.
How he was thinking more about Merlin than about the womanhe was going to marry.
How he was stupidly in love with his idiot of a manservant.
All these feelings were rising to the surface and he could deny them anymore…
He was going to marry Gwen, in front of the wholecourt. He was going to promise to cherish her. He was going to lie.
Arthur didn't want to start his reign by a lie. It wasn't the kind of King he wanted to be. He was not like his father.
Merlin's voice echoed in the room as the manservant came back with Arthur's ceremonial clothes.
"Are you ready?" he asked, putting the clothes on the bed with care.
Arthur didn't answer immediately. He looked at Merlin. At his slender frame, his unruly dark hair, his blue eyes… He looked at the man he loved.
"I can't do it," Arthur finally confessed. But his tone was firm. He wasn't a man stressed by his incoming wedding. He was calm and collected.
"I can't do it. I can't marry Gwenevere today," he repeated, still looking at Merlin intently.
"Sire, it's normal to be stressed! But you'll see everything is going to be all right and…"
"No, Merlin. You don't understand," Arthur insisted as Merlin came closer to the tub, holding a towel. "I…. I don't love Gwen. I like her, dearly but I don't love her. And I can't lie to her anymore."
"But… But…" Merlin seemed taken aback. He was looking at his King, not hiding his surprise and his lack of understanding.
"Merlin. I thought marrying Gwen was the best decision, that she would make a great Queen… I'm still thinking this but… I can't lie to her, making her believe I love her… Not when…" Arthur stopped, realizing what he was going to confess.
If he had made a choice about his marriage with Gwen, he was still unsure about the way he was going to confess his feelings for Merlin.
"You… You love someone else?" Merlin asked.
Arthur nodded. Then, he saw the flash of hurt in Merlin eyes, the way he bowed his head slightly, avoiding Arthur's gaze.
"Merlin," the Prince called gently. His manservant stood next to the tub, looking at his feet, unable to hide his disappointment.
Arthur hated seeing him like that. Perhaps, it was the right moment after all…
Slowly he took Merlin's hand in his, letting his thumb grazing Merlin's knuckles. It was the tenderest gesture he ever had towards his manservant.
Then, Arthur looked at Merlin. He was smiling. And this time, Arthur didn't try to deny how he was feeling.