swiss | jones (simpleact) wrote in camelot_drabble,
swiss | jones
simpleact
camelot_drabble

exchange fic for digthewriter: to yield

Title: to yield
Recipient: digthewriter
Author: simpleact
Rating: PG13
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur.
Summary: Arthur opens his mouth to protest but Merlin shakes his head. “I don’t know why this is so hard for you to understand, but I am destined to protect you and stay at your side. I need to be there with you. Even if you leave without me I’ll just follow after and protect you from the shadows.”


Merlin pauses, tilting his head downwards in an uncharacteristic show of subservience. “As I have done before.”


The last sentence is like a punch to the gut, a reminder of all the years that Arthur was blissfully ignorant of Merlin’s importance in his survival. He sucks in a breath, quiet and sudden. Merlin’s insistent loyalty into battle has always confused him. The quickening of his heart is a new symptom.
Warnings: None.
Word Count: 2392
Author's Notes: Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry if this doesn't work with the prompt you asked for. I hope you like it anyway! Merry Christmas!
Disclaimer: Merlin ain't mine, yo.

i. the causes of death are abstract

When the violent winds die down, the bandits are still and the forest is eerily quiet after the unnatural roar of magic. Arthur continues, reeling from the adrenaline and impact of being thrown by a bandit almost twice his size.

Merlin makes a striking figure from behind in the middle of the small clearing, his arms splayed out wide and palms thrust out. The crackle of magic permeates the air, thick enough that when Arthur flicks out his tongue to lick his lips he thinks he can taste it.

He holds his breath as Merlin slowly lowers his arms and turns around -- but the moment is broken when the hard-edged glint to Merlin’s eyes falls and he rushes over.

Gods, Arthur,“ Merlin is once again all wide eyes and pursed lips, frantic hands pressing against Arthur’s body to check for injuries, “Are you okay? Does it hurt anywhere?”

Merlin’s hands brush past Arthur’s hip, close to his erection, and Arthur jerks in sudden surprise.

“I’m fine, Merlin, I’m fine.” He shoves Merlin’s hands away, ignoring the kicked animal look in Merlin’s eyes as he shifts to sit upright. But as soon as he places his wrist down upon the ground, it sends a sharp spike of pain up his arm.

Merlin is right back at his side as he hisses, taking Arthur’s left arm in his hands gently.

“Careful,” Merlin says, not looking Arthur in the eye. His head is tilted downwards, bottom lip being worried wet between his teeth. Merlin pushes up the sleeve of his tunic and his touch is light as he examines the sensitive area.

“I should let Gaius look at it,” Arthur begins with a wince, but Merlin scoffs.

“I know how to identify injuries, you know,” Arthur makes a face like he isn’t convinced, but he’s mostly paying attention to the firm grip Merlin has on his forearm, long pale fingers wrapped around his tanner skin -- he bends a leg to hide the erection, hoping Merlin hasn’t noticed.

(A part of him thinks it shouldn’t matter if Merlin sees; he’s the goddamned king. But the rest of him isn’t going to let Merlin see because gods, Merlin’s reaction.)



Later, when Merlin has finally been sent back to his rooms and the candles have burned low, Arthur exhales a silent thanks to whatever gods that the wrist he’d hurt wasn’t his dominant one as he lets his right hand slide down his stomach towards his cock.

It feels almost shameful, embracing the arousal coiling low in his abdomen.

This is how it begins.

ii. unknowingly we are sinking

Knowing about Merlin’s magic does not detract from the strange anxiety Arthur feels whenever Merlin uses it around him. There is still a crackle of tension whenever he sees Merlin’s eyes flare gold for innocuous reasons -- like helping Gaius grab things from high shelves or lighting candles in the council rooms.

Partially, he suspects that Merlin knows and is doing it on purpose. Perhaps in attempts to get him acclimated to the casual use of magic or perhaps as a punishment for the way that Arthur first reacted when he found out.

(The tendons of Merlin’s neck have never been so startling, his neck straining not to move with Excalibur ghosting above his Adam’s apple.)

The course of time has eased their strain, brought them back to an almost fragile semblance of what their close friendship once was. Teasing returned to them in fits and starts, jokes falling flat upon awkward silences. Arthur is not sure how Merlin can forgive him for the things said and done -- he’s not sure how he is expected to completely forgive someone who has lied to him for years?

He still struggles with relating his manservant Merlin to this all-powerful Emrys -- it’s even harder when Merlin silently sidles into the throne room before meetings, still rubbing the sleep from his eyes with a yawn slipping from his lips.

The memory of Merlin on his knees before Arthur with his head tilted up, defiance and devotion and fear in his eyes, will stay with him. Forever, possibly. He’s not sure how to deal with the knowledge that for all of Merlin’s power and for all of his apparent ruthlessness, he will never raise his power against Arthur.

In the same vein, Arthur cannot imagine a world in where he presses the blade hard enough to cut skin.

(“My magic is for you, Arthur. It’s only for you,” He’d said, head tilted back, hands prone at his sides as Arthur stood above him.

Arthur’s hands trembled.)

iii. the sun sets in the west

They argued a lot in the beginning, until Arthur gave like a bridge worn weak by armies and seasons.

“You shouldn’t go. It’s a trap, and if you weren’t so stubborn, you’d see that,” Merlin stands at the entrance to Arthur’s chambers. This isn’t the first time Merlin has told him not to go off on a quest, obviously. He feels a spark of irritation. He is not a child. What does Merlin expect him to do? Not protect his people as long as he is physically able to?

“Do you think me weak?” Arthur interrupts, adjusting the straps on one of his gauntlets. He does not look up, tightening the straps until they rest snug on his hands.

“I -- What?” Merlin says, caught off guard.

“I do not need to be coddled, Merlin. I am the best swordsman in the kingdom.” Arthur looks up through his bangs, trying to give his most disapproving stare.

Merlin screws his brows together, a frown appearing on his lips. “I’m not trying to coddle you- I know your strengths and I know your weaknesses almost as well as you do. I am your advisor, aren’t I? Then let me advise you.”

He takes a few steps into the room and crosses his arms. Arthur turns to look at him, trying to give Merlin his most commanding, stern look. He is almost tempted to cross his arms in a petulant response -- he doesn’t, of course, because he is a king.

“And what? Continue to let this threat loom over my kingdom?”

“That’s not what I’m saying, sire. I’m saying you need to be careful.” Even as he speaks, Merlin is delicately reaching for Excalibur from the table and looking it over for any scratches or chips in the blade.

“I must go. I have to. As king, I am obligated to protect my people.” Arthur falls into the memorized routine, taking Excalibur from Merlin’s hand and sliding it into the sheath hanging from his belt.

“You have knights to go out and do that for you!” Merlin says, but they both know that’s not how it works. Arthur rolls his eyes.

“They need to see me as someone that can physically lead them.” He gentles his tone, shifting where his belt lays on his waist.

Merlin doesn’t respond for a moment, and if Arthur didn’t know any better, he’d have assumed that Merlin had acquiesced.

“Then I am going with you.”

Arthur looks up at the words, his breath catching in his lungs at the intense stare Merlin is giving him.

(Years ago, Merlin would give him the same look and Arthur would not quite understand the depths. Even now after finding about Merlin’s magic, Arthur does not think he will ever understand.)

He shakes his head.

“Merlin, I do not need to be protected by you. You should stay here in Camelot. Your magic can be of much more use fortifying our defenses in the event of anything happening.”

“You are Camelot,” Merlin insists.

Arthur opens his mouth to protest but Merlin shakes his head. “I don’t know why this is so hard for you to understand, but I am destined to protect you and stay at your side. I need to be there with you. Even if you leave without me I’ll just follow after and protect you from the shadows.”

Merlin pauses, tilting his head downwards in an uncharacteristic show of subservience. “As I have done before.”

The last sentence is like a punch to the gut, a reminder of all the years that Arthur was blissfully ignorant of Merlin’s importance in his survival. He sucks in a breath, quiet and sudden. Merlin’s insistent loyalty into battle has always confused him. The quickening of his heart is a new symptom.

“I am the king, you know,” Arthur says, turning away from Merlin to grab the cape on the table. He sweeps it around his shoulders and brings the clasps together in front of his neck, “Usually people obey my orders.”

He glances towards Merlin, almost indulgent in his slow nod of acceptance.

Merlin’s entire demeanor brightens, and his eagerness to stay by Arthur’s side is still unfathomable.

“They’re usually trying to get on your good side,” Merlin quips, in attempts to lighten the serious mood their conversation has brought.

“And of course you’d never try to do that, Merlin,” Arthur says, and as he leaves his chambers, he fully expects Merlin to be following.

iv. exceptions are irrelevant

Now that Arthur knows about the magic, Merlin’s blatant use of it makes him wonder how he ever hid it in the first place.

Seriously.

Every time Arthur turns around, the bandit he’s preparing to swing at has already been taken care of and is laying on the ground. Without the added threat of imminent death, it’s a lot easier to keep an eye on Merlin.

It’s out of habit to make sure he isn’t dying or dead, but now that Merlin’s magic isn’t a secret, it’s more of a reason to watch the determined look on Merlin’s face as his eyes turn gold.

He fights with his dick hard and is glad that the armor covers it.

v. to sit still is the greatest feat

The final straw is a belligerent young man with an ale loosened tongue and an unwanted opinion.

“How dare you address your king in such a manner,” Merlin seethes, and Arthur is finished denying the tightness in his pants that occurs when he hears Merlin speak of him in such a way. He grips the armrests, digs his nails into the wood and is thankful for the high table hiding his crotch.

The rest of the banquet is a blur.

(If asked, Arthur would not be able to say what happened to the young man.)

“Arthur -- sire, I am well aware that you can defend yourself but he was -- ” Merlin is obviously still angered by the blatant lack of respect, but Arthur’s hand is firm around Merlin’s forearm. He pulls Merlin through the hallways towards his chambers.

“Why do you do that?” Arthur demands once they’re inside his chambers.

“Do what?” Merlin asks, not quite understanding what they’re doing inside of Arthur’s rooms.




“That… thing,” Arthur gestures with a hand to Merlin.

“What thing?” Merlin screws his brows together.

“That thing where you stand up for me. Where you always want to protect me when you know perfectly well that I can handle things for myself.”

Merlin shrugs his shoulders. “You’re my king.” His tone is nonchalant, but even if Arthur does not know Merlin as well as Merlin knows him, he still recognizes the forced casual tensing of Merlin’s shoulders.

“There’s more to it than that, there has to be.” Arthur steps towards Merlin, not meaning to corner him, but he takes a step back for every step forward Arthur takes. Merlin’s back hits the door and Arthur places one hand on the wood beside him, with space still between them.

He’s not meaning to intimidate Merlin, but Merlin is so good at evading questions, so good at changing the subject and Arthur needs to know.

They stand there for a few moments, because Merlin cares so much and he is so loyal and Arthur wants to understand --

“You’re you,” Merlin says, and it feels like a confession, or a secret told in confidence.

Arthur sucks in a breath, because Merlin’s glance is flicking down between his eyes and his lips.

His cock is straining in his pants and Merlin is right there -- so he almost surges forward and mashes his lips against Merlin’s. But he doesn’t. He stops, right before Merlin’s lips, suddenly aware of Merlin’s wide eyes and heaving chest.

“Can I?” He asks, one hand moving from the wall to gently cup Merlin’s cheek.

Merlin is important, his answer is important -- and even though, deep down, something in Arthur tells him that Merlin would give him anything he asked for at all, Arthur still wants to ask, he needs to know that Merlin wants this too.

Merlin’s voice -- almost always a source of clever comments or witty retorts -- seems to be gone, his lips parted and Arthur’s heart almost stops with horror, the possibility that he’s almost started something that Merlin doesn’t want freezing him to the bones. Merlin recognizes Arthur’s terror and then his hands are gripping at Arthur’s shirt.

“Yes,” he says, breathless, though he hasn’t been doing anything, “Yes.”

So Arthur leans in.



“I don’t understand,” Arthur says in between kisses, “I don’t understand why you throw yourself in the way of arrows and swords and spells.” Merlin digs his nails into Arthur’s skin, tugging at the hair at the nape of his neck.

“I don’t understand why you are so willing to die for me,” he mumbles, drinking in Merlin like a dehydrated man.

Merlin surprises him with a surge of power, shoves him back on the bed and grinds his body down against him.

“There are hundreds of men willing to lay their lives down for you. Why is this so hard for you to understand?” Merlin says, biting down on Arthur’s collarbone. Arthur arches upwards, hands gripping Merlin’s hips.

“Because you’re different,” he says, for lack of words to explain what Merlin is, what Merlin has come to mean, or even why Merlin makes him feel the way that he does.

Merlin stops, and then Arthur feels a hot puff of laughter against his neck.

“So are you.”




Arthur does not think he will ever understand, but perhaps he doesn’t mind, so long as it does not stop.

Tags: !holiday exchange fest 2013, p:arthur/merlin, rating:pg-13, type:drabble
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