Summary: The one where it's Merlin and Arthur's first Christmas together as a couple.
Oh.. and there may be talk of destiny, love, meddlesome - yet helpful dragons, magic reveals, and promises of the future too.
And let's not forget about romance, Christmas trees, what happens under a mistletoe, and all of those Merthur moments that we love so much.
Word Count: 4,866
For Archaeologist_d :This story has been in your gift section since the posting date, it was posted to the collections since the posting date on AO3, and somehow it missed here. One hundred apologies here. I am so sorry. I used all of your likes for this prompt while staying away from your dislikes. I really hope that you enjoy it, and I hope that you've enjoyed your holiday. Best wishes for a Happy New Year!
I would also like to give a shout out to fuckyeah! Thank you for taking the time out of your extremely busy schedule to beta this story for me. With that being said, any errors found in this story are solely mine.
And to the Camelot Drabble mods: Thank you for putting this Holiday Exchange together, and thank you for being so prompt in your responses throughout this entire process. For a first timer in posting for the exchange, it meant a lot. Happy Holidays!
Disclaimer:Merlin is owned by the BBC and Shine. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. Don't send us to the dungeons.
Arthur walked into his chambers, and at the sight of the big tree in the corner facing the main window, the Christmas wreaths on the other windows, the Pendragon red-colored ribbons looped around the fireplace, and the holly decorations scattered everywhere, he promptly walked back out. He closed the door and looked down the corridor, just to be clear on the fact that he was in the right room. Once he confirmed that he was, he opened the door again, and after second thought, locked it behind him. The last thing he needed was word of this to get out to anyone else in the castle.
“What in the hell?!” Arthur exclaimed, before he finally noticed that he wasn't alone. "Merlin!"
Startled, Merlin dropped the garland that he was starting to put around the oak Christmas tree. “Arthur!”
“Merlin,” Arthur repeated, choosing his words carefully as he placed his belt and sword on the table along with his gloves, “what are you doing to my chambers?”
Merlin's smile went from ear to ear. It was adorable, and it never failed to do embarrassing things to Arthur. But it still didn't answer his question.
“It's Christmas Eve, Arthur!” Merlin said excitably.
“That I know, Merlin. But you have yet to explain what that has to do with you and my chambers.” Arthur raised an eyebrow while inwardly praying his father wouldn't feel the urge to visit any time soon.
Arthur felt a pang of guilt when he saw Merlin's bright smile falter, even though he didn't know what he should feel guilty about.
“I'm decorating our chambers,” Merlin said, hesitant.
It wasn't known as their chambers by anyone else in the kingdom but Merlin and Arthur. Though it was Merlin who normally titled it as 'ours' while Arthur maintained his usage of 'my.' Then again, it wasn't like Merlin was unfair in his assumption, considering the fact that he had been practically living in it with Arthur for the past four months.
“I can see clearly that you are decorating, Merlin,” Arthur said as he crossed over to the center of the room. “The question I have is why?”
Instead of responding, Merlin met him with a chaste kiss.
“Merlin,” Arthur said with exasperation. "What are--"
“It's tradition,” Merlin explained. But because he couldn't help himself, he then leaned in and gave Arthur a more tender, passionate kiss, ending it with a nibble at Arthur's bottom lip and a swipe of his tongue. Arthur groaned, knowing full well that the kiss could become more if he let it continue any longer.
“Merlin,” Arthur said again, this time a little hoarse. If only he could keep Merlin still enough for a few seconds, he might be able to finish a sentence. "Why--"
Merlin pointed up to the ceiling. “It's a mistletoe.”
Arthur groaned again as he followed Merlin's gaze upwards. Sometimes he really really wondered what he done to deserve such a frustrating manservant. “And why is there mistletoe hanging from my ceiling?”
Merlin's smile was fading by the second. “Like I said, it's tradition. And when two people stand under it at the same time, it's meant for them to share a kiss.”
Arthur's heart softened because his 'idiot' continued to surprise him everyday. “And the rest of the decorations?” he asked, his tone coming off sharper than he intended.
Merlin's response wasn't presented as cheerily as before. In fact, his tone was borderline crisp. “I thought the tree would be a nice touch to decorating your chambers. For the holiday.”
At the 'your chambers', Arthur knew he was in trouble. Merlin continued on, seemingly not noticing Arthur's look of regret. “And the garland, the ribbons, and everything else brightens the room, and puts us in the holiday spirit. It was a tradition for me and my mum in Ealdor.”
When Merlin's speech began to speed up, Arthur knew he was upset and it would be best not to interrupt.
“We didn't have the money you see, but we would make due with the little we had. We couldn't afford a Christmas tree because we weren't wealthy enough. But our village would get together and place an oak tree in the village square. We would decorate it with ribbons, apples, and holly leaves.” Merlin sighed. “I wanted to have something of home.”
“Merlin--” Arthur tried.
“And it's my first Christmas in Camelot--” Merlin continued on, as if he hadn't heard.
“Merlin--” Arthur tried again, expression fond.
“--and our first Christmas as a couple--" Merlin continued on again, as if he hadn't heard.
“Merlin--" Arthur attempted to touch Merlin's shoulder, but Merlin deflected and turned away picking up the garland that fell on the floor. He continued to speak again, oblivious of Arthur's attempts of getting his attention.
“--And if you don't want me to decorate I'll just take it all down,” Merlin finished, immediately going to the first window and reaching for a wreath.
“Merlin!” Arthur shouted, his voice raised loud enough that it caused Merlin to jump.
“What?” Merlin snapped, only now registering the sound of Arthur calling his name. His expression hurt, eyes watering, he repeated softly, “What?”
And Arthur felt like a right prat.
“I'm sorry,” Arthur said while running a hand through his hair and licking his lips. “I'm sorry, I didn't mean to....”
He looked around the room before continuing. “I didn't mean to upset you. I'm just not used to...” he waved a hand around his chambers to point out the decorations. “No one has ever done anything like this before.” The 'for me' was left unspoken.
Merlin smiled, gracing Arthur with the sight of his dimples. “You've never had me before.”
Arthur returned the smile as he walked over to the window where Merlin stood, placing his hands around Merlin's waist. “That is true.”
He kissed Merlin then, his teeth biting at Merlin's plump bottom lip. Arthur moved them closer together, close enough that Merlin could feel his growing arousal. When Merlin gasped, Arthur took that as invitation to slide his tongue on top of Merlin's own. It was a slip, slide, and grind for a few minutes before Arthur, shocking himself, pulled away. Merlin attempted to restart the kiss, but stopped when Arthur held up his hand.
“I'm sorry,” Arthur said again, his expression fond and tender. “You can decorate our chambers however you'd like to for Christmas."
With that, Arthur knew he was forgiven, seeing it in the glossiness of Merlin's eyes.
Oh, how much I love him, Arthur thought to himself.
He gave Merlin a gentle peck on the lips once more before he moved to his desk to read over some papers that his father gave him to look over the night before. But the blood didn't quite circulate to his brain as well as it should have. Arthur looked across the room to eye the reason, smiling to himself.
Arthur kept his eyes on Merlin for a few more minutes, watching him hum and sway those tantalizing hips. Arthur found himself swaying his head to the beat until he snapped out of it and chuckled under his breath. One thing was for certain, with Merlin around, Christmas would never be the same for Arthur again.
The next morning, sunlight pierced through the windows, its rays shining brightly in Arthur's face until he woke up from his sleep. He stirred, and then did his normal routine of sitting up to take in his fill of Merlin. He started with his hair, the shiny mop of dark brown hair that Arthur loved to tug when they were especially passionate. And then Merlin's long dark eyelashes that covered those strikingly blue eyes that were as blue as the ocean and could see right through Arthur.
Arthur swallowed. He continued to let his gaze travel over Merlin's straight nose, those glass-cutting cheekbones that first caught Arthur's attention, and those plump lips that were just made to suck Arthur's cock. Arthur took a deep breath before he continued. He looked at Merlin's chin next, remembering how it felt to lick it. Then there was Merlin's long neck that Arthur loved to bite and mark, constantly hid beneath those damned neckerchiefs. Arthur's eyes moved lower to Merlin's collarbones. The bones standing out, the muscles taunt, and oh...
Arthur wanted to run his tongue on it. To bite it, nip it, suck it, and mark it.
Which led him down to Merlin's chest and nipples that Arthur liked to play with, and then to the hair that formed a trail down to Merlin's groin. He looked at Merlin's navel, thinking about how he had ran his tongue down that too. All of his thoughts ended when his gaze finally landed on Merlin's cock, as he remembered just how good it felt inside of him, the night before. Arthur swallowed-hard, at the thought.
Even if he wanted to, Arthur could never get enough of Merlin. Like a hurricane he swooped in quickly without warning, and like how the land was changed even after the storm was over and gone, Arthur was no longer the same since Merlin came into his life.
Arthur thought back to that night when they started their path of no return. They had been hunting for three days with Arthur's trusted knights: Gwaine, Leon, Lance, Percival, and Elyan. Gwaine--why they ever trusted Gwaine, Arthur had no idea--had been responsible for bringing the ale. And what strong ale it had been; by the end of the night everyone, with the exception of Gwaine, had been drunk. It had gone down smooth, but the results of its effect were hard and irreversible.
But Arthur couldn't find himself to be upset for long because the results were life changing. It was that night, in the tent that he had been sharing with Merlin, that they had become more than master and servant. Or, as Arthur never admitted aloud, more than just friends.
Who would have thought that a few sleepy, drunken kisses could have transformed into something so much more?
It wasn't easy for them; they denied it for quite a while. Father wanted Arthur to marry despite Arthur's protests he'd only marry for love, so he and Merlin had to keep their relationship a secret. On top of that, Merlin had been hiding his magic, guilt-ridden everyday over how he was going to tell Arthur.
But what Merlin hadn't known was about the time when Arthur was ten and he had spent a day hiding from his nannies. Arthur had traveled beneath the castle to hide in one of the catacombs, only to find something that equally thrilled, terrified, and transformed his mind on certain topics forever:
1. He discovered that dragons were real.
2. He discovered that magic was more than what he was taught it to be.
3. He discovered that he had a destiny.
4. He discovered that he would grow up to be the Once and Future King, and that all of Albion would be led by him. At that age, he had no idea what that even meant.
5. He discovered that there was another half of him that he hadn't met yet, someone whom he was bound to. Someone who would make him whole, who had magic and was the most powerful sorcerer to ever walk the earth. He also discovered that this special someone was growing up as a little boy not very far away. Kilgharrah told Arthur that when the time was right, the two would meet.
And when he prompted for a name after several times, Arthur finally discovered that his over half was named...Merlin.
These revelations were not given to Arthur all in one visit, and of course they hadn't been given without cryptic lessons and riddles, some of which Arthur still didn't understand to this day. But those six things, Arthur remembered.
Kilgharrah also warned Arthur that he must bide his time, that he couldn't share the knowledge that he was given with anyone, not until he was united with his half. He also told Arthur that dragon magic was drawn to dragon magic--whatever that meant--and when the time was right, Merlin would find him and learn all that Arthur had learned too.
Kilgharrah never told Merlin that Arthur was aware of the prophecy or of his magic, probably because he had always been a sneaky bastard, constantly keeping something to himself that could be used for his benefit later. Although, in this case, Arthur didn't seem to mind Kilgharrah's need for secrecy.
So Arthur waited, and waited, until Merlin finally broke down two months into their relationship to tell him the truth. He had apologized for the lies and for keeping something that was so important from Arthur. He also admitted that he couldn't bear to say anything until then because of the risk of losing Arthur, and that he didn't know if Arthur would turn him into his father. Arthur remembered cupping Merlin's cheek and telling him that he already knew. That started an all out argument until Arthur reminded Merlin that he still did lie about something that is equally a part of him as the blood that flowed through his veins. And well...Merlin didn't have much more to say about that.
However, they agreed from that day forward to no longer keep any secrets from each other. They had only grown closer since. Arthur's chest began to constrict by thinking about just how far they've come. By not telling each other the truth right away, they got a chance to know one another without the route of destiny hanging over their heads. Even if they both knew that that was the path they were meant to travel, together.
But destiny...destiny could wait. At least for another hour... or two.
Now Arthur was completely aware that Merlin was awake; his breathing was not as heavy as it was when sleeping. But since Merlin pretended to sleep, like he did every morning, Arthur took the time to reflect on how happy he was and to appreciate the sight. Not that he'd let Merlin in on his morning routine. Surely not!
Merlin was quite aware Arthur was watching him as he remained under the guise of sleeping. It's something Arthur had done every morning since Merlin practically moved his possessions into their chambers. For all Merlin's power with his magic, he always felt like he lacked security and true safety. He'd never let on, but Arthur watching over him--like a knight standing guard--was what gave him that comfort. If that wasn't enough, Merlin could feel Arthur's love for him. It's a feeling that he never wanted to do without, that he couldn't do without.
Thinking that he had been blanketed enough by Arthur's gaze for now, Merlin pretended to wake by stirring in the bed. First he moved his legs, and then his arms, followed by opening his eyes. As soon as he did, they were met with a very lustful looking Arthur. Merlin discreetly followed the path from Arthur's eyes, nose, jaw, neck, chest, and belly, down to Arthur's rock hard cock that was peeking out from the sheets. Arthur sucked in a breath, licking his lips, apparently more aroused now that Merlin noticed his erection.
“Arthur, we have to get up,” Merlin tried.
Arthur nodded, though his actions didn't mirror his response. Neither did his words as he uttered, tone raspy, “Later.”
“Ar--” That was as far as Merlin got before Arthur lips crashed into his.
Arthur kissed like he fought his battles: rough, fast, hard, strategically, and full of dominance. There was no other thought but 'conquer' behind it, not to mention the involvement of lots of tongue.
Arthur put his right hand behind Merlin's neck to tilt his head to the side, and that's when Merlin knew he was lost. He didn't even notice that Arthur's other hand was sliding down his chest until he felt one of his nipples being twisted, pinched, and then caressed. Merlin gasped into the kiss and grabbed Arthur's shoulders to lower him down even more. Their tongues dueled for dominance, the kiss growing sloppy, and Merlin couldn't have been more aroused if he tried.
As if by mutual agreement they both parted to get that most needed air. But Arthur wasn't done as his lips moved from Merlin's to his chin, then his neck, followed by his collarbone, until he began to alternate nibbling at his nipples with that wicked tongue of his that did Merlin in every time. Arthur's left hand was settled on Merlin's right hip for the longest time, but then....
Merlin moaned. “Arthur, we can't... We have to get...up--Oh, there...”
As Arthur's hand slid the sheet all the way down, he revealed Merlin's cock like a prize. Arthur rose up to Merlin to capture Merlin's lips again while his hand continued to work. If Merlin didn't already know that Arthur wasn't magic, he'd have his doubts.
Arthur then suddenly removed his hand. Merlin started to protest, only to see Arthur raising his hand to Merlin's mouth. Merlin licked around four of Arthur's fingers, sucking on the tips while hollowing his cheeks. Once Merlin got Arthur's fingers nice and wet, Arthur removed them before sliding his entire body down to the space between Merlin's legs. He spread them apart as far as possible and pushed Merlin's legs up to his knees. Arthur then grabbed Merlin's cock with his right hand while using the other to slide two fingers inside Merlin.
Merlin groaned loudly, his body raising from the bed. But he had to keep his wits about him. As much as he wanted to fuck and be fucked right now, he had plans for Arthur.
But it seemed Arthur had his own plans as well.
Arthur looked up to meet Merlin's eyes, his filthy, hungry expression telling Merlin exactly what he wanted to do. Merlin swallowed hard before trying again, “Arthur, we have to...”
Arthur's tongue swiped the tip of Merlin cock, raking over the slit.
“Arthur, it's Christm--fuck!” Merlin cried out as he thrusted into Arthur's mouth despite himself. “Ar...Arr”
Whatever Merlin was attempting to say went unfinished as Arthur swallowed Merlin's cock whole. Up and down Arthur went, his cheeks hollowing and saliva flowing, humming while he worked. Merlin whimpered, and with that went the last of his attempts to stop Arthur.
“Arthur,” Merlin said as he walked into their chambers a few hours later, tray of food in hand. “I've got us some lunch since we successfully missed breakfast hours ago.”
Arthur didn't even have the grace to look guilty. In fact, he looked like he could actually go for another round. Those knights trainings must really keep him energized, Merlin thought. Because there were two things Arthur was always ready for, and that was fighting and sex. Though Merlin could appreciate that, especially the latter.
“How did you get out of breakfast with your father?” Merlin asked, setting their plates with thick slices of bread, cheese, ham, grapes, strawberries, cherries, and mince pies.
Arthur shrugged while walking over to his seat at the head of the table. “I told father I sprained a muscle in training yesterday and got Morgana to cover for me with the rest. I don't know what she said though,” Arthur said without worry. He and Morgana were pretty close now that she knew she had an ally to protect the secret of her magic.
Merlin raised a brow. “And he won't be concerned?”
Arthur shook his head. “As long as I'm present for the banquet tonight there will be no questions,” he said as he picked up his goblet and got a sip of his ale.
“Good,” Merlin said. If Arthur wasn't worried about it, there was no sense for Merlin to be either.
“Did you see Gaius this morning?” Arthur asked as he took a big bite of his ham and started chewing.
“Mmmhmm,” was Merlin's muffled reply as he chewed his bread. “I went by to drop off his present. Remember when I told you that I got the seamstress to make something for him?” he asked, watching Arthur take another bite of his ham.
“Well, I dropped it off. I got him a heavy blanket and a heavy robe to wear for the winter. It gets cold in Gaius' chambers and it's not like he's getting any younger. Not to mention he always complains about his bones hurting him,” Merlin said thoughtfully while taking a large gulp of his ale. Some of it spilled from the corner of his mouth, but before he could wipe it away, Arthur used his thumb to wipe it before it spilled any further. He then pulled his thumb back to suck it clean.
Merlin had to bite back a moan. The things Arthur did to him sometimes...
Arthur didn't seem to notice, at least, not this time. “That was very thoughtful of you,” he said with a fond smile.
“It was,” Merlin agreed. “I told him it was from the both of us.”
That surprised Arthur. “Merlin, you didn't--”
Merlin raised a hand and tightened his jaw as if daring Arthur to argue with him over it. “Yes, I did. That money was from the both of us, if not more from you. You deserved to get some of the credit for it,” he said in all sincerity and intensity.
Arthur swallowed, heart full, before responding, “Fair enough.”
“So...” Merlin began as he and Arthur laid in front of the fireplace, covered in blankets. It was after the Christmas banquet and they were now enjoying the rest of their evening. The only light in the room was that from the flames of the fire, as well as the moon and stars shining in the windows from the outside. “Presents?”
Arthur smiled, struggling to act oblivious. “Presents?”
Merlin raised a brow. “As in, you did get me a present, didn't you?”
Arthur held out pretending he was clueless for as long as he could until he noticed Merlin looked like he was holding in tears. That did it, because Arthur couldn't stand to see Merlin cry. He sighed. “Yes, I did get you a present.”
Merlin's faced lit up again, as bright as the stars in the sky. And Arthur couldn't be any more besotted.
Merlin jumped up to go to the servant quarters Arthur had set up adjoining their chambers. His things were kept in there, just in case there was ever a question about their living arrangements. He came out of the room with a big wrapped box with a red ribbon set on top. Like a little child, he practically bounced on his feet, saying, “Open it, open it!”
Arthur smiled. He never really got presents anymore. Instead he got responsibilities, reprimands, and demands. The only rewards were a nod, a tight smile, or a pat on the shoulder. Duty for the kingdom was expected. And choice was not an option; it was simply what he had been born into. Not that he wasn't grateful for what he had, especially when there were so many who had less. But still... He couldn't remember the last time he was given a special present from someone who didn't require something in return.
Arthur's chest tightened with an overwhelming sense of warmth that spread through it.
Merlin set the present on the table and Arthur felt like a little child himself opening it. Lifting the lid, he pulled out a long deep red leather jacket. The leather was soft, the scent strong, the stitching well-crafted. Arthur could tell it had been made recently and with great care.
Nearly speechless, he turned to Merlin, his eyes glossy, “How?”
“I saved everything and got a few people to help chip in like Morgana and Gaius. And the seamstress gave me a deal.” Merlin paused, running a hand through his hair. “I think she might have a crush on me,” he said with a shrug and a grin.
Arthur's hair stood on the back of his neck and he almost growled. Almost. “I've got one word for you Merlin. ‘Mine.’”
Merlin rolled his eyes--he was used to seeing Arthur's possessive side--and then nodded in agreement. “Yours.”
Arthur's lips captured Merlin's like he was equally proving how much he meant it while assuring himself again by staking his claim. Merlin's knees almost gave out afterwards, but Arthur held firm to Merlin's waist to keep him steady.
“Now,” Arthur said, a few minutes later while he and Merlin were trying to get their breathing back under control, “stay right here.”
Arthur pulled Merlin to the center of the room before he went to his desk to grab a pouch that he put there for safekeeping, both from potential thieves as well as from Merlin's nosiness. He tilted his head to the side as he walked back towards Merlin, who was watching him with unabashed adoration. Arthur saw just how Merlin loved him, because it radiated off his presence and filled Arthur without measure. He swallowed just thinking about it, and then gave Merlin the pouch.
It was a silver medallion. “This is...nice,” Merlin said, with a small smile. The lack of recognition in his face suggested that he didn't quite understand the significance behind it.
Arthur cleared his throat. “It belonged to my mother. It bears her sigil.”
Merlin grew pale, obviously overwhelmed. “Arthur, I can't--”
Arthur waved a hand idly as he smiled at Merlin. “Yes, Merlin, you can.”
Merlin shook his head. “No Arthur, do you know what this means--”
Arthur threw his head back and laughed at that. “I think I am quite aware of what it means Merlin--”
“Then you know it's supposed to go to your wife one day.” Merlin said, the blood seeming to leave his face as he spoke.
Arthur grew solemn. He pulled his lips inward while his tongue peeked outward to coat it; he tilted his head to the side, and his eyes met Merlin with an intensity that normally made Merlin want to find the nearest hard surface. But this time, it was something else.
“I will not take a wife, Merlin,” Arthur said, his tone firm.
Merlin ran a hand through his hair before trying, “Arthur, what about your father?”
“It will be one thing that we will disagree on, because it's not happening.”
“Heirs, Arthur? Have you forgotten you need heirs?” Merlin tried again, eyes wide
Arthur raised his hands to Merlin's shoulders and held them firmly. “Merlin, do you trust me?”
“Yes,” Merlin answered without a thought.
Arthur looked into Merlin's eyes to show his sincerity and his confidence in the decision he made. “Then trust me in this. I will name an heir when I'm king and when the time is right.”
Kilgharrah had already confirmed for Arthur a long time ago that an heir would be provided when the time was right. Arthur was aware that this was technically a secret, but he wanted to keep it as a surprise. Hopefully Merlin will understand, he thought.
Still holding onto Merlin's shoulders, Arthur leaned in to kiss Merlin's forehead and then pulled back to speak. “I will make you two promises, Merlin.”
“Arthur,” Merlin whispered, eyes glossy.
Blue met blue, and it became apparent that Arthur's eyes were glossy too. “Two promises,” Arthur said, tone hoarse. “One, when I am king, I will repeal the ban on magic.”
Merlin sucked in a breath, and Arthur leaned into him again, lips inches apart, the two of them breathing each other's air, before Arthur leaned in closer to give Merlin a butterfly kiss.
“Two, I will not take a wife. But once I am king I will be able to make changes, and once I have, then my intentions are to make you my consort. If you will wait for me,” Arthur finished, his voice lowering to a husky whisper.
A tear escaped Merlin's eyes. Arthur caught it with a thumb before bringing it to his lips.
“I'll wait forever for you Arthur,” Merlin croaked out, his eyes filled with intensity before he repeated, “I'll wait forever.”
Arthur's heart never felt so full, so complete. He leaned in again to capture Merlin's lips tenderly. When he pulled back, Merlin seemed to have caught his mischievous expression.
“What?” Merlin asked, still in awe.
Arthur gave a heartwarming smile and then looked up to the ceiling, waiting until Merlin's eyes followed his.
“We're under the mistletoe,” he said before placing his hands on Merlin's cheeks and drawing him in for another kiss.
Later Merlin snuggled with Arthur, resting his head on Arthur's shoulder and wrapping their legs together. Merlin's grin from ear to ear as he thought, Best Christmas Ever!
“Merlin,” Arthur said gruffly.
Merlin didn't look up. His position felt too good. “Hmm?”
Arthur ran his hand through Merlin's hair tenderly. “I can feel you smiling.”
Merlin didn't stop, his only response being, “Oh hush you and go to sleep.”
Arthur huffed but said nothing. Little did he know, Merlin could feel him smiling too.
also on AO3
!holiday exchange fest 2013, p:arthur/merlin, rating:r, type:drabble