Title: The long path to expiation
Pairing/s: None yet
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Gwaine, Geoffrey
Summary: Merlin is still trying to cope with his new life, Arthur has doubts and Geoffrey has hopes.
Warnings: mention of sexual slavery
Word Count: 916
Prompt: #91 Atonement
Author's Notes: Thanks to derenai for the beta! Finally another part of my serie : "My Special One" . I quite struggled with this prompt, sorry if I didn't focus on it enough in that fic!
The next day was Merlin fourth day in Camelot. He spent it alone in his rooms, reading some of the books Gwaine gave him. He learned a lot about Camelot history but none of the books mentioned the tradition of the slaves. He wanted to learn more about that, too.
He still hadn’t accepted his fate but he had always been curious and avid of knowledge. Now, he had access to one of the most well-stocked library in the realm. He would ask for more books the next day.
When night came, nobody had come for Merlin aside from the maid bringing him his meals. He had learned she was named Gwen and lived in Camelot with her father, a blacksmith. She seemed quite friendly and her smile was sincere.
Merlin laid in his bed, wondering why Arthur hadn’t come. Four day and still no claiming of his new toy. Had Merlin been so rebellious that Arthur didn’t want him anymore? What would become of him in that case? Merlin was afraid to think about that. Arthur letting him go back to Ealdor didn’t seem like an option.
“Arthur… Are you sure you don’t want me to… Please you?”
Arthur shook his head.
“No, Gwaine. Just come here,” Arthur asked, lifting the covers to invite Gwaine in his bed.
Gwaine wondered why Arthur was acting like that. Since Merlin’s arrival, Arthur had called him every night but they hadn’t had sex once. Even if Arthur didn’t always do
it daily, four days without any form of relief was clearly unusual.
Gwaine knew it had something to do with Merlin but didn’t understand what exactly.
Arthur spooned behind Gwaine and put a kiss in his neck.
“Arthur? Can I ask you something?”
“Even if I say no, you will do it nonetheless so go on.”
“Why haven’t you claimed Merlin yet?”
Arthur didn’t answer immediately and Gwaine feared that he had crossed a line he shouldn’t have crossed here.
“I… He’s not like the others and… I don’t want to force him, I want him to come freely to me.”
Gwaine turned to face Arthur and smiled.
“You’ve changed Arthur. He’s only there for a few days but he had already managed to change you.”
“In a good way?” Arthur asked, clearly unsure.
“In a very good way, Arthur.”
A small smile appeared on Arthur’s lips.
“But I want him so much… It’s so hard,” he whined.
“I could help you relax?”
“I… I don’t want to indulge in such pleasure. Not before I have made Merlin trust me. It’s my penance.”
Gwaine gently put a kiss on Arthur’s jaw.
“One day, you’ll be a great King, Arthur. What do you think about a massage, then?”
The sun was barely rising on Camelot when Arthur woke up.
Gwaine was still asleep so Arthur came out of the bed slowly not to wake him up.
He called for a maid to bring them breakfast and draw a bath.
He had a busy day in front of him between the training of the Knights and a meeting with his father in the early afternoon. He also had to set everything for his plan to
gain Merlin’s trust. As it was the day he let his toys gather together and have some free time, he had to wait for the next day to go through with it.
In the past few days, doubts about the way he was treating his toys had arose in his mind. What if Merlin was right? What if it was unfair? But Camelot’s Princes had had toys for centuries and the realm had never suffered from this tradition. And his father himself had had his lot of slaves as he called them. If that was so bad, a man like
his father would have stopped it!
Arthur had never been so confused in his life. The only thing he was sure of at the moment was that he wanted to spend more time with Merlin and do everything that was in his power to make the boy trust him. He craved for his forgiveness more than anything else.
In the castle’s library, Geoffrey was meticulously illuminating Merlin’s name and genealogy, registering him as the favourite slave of Prince Arthur’s in Camelot’s Chronicles.
After days of research, Geoffrey hadn’t been able to find any trace of Merlin’s father. That could become a problem but it wasn’t uncommon amongst the peasant so Geoffrey tried not to worry too much about this.
And it wasn’t like Arthur would follow his father’s step and marry his favourite.
A small smile appeared on Geoffrey’s wrinkled face at the thought of Lady Ygraine. He remembered the day Uther had bought her in a fair. He had paid a lot for her.
She was still a maiden and more beautiful than any other ladies in the realm.
She had changed him so much. Even convincing him to let go of his other slaves. She had made him a better man.
Her sudden death short after Arthur’s birth had made Uther so sad he had become even harder and unforgiving than before, though. Geoffrey couldn’t help but think
about what Camelot would have looked like if Lady Ygraine had lived.
As he drew a last golden arabesque, Geoffrey wished that Merlin would bring good in Camelot like Lady Ygraine had and true happiness in Arthur’s life, hoping the boy would achieve a better destiny than Arthur’s mother.