Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Arthur apologizes, but never with words.
Word Count: 586
Prompt: #92 Reconciliation
Author's Notes: Sequel to Atonement. I know it's not a creative title but the prequel title had the same number of non-creativity. I'm late, again. Life has been busy. Too busy. Ah, well, hope you all like this! :)
Merlin gets a manservant, and chambers next to the king’s. His manservant is good at his job. It’s a bit odd, having a manservant. Not having to do everything himself, and Merlin dismisses him more times than not.
Arthur keeps him busy. There’s more work than Merlin could have estimated, and he barely gets any time to himself. Arthur tells him that it’ll ease when the new laws have set, that there’s so much work because they’re trying to clean 20 years of mess.
Arthur apologizes, but never with words. There are flowers—flowers—in his chambers one time he comes back from a long day. His chambers have been decorated with them, they’re everywhere, and Merlin dismisses them with magic. He can’t take this now. Not right now.
His mother suddenly appears in Camelot one day, and Merlin gets the whole bloody week off. Merlin tries not to think too much of it, even when he knows its Arthur who arranged that.
Arthur asks him to summon the dragon, Merlin denies. It takes three months and more than a few audiences with the dragon for him to agree on that. When Arthur faces the beast, he has not one weapon on him. He’s wearing a worn white tunic and old breaches. Arthur apologizes for what his father did, for the fact that Kilgarrah is the last of their kind.
When the dragon is far off into the sky, Arthur looks back at Merlin, and Merlin’s heart seizes. It was an apology directed toward him, too, and it’s hard to scowl when there’s a slow heat warming his insides.
Merlin knows what Arthur wants. He’s seen him looking at his lips, or his fingers, or his face. He’s seen the hunger in Arthur’s eyes when he looks at Merlin sometimes, but he had his chance once, and he won’t have another again. Merlin’s heart breaks at the thought, but he’s firm.
They spend more time together, in Arthur’s chambers, or Merlin’s or just anywhere. They talk about everything and nothing, they work, and they don’t. Merlin thinks he just might be able to forgive Arthur.
It takes time for their relationship to develop, for Merlin to trust Arthur again. He still doesn’t think he has forgiven Arthur completely, but he’s getting there. When one day, Arthur grabs his wrist, strokes his thumb over his pulse and looks at him with those earnest blue eyes and apologizes, Merlin realizes that Arthur is already forgiven.
It’s harder to stay away, to not just give in and fall into Arthur’s arms after that. Merlin has forgiven him, but hasn’t said anything, but after a week, he thinks Arthur realizes, because his smiles are wide and his eyes bright.
Merlin has to constantly remind himself to not lean in and press a kiss to his lips.
Their friendship keeps getting stronger and stronger until Merlin thinks he could trust Arthur again, and just like that, his resolve vanishes. The next time he sees Arthur, Merlin’s going to kiss him.
When he kisses Arthur, it’s like the world explodes into a mixture of blurry lights, and when Arthur’s arms come around to hold him close, hold him tight, it’s the safest Merlin has ever felt. He loves Arthur. To be honest, he never stopped loving Arthur, and Arthur loves him, too. He’s made that clear.
He thinks that maybe they can find happiness after all, even after all they’ve both suffered.