Title: Ask Me Later
Pairing/s: Merlin/Arthur, slight Gwen/Lance and Leon/Morgana
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwen, Morgana
Summary: Arthur asks Merlin to marry him. Multiple times. But Merlin keeps saying no.
Word Count: 1,331
Prompt: #93 - Stubborn
Author's Notes: It's actually funnier than the summary makes it sound, I swear. There is like, no angst, I promise. All fluff. Mostly. Anyway, enjoy!
“Do you know what would make today really splendid?”
Merlin couldn't hide the smile that bloomed on his lips. He already knew exactly what Arthur was going to say, and, turning gracefully, his Court Sorcerer robes swirling in his wake, he raised an expectant brow. “What was that, my lord?”
Arthur gave him a grin as he slowly took him by the shoulders, steering him towards the window. Merlin had to admit, it was an awfully beautiful day outside, a warm sun bursting over the horizon onto his cheeks.
“It's a beautiful morning,” Arthur told him, echoing his thoughts. “And do you know what would make it even more lovely?”
He huffed out a small laugh, not even bothering to look at him when he asked, “And what would that be, my lord?”
Arthur's hand traveled down his arm, before he slowly laced their fingers together. He could feel the small, private smile Arthur was giving him, the smile reserved for only him. “It would be perfect if you agreed to marry me, today.”
Merlin's heart swelled at the thought, as it always did. There was a warm burst of something deep inside of him, and he smiled gently. He gave Arthur's hand a reassuring squeeze, comforting himself more than Arthur, though.
But still, he shook his head. Not yet, now wasn't the time. He pulled their fingers apart, turning on his king. He pat his cheek gently, offering up a coy grin in its place.
“Maybe next time,” he said, before he swept out of the room.
Arthur shrugged, as if it were something he didn't pay much attention to. “It worked for Lancelot, and Leon, at that.”
Merlin laughed quietly, absentmindedly stroking the petals on the flowers. “Yes, that's all true, but aren't you forgetting that both Lancelot and Leon were courting women? You know, our friends, Gwen and Morgana?”
Arthur snorted. “Of course I didn't forget.”
“Then you obviously mustn't realize I'm not a woman,” Merlin replied, raising a brow to him. “Just because you call me a girl doesn't mean I am one.”
“The king's word is law,” Arthur said, raising a brow in turn. But still, he smiled. “But yes, Merlin. I know you're not a woman.”
Merlin shook his head. “So, you're resorting to wooing me with gifts, now?”
Arthur rolled his eyes in response. “Nothing else seems to be working. Really, we could be avoiding all of this if you just agreed to marry me.”
“But where's the fun in that?” Merlin asked, before pressing the bouquet of flowers back into the king's hands. “Better luck next time.”
Merlin pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Wow,” Gwen said next to him, a little bit of awe in her voice. “He's really going all out, isn't he?”
“All out to annoy me,” Merlin replied dryly, examining the elegantly adorned garments laid out on his bed. “Seriously, he can't put his mind towards some other task?”
Gwen gave him a knowing smile. “You know that you're Arthur's number one priority, unless Camelot's in danger, that is. But it's not, so you're at the top of the list.”
“And I wish I wasn't,” Merlin told her, tossing the clothing back down. “What, so he thinks he can buy me, now?”
“Oh,” Gwen shook her head. “You know that's not true. He's simply courting you properly, that's all.”
“I'm not a lady,” Merlin whined, as if to stress his point. “You only court ladies!”
Gwen looked as though she were trying very hard not to laugh. “Well, look at you. Bringing change all over. First you change Arthur, then the laws and view on magic, now you're the first properly courted man!”
“You are evil, Guinevere,” Merlin said, glaring. “Why Lancelot married you, I'll never know.”
“And all of this would go away if you just married Arthur,” Gwen countered.
Merlin threw his hands up in exasperation.
“If you think,” Merlin murmured darkly, “I won't say no to you in front of the whole court and embarrass the hell out of you, you are wrong.”
Arthur just smirked, glancing towards the door as the rest of the court filled in. They all took their respective seats at the Round Table, looking expectantly at their king, waiting for him to begin with the first order of business.
Merlin begrudgingly took his seat at Arthur's left.
“Good morning, everyone,” Arthur began, and Merlin could hear the smugness in his voice. “Before we begin, I'd like to make a very quick proposal...”
A stifled snort came from nearly every member of the table, already knowing exactly where this was going, and Merlin sincerely wished he were allowed to blow up the table.
“Merlin,” Arthur turned to him, and Merlin just refused to look at him. “Will you do the honor of--”
“No,” Merlin said, cutting him off. “Next order of business, then, sire?”
The look on Arthur's face was priceless, and the laughter that followed (mostly from Gwaine) only made it a little more worth it.
“You're driving him crazy,” Morgana said, levitating a cup, as per his instruction.
“Yeah, yeah,” Merlin huffed, plucking the cup from the air. “I know what you're going to say. You're going to give me the whole talk about how I should just say yes, already.”
“Oh, no,” Morgana smirked, and it reminded Merlin of just how fortunate Camelot was that she was on their side. “It does him good to be humbled a little. Drag it out a little longer.”
Merlin snorted, reminding him also of how much of a pain she was towards her brother.
“Alright,” Arthur said to him later, throwing his hands up in frustration. “What do you want?”
Merlin set down the book he'd been looking over, pulling off the glasses he usually wore. “What?”
“Clearly,” Arthur said, carefully keeping his voice even. “There's something you want that I haven't given you. Otherwise, we would be happily married by now. I know you're not against the idea of marriage, so what do you want, Merlin?”
Merlin shook his head. “I don't want anything.”
The king looked as though he was trying very hard to keep his temper in line. “Then why, pray tell, won't you say yes?”
“Because I refuse to marry the king,” Merlin said simply, going back to his book.
Arthur crossed the length of the room and pulled the book from his grasp, setting it down. He leaned on the table. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
The court sorcerer sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I love you, Arthur. More than anything, more than my own life. You know that. And I will serve you and no other until the end of my days.”
“Then why--” Arthur started, but Merlin waved his hand, silencing him.
“I'm not just being stubborn,” he said sincerely, then gave a tiny grin. “Though, that's been a bit fun, on your behalf.”
Arthur gave him a sour look, so Merlin went on, “I just refuse to marry the king. I have always wanted to marry for love.”
“I do, Merlin,” Arthur replied, the sharp tone of his voice softening. “You know it's always been you.”
“Then ask me again,” Merlin tilted his head. “But ask me as Arthur, and not as the king.”
Some sort of recognition and understanding flashed through Arthur's eyes, as if everything now made sense. He puffed out a half-laugh, half-sigh, shaking his head fervently.
“The things I do for you,” he muttered quietly, the familiar drawl that he was so familiar with in his tone.
Slowly, Arthur knelt down, meeting his gaze. Merlin saw the fierce loyalty and courage that he'd grown to admire, and the quiet love that had bloomed over such a long time. He was ready this time. “Merlin, will you do me the honor of marrying me?”
A soft, gentle smile curled onto Merlin's lips.
“Yes,” he said, finally. “Yes.”