Title: Not Looking for Love
Character/s: Merlin, Mithian, Arthur
Summary: Merlin's in the search for Mithian's father, but that's not the only thing he finds.
Word Count: 1129 (sorry! i tried to trim it)
Prompt: 167 Search
Author's Notes: Based on 5.4. I’m pretending that Morgana didn’t come to Camelot with Mithian and she doesn’t know where her father is.
Merlin was puzzled. When he’d helped Mithian down from her horse, he’s noticed wounds on her wrists. She passed it off as part of her captivity, but she’d never mentioned being captured or bound. If she wasn’t telling the whole truth their mission to find her father, Rodor, could be in jeopardy.
The secret warlock decided to keep a closer eye on Mithian. He rode next to her when he could and chatted with her. In this way, he got to know her even more. He learned she had a brother who was off questing. And besides hunting, she had a general love of the outdoors and was as good with a longbow as she was with a crossbow. She’d dabbled in falconry and fishing as well—Merlin had noticed she seemed just as at ease camping as she was in politics.
Mithian asked about Merlin too. She’d noticed that Arthur still looked to him for advice. She also asked about his life before he came to Camelot. So he told her all about his mum and how they’d scraped by in Ealdor. She seemed fascinated and thanked him for sharing; she enjoyed hearing perspectives of all kinds of people.
On the third evening of their search, they camped close to a stream. Merlin was ordered to go fish for supper and Mithian volunteered to help him. He made a sort of spear with a sharpened stick and began fishing, but Mithian giggled at his less-than-stellar efforts. She came over and put her hands over his to help, and together they caught a sizeable fish.
He looked down at her smile and couldn’t help but smile himself. Then he noticed how close she was and how her face was turned toward his. They gazed into each others’ eyes and he was startled to find himself leaning toward her. She was also leaning toward him. Their lips were only an inch apart when a familiar voice brought them back to earth. By the time Arthur made it to them, they were several feet apart. Luckily he didn’t notice their blushing.
After Arthur left, Merlin kept fishing. Mithian silently watched him until they had enough for their whole group then led him back to the campsite.
The next morning, Merlin volunteered to fill water skins for everyone. Mithian watched him go, waited for a few minutes then followed. “Hello, Princess,” he said, turning toward her.
“Merlin. There’s no need to be formal, you know that.”
“Mithian, I—I’m sorry about yesterday. I overstepped my boundaries and got caught up in the moment.”
“Merlin, please don’t apologize. I felt—feel the same way. And I’m not sorry.” She stepped closer. “It’s clear that we have feelings for each other.”
“Mithian—you’re a princess and you deserve more than a lowly servant.”
“Don’t say that. You are one of the kindest, most selfless men that I know. And as much as I felt for Arthur years ago, I feel more for you. You outshine him in many ways.”
He turned away from her. “I’m sure that’s not true.”
She stepped closer and lifted his chin so he could see her. “It is. And since I’m the princess here, you have to take my word for it.” She stood up on her tiptoes and gave him a brief but sweet kiss.
Merlin reeled for a moment before smiling brightly. “You really mean it.”
She swatted his arm. “Of course I do. Now let me help you so we can get on the road quicker.” He smiled but let her. They walked back to camp hand-in-hand until they were visible to others.
Later that day, they crossed into Nemeth. Arthur pointed out an old tomb he’d seen earlier and they bent their steps toward it. Inside they found Rodor, but then Odin and a large group of his soldiers sprung a trap.
Merlin, who’d been keeping watch outside, had hid when he saw the soldiers approach. He followed them in and saw Odin ready to slit Arthur’s throat so he pronounced a spell to create an earthquake. In the confusion, Arthur and his men got out with Mithian and her father. Odin and his troops chased them into a dead-end ravine, where Arthur and Odin dueled. The older king was no match for Arthur and was soon at his mercy. Mithian looked on as Merlin, with his uncanny wisdom, managed to talk Arthur around to peace instead of revenge.
Soon the people from Camelot, Nemeth and Odin’s kingdom were on their way to Nemeth’s capitol city. Mithian rode next to her father most of the time so Merlin and Mithian didn’t get another chance to speak until that night. Rodor threw a feast to celebrate Nemeth’s liberation. At one point, Mithian stood and gave Merlin a significant look. She left the room, and after a minute, he followed. She led him to a nearby vacant chamber.
After closing the door behind them, Merlin spoke. “Mithian—”
She came closer and put a hand over his mouth. “Shh. This first.” She replaced her hand with her lips and wound her hands around his shoulders.
Merlin melted into the kiss and settled his hands at her waist. They quickly settled into a gentle push and pull rhythm, which escalated when she licked at his bottom lip. With a groan he opened for her and briefly enjoyed the sweetness of her tongue before he broke away for air.
“Mithian,” he said, panting.
She brought their foreheads together. “Yes?”
“As much as I want this, and oh, do I want this, I can’t.”
She froze and pulled away a little. “What do you mean?”
He took her hands. “I am bound to Arthur. Believe it or not, it’s my destiny to protect him. He’s meant to accomplish great things. But he hasn’t done them yet, so I must stay with him.”
She gave him a look of disbelief. “And how do you do that?”
He leaned closer to whisper, “I have magic.”
She stared for a moment. “Merlin, I had no idea. I want to be selfish and demand that you stay here, but I can’t. I do understand destiny—I had many druid teachers while growing up.”
“I’m so sorry. If there was any other way . . .”
“I know. And who knows? Maybe I’ll come see you in Camelot someday.” After a quick kiss, they returned to the banquet.
The next few days were spent working out peace treaties. Merlin and Mithian smiled at each other across the room. When those from Camelot were ready to leave, she met them in the courtyard to see them off. And if her hug with Merlin lasted a little longer than strictly proper, no one noticed.