Title: Time Scale
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin,
Summary: Every passing moment has a consequence.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: Something a little different this time, I hope you like.
It took eighteen seconds after he first set eyes on Arthur for Merlin to appreciate he was gorgeous.
He only knew the boys he had grown up with. Coming face to face with a golden youth – sunlight gleaming off his hair and his laugh brightening up the entire courtyard – had come as something of a shock.
His heart had skipped and his breath stuttered as he watched him. A smile tugged at his lips as Arthur drew back his arm, revealing strong muscles beneath his shirt. Then Merlin saw what he was aiming at and the awe disappeared entirely.
Not only had he been insulted and humiliated in front of everyone watching in that time, but had also found himself paying a visit to Camelot’s dungeons. He wasn’t impressed by them.
Merlin rested his chin on his hand and scowled at the floor. He hadn’t come to Camelot to deal with self-righteous prats like the prince. No man should have the power to make others feel belittled.
Shivering Merlin formed a spear of hatred in his heart and directed it at the prince.
He didn’t know what came over him. He had told the dragon he would be happy for Arthur to die: he would even help. But he had been moving before he considered his actions, pulling the prince out of harm’s way. Instinct had driven him and Merlin ran a hand over his head in confusion as he climbed to his feet again.
It was only afterwards he realised he had just put his destiny on track. There was no escaping it now.
He didn’t want to admit it. Nor would he to Arthur’s face. But he saw the way Arthur treated the servants – other than Merlin – when no one was looking. He noticed the way Arthur would do anything for his kingdom. It wasn’t because of his position, it was because he cared.
Seeing through the cracks in Arthur’s wall meant Merlin had no choice but to change his opinion of the man. Arthur wasn’t the prat he pretended to be.
They had been sleeping together for a lot longer after a night in the tavern had got out of control and resulted in them fumbling their way to bed. It was only supposed to be physical; a release from the stresses of their respective destinies.
But Merlin hadn’t been able to stop himself panting the words into Arthur’s neck, his legs still wrapped around his waist. Arthur had stilled and Merlin frozen, knowing he couldn’t take the words back.
He had been feeling it for some time, aware his emotions ran far deeper than fondness for his manservant. But it hadn’t felt right echoing the words back at Merlin that night. He didn’t think his servant would believe him. He waited.
He whispered them into Merlin’s skin as he took him apart on a rug by the fire. Merlin was a whimpering mess and Arthur felt a surge of protectiveness so strong it had startled him. He knew he had to say it.
Arthur had stared, shocked and scared from where he was sprawled on the forest floor. He had thought Merlin would be killed. Only it was the bandits who had been sent flying, hitting trees with audible cracks. Arthur hadn’t understood for a moment, until Merlin had turned to him.
His eyes were aglow and his body rippling with power. Arthur shivered. He felt his entire world come crashing down. Everything he knew was thrown into question when Merlin looked at him.
There was never anything else he could have done. He loved the man. Merlin knew that. He was not his father and knew Merlin was the least likely person (apart from Arthur) who would turn on the kingdom. It was their destiny to be together and Arthur would not drive a wedge between that.
He softly instructed Merlin to explain all that had happened since Merlin had arrived in Camelot. He had to know how much was true. It didn’t change how he felt.
Merlin had stripped him with just a glance of his golden eyes. Arthur had never seen him look so confident or powerful. It made him tremble, shivering with the need to be united with the man.
Merlin had given him what he wanted. Arthur clutched him close as they lay entwined on the forest floor, murmuring promises about how he was going to make the kingdom better. He was going to make it safe. For sorcerers, druids and most importantly, for Merlin himself.
He walked alone for the entire time. A never fading footprint in time, he haunted the shores of Avalon and waited for a king who would not return to him.
It didn’t matter how many years passed. Arthur was outside of time and Merlin was doing his utmost to follow him to eternity. It was better than waiting alone.
But time did pass and Merlin waited. And waited. And waited.
And at last, Arthur came back to him.