The carriage pulled up to The Red Lion. It was well into the evening and the only light in the Inn was a sole candle in the front window. George ran from the carriage and called to the servant of the house, who arrived shortly after. The Inn Keeper and his wife were awoken and hurriedly prepared for their esteemed and unexpected guests.
Lord Pendragon and the other gentleman stepped out of the carriage, looking weary of travel.
“My apologies for the late hour, ma’am” said his lordship as he removed his hat and bowed politely to the Inn Keeper and his wife. “Yours is the nearest Inn and we’ve been travelling all day. My friend and I would be much obliged if you would spare us some room in your Inn.”
“Of course, my lord” The Inn Keeper nodded. “We have only one room to spare, with all the travelers moving into London for the season, but I’m sure his lordship would find it suitable to himself, though I am sure it is not to his usual standard, my lord.” The Inn Keeper stumbled, obviously not accustomed to speaking with a Lord.
“I’m sure it is quite fine.” His lordship said with a wave of his hand. “And what of my friend?”
“Well, as I said before we are full except for the one room. He is welcome to stay with your servant in the servant quarters-“
“Absolutely not” His lordship snapped.
The gentleman behind him coughed quietly, “My lord, I do not mind-“
“Mr. Emrys will stay with me.” Lord Pendragon said, with a finality that no one would ever contradict. The Inn Keeper nodded and led the gentlemen to their room as his wife led George to his own quarters.
Once inside the room, the door shut and the candle lit, his lordship let out an annoyed scoff.
After a few mumbled curses, Mr. Emrys heard his lordship say, “-as if you were just some servant and I would leave you to sleep on the floor.”
“Lord Pendragon, I would not have minded the servants’ quarters. You did not have to share the room.”
“It’s the principle of the thing, Mr. Emrys.” Lrod Pendragn said as he started to remove his tie and waistcoat. Mr. Emrys quickly turned around and shuffled through his own clothes. Lord Pendragon continued. “He should not have assumed you were any less than me; that I deserved the room and you did not.”
“Have you forgotten that you are more than me?” Mr. Emrys asked with a laugh, looking over his shoulder to see his lordship stripping out of his shirt and donning his night clothes. He turned back quickly.
There was a long pause as Mr. Emrys stripped and dressed into his own night clothes. He was grateful for it, because in the dark with the knowledge that Lord Pendragon was right behind him, he would not have been able to stumble through such a simple task.
When he turned, dressed in his night clothes, Lord Pendragon was near the bed with the covered turned down. He was watching Mr. Emrys.
“I am not.” Lord Pendragon said.
Mr. Emrys had forgotten what they had been saying before. As he crossed the room and turned down his own side of the bed, he tried to remember what he had said last and whether or not he could focus on much of anything with his lordship in nothing but a thin night shirt.
“I am not more than you. He should not have treated you as such.” Lord Pendragon repeated, reminding Mr. Emrys of their conversation. He slipped beneath the covered and tried not to think as Lord Pendragon mirrored him, their body heat noticeable in the small bed.
Lord Pendragon blew out the candle leaving them in darkness. Mr. Emrys huffed and pretended to be put upon as he said, “So you told him as much and forced me to spend the night here because the servants’ quarters are beneath me.”
There was another pause as Mr. Emrys felt his lordship shift in the bed.
“I did not- I would never-” Lord Pendragon stumbled, rarely so inelegant. “If you would prefer the servants’ quarters than sharing my bed, then I will not stop you. I only wished for you to be comfortable.”
Mr. Emrys felt his heart pick up pace. Sometimes, the thought of sharing Lord Pendragon’s bed was all he could think of. Now that he was here, in the most innocent way, he was having trouble even speaking.
“I do not mind sharing your bed.” Mr. Emrys said, knowing that his voice was too hushed and his words too stained. His meaning was all too clear.
His given name caught Mr. Emrys off guard. He swallowed thickly and turned his head to the voice, still trapped in the darkness of the room. He felt a hand run over the covers of the bed, as if searching blindly. Lord Pendragon’s hand ran from the thin sheets of the bed, to Merlin’s shoulder, running along the hemming of his nightshirt, until it skimmed across Merlin’s neck. He must have felt the quicken pulse in his neck because he paused and his fingers laid there for a moment.
“Do not stop.” Merlin breathed out. He squeezed his eyes shut, praying this was what he believed it to be. Merlin felt himself want to shake apart, feeling those hands on him. “Arthur- please.”
With the sound of his name, Arthur crashed forward until his lips met Merlin’s.