His golden hair sparkled under the bright sunlight. It was slightly damp from his sweat due to the long training sessions with the knights. Underneath the heavy armors, there was a well-muscled, perfect body. He had speed and grace when he struck out his sword…
And that pair of bright blue eyes, full of teases yet were also capable of sending out warmth and love.
He was bloody gorgeous.
Arthur Pendragon was the most beautiful man Merlin had ever seen.
“Ouch!” Merlin winced when Arthur slapped heavily on the back of his head.
“That will teach you not to daydream again.” Arthur handed his sword to Merlin and frowned at him deeply. “Seriously, what’s wrong with you recently, Merlin?” He quickly caught the pair of gloves when Arthur tossed them to him. “You seem so…” Arthur paused. “far, far away.”
Merlin bit his lower lip and cast his head down. Because god knows why I fell helplessly in love with you, you clotpole! Prat! Dollophead! But all he did is shrug and hid his face in the pile of armors.
He quickly walked away, leaving Arthur in confusion.
“Do you need something else, Arthur?” Merlin asked as he cleaned up the dinner plates and wine goblet from Arthur’s table.
“That’s all, Merlin, you may go now.”
Before he could retreat, the prince called after him.
“Tell Gaius,” he rolled his right shoulder slowly and let out a painful groan, “to give me some medicine that can ease the muscle.”
Merlin nodded and went out of the door.
“Merlin!” Gaius looked up from his book when Merlin entered the chamber. “I need you to deliver this for me.”
It was not like he didn’t want to help, but he was a little hungry.
Gaius stood up and handed him a small medicine bottle. “I’m afraid it’s now.”
“Alright.” He pouted slightly and took over the bottle. “Oh, and Gaius, Arthur needs something to ease his muscle, I think he strained it a little in today’s training.”
“It’ll be prepared. Now, go on.”
It took more than thirty minutes before he got back to his chamber, and Merlin heated up his cold soup with his magic. He saw a little medicine bottle with clear, beautiful purple liquid in it that was on Gaius’ table. It must be for Arthur. He thought he better took it to the prince now, or he would probably be yelling at him again. It was another twenty minutes when he finally returned, finished his late supper and crawled into bed.
“Rise and shine, Arthur!” Merlin said cheerfully and opened the curtains to let in the early sunshine.
Arthur groaned and turned to the other side.
“It’s time for you to get up, my lord.”
Arthur had the worst sleeping position Merlin had ever seen, not that he had seen a lot of others. But looking down, his prince’s pillow had somehow fallen down to the floor, and his blanket tangled messily around him. Merlin pulled the blanket away yet Arthur desperately tried to take it back with his eyes closed. After a few tugs and pulls, Arthur finally gave up and opened his eyes.
“Are you ready to get up now?” Merlin asked, cocking his head to aside.
“Ugh, where have you been?” His voice was thick with sleepiness.
“I haven’t been to anywhere besides your chamber today, Arthur.” Merlin answered quizzically.
Arthur abruptly sat up and held on to Merlin’s wrists.
“No, Merlin, I’m sorry, let me rephrase it. Where have you been in my life?”
Merlin opened his mouth, trying to produce a response.
“I’ve always been here?”
What was wrong with Arthur today? Why did he look at me like a love-struck puppy?
“Then I’ve been blind for all those years.”
He pulled Merlin closer to him.
Before he could react, Arthur already placed a hand on Merlin’s cheek and was gently caressing it. Merlin felt his whole body became very hot and rigid.
“You’re so beautiful, Merlin.”
He suddenly got back his senses and batted Arthur’s hand away. “If this is some kind of a joke…”
Merlin backed away quickly and ignored Arthur’s calling after him.
“Gaius! Gaius!” Merlin shouted. “Arthur is…” He paused in search for a suitable word. “… extremely weird today!”
Gaius was busily searching around the room.
“Ah, Merlin,” He answered distractedly and gave Merlin a medicine bottle. “this is for Arthur.”
“I thought…” Merlin’s mouth fell open when he took over it.
“Have you seen that little bottle I placed at the corner of the desk? I can’t find it anywhere…”
“You mean the one with light purple liquid in it?” Merlin uttered out each word slowly.
Gaius looked up. “Yes, exactly. I thought I put it here…”
Merlin winced and said in a low voice. “I might have made a mistake.” Gaius raised an eyebrow at him, and Merlin swallowed. “I brought that bottle to Arthur…”
“Tell me what I should do now, no wonder Arthur was behaving like that this morning.”
“Merlin, you gave Arthur a love potion!”
He thought he had heard it wrong.
“It will make Arthur fall in love with the first person he saw!”
Merlin widened his eyes.
“I think he already did.”
“With me.” Without waiting for Gaius’ next word, he blurted out. “Is there something I can do? There must be a spell or a cure?” Merlin asked anxiously, gestured his hands widely. “Or will it wore out naturally?”
Gaius sighed. “None of these above. That is, I’m still working on the cure.”
Merlin frowned. “Gaius, what exactly is your purpose of making this?”
“I’m always looking for a new challenge, Merlin, and the book said it’ll produce a beautiful color.”
He eyed the old man unbelievably.
“So it did work.” Gaius smiled smugly.
“Gaius! It’s no time for this!”
“Calm down, Merlin, it’s not the end of the world! I’ll figure it out soon. Meanwhile, have fun with Arthur.”
“Have fun with… what the hell are you saying?”
Before Merlin could turn back to face Gaius, he was already being pushed out of the door.
Merlin’s hands trembled when he tried to lace up Arthur’s tunic. After a few failed attempts, he prepared for the prince’s scolding saying him being absolutely useless. But instead, a warm hand covered his gently.
“It’s alright, Merlin, I can do it myself.”
“I’m sorry, sire.” He mumbled, avoiding Arthur’s gaze.
“Are you alright, Merlin?”
He nodded his head slightly. “Just a little tired.”
Merlin turned around and picked up Arthur’s trousers. Arthur closed the gap and held Merlin’s chin up gently with two fingers. Merlin’s cheeks flushed and instantly became as red as a tomato.
“I’m sorry if I scared you this morning, Merlin. We... should take this slow.” Seeing Merlin didn’t reply, he continued to speak. “I really love you, Merlin. Will you give me another chance?”
He didn’t know what to say, so instead, he bent down to give Arthur’s boots a final brush.
It didn’t get any better.
The love potion not only made Arthur fell in love with Merlin, but also turned him into a helpless romantic. He found the prince looking at him with love and adoration whenever he met his eyes, as if he was the only one that ever mattered to him in the whole world. He even winked at Merlin when the king was addressing to a row of knights at the court. Not to mention the fact that Arthur sent out beautiful flowers with little love notes like 'You look gorgeous, Merlin' 'I love you, Merlin' 'You are everything to me, Merlin' to him.
“Your prince charming sent you flowers again.” Gaius said when Merlin entered the chamber after running some errands for the court physician.
He picked up the colorful flower bouquet and smiled broadly. Yes, he knew this was all because of the love potion, nothing was true, but he couldn’t resist being pampered and adored by his crush. Gaius let out a soft chuckle beside. Merlin immediately felt his face reddened and put the bouquet down.
“You seem to be enjoying yourself.”
“Yes, no, I mean…” Merlin stammered. “When will the cure be ready?”
He did his best to change the subject quickly.
Merlin cleaned up the used plates from Arthur’s table. The prince was standing beside the window, and Merlin knew there was definitely something in his mind.
“Are you alright, Arthur?”
He looked up with wide eyes, clearly startled by Merlin’s voice.
“Yes, I mean, no,” He took a few steps closer to the confused Merlin. “I’ve been thinking, Merlin,” He swallowed hard. “will you… sleep with me?”
“What?” Merlin opened his mouth, and almost dropped the pile of plates to the ground.
Arthur twisted his hands nervously.
“No, no, no, Merlin, you got this wrong, I mean,” He blushed. “not in a sexual way that is.”
“Al…right…?” Merlin narrowed his eyes.
“It’s just, your bed hardly seems comfortable, and my bed is big enough for at least four people, so I just thought…” His voice trailed off, anxiously looking for Merlin’s expressions. “I won’t do anything inappropriate, I promise.”
This was probably a bad idea, but in the end, Merlin gave in and slept on the other side of Arthur’s super king size fluffy bed.
Merlin scooped up a spoon of soup and immediately put it down with a soft sigh. Gaius looked up at him, an eyebrow raised.
“Are you alright, Merlin?”
“It’s much more difficult than I thought, Gaius. I think it’ll be much easier if I don’t love Arthur that much.”
His face turned scarlet when he realized he had just confessed his love for Arthur to Gaius.
“Don’t need to explain, my boy.” Merlin looked up at him. “You don’t look surprised, Gaius.”
“I’m not as oblivious as you think. I’ve been watching you and Arthur, and I can see the love in your eyes shine through every time.”
Merlin smiled and lowered his head.
“Is it that obvious?”
Gaius smiled at him and nodded.
“Everything will turn out fine, Merlin.”
I really hope so.
“You seem to spend a considerable amount of time with that servant boy recently.” Uther said to his son.
“His name is Merlin.” Arthur said firmly.
His eyes looked directly into his father’s.
“Okay, you seem to spend a lot of time with, um, Merlin, recently.”
“Yes, I know that, father, I realized that I didn’t know what I had missed before. I’m pretty sure I didn’t neglect my duties of any kind.”
“No, I didn’t mean that, son. It’s just…” Uther paused. “you should spend more time with people at your level.”
“What does that mean?” Arthur asked, trying not to be so direct and rude. After all, this is his father, the king he was speaking to.
Uther sighed. “I understand you want to take pleasure from the boy…”
“You got this all wrong, father! I’m not taking pleasure from Merlin, I love him!”
“You what?” Uther stopped his pacing and widened his eyes.
“I. Love. Merlin.” Arthur pronounced each word clearly.
“You’re mad, son, you don’t understand the meaning of love! Trust me, you’ll soon get over…”
“You don’t understand me, father. If it’s possible, I’ll ask Merlin to marry me.” Arthur said ignoring his father’s growing anger, the redness showing up on his face.
“How dare you saying this! Have you no consideration for the future of Camelot?”
“Father, I know I still have a lot to learn before I can become the king of Camelot, but I understand this, if I can’t even be with the one I love, how can I expect my people to be happy and free under my ruling?”
Uther held tightly on the chair’s headboard; his knuckles turned white, trying desperately to control his anger.
Arthur then rushed out of his father’s chamber without looking back.
He was still panting when he got back to his room.
Merlin looked up from scrubbing the floor. Arthur threw a few of his belongings into a bag.
“Arthur? Where are you going?”
He gave Merlin a faint smile.
“I’ll be back soon, need some air.” He flung the bag across his shoulder and went out.
Merlin went after him after a few minutes, but Arthur had already ridden out of the castle.
Merlin had a few ideas where Arthur went to 'cool down'. It started pouring rain when he arrived at a cave, at a forest not far away from Camelot.
He got down from the horse. His clothes were all wet. He walked a bit closer and called out again.
Merlin grinned when he saw Arthur appeared from the cave.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m worried about you.”
He took down the soaking wet bag from the horse.
“Come on in, you’re all wet!”
Arthur quickly led him into the cave. There was a small fire burning, and he immediately sat Merlin down beside it. Arthur checked the horses and put down Merlin’s bag with his at the corner.
“You’re shivering.” He looked down in concern.
“It’s alright.” Merlin hooked his arms together and drew his knees up.
“Take off your clothes.”
Merlin wasn’t sure he had heard it right.
“You’re going to catch a cold like this.”
He eyed Arthur, and found him being serious. Merlin felt shy being half naked in front of Arthur, but before he could crouch into a smaller form, a dry and warm piece of clothing gently draped around his shoulder. He looked up and saw Arthur had actually taken off his own tunic and sat down behind him; his strong arms wrapped around Merlin. The intimate gesture was way too much for him.
“Arthur, we shouldn’t…”
“Shh, Merlin, you need to keep warm.”
Arthur rocked him slowly like a baby. With his strong chest pressed so close to him, his body heat and scent radiated; Merlin began to feel aroused. This is it. At that moment, he knew there was no turning back. If he had sex with Arthur, he would be giving everything to his prince, his mind, his soul, and his body. And when the cure was found, he didn’t know whether he was strong enough to bear the loss. But somehow, he couldn’t think past anything besides being wrapped around in the arms of the person he loved most, safe, warm, and happy. Like it was meant to be. So when Merlin turned back his head, and their eyes met, there was indeed no turning back.
Merlin awoke curling up beside the fire. His naked body was covered with Arthur’s tunic. Before he could recall what had happened exactly, he heard the prince’s voice.
“Good morning, love.”
Love? Did Arthur just call me love?
Then Merlin remembered how in the heat of passion last night, he had confessed to Arthur how much he had loved him, and how much he had wanted him since the day he became his manservant.
“We need to be going back soon, Merlin.”
Arthur smiled at him and passed him a plate of sausages and a piece of bread. Merlin ate his breakfast and Arthur sat down beside him, stroking his dark hair gently.
“Did you have a good night sleep?”
Arthur gave him a kiss on the cheek and went to prepare the horses.
“You’re finally back.” Gaius said. “Here’s the cure you are looking for.”
He passed Merlin a small medicine bottle with dark purple liquid in it.
“Guess it’s logical that I was the one who caused this, and I should be the one who ends this.” He murmured to himself and took over the bottle.
He went to sit beside the window. Gaius didn’t say anything, rather, he sat down with him and put an arm around Merlin.
Merlin placed the bread and meat on Arthur’s table. He then walked to Arthur’s side and put down the napkin on the prince’s lap. Before Merlin could leave, Arthur held him closely causing him to fall onto Arthur’s lap, and the prince held him tightly in his arms.
“Merlin, I love you.” Merlin smiled at him sadly. This would soon come to an end.
“I know, Arthur. I love you too.”
I’ll always love you, Arthur, even though after this you won’t remember anything, but I’ll always love you.
“I won’t let anything get between us.” Arthur said and kissed the back of his neck.
Merlin didn’t look up and quickly got off of his lap. With his back facing Arthur, he pulled out the cure and poured it into his soup. Watching Arthur sipping the soup, Merlin could feel his heart broken into tiny pieces, and he opened the door and walked out of the chamber.
The cure worked perfectly and Arthur was soon turned back into his normal self. Merlin was being ordered around as usual and hadn’t had a lot of free time to sort out his complex emotions towards the prince. But whenever he was alone in his chamber, he couldn’t help but take out the little love notes Arthur had sent to him, which he kept neatly in a small wooden box, and he could feel the tears slowly streaming down. Stupid, stupid, stupid! What am I expecting? It’s enough to be at Arthur’s side, loving him and protecting him silently.
But he knew, deep down in his heart, after what had happened, it would never be enough for him again.
“Merlin! Where are my boots?” Arthur shouted.
“Here, my lord.” Merlin held out the boots to him.
“Remember to polish my armors, clean up the room, and don’t forget to do my laundry,” He let out a series of commands, and Merlin just nodded silently.
He started to walk out of the door, trying hard to forget everything that had happened between them and focusing solely on his works instead.
Before Arthur could finish, Merlin snapped. “What?”
It didn’t help that tears were starting to blur his vision.
“Merlin…” Arthur stood up and went to him. “The day you told me that you love me and want me, they were true, weren’t they?”
Merlin just stood there helpless against the hot tears that started to roll down his cheeks.
“I want to say that…” Arthur cleared his throat. “I feel the same for you, I still do.”
Merlin looked up in surprise. “I thought… you don’t remember any of these.”
“Of course I do, Merlin, the medicine allowed me… to admit my true feelings for you… I think I fell in love with you the minute I saw you. I just… didn’t have the courage to admit it to myself…”
Arthur held up his hand and tenderly wiped away Merlin’s tears.
“You certainly don’t act like it, prat.” Merlin started to smile a little through his tears.
Arthur closed the gap and kissed Merlin softly.
“I always love you, Merlin.”
And Merlin knew finally that Arthur had always loved him, just like he did for Arthur.
- The End -