"Arthur, time to wake up..." I hear Merlin's voice saying, and then the bright sunlight invades the room. I groan and pull the blankets up to my head.
At this point Merlin usually starts tickling me or he suddenly pulls the blankets away laughing for my annoyed face. But this time nothing happens.
I seat up and see he's standing by the window, looking outside, turned so that I can't see his face. Just like I do when I'm thinking or I'm worried.
"Merlin, are you okay?"
"Yes sire, breakfast's on the table." he answers in a shaky voice.
Something is definitely not okay. I want to help him, but at the same time I don't want to push him and end up hurting his feelings being a prat like I always am...
"Merlin... Do you want to talk about it?" He sobs and then turns, nodding.
"Hey, come here..." I say with a small smile, trying to hide my worry and put him at ease. He looks so sad and scared, like a little kitten, ready to escape.
He makes a few hesitant steps away from the window, then runs towards me. He wraps his arms around my neck and sobs in my shoulder. I help him on the bed so that he's sitting in my lap and I protectively hold him.
He looks so frail here in my arms. Who could have hurt my Merlin like that? I press my chin in his hair, to let him know I'm here to help him, and he slowly calms down.
I lift his face up and look into his beautiful blue eyes. There are so many emotions in them. I could stare into these blue pools 'till I drown. I wipe away a tear on his cheek with my thumb and he leans forward until our foreheads are touching...
"Hey... Now can you tell me what happened?" I ask softly. He untangled himself from my embrace and moves to sit at my side. I put an arm around his shoulders and he lays his head on my bare chest.
"This morning I received a letter. It had a threatening tone and... and said they have my mother" he sobs "apparently they know I work for you, and they want money... They said if I don't go to Ealdor with enough money and gold they will kill her..." He was crying again.
"Merlin, I'm sorry... Look at me..." I say, lifting his chin with two fingers, searching for his eyes. "I will not let anything happen to you or your mother. You idiot, why didn't you come and tell me about this right away? We will solve it, don't worry! I'm not afraid of some stupid bandits!"
"It's not a we, Arthur. I have to solve it. You have to take care of the kingdom, I can't have you risking your life for this. And if it's a trap? If it's Morgana, and not some stupid bandits? Please Arthur, I'm just a serv..."
"NO! Don't ever say it again. You're never just a servant to me. You're the worst servant I've ever had!" He looks at me a little confused "And I love you. God, if I love you."
He smiles one of his lovely goofy smiles exclaiming: "Prat!"
I smile back and continue "so now we're going together to Ealdor and save your mother. 'Cause I would give my life for you, I would give all my gold just to see you smile again. You risk your life for me everyday, now that is you who need help, don't you think I would take the chance without thinking twice?" At this point he interrupts me. Actually, his lips interrupt me.
He kisses me softly, and curls his fingers in my hair. I kiss him gently back and he smiles against my lips.
"Thank you, Arthur. God if I love you too".
"Clotpole!" I say, and I kiss him again.