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Leon liked to think of his life as being relatively normal. Aside from Arthur being a royal arse now and again and knighting more of his idiot friends, he had things pretty good. He’d been a knight since before Arthur even became the official Prince, and he had himself a decent title. He’d never had much trouble with the ladies, and his health was usually in good shape.

Apart from that time he died and got brought back to life, but that’s a different story altogether.

Anyway, the day started out more or less as any other. Leon had returned from a trip for King Arthur and was delivering a speech at the round table.

“We covered the area from Paulet down to Medreth. This includes thirty troops at Bawtry, fifteen at Tallen, ten at Chime, nine at Broom-”

And then the double doors to the chambers swung open -as if of their own accord. The Knights simultaneously turned to the source of the sound and eyed the doors carefully. Leon turned his head to Arthur. The King looked shocked, if only for a moment, then went back to looking his usual bored self before giving Leon the nod to continue.

“Eleven at Bowell-”

“Woah!” somebody yelled as the brass chandelier fell from the ceiling into the dead centre of the table. Arthur looked almost amused for a moment, then decided it would be wise to reschedule the meeting before disappearing with Merlin.

Even then, weirder things than Chandeliers almost killing someone had happened in Camelot, and Leon left the meeting feeling no different than usual, if not a tad more tired.

 

 

Later in the evening the knights were in the armoury. They had been removing their armour after a particularly painful practice with Arthur when they heard a yelp from behind them. As always, Leon was the first to the scene, only to find Sir Percival with an axe firmly lodged in his shoulder.

“I don’t even know how… Ahhh, I must have knocked it-”

Honestly, Leon had seen Sir Percival in tougher scrapes than this, but the man was white as a sheet. He had seen many things and fought many battles, and yet something had spooked him- and even though he’d never let on about it, something was spooking Leon too.

By now, he knew better than to rule anything out. He knew better than to think that the world was a natural place. He knew better than to believe weird stuff didn’t happen on a daily basis. There was a time in the past where Sir Leon wouldn’t believe in the supernatural. But since then, Leon had died.

Anything was possible in this world, and that axe could not have fallen into Sir Percival’s shoulder from across the room and lodged itself that far into his body. Something strange was at work tonight.

Leon had turned down the opportunity to do the night patrol when Arthur had asked him earlier, in favour of getting some sleep. It wasn’t too late to change his mind.

 

 

Something was not right. The castle had been as normal for best part of the evening and Leon was sure for a moment that maybe he had been exaggerating, that perhaps Sir Percival did knock over the axe somehow, that nothing was as it shouldn’t be. 

Of course, his initial instincts were as they always were. Absolutely correct. It had already been reported to him by Sir Gwaine that the Queen had almost burned to her death, and was only saved thanks to Merlin. There was also strange noises echoing from different areas within the castle, and the air inside was cold; but not just any type of cold. This was the type of cold that wrapped itself around your lungs like a disease and made every hair on your body stand on end.

Leon had seen many things in his time, and he knew for certain that there was something supernatural in the castle. Something that was supposed to be dead. And so when he heard a slam from behind the doors he had just walked past, he tracked back with great care - his heart racing as he considered what it was that he would come face-to-face with. There was no time to waste. He could handle whatever this was. He was Sir Leon, after all.

When he pushed open the door, his body saw life and he instinctively jumped out of his skin, before halting and realising he was looking at Merlin and the King. Why the two of them were out of bed at this time of the night, he didn’t know. Maybe they had witnessed something out of the ordinary too?

“Arthur, Merlin” Leon addressed them, and simultaneously, both men replied.

“Leon”

Well, this was a turn of events. Honestly, Leon mightn’t have questioned their presence here if it hadn’t been for that reaction and the highly suspicious look on both of their faces. There was definitely something more going on here.

“Is everything alright, my Lord?” Leon asked Arthur, noting that Merlin looked slightly breathless - and that they were actually stood in a dark room with no light other than the torch Arthur was holding. What the hell had they been doing?

“It’s perfectly fine” Arthur answered almost immediately and in a completely false tone of voice. Leon just stared at the two of them in disbelief for a moment. He had known Arthur almost all of his life and he knew exactly when he was lying- and Arthur knew he knew. 

“We’re…” Arthur looked at Merlin, clearly trying to come up with some sort of lie in his head, and when Merlin just looked back at him blankly he continued “Merlin, tell Leon what we’re doing”.

Of course, the easy way out. Leon really did feel rather awful for Merlin at times. Gods know how many times Merlin had to lie his way out of situations on Arthur’s command. Merlin looked back across at Arthur “We’re…” and he gestured around with his hand. He then turned back to Leon, face deadpan and said, without even a waver in his voice, “I’m teaching him some poetry” Arthur’s eyes widened and his mouth genuinely fell open. Then something clicked in Leon’s head. Oh.

Oh.

It made sense now; Merlin’s breathlessness, hiding in the dark, sneaking around at night, the way they were stood angled towards one another, the way they panicked at the sight of Leon. How couldn’t Leon not have noticed this sooner? Had he been blind? “Poetry?” he laughed. Gods, surely they could have thought of a better cover than that. Merlin’s face curled into a mischievous smile while Arthur struggled to piece his words together.

“I… love poetry” he said, and hell, this was absolutely grand. If it weren’t for the fact that there was in fact an undead being lurking in the castle, Leon would have tormented them here and now. Merlin was even laughing as he gestured to Arthur with his hand again.

“I was as surprised as you are, he can’t get enough of it!” laughed Merlin, and Leon couldn’t help his smile. I bet he can’t get enough of it, he thought as he eyes them with humour. These two obviously wouldn’t be able to keep their hands off each other for much longer - and as they were obviously trying to keep their relationship a secret (regardless of how badly they were doing it), Leon would play dumb and pretend to know nothing about it.

“I’ll leave you to your poetry then, my Lord” he said before walking past the two of them - but he couldn’t quite help cast a humoured glance back at them before leaving the room.

This made a lot of sense. It explained why Gwen had previously been seeing Lancelot, and why she was now showing a keen interest in Leon. It explained a lot of things between Merlin and Arthur for certain - and honestly, it might be a strange pairing but Leon couldn’t be happier for them.

 

 

The following day, all had returned to normal in the castle again. Whatever had been lurking within the walls was no longer present, and so Leon focused his mind on a more pressing matter.

Arthur and Merlin. Merlin and Arthur. A pair. A couple .

He could say without a shadow of a doubt that Arthur was the most humble, noble and deserving King he had ever seen and so he didn’t once doubt Arthur’s decision. It might be risky in other circumstances- certainly if Uther had still been alive- but even so, if Arthur and Merlin were happy then Leon was too. There was the issue of their privacy, however.

In the past, Arthur had bedded many women but he had only ever had one proper relationship and that was with Guinevere. Although their love was very genuine, it would not be the type that Leon would have thought worked best in a relationship. In a marriage of convenience, however, making Gwen his wife all but declared their love and heightened the chances of there being an heir to the throne. If the kingdom were to find out that Arthur was having a relationship outside of his marriage with Gwen- well, he wouldn’t be the first King to do it but people would certainly expect better of him.

It was a conflicting situation. It caused Leon to push his head back into the tree trunk he was resting against with that much force that he thought he might crack his cranium. He didn’t want to try and understand Arthur and Merlin’s relationship. They were happy, Gwen seemed to be happy. He just had to try and help them keep it secret, but without actually letting on that he knew about it.

It wasn’t going to be easy.

“Have you seen Merlin? I can’t find the idiot anywhere!” said Arthur, who managed to appear in front of Leon without the knight even noticing, he was that deep in thought. Surely Arthur couldn’t expect to find Merlin at this early hour, especially given the fact that they were roaming the castle doing- well , they were roaming the castle at unseenly hours of the morning.

“Have you checked his bed, sire?” Leon asked. He had meant to check to see if Merlin was asleep, but apparently Arthur thought he meant otherwise because his entire body stiffened and he spoke almost straight away.

“Why would I do that?” he asked, looking dead into Leon’s eyes. God, this was going to be tiring with Arthur acting like this. It was already taking all of Leon’s will to not lecture Arthur on the art of subtlety. 

“Because you were both awake late last night and he’ll be tired, Arthur. Take it easy on him, you kept him up late doing your, uh… poetry.” Leon replied. Arthur’s shoulders seemed to relax slightly with Leon’s response, though Leon couldn’t help tense up a little at the thought that Arthur might be burning Merlin down. The boy was thin and weedy and surely Arthur couldn’t expect them to be up all night doing- doing whatever they were doing- then for Merlin to be ready first thing this morning as well. Leon eyed Arthur for a moment. “Why do you need him? Is it something I can help you with?” he asked. If Arthur wanted breakfast or his clothes changing then Leon could get one of the other servants to do it for now.

“No, but thank you Leon. I’d much prefer to have Merlin here, It is his job , after all.” Arthur said, as stern as ever. Really, if Arthur wanted him for that purpose, then surely he could give Merlin a break. Leon had heard from some of the noble ladies in the past that Arthur was er, resilient in the bedroom but Gods, if Merlin was to be in a permanent relationship with him then Leon was surprised the servant could even walk most days.

“I’ll check his chambers then, I suppose” said Arthur when Leon didn’t respond, and with a nod he turned back towards the castle. 

There had to be a way to get Arthur to take it easy on the poor boy.

 

 

It had been two days and Camelot had been rather peaceful. No battles, no extended trips, no overnight stays, no sorcerers, no attacks- just the usual knightly routine of sword practice, perimeter watch and a few drinks in the tavern. 

Today’s sword practice had been somewhat brutal. Percival near broke Gwaine’s arm mid-fight and Mordred got so caught up in a heated argument with Elyan that the two of them would have probably torn each other limb from limb had Leon and Arthur not forcibly separated them from each other. The drama was obviously taking its toll on Arthur who had called an early finish to the practice. He had been growing impatient with the knights’ childishness and was currently out of earshot over by the sword-stand with Merlin. Leon’s eyes drifted from them to Gwaine as he approached the base of the steps where Leon sat. Leon took a large swig of water, grateful for the hydration in the humidity.

“Do you ever wish they’d just kiss each other already?” said Gwaine, causing Leon to somehow choke on his water and blow it out of his nose. He coughed violently afterwards, resulting in Gwaine slapping him on the back. “Easy, tiger.” he laughed while Leon managed to regain his breath.

“What makes you say that?” he replied, now eyeing Arthur and Merlin with more scrutiny. “They’re just acting their usual selves, aren’t they?” he added - desperate not to let on about Arthur and Merlin’s secret relationship.

“They are, yes. Their usual, desperate-for-each other selves.” Gwaine said matter-of-factly, and when Leon feigned a look of bewilderment, he continued. “Come on, Leon. They’re constantly insulting each other, touching each other, they’re constantly with each other- it’s obvious that they just need to get together and have a good-”

Yes , yes, thank you very much for that, Gwaine” interrupted Leon, horrified to hear what the other Knight might have actually said should he have let him continue. Gwaine was right though, they were as unsubtle as they come and it was a wonder that no one else in the castle had them figured out yet. He had to say something. It wouldn’t do for rumours to start spreading.

 

 

Without another word, he kicked off from the steps and made his way over to where Arthur was swatting at Merlin’s head with his glove.

“What do you mean you’re busy? I’m the King of Camelot, Mer lin! I should be your first priority!” Leon heard Arthur shouting, and when he hit Merlin on the head another time, Merlin didn’t even try to avoid the connection.

“I’ve already told you, Gaius needs my help and I’ve spent too much time prancing about the castle after you this week, Arthur. You aren’t the only person here who needs my attention” Merlin accused, pointing a threatening finger at Arthur’s face. Before Leon could even make his presence known, Arthur had grabbed Merlin’s finger and pulled it back, bending Merlin’s arm behind his back and pinning him to a wall.

Leon had seen enough.

He swooped forwards and pulled on of Arthur’s arms away from his serv- er, boyfriend. “That’s enough” he advised in a level tone, and Arthur turned to face at him - his expression bewildered.

“Leon, this isn’t your concern” Arthur replied, his voice strained as he kept Merlin pinned.

Leon then stepped closer, his eyes meeting Arthur’s. He knew that Arthur could be a total idiot but never did he think that his friend, the King, would treat his own lover in this unkindly manner. It wasn’t king-like or noble and it was absolutely uncalled for. Their gazes met intently before Leon spoke. “And I’m making it my concern. Let go of him” he snarled, and Arthur immediately let Merlin go. It was rare that Leon ever had to speak with such condescending authority but it always worked. He watched as Merlin sauntered off into the castle - his thoughts interrupted by Arthur shoving at his shoulder.

“What the hell are you playing at?” Arthur asked and Leon opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted again by the King’s ever-enthusiastic temper. “You know what? I don’t even want to know, Leon, but if he doesn’t get my armour cleaned then you can do it” 

Arthur turned on his heels and made to walk back into the castle, but Leon’s nobility got the better of him and he grabbed Arthur’s arm, forcefully spinning him around and closing the distance between their faces.

“You should consider treating Merlin with a little more respect, Arthur. He does more for you than you realise and given the situation, you shouldn’t be treating him like dirt. He is risking a hell of a lot for you and it’s about time you learned to respect that” Leon warned and then he walked away from the situation, catching Arthur’s confused glare before he did so.

 

 

He was on his way to his chambers that night to have a nice warming bath to ease his muscles, when he saw Merlin sat on the very same step he had been sat at with Gwaine that morning. The boy’s back was arched over as he scrubbed Arthur’s chainmail - a bucket of water and a pile of armour next to him. Leon was very aware that he had just finished guarding duty which made it well after midnight.

This was ridiculous.

He slowly approached the step and sat down next to Merlin who just gave him a fleeting smile.

“Merlin?” Leon asked and Merlin replied with a frustrated ‘Mm?’ as he violently scrubbed at the metal in his hands. Did he really care for Arthur that much that he would sit outside at this unearthly hour to clean his armour? It was no secret that Merlin despised this chore, which only made Leon realise that their relationship was obviously quite serious. Or- it was on Merlin’s side anyway

Instead of replying, Leon stooped over and picked Arthur’s helmet from the pile. He grimaced as he dipped his hand into the bucket of water and pulling out a wiry rag. He evaluated the state of Arthur’s helmet and started to scrub at the metal, aware that Merlin had stopped what he was doing next to him.

Leon did this for a few minutes because he wasn’t sure what to say. He knew Merlin had always been there for Arthur as a friend as well as a servant and that he did a lot more for him than any other servant ever had and ever would. Leon also saw him as a friend and a trusted member of their community, and if helping Merlin now would cheer him up and show that he is no lower in importance than himself then that is what he would do.

There was a little giggle, then Merlin audibly snorted next to him and Leon smirked too. “Why is this funny?” he asked, the rag spraying water all over his tunic when he held out his arms in question. Merlin laughed more.

“Because you knights have no idea what on earth you are doing. Though I appreciate the gesture” Merlin chortled before he got back to work. “You can’t scrub Arthur’s helmet with that, Leon, you’ll scratch it to pieces.” he added, and Leon just sighed with defeat before dropping the helmet to his lap and the rag back in the bucket.

He had to talk to Merlin about what was going on in their relationship. Merlin had to understand that he was just as important as the rest of them and that he shouldn’t let Arthur walk all over him.

“Er, I wanted a chat actually, if that’s okay?” inquired Leon and Merlin gave him a nod. “It’s about Arthur” Leon added carefully, watching as Merlin’s eyebrows raised and his face contorted with what appeared to be annoyance.

“Ah yes, what has the Royal Turniphead demanded of me now?” he asked and Leon just smirked. They’d have to work on their pet names for each other.

“Nothing” replied Leon as he heard Merlin grumble something about destinies and coins. “I just wanted to say that- well, er- I know your secret, Merlin” 

Merlin immediately froze beside him but he didn’t look away from the chainmail he’d been cleaning. Leon knew he’d have this kind of reaction- Arthur would have told him not to tell anyone. If someone were to find out then Merlin would be an enemy of the court. At the very least, he’d be banished from Camelot.

“How long have you known?” Merlin asked, his voice a little higher than before.

“Oh, not long. But now that I think about it and look back, it’s always been pretty obvious” Leon replied matter-of-factly. It was true, they’d always been inseparable and Gwaine had been right; the relationship between them always seemed like something more than ordinary. Merlin huffed out a dry laugh and and continued cleaning the armour. “I swear I won’t tell anyone. I won’t even tell Arthur if it’ll make things easier on you.” Leon added. He didn’t want Arthur upset with Merlin - that was exactly what he was trying to avoid.

Merlin then looked up at him with such happiness in his eyes that Leon couldn’t help beam back at him. “Leon, that’s incredibly nice of you. You- You’re a wonderful friend.” Merlin expressed, and then he dropped what he was holding and wrapped his arms around Leon’s neck for a hug. Though it was a little awkward, Leon appreciated the gesture and patted Merlin’s back appreciatively. 

“It’s important that you maintain your self-worth, Merlin. You are doing more for Arthur than he realises. You are important to him but he doesn’t know it enough yet.” he disclosed as Merlin pulled away from the hug. “Your secret is safe with me, Merlin - but you need to talk to him about this. It isn’t right, the way he is treating you” and then Merlin nodded.

“I’ll consider it” he mumbled, and that was enough for Leon for the time being. 

“Now teach me how to do this properly.” he requested with a laugh.

The two of them spent the night cleaning armour together in each other’s company, and Leon realised just how much of a friend Merlin really was.

 

 

It was a mistake going hunting with Arthur and Merlin. Leon couldn’t get Merlin’s hurt expression out of his mind from yesterday morning as he and Arthur had fought, and Leon had wanted to be there in case it happened again. He hoped his presence would lighten the mood between them but he had been wrong.

Very wrong.

“You absolute, idiot , Merlin! That would have been an incredible kill if you’d just learn to keep your damn feet on the ground! Why do you even come hunting if you can’t bare to see me kill anything? It’s about time you learned how to act like a man!” Arthur raged as he stomped towards the edge of the lake. Merlin paraded after him, grabbing Arthur arm so that he stopped and turned around.

“Maybe it’s you who needs to act like a man! You have plenty of food in that castle and yet you come here and kill innocent animals for fun. It is sick, Arthur, and I wouldn’t do it if you didn’t make me! In fact, sod it. I’m going back!” Merlin shouted back at the King as he charged towards his horse.

“Don’t you dare walk away from me Mer lin, I am the King of Camelot!” Leon rolled his eyes and jumped down from his horse. They had been arguing back and forth for hours now and Leon was starting to realise just how much he appreciated not being in a relationship.

“You going to use that against me every time, are you? ‘Oooo I’m Arthur, King of Camelot and Merlin has to do everything I say’ yeah well, I’m sick. You’re an ass and I’m done with it! Find a new servant! I’d find better pay whoring myself out in the tavern!” Arthur stopped in his tracks at this and Leon audibly gasped at hearing such words from Merlin’s mouth. That was a low blow. 

“You can’t leave this job unless I tell you to!” roared Arthur from where he stood by the lake, and then Merlin charged at him, his hands moving wildly as he cursed the King of Camelot as though he were no more than a stable boy. 

Leon hurried towards them but he obviously wasn’t quick enough because -Gods knew how- Merlin had somehow managed to punch Arthur square in the eye. He places his hand over Merlin’s fist and watched as the servant’s eyes widened and filled with tears.

“Oh Gods Arthur, I’m sorry- I’m so sorry I didn’t realise, I didn’t think-”

“That’s enough!” shouted Leon, his sanity yearning for just a moment of silence. “I have had it up to here with listening to the both of you! Merlin, I am very sorry but I can not deal with this any longer. You might as well tell him that I know about the secret because I am sick of this. It has to end.” he ordered as he turned to look at Arthur’s already swollen eye. That must’ve been some hit.

“The secret?” Arthur asked and Leon nodded his head and turned to see Merlin’s eyes widening. Leon gave him a gentle nod and turned back to Arthur.

“And just so you know, you totally deserved that” Leon tantalised before stepping back, ready to observe the two of them talk about their feelings.

Arthur just looked between the both of them with confusion whilst Merlin stared at the ground, his face wrought with concentration. “What bloody secret??!” Arthur demanded and Leon just sighed.

“My magic-”

“Your relationship-”

There was a pause while everyone looked at each other wide-eyed and confused.

“Hang on, what? ” Leon asked, his voice betraying his utter confusion at what he had just heard. “Magic? What are you talking about, Merlin?”

Arthur locked eyes with Merlin now and both of their faces start to lose colour.

“What am I talking about?” Merlin yelled “What are you talking about?!” he added gesturing to Leon.

“Er, your relationship. After catching you both in the castle I didn’t want to let on that I knew you two were in a relationship so I-”

“We what ?!” Arthur exclaimed, throwing his hand to his head and grimacing. “Leon, have you lost your mind ?”

Then everything seemed to make a lot of sense in Leon’s head, and he felt the colour drain out of his own face too. “Oh- er- I’m sorry I just thought that- after the whole Poetry thing, that you know, you were both..”  and then he couldn’t believe it but he was moving his hands together in the ‘shagging’ gesture. Merlin winced and Arthur’s face went from white to purple in seconds.

“Why the hell would I be buggering Merlin?!” Arthur raged but before Leon could even think of trying to piece together a response, Merlin looked at him and took his arm.

“You mean, you weren’t talking about my-” he paused and then his eyes widened again before he smashed his hands to his face “Oh Gods, last night- you thought it was because were were shagging!” Merlin exclaimed with a half-laugh, half-sob. 

Leon and Arthur eyed him with confusion for a moment before the realisation seemed to dawn on them

“Magic” Arthur mumbled and Merlin just nodded, his face still buried in his hands.

Leon’s mouth ran dry and he immediately realised his mistake. He had been so caught up in being obscure that he’d accidentally led Merlin to reveal a personal secret about himself. A secret that is more damaging in this Kingdom than adultery.

“I’m sorry” Merlin whispered from behind his hands, and Leon could tell from his broken tone that he was crying. Gods, he felt awful.

Arthur just gaped at Merlin, his eyebrows pulled together as though trying to solve a riddle. Leon only wished he could intervene but this was something that only Arthur could handle. For the first time since the King’s death, Leon was truly glad Uther wasn’t around for this.

“We need to get back” said Arthur, his tone emotionless.

They rode back to Camelot in silence.

 

 

The courtyard was relatively empty when they returned and Leon had done a lot of thinking during the ride. Arthur was the first to dismount his horse, and he eyed Merlin with a look of nothing other than betrayal before storming into the castle.

Leon had messed this up, awfully. And he was the only person that could help.

 

 

He had been waiting in the woods now for a long time and the cold night air was making him shiver. He was beginning to worry that Merlin wasn't coming until there was a loud rustle of leaves to his right. He immediately drew his sword and approached the shrubbery when Merlin clambered rather unceremoniously out if the leaves. 

“Merlin, you could at least try to be quiet” Leon scolded as he replaced his sword and immediately began dragging merlin between trees and bushes. 

Merlin asked several times where they were going and Leon only told him to hush. They had to be as quiet as possible. They couldn't afford to be found out if things went sour. 

They walked at a brisk pace for a very long time and when they reached a clearing, Leon stopped to catch his breath.

“Are you going to explain to me what the hell this is about?” gasped Merlin as he leaned forwards against  tree. “Where are we going?”

Leon took a gulp of his water and then passed it to Merlin. “I had to make sure you had safe passage out of here. If we travel this way some more you should be in Ealdor soon” 

Merlin choked before the water sprayed from his mouth. “I can’t leave! Arthur needs me, I need to stay, he-”

“Arthur is very unpredictable at the moment, Merlin. It would be safer for you to be outside of Camelot until the King has cleared his mind.” Leon advised as he took the water back from Merlin. “Arthur cares about you but he has been brought up in the fight against magic and he is still Uther’s son.”

“He’s nothing like Uther” Merlin snapped. “He is thrice the man Uther could have ever been and he will change the future of Camelot, it is his destiny and it was foretold. Just as it was foretold that I would be by his side in the process”

“You keep speaking of destiny, Merlin. How could you possibly know-”

“Because I am magic, Leon! Which is why we are in this mess! I need to go back to Arthur, I need to talk to him- to make him understand-”

“He understands perfectly well” came a voice and Leon drew his sword, but not fast enough. It collided with Arthur’s with a loud clang.

“Arthur” he gasped and Arthur raised his eyebrows in surprise.

“I must admit, I thought you were the most trustworthy of my Knights, Leon. Yet here you are smuggling a sorcerer out of Camelot” Arthur expressed with a laugh and Merlin winced at the sound.

“Sire, I-”

“It’s fine, Leon” he said dismissively as his eyes turned to Merlin who was now looking at his feet.

“It’s not fine though, is it?” Merlin mumbled and the guilt began to build up inside of Leon’s heart. “What are you going to do to me?” he asked as he met Arthur’s eyes and the pain and hurt made tears well up in Leon’s eyes.

“I’m going to take you home” replied Arthur matter-of-factly. 

Leon and Merlin’s eyes widened in shock and neither said anything.

“I went looking for you, Merlin. I woke Gaius in a panic when I couldn’t find you and he told me a lot of things I wouldn’t previously have thought of. I tracked the both of you here.” he said as he glanced accusingly at Leon. He should have remembered to cover their tracks. Arthur then moved towards Merlin, closing the gap between then and brushing his hand over Merlin’s cheek. Leon couldn’t help the flush of embarrassment at witnessing this act of intimacy

“I thought something had happened to you, Merlin. I have been sick with worry” he breathed and then he pressed his forehead to Merlin’s.

“Arthur, I don’t understand. My magic, I’m-”

“Shhh” hushed Arthur and then he placed a delicate kiss on the end of Merlin’s nose. Leon heard Merlin’s gasp and realised that his own heart was beating out of his chest.

“Arthur, Gwen-”

“Gwen knows, Merlin. She’s always known. Everyone bloody knows. Well, except you apparently” he purred and then placed a fleeting kiss on Merlin’s lips before pulling away. “Come on, then”

Merlin still eyed him with confusion but his body was no longer as tense as it had been. Arthur stopped walking when he noticed Merlin wasn’t following and he rolled his eyes and turned back around.

“Merlin we can talk about it tomorrow, I need to sleep.” he sighed, exasperated. Merlin just raised his eyebrows and lifted his hand to his lips. “Look, if a kingdom without magic means a kingdom without you then I don’t want to be a part of it” Arthur stated, his eyes focused on Merlin, and Merlin softened his gaze and smiled shyly.

Leon wasn’t nearly crying. Absolutely not.

And then when Arthur gestured, the three of them made their way back to the castle.

 

 

“I want to thank you, Leon” Arthur said after they dropped Merlin off back at his chambers and made their way to the armoury.

“For what, Sire?” Leon inquired as he struggled with his chest plate. Arthur came over to assist him.

“For making me realise how I feel.” Arthur added, and they didn’t say any more on the matter until they were fully unarmoured and just about ready for bed.

“Arthur?” Leon asked before they went their separate ways and Arthur nodded with a ‘Hmm?’. “Does this mean you’ll stop being awful to him?” he added.

Arthur paused and lifted his hand to stroke his chin in mock thoughtfulness. Then he smirked. “Nah”

And Leon couldn’t help smacking Arthur upside the head before they each made their way to bed.