Pairing - Merlin / Arthur
Rating - R-15
Summary - Merlin attracts the attentions of a servant at the castle, much to Arthur's annoyance. Meanwhile, Morgana and Gwen make an interesting discovery.
Arthur watched, scowling at the pretty blonde girl who stood talking to Merlin in the kitchens. He hadn’t been spying, honestly, merely trying to avoid his father for a while. The King had decided that he wanted to spend more time with his son and had spent the past five hours shadowing his every move; for the past two hours that meant coming along to his knights’ practise session and offering helpful advice whether it was wanted or not. Arthur had figured that the kitchens would be the last place that his father would look, since the King would deem it beneath him to be seen in the lower areas of the castle.
The blonde servant reached up to twist a strand of hair around her finger as she batted her eyelashes at Merlin. Merlin laughed at whatever she had said, making her smile grow wider. Dammit, Merlin was his and she needed to learn that.
Arthur sighed and stepped into the kitchen, causing the serving staff and cooks to stare at him in surprise. He frowned; his presence wasn’t that rare down here, was it?
Merlin hurried over to him, leaving the blonde watching him in disappointment.
“I’m sorry; did you need me?”
Arthur resisted the urge to cast a victory smile at the blonde and nodded his head. “Yes, come with me.”
Merlin followed him out and was pleasantly surprised when he discovered what Arthur really needed. The moment that Arthur’s bedroom door closed, he found himself pinned against the wood as Arthur’s mouth claimed his in a fevered kiss.
“Not that I’m complaining, but what was that for?” Merlin asked when they parted.
Arthur looked at him closely and it hit him; he really had no idea that the blonde had been flirting with him, nor that Arthur’s reaction was due to that. He wondered for the hundredth time just how Merlin had managed to get this far through life being so completely clueless.
“No reason,” he said eventually. “Actually, that wasn’t planned at all but when I saw-”
Arthur shook his head in disbelief. “You really don’t know, do you? The girl? She was flirting with you.”
Merlin frowned, obviously thinking back.
“The blonde, down in the kitchens,” Arthur prompted.
“Don’t be daft; of course she wasn’t,” he said.
“Trust me, Merlin, had she stripped off and done a dance in front of you she couldn’t have been more obvious.”
Merlin still didn’t look convinced, instead steering the conversation away from him.
“So why were you down in the kitchens anyway?” Merlin saw the look on Arthur’s face and recognised it instantly. He only looked like that when he’d been caught doing something wrong, or nearly caught, in the case of last week when one of his knights had almost seen him kiss Merlin. Now it made sense; Arthur had been hiding, and there was only one person he hid from. “What’s your father done this time?” Merlin asked, grinning.
Arthur smiled. He may be clueless when it came to other things but when it came to how well he knew Arthur, Merlin was scarily accurate.
“He’s driving me crazy,” he complained. “Every time I turn around, there he is.”
Merlin reached behind him and turned the iron key in the door before backing Arthur toward the bed.
“So, you thought you could hide out for a while and you wanted some company?”
Arthur hooked his finger into the waistband of Merlin’s trousers and tugged him closer again.
“Well, since you’re offering…”
Morgana took a sip from her goblet and watched Arthur out of the corner of her eye. She had to wonder what Merlin had done wrong this time- it was usually something amusing and she couldn’t wait to hear the story- if Arthur’s glowering was anything to go by. He had been watching Merlin ever since they sat down to eat, an irritated look on his face, having barely touched his food.
Glancing across at Merlin, Morgana saw that whatever Arthur’s problem was, it obviously hadn’t affected Merlin. Arthur’s manservant was joking with an attractive blonde in servant’s garb. She smiled; they would actually make a sweet couple, though she doubted that Merlin would ever work up the nerve to do anything about it. The poor girl was practically throwing herself at him but he seemed not to have noticed.
She found that after that she spent most of the evening watching them. Well, watching Arthur. An idea had planted itself at the back of her thoughts but she had at first thought it too ridiculous. Now, she wasn’t so sure, especially after he continued glaring at the girl even after Merlin had moved away from her.
“There is something odd going on,” she told Gwen a little later.
Gwen frowned. “How do you mean?”
Morgana indicated to Arthur. “Just watch; I want to know if you think so too.”
She and Gwen sat together and watched as Merlin came back into the room and refilled Arthur’s goblet, moving back away to lean against the wall again. Almost immediately, the girl sidled over and smiled up at him.
Arthur’s eyes narrowed at her and Morgana smiled. Glancing at Gwen she saw a look of confusion of her friend’s face.
Gwen nodded. “If I didn’t know better, I would say that Prince Arthur is jealous,” she said in a low voice. “But I have never seen him compete for the affections of a serving girl.”
She was right, Morgana knew. Arthur may have a bit of a reputation for flirting with anything in a skirt but this was out of character, even for him. As they watched, Arthur summoned Merlin to him, once more getting him away from the girl. Merlin looked amused, even more so when Arthur said something to him in a voice too low for her and Gwen to hear. Merlin’s grin widened, his eyes darkening as Arthur stood and led Merlin out of the room.
The idea that had been tickling at the back of Morgana’s mind suddenly returned.
“You don’t think…?”
She saw in Gwen’s eyes the moment when she had the same idea and they slipped quietly out of the room to follow Merlin and Arthur.
“You are doing it on purpose now,” Arthur said once they were out of hearing range.
“Doing what?” Merlin asked innocently, though he was unable to keep the grin from twitching at the corners of his mouth.
“Encouraging that little harlot,” he said.
Merlin shook his head. “She’s not a harlot,” he pointed out. “She’s very sweet actually.” When Arthur let out a low growl in the back of his throat, Merlin held up his hands in mock-surrender. “Fine, I’ll tell her that I’m not interested. You know, I kind of like you like this, all possessive and jealous.”
Arthur crowded him, backing him to the stone wall of the corridor, and kissed him. Hands went up to comb through the strands of dark hair that fell to the nape of Merlin’s neck as he held Merlin close. The younger man’s arms slid around his waist as he kissed back.
“Now, unless you wish me to show you just how possessive I’m feeling right here and now,” Arthur told him, “you had better get to my room.”
Gwen clamped a hand over her mouth to stifle the surprised gasp that threatened to surface as Merlin gave Arthur’s backside a cheeky pinch, kissed him on the end of his nose and set off toward Arthur’s chambers.
She caught Morgana’s eye and they both stared at each other for a moment. She found herself thinking back to all of the little things, things she had never paid attention to before but now suddenly made sense.
They made their way back to the hall and Morgana took her seat once more. When Uther casually enquired as to Arthur’s wherabouts half an hour later, Morgana had to fight to keep a straight face, especially when she saw Gwen’s shoulders shaking with silent laughter.
“I’m not sure, Sire,” she lied, sure that she could feel her cheeks heating up. “Perhaps I should go and find him?”
She was glad when Uther nodded and she could escape from the hall with Gwen, heading back to her chambers.
“The look on your face when he asked,” Gwen chuckled. “That was-”
Both women stopped as they saw the two men coming toward them from the direction of Arthur’s room. When they realised that Morgana and Gwen were there, they too froze.
“Hello, Arthur. Merlin.” Morgana couldn’t keep the smirk from her face. She looked them both over and then said, “Arthur, honey, your shirt is unfastened.”
Arthur glanced down and his face pinked when he saw the state of himself.
Morgana ushered them into her rooms and closed the door. Turning to the two men, Gwen at her side, she asked,
“So, boys, is there something you’d like to tell us?”