Harlequin's Slash Fic

Season 2: 08 Who I Really Am

Title: Season 2: 08 Who I Really Am
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Merlin
Characters featured: Merlin/Arthur
Category, Word count: Ongoing story; this part 1621 words
Rating: NC17
Summary: Merlin and Arthur are both in need of comfort after a traumatic few days.
Warnings: Season two spoilers.

Who I Really Am

The prince was never this quiet and still. It was kind of eerie.

Merlin pottered about Arthur’s rooms, trying not to disturb the hush as he sorted out Arthur’s armour and the other gear they’d taken with them on their brief journey to Morgause’s castle and back. Arthur stood in the window alcove, leaning against the wall – certainly not seeing Camelot spread before him but no doubt contemplating all that he’d been through.

Eventually he spoke. ‘I’m indebted to you, Merlin. I had become… confused.’ His slow, thoughtful tones became firmer. ‘It is once again clear to me that those who practice magic are evil and dangerous. And that is thanks to you.’

The irony of it felt almost familiar by now. ‘Glad I could help,’ Merlin offered. And he knew he was a bit damp around the eyes, but Arthur wasn’t going to notice.

The prince had so much to think about. Seeing his mother for the first time – or a vision of his mother, at least – learning more about his own origins, fighting his father and then reconciling with him. And in the midst of that, before Morgause had summoned Ygraine, Arthur had said directly to Merlin, ‘Surely not everyone who practices magic can be evil.’ Raw and brave and intelligent – ready and willing and able to question everything he’d been brought up to believe. And in that moment, although there had been too much else going on to really appreciate it as the words were spoken, and he’d been so very concerned for Arthur himself – in that moment, Merlin had dared to imagine a time in which Arthur knew him for who he really was, and still considered him a friend.

‘What is it?’ Arthur asked. ‘What’s wrong?’

Merlin was startled out of his reverie, and was chagrined to find that not only had Arthur approached him without him noticing, but a lone tear was rolling down Merlin’s cheek. He cuffed it away as if it were just a stray speck of dust, and offered Arthur a bright smile. ‘Nothing. There’s nothing wrong.’

But Arthur would not be deterred. He was standing quite close now, considering Merlin with much the same quiet earnestness as he’d contemplated his own concerns. ‘You can’t fool me, Merlin. It’s perfectly obvious that something’s troubling you. Well…’ the prince amended, with a tiny soft smile, ‘it’s obvious to someone who knows you, Merlin.’

Merlin smiled wryly, fondly. ‘D’you know me, then, sire?’

‘I think so. Here –’ And the prince reached a hand to cup Merlin’s face, to rub a thumbpad across the path of another rogue tear.

Merlin didn’t dare move, though he wanted nothing more in that moment than to shift forward into the curve of Arthur’s arm. He waited, at least allowing himself the gift of not pulling away.

Until Arthur said hoarsely, ‘Oh, come here, damn you…’ And the prince was reeling him into a hug, and they held each other there, Arthur’s arms around Merlin’s shoulders, and Merlin’s around the prince’s waist, their heads tucked in beside each other. They clung, and Arthur lifted a hand to stroke Merlin’s hair.

‘I should be comforting you,’ Merlin said a bit brokenly into Arthur’s shoulder.

‘So you should,’ Arthur replied with a hint of their usual banter. Yet he continued to hold Merlin, and to caress him.

‘You’ve been through so much…’

‘You’ve already done so much for me.’ Arthur turned in towards him, so his mouth was near Merlin’s ear, and he murmured, ‘Tell me what’s wrong. Whatever it is, I’m sure we can fix it.’

Merlin grinned, though another tear welled. ‘We can’t. Or… not yet.’

Arthur lifted his head, and looked thoughtfully at Merlin. And then – And then – he pushed close again, and kissed him.

They’d never done such a thing during daylight hours. Never at all, without it being part of sex and lust and need. It was a tender thing, this kiss, friendly and sweet. Merlin drank it in like a parched plant welcoming rain. And when Arthur drew away again, Merlin smiled at him with all his gratitude and affection.

‘See?’ said Arthur lightly. ‘We fixed it.’

And Merlin’s smile turned wry and amused, while yet another tear trembled on the brink – and Arthur eased close to press his mouth against Merlin’s again – and maybe the kiss would have ended up as part of sex again, but it would have been a differently shaded act this time, it would have been comfort and affection and –

And there was a knock at the door. Merlin jumped and stepped back, hands grasping the nearest object – which happened to be a gauntlet – unable to wipe the guilty look from his face. ‘Enter,’ called Arthur, smirking a little at Merlin’s discomfort.

It was Sir Leon, conveying a summons to Arthur from the king. Arthur glanced once at Merlin, a cool yet unexpected, even unprecedented acknowledgement, and left.

Sir Leon stayed, though, hovering just within the doorway. ‘Merlin.’

‘Mmm?’ he responded, feeling like his stock of words and resistance were pretty much depleted.

‘I wanted to say – I was impressed. With what you did for the king today.’

‘I did it for Arthur,’ he said distantly. And then realised what a stupid almost treasonable thing that was to say.

But Leon nodded. ‘I’m glad you give Arthur the loyalty he deserves. Either way, I was impressed,’ he said again. ‘You did something I didn’t dare try. Something I couldn’t even see how to do. You achieved what I should have, if I’d only had the courage and the wits.’

Merlin grinned a bit wolfishly. ‘I’m rarely accused of having either courage or wits, I assure you.’

‘Then people underestimate you,’ Leon concluded, before he gave Merlin a courteous nod and withdrew, shutting the door behind him.

And that was enough to wear down the last little bit of Merlin’s composure. Once he was sure he was alone again, Merlin wandered over to Arthur’s bed, curled up on it, and gave way to weeping.

Late that night, Merlin undressed the prince. But once Arthur was naked and Merlin turned to gather his night linens, Arthur said, ‘That won’t be necessary. Come on,’ he added with soft encouragement, as he sat down on the edge of the bed.

Merlin didn’t need to be asked twice. He quickly stripped off where he stood, letting his clothes fall in a pile by the wall – and then Arthur was welcoming him into his arms, and they were getting into the bed together, and settling into a mutual embrace, all the while kissing or mouthing at each other’s throats or cheeks or foreheads. It was a good simple comfortable friendly thing.

Soon Arthur took Merlin’s hand and brought it to his own eager cock, then reached his own hand to grasp Merlin’s. The prince began a gentle rhythm – a deliberately slow approach from a man who knew exactly how to trigger any reaction he wanted from Merlin, in this regard at least. When Merlin was tardy in returning his attentions, Arthur quirked an eyebrow. ‘Feels like you’re in the mood…’

Merlin asked in a hushed tone, ‘Is this what you want?’

The prince shrugged. ‘For tonight it seems… appropriate.’

He smiled a little, and pressed a kiss to Arthur’s mouth. ‘It’s wonderful,’ he agreed, lips against the prince’s, as he began echoing the steady strokes, the undemanding pressure. And they kissed again, and pleasured each other.

Their first encounters – so long ago now – had been little more than fucking. Arthur fucking Merlin, with no embraces and very few kisses. The prince had always, however, ensured Merlin’s completion as well as his own. There had been a mutuality to it from the start. There had never been this gentleness.

Still, Merlin reflected, as Arthur shifted up just far enough that he could nuzzle at Merlin’s collarbone and then lower to tease at his nipple. This wasn’t quite as tender as it might have been if they’d not been interrupted by Sir Leon that afternoon. And it wasn’t as honest as it might have been if they’d coupled while Arthur was still daring to believe that perhaps not all sorcerers were evil… Still, it was wonderful nevertheless.

And as the pleasure gradually grew within him, as it grew and unfurled and took root and put forth leaves and began blooming, Merlin watched Arthur, he watched his prince – the lord who so needed comfort and yet took the time to instead comfort his servant, his friend. Merlin watched Arthur with fondness, with affection. With love. Yes.

He was so full of love for this man, this young man. Not for who he would become, not for who his destiny would make him, but for who he was now. The noble soul and the prattish mouth, the moments of chivalrous wisdom and those of childish humour, the vulnerable heart not always safely hidden by the armoured chest. Merlin loved him, loved him, and it almost spilled out of him in words – but the way Arthur was looking at him meant that he could read Merlin like the open book he claimed to be. Arthur knew him, and that made words of all kinds, whether magic or mundane, completely irrelevant. And yet they were still worth saying.

‘Arthur…’ Merlin murmured as the end neared at last.

‘Yes,’ the prince said. And then he spilled seed onto Merlin’s fingers, groans onto his lips, pleasure into the very depths of his being. ‘Merlin…’

‘I love you,’ Merlin whispered as they lay there quietly afterwards.

‘I know,’ Arthur replied. And his tone was as soft and secure as if he’d said, I know who you really are, Merlin. And I love you, too.

Posted in: Merlin, Slash fic

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16 responses to “Season 2: 08 Who I Really Am”

  1. avatar tetsubinatu says:

    ah. I think you broke me.

  2. avatar alexi_lupin says:

    This was so gentle and lovely. <3 I love it when Arthur takes care of Merlin.

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      alexi_lupin – Thank you so much! I’m feeling rather gentle and contented here, to know the fic worked exactly as I’d hoped!

  3. avatar E.A. says:

    “He was so full of love for this man, this young man. Not for who he would become, not for who his destiny would make him, but for who he was now. The noble soul and the prattish mouth, the moments of chivalrous wisdom and those of childish humour, the vulnerable heart not always safely hidden by the armoured chest.”

    That was beautiful. (and if I could compose a love letter for Arthur, this would be a part of it too) *wipes tear* Our boys really did need the comfort, and I’m glad you provided it for them. ;)

    Aaaaaaahhh, your fics have filled in the missing pieces oh so very nicely. I can’t imagine not having them accompanying canon. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing, and looking forward to more. :)

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      E.A. – Thank you so very much! I was hoping that Merlin’s description of Arthur would connect with the people who are kind enough to be reading. And I’m so glad I got the comfort right for them!

      It’s wonderful to me that you are enjoying this sequence of fics. Only five eps to go now! Here’s hoping we’ll be able to see them through to a proper happy M/A ending. In the meantime, ‘I’m glad you’re here, E.A.!’

  4. avatar Larissa says:

    Oh woa. Now that was sweet. Poor Merlin though. Such a terrible secret!

  5. avatar sky says:

    so sweet and sad ç___ç/*

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      sky – Aw, thank you so much, hon… I’m hoping we’ll get them through to a happy ending by the end of the season!

  6. avatar BecsX says:

    Oh how lovely! This is so tender and loving, exactly what was needed after the emotional roller coaster of 2×08 (my favourite of the series so far). Beautiful!

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      BecsX – Thank you so much! I’m really glad you appreciated the fic, especially if this was your favourite ep of the season so far! That’s wonderful. Hope to see you next week! :-)

  7. avatar riventhorn says:

    I’ve been waiting all week for this! The sex is always hot but I loved the part where Arthur just hugs and kisses Merlin. And yay for bringing Sir Leon into it–he’s becoming a favorite character of mine.

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      riventhorn – Thank you! It’s so nice that you were waiting for the next instalment! :-) I’m delighted that you liked the non-sex-related hug and kiss. And, indeed – hurrah for Sir Leon! He has proved a brilliant addition to the cast, and I’m sure he’ll be featuring in other fic of mine… :-D

  8. avatar Queen Mab says:

    :) All I have to say is that I am one happy bunny. :) ^_^

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