Harlequin's Slash Fic

Season 5: 02 Protection

Title: Season 5: 02 Protection
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Merlin
Characters featured: Merlin/Arthur
Category, Word count: PWP; 953 words
Rating: NC17
Summary: Merlin is worried about Arthur’s safety now they’ve brought Mordred back to Camelot.
Notes: Part of a series of episode codas that I hope will continue through the fifth season.
Warnings: Spoilers for episode 502! Infidelity!

 

 

Protection

‘Are you sleeping in the queen’s rooms tonight, sire?’

‘No, not tonight, Merlin,’ Arthur said, his tones weary. It was their first night back in Camelot, and the king was slumped bonelessly in his chair before the fire, a goblet of wine in his hand.

Merlin remained quiet, and kept his head down, slowly sorting through what little remained of Arthur’s gear. Most of it could be salvaged.

After a moment Arthur looked across at him, and sighed. ‘Has that become a loaded question now, Merlin?’

‘Not necessarily, sire,’ Merlin replied, his throat tight with tension.

‘Ah.’

‘We don’t have to – you know. Do anything.’

‘No.’

‘I just don’t think you should be alone. So if you’re not with the queen, then I’m staying here. I’ll – I’ll sleep on the floor if I have to.’

‘Merlin –’ the king began in exasperation.

‘You shouldn’t have brought him back with us!’ Merlin burst out, finally turning to confront Arthur directly. ‘He’s nothing but trouble; you know that!’

‘People can change, Merlin.’

‘You have no reason to trust him!’

‘He turned on Morgana,’ Arthur coolly pointed out.

‘Exactly! What’s going to stop him from turning on you?’

Arthur just looked back at Merlin levelly, with that frank blue gaze he sometimes used when he wanted Merlin to share his sincerity. ‘Everyone deserves a second chance, Merlin.’

Not everyone, sire.’

‘He was a child. He has a man’s capacity for judgement now.’

‘That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll make different decisions.’

‘Merlin, I’ve given you the benefit of the doubt a hundred times or more. I assume you’re grateful for that.’

Arthur waited.

After a long moment, Merlin reluctantly conceded, ‘Yes, sire.’

‘Then don’t begrudge another man for being given the same chance.’

Merlin sighed. ‘No, sire.’ After a moment, he had to add, ‘If you’re wrong about him, then you’ve brought it on yourself. Like you’re your own worst enemy.’

‘We are all our own worst enemies, Merlin,’ the king observed tiredly. And a silence fell.

They continued as they were for a while; the firelight flickered and danced through the quiet night. Merlin finally decided he couldn’t fuss with Arthur’s gear any longer without adding to the general wear and tear. Arthur finished his wine.

Finally Arthur said, ‘Come here, Merlin.’

Merlin went readily enough – and when he stepped up to Arthur’s chair, Arthur reached for his hand while shifting down onto the rug before the fire – and a moment later they were both sitting there on the rug, Arthur cross–legged and holding Merlin, while Merlin folded up ungainly beside him, and simply clung. The pride he’d once used to maintain some kind of distance in these situations had long since been scoured away.

‘Merlin,’ Arthur murmured – and Merlin could tell from his tone that the frank blue gaze was still in full effect. ‘You’re very loyal, Merlin. I appreciate that more than I’ve ever told you.’

‘I know, sire,’ he said in a small voice.

‘Do you?’

‘Yes.’ He always pushed for reassurance, but that was about other things. That was about the lack of recognition, the fact that the real Merlin felt nigh on invisible at times. That was about frustration, and it was about fear.

‘You’re very loyal… and you know that I love you for it.’

Gently, then, Arthur lifted Merlin’s head up from where it was pressed into his shoulder, and Arthur kissed him. The kiss was sweet at first, and tender, but soon became more heated. Merlin clung harder, his lips trying to express all the need all the want all the fear. When he thought about losing this man and all he stood for, all he embodied…

Merlin groaned and pressed closer. Arthur’s hand ran firm down the front of Merlin’s tunic, and found its unerring way into his britches. No, Arthur hadn’t forgotten a thing. Within moments he had tugged Merlin into spilling his self his seed – Merlin heard himself whimpering into Arthur’s mouth, and Arthur swallowed the sounds hungrily demandingly – and then soothingly…

And they were back to being gentle, as Arthur released his cock with a complacent pat, and then carefully stroked at Merlin’s head and shoulders, all but saying, There, there… There, there…

They quieted, and when Merlin turned in Arthur’s embrace, wanting to return the favour, Arthur stopped him with a brief tightening of his arms, and a whispered, ‘No, it’s all right.’

‘Arthur –’

‘Go to bed, Merlin. Go to your own bed. I’ll be fine, I promise.’

‘But –’

‘The guards are there for a reason, you know. You can remind them to keep anyone but my most trusted people out, if you like.’

Merlin pulled away to sit upright, though they were still close enough that their thighs pressed up warm together. ‘How many times have the guards failed in their duty…?’

‘Less often than they’ve succeeded.’ Arthur nodded at him, his gaze no longer frank or open, but still sincere and disarmingly kinglike. ‘Go on. Go back to Gaius. I’m sure he’s missed you terribly. He’ll want to reassure himself that you’re home and safe.’

Beyond a certain point there was no arguing with Arthur, and Merlin knew they’d reached that point quite early in the evening. ‘Well, all right,’ he said reluctantly, clumsily scrambling to his feet.

‘Good man,’ said Arthur. He remained sitting there by the fire, as if he still had many matters to think about and mull over before he went to bed.

Merlin sighed. ‘Goodnight, then, sire.’

‘Goodnight, Merlin.’

And he left. Feeling somewhat more confident about Arthur himself, it was true. But the fear was still there, swirling restless in Merlin’s gut. The fear that Arthur underestimated him. Which meant that Merlin might not be there when it mattered most.

Posted in: Merlin, Slash fic

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2 responses to “Season 5: 02 Protection”

  1. avatar mcicioni says:

    Have started watching Merlin again after really enjoying 5.01. Love your coda, love its mix of tenderness and uncertainties and present problems and past history. Love both your Arthur (grown-up, a self-contained King) and your Merlin (not blind, but committed until the end). Am rushing off to find your coda to 5.01.

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Buon giorno, mcicioni! I am so very pleased and indeed honoured that you enjoyed this effort. I love all that you say about it! It’s certainly fun to be working with this more grown-up pair… though they had their attractions as younger fellows, too! :-)

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