Harlequin's Slash Fic

Season 5: 09 The Gangly Boy

Title: Season 5: 09 The Gangly Boy
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Merlin
Characters featured: Merlin/Arthur
Category, Word count: PWP; 668 words
Rating: PG13
Summary: Arthur has his beloved wife back, but still takes a moment to acknowledge Merlin.
Notes: Part of a series of episode codas that I hope will continue through the fifth season.
Warnings: Spoilers for episode 509! Infidelity!

 

 

The Gangly Boy

Sometimes it seemed that the laundry chores were never–ending. If Merlin wasn’t gathering up Arthur’s worn clothing and hauling it down to the washerwomen, then he was hauling a basket full of clean, folded clothes back up the stairs – or indeed doing a quick job himself on a tunic Arthur urgently wanted, no doubt on nothing more than a whim, and then sneaking into the kitchens to hang it up by the ovens to dry overnight.

On that particular night, Merlin was hauling the clean clothes upstairs, and inhaling the welcome scents of marjoram and soapwort from the basket in his arms. Once he’d reached Arthur’s rooms, he nudged the door open with an elbow, and then headed across to the cupboards, skirting the table and chairs by instinct. He could have navigated every inch of this room by now even in pitch dark. As it was, there was enough moonlight to guide him.

At the cupboards, though, Merlin decided he could do with some extra light by which to sort the clothes away. He was just about to silently command the nearby candles to light, when someone cleared his throat. Someone who wasn’t Merlin.

It was Arthur, of course. Merlin recognised the laughter. ‘You should have seen yourself jump!’ the king scoffed, as delighted as a child at his little prank. ‘Did you think I was a ghost?’

‘No,’ Merlin said mulishly, knowing he wouldn’t be believed. ‘Anyway, what are you doing here in the dark?’

‘Waiting for you.’

‘Oh right,’ Merlin scoffed in turn.

‘I was,’ said the king, with light sincerity.

‘Oh,’ said Merlin. ‘Right.’ He’d already put the basket of clothes down on a table; he now found his way towards where Arthur stood propped in the shadows by a window. When he got there, he stopped at a small distance; he stood closer than any other man would have, but still he didn’t quite presume… He said, ‘I thought you’d be with the queen tonight.’

‘I will be. She wanted some time to herself first… And anyway, I wanted to see you.’

‘You did?’

‘To say thank you.’

‘You did?’ Merlin repeated in a whisper.

Then Arthur stepped into the moonlight and closed the distance between them, his hands wrapping around Merlin’s upper arms, and his lips pressing against Merlin’s with a passionate familiarity. For long moments they communed there, silently sharing breath and mouthing kisses, Merlin’s hands settling at Arthur’s waist, feeling the warmth of him.

Eventually, Arthur broke the kiss, though he stayed there, not moving away but instead resting his forehead against Merlin’s. ‘I have to go, you understand.’

‘I do understand,’ Merlin replied. ‘And I also know it’s not an obligation. You want to go. And so you should.’

‘You’re a good man, Merlin.’

‘Well…’ he said doubtingly, when actually he loved to hear such things from Arthur.

‘I once told you – do you remember? – I said you were not the sort of lover a man would want to break with. But then, Guinevere is not the sort of wife any man would break with, either.’

‘I know, Arthur. I really do know. There’s no need to explain.’

Arthur sighed, and lifted his head a little to consider Merlin, honest and exposed there in the cool moonlight. ‘Perhaps at times I wonder what I’ve done to deserve both of you.’

‘Well, never mind that,’ Merlin lightly chided. ‘Both of us you have – and as you said, Three’s always better than two.’

Arthur almost barked a laugh. ‘So I did.’

‘Go to your wife, Arthur. She has need of you.’

But Arthur delayed one more moment to press another kiss to Merlin’s mouth, and to whisper, ‘Thank you.’

And then he was gone.

Merlin gave him a moment, and then headed out himself, locking the door behind him. He slowly wended his way to Gaius’s rooms, and his own small bedroom. And he wasn’t lonely at all. Everything was wholesome again in Camelot, and Merlin was perfectly content.

Posted in: Merlin, Slash fic

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