Harlequin's Slash Fic

Liege of My Heart

Title: Liege of My Heart
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Merlin (canon au)
Characters featured: Arthur/Leon
Category, Word count: Short story; 1700 words
Rating: G
Summary: Leon is surprised to discover Arthur is disobeying the king, when both knight and prince value loyalty. But Leon values other things as much, or even more.
Notes: Written for the Merlin Canon Fest 2017 on LiveJournal. Based in episode 108 The Beginning of the End.

 

 

Liege of My Heart

The alarm bell clanged so loudly there was hardly any need for stealth, but Leon trod carefully down the tunnel nevertheless. The escaped Druid boy and an adult accomplice had been glimpsed fleeing this way, and Leon hardly knew what he faced. He held his sword ready before him, grasped firmly in both hands, as if it might actually be any use against magic.

Moonlight poured from another tunnel on the right, the one that led out to a road beyond the castle walls – cool moonlight, and a warmer flicker, too, as if from the flame of a torch. Leon paused for a moment, swallowed hard, and then stepped warily around the corner.

He’d found them. A dark human shape shifted against the grated archway at the far end of the tunnel, with the smaller form of the boy steady behind him. A torch lay on the ground a few feet before them, the light glinting on a drawn sword.

Leon frowned. A Druid bearing a sword? That made no sense. The figure shifted his weight onto his front foot, and Leon saw he wore britches and boots, not the robes he’d expected.

“Stay where you are!” Leon called to the fugitives, his voice resounding in the tunnel and sounding far more confident than he felt. And, over his shoulder to any friend who might be within hearing, he cried, “Down here!”

The figure stepped forward as Leon drew closer, sword held ready in one hand, and the other gesturing to the boy to stay back. “Leon,” came a hushed but urgent voice.

Leon’s mouth opened as his thoughts tumbled. The Druids knew his name? But this was no Druid. And Leon knew that voice. He took another couple of steps further, fear and glory tumbling through him as he realised that he recognised that beloved silhouette. “Prince Arthur!” Leon finally responded, his voice low. Already complicit. Arthur was holding his sword defensively across his body, not offensively, but either way Leon’s instinct was to drop his hands to either side, so his own sword pointed harmlessly at the ground.

Arthur took another step towards him, the torchlight glinting now on his golden hair, and illuminating every expression passing over that beautiful noble face. “Leon, I don’t expect you to betray the king, but I cannot let this boy be executed tomorrow. I’m asking you to turn away now.”

Leon felt a happy smile stretch his mouth, and Arthur frowned a little in confusion – as well he might, with a knight of Camelot reacting in such a way to such a request.

“Do you understand me?” Arthur persisted. “I’m asking you to go back, to pretend you haven’t found us. To lie about it, if you must.”

His thoughts were having trouble catching up, but Leon’s heart was soaring. “My prince,” he replied, “I’ll do whatever you need me to.”

Arthur hesitated a moment, thought twice and thrice, but then said, “I can’t ask you to help me.”

There were shouts and footsteps from behind Leon. Still distant, but doubtless drawing nearer. The time for doing something useful was rapidly running out.

Leon slid his sword into its scabbard and strode towards the grating that prevented their escape. “Is this locked?”

Arthur turned with him, sword still in hand, but accepting Leon’s help now with no further argument. “It used to be a gate, but it’s been fixed in place since that attack by Bayard, and now it’s rusted solid, too. I can’t move it.”

For long moments, the two of them pitted their combined strength against the grating, to no avail. Leon glanced around, and took a step back down the tunnel. “We need to go, sire. We’ll have to find another way out.”

Arthur, however, didn’t budge. He simply stared at Leon, and asked, “Why?”

Leon didn’t pretend to misunderstand him. He didn’t think about protecting himself either, but favoured Arthur with a warm look, and declared, “I’ve been waiting for this moment, sire, for years.”

Arthur frowned a little, as if pondering his meaning – but just as he was perhaps about to ask, a figure appeared outside in the moonlight, peering in through the iron bars. Merlin.

“Where the hell have you been?” Arthur demanded in great dudgeon.

Leon grinned a little, relieved at the thought that Arthur had had a plan all along. Merlin cast Leon a surprised look, but didn’t question Leon’s presence or intentions.

Moments later, thanks to Arthur’s mare Sica and a grappling hook, they were free. Arthur and the boy were on Sica, with Leon pacing steadily beside them, as they rode away from Camelot. And Merlin was left standing there watching after them, looking somewhat perplexed.

It was an evening of surprises, apparently, for everyone but Arthur.

The three of them didn’t speak much during their journey into the forests south-west of Camelot. A quiet stealth was called for, and actually Leon couldn’t afterwards remember the boy speaking at all. But it must have been true, what Leon had heard about the Druids being able to communicate from mind direct to mind, no matter the distance – because there were three Druid elders waiting for them in the direction the boy had indicated.

They received the boy gratefully, and Leon couldn’t deny it was a relief to have done with the child and his eerie silence and piercing blue eyes. The other Druids seemed almost like friends by comparison, and they addressed Arthur with respect. Leon waited a little to the side, hand on his sword hilt, ready to defend Arthur with his life if necessary. But all went well.

As the Druids turned away, however, Arthur called after the boy. “Wait! At least tell me your name.”

The boy looked to one of the elders, who indicated his permission. “My name is Mordred,” he said.

Arthur nodded in acknowledgment, and wished him well. And as the Druids left, Arthur finally turned away with a pensive frown.

The two of them began the walk back to Camelot together, with Arthur leading Sica now rather than riding her. Leon paced along at his shoulder, feeling utterly content to be in such a place with such a companion. And yet it was perfectly obvious that Arthur did not feel the same peace of mind.

“Sire?” Leon asked after a time. “Is something troubling you? I cannot think that the king will hear of this. Not from the Druids, or Merlin. Certainly not from me.”

Arthur nodded and shrugged, acknowledging Leon’s loyalty but also dismissing this particular concern.

“What is it, then?” Leon persisted.

“An echo…” Arthur said, trailing off uncertainly. “Perhaps I’ve heard his name before. Though he’s only a child. No… I’m not sure. A regret…”

“Sire –”

“This was the right thing to do, Leon,” Arthur continued in stronger tones. “I have no doubts about that.” He looked up at Leon, his face clear now of anything other than curiosity. And beauty. Always that perfect golden nobility. Leon’s heart swelled. He had kept a safe distance from his prince for so long, but there was no need to any more. Arthur asked, “What did you mean, that you’ve been waiting for this moment for years?”

Leon tried to suppress a smile, and shook his head.

Arthur, of course, was not deflected. “Come on, tell me. Don’t make me make it an order!”

“Sire,” Leon began.

“Yes, Leon?” Arthur prompted, his lovely lips quirking with humour.

They walked along tirelessly together in the moonlight, in what felt the rarest and unlikeliest of blessings, in perfect harmony. “My prince –” Leon began again.

Arthur mmm’d a query, apparently becoming more and more amused by him.

Leon wondered if he’d guessed. Yes, Arthur must have already figured it out. Leon didn’t mind, but of course a lowly knight of Camelot couldn’t actually say it out loud! Leon couldn’t declare that he had waited and yearned and dreamed for the moment in which Arthur’s soul finally grew into something as great and profound as his beauty. The prince had always embodied chivalry and duty. He had always been a noble warrior. And Leon had always loved him – but without trusting him. For Arthur had not always been wise, he had rarely known selflessness or empathy, and he was too often righteous when humility was called for. These things, quite obviously, had already begun to change.

None of this could be said out loud. Leon could not be heard to criticise the prince, even if the criticism was merely implied by newfound heartfelt praise. But Arthur was smart enough to understand all that for himself, of course, and Leon felt a delicious delight bubble up within him at the thought that Arthur was teasing him.

“I had been waiting,” Leon finally offered, “for a moment,” he continued, drawing it out as much as he could, “in which I might be alone with you.”

“Oh?” said Arthur. “And why might that be?”

“Because…” And Leon dared to reach to catch at Arthur’s wrist – and Arthur let himself be caught. Leon halted, and Arthur halted a step later, turning to face Leon, Sica turning as well as if to shelter them. “Because I wanted to do this,” Leon murmured, taking a step towards his prince, and taking advantage of the fact that Arthur couldn’t back up any further with the mare in the way. Arthur leant back against Sica’s strong shoulder, but only as if relaxing, not retreating. And so Leon gathered his courage and lifted his hands, at last cupping that noble face, gazing at the man with all the love in his heart. “My liege,” Leon murmured – and then he leaned in to meet Arthur’s mouth with his own, and he kissed him.

Arthur didn’t reach for him in turn, but Leon’s whole world shifted as Arthur kissed him back, and they stood there close against Sica’s warm strength, communing together in this night so full of glorious possibilities.

And when Leon finally stepped away again, he was the king’s man no more. He belonged heart and soul to the prince, and even his sense of honour would have it no other way.

Posted in: Merlin, Slash fic

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