Arthur sat angrily staring at the campfire, well as angrily as he could with a lap full of manservant.
“You’re sooooo pretty Arthur”
“Yes I know Merlin, you’ve only said it six times in the last hour.”
The prince had decided to go hunting to calm himself from the hectic week he’d had. He had also decided take Merlin with him,
to keep him company to carry the game. That was a big mistake, as far as Arthur was concerned.
They had been attacked by a sorceress in the first half hour and Merlin had pushed him out of the way of a spell. That idiot, that stupidly brave, loyal idiot. The sorceress had laughed when the spell hit his manservant and said “enjoy the next two days, your highness” and poofed out.
Turns out, it was a LOVE SPELL and now Merlin was absolutely, hopelessly in love with him. To the point where is causes him physical pain to not be touching Arthur at all times.
The only saving grace was that there were no knights with them, If there had been the prince would have had to leave Merlin in pain, to not embarrass the Pendragon name. At least this way he could let Merlin sit on him and call him pretty. Purely for Merlin’s benefit of course it was not at all because Arthur had been longing for Merlin to do things like this for months.
But Merlin would never see him like that, they couldn’t even be friends because of station and Merlin had never shown interest in anything beyond friendship.
“I love you Arthur”
He suddenly got an awful feeling that he was taking advantage, Merlin would never do this without the effects of a spell. Arthur had a small panic that he wasn’t being honourable towards his manservant and shoved him off.
“No Arthur! What did I do? I’m sorry!” Merlin was sobbing now and had rapped his arms around his stomach in pain. “Please, I’ll do anything to make it up to you!! Arthur I’m sorry please forgive me!”
Merlin was begging, for Arthur’s forgiveness even though he didn’t know what he did wrong. The sight broke him.
“No Merlin I’m sorry, I was wrong” he picked Merlin up and placed him back in his lap “I shouldn’t have done that when I knew it would hurt you”
Merlin looked at him with those gorgeous sea blue eyes that were still wet with tears.
“Arthur you could never be wrong, you’re perfect”
Merlin kissed his cheek lightly and snuggled into his prince’s arms.
“I’m far from perfect Merlin,” Arthur said sadly, trying to ignore how his heart skipped a beat with the touch of Merlin’s lips. “I couldn’t even protect you from that sorceress”
Hopefully the spell would wear off in two days like she had said. They were currently hiding deep in the woods. Arthur was only supposed to be gone a few hours but he couldn’t take Merlin back to Camelot like this! Arthur’s father might kill him just for being on the receiving end of magic. The laws of Camelot were very unfair, which is something Arthur finds himself thinking more often then he would like to admit.
There were no doubt patrols out looking for him but Luckily Arthur was a master of stealth.
“Arthur. Hey Arthur! Pay attention to meeeee.”
He looked back down at Merlin, pulling him out of his thoughts. The manservant was pouting and looked unfairly adorable, Arthur chuckled.
“Is this good?”
He moved his arms around the thin body in his lap and held him in a hug. Merlin basically melted into it and hummed contently.
“This is perfect.”
Arthur didn’t know if Merlin would remember anything about this wen the spell wore off, but if he did the prince could always say he had no choice.
They sat like that for a bit in silence, at some point Merlin had started playing with Arthur’s hair. It felt so good that Arthur couldn’t find it within himself to say stop.
Soon the night came around and Arthur lay down, readjusting Merlin to be lying with his head on the prince’s chest. He put one arm around the boy. Merlin shuffled so he could see the stars. He then proceeded to tell Arthur all about constellations and the different names of the stars.
It was relaxing, nice. With Merlin bumbling away like he normally does it was easy to forget that he was even under a spell. Arthur let himself believe, just for a moment that this is what it could be like. Him and Merlin together stargazing on the grass rapped in each others arms. He lost himself in the idea for a moment and kissed the top of Merlin’s head.
And promptly remembered the spell and panicked. He sat up so suddenly that Merlin’s fell to the ground.
“Merlin I’m so sorry that was completely inappropriate of me I should never have done that” he started hyperventilating. What if when Merlin goes back to normal he’s angry at Arthur? What if he hates him? What if he LEAVES!!! No Merlin can’t leave he means more to Arthur than the whole kingdom, the whole WORLD! “Please forgive me”
“Arthur!! What’s wrong? Are you ok? Arthur look at me”
The prince followed his manservant’s order. The second he turned to Merlin he was being hugged.
“Listen to me, babe you’re alright ok? You’re alright.”
The pet name made Arthur tear up a little. Merlin would never call him things like that only “dollop head” and “prat”. It made him feel awful.
The chances were Merlin wouldn’t remember this maybe if Arthur gave in to himself and let Merlin love him for the however much longer the spell would last he could be satisfied. He would know what it was like to freely love Merlin and to be loved back.
Then everything could go back to normal, maybe they could even be friends. But then Arthur would KNOW what it was like. He had made up his mind.
“I love you Merlin, I love so much please don’t ever leave me” it was so pathetic and wrong to say this to the enchanted Merlin but he would never get to say it to real Merlin so might as well take the opportunity. Arthur laughed.
“I love you!” He laughed again “I love waking up and seeing your face, I love that you cheer for me at tournaments, I love that you don’t treat to me like a prince but like a person, I love it when you talk about nothing and everything, I love it when you smile. I love you, I love you, I love you!”
Merlin beamed like a fool and leaned in to try and kiss Arthur but he pulled back.
“But Arthur you love me! You just said so!”
“I do. But you don’t love me.”
Properly kissing felt like taking too much advantage.
“Of course I do, I love you more that life itself.”
“I’ll tell you what. You can kiss me in two mornings time ok?” Arthur reasoned the spell would have gone by then.
“Let’s go to sleep Merlin”
They lay together under the stars, Merlin wrapped up in the safety of Arthur’s arms, whilst the prince whispered declarations of love in his ear.
The next day was incredible, Arthur thought it would probably be the best of his life. They just existed together all day.
Sweet nicknames and ‘I love you’s and cuddles and hugs and the occasional snippet of banter. It never went further than soft kisses to the forehead and the crown, but their love didn’t require intimacy and they were both as happy as could be.
Arthur smiled all day, and talked. He talked about all the things he loved about Merlin, just to get it all out. It was amazing to finally say everything that he had ever wanted to say, and even better for Merlin to respond so happily.
They lay face to face that night, Merlin was smiling but Arthur couldn’t find it in himself. This was the last time Merlin would ever look at him like this, like he loved him. If the sorceress was to be believed, Merlin would snap out of it tomorrow.
The thought made Arthur stupidly, he sniffed and tried not to cry.
“Arthur what’s wrong?”
“Nothings wrong babe, go to sleep.”
“If your sure.”
He kissed the manservant on the head and held him close, for the last time.
When Arthur woke up Merlin was sitting cross legged beside him frowning deep in thought. He looked to Arthur and saw that the man was awake.
Oh. Oh no. Arthur had been sure he wouldn’t! His eyes widened in panic before he saw Merlin lean in and kiss him. It was slow and meaningful. When Merlin pulled back the prince saw tears in his eyes.
“I’m sorry sire but you promised.”
He got up and walked away, leaving Arthur sitting on the grass in confusion.
Merlin wasn’t touching him so the spell must have worn off, but then Merlin kissed him. What was happening?
Arthur got up and chased after his manservant. When he reached him Arthur tackled Merlin to the ground and pinned him there so he couldn’t escape.
“WHY DID YOU KISS ME?! THE SPELL WORE OFF!!”
“Because I love you, you prat!!!!” Arthur stared at him in shock. Merlin loved him? Like actually, no potion involved? He couldn’t comprehend it. “And I know you don’t feel the same but the last two days were torture for me!! Having no control of myself and saying things I swore to never tell you! But then you pretended to love me to deal with the spell and that hurts so much, because now I know what it could be like if you loved me too and I’m not sure I can go back!”
Merlin loved him back.
“What if… what if we didn’t go back?”
Arthur was still pining Merlin to the ground when the manservant started sobbing. Wait what? Arthur had just confirmed he didn’t want to go back to before as well! Why was Merlin crying??
“Please don’t fire me.”
Oohhhh. Yeah Arthur could see that interpretation of his word choice. He better clear some things up.
“You’re an idiot.” The prince then leaned down and kissed his manservant, passionately. In a way no one not even this stupid stupid beautiful creature could misinterpret. After a while they pulled apart.
They kissed again.
“Wait! Do you think the spell might be contagious?”
Arthur rolled his eyes and proceeded to snog the living heck out of his loyal manservant.