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Finding King Arthur - Part 12

Title: Finding King Arthur (temporary until I find something better)
Author: [info]elfflame
Fandom: Merlin (BBC)
Rating: R-ish (leaning towards NC-17) now.
Summary: Things have gone bad in Camelot.  Arthur has been missing for a year, and Uther and Gaius have been poisoned.  Merlin and the knights of Camelot set out to find their Prince before the kingdom can be claimed by Morgana.
Warnings: Death (not Merlin or Arthur), minor spoilers for season 3.
A/N: Two long bits today.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

Seventeen
The Morning After

The two kissed and touched and made love until dawn, falling fast asleep and not waking until Merlin heard a knock at the chamber door, and frowned, not sure where he was at first.

Then Arthur shifted next to him, and he froze, eyes going wide as Arthur put a pillow over his face and shouted into it for whoever it was to go away.

When Merlin tried to slip away, Arthur shifted and glanced toward him, then grinned. And Merlin could see when he realized just what the problem was. "Shit," he whispered.

Merlin shook his head, kissed him quickly, then slid out of bed and got into his clothes as fast as he could.

As soon as he could, he moved to open the door. On the other side was Gwen, looking worried. "Is…everything all right?"

"Uh…yeah." He glanced toward the bed, where Arthur still had the pillow over his head, though Merlin could see he was awake now, and listening, from how rigid he was holding his body. "Bad night. Could you…maybe go get breakfast, and we'll get dressed?"

"Uh…sure." She looked confused, but after a moment, she turned away and left, and Merlin shut the door and sagged against it, looking at Arthur as he sat up in bed.

"Are…we going to tell them?"

Arthur smirked. "That we're sleeping together?"

Merlin felt his ears flame. "Not that, you prat! That you remember."

Arthur sobered. "I…I don't know. If we do…they can help, but…it runs the risk of someone else we don't want to know finding out. What do you think?"

"I don't know. I…sort of feel like we should trust them… We need all the help we can get."

"Yeah… That was good thinking, by the way. Getting Gwaine and Lancelot to help out. Morgana was…less likely to try to recruit them, given their status in the kingdom. How'd you deal with the banishments, though?"

Merlin shrugged, then pulled away from the door. "The ministers were so distracted, I could practically have brought in an army, and they'd not have noticed." He looked for some clothes for Arthur. "Here. Get dressed." He tossed them to him, then piled up the clothes from the night before. It was enough for now. The others weren't that likely to notice his own clothes tangled in with Arthur's. He hoped.

They dressed, then Arthur sighed. "You're probably right. If we're going to trust them, we need to trust them with everything." He thought about that for a minute, then added. "At least, everything that has to do with winning back Camelot…"

Merlin smiled, his breath catching as Arthur reached out to tug him close. "We can keep the other bit between us…for now, at least." They kissed softly, breaking apart when there was another tap at the door.

"I'll get it," Merlin said softly. He squeezed Arthur's hand, then moved away to let in Gwen. Lancelot was with her, but Gwaine was nowhere to be seen.

"Gwaine not joining us today?" Arthur asked. He seemed a bit pleased at the prospect, and Merlin frowned, wondering why.

"Oh, he'll be along," Gwen said with a sigh. "He couldn't resist flirting with one of the servants on the way back here. I swear…he has nothing better to do with his time but drink, flirt, and fight…" She set the tray on the table, then looked at the two of them, and frowned. "Bad night? You look like you didn't get much sleep."

Merlin glanced at Arthur, letting him lead the way in the explanation of what had happened.

He settled at the table, and the others followed suit. "You could say that. I…" He glanced up to meet Gwen's eyes. "My memory's back."

Gwen's eyes widened, and then she leapt out of her chair and hurried to him, hugging him tight. "Oh, Arthur…I worried…" She pulled back, smiling. "I'm so glad…"

He looked a bit embarrassed, and Merlin had to look away, feeling a twist of jealousy at the sight. He wasn't the only one. Lancelot was looking at the dish in front of him as though it had personally insulted him. It was the angriest Merlin could recall him looking.

Gwen began to serve them all, smiling widely now. "So how did it happen…?"

"Well…before we get into that… We need to keep this between us all. Don't tell anyone yet, okay? If Morgana found out…"

Gwen deflated, nodding. "Right…"

Lancelot nodded. "Of course. We need all the advantage we can get against her."

"Go against who?" Gwaine came in and plopped himself down next to Merlin, reaching for some bread. "Are we plotting again?" he asked with a grin.

Gwen made a face at him, and Arthur sighed. "Merlin, would you?"

Merlin glanced away from Gwaine in surprised. The others knew about his magic, but Gwaine still hadn't guessed, and he wasn't sure if he wanted him to. "Sire?"

Gwaine snorted. "Sire? Since when did we get so formal around here?"

"Merlin…They're all going to know sooner or later. Especially if I'm going to be king. I think if we can trust them with everything else, you can trust them with this."

Merlin sighed, then nodded. "Right." He looked up at the door, then cast a locking spell, and another to soundproof it, then looked back at Arthur. "There. Will that do?"

"What did you do?" he asked, glancing toward the door.

"No one should be able to interrupt us now. Or overhear us."

"Perfect."

Merlin couldn't bring himself to look towards Gwaine. He wasn't sure he wanted to know how the man had reacted.

"All right…so…" Arthur began again.

"Wait…what…?" Gwaine leaned in so that Merlin couldn't help but see his wide eyes. "What the fuck was that?"

If Merlin hadn't been so mortified, he'd have been annoyed by Arthur's smirk. "You couldn't tell? It's called magic, Gwaine."

"But…magic's illegal…" He glanced at Merlin. "You're…a warlock?"

Merlin stared down into his lap. "Yeah." He wasn't particularly enjoying being on display like this. He wished he could raise his head enough to glare at Arthur without meeting Gwaine's eyes first.

"Yes, Gwaine. Merlin here is a warlock. As I was saying before you came in, if I can wrest my kingdom away from my greedy sister," here Merlin did look up at the term, but Arthur kept talking as though he'd said nothing unusual, "then wizardry will no longer be illegal in Camelot."

Gwaine snorted. "And how are you going to do that, when you can still barely lift your sword, 'your highness?'"

Arthur smirked. "Want to try me, Gwaine?"

Gwaine grinned back. "You're on, 'Wart.'"

If Arthur had looked at Merlin like that, he would have had second thoughts about whatever it was he was planning. But Gwaine seemed to have either not noticed, or not understood the danger inherent in the expression on Arthur's face.

"Can't this wait until later, Arthur…?" Gwen asked, and Merlin felt grateful that he wasn't the only one uncomfortable about this.

"Not to worry, Gwen. This shouldn't last long," Arthur said with a smirk, raising his sword. "Whenever you're ready, Gwaine?"

"Ready, Arthur," Gwaine said with a smirk.

It was over almost before it began, and Gwaine found himself on his back, Arthur's sword to his neck, eyes wide. "What the…?"

"Aren't you going to welcome me back, Gwaine?" Arthur asked, smirking. He pulled his sword away, then offered him a hand, though for a moment, Merlin wondered if he'd actually help him up, his grin was so scary looking. And what the hell was that about?

Gwaine blinked at him, then took the hand and rose slowly to his feet. "You…remember?"

"I remember. Which you would have known if you'd been here with Gwen and Lancelot. And if you want to help…I'd advise keeping it in your trousers until after my coronation."

Gwain scowled at him. "You know, when Merlin asked me to help find you…I'd forgotten what an arse you can be…"

"Careful. Unless you'd like to spend the first months of my rule in my dungeons…" Arthur smirked, then settled in his chair once more and began to fill his plate as though he'd just been having a conversation with Gwaine. "As I was saying before we were interrupted… We need to keep the fact that I've regained my memory between all of us for now. It wouldn't do for Morgana to find out yet."

"Right," Gwain said, sinking into his chair. "Do we get to know how your memory returned? Someone finally knock some sense into that royal head of yours?"

Arthur humphed, then frowned and looked at Merlin. "Actually…I'm not sure. Merlin?"

Merlin shifted in his chair as everyone turned to look at him. "You…were having a nightmare. And…I realized…you were…remembering in your sleep. But someone or…some spell, more likely, was keeping it from…being a conscious memory. At least…that's what I guessed… So…I tried to…break it."

"What…just like that?" Gwaine asked, looking bemused. "Isn't that kind of dangerous?"

Arthur snorted. "That's Merlin. I don't know…Do you ever think things through before you do them?"

Merlin shot him a glare. "Well, it worked, didn't it?"

Arthur nodded. "Yeah," he said, his voice softer now. "Thank you."


Eighteen
Preparations

After that, 'training' Arthur consisted of long days finding places to practice and sounding out the most trustworthy of Arthur's knights without letting them know what had happened. Bors and Leon were included, Agravaine pointedly was not, which Merlin wasn't surprised by, considering the way he'd accosted them in the woods. There was definitely something off about that one.

Arthur checked in with his 'foster family' once a day, playing the role of 'Wart' shockingly well despite the fact that his memory had returned. Then he and Merlin would find an excuse to go off back to the castle for him to train, or for some other reason. Kay seemed not to care either way, and as time went on, Hector seemed to worry less and less that Arthur might regain his memory—at least, that was what Merlin assumed he'd been so worried about when they'd come to Camelot.

Morgana had proceeded to ignore them as though they weren't even there, but Merlin was certain she had spies watching them, so they were careful to keep behind locked doors when talking to the others about their plans.

Or when the two of them were alone.

As worried as Merlin had been that Arthur only wanted one night of fun, he had been quite surprised when Arthur had insisted they share his bed the next night. And even more when Arthur had kissed him again and demanded that he remove his clothes before getting into bed.

Not that Merlin minded at all. It was just surprising to know that Arthur seemed to enjoy claiming him each night as much as he had that first night. In fact, some nights, he seemed to enjoy it even more.

Merlin wondered what made the difference. At least, when Arthur wasn't busy making his brain leak out of his ears with that wicked mouth, or fucking him into the mattress until he screamed. If he'd known it was going to be like this, he'd have lain himself out on Arthur's bed long before now, and just let him have his way with him.

Some nights, he lay looking up at the bed's canopy long after Arthur fell asleep, still feeling everything they'd just done, and wondering what all this meant. He'd seen Arthur hugging Gwen once since his memory had returned, and the twist of jealousy had been almost too much to handle. He couldn't imagine what would happen when Arthur chose to marry.

So he tried to forget. Focusing instead on helping Arthur prepare for the coming tournament along with Gwen, Lancelot, and Gwaine, who seemed to get even more enjoyment out of fighting with Arthur, now that he could fight back properly.

Things were going swimmingly, and Merlin should have known it was going too well. When two men with hoods attacked them when they were walking back to Arthur's rooms after supper with the others one night, both of them were a bit shocked. Luckily, Arthur's reflexes kicked in, and he managed to keep them from getting too close.

Merlin was just glad that Arthur had taken to carrying his sword with him most places these days. If they'd been caught unarmed… Just the thought had him shivering. He cast a quick spell to summon something to knock the two men out with, then looked up at Arthur after he'd knelt to check that they were otherwise unharmed. "Now what?"

Scowling, Arthur looked down at the two sprawled bodies for a few minutes before answering. "Go get a guard. I'll watch them."

"But what if…"

"Merlin. Just…go."

Merlin sighed, then nodded. "All right. But…be careful." He turned, hurrying down the hall to find any guard nearby, then frowned when he realized that he'd gone quite a ways before he found anyone at all. That couldn't just be a coincidence, he was sure.

It took far too long to find a guard who would come back with him, and by the time they got back to where Arthur was, the two had revived. Luckily, Arthur had done nothing more than tie them up back to back and hold his sword in a threatening way.


Next Part


19734 / 50000 words. 39% done!

Comments

Nov. 12th, 2010 02:15 am (UTC)
Arthur smirked. "That we're sleeping together?"
Merlin felt his ears flame. "Not that, you prat! That you remember."
*dies laughing*

The bit with Gawain "it's called magic" is also wonderful.
Nov. 12th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
:D Thank you. I might have struggled today, but I did have fun.
Nov. 12th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
Having fun is what it's all about. :D

I managed to break the 10k mark today. It helped to write the first kiss. Now I'm trying to manage the first bedding without it reading like a tech manual. LOL
Nov. 12th, 2010 05:20 am (UTC)
:D Good luck. I'm sure you can do it.
Nov. 26th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
Now I wonder what the whole Arthur threatening Gwaine thing is about. And why am I having a bad feeling at Merlin leaving Arthur alone there - even though it seems nothing happened.
Nov. 26th, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
A bit of Arthur protecting what's his, that's all. ;)

As for the other...I kind of dropped that...I probably shouldn't have.
Nov. 26th, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
I thought it might be jealousy ;-)

*nods' Well, you can't go with every little thing.
Nov. 26th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
;D Just a bit.