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Finding King Arthur - Part 23

Title: Finding King Arthur (temporary until I find something better)
Author: [info]elfflame
Fandom: Merlin (BBC)
Rating: NC-17, bebe.
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: This is not the end. I've still got the epilogue to do, and if that doesn't run me over the 50k, I may add a bit more of Morgause earlier in the story. Wish me luck tomorrow!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10
Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15
Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20
Part 21 | Part 22



"Take the night. Talk it out between the two of you. You do not have to answer right away. Come back in the morning and tell us?"

Merlin couldn't help but wonder what he would do if they said no. But he bit his lip and kept quiet.

"But… " Gwen started, but Lancelot cut her off, pulling her close once more.

"We'll do that, Arthur." He smiled. "Thank you."

Then they were gone as well, and Merlin was left feeling wrong-footed and confused. Arthur wanted him. Arthur wanted him. Arthur wanted him. Over anyone else. Even though it meant no blood heir to the throne. "Arthur… "

"Shut up, you girl's blouse, and come here," Arthur said smiling. "And don't you dare get a swelled head about it."

Merlin felt the smile before he could stop it. "I'll do my best… sire… "

It was like the best possible dream. He was really here, with Arthur. And this was where Arthur wanted him. Not just for a night. But for always.

No more words were spoken as Arthur pushed Merlin back toward the bed. None were needed. The two stripped quickly, kissing and touching as much as they could before curling around each other on the bed.

Somehow, the events of the day had heightened things even further. Though Merlin thought perhaps that might also be because he'd been so sure he'd never get this again the night before. Now he knew it was his for keeps. Whatever happened.

Before, the intensity had been built on the knowledge that he would never be allowed to touch Arthur this way again. But now… now it was something else entirely. Relearning Arthur's body, though it was still new to his eyes.

He wanted to map out his skin with fingers and lips. Trace patterns into his skin that would read 'Property of Merlin' if one knew the ancient language they were written in. Runes and symbols to mark Arthur forever his… And he did. With his lips and tongue. Every inch covered with kisses and nips and licks until Arthur couldn't stand it any longer and flipped him to his back.

Merlin blinked up at him, then grinned. "Eager?" he asked, his voice rough.

"Someone's been doing his best to drive me mad," Arthur said, his voice husky as well.

"Really?" Merlin said. "Perhaps you should imprison him until he promises to stop?" he asked with a grin.

Arthur's eyes glinted. "I think I'll settle for doing that if he ever threatens to stop," he answered, then kissed Merlin deeply, his hands pushing up Merlin's legs.

"Oh?" Merlin asked, his breath hitching as Arthur slowly and almost torturously prepared him. "You prefer madness?"

Arthur's fingers stilled inside him. "Over losing you? Always."

Despite himself, Merlin felt his lashes dampen with the rush of emotion the words brought. "Arthur…"

"Shh…" Arthur put a finger against his lips. "Let me." And then he was stretching Merlin again, his eyes never leaving Merlin's.

It was hard to lie still, and eventually, Merlin didn't even bother, pushing up into the feeling, wanting more now that he knew he could keep this. Wanting everything he'd been scared to accept before.

Once more, words found their way to his tongue, but before he could speak them, Arthur was pulling his fingers free and pressing into him, and then all words were lost. "Oooh… Arthur…"

The two moved together, Arthur's hands clutching at Merlin's hips, Merlin's hands mapping out every inch of Arthur's arms and chest. Before he knew it, he was right on the edge. But he didn't want this to be over. Not yet. Not now that he had this. "Arthur…god…"

Arthur's eyes were glued on his, and his hand moved from Merlin's hip to stroke his cock. "Merlin…"

The touch was almost too much, and Merlin struggled between closing his eyes to fight his climax, and keeping them open to meet Arthur's eyes, wanting him to see all the love there without having to say the words.

Arthur's thrusts were growing more erratic, and Merlin's breath caught. "Oh…god…yes…" He wanted it all. Wanted to feel Arthur deep inside him, and to never let go.

"Come," Arthur whispered to him, and Merlin knew he would lose this battle, but shook his head.

"Not…yet. Please…"

"Yes. We have…all the time in the world, now, Merlin…" Arthur stroked him faster, and Merlin groaned as he ground into him, feeling him deep inside. "Come for me."

That was it. Merlin was arching into his next thrust, coming with a wail, his whole body shuddering as he came over his stomach and Arthur's fingers. "Arthur!"

Even as he came, Arthur thrust once into him, then began to shudder, and Merlin watched his face as he climaxed, wanting to remember this moment forever. When they became more than just friends. When Arthur and Merlin became 'us.'

"Arthur…" Merlin reached up to stroke over his face, then tugged him gently down to kiss him.

Arthur curled around him, kissing him slowly for a long time before he finally pulled back. "Merlin…" His fingers traced over Merlin's cheek. "What would I do without you?"


Thirty-Six
All's Well That Ends Well (for now)

Nobles from around the kingdom who had not already been in attendance for the tournament began to arrive within the next day.

Everywhere, things were being cleaned and repaired, draped with garlands and sashes of red to proclaim Arthur's new reign to the world.

The castle was buzzing with excitement as they prepared for the formal celebration. Courts were held each day, new proclamations and informal titles being given to those who had helped Arthur during the Tournament.

Gwaine and Lancelot had been formally knighted in the days following the tournament, though Gwaine had gone with some argument. Some whispered it was a bad choice on Arthur's part, others seemed pleased that non-nobles could know earn a knighthood if they trained hard enough.

Kay and Hector had been freed to return back home with the admonition to check in with their king from time to time, and a promise to Kay that if he kept his nose clean, he might one day become a knight. Provided they did nothing else to go against the crown.

Lancelot, Arthur, and Gwaine spent several days talking with all the knights, joined by Leon and Bors once they returned from escorting their charges to the border. Merlin wasn't allowed in the meetings, but Arthur told him that they were simply ensuring that the remaining knights would be loyal to him, and not have some remaining loyalty to his father, or worse, to Morgana.

"But I could help with that, Arthur…"

"I don't want people saying I can only keep my men though the use of magic, Merlin. We've got it handled. Really. But thank you for wanting to help." Arthur kissed him, then turned back to the letter he was writing.

So Merlin spent his days talking with Gwen and helping her prepare rooms for the four of them, creating doors that would only open for the four of them so that they could easily go from one room to the next without others being any the wiser.

She and Lancelot had agreed to Arthur's proposal, and she would marry Arthur on the day of his formal coronation and become his queen. It was hard for Merlin to think about, even though he knew that Arthur loved him and that he could never be recognized in the same way.

Still, each night, he did his best to reclaim Arthur, driving him to the near-brink of madness—or at least, so Arthur said.

Finally, the night before the formal coronation arrived, and Merlin felt as though he might go mad, until finally Arthur pinned him to the bed.

"Merlin…what is wrong? You've been acting like you'll never see me again. I'd thought that once you knew…that things would be easier. But you look more and more upset as time goes on."

Merlin looked away, ashamed. "I'm sorry. I know…you're not going anywhere…it's just…hard. To know that tomorrow…everyone will think you hers that you love her…" His voice was soft, and he had to force himself to say the words, nearly choking as he said 'love.'

Arthur was silent, then he gently nudged Merlin's cheek to face him. "Merlin…you know that's not true, though…"

Merlin nodded. "I know."

Merlin could see that Arthur seemed to be struggling with something, and then he rolled onto the bed, stretching out on his back. "I'm not always the best with words. Father was better at that than I am."

"You're fine," Merlin told him, rolling to his side and pressing against him, relaxing slightly when Arthur put an arm around him.

"I'm not," Arthur said, turning his head to meet Merlin's eyes. "There's…something I should have said…a long time ago, Merlin. Well…the night we talked to them, at least…"

Merlin felt his mouth go dry. "Oh? Wh-what's that?"

Arthur was silent, and Merlin bit his lip, watching as Arthur struggled with what he wanted to say. "Merlin," he finally managed, "I…love you."

He'd never expected it. Hoped for it, wished for it, even. But never had he expected Arthur to actually say the words. "You…do?" His hear was beating to fast. He was sure that it was drowning out any other sound in the room.

Arthur nodded. "Yes. I'm…not sure when. Or how. But I do. And…I'm glad for every day we'll get to have together." He managed a smile, and Merlin threw his arms around him, hugging him close.

"Arthur…yes…I…love you," he whispered.

Not another word needed to be said for the rest of the night.

The morning dawned bright, and Merlin helped Arthur prepare, helping him bathe, setting out his best robes, that had been made just for the occasion, then hurrying to get himself ready. He and Lancelot had been given special roles today to show their place in the court as well. Merlin was looking forward to some actual recognition, after everything else.

No one could say that he hadn't earned it.

The ceremony started at the height of the day, with Arthur being led through the town for the populace to see. His best knights accompanied him. Gwaine and Lancelot at the front, Bors and Leon leading up the rear.

The peasants cheered as Arthur made his way through town, and Merlin watched nervously from the stairs with the rest of the court as they approached. He hated not being able to be at his side, but he knew it was important to Arthur to show everyone that he needed only minimal protection to walk through town. That it showed he was unafraid.

It didn't make Merlin feel any better about it, though. Anyone could be waiting to hurt him.

He was relieved when Arthur appeared through the archway, and smiled, watching as the people cheered around him while he walked into the courtyard and up the steps, the crowd of people filling the courtyard behind him as he made his way up to where the ministers stood, then nodded regally once, and let them lead the way into the castle.

The knights fell in step behind Arthur, Merlin behind them, and then the rest of the court by rank, nobles jockeying for position to prove their family better than the others. Once in the Hall, Arthur made his way to the throne, then knelt in front of it, his head bowed.

Merlin knew he shouldn't be nervous. That nothing could go wrong any more. But he was. All he wanted was this to be over, so they could move on with their lives.

Geoffrey stepped forward with the crown in his hands. "Arthur Pendragon, do you swear to take up the mantle of rulership and govern the kingdom of Camelot to the best of your ability, to defend our borders in strife and to promote peace and prosperity to the best of your abilities, so long as you remain king of Camelot?"

Arthur nodded once, his room filling the hall. "I will."

"Then as keeper of the royal records and the line of Camelot, I declare you king." He placed the crown gently on Arthur's head, and the court watched as Arthur rose and turned to face them, then settled on his throne.

For a moment, there was nothing but silence in the hall. Everyone seemed too scared to even shuffle for a better view.

Then Geoffrey spoke again from beside the throne. "Merlin, please approach."

Merlin stepped out of the crowd, nerves at their height now, Arthur the only thing he could see as he approached, then knelt down in front of him.

Arthur stood. "Merlin, you have been our friend from the day you arrived in Camelot, and we would honour you with a place in our court. Will you be our court Wizard, and use your abilities to protect us and to protect Camelot as well?"

"I will," Merlin said. His throat felt tight, and it took a great deal to get even those simple words out, but he managed.

Arthur held out his hand. "Then stand beside us, friend."

Merlin looked up, taking his hand and grateful for the momentary squeeze of reassurance before Arthur let go. He moved to stand behind the throne, settling on the opposite side from Geoffrey.

Arthur sat once more.

Again Geoffrey called out, his voice filling the hall. "Sir Lancelot, will you please come forward?"

Lancelot, already at the head of the knights at the side of the hall, moved to stand in front of the throne, bowing his head low.

Arthur smiled. "Lancelot, you have also proven yourself to be a great friend to us and to Camelot, as well as a great fighter. Will you stand by us and lead our knights into battle in our stead, and to train those who come to join our service, now that we cannot?"

"It would be my honour, sire," Lancelot answered, smiling up at him.

"Then stand by us now, as our champion." He waved to where Merlin stood, and Lancelot nodded, smiling at Merlin before turning to face the court, who were watching now with increasing fascination.

Geoffrey spoke once more. "Lady Guinevere, please approach."

The title was an honorific that had been bestowed on her as well as a few others after the tournament. Arthur had decided it would be easier for the people to accept her as queen with at least that attached to her name.

Gwen was dressed in a shimmering golden gown that Arthur had had made for her for the occasion, a garland of yellow flowers twisted into her hair. She was surrounded by four young noblewomen who had been hand-picked to become her ladies in waiting. Arthur had insisted. They had been chosen from the best families, and Gwen had been nervous, but surprised to find that most seemed quite pleased to be her ladies.

They escorted her as far as the steps, then bowed low and stepped away to the sides of the dais as she walked up the steps. She curtsied at the top of the steps, then knelt carefully in front of Arthur. Merlin could see how nervous she was. He couldn't blame her. If it had been he in front of the court that way, he'd likely have lost control of his magic, he'd have been so nervous.

Arthur stood, looking down at her. "Guinevere, you have stood by us in our hour of need, and you have shown yourself to be of great quality. The kind of quality fit to be a queen. Will you become our queen, and rule Camelot beside us?"

After only the slightest of hesitations, Gwen looked up at him and nodded once. "I will," she said, and Merlin's heart skipped a beat. Even knowing this was what was supposed to happen, it was still hard. But he knew they would manage. The four of them.

Geoffrey set another crown on her head, then Arthur helped her to stand, and the two turned to face one another as he spoke again. "Do you swear loyalty to one another, and to guard the people of Camelot?"

Both nodded, their soft affirmations barely heard over the somehow-loud silence in the hall.

"Arthur, do you promise to keep loyal to your queen and hold no other above her?"

Arthur seemed to falter for a moment, and Merlin wondered if Arthur would turn to look at him. Instead, he met Gwen's eyes. "I promise to hold no woman above my queen," he said, loud enough for the hall to hear the words clearly.

It was enough for Merlin. But he worried that Gwen might have much greater difficulty with her own vow.

"And do you, Guinevere, promise to hold no other man above Arthur, and to bear him an heir when the time comes?"

"I promise to hold no other man above my king," she answered easily, her soft voice filling the hall.

"Then I declare you man and wife, and King and Queen of Camelot."

The hall filled with cheers, and outside, bells were ringing, and soon Merlin could hear the crowd in the courtyard cheering as well.

"Long live King Arthur! Long live Queen Guinevere!"

For a second, Merlin felt the world shift around him, and then he heard the dragon's voice in his head. "It is done. You have done it, Merlin. Camelot's destiny is assured."

And then the world returned to normal, and he could hear the cheering once more.

Camelot was safe.


Final Part


47528 / 50000 words. 95% done!

Comments

Nov. 29th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC)
property of Merlin *snerk*

now my day has started with Penguin on the telly for an earworm. LOL
check my journal for an offer, there's four spaces open
Nov. 29th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
:D Yep. he is. ;)
Nov. 30th, 2010 12:03 am (UTC)
Aw. I don't even know what to say, that's such a sweet ending! *hugs*
Nov. 30th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
:D *snugs* thank you, hon.