Nice Little Sister, Isn't She?
Everything was quiet and everything was nice and warm. He was dreaming about Arthur in his bed and about lying next to him. Their legs were tangled together, and the warm feeling of being loved was settled deep inside his heart. Or was that a dream? Maybe it wasn’t, Merlin couldn’t tell. Everything felt like a dream when he was around Arthur, but as the morning came closer and closer, the warm feeling he had slowly drifted away.
Then suddenly a sharp ray of sunlight replaced it and shone right at his eyes, making him groan. Someone must have pulled back the curtains. Bloody prat. Merlin knew it was already morning, but he tried to protest by covering his face with the blanket anyway.
“Rise and shine!” Someone called cheerfully. Someone who was supposed to be right next to him in the bed, making him feel warm again. Merlin slowly opened his eyes and took a deep breath, the blanket still covering his face. Unfortunately, in the next second it had disappeared as Arthur pulled it away, laughing. “Now you know how it feels!” He smirked as he saw Merlin’s half naked body, spread wide across his own bed, and whilst the warlock did have trousers on, he wasn’t wearing his white sleeping tunic.
“That’s not fair!” Merlin mumbled groggily. His head felt terrible and he was slightly disoriented, but he tried to sit up anyway and his hand flew in front of his face to shield the annoying sunlight so he could finally look at his boyfriend. The prince was already up and dressed, smiling down at him with a triumphant expression on his pretty royal face.
It was totally unfair.
“As you’ve been doing this for the past three years, I think it’s perfectly fair to let you know how it feels,” Arthur told him and took a few steps closer to the bed. Merlin’s eyes widened while the prince was talking, and Arthur frowned when he noticed. What was wrong?
“You’re already dressed!” Merlin exclaimed, looking betrayed for some reason and Arthur couldn’t help but laugh again. There was no danger then.
“Did you wish to see me undressed, Merlin?” Arthur teased with a smirk playing on his full pink lips. He sat down on the bed right in front of Merlin, who was already blushing hard.
“I’m not saying I didn’t…” Merlin squealed slightly, a smile of his own tentatively across his face.
Instead of a reply, Arthur leaned forward and captured Merlin’s lips in a sweet morning kiss. Merlin kissed him back and smiled because it never mattered how many times they kissed, every time it felt like the first time – tender and loving, or lustful and hungry. The warlock put his arms on Arthur’s shoulders to pulled him a tiny bit closer and moaned when Arthur opened his mouth. Now, that was a better morning than having his (well, actually Arthur’s) blanket stolen.
The door creaked, but neither of them noticed until there was a loud gasp at the door. The kiss ended as suddenly as it had started and the boys looked startled at the intruder.
“I... I’m sorry,” It was Gwen. She looked embarrassed as she put the tray with breakfast on the table. “I haven’t seen Merlin in the morning and it was late, so I wanted to bring you breakfast and check if you were alright,” She hurriedly explained. “It’s late,” She repeated, unsure of what else to say after the stuttered sentence.
It wouldn’t have been very much of a problem if it had been Gaius who walked in on them. He already knew about them being a couple, but Gwen didn’t. Merlin told Gaius about them when he first asked if he could spend the night in Arthur’s chambers. At first he tried to lie, saying he was worried that something might attack during the night, but Gaius wasn’t buying it. He had noticed the difference in their behaviour since they returned from Fellindora, and the game was up.
But Gwen? Oh poor Guinevere. They hadn’t told her yet, and if this was how she found out... it wouldn’t be a very happy memory for her, nor a good way to ease her into the idea of their relationship. Merlin had wanted to tell her immediately, but Arthur had decided that they should wait and prepare for it.
Gwen was in love with him after all and he once returned the feelings, but that was all before he caught Merlin staring at him when the other was helping him undress. It took a lot of thinking, but eventually they had got together on their way to the village.
Arthur was brought back to reality by Merlin’s voice, who reacted first to Gwen’s presence. “Gwen,” he started and distanced himself from Arthur immediately. “I’m sorry, we-”
But Gwen was already gone. She turned around and closed the door, her hurried footsteps echoing away down the hall as she fled.
“Great,” Arthur sighed.
“I’ll go after her,” Merlin stood up and realized he was still half naked and that Gwen had probably noticed his scars. Arthur and Gaius were the only ones who knew about them, and Merlin still felt insecure. With Arthur, he felt safe though, and he hadn’t even worn his white tunic last night.
It had turned out to be a bad idea after all.
“No, I should go,” Arthur stopped him as Merlin reached for his clothes. “You might be friends, but... we used to be closer,” He looked into Merlin’s understanding eyes and kissed him one more time before he left his chambers (which were practically their chambers by now).
Merlin sighed and started putting his clothes on. He didn’t want anyone else walking in on him practically naked in the prince’s chambers. How would he explain that?
As if he hadn’t just been thinking about it, the door opened one more time, admitting Arthur whose head peeked inside. “Oh and while I’m gone, polish my armour, sharpen my sword, and then prepare the horses, we’re going on a hunting trip.”
“No buts, Merlin,” Arthur stopped his servant’s complaints and was gone again.
“But I’m your boyfriend and not only your manservant anymore so you could at least pretend you want to help me with all of those ridiculous chores you give me every day, thank you very much, Arthur,” Merlin mumbled to no one in particular with a slight frown on his face. Then he suddenly smiled as he glanced at the table. “Oh, breakfast!”
When Arthur left his chambers, Gwen was already gone. But he knew where she always went when she felt upset. He knew a lot of things about her from the time he used to be in love with her. He still loved her, but only as a friend. And now she knew that too.
Arthur closed his eyes briefly, regretfully. He should have told her. He should have let her know she was still loved, but in a different way. Still, Arthur knew where she probably was.
That’s how he found himself in one of the towers, right above Morgana’s chambers. He dismissed the guards so Gwen and he could be in private and entered the top of the tower. The floor was covered in bright green grass, right from where the stairs ended and the stone around was hot because of the sun. Light warm breeze swept through Arthur’s blonde hair and he had to close his eyes because the sun was already high up in the sky.
He had to press his hand against his forehead to make a shield to protect himself from the sunlight, and when he looked down, he found out Gwen was already looking at him. There were tears in her eyes, which made Arthur feel even worse than before.
She bowed slightly and looked down. “Sire.” She greeted him as if she hadn’t just walked in on them kissing. As if they never even knew each other and he was only a prince in her eyes. As if she was only a mere serving girl. Arthur hated it.
“Gwen, I’m sorry.” He apologized and stepped closer to her. “Believe me, I wanted to tell you- we wanted to tell you, but... we just didn’t know how.”
“I know.” Gwen didn’t look up at him. “I understand. I thought something was different when you returned from that village.” She laughed. It didn’t sound happy though, more watery and broken and she knew Arthur noticed. She glanced up at him and then looked back down, playing with her fingers nervously. “I just never thought it would be this.”
“I never thought we’d be together either, believe me.” Arthur told her. He knew he wasn’t the best when it came to consoling or making people feel happier when they felt miserable. He hoped he’d do better with Merlin. “It was never my intention to be with Merlin until about a month ago. And then... it just happened.” He tried to explain in the best way he could. He hoped she wasn’t angry.
“I’m happy for you.” Gwen smiled up at him and bowed again. Her red-rimmed eyes were betraying her though, so she blinked the tears away and straightened, clearing her throat.
“Thanks.” Arthur smiled in return and when Gwen didn’t say anything else, he prepared to leave. Gwen stopped him though.
“Yes?” He turned back to her. Gwen began chewing on her lower lip, something she always did when she felt nervous. Arthur frowned and Gwen took a few steps closer to him so she didn’t have to talk so loud.
“I... it’s not really my business, but Merlin’s my friend and I’m worried about him.” She confessed. Arthur nodded to encourage her to continue, but he already knew what this was about. “When I opened the door... I noticed... there was a huge scar on Merlin’s chest.” She finally turned her deep brown eyes up at him. She really was worried. “What happened?” She asked.
Arthur looked sad for some reason when he replied. “It’s... it’s a long story, and it’s not really my place to tell you.” He started. “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to ask Merlin. I’m sure he won’t mind if you know, you’re his friend too, but... he still feels a bit insecure.” He whispered and was relieved when Gwen nodded.
After a couple of seconds, she put on her best fake smile and looked up at Arthur again. “I have to go to lady Morgana, if you excuse me.”
Arthur nodded. “Of course, I have to go back to... to Merlin.”
Gwen smiled slightly and looked down. Then she rounded him and without saying another word, went down the stairs and back inside the castle. Arthur stayed up there, looking over the city of Camelot and for a moment he wondered what it would be like to rule over it. To be king.
He hoped his father would rule a long time before he had to become king after him. Even though Merlin believed in him with all his heart, Arthur wasn’t sure he was ready.
He smiled slightly and left, going back to join his boyfriend at the table with breakfast.
When he finally made it back to his chambers though, more than half the breakfast was already eaten. ”Merlin!” Arthur exclaimed and Merlin just grinned and shrugged innocently.
“I was hungry and you were gone.”
“Not for that long.” Arthur complained, but in the end he just sat down to the table and pushed the tray closer to him so Merlin couldn’t reach it and eat everything, which he almost already did.
“Hey!” Merlin mumbled with his mouth full.
“You wouldn’t want to get fat, would you Merlin? I’m doing this for you too.” Arthur grinned at him.
“True, no one wants to be fat like you are.” Merlin grinned back and quickly stood up so Arthur couldn’t reach him and start tickling him for example. Tickling has become Arthur’s favourite kind of punishment since they got together. Merlin suffered and Arthur enjoyed it. What a prat.
“Just wait Merlin, I intend to make today’s hunting trip the longest hunting trip in the history of Camelot.” Arthur smirked.
Merlin groaned and fell down to Arthur’s unmade bed, rolling his eyes. “Do we have to go? I hate hunting trips. Innocent animals die, you know that, right?” He propped his head on his palm and turned to Arthur.
“The animals are going to be our food, Merlin. But just for your sake, I’ll get something in the royal kitchen.”
Merlin beamed as he heard it. “Have I told you you’re the best boyfriend in the kingdom?” He grinned and stood up again, walking over to where Arthur was sitting on the chair.
“I don’t think you did.”
“Well, then I won’t tell you.” Merlin laughed as he saw Arthur frown slightly and turned around to finally make the bed. But in that moment, Arthur’s fingers found their way to Merlin’s waist, making him yelp as Arthur tickled him mercilessly.
They both fell down to the bed as Merlin laughed and cried at the same time. After a while, Arthur finally stopped, but stayed lying on top of Merlin, pinning him down to the bed. “How’s Gwen?” Merlin suddenly asked. Arthur looked up at him and rolled away so Merlin could breathe.
“She said she’s happy for us, but she was very upset.” Arthur admitted. “She’ll be alright, though.”
“I hope she will.” Merlin sighed and closed his eyes. Then he stopped breathing as he braced himself for the next question. “Did she... you know... see it?”
Arthur looked down at Merlin’s chest where the ugly scar lay hidden under the thin fabric of his tunic. Merlin’s fingers unconsciously traced circles along the scar as he kept his eyes closed tightly. Arthur glanced up at Merlin’s troubled expression and he interlocked their fingers.
“She noticed, and she’s worried.” Arthur answered. Merlin took a deep breath and turned his head to look at the prince.
“And did you tell her?”
“You know I would never do that.” Arthur leaned above Merlin and kissed the frown off his face.
“Thank you.” Merlin whispered into the kiss and wrapped his arms around Arthur’s neck to pull him closer. He didn’t prepare himself for another tickling attack though so when Arthur pinned him down to the bed again, he couldn’t help but yelp.
They stopped and got back up again only when there was a knock at the door. Merlin tried to slow down his breathing as he turned his back to the door and started making the bed. Arthur cleared his throat and called for the guest to come in.
It was Leon. It turned out Arthur was late for the training session with his knights, which he forgot to cancel.
Well, Gwen was right about one thing. It really was late.
The horses’ neighing and the sound of hooves against the stone ground filled the courtyard. The sky was bluer than Arthur’s eyes (and Merlin could tell), and it was cloudless. He smiled when he heard the birds calling and closed his eyes as the breeze played with his hair.
Then everything turned black as Arthur threw a blanket at Merlin face, and after almost four years of practise, he never missed. Merlin pouted as he removed the blanket and glared at Arthur.
“Come on, Merlin, take the blanket with you. I can’t take anything else.” Arthur told him.
“And what makes you think I can?” Merlin pointed at his horse. “We have so many things that it makes me think you want us to spend a week in the woods.”
“Don’t be such a girl, Merlin.” Arthur rolled his eyes. Merlin opened his mouth to reply, when someone else spoke up.
“Arthur.” It was Morgana. She was dressed in her beautiful green dress, and was coming down the stairs to meet her brother. “Good luck with your hunting trip.” She smiled.
Merlin frowned, but Arthur smiled in return and excepted the brief hug from Morgana. Merlin’s frown deepened. He still hasn’t told Arthur that Morgana wasn’t like their old Morgana before she disappeared for a year. Arthur thought she was just being nice, but Merlin knew her true intentions, and he feared she had a plan when she went to say goodbye to Arthur.
He didn’t listen to anything they said because he turned around and went to put the extra blanket into the bag on his horse. He really hoped it would fit there, and if it didn’t... well, Arthur wouldn’t notice one blanket was missing, would he? He didn’t get why Arthur wanted to take so many blankets with them anyway. Since they didn’t have their sleeping mats, he assumed the hunting trip wouldn’t be long.
Merlin sighed and turned back to look at Arthur and Morgana. Arthur had already mounted and Morgana was caressing his horse’s head, looking into its big brown eyes.
Merlin’s heart almost stopped as the strong feeling of deja vu washed over him. No, it couldn’t be... could it? His eyes widened as Morgana smiled and the horse nodded its head. It was true. The vision he had a month ago in the crystal cave was happening right now and it was as if the time stopped. He could hear his own heart beating loud in his chest. Danger was definitely coming their way.
He didn’t remember much about the vision since he wanted to forget about it, but the funny feeling he had was never wrong. The future he saw in the crystals was about to happen and he didn’t even really remember what he saw so he couldn’t be prepared.
There was Morgana and the horse, definitely. And then... wasn’t there a dragon? Yes, a red dragon in the blue sky. A sky that was bluer than Arthur’s eyes, just like today.
“Merlin? Have you seen a mouse or something that scared you?” Arthur’s familiar voice snapped him back into reality and he blinked. Arthur was looking down at him with a worried expression and Morgana was just smirking. What was she planning? “Merlin?”
“What? No, nothing.” He smiled slightly, trying to turn it all into a joke. “I just didn’t sleep well tonight.” He added as he mounted his horse. He didn’t see Arthur’s frown because Arthur knew that Merlin was sleeping like a baby all night. And he could tell, he was there with him. The nightmares had stopped a long time ago and since then, no new nightmares replaced them.
“Good luck then.” Morgana smiled up at Arthur and patted his horse one more time. Then she turned and smirked at Merlin, before she went up the stairs and disappeared inside the castle.
She was definitely planning something, and it was nothing good.
As soon as Morgana entered her chambers and thought she was finally alone, a broken sob startled her. It was coming from the back of her chambers, and there was only one person who could be there instead of Morgana. Great, now she had to deal with emotional Gwen before she could talk to Morgause, and she had to hurry up. Merlin and Arthur riding away was the perfect opportunity for their plan.
“Gwen?” Morgana pretended to be confused and caring as she closed the door and went farther into her chambers. The sobbing stopped as if the serving girl closed her mouth with her hand and tried to calm herself down. Morgana hoped she’d calm down as soon as possible, she really needed to talk to her sister.
“Gwen, what’s the matter?” She found her kneeling on the floor behind the corner. Gwen immediately stood up and brushed away her tears, as if she could pretend she was alright.
“It’s nothing, my lady.” She whispered.
Morgana frowned and stepped closer to try and hug her. Gwen hugged her back and even though she knew Morgana wasn’t on their side anymore and had magic, she let her comfort her. She needed someone to do that. “It’s Arthur.” She whispered.
Morgana rolled her eyes, but if this was about Arthur’s and Gwen’s relationship, then she was interested. She knew they liked each other and she had to stop them. Gwen could never become the queen instead of her. “What happened?” She asked gently, rubbing her hand up and down Gwen’s back.
“He... he left me.” Gwen let out another quiet sob. “He doesn’t love me anymore.”
Perfect. This was perfect. Morgana couldn’t be happier, but she had to hide her smile quickly as Gwen stepped away from her. She put on her best I care about you and this is just awful face and put her hands on Gwen’s shoulders. “Are you sure? Perhaps he’s just confused or someone found out you were together and threatened him?”
Gwen was already shaking her head when Morgana started. “No, he told me after I saw him with another.” Gwen smiled sadly and kept her head down. Then she turned around and hurried to adjust the corners of Morgana’s bed. “I really shouldn’t bother you with this,” she tried to smile. “I’ll get over it.”
“I can talk to him, if you want?” Morgana asked.
“No, there’s really no need, my lady.” Gwen smiled up at her and bowed. “But... if you could excuse me please...”
Gwen turned around and disappeared behind the door. Only then Morgana dared to smirk. It was amazing that Gwen and Arthur weren’t together anymore. Gwen would never become the queen now, but... did she say she saw Arthur with another? Who was this girl? And was Arthur truly in love with her? Because if he was, then it was a major problem and they would have to get rid of her.
A pleased smile appeared on Morgana’s face as she heard her sister’s voice in her head. She already knew how to communicate with her in her mind, and it proved to be very useful in situations like this.
Morgana replied and sat down to her table with the mirror in front of her to brush her long wavy black hair.
What have you found out?
Arthur and Merlin just left the castle. Morgana smirked. They’re on a hunting trip, alone. We can finally continue with our plan.
That is good news. Morgause replied.
Morgana frowned. But... are you sure you want to go there alone? Are you powerful enough to fight him? He’s Emrys, you know that.
You needn’t to worry, sister. All I need is his blood, Dragonlord blood, and then I’ll flee. He won’t even notice anything and will think he has won. Morgause reassured her sister, but Morgana was still worried.
Arthur’s there with him and he’s the best swordsman in Camelot.
I can deal with both of them, Morgana. Arthur’s too easy to defeat and Merlin won’t try to protect him immediately because he doesn’t want me to know he has magic. And that’s exactly when I’ll do what needs to be done.
Alright. Just... be careful. And one more thing. Morgana paused.
What is it?
Gwen told me that Arthur has just left her. But she also told me she saw Arthur with some other girl. This might be a problem, sister.
Once our plan works and Arthur is dead, this won’t be a problem at all, believe me... I think it’s time for you to go. You know where we’ll meet.
I’ll be waiting for you there. Morgana smiled and stood up. She went to fetch her long green cloak and as carefully as she could in the sunny day, she disappeared from the castle, without anyone else noticing.
Time to finally start with their plan.