kageygirl: (arthur ring handporn)
[personal profile] kageygirl
So, true story: [livejournal.com profile] shetiger has mind-control powers, and I am but an instrument of her will. I swear. I shake my fist in impotent rage at her every day. (And then she gives me cookies, and we're cool.)

Merlin/Arthur, PG, 982 words. Spoilers for 1x13, "Le Morte D'Arthur."

Summary: Magic isn't the only habit that might get Merlin in trouble.


The storm had been distantly threatening for most of the morning, but it swept in with a vengeance just as Arthur was about to begin the day's training, with lightning and angry gusts too dangerous to stay out in. And now, thanks to a quirk of weather, Merlin was possibly going to get himself horribly executed over a silly, pointless habit.

He's not even sure why he did it today, of all days, but he's got no time to think about it. Arthur's heading back to his chambers with all speed, radiating muted annoyance, and Merlin has to scramble to keep up with him.

His hands are shaking as he strips Arthur's armour off of him, and he hopes Arthur will attribute it to the cold wind that blew in just before the storm broke, to the rain that doused both of them. He hands Arthur a towel as he goes about gathering dry clothing for him, moving as slowly as he dares without raising suspicion, trying to plan ahead.

"You're unusually quiet today," Arthur says, as Merlin offers him his tunic. Merlin meets his eyes for a startled moment before looking away again. "Not that I'm complaining," Arthur goes on, and Merlin gives a bare smile to the trousers still in his hands.

"It's the lightning," Merlin says, without looking up. "I've seen it do--terrible things."

That much, at least, is the truth, though he's using it to cover a different lie. He wonders, sometimes, which will happen first--that he'll stop lying, or that he'll forget how to do anything else.

"I've known it to turn great old trees to splinters and kindling," Arthur says, close by. "That is why we're inside, you know." His hand closes over Merlin's for a moment, then he takes the trousers and steps back to change out of the wet ones. Merlin tries to get hold of himself, because he's about to have to be very careful.

Arthur never wears his jewellery while he's training or fighting or hunting or out on patrol, of course, not wanting to be snagged or distracted in a dangerous moment. He keeps it in a small mahogany box in his desk when he's not wearing it--or, more often, has Merlin put it there, while he's dressing the prince for such an outing.

At least, that's Arthur's intention, he's sure.

The little dragon's claw pendant is first--Merlin holds it out, and Arthur takes it, sliding it over his own head, an exchange they've done so often it would be automatic, if Merlin weren't acutely aware of every movement he's making right now.

Next, the coiled silver bracelet he wears around his right wrist, and the ring. Merlin puts his back to Arthur as he takes out the bracelet, and slips his hand into his pocket, where he's got the ring nestled safely away. He tries to pull it out as inconspicuously as possible, hiding the movement of his hand behind his body, acting as if the ring were in the box where it was supposed to be. He doesn't dare use magic to help, not with Arthur so close.

It's an idiotic habit, truly, because if Merlin gets caught, the implication is clear. Merlin would be extremely lucky to just lose his hands at the block. Stealing from the royal family is so very unforgivable that Merlin thinks they need a new word for it. But he's not stealing, he's not, he just...

Sometimes, when Arthur's fighting, or out patrolling with the guard, Merlin holds onto the ring.

He keeps it in his pocket, and checks on it far too many times during the day, and generally distracts himself from other things he should be doing. And when Arthur returns, Merlin puts it back while Arthur's washing himself up, instead of looking him over to see that he's not hurt. Instead of staring at the fading pink scar over his heart.

Merlin's can't be sure exactly when this particular madness of his started, but he knows what it started after.

And it is madness, because there's no reason he should have done it today, on a routine training day. And today Arthur hasn't even had a chance to dirty himself, and--

And Merlin can feel Arthur's stare weighing on his back, and so he turns around, holding out his hands.

For another minute, Arthur watches him, before fitting the bracelet over his wrist. He slides the ring onto his finger and then pauses, looking down at it strangely, as if the weight or the fit were unfamiliar.

Or as if, Merlin realizes in dawning horror, the ring were still warm from the heat of his body, buried as it was in his pocket, while the room is chilly around them. He tries to school his face into a neutral expression as Arthur looks up at him. Arthur's own face is unreadable, but his eyes are searching.

Merlin once told Arthur he knew him, and sometimes he does. But at other times, he really doesn't know what Arthur sees, what Arthur wants to see. And so he waits for his doom to fall.

Eventually, Arthur gives him a half-nod, and steps back, waving to the pile of arms and armour on the table. "Make sure everything's dried and polished. I don't want anything to get rusted."

"Of course, sire," he says, and steps forward, eager to be away for a bit, to catch his breath and call himself many deservedly insulting names.

He's bent over the table, gathering everything into a transportable pile, when he feels Arthur's hand on his back, fleeting. Then Arthur shrugs on his long coat and walks out the door.

Merlin changes his course and makes sure the fire's built nice and high before he leaves, so that Arthur's comfortable when he returns. Even though, to Merlin, the room seems warmer already.

Date: 2008-12-22 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nel-ani.livejournal.com
Oh, this was wonderful. I love how it's all about what they're not saying.

Date: 2008-12-22 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shetiger.livejournal.com
I love this so. very. much. You don't even know it.

(And you haven't figured out yet that I drug the cookies, have you?)

Date: 2008-12-22 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sozuki17.livejournal.com
Awww! I love the thought of Merlin holding onto something of Arthur's while he's away or something. So sweet!

Date: 2008-12-22 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_profiterole_/
That's beautiful. ^_^

Date: 2008-12-22 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] feathergirl89.livejournal.com
I loved this, it was so amazingly awesome. Merlin carrying the ring around in his pocket - win!

Date: 2008-12-22 10:18 pm (UTC)
ext_38832: (Default)
From: [identity profile] aquamia.livejournal.com
I like this. It's something any of us would do, and it tugs at my heart.

Date: 2008-12-22 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] makeanewworld.livejournal.com
This is a great fic - I like how subtle it is in showing how their relationship works.

Incidentally, I also liked this line:

He wonders, sometimes, which will happen first--that he'll stop lying, or that he'll forget how to do anything else.

It just really seemed to sum up Merlin's dilemma.

Date: 2008-12-22 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sylum-river-tam.livejournal.com
This is so sweet :) just what I needed to cheer me up from my stomach flu

Date: 2008-12-22 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirasymphony.livejournal.com
This is just lovely.

Date: 2008-12-22 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] e-r-i.livejournal.com
This is lovely, the feelting touches and gentle moments, and everything!
Beautiful, thanks for writing.

Date: 2008-12-22 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miranda-skye.livejournal.com
I love how subtle and understated this is, and the way it hints at so much more. Lovely :)

Date: 2008-12-22 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fadagaski.livejournal.com
Awww, that's really such a cute way of obliquely exploring the angst within/between the boys.

Date: 2008-12-22 11:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sffan.livejournal.com
Arthur's hand on Merlin's back - perfection.

Date: 2008-12-23 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] colour-me-quick.livejournal.com
I love this; I mean I really love this. You can just relate to it so easily, that need to hold onto a little piece of the person you love. Wonderful, and beautifully written too ♥

Date: 2008-12-23 12:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehoyden.livejournal.com
I love this quiet moment between them, and all the things it says without them talking at all.

Date: 2008-12-23 01:03 am (UTC)
intermezzo: (Merlin:Arthur)
From: [personal profile] intermezzo
This is lovely! I love the subtle gestures that tell a great deal about both our boys. But...But you're SUCH a tease! There'll be more of this, right? *nudges you gently*

Date: 2008-12-23 01:09 am (UTC)
celli: a woman and a man holding hands, captioned "i treasure" (Merlin/Arthur)
From: [personal profile] celli
Oh! Oh, nicely done, there.

Date: 2008-12-23 01:43 am (UTC)
ext_3167: Happiness is a dragon in formaldehyde  (Default)
From: [identity profile] puckling.livejournal.com
That was wonderful. As someone who wears jewelry habitually herself, I really like the idea of Arthur having his own pieces, and of Merlin treasuring them.

Date: 2008-12-23 02:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bakarini.livejournal.com
Wonderuflly beautiful. ♥

Date: 2008-12-23 02:40 am (UTC)
ext_11786: (Default)
From: [identity profile] dotfic.livejournal.com
Wonderful details here, this captures them really well.

Date: 2008-12-23 04:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rosewildeirish.livejournal.com
Aww. :) Love your stuff as always.

*edits user pic to the one I wanted and blames the drugs*

Date: 2008-12-23 06:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] airinshaw.livejournal.com
*Happy-sigh* This just made me smile just before I have to leave for work. Because - yes. Merlin keeping hold of the ring and Arthur realising the significance. ♥

Date: 2008-12-23 06:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_la_la_la/
This is lovely - so much unsaid, yet so much depth to their feelings.

Date: 2008-12-23 07:01 am (UTC)
ext_31800: (Default)
From: [identity profile] raphaela667.livejournal.com
Such a sweet idea, I really enjoyed this!

Date: 2008-12-23 08:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quarantinedfire.livejournal.com
I love this unspoken tension between them. It makes me crazy.

Date: 2008-12-23 10:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lupus-malus.livejournal.com
That is so lovely. I can so see Merlin doing this, even though he knows it's a dangerous thing to do.

Date: 2008-12-23 10:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jade-dragoness.livejournal.com
Aw. I love that Merlin needs something of Arthur to hold onto. It's not stealing! He's safe-guarding it!

Date: 2008-12-23 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] babydracky.livejournal.com
It's so beautiful!
I like how everything about them is about everything they aren't saying!

Date: 2008-12-24 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_bettina_/
I really, really love this!

Date: 2008-12-25 07:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aeroport_art.livejournal.com
Aww, this is lovely. I love the UST.

Date: 2008-12-28 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stellarmeadow.livejournal.com
Ohhhh! So sweet! Such a beautiful piece of writing!

Date: 2008-12-29 05:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] windrose.livejournal.com
I've been saving this to read when I finally had a quiet moment. It was well worth the wait. Thank you.

Date: 2009-01-01 11:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarren.livejournal.com
Oh, lovely!

Date: 2009-01-01 06:18 pm (UTC)
ext_979: (Default)
From: [identity profile] saba1789.livejournal.com
This was lovely! Thank you so much for writing and sharing it :) .

Date: 2009-01-18 04:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thrace-adams.livejournal.com
Oh this was so well done.

Date: 2009-01-20 05:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seperis.livejournal.com
Wonderfully done, and so sweet.

Date: 2009-04-08 02:45 am (UTC)
montanaharper: close-up of helena montana on a map (Default)
From: [personal profile] montanaharper
Oh. Oh, yes. <3

Date: 2009-12-01 02:17 am (UTC)
ext_23250: (pic#)
From: [identity profile] kadollan.livejournal.com
This is lovely.

Date: 2010-03-14 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lillibet4.livejournal.com
Very sweet. Seems very fitting too.


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