Pairing: Arthur/Merlin, Morgana/Gwen, Lancelot/Will
Disclaimer: Don't own Merlin
Summary: Merlin is tired of the centuries in between reincarnations in which he's so alone, so he stops looking for Arthur, making a life for himself. And yet Arthur comes back into his life, and even without his memories Prince Arthur is playing for keeps.
Note: Lancelot is a little ooc because I needed a fun, flirty friend for Merlin and somehow I didn't see Will as flirty---unless it was towards Merlin.
Warning: AU. Gay People EVERYWHERE! lol
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Watching Lancelot and Gwen laughing together as they worked behind the counter, Merlin smiled. Those two had gotten along smashingly since the moment he’d introduced them (as was to be expected) and while there’d been a moment’s attraction on Gwen’s part, it’d disappeared the moment Lancelot mentioned Will-I-Am, and an easy friendship had formed during the past four days.
Despite it being his night off, Merlin found himself in The Dragon’s Lair, having Gin and Tonic, chatting with the regulars and enjoying not having to work. He moved around the bar, exchanging a few words and smiles with everyone, before finding himself talking to Edwin Murdock. Despite being the reincarnation of the Edwin from Camelot, this Edwin wasn’t scarred from trying to save his mother from the stake, and while he was against Uther’s strong views on homosexuality, Edwin was a happy doctor, and a nice fellow to boot.
Merlin had always known, even in Camelot, that if that tragedy hadn’t happened in Edwin’s past he would have been friends with him.
“I think the number of women in here have doubled since Gwen came to work.” Edwin’s lips were curved in amusement as he surveyed the place. “She’s pretty popular. John said that you found her and asked him to give her a trial. Wherever did you find her?”
Edwin and Mr. Hurt were friends, and it was through Edwin’s friendship with Merlin’s boss that Merlin had gotten to know him. “Well, I was at a party the company she was working for was catering to, and after a couple of events that proved she wouldn’t be happy there, I offered her a job here. She arrived the next day and Mr. Hurt agreed to give her the job after a day’s trial.”
“You always have been a good judge of character.” Edwin murmured to himself.
Merlin smirked, thinking about how it’d taken him centuries to learn that trait after years and years of always misjudging characters and ending up in trouble because of it.
And anyway, this was Gwen, he’d known that she would do a great job and dedicate herself completely to whatever it is she did.
Plus, the easy, friendly environment of The Dragon’s Lair would be good for her.
It already was.
The worry lines on her face had disappeared in the days she’d been working here, replaced by an ever ready smile that lit up the place and attracted the women customers like bees to succulent honey.
Now, if only I can find a way of helping her with those loan sharks without her figuring out it was me.
Merlin’s thoughts were interrupted, though, when he sensed it, and his gaze went to the door the second before it opened, light streaming in from the lights outside and backlighting two figures.
His whole body went stiff in shock as Morgana and Arthur entered the establishment. They looked nothing like they normally did.
Morgana wore the tiniest black mini skirt he’d ever seen, with gothic like see-through frills on the bottom, a tight black shirt that said “Suck You”, red and white striped arm warmers, surprisingly stylish and feminine combat boots and her eyes were darkly lined with kohl.
She was immediately the center of attention of all the women in the bar, and she seemed to gloat with smugness as she bumped her shoulder into Arthur’s.
Arthur, on the other hand, didn’t look as comfortable (or comfortable at all) in his getup as she did. It was obvious that somehow Morgana had not only managed to sneak out of the castle and go to the stores Merlin had told her about, but that she’d dragged her brother along and bought him some clothes too.
The prince was just as unrecognizable as his sister to his people in tight black pants, blood-red shirt with a white dragon taking flight stenciled on the front, black jacket, and his hair messy and in his face.
Merlin had to keep from colliding with a couple of customers, so distracted he was as his gaze slid up and down Arthur in an admittedly hungry way. While Merlin himself had only really become an emo because it was one of the only fashions he had yet to try, and then he’d grown to like it, he’d never gotten this gut-wrenching appreciation for skinny jeans before.
Both royals-undercover were scanning the inside of the establishment, and Morgana’s gaze found him first, her face lighting up as she grinned and motioned him over.
“You know them?” Edwin asked Merlin, leaning close to him to be heard over the music and placing a hand on his shoulder.
“Sometimes I really don’t think I do.” Merlin replied truthfully, a little dazedly, as he tore his eyes off of Arthur as the blonde turned in his direction. “I should go say hello.”
“Sure.” Edwin nodded, clapping his back.
It took Merlin a while to reach Morgana and Arthur. He was waylaid every step by some customer or the other, and while he smiled and exchanged words and/or flirtations with them out of force of habit, he couldn’t help but get a little annoyed that they were in his way to get to Arthur.
And then he got annoyed with himself when he realized how anxious he was to get to Arthur.
Right as he was about to reach them he paused, horrified.
Morgana was leaning with her hip against the bar, smiling coyly and looking up through her lashes at an obviously blushing Gwen.
Merlin knew right then that he was doomed.
In every single lifetime Morgana and Gwen ended up together.
Every single one.
If they’d just met it meant it was only a matter of time before they got together.
It was destiny.
And one just couldn’t fight destiny.
And if Morgana got with Gwen, there was no way he could lead a life that didn’t have Arthur Pendragon in it one way or the other.
Of course, at the moment, Merlin was conveniently forgetting that in every single lifetime Arthur and he ended up together or what that said about his chances of not ending up with the handsome prince.
“Merlin luv!” Lacey arrived by his side, curling her arms around his and drawing his attention to her. “Janet and I were wondering if you’d have that drink with us.”
Merlin raised an amused eyebrow at the pretty redhead.
It was common knowledge that she and Janet were interested in either a threesome or a triad relationship with a male, and for some reason they’d decided they wanted the male to be him. He didn’t know why. Sure, he could understand why they trusted him with this, but he was gay. Shouldn’t they want someone who was completely into women for this sort of relationship or one night stand, or whatever?
“Come on Merlin.” Lacey pressed her breast into his arm. “You said that on your night off you’d have drinks with us!” Her grin then went evil. “Janet’s buying.”
Merlin couldn’t help it. He threw his head back and laughed.
Gods, he enjoyed this life!
They both looked up at the barely restrained anger in that voice.
Lacey’s eyes went wide as her gaze rested on Arthur, who’d somehow made it to their side in a matter of seconds. “Wow. You’re a looker.” She turned to Merlin and pushed away, pouting, slapping his arm playfully. “You never told us you were taken! Bad boy!”
Merlin’s eyes widened and he tore his gaze off of the surprisingly accusing expression on Arthur’s face and turned to Lacey. “Taken?” He squeaked the word. “We’re not--!”
“Oh shut up, Merlin.” Arthur growled, flinging an arm around his waist and pulling the surprised warlock up against him, before turning to Lacey and giving her a charming smile. “It’s still a new thing.”
“Ah,” Lacey nodded, understanding, smile bright. “Janet and I were like that in the beginning of our relationship, not exactly sure where we stood with each other and all of that.” She looked from a blushing, wide-eyed Merlin to a smug, smirking Arthur, and grinned brighter. “Take care of him, okay? He’s a jewel.”
Arthur nodded regally.
Sending a friendly wink in Merlin’s direction, Lacey sauntered off to tell her girlfriend of the unforeseen development in Merlin’s love life.
Merlin watched her leave in a daze, unable to understand what exactly had just happened, but when Arthur’s arm around him tightened it jolted him out of his near trance and he pushed Arthur away, or, well, he tried to push him away. He had arms of steel. The bugger didn’t even budge. Not even an inch.
Merlin was going to have to use magic if he wanted to get away!
“Let go you prat.” He grumbled, resolving to glare at the prince.
“How cold, Merlin.” The prince tsked. “You’ve got to be the worst bartender ever.” Arthur was smirking at him, tightening his hold and bringing him in closer.
“I have a whole establishment that would testify to the contrary.” Merlin had wanted to sound snappish but it came out petulant and somewhat breathless, but who could blame him? He was always somewhat stupid when it came to being close to Arthur. “They think I’m an excellentbartender.”
“Nah, they just want to get in your pants.”
Merlin was caught between the desire to knock him out, or laugh. “They probably do.” He finally agreed.
Arthur smiled at him.
Realizing he was in way over his head, Merlin cleared his throat and looked away pointedly at the mingled sound of Morgana and Gwen’s laughter. “So, what exactly are you and your sister doing here?”
“I told you I was coming back. Morgana wanted to come along and see where it was you worked.” Arthur shrugged. “Did you open that tab for me?”
“No. I didn’t think you’d be coming back.”
“But I told you I was.” Arthur’s eyes were narrowed in confusion.
“I—just---,” he couldn’t think straight with Arthur holding him like this, so close he knew the blonde could feel his racing heartbeat. “Will you let go?”
Arthur seemed to think it over for a second. “No.”
Merlin’s mouth fell open. “No?”
“Yes.” Arthur nodded.
“So you will let me go?” Merlin was beginning to get confused.
“No.” Arthur grinned.
He was obviously enjoying this.
Merlin narrowed his eyes, wondering if he could get arrested for kicking the royal shin.
“Merlin!” John Hurt came out from the back room and paused, looking at Arthur, recognizing him in seconds. His smile then lit up and he gave Merlin a knowing look before clearing his throat. “Merlin, my young warlock, I’ve been getting some requests for another show of yours. I know it’s your night off, but I will pay you for it.”
A couple of weeks ago there’d been a little quake and his magic had reacted instinctively, causing all the silverware and breakables in the place tolevitate. It’d meant that nothing in The Dragon’s Lair had been damaged, but also it meant that the customers and workers had seen him use magic…and he’d had to say he was studying to be the next Criss Angel.
Since then, every couple of nights he’d put on a little show to ‘show’ everyone how his ‘lessons’ were going, and while he enjoyed it usually, he was worried about doing it in front of Arthur.
“Warlock?” Arthur asked oddly.
“Yes, our young Merlin here is magic.” Mr. Hurt smiled benevolently. “Come, watch for yourself.”
Having magic shows in bars wasn’t exactly something common, but this was one of the oddities that made The Dragon’s Lair so popular.
Merlin sat on the counter, a group of people around him, Morgana, Arthur, Gwen and Lance to one side, huddled together. He was nervous with Arthur’s intense gaze on him, but shook it off by rubbing his hands together…and causing them to start to glow.
His routine was familiar. He’d made certain things levitate, certain people levitate, and of course there was always the popular card trick where he made them form different figures in the air---all with a flash of his eyes that always had people asking him how he got his eyes to change color like that.
He knew mostly everyone thought it was somehow all a hoax, a well done one, and he was grateful for that.
“Try something different!” One of the men in the back called.
“Like what?” He asked, intrigued.
“Make the elements appear!” A woman called out, other echoing the request.
This was going to be fun.
Merlin grinned. “I need four volunteers.”
The onlookers watched, silent, uneasy.
“I’ll do it.” Arthur’s voice was strangely intense as he stepped forwards.
Merlin felt his stomach plummet to the ground.
“Us too.” Morgana reached for Gwen’s hand, causing the pretty dark skinned woman to blush scarlet, and stepped forwards.
“Why not?” Lance asked, throwing down his towel.
The crowd cheered.
Merlin felt like fainting.
He---he hadn’t thought they----.
He was taking a risk.
He was taking a huge fucking risk.
For this he had to funnel his magic into the people.
What if---what if his magic triggered their memories?
He didn’t want to trigger their memories!
He gulped at the thought of Arthur remembering.
The prince would flambé him for the Dennis debacle and the flirting with other people and trying to stay away from him!
It won’t happen, it won’t happen.
Pushing back his terror, Merlin smiled and nodded for them to stand before him, their backs to him. “For this, I’m going to funnel some of my magic into the volunteers and the elements will manifest harmlessly in them. Stand a little distance from each other please…thank you.”
There were excited whispers from the onlookers.
Merlin first went to stand behind Gwen and placed his hands on her shoulders. “Hold out your hand.”
Gwen did as told.
Eyes flashing gold, Merlin felt the magic go through him into her and a small tornado slowly emerged from her outstretched palm.
Gwen gave a little shriek in surprise but kept her hand out, palm up, as the tornado grew slightly, intensely, causing some tissue on the table to fly away.
People gasped and one brave woman came forwards and hesitantly reached out towards the tornado. “I can feel it! It’s real!”
Loud applause filled the room as Merlin let go of Gwen and the girl stumbled back, looking at her now empty palm in shock, her other hand going to her head and looking at Merlin in confusion.
Telling himself she was only having a headache due to the magic being funneled through her, Merlin moved onto Lancelot and stood behind him, doing the same as he had to Gwen.
Lancelot’s hand was outstretched, and when Merlin’s eyes flashed gold there were gasps and excited whispers as a flower began to emerge from his palm. It was exotic and smelt intoxicating. It was a flower that was now extinct, but had flourished once in the time of Camelot.
Merlin made a movement with one of his hands and the flower flew into the hands of one of the closest women to the shock of everyone and hearty applause as she put it in her hair.
Morgana came towards him, eyes shining with mischief and something that made Merlin a little uncomfortable as she stood before him, cupping her hands out before her as if she knew what he was about to do.
Merlin paused, wondering if her Seer abilities had manifested in this lifetime.
Shaking off the slight worry that that gave him, Merlin put his hands on her shoulders and with a flash of gold miniature rainclouds materialized over her cupped hands, some lightning and thunder added for drama. And then it began to rain, to pour, until her hand was overflowing with water.
The cloud then disappeared, and Morgana sent Merlin a conspirator’s smile before bringing her hands to her lips and drinking the water.
“Amazing!” Someone whispered.
“He’s better than Criss Angel!” Another praised.
Clearing his throat, suddenly nervous, Merlin turned to Arthur and nearly tripped when he saw the intensity that the prince was watching him with. It was as if Arthur could see no one but Merlin, as if it were only he, Merlin, and his magic in this room.
More nervous than ever, Merlin rubbed his hands together again and went behind Arthur, placing his hands on his shoulders, praying that the blonde didn’t feel the way he trembled. “And now,” he spoke, proud at himself for how strong his voice was. “For the final act of the night.”
Somehow, he knew that after this he wouldn’t be able to do anything else.
Rolling his shoulders he took in a deep breath and his eyes flashed gold.
For a second nothing happened in Arthur’s outstretched hand, for a moment Merlin didn’t even feel any power within his own body. And then it was there, and it was intense, and it was flowing truer than he’d felt it in so long.
It inhabited his body, making him warm, and journeyed rapidly, swiftly, purposefully into Arthur. The prince went stiff under his hands as the warmth flooded within him, the electric feeling causing the hairs on the back of his neck to stand on it, and then the barest of crackling fire could been seen on his palm before all of a sudden it exploded into the Pendragon crest.
Merlin’s eyes widened.
He hadn’t meant for that to happen.
All he’d wanted was a tongue of fire, and yet the image tattooed onto his body was now alive and aflame, batting its wings and roaring as it took flight into the air, circling around Arthur and Merlin until it was only a streak of fire and roars. And then it soared to the ground and exploded upon contact…charring the floor.
Merlin couldn’t move, didn’t even register the overwhelming applause that one had gotten him from the excited watchers.
He---his magic had never reacted so strongly---so---.
Arthur turned in his hold, and Merlin looked at his eyes, they were glazed over.
Merlin’s lips parted in surprise as he saw that gaze he knew so well. It was the same look Arthur would have in his eyes before he’d grab Merlin and either throw him in bed or against whatever firm surface was closest before claiming him over and over and over again.
Merlin’s heart raced in what he wanted to say was fear but knew it wasn’t.
“Gods, Merlin.” Arthur whispered, voice deep and husky, gaze hungry, needing, demanding.
It was like looking upon his Arthur, his original Arthur, all over again.
Sympathy for the Devil rang out and Morgana pulled out her mobile from her pocket, not even having to look at the caller ID to know who was calling. “It’s my father.” She turned to Gwen. “Is there somewhere I can talk to him where he won’t hear the music?”
Mr. Hurt turned to Morgana. “Come, you can use my office. It’s sound proof.” He turned to Gwen. “Keep us company.”
Gwen blinked in surprise before nodding and following her boss and Morgana to the office.
Now that the show was over the customers were returning to their tables and drinks, Lancelot going back to work…all leaving Merlin cornered against the counter, with Arthur gazing down hungrily at him, gaze devouring him whole.
Funnily enough, the thought that continued to race crazily through Merlin’s head at such a time as this was: I thought he was STRAIGHT!
“Merlin?” Arthur pressed forwards, grin predatory, pinning Merlin to the counter with his own body.
“Y-yes?” Merlin stammered, unable to look away from those hungry blue orbs.
Arthur leaned forwards, voice a sexy rumble, as he brought his lips to Merlin’s ear. “Where’s your dragon tat?”
Feeling those lips brushing against the lobe of his ear, the caress of his hot breath against his skin, Merlin’s eyes closed shut and he hadn’t realized he’d whimpered softly with need until he’d heard Arthur’s corresponding hungry growl.
But just as Arthur was reaching for him, Morgana burst out of the back room and hurried towards him. “Dad’s coming home earlier than expected. We have to be home and presentable before he reaches there or we’re in big trouble.”
Arthur growled at her, at Merlin, somehow apparently blaming both of them for this situation, before returning his gaze to Merlin and smirking quite evilly.
What did it say about Merlin that it made him whimper a bit more with want?
“Open that tab, Merlin.” He ordered silkily before reaching out and delving his fingers into Merlin’s black locks as if he needed to know how the strands felt between his fingers.
Merlin’s eyes slid closed and he leaned into the touch, mind hazy, forgetting that he was supposed to be fighting this.
A half strangled growl escaped Arthur’s throat as he pulled his hand away and turned to Morgana. “Come on.” And then he stormed out of the establishment.
“Yep.” Lancelot’s voice piped up from behind Merlin, causing him to jump and turn to him, face blushing scarlet. “That one’s definitely straight. How could I have ever thought otherwise?”
Gwen appeared by Lancelot’s side, behind the counter, smiling at Merlin. “He seems really taken with you, Merlin.”
Lancelot snorted and turned to her. “What about his cute little sister? She was all over you.”
“She was not.” Gwen blushed, arranging the already arranged cups.
“She was.” Lancelot pressed, raising an eyebrow. “And what was with all the sputtering and blushing?” He grinned teasingly. “I thought you said you were straight.”
“I am.” Gwen protested, not daring look at either of them, face scarlet.
Lancelot looked from Merlin to Gwen and back, before shaking his head. “You two should become housemates. I hear they have great prices on the real estate in Denialsville.”
And with that he turned to tend to a customer.
Gwen and Merlin met each other’s gaze, looked away, and remained quite for the rest of the night, both shaken by what’d happened and both quite happy to live in Denialsville by believing that whatever had just happened tonight was only to be a one time occurrence.Read Next Chapter