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Master And Knight 2/3 
21st-Jul-2013 05:09 pm
merlin/arthur---gaze and heart
Master And Knight w Simon morgana with hand

Title: Master And Knight
Universe: Master And Series
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Rating: M
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: King Simon's (and through him Northumbria's) alliance with Mercia might add numbers that they desperately need, but his past with Merlin and his conditions for the alliance could prove problems for Merlin's and Arthur's future. There's also the issue of a traitor to address. And what is it that Merlin has been trying to find for Bayard all this time?

"You should not be climbing those stairs in your condition." Merlin knew that it wasn't his place to reproach the Queen, but he couldn't help himself, for she'd been the beloved of his king and was carrying the heir to the Mercian throne within her womb. They were both mourning the king's passing the most in the kingdom, and yet were the ones who truly weren't allowed to show that in public as to not appear weak, and it had allowed them to bond over their mutual, hidden pain. "You are in a fragile condition."

"I've never been fragile, Merlin, never." Morgana had the fortitude of a warrior despite her terribly pale complexion and petite figure. "It would be good for you to realize that."

He sighed, leaning against the wall in his tower, eyeing the Queen.

Gwen, her handmaiden, seemed just as worried as he was due to the fact that Morgana had stubbornly climbed up all of those steps to his tower whilst in her condition.

Merlin frowned. "How have you been sleeping?" The dark circles under Morgana's eyes betrayed her continuing problems in that department since Bayard's death, Gwen having had to move to the maid's quarters adjacent to the room to take care of the woman who'd wake up screaming in the nights. "I do not wish to give you a stronger potion than the one I am giving you now as I do not know the effects it might have on the child."

"I am fine, it is Mordred I am worried about." Morgana was, as always, a faithful sister to the boy, and quite the mother as well. "It has been too many moons without an owl or a pigeon or any sign that he is safe-that he lives." She brought her hand to her heart. "With Bayard's death-I cannot lose my brother as well Merlin."

Pushing away from the wall, Merlin moved to the Queen, placing his hands on her shoulders comfortingly. "Mordred is alive and well. If any ill had befallen him I would have felt it."

"But would you have told me?" Her voice trembled. "You said it yourself, you believe me in a fragile state. Would have have told me of my brother's demise if you thought it would put my child in risk?"

Merlin stared down into Morgana's eyes before sighing, removing one hand from her shoulder to curl under her chin and raise her face so that those tear-filled blues were on him. "I swear to you that your brother is alive and well. I swear it by Bayard."

Morgana searched his eyes, a silent tear making its way down her cheek, before she nodded and took in a deep breath. "Thank you, Merlin." She raised her gaze again to him. "You had no reason to accept King Simon's condition, you are no longer bound to the Mercian throne, but you did so for us and I am forever grateful to you for this."

Merlin merely nodded and pulled away, hands clasping behind his back. "A sufficient thanks would be to go and rest now, My Queen."

Morgana's lips twitched as she wiped at her eyes. "You do not boss me, Grand Court Sorcerer. I now go to lay down for a moment because I feel tired. Not because you told me to." With that she turned to Gwen, who was shooting Merlin a grateful look for getting the Queen to finally agree to get off of her feet for a while. "Shall we retire, Gwen?"

"Of course My Queen." Gwen smiled brightly at Morgana as the two women left the room and started their slow descent down the stairs.

Merlin went to the door and opened it, watching the two women before his eyes flashed gold and both gave a little cry as they were lifted into the air before slowly being lowered all the way down to the floor at the bottom of the tower.

Gwen's eyes were wide and her giggle shocked as their feet finally touched the ground and the magic disappeared.

"I could handle some steps Merlin." And yet Morgana's voice was tinted with amusement as they opened the door and left, the door closing behind them.

Above them Merlin smirked before closing the door and going back to what he'd been doing. When the knock came down below Merlin's magic reached out, questioningly, and when he discovered who was knocking he paused, curious, almost about to ignore the knocks and yet instead decided against it, the door opening.

He listened to the sound of the door closing, and then of hurried footsteps easily making the trip up the winding stairway, before finally the door opened to reveal Joffrey standing there.

Joffrey hesitated a second before entering and closing the door behind him. "It has been too long, Merlin."

Merlin nodded, having been slightly fond of this boy once upon a time ago due to the fact that he'd reminded him of Arthur with his arrogant nature.

Joffrey's gaze went to the window closest to him before turning to Merlin. "I do not want to be thought of as indiscreet, and so I'd be grateful if what I am about to say to you remains anonymous."

Merlin raised an eyebrow before nodding. "What troubles you?"

"It is probably nothing, and I am most probably reaching to conclusions, but I would prefer to have been paranoid than to not have said anything and allowed something inexcusable to happen." Joffrey licked his lips, looking so unsure of himself and what he was doing that it reminded Merlin just how young the usually arrogant boy really was. "I've been hearing-comments-which had greatly disturbed me."

Merlin continued to eye him in silence.

Joffrey let out a little sigh. "At first I didn't think much about it because he'd made similar comments before the king-," he cleared his throat. "But since then, he's-his comments." Joffrey's gaze went to Merlin. "Sir Valiant believes that as kinsman of King Bayard his opinions should have more importance, that the Queen should be relying on him to help rule the kingdom until the child she gives birth to comes of age. He says that she is snubbing him by not acknowledging his true position in the court. He is especially unhappy that she would join in alliance with Northumbria without-consulting-with him first."

"Consulting with him," Merlin pondered over that with a little sneer before his blues went to Joffrey and he moved towards the boy. "You've done well in telling me this, and I will not mention you name."

"Thank you." Joffrey took in a deep breath before turning and leaving.

Merlin watched the boy leave, his words ringing in his ears.

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"To be truthful, I am not surprised to hear this anonymous report on Sir Valiant." Lancelot declared as he sat by the table in Merlin's chambers later that night, having been summoned by the sorcerer to talk about what he'd heard. "I too have been approached by our most loyal of knights concerning certain comments he has made. Mostly they were spoken while he was inebriated and in one of his legendary rants, and yet lately they seem to have escalated. I myself overheard him the other day and I feel that it is truly starting to get out of hand." Lancelot eyed Merlin severely. "He feels his kinship to the late king gives him some sort of right to the throne, or to some control over the Queen at least."

"He obviously does not know Morgana if he thinks he can control her." Merlin sneered.

"But once he realizes that he cannot control her, I am worried he might want to control the throne in another way." Lancelot took in a deep breath. "Should the Queen pass away with child he might try to contend to the throne. Or he could just as easily wait for the child to be born, have the Queen die from her 'weakness', and declare that he is the only one with the right to not only raise the child, but assume power until the heir comes of age."

"You think he's the traitor." Merlin read between the lines.

"I think he has motive." Lancelot sidestepped.

"He's also a very obvious traitor." Merlin frowned, not dismissing the potential of this theory and yet not dismissing any other either. "He might not be the traitor, just another person who wishes the throne for himself, with no connection to Aurelius Ambrosius or his sorcerer."

"True." Lancelot sighed. "We live in harrowing times my friend."

A knock sounded on the door.

Merlin turned towards it, his magic seeking the one on the other side, identifying it as the sorcerer sighed. "It is King Simon."

Lancelot stood immediately. "We shall return to our conversation at a later date."

Merlin nodded, turning his gaze towards the door, which opened on its own, showing Simon in the doorway.

"King Simon." Lancelot bowed before nodding to Merlin and leaving.

Entering the room, Simon eyed Lancelot with male appreciation in his eyes before closing the door behind him. "I hear he's monogamous with the Court Physician."

"He is." Merlin assured him, knowing Cassius would want him to.

"Pity." Simon mumbled before his gaze finally turned on Merlin. "What is it with the Mercian men suddenly deciding on monogamy?" He raised an eyebrow. "From what I remember from your time in Northumbria, you told me that couples allowed indiscretions here just as happily as they do in Northumbria."

"Generally they do." Merlin watched the young king observe his dwelling quarters. "Very few are truly monogamous. Take Lancelot and Cassius, they are monogamous in the sense that if they do have fun with someone else, they do so together, never has the other had sex with another person without the other's knowledge or presence."

"I see." Simon approached Merlin's bed, eyeing it before turning towards the sorcerer. "Would that be the type of arrangement you and Arthur have?"

"No." Merlin shook his head, folding his arms over his chest. "Arthur doesn't believe in sharing me."

"Possessive little puppy, isn't he?" Simon chuckled darkly before throwing himself down on Merlin's bed with a smirk.

"I find it amusing you refer to him that way given the fact that you're the same age."

Simon smirked, gazing up at Merlin. "Did you have a good night the other night?"

"I did." Merlin nodded.

"You know, I never liked Arthur. He always seemed so…prudish." Simon made a face, seeming far too comfortable on Merlin's bed. "Do you know when he and his father came to Northumbria to court our favor in the war he not only wouldn't have any fun, but he told us it was immoral. Immoral!" Simon rolled his eyes. "This coming from the guy whose father was married and yet didn't find it immoral to sleep with anyone he wanted during that marriage-fathering children!"

"I did not realize you were so high offended by Arthur's comments." Merlin drew closer, always having found Simon entertaining.

"He's judgmental, the whole of Camelot are." Simon raised an eyebrow. "Did they not find his taking your cock up his arse immoral?"

"I'm sure they did." Merlin admitted, leaning against his bedpost.

"Camelot: The only place in Albion where everything fun is immoral, condemned, and then secretly committed by those who condemn it." Simon rolled his eyes. "I'd say: let Aurelius Ambrosius have it if he wants it so badly-but since Mercia is tied in with this-since you are-I will help that boy get back the throne he shouldn't have lost in the first place." Simon didn't seem too pleased about it. "And then you and I will go to Northumbria while Arthur tends to his people and the remains of his kingdom." Simon's dark eyes rose to Merlin. "Has he realized that yet? That he's going to lose you?"

Merlin eyed the young king thoughtfully. "Who says he will?"

"It will take years for him to rebuild Camelot once he recaptures it, and it will take you just as long to help us with the Morrigna Trials if things go south. Years." Simon smirked. "Can you handle years of hunger, Merlin? Even for your little prince?"

"I would try."

Simon sighed, raising from the bed. "You would fail and you know it." He moved towards Merlin, stopping before him, reaching out to trail his hand down Merlin's chest. "You know as well as I do that no matter how hard you'll try, in the end you'll find yourself in my chambers, in my bed…" he leaned forwards, whispering softly in Merlin's ear. "…in me."

"You are overconfident as always, Simon." Merlin placed his hands on Simon's shoulders, separating him from him gently before letting his hands fall to his sides. "It was always one of your charms."

"Only one of them," Simon reminded playfully before shaking his head and sighing, concern covering his features. "Merlin, he's going to have to rebuild his kingdom, he's not going to have time for you, he's going to need his every energy, his every thought, to be on that." Simon shook his head. "And once he's managed to return Camelot to a viable kingdom he's going to need a Queen."

Merlin clenched his fists. "I do not see how-."

"Yes, you do." Simon responded softly. "If you truly care for him then you'll let him life a normal Camelot life and not disrupt his people. You said it yourself, Camelot is completely different from us, their values-everything. His kingdom will still be so new, so fragile, and a scandal like their king taking it up the arse by a Mercian no less…" Simon took in a deep breath. "His people might think less of him. Because of you. And that will be the time when he needs his people and their support the most."

Merlin folded his arms over his chest, looking away.

"He'll also need an heir, need many children so that the Pendragon name doesn't die-so that his father's dynasty lives on long after he's dead." Simon declared in a wise tone Merlin hadn't known he'd had. "You and your monogamous relationship would be a hindrance to that."

"Whereas a relationship with you would not be a problem to your people or a hindrance to your reign as king." Merlin could see where this was going.

"Obviously," Simon chuckled good-naturedly. "My people already know I like a cock just as much as a cunt, it makes them like me even more because they have the hope that one day I might fuck them."

Merlin shook his head at the young king, who truly hadn't changed at all.

"But joking aside, Merlin, you know I speak the truth." Simon sighed, beginning to back away to the door. "I will never speak to you about this again, but you know that I am right. You will not be able to get my words out of your mind because you care for Arthur, and despite how much you want him, you will come to see more and more that everything I said is the truth. The best thing for him is, when the war is over, to go back to Camelot and for you to sever your romantic relationship."

Merlin didn't speak, merely clenched his fists tighter.

"Good night, Merlin." And with that King Simon slipped out of the bedroom.

Merlin groaned, throwing himself down on the bed, Simon's words ringing in his ears.

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King Cenred and Queen Morgause of Escetia were dead, killed by Aurelius Ambrosius' sorcerer.

With the news of Escetia's fall hit the land hard, every member of the royal family having been executed as well other than Sir Percival, who'd been a distant cousin of King Cenred. It left him as heir apparent to Escetia, and the warrior (who was truly reluctant and uncomfortable in his new position of power) had strengthened the ties with Mercia. As the kingdoms adjoined each other, Mercia and Escetian forces joined together even stronger, mixing within both kingdoms, fortifying. Merlin found himself having to develop new spells to protect the people of Escetia as well, as despite Sigan's power they'd been suffering greatly, yet their proud king and queen had failed to mention this in their owls.

With Northumbria and Caerleon in the battle now, they had a better chance of surviving this war, and any moment Merlin wasn't working on spells to strengthen the warriors' armors and weapons, he found himself on that pet project Bayard had had him on before his death. He had a feeling that they would need this, and it was more worth the danger than it had ever been before.

He knew that Arthur still didn't like Simon, and the sentiment was reciprocated by the young king, but both were working together no matter how unhappy they were about it. And yet he was surprised when he overheard a conversation they had while passing under the window of a room he was inside, searching for something.

"All I am saying, Arthur, is that if you're not man enough to put him in his place, then Merlin should." Simon declared. "Now that the king has died it is obvious that he believes he has more power than he truly has. That can be a very dangerous thing, especially when he realizes that the Queen isn't a fragile female he can "counsel"."

"We have eyes on Sir Valiant, we don't need a stranger coming into our midst and telling us how things are and what should be done." Arthur's voice was curt. "Worry about your own men and leave ours alone."

Simon gave a little dark chuckle. "Are we talking about Sir Valiant still or are we talking about Merlin?"

"Both." Arthur finally stopped walking and turned towards Simon. "I know that you and he were of an understanding while he was in Northumbria, but that was many moons ago, and pursuing him would be a waste of all of our time as now he and I are of an understanding."

"I had heard. You've stolen him from your younger brother during Mordred's heroic absence trying to round of druids to help save your kingdom. Let me tell you, that underhanded way of conduct betrays just how long you've been subjected to Mercians and their way of thinking, of behaving. Especially considering that you have taken to wearing Mercian blue I have to admit that you seem more and more Mercian than someone from Camelot." Simon tilted his head to the side. "On another note, I find it quite amusing that while you assure me that it is a waste of time for me to pursue Merlin, that you would still take the time to warn me against it. I believe you realize, just as I do, that despite all your posturing you truly are not a threat. What you have with Merlin is only a temporary arrangement."

"That's a lie." Arthur glared. "He loves me."

"I know." Simon visibly shocked Arthur with that revelation. "These days in Mercia I have observed Merlin with you and I truly do believe that he loves you, and I do respect that to some degree. I have never seen him this way with another. He loves you, and I truly believe you're the only person he's ever loved. Maybe you will be the only person he ever will love."

An odd emotion crossed over Arthur's face as he fidgeted slightly, almost like a mixture of wariness and pleasure, his lips remained a thin line though.

"But just as I can see that you love each other, I can see that it will not last." Simon replied without any malice, if anything, with some pity. "To be completely frank with you I desire to return to Merlin's good favors, I've been with many and yet none have ever made me feel the way I did under him, and while he loves you I do not see you as a threat. If anything, I find Mordred a more viable one."

Arthur was visibly taken aback with such stark honesty.

"And it's because of how much you love Merlin." Simon took a step closer to the golden prince. "We both know about Merlin, or at least we both suspect it. The truth about him. And thus we both know what he needs. But you, you're not willing to share any little bit of him. You're a greedy little prince who wants his sorcerer all to his own. That's why I do not plan on purposely interfering with your relationship with Merlin. It will crumble on its own." Simon sighed. "He loves you, but he can't fight his nature, and you will never be able to give him what he needs. What he really needs."

"And what would that be?" Arthur's voice was strained.

"Freedom to do what he must, what his instincts dictate, what his power demands." Simon's voice lowered as he circled slowly around Arthur. "Did you know that King Bayard took Merlin away from Northumbria sooner than expected because he was worried he was losing him to me?" His lips twitched when he noticed Arthur's eyes widen slightly. "And do you know why Bayard was so worried? Because Northumbria, because I, fit well with Merlin's appetites. Because Merlin stopped leaving my chambers, took women and men, right in front of me, along with me, before pushing me down and taking me." Simon's lips curved in a smile at the memory. "I want Merlin for myself, just as you do, but I'm willing to share him to keep him. So is your brother. But you are not. You want him all for yourself, only for yourself, and while Merlin seems willing to try this monogamous farce, willing to try please you, to be faithful due to his love for you-his instincts, his nature, will win out in the end. You must have seen the state he was in when he left my room that night. That goes to prove that no matter how much he loves you, his instincts are still very much a strong part of his being."

Silence filled the air as Arthur merely stared at Simon with anger and another emotion Merlin really couldn't detect from his vantage point.

"You might somehow be able to sate his hunger all on your own, but what about his desires? His kinkiest of kinky ones?" Simon leaned in closer. "You may sate hunger itself, but you'll bore him after a while. He'll fight it because he loves you, and for a while you'll trick yourself into believing nothing is wrong, but in the end the both of you will be hurt. You'll hurt each other without wanting to, you just won't have another choice." Simon's voice lowered. "You'll love each other until you hate the other, because you'll always know deep inside that he's denying his every impulse just for you, and he'll know deep inside that he could be enjoying so much more than what you're willing to offer."

Arthur's gaze was on Simon, hard, though his voice was calm as he spoke. "I did not realize you could see into the future, King Simon."

Simon chuckled, pulling away, eyeing Arthur with a smirk. "I'm merely pointing out what everyone knows. I am trying to save the both of you before you destroy each other."

"Such kindness is touching." Arthur's voice said otherwise. "But I will repeat what I told you before. Worry about your own men, and forget about ours." And with that Arthur walked away.

Simon watched him go before chuckling, shaking his head, and walking in the opposite direction.

Merlin sighed, closing the window.

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Camelot and its allied troops were marching on Mercia. Caerleon, Escetia and Northumbrian were rallying to stand by Mercia during the battle when the troops met, and yet they were still horribly outnumbered by their enemies.

That meant that Merlin was spending most of his time in his tower, further researching every obscure tome he knew of, desperate to find the answers he needed. He could feel that they were getting closer, knew that he was about to get a break, could feel it in his veins. If it wasn't for Arthur Merlin knew that he probably would have spent these last couple of days without eating or sleeping, but the young knight (now always dressed in blue) made sure that the servants brought Merlin his meals whether he asked for them or not, and once the candles burnt down in the dark of the night and it was all Merlin could do to keep himself awake, it was the exiled prince who'd forced the sorcerer to conjure a bed inside of the tower and rest. It reminded Merlin somewhat of the time in which Arthur had been his bossy little sex slave, the situation so similar, Arthur sleeping in the bed as Merlin toiled over plans on how to save his people from the war.

And yet it was much more than how things had been before. Now Arthur wasn't just a source of physical comfort or pleasure, no, now he took care of Merlin in his bossy sort of way. He wasn't a verbal sort of person, not when it came to feelings, and yet Arthur's actions spoke of devotion that both awed and humbled the sorcerer. Merlin wanted this war to be over so he could reciprocate, and yet every time he thought of the end of the war (in which they'd be victorious-there was no other option) Merlin felt a cloud of concern and doubt fill the room. No matter how much he'd like to forget Simon's words, to reject them as inconsequential, Merlin knew he couldn't.

Merlin would win back Arthur's kingdom for him, wouldn't rest until Bayard's child had no threat to his kingship. But once both kingdoms were secured for their rightful rulers Merlin would have to go to Northumbria to help King Simon as he'd agreed to. Considering all the many things Simon could have asked for in return for his soldiers this was a very fair trade, and Merlin wouldn't go against his word. Just as he would assure that Arthur, and Bayard and Morgana's child, had their kingdoms secured, he would rid Simon's of the Morrigna Trials and would make sure that Northumbria prospered.

And then what?

No matter how much Merlin might want to deny it Simon was right. Even though he was going to try as hard as he could to end the Trials it might take a while for Merlin to sort out Northumbria's troubles. Also, Arthur would still be in the process of rebuilding Camelot, of making it a strong nation once more, of healing his people and land. He didn't need his relationship with Merlin, which was condemnable in Camelot, to make his people doubt him or his capabilities as a leader.

A wave of depression surged through him but Merlin pushed it back, dousing the lights as he yanked off his robes and slid into bed, turning to stare into Arthur's sleeping face. He wasn't going to let any of this get to him. He wasn't going to give up. Arthur would probably punch him if he did.

Lips twitching in a smile, Merlin reached out and slid his fingers deep into Arthur's golden locks before closing his own eyes.

Sleep came easier than expected.

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