Fandom: Merlin (BBC)
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by the BBC. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings/Spoilers: nothing directly
Summary: Do not chase possibly magical creatures, especially when you think they might have gone into a cave or it's your own fault when you can't get back out again.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Soph for the beta
Word Count: 3,202
Link: to MMOM 2009 fic links
Long Fics | HP Short fics | All Other Short Fics | Series Fics
Merlin sat down on a rock and watched Arthur hitting the invisible wall a bit more. Arthur had been at it for at least half an hour by now and, given that Merlin had had a feel around with his magic, he was sure Arthur wasn't going to find a way out. They had been out hunting and Arthur had seen something unnatural and followed it into the cave. Now they were stuck. As ever, it was Arthur's fault, but of course Arthur was blaming Merlin.
The entrance to the cave had looked nondescript and ordinary, but as Merlin looked away from it into the dimness further back he began to realise it was anything but. Leaving Arthur to thump against the invisible barrier, he stood up and began to walk further into the cave. Where it should have been dark it wasn't, in fact there was a low light coming from everywhere. The rock walls seemed to be glowing.
It was also more than obvious that nature had not formed the back of the cave as it was now. The walls had been smoothed off into a chamber and in the centre there was a slightly raised dais of perfectly flat rock. This place had been made by sentient beings, that much was clear.
"Merlin!" Arthur's voice snapped him back from looking around. "Where are you?"
"Back here," he called out and let his eyes scan the walls again.
It was then he realised that the far wall had carvings on it. The dim light made them difficult to see from where he was standing, so as, he heard Arthur walking towards him, he wandered over to have a closer look.
"This," Arthur said from behind him, "is not normal."
"I think the invisible wall at the entrance might have given that away," Merlin replied, looking at the carvings as well as he could.
Given their predicament, he should really have been worried, but the thing was, the cave was not giving him any bad feelings. There was magic here, it tickled his senses, but it didn't feel malevolent or dark, just what Merlin could only describe as curious.
"We should find a way out as soon as possible," Arthur said and Merlin wondered if stating the obvious was part of leadership.
"I don't think there is a way out except the way we came in," he replied, turning and looking across to where Arthur was standing.
Arthur did not look overly impressed with his pronouncement.
"Well unless you know how to remove magical barriers," Arthur said, sounding even less impressed with the idea of magic, "I suggest we look very hard to find one."
"Actually," Merlin replied, pointing at the wall, "I think this might be of some use. The first two carvings on this wall show people coming into the cave and then what I think is the barrier going up. The rest might show us how to get rid of it."
Finally Arthur looked as if he was ready to stop hitting things and try for a more thoughtful approach. In Merlin's opinion he was going to have to train Arthur out of the whole charging in with swords thing before his prince would make a truly great king. He was well aware that it was part of the whole warrior thing Arthur had going on, but there was a time and place for swords and a time and place for thinking and Arthur was far too fond of the first.
"Why would someone make a trap and then leave instructions for getting out of it?" Arthur asked derisively, but did walk over towards him.
"It might not be a trap," Merlin pointed out, going back to looking at the carvings.
"Merlin," Arthur said as if talking to an idiot, "we walked into a place with no other way out that was suddenly blocked; that is the definition of a trap."
Merlin frowned at the wall and didn’t reply immediately.
"Or protection," he said, moving along to look at more carvings, "these people look willing, not as if they've been forced into a cell."
He peered at the carvings some more.
"I think this one is a lord of some kind," he said, pointing at one of the crude figures. "Oh," he added as he moved to the next picture, "and this one is a subordinate or servant since he's kneeling in front of the other."
He moved on and felt his face colouring.
"Um," he said looking at the picture and then the next one.
"What?" Arthur asked, a little annoyed by the sounds of things and backed this impression up by pushing Merlin out of the way.
Merlin couldn't help feeling embarrassed as Arthur saw what he had just been looking at. The carvings had looked perfectly ordinary really, and then suddenly they weren't. The picture that had first suggested anything was after the one where the subordinate had knelt down, because what Merlin had thought at first glance was a dagger or something, on closer inspection was actually the superior figure's cock in his hand. In the picture after that the superior figure appeared to be coming, as far as Merlin could tell, a lot all over his subordinate.
"That's ... that's ..," Arthur seemed to be a little shocked. "How does that have anything to do with getting out of here?"
Just so he didn't have to look at the more interesting pictures, Merlin moved along to try and answer the question.
"I think," he said, trying to ignore the ideas that the carvings caused to run around the back of his mind, "that it might be some sort of fertility ritual. Look, after that," he waved vaguely at the explicit pictures and did his best not to think about them yet, "there's something coming out of the one on his knees and then they're leaving the cave. The barrier is protection for the ritual and it disappears when they're done."
When he dared look at Arthur, he was being looked at in turn.
"Well how do we convince this trap that we did that," Arthur asked and pointed directly at the pictures in question, making Merlin blush again, "without actually doing it?"
Merlin shrugged, he had no ideas at all. Actually most of his mental functions were stuck on what was in the carvings and he was having trouble thinking around the subject.
Quite a while later, he wasn't having much more luck and the way Arthur was glaring at the entrance again, he didn't think Arthur was doing any better. The fact that in his head the little figures had somehow morphed into him and Arthur wasn't helping his thought processes and the fact that when he had managed to get a little away from Arthur and tried his magic against the magic in the cavern and come away knowing there was nothing he could do had reduced any option he could conceive.
"There's no way out," he said with the finality he was feeling.
"There has to be," was Arthur's immediate response.
Arthur seemed very adamant about that, but Merlin found his eyes flicking back to the wall carvings he had been trying to ignore for the last few minutes. Then his eyes went to the raised dais in the middle of the cavern that was clearly where the activities depicted were supposed to take place.
"We could ..." even he was surprised to find the words coming out of his mouth.
Something flickered across Arthur's features and Merlin couldn't quite tell what it was, but he was surprised when Arthur looked away.
"You are my servant, Merlin," Arthur said, facing the entrance again, "and it would be wrong of me to put you through something like that. There is another alternative, we just have to find it."
The thing was Merlin was beginning to realise something, something he had been trying to ignore for a while before the cave incident.
"What if," he said slowly and paused when Arthur turned to look at him.
"What if what?" Arthur asked.
"What if," Merlin began again, deciding to take his future in his hands, "you weren't putting me through it?"
"What if I didn't mind?" he added, feeling incredibly exposed.
Being attracted to another man was not a new thing for him, but he had realised his attraction to Arthur was entirely inappropriate. Arthur was his friend and would be the king, so far out of Merlin's reach as to be ridiculous, and he had decided long ago to ignore what he felt. That he had had dreams about Arthur, dreams that were even more explicit than the cave's idea of art, had been something he had tried to forget. That more than a little part of him liked what he had seen was not a thing he could ignore anymore.
Arthur just stared at him.
"You would willingly do this?" Arthur asked him.
"More than willingly," Merlin admitted since he knew that Arthur had strange ideas of honour that would not let him take advantage of Merlin even if it meant their lives. "Arthur," he added quietly, "I am yours, I have been for a long time, and I know you have no interest in me, but you need to know that this would not bring me humiliation or pain."
He dropped his head, unable to look at Arthur anymore. This was part of himself he hid even from his own thoughts much of the time and it was difficult to reveal it. He heard Arthur moving, but he did not look up until fingers touched his chin and lifted his head. Arthur's intense blue eyes bored into his own and then Arthur was leaning towards him. When Arthur's lips touched his, his eyes slipped shut without his conscious consent and he felt something light within him that he had not known was there. He also felt the magic of the cavern shift.
It was only a short kiss, a mere brush of lips really, but it made Merlin's legs shake. He could sense the restraint in it.
"We have both been fools," Arthur said as Merlin once again opened his eyes. "If you are mine, Merlin, I am yours also. This was not how I would have wished us to realise this."
"This may have been the only way we could," he replied, finding his voice in the soft sincerity of Arthur's words.
There was so much Arthur did not know about him, his magic for a start, but he knew that would have to be a discussion for later. Not too much later, but they needed to be free of the cave first.
When Arthur went to move towards the dais, Merlin followed his prince and very carefully began to do what he had done many times before; he removed Arthur's armour. Somehow it felt far more intimate than it ever had in the past. Arthur just stood there, moving when necessary and let him work without comment. When that was done, he gently loosened the ties on Arthur's breeches before slowly kneeling down in front of the man who owned him. 'Two sides of the same coin', the dragon had said and Merlin knew it was true with every fibre of his being.
As quickly as he could, he pulled off his own tunic and knelt there, naked to the waist as the illustrations had shown. The wall carvings seemed to describe a simple ceremony; there were no indication of ritual words or anything like that and so he moved as boldly and as simply as he dared. Looking up into Arthur's face he reached out and, almost reverently, loosened the ties the rest of the way, opening Arthur's breeches and reaching in to release Arthur's cock from its confines.
He had seen Arthur hard before, sometimes things happened and he had undressed Arthur enough, but he had never been allowed to look before. That Arthur was completely erect already was not as much of a shock as it probably should have been, but Merlin found himself fascinated as he knelt back and let his eyes roam. Arthur's cock was thick and heavy, surrounded by golden curls at its base and Merlin felt a desire to reach out and touch, maybe even taste, but that was not what the ritual had shown.
As if of one thought, Arthur curled his own fingers around his erect cock and Merlin felt the magic in the cave shift again. This time it reached out to touch him and, from the little gasp from Arthur, he thought it had touched his prince as well.
"Keep going," he said, knowing that they were headed in the right direction.
As he watched, Arthur slowly began to stroke himself and it was the most entrancing thing Merlin had ever seen. He had imagined seeing this, but the reality was far more intense and he felt his own cock twitching in his breeches. If he had not been so focussed on Arthur, he would have reached down and touched himself as he felt the need course through him.
He also felt the magic of the cavern begin to seep into his body, coming up through the floor and curling in his belly. It only added to the sensations running through him at the sight of Arthur and the way Arthur's breathing sped up told him Arthur was probably feeling the same thing. As Arthur's pace picked up, the feeling of the magic intensified and then Merlin began to feel something else, something that made him close his eyes: he felt his own magic stirring.
It danced inside of him with the foreign power and it made him gasp.
"Merlin?" Arthur asked anxiously.
"Don't stop," was all Merlin could bring himself to say, keeping his eyes tight shut as the two powers moved through his body.
It did not hurt, but it felt so raw and new that he could not do anything about it. He was not in control and he could barely keep his own magic from bursting out of him as the ritual continued. His eyes were unnecessary to know that Arthur was climbing closer and closer to climax; he could feel it. His own arousal was secondary to the magic making his nerves sing, but it was building in the same way Arthur's was, even without manual stimulation and it began to dawn on him that maybe this was not as simple as he had thought.
His magic was following the foreign power inside of him and it seemed to want to reach out to Arthur. This was not an ancient fertility rite, it was something else, something deeper and Merlin knew he was caught by it for better or ill.
The sound of Arthur's hand on his flesh filled his ears and the smell of sex filled his nose. All he could think of was Arthur and he did not need the quickening of Arthur's breath to tell him Arthur was close.
"Merlin," his name was whispered almost like a prayer and then he felt hot liquid hit his face and his chest.
The magic inside him exploded and his eyes opened in shock, staring up at Arthur. He knew his eyes would no longer be their usual blue, but all he could do was gaze into Arthur's face as his magic and the cavern's magic flew out of him into the air, reaching out to Arthur. He felt it touch his prince as if there was a direct connection between them and for a tiny moment in time he felt the reality of Arthur. In less than the time it took for his heart to beat once, Arthur was revealed to him and he was all too aware he was revealed to Arthur, and then it was gone.
The connection ended, the magic of the cavern released him and he felt his eyes rolling back into his head. It was simply too much for him and he felt himself falling sideways before there was nothing.
Waking up was far less dramatic.
He opened his eyes to see a cheerful fire and found himself lying on a bed roll, covered in a warm blanket. He was outside in the forest and it seemed Arthur had made camp.
"I thought you would sleep all week," Arthur's voice finally made him move and he looked over to see his prince watching him from a few feet away.
"I feel as if I have," he replied, finding that he was clean and dressed and feeling rested.
Not sure how to react he slowly sat up.
"You were right," Arthur said, poking the fire with a stick, "once we performed the ritual the barrier dropped to allow us to leave. Since you refused to wake, I brought us out and did your job for you."
It was a little dig, but Arthur's spirit did not seem to be in it.
Their eyes met and Merlin realised that they had been changed forever.
"I know you, Merlin," Arthur said after a few moments silence; "I know you like no man should be able to know another."
"And I know you," Merlin replied with the same sincerity he could see in Arthur's features.
He knew what it meant as well; Arthur knew the whole truth about him.
"You are everything I have been taught to fear," Arthur said quietly, looking back into his eyes again. "You are made of the magic my father hates."
Merlin's heart tightened.
"But I am not afraid," Arthur continued to speak, "and I could never hate you. Why is that, Merlin?"
The confusion in Arthur was a surprise and Merlin moved, reaching out and placing a hand on Arthur's arm.
"Because you are strong and brave," he said, speaking from the heart rather than trying to think through his words, "and you cannot hate without reason. I love you," he saw no point in denying the whole truth since Arthur had already glimpsed it, "and, at least until today, you loved me."
Arthur looked at him for long agonising moments. There was no window into Arthur's soul for him to see through now, no magical connection, and all he could do was wait.
"This place is not about fertility," Arthur said eventually and looked over towards the cave entrance.
"No," Merlin agreed, "it is about truth and honesty. I think it is a test."
"The question is," Arthur replied, "did we pass?"
Merlin looked into blue eyes that bored into his own as they once again shared their gazes. Slowly he knelt up and this time he leant forward to place his lips over Arthur's. The kiss was as soft as their first, holding the passion at bay, until Arthur grabbed him by both shoulders and dragged him in. After that it was a haze as Arthur demanded the passion from him and there was teeth and tongues and desperation and they only broke apart when they could take no more.
"Yes," Merlin said, clinging to Arthur as tightly as Arthur was holding to him, "I think we did."