My MMOM Master List 2010
Title: Gift of the Beast
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: semi-explicit sex
Summary: When Merlin is bitten by a wolf in the woods he finds himself becoming very possessive of Arthur.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Soph for the beta.
Word count: 3,670
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The wolf came out of nowhere. It was dark, they were camping for the night and Merlin had felt the need to answer a call of nature while everyone else slumbered. He'd passed a word with the knight on watch and then shuffled just a little way into the bushes so as not to be seen. Animals would not usually come so near to the fire and camp, but this beast did. If he had not had his magic he was pretty sure he would have been dead. When the creature had leapt at him he had raised his arm and its teeth had bitten down very hard, but his magic had flared, throwing it off before it could rend and tear and break bone. He still wasn't really sure what had happened next; he remembered crying out and seeing blood all over his arm and then Arthur had been there, but he wasn't sure of much else.
"Merlin, Merlin, can you hear me?"
He blinked and realised that he was sitting down near the fire and Arthur was right in front of him trying to get his attention.
"Did he hit his head?" he heard someone ask.
"It's the blood loss," someone else said.
All Merlin knew was he seemed to have lost a significant amount of time and someone had already bandaged his arm, not particularly well by the looks of things. It also hurt.
"Ow," he said as that finally made it to the forefront of his brain.
"Thank heavens," Arthur said, looking a little less anxious, "I thought you had lost what little wits you actually have."
It was an insult to his intelligence as usual, but Merlin could see the worry in Arthur's eyes and it made him feel warm inside.
"Leon," Arthur said, turning before Merlin had a chance to reply; "at first light you will take Merlin back to Gaius, the rest of us will continue to meet Lord Theorin's party."
The fact that they were on a little diplomatic mission to meet visitors to Camelot made the fact that Merlin had managed to injure himself even more embarrassing than it usually was.
"Arthur," he said, going to stand up, "I'll be fine, you don't have to take the trouble ..."
Arthur very firmly pushed him back into a sitting position whilst somehow making sure not to jar his arm.
"For once, Merlin," Arthur told him, trying to look stern, but somehow managing to still look worried, "you will do as you are told."
Something inside of Merlin trembled at that, mostly in delight; it was a very strange feeling.
It was not a pleasant journey back to Camelot, that was for sure, but Gaius soon had him patched up and the herbs he forced down his throat made the world a much more enjoyable place for a while. He spent most of the day in bed on Gaius' orders, but, as soon as he heard that Arthur's party were returning, he snuck out and made his way down to the courtyard. For some reason he had been desperately missing Arthur all day and he blamed it on Gaius' concoction, but that didn't stop him being very glad Arthur was home.
What he saw when Arthur rode through the gate made him growl with discontent. He had known Lord Theorin was bringing his daughter, because Arthur had complained long and loudly enough about this being just another game of trying to marry him off for long enough, but he hadn't really thought about it before. She was slender and beautiful and Merlin didn't like her instantly, because Arthur was smiling at her as they rode side by side.
When Arthur leant over and smiled, placing his hand delicately on the girl's arm, Merlin saw red. Completely irrational anger took hold of him and he felt a rush of jealousy so total that it took his breath away. He wasn't even sure what happened next, but one moment all was calm and the next the girl's horse reared and threw her unceremoniously onto the ground and the pile of dung one of the other horses had just recently deposited there.
It couldn't have been more perfect really and Arthur might have leapt off his horse to help her and been terribly gallant, but Merlin did not miss how quickly Arthur handed her over to other servants. It was after Arthur had dealt with everything that Merlin walked up to his prince and made himself known.
"Merlin," Arthur said, instantly looking him over, "I thought Gaius would have had you tucked up in bed today."
"He did," Merlin replied with a grin, "but I wanted to come and make sure you hadn't found something ridiculously dangerous on the way back and needed me to patch you up."
Given that he had his right arm strapped to his chest it was a faint promise, but it made as much sense as the rest of their relationship.
"I only find things like that when you are around to attract them," Arthur replied, but appeared pleased to see him. "I suppose I am going to have to deal with you being even more useless than normal for a while, I see."
Arthur might have been making a fuss about it as if it was a problem, but Merlin did not miss the way Arthur was checking him over to make sure he was alright.
"Was that Lady Madeleine, Theorin's daughter?" he asked conversationally.
"Yes," Arthur replied with a smile; "pleasant company for a change. I can't think what could have made her horse rear like that."
"Maybe it was bitten or something," Merlin said noncommittally; he didn't like the way Arthur was smiling at the girl's name.
"Possibly," Arthur replied with a shrug, "anyway, I must go and find my father in preparations for the talks with Lord Theorin. I would say take care of my horse, but you look pretty useless right now, so keep an eye on the stable boys and make sure they look after him properly."
Merlin gave a small mock bow.
"Of course, Sire," he said, feeling inordinately pleased that Arthur trusted him with this above everyone else.
It wasn't until the next evening that he had to admit something strange was going on. For a start his arm had stopped hurting completely, even though Gaius had told him in no uncertain terms that he was not to use it at all for at least three days. Then there was the fact that he was beginning to realise he didn't like Arthur being out of his sight; he had made every excuse possible to be exactly where Arthur was all the time. He felt irrationally jealous whenever anyone else monopolised Arthur for any reason, even legitimate ones, and lots of accidents seemed to be happening to people who did. Sir Leon had found himself tripped up by a wayward pike after Arthur slapped him on the back while they were talking. Two other knights had had a tapestry fall on them and then there was Madeleine. Even Merlin was beginning to feel sorry for her.
The fireplace in the main hall had exploded soot all over her during her first audience with Uther when Arthur had been introducing her. It had missed everyone else, but the poor girl had been covered in black. Then there had been the rainstorm that had come out of nowhere as she walked in the gardens with Arthur and her ladies, soaking her to the skin while everyone else managed to stay relatively dry. At lunch a bowl of soup had ended up in her lap and at dinner a whole carafe of wine. It was beginning to look as if someone had it in for her and, as he trailed Arthur to his room after the welcome feast, he had a horrible feeling he knew who.
"Merlin, you should have gone back to your own room," Arthur said, giving him a very stern look as he closed the door; "you are supposed to be resting."
Merlin felt his heart swell a little at the concern.
"I'm fine," he replied with a smile, "and you couldn't undress yourself if your life depended on it."
Not that that was really Arthur's fault; his official clothes were not designed to be dealt with by one person.
"I could have asked one of the other servants," Arthur pointed out; the whole castle tended to fall over itself if Arthur wanted anything.
The fire flared in the grate, making Arthur look at it as Merlin considered that proposition. Someone else with their hands on Arthur made emotions stir in his stomach that he did not like. He had had to supervise one of the page boys helping to dress Arthur, but he was damned if he was going to let anyone else undress him.
"I can do it," he said, even though his arm was still strapped close to his body.
As if to prove his point he walked up to Arthur and began undoing ties.
"What is wrong with you today," Arthur asked, but did let him get on with it; "usually you leapt at the chance for time off? Half the time when I need you I have to come and find you and yet today you have been following me around like a hound."
Merlin really didn't know how to explain it; he wasn't quite sure what was going through his head himself.
"It was the wolf," he said, trying to find an excuse, but realising it was true even as he said it.
"Merlin," Arthur said, stopping him from struggling with a knot that he could not undo one handed and dealing with it himself, "there are no wolves in Camelot."
"I know," he replied, starting on another tie that he could get undone, "but you saved me and, I don't know why, but it makes me feel better being near you."
The old Arthur, the one from a couple of years ago, would have scoffed at him and made fun of him for that admission, but this Arthur, his Arthur smiled fondly at him. It made him feel a little bad for not explaining it all properly, but he couldn't exactly tell Arthur he was feeling possessive rather than in need of protection.
Everything was fine for a while, he studiously worked on undressing Arthur, while Arthur prattled on about his day and they were almost done when Arthur moved onto the subject of Madeleine.
"A very attractive girl," Arthur said as Merlin put away his jacket; "but she seems to be very unlucky."
Merlin did not like hearing Arthur talk about her, he especially did not like hearing that Arthur thought she was attractive.
"She was telling me at dinner that she is very glad she brought a full wardrobe," Arthur continued to talk, "because so far three of her gowns have been ruined, which I suppose doesn't include the one that was covered in wine this evening."
Arthur was just chatting, as Arthur tended to do, but Merlin had to make himself stop twisting his fingers into Arthur's clothes in anger. The jealousy was sudden and encompassing and it took everything he had not to react.
"What kind of wife do you think she would make?" Arthur asked in a speculative voice. "I am not sure Camelot needs such luck as hers."
Arthur was smiling when he looked over for Merlin's opinion, but Merlin was not in the mood of joviality. He moved before his higher thoughts had time to object and he pushed Arthur back onto the bed, climbing on top of him and glaring down at him. Arthur seemed so shocked that he did not even fight back.
"You're mine," Merlin all but growled. "I love you, I have always loved you; she can't have you."
He felt it through every fibre of his being; he had felt it before, always known it deep down, but it had him now, completely and utterly. Arthur for his part looked shocked.
"Merlin, your eyes," was what Arthur said.
That snapped him out of it and he looked up and over at the polished mirror on Arthur's table. All he saw looking back were two golden eyes. It all came crashing down then; what he was doing, what he was thinking and he scrambled off of Arthur as fast as he physically could. Everything added up in his head, the wolf, his feelings, what had been happening and he realised his suspicion had to be true; it was all him.
"I'm sorry," he said and then he ran for the door.
He did not stop until he reached Gaius' rooms.
"The wolf," he said, ripping his arm out of the sling, "I don't think it was a real wolf."
The knot in the bandage would not come undone so he just let his magic undo it for him and then he was unwinding it as fast as it would go. He didn't quite believe it, not completely, not until he saw where there had been deep gouging teeth marks the day before and now there were only neat little scars. No wounds could heal that fast, not and be natural.
"Arthur," he said, breathlessly and panicking, "he saw..."
He didn't know what to do; part of him said flee, but the rest knew he could not leave Arthur.
"Merlin," Gaius said, taking him by the arm and leading him into the room, "tell me what has happened."
"Ever since..," he began looking down at his arm; "things have been happening. People around Arthur keep having accidents, only small ones, but over and over and Lady Madeleine has had no luck at all. I think it was me, all the time it was me and this evening Arthur mentioned marriage. He was only joking Gaius, but I ... I was so jealous I revealed myself; he saw my eyes."
For a moment Gaius looked stricken.
"We must get you out of here," Gaius said almost instantly.
"No!" Merlin replied just as quickly.
The idea of leaving Camelot threw him into such a torrent of emotion that he almost lost it again.
"The wolf," he said trying to think, "we need to find out about the wolf. We could blame it on the wolf."
Gaius did not look like he was going to agree.
"I cannot leave him," was all Merlin could say to that.
"Look in your book," Gaius said after a moment, "I will search mine."
Merlin had no idea how long they had, or what Arthur would do, so he dragged the book from its hiding place flicked through it as fast as he could. It took him a surprisingly short amount of time.
"Found it," he called, looking at the picture and seeing exactly what he had seen the night he was bitten.
It was huge, it was black and it was called a Fae Wolf. He scanned the page quickly.
"A Fae Wolf is a magical creature," he read aloud, assuming that Gaius would be listening; "it kills at will, but to those it deems worthy its bite grants the power of the wolf. These include strength and speed and faster healing and, for some, that ability to change into a wolf's shape, but beware, for with these gifts come the wilder urges of the wolf. One so gifted will have to learn to control these baser instincts."
He looked up at the door, expecting to see Gaius, but he went cold all over as he saw Arthur instead; Arthur with a sword in his hand. Too many conflicting emotions raged within him for him to do anything at all as Arthur stepped into his room and kicked the door closed. Only as Arthur moved closer did he stand up and back away just a little, afraid of what he might do.
"A book of magic, Merlin?" Arthur said, flicking the pages with the tip of his sword.
"Yes," he said, unable to lie to Arthur anymore.
Arthur's face was devoid of emotion and Merlin felt his stomach twisting when faced with that mask.
"How long have you been a sorcerer?"
It was the kind of question that lost people their heads in Camelot.
"Since the day I was conceived," Merlin replied, just standing there awaiting his fate.
It was only the truth; his mother had once told him how she woke one morning while she carried him to find butterflies dancing round her stomach and it had been that moment she had truly known her child would be extraordinary.
"Did you call that beast?" Arthur asked him, staring him directly in the eyes with no feeling at all.
"No," he replied firmly, resolute that Arthur could at least know the real story; "I did not ask for this; I did not know what was happening until now. I never meant to hurt you."
Arthur lifted his sword, pointing it right at his throat and he just stood there waiting for the death blow if it came. At least from Arthur it would be quick; no chance of fire as there might be if Uther chose his method of demise.
"Not going to defend yourself, Sorcerer?" Arthur asked coldly.
Merlin just turned his head and closed his eyes, feeling the heavy weight of Arthur's sword sliding over his shoulder, just beside his neck as Arthur walked closer. He did not want to die, but this was Arthur and he could never do anything to hurt him.
"Are you ready to die?" Arthur all but whispered in his ear.
At that he did open his eyes and he looked at his prince only inches away from him.
"For you," he said simply, "I would die in an instant."
Something in Arthur's eyes changed then; the shutters opened and emotion returned. It was confused, uncertain, but the sword slid off his shoulder and he found himself being pushed against the wall. There was no finesse about it, no preamble, as the sword clanged onto the floor Merlin found himself being ground against the stone as Arthur pushed their lips together with bruising force. It was such a switch that his brain did not have time to catch up, but his body was way ahead of him and he parted his legs as Arthur forced one of his between them. He was pinned and it sent shots of adrenaline and desire through him and he kissed Arthur with everything he was worth.
It was wild and needy and completely mind blowing as they rutted against each other, kissing desperately until neither of them had enough air and they had to break their mouths apart. Merlin tangled his fingers in Arthur's hair, pulling at the golden strands as he gasped in breath, rocking his lower body against Arthur's in desperate need. He wanted more of Arthur, wanted all of him in fact, but given that this was all he could get at the moment, it would do.
The wolf in him howled and he thrust against Arthur all the harder. Man to man, they chased their pleasure and the higher Merlin climbed, the less his thoughts seemed to move. Everything was focused on Arthur; the smell, the touch, the taste of Arthur and he kissed along Arthur's neck, licking the salty taste from the glistening flesh. Arthur was his, he was Arthur's; simple and symmetrical and perfect, almost, and, as he came, he pulled aside Arthur's shirt and he bit him. His body bucked, his magic bucked and for a little while everything went white and glorious.
The rest of the world came back quite quickly, at least before he and Arthur could end up on the floor, but they were still leaning together heavily and mostly it was the wall keeping them up. Arthur's head was on his shoulder and they were both breathing hard.
"Merlin," Arthur's muffled voice came from just beside his ear, "did you do what I think you did?"
"Bit you?" Merlin replied, since it was the only thing he could think of that Arthur might be asking about. "Yes."
Arthur pushed back and blinked at him.
"If this is going to be a continuing thing, we might have to have words," Arthur told him, looking flushed and sated and not really as annoyed as he was trying to pretend.
Merlin couldn't help it, he smiled at that, broadly.
"Oh," he said, cheerfully content in what he had just done, "I only need to bite once."
At first Arthur looked confused and then his eyes opened in realisation.
"You didn't," Arthur said as he caught on, "you couldn't have."
"I did," he replied, feeling the alien power that had mixed with his own as it flowed between them; "I don't think he really came for me; I was an accident, but now we both have it."
Arthur looked a little stunned, but Merlin didn't care; this would serve Arthur well in the future, he knew it in his soul. It was only as he considered what was to come that he remembered he had not been alone originally.
"What did you do to Gaius?" he asked, wondering where his mentor had been all this time.
"I told him to stay outside," Arthur replied, still not moving away from him, "and unlike some people he is a loyal subject and does as he is told."
That was okay then; he hadn't thought Arthur would do anything to Gaius to harm him, but he had to make sure.
"Good," he said, throwing some magic at the door so the latch clicked shut, "he's fine then. You have too many clothes on."
For a moment Arthur appeared conflicted at his obvious invitation, but Merlin wanted more and, as he pulled at Arthur's clothes, his prince finally got the message. They could worry about the consequences when they were both too exhausted to move anymore.