My MMOM Master List 2010
Title: By Moonlight's Glow
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: semi-explicit sex
Summary: When Arthur is infected by a vampire, Merlin has to try and cure him.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Soph for the beta.
Word count: 3,453
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"That child will die because of him," the vampire hissed, standing over Arthur's unconscious form.
There was blood on Arthur's neck and all over his clothes, but Merlin could see that Arthur was still breathing; it was the only thing that had stopped him attacking immediately.
"That child won't die," Merlin replied, feeling the magic swirling around his body, ready to defend Arthur at a moment's notice, "and it's not because of him; it's his father. Arthur is the only hope this kingdom has."
The vampire snarled at that, showing lots of sharp teeth.
"I was healing them; I was helping them," he said, clearly furious, "and all I asked in return was a little blood."
The report had come in of people being miraculously cured of all kinds of ailments two days previously and of course Uther had smelt magic. He had sent Arthur and his knights to stop the magic, even though it was helping his people and Arthur had argued against it, but his father had not been swayed. What they had found was a predator turned healer; a vampire using his blood to save those who were dying. Arthur had tried to warn him off, to let him flee, but there had been a child, dying of some wasting disease, and he had come back. Arthur had driven him off, but in the confusion Merlin had lost Arthur and by the time he found him again, the vampire had already taken his revenge.
"I know," he said; he had seen the cures and they were real, "but he had no choice. He argued that the knights should not come, but his father ordered it and he came because he knew it was the only way he could control what would happen. He tried to let you go."
Merlin did not know why a vampire would have changed from stealing children in the night to healing them, but he knew it was real. He did not want to kill the man any more than Arthur had when he had seen the truth, but if the vampire became the enemy he would do what had to be done.
"That child will die," was the only response.
"I told you, that child will not die," Merlin said firmly; "I will see to that. Now give me my prince and go."
"Or what?" the vampire asked, sneering at him, after all he probably looked pretty stupid holding a sword without even any chain mail to go with it.
"Or I will destroy you," Merlin replied, letting his magic rise to the surface and showing his true power.
The vampire looked stunned as Merlin's magic flowed into the room, curling around and just making its presence known.
"You are he," the vampire said in awe as if he knew exactly who Merlin was, which confused Merlin because as far as he knew he didn't exactly had a reputation.
"What?" he started to ask.
"Forgive me," the vampire said, bowing and demeanour changing completely, "I did not understand. I have heard your call in the night as have others, when you need us we will come."
Merlin was pretty sure he had not sent any call, but the vampire seemed very certain and if it helped him save Arthur, so be it.
"Have you infected Arthur?" he asked, deciding to deal with the problem at hand.
"Yes," the vampire said, "but he may yet be saved my fate. If you take him to the pool in the oak circle; which if five miles that way," he pointed, "and bathe him three times by the light of the moon, he should live until morning. Once the sun touches him it will burn away the corruption."
The fact that he didn't know a whole lot about vampires meant Merlin had little idea if what was being said was true, but he wanted to believe, so he nodded. Sheathing the sword he was carrying, he walked forward and bent down at Arthur's side.
"Go," he said, looking up at the vampire; "before the other knights can find you. If you want to continue helping people, do it on the move, or Uther will send more knights after you."
For a moment he shared a gaze with what should have been a monster and he saw more humanity in those eyes than he had seen in many people. He did not understand it, but he approved.
"My name is Darien, Lord," the vampire said, bowing to him, "until we meet again."
Then the vampire was gone in the blink of an eye and Merlin was left wondering why on earth anyone would think he was a lord. It was Arthur's moan that put him back on track and he quickly bound the wound on Arthur's neck and lifted Arthur onto his back, carrying him outside the small shack they were in. If he was found before he reached the pool, the other knights would try and take Arthur back to Camelot, to Gaius and that would mean Arthur's doom, so he put Arthur on the back of his horse, climbed up behind him and rode in the direction he has been shown.
It was easy to find on the brightly moonlit night; a copse of oak trees in the middle of an open field and between them a pool, glinting in the silvery light. As soon as he rode between the trees he could feel the magic of the place, ancient and slow, as it seemed to seep into his bones, but he did not pause to enjoy the feel of it. Dragging Arthur off the horse, he began to strip the now semi-conscious prince, not caring if he ripped anything or dented the armour, until he had Arthur down to his underwear. Pulling his own clothes off, he removed Arthur's last garment and then he half carried, half dragged Arthur into the water, sinking down to sit on the bottom with Arthur in his arms.
"Arthur can you hear me?" he asked, cushioning Arthur's head on his chest and very carefully removing the cloth he had used to bind Arthur's wound.
The water was cool, but not unpleasantly so, it being the middle of summer and the heat of the day having remained into the night, and Merlin dunked the cloth, using it to dab at the dried blood around the wound. The two neat holes had stopped bleeding, but they stood out starkly against Arthur's pale skin. As he bathed them carefully, Arthur moaned, opening his eyes just for a moment.
"Arthur," Merlin said, latching on to the sign of consciousness, "I need you to try and stay awake; you need to fight."
"W'as hap'nin?" was the slurred question that made his heart swell with hope.
"The vampire bit you," he explained, using the cloth to slowly begin to wash Arthur's bloodied torso; "he infected you; this pool can save you."
That clearly didn't make any sense to Arthur who's face screwed up in confusion.
"It's a magic pool, Arthur," Merlin said simply; he wasn't about to lie about that.
"Magi'?" Arthur asked.
"Yes, good magic," Merlin said as he carried on bathing Arthur, "can't you sense it? I know you father keeps saying there's no such thing, but it's like the unicorn; pure."
If there was one sure fire way to keep Arthur from arguing it was bringing up the unicorn incident.
"The vampire told me to bring you here after I explained things," Merlin continued.
At that Arthur actually managed to open his eyes properly.
"He wasn't evil," Merlin insisted at the look; "you know it as well as I do, that's why you let him go the first time."
"Di'n let h'm go," Arthur protested and Merlin returned the look he had just been given.
"Then you're getting incompetent in your old age," Merlin replied, knowing full well they both knew the truth. "He told me how to cure you and I'm doing it, because I don't think Camelot will stand for a crown prince who can only come out at night."
Arthur was as weak as a kitten, so Merlin just continued what he was doing, making sure Arthur was completely clean. The summer night sky was almost completely cloudless, but what was strange was, almost the moment he finished, the moon disappeared behind a single wandering cloud, dulling the light illuminating the poll. Merlin felt the magic change a little, almost as if it had entered a dormant state and he stopped, just holding Arthur to him and waiting.
"Wha'?" Arthur asked quietly.
"That was time one," Merlin said with complete confidence; "he said I had to wash you three times by the light of the moon and the moon is gone. When it comes back I'll start again."
Arthur just hummed in response to that, so Merlin decided that Arthur was agreeing with him. He sat there holding Arthur and just letting the water lap gently around them as it moved without the aid of wind or current. It was so peaceful and it lulled him into a kind of meditative state where time didn't really matter. Only when the moon reappeared from behind its hiding place did he feel his mind begin to move again as the magic swirled. It seemed to have an effect on Arthur as well as blue eyes made dark by the night, at least he hoped that was why they were so black, opened and looked up at him.
"Don't try and move," Merlin told him as he realised Arthur was more alert now.
"Why?" Arthur asked as Merlin started to wash him again.
"Because that's how it's supposed to be," Merlin replied, not sure why he was so adamant, but tightening his hold on Arthur just a little anyway.
Arthur's response was to smile, but he did not try and move either, so Merlin counted it as a victory. While he was washing him, Arthur twitched a time or two, but he definitely did not try and move away, so Merlin continued what he was doing, confident that it was right. He did not stop until the moon found another cloud to hide behind.
"That seems more than coincidence," Arthur said, sounding tired, but much more alert than he had been.
"It is," Merlin replied without hesitation; "I told you, this is a magical place."
"And you're so sure because?" Arthur asked, giving him one of those looks again.
"Because you'd have to be dead not to feel it," Merlin replied, refusing to doubt himself.
The magic was slowly saturating him and it felt honestly wonderful, so he knew it had to be helping Arthur.
"You know what the laws are about magic," Arthur pointed out as if he felt he had to.
"Stupid," Merlin replied, feeling strangely calm about the whole thing, "and unjust."
Arthur gave him another one of the looks.
"There's no one to hear," Merlin said simply; "magic is not evil, just some of the people who use it are."
"Morgause," Arthur said.
"She's the flip side of your father," Merlin replied, not disagreeing.
All that Merlin wanted was peace, but he was not stupid enough to believe Albion would ever see if while Uther and Morgause were both in the picture.
"My father is the King," Arthur pointed out, sounding just a little defensive.
"Doesn't change the truth," was all Merlin chose to reply.
Arthur was silent after that and Merlin left him to his thoughts.
It was strange; Merlin felt sort of outside time, somewhere to the left of reality as he sat there silently. He felt very different and it was as if they were in their own little world. Here they were not Arthur and Merlin, prince and manservant, they were something else, something Merlin could not quite put his finger on.
When the moon came out again, Arthur gasped, almost silently, but Merlin heard it.
"Arthur," he said, moving carefully, dipping the cloth, but not starting to wash yet, "are you alright?"
"Yes," was Arthur's short reply.
Merlin knew that tone and it meant Arthur would not say anything else even if Merlin tried to pry it out of him with a chisel. He had no choice but to get on with what needed to be done, so he began to drizzle water over Arthur's upper body. It was on the second squeeze of the cloth that Arthur made a very small whimpering sound.
"Arthur?" Merlin asked, pausing.
"It's nothing," Arthur replied in a very tight voice.
Merlin knew for a fact that wasn't true.
"It's definitely something," was his response; "what's wrong?"
Arthur almost sounded like he was in pain and if that was the case, Merlin needed to know. He dipped the cloth into the water again and ran it lightly over Arthur's chest, watching as Arthur's eyes flickered shut and then open again.
"Arthur," Merlin pushed as he saw the reaction; "are you in pain?"
"No," Arthur replied firmly.
"Then what?" he was not giving up.
"Merlin, leave it," Arthur ordered, or at least tried to, because Merlin used the cloth again and it really didn't sound much like an order.
"Tell me," was all Merlin replied in a coaxing tone.
The response to that was another little whimper; something was definitely not normal.
"Arthur," he coaxed again.
"Alright," Arthur said, sounding annoyed, "I am aroused, now just shut up."
Merlin felt that possibly he should have been embarrassed by having made Arthur confess that, but he didn't, not in this separate little reality.
"Oh," he said quietly, continuing to wash his prince in the moonlight, "maybe I could help you with that?"
He met Arthur's surprised gaze full on without pausing in what he was doing. Arthur did not seem to know what to say, so, while continuing the washing with one hand, Merlin carefully ran the other down Arthur's body.
"Merlin," Arthur said in a somewhat choked voice.
"Ssh," Merlin said, smiling as his long reach paid off and his questing fingers found the source of Arthur's problem.
He hadn't really thought of Arthur as a potential bed partner before; Arthur was his prince, his liege and royals did not take servants to their beds for more than a dalliance. He had never wanted to be that to Arthur, never just a game, but here it was different; here they were equals under the power of nature.
"Vampires are lusty creatures," Merlin said, wrapping his hand around Arthur's erect cock; "I should assist you."
Arthur gasped, opening his mouth and Merlin caught just a glimpse of fangs; Arthur was a vampire now, but his heart was still beating. The pool's magic was keeping Arthur alive, so all Merlin had to do was keep Arthur in the pool until dawn. It was easy to do with Arthur in his hand as he ever so slowly stroked and teased and reduced the creature in his arms to pure pleasure. Arthur responded to his every touch and became lost in the moment very quickly, thrusting into his hand eagerly. It was a beautiful sight and Merlin felt his own body reacting as he let himself feel what he had refused himself before. Arthur was his, he was Arthur's, a simple balance, only it could not go on forever.
When Arthur came, a cry on his lips, it was amazing and they both sank back into the pool for a long, silent moment as Arthur breathed hard and just lay there as his body recovered, but Merlin knew the moment Arthur began thinking again. Arthur had to be able to feel the effect he had had on Merlin, given their close position and he had no choice but to let Arthur go when he moved.
"This is wrong," Arthur said, pushing away from him and standing, making to walk out of the pool.
Merlin stood too and held out his hand, placing a barrier between Arthur and the edge of the pool.
"If you leave here before dawn you will die," Merlin said as Arthur turned back to him, eyes wide with shock; "I will not let that happen."
What he looked like standing there knee deep in water, naked and erect with his eyes burning with magic, he had no idea, but Arthur was just staring at him.
"You're ..." Arthur didn't seem to know what to say.
"A sorcerer," Merlin finished for him, feeling powerful and whole and strangely unafraid.
He let the barrier drop, but Arthur did not turn away and try to leave again.
"Beautiful," was the one word Arthur whispered.
That did shock him; he had not expected to hear that. Then Arthur blinked and seemed to come out of his daze.
"My father would kill you if he knew," Arthur said looking him directly in the eye.
"But you won't," he replied, just standing there.
He could not let Arthur leave, that much he knew, but, as to what else would happen, he had no idea. When Arthur stepped towards him, he waited to find out. Arthur reached out to touch him, almost as if Arthur didn't quite believe he was real.
"I'm flesh and blood, Arthur," he said quietly, "just like you."
Then he thought about it.
"Well, actually, at the moment, not like you," he added, seeing Arthur's eyes glint in the moonlight.
"I want you," Arthur said, frowning just a little as if that need did not sit right with him.
"You can have me," Merlin replied without the slightest hesitation, "but I will not be gone in the morning."
He needed Arthur to understand that this was not a game, not a tumble in the hay or a quick tryst.
"I wouldn't want you to be," Arthur replied and pulled him to him, lacing fingers through his hair at the back of his head and bringing their mouths together.
He wanted to say something grand and meaningful, but in the end he just surrendered to the kiss instead. It was what he wanted after all.
When dawn came, he was lying in Arthur's arms rather than the other way around and they were near the edge of the pool in the water. He was sore in places he had never been sore before, they'd had to make do with saddle oil he'd summoned from Arthur's pack, which wasn't the finest stuff, but he didn't overly mind. The bite mark on his neck was a little more problematic, but he was still breathing and the sun was coming up, so that was unlikely to be an issue either.
"Brace yourself," he said as the sun peeped over the horizon.
He expected pain, after all the phrase had been 'will burn away the corruption', but it wasn't like that at all. Heat prickled all over his skin as the light flowed over him, but it was not unpleasant in the slightest; in fact it kind of tickled. He found himself giggling in a very childish way as something fizzled inside of him and then seemed to evaporate though his skin into a fine mist that disappeared in the light.
"I assume we can get out now," was Arthur's only comment on the matter.
"Um, yeah," Merlin said, wondering if maybe now the night was over he was in trouble.
They dried off and dressed in silence and Merlin felt the whole ancient magical calm effect leaving him as soon as they stepped outside the trees. He was quite jittery by the time Arthur was ready to mount up.
"We need a story," Arthur said as he climbed onto his horse, "a good one. You seem to be good at making things up so you get to think of it."
Then Arthur offered him an arm up to sit behind him. For a moment Merlin just stood there.
"That's all you've been thinking about?" he asked as he realised that was all Arthur had to say.
"Yes," Arthur said, sounding surprised, "what else would I have been thinking about?"
Merlin just couldn't believe it.
"Oh I don't know; magic, sex," he said, more than a little exasperated.
Here he had been thinking Arthur was brooding and all he had been doing was not coming up with a plan.
"Merlin," Arthur said and dragged him onto the horse, "we settled that last night and I really don't think you should put magic and sex in the same sentence, at least not until I'm sure you've had more practice."
Merlin just kind of squawked with indignation.
"Now, the story we're going to tell the others," Arthur said and urged their mount into motion, "and make it a good one."