Pairings: Arthur/Merlin, Gwen/Morgana
Summary: In which Merlin wakes up in love with Arthur, an evil knight wants to marry Morgana, and for such a modern kingdom there isn't as much despoiling in Camelot as one would expect.
Word Count 1,681
“Late night?” Gaius asked, noticing Merlin was about to fall asleep in his morning tea.
“I was reading,” said Merlin, neglecting to mention that he'd been consulting the magic book for a spell that would stop him being in love with that eternal prat of a prince.
“Ah, I'm glad to see you taking more of an interest in your studies.”
Merlin put his head down on the table for a nap.
As he crossed the sunny courtyard Merlin wondered if it was really all that bad being in love with Arthur. It seemed he was destined for a life of polishing the prince's sword and saving him from himself, it would be an easier lot if he were having warm fuzzy feelings about him.
“Merlin! You're late!” Arthur demanded, cutting across the yard to intercept Merlin.
“I was reading,” said Merlin, staring at Arthur's lips with a slightly dopey expression on his face.
“Thank you for sharing that scintillating titbit, Merlin,” Arthur shoved his sword into Merlin's arms. “My sword needs sharpened, my chambers need cleaned, and my clothes need washed.”
Merlin sighed as Arthur strode away. Then he caught himself, he'd just sighed at the prospect of spending the day scrubbing Arthur's dirty underthings. This had to stop.
“Arthur is the other half of your soul.”
“That doesn't mean I have to be in love with him, does it?”
In response the Great Dragon curled back up on its rock and went to sleep.
Having failed to get any answers from the dragon or the magic book Merlin decided to consult an expert on hopelessly pining after royalty. Gwen was holding a bouquet of lilac flowers when Merlin cornered her on the stairs.
“I'm in love with Arthur,” he announced without preamble. “It's awful. I keep staring at his lips, he thinks I'm listening to him when he talks.”
“...” Gwen was still struggling to find anything helpful, or anything at all, to say when Merlin continued.
“And you've been in love with Morgana since before I arrived and you still manage to do your job, so I thought you might have some advice.”
“I'm not in love with Morgana.”
“Who are those flowers for?”
Gwen blushed, made an excuse about being late and hurried away.
“Good morning, Gwen.” Morgana was still in her nightdress when Gwen arrived for work. The silhouette of her body was visible through the fabric and her dark hair tumbled loose down her back. Gwen momentarily forgot to breath.
“Are those flowers for me?” Morgana asked.
“No. What? No.” Gwen shoved the flowers behind her back.
This was all Merlin's fault.
Merlin was in the castle kitchen trying to fit 'Arthur's shoulders' into a rhyming couplet when Gwen arrived. “I'm in love with Morgana,” she announced.
“I know,” replied Merlin, frowning at his poem.
“I didn't know,” insisted Gwen. “I was happier when I didn't know.”
“Join the club.”
“Boulders?” Gwen asked, reading Merlin's poem over his shoulder.
“You find something better that rhymes with shoulders.”
Merlin promised Gwen that he would come up with a plan. Unfortunately his plan seemed to involve staring wistfully at the objects of their affection until Uther sent a senior servant over to say that if they didn't start distributing goblets of wine around the feast soon they could plan on spending the rest of the week in the stocks.
“Maybe it's sorcery?” Gwen suggested, they were up on the battlements looking down at the castle grounds below.
“It's not,” said Merlin distractedly, Arthur was below with his knights. He was wearing his armour and cloak and looking particularly princely.
“It might be.”
“I-,” Merlin dragged his eyes away from Arthur just before he revealed that he'd be able to sense it if it were magic. “It wouldn't just be us, then. The other servants would be affected too. Do Uther's servants look like they're in love with him?”
“They look terrified of him, more than anything else.”
Merlin was spending his morning sulkily polishing armour. Arthur had told him that he no longer needed Merlin to dress him in the mornings. Apparently he was taking too long about it, well if Arthur would just take the hint.
“Hello, I've been looking for you,” said Gwen.
“What for?” replied Merlin miserably.
“We've got to stop this,” Gwen blushed and stared at her shoes. “I caught myself looking down Morgana's dress when I was brushing her hair. Even Arthur doesn't do that anymore.”
“Hey!” objected Merlin, feeling his beloved was being insulted.
“Have you seen Merlin?” Arthur asked, he was not happy about having to fetch his own wine at the feast.
“No,” replied Morgana, “And Gwen's gone missing as well.”
“He's been acting very strangely. He keeps looking at me as though he wants something, he's a manservant, he's not allowed to want things.”
“Gwen won't even look me in the eyes. And she won't tell me what's wrong, she knows she can talk to me about anything.”
“I don't want Merlin to talk to me. I just want him to cheer up.”
“Very charitable, Arthur.”
“Oh, God,” Arthur had seen a noble woman of Gaius's age looking over at him. “Lady Elaine's looking at me. Merlin's not here, you'll have to protect me from her.”
“I'm sorry, Arthur, I've nowhere to keep a sword in this dress.”
Arthur drained his goblet and snatched up two more from a passing tray, he pressed one into Morgana's hands and said, “Just drink your wine, laugh when I talk and keep me away from her.”
Many hours later Merlin and Gwen were summoned to, ahem, escort Arthur and Morgana home from the feast.
“He passed out,” Merlin hissed to Gwen afterwards. “He passed out fully clothed on the bed. It's not fair, he always gets a bit grabby when he's drunk, how is he supposed to take advantage of me when he's unconscious?”
“It's alright for you. Morgana kept giggling and and stroking my hair.”
“That doesn't sound too bad.”
“Merlin, I was putting her to bed, she was half naked at the time.”
The next week the situation was complicated by the arrival of a knight named Sir Percival who had it in his head to marry Morgana. The only person less impressed with him than Morgana herself was Gwen.
“Is something wrong with Guinevere?” Arthur asked.
“Oh, she's upset about Sir Percival.”
“Why, is she in love with Morgana herself?” Arthur laughed at his own jest.
“Er... Shall I polish something, sire?”
The situation was further complicated when Merlin returned home to find Gaius sitting with a townsperson he didn't recognize.
“Merlin, this is Geoffrey. Geoffrey is a sorcerer and told Sir Percival about Morgana's dreams, Percival hopes to use Morgana's gifts to ascend to the throne.”
“Why are you telling us now?” Merlin asked.
Geoffrey was pale and failed to stutter an answer. Gaius stepped in, “He's telling us in exchange for passage out of Camelot.”
As he made his way to Arthur's chambers Merlin went over and over the question in his mind. 'Arthur, I need you to help me smuggle a sorcerer out of the city because he knows Morgana is a seer. Oh, and how do you fancy despoiling me afterwards?'
“What?” Arthur opened the door scowling.
“I need you to help me smuggle a sorcerer out of the city.” Merlin decided the rest of it could wait for a time when Arthur was in a less vile mood.
“What I don't understand,” said Arthur when they'd returned to the castle, “is why he came to you for passage out of Camelot?”
Merlin tried to think of an answer that didn't involve his being a sorcerer, or Gaius sheltering him. He gave up, shoved Arthur up against the wall and kissed him.
“And I don't understand why Sir Percival suddenly vanished when he was so set on getting Morgana's hand?”
This was obviously going to take more than a kiss. Merlin fumbled with Arthur's belt and dropped to his knees.
“Oh. Okay. Oh.”
Morgana swept into her chambers, gathered Gwen up into a hug and kissed her lips. “Have you heard, Sir Percival has vanished?”
“Really?” said Gwen trying to sound surprised. “That's good. Is that good? Do you think it's good?”
“Of course I do. I think Uther was actually considering giving me to that brute. As if I am anyone's property to be given.”
“You don't want to get married?”
“Not to anyone Uther picks. When I do marry it will be to someone of my choosing. I'd marry you tomorrow if it were permitted.”
“Really?” Gwen squeaked.
Morgana kissed Gwen deeply enough to convince her that she meant it. Yes, the evening was certainly looking up.
Later, they were lying in bed and Morgana was stroking the flesh under Gwen's collarbone and discussing her plans. “In a few years I'll have to marry Arthur. That way you and I can continue as we are and Arthur can continue buggering Merlin. You could marry him instead, I suppose, if you didn't mind. There is the question of heirs...”
Gwen was satisfied, happy and sleepy. She yawned, curled against Morgana and mumbled, “Yes, dear.”
Merlin was standing at the edge of the training field, glad that none of that mornings jobs required him to sit down.
“You look happy,” said Gwen, stopping next to him.
“I could say the same thing about you.”
“Yes. You and Arthur?”
There was a silence as they both blushed and stared at their shoes. Gwen broke it by saying, “I think I might have agreed to marry Arthur in a few years.”