The halls of Camelot were lit with the light of early summer. Streamers and banners bedecked the stone archways in brilliant Pendragon red and the floors shone like the glint of polished armor in midday sun.

They aught to, after all he'd spent the better part of a day on his knees scrubbing them spotless under Arthur's critical eye, but the floor wasn't the only thing the prince had been watching, Merlin knew.

That became clear when Arthur hauled him off to his private chambers where he proceeded to ravish him senseless the second he was done.

In that case he hadn't minded being on his knees so much…or at all really.

Nowadays when Arthur muttered idiot into his ear – after he spilled the wine in his lap or slipped sending buckets of water flying everywhere, or when he elbowed Arthur in the ribs stumbling out of bed in the mornings – it had begun to sound less like idiot and more like-

"Mer-lin!" Arthur said tugging at his neckerchief in order to gain his attention "What?" he muttered setting the lopsidedly folded tunic in the shelf.

"I want you to do something for me."

"I already did something for you, several times unless you've forgotten already?" Merlin muttered still fiddling with the pile of clothes that the laundress maid had given him.

The last time he'd scrubbed the princes clothes they'd come out of the ordeal the worse for it. In fact Arthur had ordered that he never scrub his clothes again, which was fine by Merlin.

As if he wanted to be doing the princes dirty laundry, too!

It already fell to him to do the mending of Arthur's socks and tunics, and of course he couldn't forget about the boots to be polished and making the bed – mind you he often helped Arthur unmake in the late night house so that wasn't so terrible – as well as fetching his breakfast in the mornings – honeyed bread and cheese with strips of dried venison – and of course he piled on enough for two so Arthur could carry on pretending he didn't notice when he filched some for himself…

Ye Gods, when did I become Arthur's fishwife?

Oh right, when I wasn't paying attention to the fine print and saved his life, which wasn't enough apparently I had to go and fall for the prat, too.

Arthur's stare was burning holes into his back but he stubbornly stayed put.

The etchings on the oak cupboard were rather lovely, though he'd rather be looking at Arthur than wood, even nice wood, but this folding wouldn't do itself.

Unless he used magic, which he could of course now that the fuse was up and Arthur knew but somehow working magic in the princes presence still felt wrong, worse it made chills go up his spine like the threat of the executioners axe. Arthur knew and apparently he didn't care, for now, but something in Merlin was still waiting for that other shoe to drop.

But enough of that the prince was still staring at him, his skin was starting to itch, which was uncomfortable and wasn't it just like Arthur to think his royal glare would get him his way?

The prat.

Because his back was turned he couldn't see the serious set of Arthur's face of the tight line of his shoulders, because he was busy folding Arthur's clothes and fighting not to inhale the clean scent of Arthur to deeply because that wouldn't be embarrassing at all, now would it, he missed-out on seeing the princes face redden a faint blush rising on his cheeks.

"I'm not talking about that!" Arthur snapped, much closer than he'd expected, tugging on his shoulder almost violently swinging him around.

This is serious, Merlin realized his face paling as he waited for Arthur to say something that would end with a pyre and a fiery death, or on a lower scale something that would end with an empty bed and possibly broken heart but leave his head firmly attached to his shoulders.

"Well?" he prodded when Arthur paused to long.

"I need you to stay away from Lord Geoffrey" Arthur grit out his expression dark.

"That's it?" Merlin choked out visibly sinking back against the cupboard in relief, no pyres today.

"What were you expecting me to say?" Arthur asked his voice deceptively soft, his expression darkened even more so.

If Merlin didn't know him so well he might've been afraid of him right now.

But he did, so he wasn't.

"Does it matter?" Merlin mumbled some color returning to his face, "It does to me."

"I was waiting for the 'Uther found out and you need to leave Camelot forever or die a painful fiery death' okay?" from the pensive look on Arthur's face it was apparent he'd even forgotten that him being a sorcerer was an issue.

"You do know I wouldn't let that happen right, I wouldn't just let you burn, you do realize that don't you?" Arthur asked and he sounded so vulnerable and anxious in that moment that Merlin didn't point out if it came to that there'd be nothing he could do.

"I know you'd try, but I think I'd rather Uther not find out at all if that's alright with you, sire" Merlin said with forced cheer chasing away thoughts of the executioners axe and roaring flames, "Now what's this about some Lord?"

"What must he be thinking? Does he think I'm cheating on him?" these thoughts flickered through Merlin's head, and many more besides.

Arthur, not completely useless at reading him, guessed a few of them.

"He has a reputation for pursuing the servants. Particularly any pretty dark-haired servant boys he can catch alone," Arthur said enunciating each word carefully at though he really was a lack-wit, which was more than a little insulting but now was no time to nit-pick Arthur.

Not when his mouth was pulled tight in a thin line of anger that radiated off his entire body like a warning, do not cross me, it said in large bold lettering. Anyone would need to be a fool to do so.

"Oh" he muttered the princes meaning apparent, "And I am not pretty Arthur! Girls are pretty I'm-"

"Well you're certainly not manly, so I guess pretty it will have to be" Arthur mocked, and just like that the tension went out of him his shoulders loosened into a princely slouch and he smiled toothily, not one of those phony princely smiled done for the congregations or banquets and the silly giggling ladies of court, but his real I'm-genuinely-amused smile, and how much of a girl did it make him that he knew that?

Merlin returned it nonetheless, even knowing he was grinning like the idiot Arthur accused him of being.

"I'll be careful," he promised.

"You'll do more than be careful, you're brand of careful is appalling."

It was kind of sweet the way Arthur was going on about this, but he wasn't totally helpless, servant or not he was still a sorcerer.

"I'm serious Merlin."

He really was worried wasn't he?

"If anything were to happen to you-" Arthur cut himself off with a irritated sort of shake, pulling Merlin into a teeth clashing soul searing kiss that left him breathless and wanting for more.

"Nothing will" he promised, fairly certain he could keep it.

What could I really do if it came down to it? I can hardly out myself as a sorcerer and leave Arthur open to magical attacks over something like this…

Merlin pushed all talk of Lord Geoffrey from his mind, investing all his focus on the man before him, set on making him as breathless and frenzied as himself, set on making his heart pound and his lips sting with kisses.

"Good" Arthur said gruffly nipping his ear, "I wouldn't want to have to kill the man, father would like that very much" Arthur muttered, almost as though to himself, words faltering considerably as he dropped to his knees before Arthur. Damn clumsy hands of his shook as they worked to untie Arthur's breeches.

Merlin didn't know what to say, that was as good as a declaration of feelings coming from Arthur.

Exactly what those feelings where he didn't know but it was more than he'd dared hope for, so he settles for pleasuring Arthur the best he knew how.

His hands shaking a little less he gets the breeches unlaced and tugs them about Arthur's knees. He can see the beginnings of a protest rising at this undignified state of undress but he quells it with a firm stroke across Arthur's cock.

"Merlin" Arthur groans. Merlin know how badly he wants this by the tenseness of his whole body the way his hands tangle in his hair, fingers twining dark locks tight enough to make him wince.

"Steady Arthur" he mutters carefully taking the princes cock in his mouth, this is all still fairly knew and he'd rather not accidentally bite down on Arthur's royal person, who knows how many days in the stock that'd earn him!

He's doing something right, because Arthur's grip has tightened and his hips are rocking into him rhythmically the sweet musk of his arousal strong in Merlin's nose.

The prince changed the tempo his thrusts become a little harder – a hand gripping Merlin's neck firmly – before he comes hard, Merlin imagines he's seeing stars because he's got that glazed satisfied look in his eyes again.

Merlin sits back with a smirk, deliberately licking his lips, provoking a growl from Arthur who hauls him up for another teeth clashing kiss that leaves them both breathless and panting, and Arthur very late for his meeting.

"We'll continue this later" Arthur growls briefly pressing a hand to Merlin's own aching hardness, and then he's gone swaggering down the halls to meet with his fathers councilors.

Merlin supposed Arthur had a right to swagger, just a little.

With work to be done and errands to run for Guias all thoughts of Lord Geoffrey were forgotten, although to be fair, not before he had passed along the princes warning to Gwen who had in turn told every other servant that passed her way.

The bulk of the day passed without incident, no sorcerers no assassination attempts and no outing his magic to Uthers court so he considered it a good day, even if he had tripped down two sets of stairs and broken one vase, at least he hadn't broken any bones this time.

He imagines Arthur would be quite put out with him if he did, simply because it meant dinner would be that much later in coming and the room the slightest bit messier than it already was, of course.

So when Lord Geoffrey made an appearance in the northern corridors of the castle Merlin thought nothing of it until firm hands yanked him from the halls by his neckerchief into a shadowed alcove.

Arthur, was on the tip of his tongue before he saw who it was that had waylaid him. And it wasn't the prince.

"What do you think you're doing?" Merlin sputtered edging away from the man even as he spoke, wondering all the while where Arthur was and if he would mind terribly if he turned his fathers Lord into a toad. Knowing Arthur, he'd lay the whole thing on Merlin and make him turn him back.

"So, no toad turning then…"

The man had him backed into a corner, huge trunk like arms bracketing either side of his head. There were no chandeliers that could accidentally fall and knock him senseless, no rugs underfoot that could be discreetly pulled out from beneath him; there was nothing here but them.

His body was disturbingly close the wide breadth of his leather jerkin clad chest crushing into Merlin, his hips snuggly fitted against Merlin's own – even worse was that he could feel the growing hardness in the mans breeches.

"Aren't you a pretty one" the man appraised his breath hot against Merlins cheek, he smelled of apple cider and leather overlaid by the faint sourness of sweat.

He's going to kiss me, Merlin realized when the man leaned forward, I cant stop him, was the second.

But when strange lips were pressing down on him a slick apple flavored tongue stuck down his throat he forgot rules and propriety and that he was just a servant, because this was wrong.

The man grimaced, pulling away, finally!

"You bit me!" he exclaimed as though Merlin was supposed to stand here and let him do that like a good servant. Maybe he was, but Merlin had never been accused of being a good servant anyhow.

Merlin glared at him, Arthur always said he just looked like an angry puppy when he did that so he knew it wasn't likely to be overly effective, still points for effort.

The man still had a hand braced on either side of him and he was squinting at him as though he was some strange animal he'd never encountered before.

A hard gleam came into his eyes that Merlin liked about as much as he liked shoveling horse dung.

It reminded him of Arthur before sex, a lion ready to pounce.

But this man was not, and could never be, Arthur.

And all of this, it was wrong and it felt so much like cheating that his chest kept squeezing uncomfortably and he had the urge to scrub his mouth with soap, twice.

But he wasn't, cheating that is, he hadn't asked for this oaf to lay one on him.

So of course it wasn't his fault. He knew that.

As mortifying as it was he kept hoping to see Arthur striding around that corner sweat slicked from practice and itching for a fight, Arthur with his prattish smile and his untainted honor.

Of course…

"Let me pass, my master is waiting" he bit out stiffly biting his tongue that he might keep the other words rattling about his had firmly behind his teeth, no point baiting a dragon without even the benefit of a sword.

"He can wait" the man snapped, one wide-palmed hand clamping down on his shoulder, "On you're knees."

Merlin went down onto his knees out of a mix of confusion and shock; a forced kiss was one thing and innocent enough beside, but this? No way was he doing that. Lord or no Lord.

"You presume to make the Crown Prince of Camelot wait, Lord Geoffrey?" he asked wielding Arthur's name like a shield, it was the only thing he had.

He refused to lower his eyes from Geoffrey's, he wasn't a good servant according to Arthur he was still the worst manservant ever, no reason to start toeing the line now. And not for this grabby-handed Lord with his leering eyes.

"The prince? You are the princes' man, damnation why didn't you say so boy," the man grunted his face looking rather pale, much to Merlins amusement.

Geoffrey backed up a few spaces his expression turning stony, "No point babbling to your sire about this misunderstanding boy, I've been deep in my cups I have, cant be held accountable if some pretty faced boy kissed me now can I?"

The threat was clear, and Merlin hated him even more for it.

A pantheon of retorts shot through his head but he wisely said none, mutely darting past the Lord with his hulking body. His only thought was to return to his own small cramped quarters to assemble his scattered nerves.

At least there would be no skulking lords waiting to pounce.

"In my cups my arse, he's as sober as a priest", he thought angrily.

That was about the sorriest excuse he'd ever heard.

"When I tell Arthur…"

No, perhaps it would be best to leave Arthur out of this one. He'd just worry – in his own princely way – and train the knights extra hard and shout a lot more and maybe, or very likely anyhow, challenge that hulking mountain of a man to a duel.

A shiver went down his spine at the thought.

"Nope. Definitely not telling Arthur this time. Besides, it would be silly, nothing happened."

That decided he swung the door open and knocked into Arthur toppling them both onto the floor in a tangle of limbs, "Arthur, didn't except to see you there" he muttered as he extracted himself from the mess of limbs.

"Why not, its only my bloody room" Arthur mocked with a sarcastic tilt of his eyebrow that had Merlin blushing and looking at the floor, "Oh, sorry bout that, I'll, er, just be going now."

"Where is it you thought you were going Merlin?" Arthur drawled crossing his arms over his chest, the sun created a nice backlight Merlin mused, made him look like a warrior angel with his sword resting against his bedpost and his vambraces gleaming silver, not that he'd ever tell the prince.

His ego was big enough without any encouragement!


Oh right, talking.

"My rooms" he muttered praying the prince would leave it at that and let him go just this once, his lips still tasted like cider and he hated it.

"Tell me, where you thinking of me?" he drawled with a curious quirk of his lips, Merlin was so mesmerized by them in fact that he answered straightaway.



Arthur yanked on his tunic unceremoniously and kissed him soundly and that uncomfortable ache in his chest died down, this was Arthur who tasted of mulled wine sharp and sweet, mostly just sharp though.

And it was perfect…until Arthur opened his bloody mouth and said, "You taste like cider Merlin."

"You hate cider," Arthur added after a moments thought his brows crinkling minutely, "Change your mind then?"

"No, not really" he muttered and distracted Arthur with a well placed hand that had the prince gasping softly, "My aren't you eager today."

"Shut up and kiss me already" he groused his grip just shy of painful which only encouraged Arthur further.

And for the second time in as many hours Merlin found himself tugged about by his neckerchief, only this time he was more than willing to fall into the bed the prince toppled him onto with a smile and a kiss.

Oh yes, more than willing.

"You have my permission to turn Lord Geoffrey into a toad, a toad with warts" Arthur announced out of the blue on the day before Geoffrey's departure to his country manner in Edinburgh.

Five days after the Incident, as Merlin had taken to calling it when he troubled himself to think of it at all. Mostly he was to busy doing chores, running errands and doing odds and ends around the castle to think of it at all. Which suited him fine.

"What's he done to anger you, sire?" Merlin asked careful to keep his expression bland. No point letting the cat out of the bag now, with Geoffrey soon to be gone from Camelot and hopefully not return for a long, long time.

"He's the reason I've been locked in with my fathers counselors pouring over dusty old scrolls," Arthur began, Merlin made himself comfortable on the princes bed – this was going to be a long one he was sure of it.

"He's also the reason the servants are all in a fluster, they jump at shadows and run off when they so much as think they see him which leaves for a lot of unfinished work you see," he explained even as he paced, his shoulders taunt as his hand slashed through the air in angry gestures.

"A lot of work you've been left to pick up I noticed."

Arthur pressed on with a growing frown "Which means my chambers are a mess, even more so than usual, and then there's this story I overheard from a visiting duchess who heard from…never mind, the point is, is it true?"

His frown had not become a grim straight line of displeasure which could only mean he knew.

"It wasn't my fault!" were the first words out of his mouth, and thinking back, maybe he should have chosen better ones because whatever conclusion Arthur jumped to was a dark one.

Merlin sighed and looked at the floor.

"I'll kill him," Arthur vowed and there was such an icy calmness to him that it was damned near frightening.

Merlin hadn't the chance to say anything more before Arthur was marching down he halls, his servant chasing after him with desperate words like "it wasn't that bad," "Arthur, its not like you think" and "have you seen him? He's bloody huge" that made Arthur's fury grow until he fairly glowed with it.

The servant's scattered like rabbits when the prince passed through, Merlin the only one brave enough to dare his presence, and their stood Lord Geoffrey at the end of the hall.

He took one look at the furious prince and the equally pale Merlin beside him and turned white as driven snow, and that was all the confirmation Arthur required.

"The practice field, now" Arthur said and strode off ignoring the lords indignant sputtering.

The battle was swift and brutal. Arthur danced around the lord with the practiced precision of a warrior, for each thrust of Geoffrey's sword the sound of clanging metal ran loudly, his sword nearly vibrating with the force backing the princes attacks.

Weather out of foolish bravery or sheer frustration Geoffrey lunged swinging for the princes midriff sword tip catching him at the hip but he may as well have just thrown a rock at a bear for all the good it did.

Arthur pressed him hard with a flurry of moves that left him fighting to match him swing for swing, with one final move an arching slash that knocked the sword from his hand Arthur had him on his knees in the dirt.

There was a fine sheen of sweat upon his brow and his face was flushed with adrenaline his sword still held firmly in hand, the tip resting beneath Geoffrey's chin.

My hero, he thought to himself with a self-deprecating eye-roll. Arthur was never going to let him live this one down.

It was only after Geoffrey had yielded that Arthur threw down his sword with these final words, "If you ever again harm a citizen of Camelot I will see you dead, understood?"

Geoffrey, to in awe or perhaps fearful for his life and rightly so Merlin knew Arthur had a black look on his face, nodded mutely.

"Come along Merlin" Arthur said grabbing his elbow as he went past, "We need to talk," he said more quietly.

And that right there was a scary prospect, Arthur wanting to talk and discuss things like feelings?

He must be enchanted. That's the only explanation.

Arthur was quiet barely breathing a word until he erupted in the middle of the castle halls; luckily there was none about to over here.

"Explain to me why I had to find out from castle gossip that my lover was accosted in the halls?" Arthur demanded his expression nothing short of thunderous, but under all that displaced anger there was a fair helping of hurt.

"It was nothing Arthur, I didn't think it was worth mentioning" he insisted crossing his arms, chin jutting out defiantly.

"Nothing?" Arthur exclaimed half shouting by now his hand slamming into the stone walls with enough force to make another man squeal, but not Arthur.

He was far to prideful for that.

"This is as far from nothing as it gets."

"Falling down a few stairs is nothing, breaking a few vases is nothing, Gods Merlin you being…talented…is nothing, being ravished by Lord Geoffrey when you and I both knew you could have killed him with a few words is not nothing!" Arthur snarled turning away from Merlin sharply as though the sight of him was too much to bear, and that kind of hurt.

A lot.

"Those were 'bloody priceless and irreplaceable vases' if I recall correctly sire, and a simple kiss no matter how sloppy or unwanted" he was quick to add on when this strange look came over Arthur he'd sort of slumped over a little his eyes closing briefly if Merlin didn't know better he'd think that was a prayer of thanks he was muttering.

"That is hardly the same as being ravished" Merlin said with a wry smile.

Merlin waited for Arthur to open his eyes and bloody say something when the fool started chuckling quietly, and he was sure the prince had gone barking mad when it became a full blown laugh.

The prince no longer looked like he wanted to throttle something, or namely someone. His eyes were bright and twinkling his blond hair still sweaty and matted sticking every which way, and to Merlin he couldn't have looked more beautiful.

"Thank the Gods," he said softly when his amusement had died down enough for him to speak.

Merlin however was still rather hopelessly lost.

"I thought he'd actually, you know, ravished you Merlin" Arthur explained and this time when his hand reached out Merlin grasped it tightly a cold wash of understanding chilling him like a cold dousing.

"He didn't, I promise you, your Lord Geoffrey would be enjoying his new life as a warty toad if he'd tried for more than that kiss" Merlin assured the prince who looked inordinately pleased at this, "Good, that's good then."

Arthur was a very tactile person, Merlin had learned much to his surprise, he liked to touch and be touched, he liked hands threading through his hair – even if he groused and mocked with the same breath that had him coming undone at the seems – he liked to reaffirm what they had as though he was waiting for all this, them, to be taken away at the drop of a hat, or more likely a kings order.

Because he knew all this Merlin knew what Arthur needed.

Thoughts completely focused on the man before him Merlin pulled him – mildly complaining, because when wasn't he complaining about something?

Mer-lin, there's a stain on my riding coat? You spilled a glass of cider, sire.

Mer-lin, why aren't the stables pristine? Because, sir, horses have no sense of cleanliness.

Mer-lin, why am I four hours late for my meeting, again? Don't look at me, it's hardly my fault you can't keep your bloody hands to yourself Arthur.

"Mer-lin, why are we here?" Arthur groaned though he had yet to loosen his grip on Merlin's hand, either.

"Because. I love you."

Ye Gods, did I say that aloud?

Arthur was just standing there looking all princely and stoic shadows hiding whatever surface emotion his face might've given way, and all he could think past the pounding in his chest was, I've well and truly buggered this up.

Then the strangest thing happened.

Arthur smiled.

No, it was more of a smirk, a smug, arrogant I've-just-won, smirk and it was plastered all across his face.

Arthur's lips curled upwards a smug borderline arrogant smile plastered across his face not unlike the stable cat after having caught a good number of mice.

"I knew it" Arthur said and was faced with a furious glare as Merlin's shoulders slumped a little bit inwards, "Was this all a game to you then, sire?"

"No, no, you daft idiot-"

"Ah, so now I'm a idiot and a daft one at that who's been stupid enough to bloody fall for a complete prat?" Merlin muttered his jaw clenching tightly as he forced down the swell of hurt clouding his judgment.

"You've always been an idiot Merlin, and its practically common knowledge that I am a prat thanks to you, but its good that you, you know love me" Arthur said his smile faltering for a moment, and Merlin could scare believe the next words from his mouth –

"Because I love you, idiot or not."

Arthur would have to repeat it twice and by the second he would be looking at his boots, boots that Merlin would have the dubious pleasure of shining for the hundredth time.

"Besides, you being a sorcerer didn't change much so you being an idiot is hardly something new I should imagine" Arthur continued, and yeah Merlin knew that as far as declarations went if either of them had been a girl this would have ended in tears, but as it stood they weren't and it didn't because Merlin got it. He understood.

"You love me," Merlin repeated the words barely audible, it made all this feel odd somehow having it out there in the open, having it known.

Arthur scratched the back of his head; a nervous tick he had yet to kick. "Have done for a while now you know."

Arthur crossed his arms, a frown creasing his brow, "Well, say something damnit."

Arthur had never looked more like a petulant prince than he did right then, arms defiantly crossed lips pulled in a mulish sulk, but his eyes refrained Merlin from poking fun. He was worried and concerned and a lot uncertain; all things Arthur detested being.

"Like what, that I would die for you?" Merlin asked laughing lightly, and not because it was funny, he didn't want to die. Not any time soon leastwise.

"Because I would," he finished before Arthur could stop him he kissed him firmly, he'd found that a rather novel way to shut him up.

He couldn't very well say, "Oh do shut up, Arthur" to the prince.

Well he could, and he did, but it was best not done to often.

"Mer-lin" Arthur huffed pulling away, as though he didn't need to hear this. As though he wasn't secretly hanging on every word.

"Or that I would lie for you, perhaps?" Merlin went on mouthing the words against Arthur's neck, "You know bloody well I have."

"I get it already" Arthur grumbled but even as the words escaped his mouth the prince leaned into Merlin's touch.

"Good" he said meeting Arthur's gaze fully, and what the prince saw there said the rest.

"Well what are we doing babbling like old women when we could be making use of my not insubstantial bed?" Arthur demanded with a pointed look and small smile, "What indeed" Merlin laughed smiling brilliantly as he trailed along behind the prince as they made there way to Arthurs chambers with all the haste of young lovers.

When the moon reached is highest peak and the air was chill the pair of young men where a tangled heap of limbs and thoroughly rumpled sheets, the chamber musky with the scent of lovemaking.

Merlin slept like the dead his raven hair haloed by the starch sheets that pillowed his head, he looked so fragile spread out across his bed, so damn trusting too, but that was Merlin the daft fool who wore his heart on his sleeve. But Arthur was glad for it, because only a fool would fall in love with a prat of a prince.

At least he doesn't snore.

Arthur contemplated the young man a moment longer but his breaths were light with the occasional snuffling, any other would have found it irritating – and indeed he should too – but it was just so very Merlin that it was more endearing than not.

Besides when ones saddled with a sorcerer for a lover and a rubbish servant at that, what's a little snoring in comparison?

AuthorsNote: This is the sequal to "A Little Bit Magic".