PART 1 - link
“Arthur, you should come and eat something, dear.” Hunith calls out to Arthur from the kitchen. He and Merlin have taken residence in Ealdor for the past few weeks waiting for Arthur to fully heal from his near fatal injury. Merlin and Arthur are still on the outs and speak very little to each other. Arthur has been insistent on returning to Camelot as soon as possible though his present lack of a horse and full balance to walk on his own is his prevention. He misses Guinevere terribly and enjoys being alone to think of her. Tonight he has decided to watch the sun set as it reminds him of their first picnic. Alone.
“This looks familiar” Guinevere says as Arthur leads her to a beautiful picnic setting.
“Yes, but this time we won’t end on such a sour note.”
“Mmm, and I won’t get attacked by bandits. Or no, hmm, I believe it was a wasp?
They both laugh and settle down on the blanket together. Arthur fixes her plate of all the things he knows she loves: bread, cheese, grapes, figs, and a small slice of ham. He pours a sweet cup of wine and they enjoy the quiet scenery around them.
“This is rather lovely. Just being here with you.” Guinevere says between bites of bread and cheese.
“I couldn’t agree more, love.” Arthur leans in to kiss her and they smile against each other’s lips. As they pull apart, Arthur continues, “Seems the only chance I get to have alone time with you is in our bed at night.”
“Well it’s true! But, I mean trust me, I’m in no way complaining. I always look forward to seeing you by candlelight in that sheer nightdress of yours.”
“Arthur, it isn’t sheer.”
“Guinevere, anything you wear is sheer to me. My eyes soak right through to what’s underneath.”
Before Gwen can finish Arthur has captured her lips once more while laying her back, sprawling his body over top of hers. They kiss passionately and intently for a nice minute. All Gwen can think is, “Thank God I don’t have to worry about Uther arriving any minute on horseback.” Their kiss deepens and soon Arthur is fishing for the ties of her burgundy gown. Knowing where this is going Gwen pushes him off with a light nudge.
“Arthur, please, not here. We’re in public.”
“We’re in the middle of the woods on a Sunday and the sun is beginning set. I think we’re safe.” Arthur says with a grin and delves back over Guinevere. He cups her face with one hand as the other snakes around her waist pulling her closer and slightly pushing her against his manhood.
“We’ve…barely….eaten…our…supper.” Gwen says between kisses.
“I skipped supper and went straight to desert.” Arthur continues to shower her with the warmth of his mouth, placing his lips on her neck, and further down to her breasts.
“Ah, you always were bad about eating you vegetables.” Gwen says with a laugh.
“Arthur, really. Not here. I promise if you allow us to finish our beautiful picnic, I’ll let you have all the desert you desire.” She places a lingering kiss on his chin and continues, “When we return home to Camelot. In our chambers. Behind locked doors.” She says this while leaving a girlish smirk on her face. Arthur pouts for a moment and finally sits up again, going back to his chicken and sausage.
“Fine, love, you win.”
“I always do.”
“Arthur.” The sound of Merlin’s voice snaps him out of his daydream and he turns to see Merlin standing behind him with a bowl of corn and pork stew.
“I thought you might be hungry.”
“Arthur, we need…” Arthur has already headed back to the house without giving Merlin one glance. As Arthur makes his way inside, Hunith comes out and joins her son.
“Just give him time, son.”
“It’s been weeks, mother. I’m not sure if we’ll ever be the same again. He’s hurting.”
“Can you blame him?” Merlin turns to face his mother.
“No, but…I mean, I’ve never used my magic for evil. Ever. Every single time has been to save that clotpole’s ass! Well, almost every time. And this is how he repays me?”
“Merlin, his actions aren’t only based on you. He’s experienced almost losing his life too many times to count, he’s missing Gwen, I’m sure he misses his men, both living and those that have fallen in battle.” Hunith moves closer and cups her son’s face.
“Whether he wants to admit it or not, you’re his best friend. He loves you and he’s thankful for everything you’ve done for him. It’s just not everyday you realize your servant is a sorcerer. Don’t give up, dear. He’ll come around.” She kisses his forehead and turns to go inside. Merlin is left alone and reflects on the wise words just heard from his mother.
Hunith walks through the house and goes to assist Arthur in changing his bandage.
“Let’s see how this looks. Is it feeling any better?”
“I feel fine, Hunith. I could have returned home by now.”
“Arthur, you and I both know you aren’t fit to travel to Camelot on foot. You need rest.”
“I need Guinevere.” Hunith stares at Arthur and can see the anguish of his heart displayed in his eyes.
“I know you must miss her.” Arthur simply nods and closes his eyes as she unravels and removes his worn bandage.
“I just wish there were a way for me to send her word that I’m alright. That I’ll be home soon…that I want her to wait for me.”
“I’m sure Merlin can conjure up something to get her a message.” Huntith says with a laugh trying to lighten the atmosphere. Arthur remains stone faced and stoic. After a moment Hunith speaks again, “He’s always wanted you to know the truth, Arthur. It just wasn’t easy.” Arthur says nothing.
“I can’t say I know how you feel because I don’t. I just know that somewhere deep down you’re grateful to Merlin for many things. And I’m certain he’s thankful to you as well. It’s as if you’re the annoying older brother he’s never had.” Arthur cracks a slight smile at this.
“Listen. The world of magic can be very dark and misleading. But Merlin has never been anything but honest and true with himself and the way that he uses it. He loves you, Arthur. I’m not sure you’ll ever realize how much, but he has sacrificed a lot so that you’re living and breathing as you are now. Time heals a lot of things. But talking heals it faster.” Arthur stares as Hunith finishes adjusting his bandage and moves to leave.
“…Thank you. Hunith.”
“You’re welcome, Arthur. Would you like me to blow out this candle?”
“No, that’s alright. I like to keep it lit.”