heofona_gehlidu: (arthur merlin by your side)
[personal profile] heofona_gehlidu
Title: Heavy the head that wears the crown
Fandom: Merlin
Genre: Future fic, AU
Summary: They all fall in love with him a little, men and women, old and young, rich and poor, but even a king cannot stop the darkness rushing in.
Warnings: Angst. Shades of dub con.
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
A/N: Written for a prompt on [community profile] kinkme_merlin: Arthur/Merlin, Dark Lord!Merlin

They come to Camelot from every corner of the land of Albion. Men and women, old and young, rich and poor: they wait their turn without favour because their king is a just king and no man's life and liberty are worth more than another's.

A petitioner must be patient, for the line is long, but after a time he will reach the head of the queue and then the steward will nod to him and he will take a deep breath and enter the great hall and take his case before the king. Voice quavering, no doubt - the hall is vast and richly furnished, and while the king may tell them that he is a man like any other he is still their lord and when he speaks there is no doubt as to who holds the power in this land.

They all fall in love with him a little, men and women, old and young, rich and poor. There is something about him, something that cannot be learned but just is, something that would see them gladly lay down their lives for him if he ever asked. But he does not need to do that. It has been years since anyone dared to challenge Camelot's power and the people love him all the more for it. Peace and prosperity have come to the land of Albion; it is truly a golden age ruled over by a golden king.

It is late in the day when the last petitioner bows in gratitude to his king and hurries away. One by one the courtiers too bow and leave, until finally the guards swing the doors closed and bar them, leaving the king alone.

The great hall is silent. The king sits still on his throne, unmoving. One would have to look very closely indeed to see that he is gripping the arms of his throne so tightly that his knuckles are white.

Daylight is fading; the sun is almost set. Even a king cannot stop the darkness rushing in.

There is no fanfare to announce his arrival, but there is a distinct moment when the world changes and where before there was an empty corner of the hall there is now a familiar lanky figure, half-smiling as he advances towards the throne.

"Hello, Arthur."

So clever with his words, the golden king. So eloquent, so persuasive. So full of energy and life, as warm as the sun itself. None of his subjects would ever believe that he could remain so still, so quiet, so pale.


It's said softly but the king flinches nonetheless. He rises to his feet, steps down from the throne, until he is face to face with the interloper. The contrast between them could not be more stark: the proud king in all his finery and the peasant boy in his worn and faded clothes.

But it is the king who sinks to his knees, grovelling at the boy's feet.

"You kept me waiting."

"I'm sorry, my lord ... they took so long."

Arthur senses rather than sees the movement; a hand fists in his hair, pulling his head up.
"Don't keep me waiting tomorrow," he is told sternly.

Arthur nods, and as reward for his compliance he is released. He gets awkwardly to his feet, closing his eyes as familiar magic whispers over his skin. He does not need to look to know that his clothes are now discarded on the floor.

"You're healing."

A finger presses against his side, hard enough to make Arthur hiss; he feels the sharp prick of pain that follows, the trickle of blood against his skin.

"That's better."

The finger is pressed against his lips and Arthur instinctively draws it into his mouth, lapping at the blood smeared on it, shuddering at the tingle of magic on his tongue.

With a snort of amusement his lord and master takes his place on Arthur's throne and Arthur kneels before him, shivering when a gentle hand cups his cheek, thumb against his lip. His mouth is already open, ready for whatever his lord desires.

"Is this what you want, Arthur?"

Arthur nods. This is what he wants; if not for himself then for Camelot. For Albion. For the people whose safety means more to him than his own pride, his own life. His sacrifice ensures their future and if this is to be his destiny then this is what it must be.

Arthur may rule Albion, but it is Merlin who rules Arthur.


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heofona gehlidu

April 2011

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