One of the funniest/saddest/most interesting things about the Merthur relationship is that Arthur has no idea how unequal it is. Like it’s easy to get mad at him because we see all that Merlin’s done and sacrificed, but Arthur doesn’t. From his point of view he and Merlin have a fairly equitable arrangement going.
Sure, Arthur sometimes abuses his position of power in petty ways, and that’s not great, but he also lets Merlin get away with pretty much whatever. He lets Merlin talk back to him both in private and infront of people, which is a huge deal. Arthur is the king/crown prince, and he lets his servant disrespect him in public. He lets Merlin disappear to the tavern, sometimes for days, without any real punishment other than some yelling and some unpleasant chores he would have had to do anyway. From Arthur’s point of view, Merlin puts up with his bad behavior and in return, Arthur puts up with Merlin’s.
Arthur knows that Merlin has protected him and remained loyal to him far past anything that could be expected of a servant, but Arthur has also protected Merlin past what could be expected from an employer. He’s committed treason for Merlin, risked his life for Merlin, risked war to plead for Merlin’s life. Again, Arthur doesn’t know the lengths that Merlin has had to go to, doesn’t know how much he’s given and sacrificed without recognition or reward. He doesn’t know that Merlin is risking himself every day that he stays in Camelot. He only knows that they’re friends (even if he wouldn’t always admit it) so of course they’ll protect each other when they can.
Arthur also doesn’t know that Merlin can’t leave. He doesn’t know that Merlin is basically trapped by destiny and under a huge amount of pressure to take anything Arthur dishes out at him. Servants aren’t slaves. They can quit. Most of them don’t really have many other options but Arthur has every reason to believe that Merlin does. Merlin could go work for Gaius full time, or just go home to Ealdor if he was ever really unhappy. Except no, he can’t, because then he’d be failing all of Albion and also Arthur would die.
Merlin having magic and being Arthur’s destined protector changes everything about their friendship, makes it distinctly one sided and unfair, and makes every less than fantastic thing Arthur has ever done or said to Merlin about a million times worse and more abusive than Arthur ever intended. And he never gets a chance to make it right, to see his best friend as he really is and do something about it because the stupid writers never let him learn the stupid truth until he was dying.
white crown - finding the other wearing their clothes. Have some young!Merlahad
“I believe that’s my jumper.”
Merlin stirs, lifting his face from where it’s
pressing into the sofa cushion, blinking blearily up at his partner through the
shock of black hair that falls across his eyes, “What?”
Harry kneels down next to the sofa, stroking Merlin’s
hair back out of his face. “That jumper,” he says, grinning. “I do believe it
belongs to me.”
Merlin is awake now. He glances down at himself, and
yeah. Yeah, that is Harry’s favourite jumper he has on. The fog of sleep blows
away, and he remembers why he put it on in the first place. He pushes himself
up into a proper sitting position and blushes.
Harry climbs back to his feet and the slides into
Merlin’s lap, “Oh, I like that face. Do tell.”
Merlin blushes harder and tucks his head to the side.
Harry takes his chin in his hand and tilts it back to look at him. Slowly,
Merlin admits, “I missed you. You were only supposed to be in Peru a week, and
it’s been nearly three.”
“That doesn’t explain why you’re wearing my jumper.”
“It’s cosy and warm and…and it smells like you.”
Harry’s smile goes from playful to sappy in the span
of two seconds. “Oh,” he says. “I missed you too, you know.”
“Yeah?” Merlin asks shyly. This thing between him and
Harry is still so new, and every admission that Harry cares about him, thinks
about him, makes Merlin’s heart race.
“I did. It was even worse without your beautiful voice
in my ear, telling me what to do.” He grins, “Bossy.”
“It’s not bossy if it’s my job.”
“I didn’t mean it badly,” Harry gives him that
faux-innocent grin that Merlin has quickly come to love and dread in equal
measure. “I like it when you’re bossy.” He leans in and presses a lingering
kiss to Merlin’s lips. “By the way,” he murmurs, “you really look very good in
“You’re just saying that because it’s yours.”
“Am not. Although I do like you in my clothes. But I’m
serious. It makes you look approachable.”
“I am approachable,” Merlin huffs.
“You look fantastic in the suit, don’t get me wrong,”
Harry says quickly. “But half of your department is terrified of you. I hear
things, you know.”
“You’re a terrible gossip, Harry Hart.”
Harry doesn’t even look the slightest bit guilty, “Wear
this to work, and I guarantee they won’t be frightened of you.”
“And what if I want them to be frightened of me?” He
doesn’t, he’s just trying to wind Harry up a bit.
“Wear it tomorrow,” Harry says, “and I’ll make it
worth your while.”
“Really?” Merlin grins. “How so?”
Harry’s grin twists in a very particular way, his eyes
glittering, and he leans forward, his breath ghosting against Merlin’s ear. In
a whisper, he tells Merlin exactly what he’ll do if Merlin wears the jumper to
Well. He definitely has to do it now.
And thus, the soft jumper-wearing Merlin we love was born.
⌚ for our boys in the time of the actual arthurian legend hehe
I assume by our boys you mean merlahad. Are you psychic? Because I’ve had some ideas for an arthurian au kicking around for a while. (also, I know it said drabble, but I like to break rules)
Harry brings his horse to a stop at the base of the
tower with a practiced precision, dismounting neatly, his leather boots landing
firmly on the forest floor. Cupping his hand to his mouth, he calls up, “I’ve
come to rescue you, princess!”
“Fuck off, Harry,” comes the slightly grumpy reply.
Then, “Let yourself in.” The locked door clicks and swings open when Harry puts
his hand against the wood, and he ascends the winding staircase two steps at a
“Hello, Hamish,” he says cheerfully as he pushes open
the tower-room door. He ducks neatly under the book that flies over his head
and into Hamish’s hand, the wizard not even looking up from where he’s bent
over his desk, scrolls pouring out over every edge, hovering above the floor.
“That joke hasn’t been funny in years.” Hamish says
without turning around.
“That joke will be funny until the day I die,” Harry
retorts. “I should have a scribe write it down and bury it with me.”
“I didn’t teach you your letters so you could have
other people do your writing for you, Harry.”
Harry grins and takes another few steps towards
“No armour today?”
“Did you divine that through some spell?” Harry asks
“You’re not making the usual racket whenever you move.”
Harry reaches for the nearest chair, and it bumps the
back of his knees as it slides towards him, forcing him to sit down hard. At
this point, Harry isn’t sure whether the tower itself is attuned to him, or if
it’s Hamish’s own magic. Given that the tower seems to be an extension of
Hamish, possibly both. “Are you busy today?” Harry asks.
“I’m always busy,” Hamish replies, but he sets down
his bottle of ink and finally, finally turns to look at Harry, “but never too
busy for my favourite knight. What brings the noble Sir Galahad to my tower
“My sword needs enchanting.”
Hamish raises an eyebrow, “If that’s your latest
attempt at innuendo-“
Harry laughs and withdraws his sword from its
scabbard. He lays it on the stool that has darted from across the room to stand
in front of him. “Not an innuendo,” he says. “There’s a very important quest
King Arthur wants me to undertake. I would feel a bit more confident knowing I
have a wizard’s magic by my side.”
“You only like me for my spells,” Hamish says, but his
voice is light.
“No, I like you for your charming personality and
biting wit,” Harry tells him, and Hamish laughs.
He picks up the sword, “I’ll enchant it for you. It
might take a while, but feel free to stick around while you wait.”
“And maybe when you’re done with that, we could go
back to discussing the other sort of sword enchanting…?”
“Sir Galahad the Pure,” Hamish snorts under his
breath, drawing another chuckle out of Harry. “What a load of shite.”
Until two years ago, Merlin was a starvation/heartworms backyard neglect case. He likes being a housepet now, but he’s always watching Yvaine to see what he’s supposed to be doing. She’s a social cues helper dog ;)
By watching what Yvaine is doing, Merlin can work out when he’s just going outside to potty, or going out on Sniff Patrol, or going to the car, or going to feed the Big Doggies. He can tell when I want their attention to do tricks. He can tell when we’re all settling down in one spot for a while. He can’t figure this out from watching me; it seems he just doesn’t have the context. But whatever we’re doing, I see him look at Yvaine, check for cues, then participate.
He’s iffy on words–starting to learn verbal commands at age 8 or so did not help at all. He does better with hand gestures. But sometimes he gets so fatigued, or excited, or agitated that he just can’t process them. Even then, he can still check to see what Yvaine is doing, and go from there.
She helps him be more secure, just by being there.