Title: The Bewitched Frog
Warning/spoilers: mention of 2x10, boys kissing,
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Beta: silk_mistress (she's really awesome :D)
Summary: "How had he ended up in this situation? Merlin didn't have a clue, but he always seemed to be finding some trouble and most of the time was Arthur's fault." - Arthur as a frog *grins*
A/N: Comments are love :)
How had he ended up in this situation? Merlin didn’t have a clue, but he always seemed to be finding some trouble and most of the time was Arthur’s fault. Yes, the Prince had a strange ‘something’ that attracted magical creatures, and Merlin always had to save his royal ass. This was, it seemed, the millionth time, but this time, Merlin didn’t know how to help Arthur… But he kept trying anyway.
Gwen and Morgana looked at him expectantly, their expressions demanding that he do something that he didn’t know how to do. Gaius flitted around the chambers like a crazy old man and Arthur… Well, Arthur just looked at everyone with a stupid frog look. Yes! Frog look. If the situation hadn’t been so serious, Merlin would have laughed. But Arthur was still a damn frog and Merlin just didn’t know how to make him human again.
How was Arthur now a green and tiny frog? It was a funny story, actually… or not so funny, really. That morning, everything was still normal and Merlin was preparing the things to go on a hunt with the prince prat. They were moving around the forest looking for some poor animal, when an old lady appeared suddenly. She wasn’t creepy or anything, so Merlin hadn’t thought that she could actually do something to them, but he was wrong. Arthur, extremely smart as he was, managed to piss off the old lady. She ended up being a sorceress and for a reward she ‘offered’ Arthur a little curse, naturally. Before she disappeared she had told them, “Arthur Pendragon, if you don’t stop hating magic, you will lose your real true love forever.”
They didn’t understand what she had meant, or at least Merlin didn’t. But Arthur was fine and he didn’t look changed after the old lady’s words, so they just stopped thinking about it.
But that afternoon, when Merlin came to Arthur’s chamber after lunch with Gaius only to find the room empty, the Prince’s clothes spread on the floor, he was immediately suspicious.
‘Strange’ thought Merlin, ‘Where did Arthur go?’ He thought about looking for Arthur outside when he heard a small noise coming from Arthur’s clothing. Merlin started moving through them slowly, almost expecting an attack or a strange monster to come bursting out of them. Much to his surprise, he only saw a little frog, right in the middle of the clothes.
Merlin looked at the frog, puzzled. The frog winked back at him with its blue, human eyes. ‘Arthur’s eyes,’ Merlin realized with a start. The curse had worked after all and now Merlin literally had a frog prince in his hands.
“Arthur, can you say something?” he asked, hoping the Prince could, at least, talk.
But no, Arthur only made a little frog sound and Merlin rolled his eyes.
“How you always piss of the wrong people is beyond me-“ He moved closer to the door with the prince in his hands. “We need to see Gaius, maybe he can help.”, Arthur made a sound of approval, or it seemed like that to Merlin.
Gaius and Merlin ended up looking in every damned book they could think of, even Merlin’s magic book, but still found nothing. Merlin was starting to get really nervous. What would Uther say if he saw his son like that? He would kill Merlin, for sure. It was crucial to find a solution, and fast. With no solutions and his life on the line, Merlin did what he always seemed to do in such a situation: consult the Great Dragon. The Dragon always seemed to know everything. Merlin got up and ran to the door, saying quickly, “Gaius, please take care of Arthur until I get back.”
The Dragon only laughed when Merlin told him what had happened. Merlin waited patiently for the beast to stop laughing. When he finally did, Merlin asked,” how can we break the curse?”
“Well, young warlock, Arthur has to receive a kiss from his true love. Like the time something similar happened to him.”
Merlin remembered that time when Gwen kissed Arthur to break the enchantment he was in. A true love’s kiss. Merlin had been happy that it worked, but it still hurt him to see that Arthur had already found his true love. Gwen was so lucky that Arthur had chosen her, Merlin thought sadly. Sometimes Merlin wished it could be him, not Gwen. But he was just Merlin, the useless idiot Merlin. This time around, he just put his feelings behind his back, like always, and went to find Gwen.
Gwen was shocked at first, but ever the patient friend, she agreed to help Arthur and kissed him. Merlin, Morgana and Gaius watched the frog, expecting that something would happen. To their dismay, Arthur was still just a little green frog.
Why didn’t the kiss work? Merlin has no idea. Gaius didn’t either, judging by the look of surprise on his face. So, the four of them were left, looking at the frog and each other stupidly, until Merlin decided that he’d finally had enough of waiting for some damned miracle to happen. He moved closer to Gaius.
”I’m going to see the Dragon again. He has to explain why the kiss didn’t work.”
When he got to the Dragon’s cave, he said, “It didn’t work like the last time. Why?”
The Dragon didn’t respond right away. That made Merlin nervous as hell and he moved his feet in circles.
“The only explanation for that, young Merlin, is that Lady Morgana’s maid is not the right person,” the Dragon said.
“What? That’s not possible! She kissed Arthur the last time and it worked.”
“It is true,” the Dragon replied. “But remember, love is a strange thing that even magic cannot control.”
“And how is that suppose to help him?” Merlin asked with an angry voice.
“The only way you can help him is to find the right person. But Merlin, do not forget, he will remember everything you said and did to help him when he turns back,” the Dragon answered slowly.
How could Merlin know who was the right person when the Prince couldn’t tell him anything? He sighed tiredly. His life was really complicated sometimes.
He was almost back to Arthur’s chamber when he thought of something that could help Arthur. He changed direction to his room instead and grabbed his book with a new hope in his heart. His friends were all waiting in the same place for him to return and the moment Merlin saw them, he felt a little scared. He knew that his solution was going to kill him or make him go away forever, but there was no other choice. He started to talk before he lost his courage.
”Good news,“ he began. He hated to lie, but what could he do? They were going to hate him for hiding his true self for so long. “-I found a spell that can help Arthur. It works like this: after the spell is cast, a mark like this-“ He showed the picture in his book to everyone. “-appears in the right hand of the person who has to kiss Arthur.”
“And… Who is going to cast that spell?” asked Gwen, a little scared and uncomfortable at the mention of magic.
Merlin glanced at Gaius, who was looking back at him with pleading eyes, and then at the frog prince. “I will,” he said slowly.
They were all silent, looking at Merlin, not expecting something like that to come from him. When he saw they weren’t going to say anything, he started working. He read the spell from the book and his eyes changed color, blue to gold like always. But nothing else happened.
He looked at Gwen and Morgana hands. No mark. Next, he looked at Gaius’s hand, just to be sure. Nothing was there either, much to Merlin’s relief!
“Okay, there is no mark in anyone here, so we have to look everywhere and find the right person quickly-“
“Merlin, look at your hand!” shouted Morgana, excited.
‘What?’ Merlin felt confused for a few seconds and then looked at his hand. His heart stopped in his chest and he felt dizzy. The mark was in his hand! How was that possible?
Merlin didn’t believe it. He was not Arthur’s true love! The prince was always insulting Merlin and making him remember that he was just a servant, though somehow Merlin knew that they were friends despite the teasing. ‘But lovers?’ Arthur didn’t like him that way, Merlin was certain of that.
“Merlin?” asked Gaius, worried with the young warlock’s prolonged silence.
“What am I suppose to do?” Merlin whispered, looking at Gaius, lost.
Morgana moved close to him and put her hand on his shoulder. They were watching the frog, which had been momentarily forgotten. Merlin knew what he was going to do, but the thought of leaving everyone was horrible.
“I’ll do it,“ he said with a hard voice. “But I have to leave after, or I will be killed.”
The others seemed surprised. They stared at Merlin's face, expecting a further explanation. Merlin didn't say anything, but moved towards the prince. He took a deep breath and murmured, "Let's get this done," and kissed the frog in his hands.
After the kiss, Merlin dropped the frog on the bed and walked back to his friends. They watched the little green animal, waiting for some change. Suddenly, a bright light appeared on the bed and the frog turned into a human Arthur. He seemed completely fine, but he seemed to be sleeping, oddly enough.
“It worked!” Gwen screamed, her voice happy.
Merlin smiled, pleased and sad at the same time. He realized that he had to go away before Arthur woke up and sent him to the fire.
“I have to go now. When Arthur wakes up, he will remember everything that happened here. I know I can trust you all to keep my secret, but Arthur won’t lie to the king because of a sorcerer.”
“But-“Gaius said, fear present in his voice.
“I’m sorry Gaius, but there’s no place here for me anymore,” Merlin said quickly, tears falling from his eyes. “Take care of him for me, please,” he whispered in the old man’s ear as he left Arthur’s chambers, running to get his things.
He arranged everything as fast as he could and put his bag on his back. He contemplated his home for a long moment. His tears fell completely freely, wetting his face and neck as he walked through the door, leaving Camelot behind.
Merlin had been walking through the forest for a few hours now. The more he moved, the sadder he felt. He didn’t know where he was going, but so long as his feet were still working, then he would continue.
Suddenly he saw a shadow moving slowly past him. At first, he wondered if it could be the guards of Camelot, but he then doubted it because it was only one person. Then he saw who it was, and he felt his anger grow.
“You!” Merlin hissed.
“Yes me, Merlin,” the witch who had cursed Arthur answered. “I know you broke the curse and I am glad.”
“You’re glad?” Merlin asked incredulously. “Why did you do this? So I would die? Well, sorry to disappoint you, but I’m still alive!”
The witch sat calmly on the grass. “No Merlin, I do not want you dead. This curse was for Arthur, who needed to see that magic is not as evil as he thought.”
“And you tried to make him see that by using magic on him?” Merlin still stood, too angry to sit. “How was that a good idea?”
She smiled at him and her eyes turned gold for a few seconds. “I knew you were the one who could break the curse. Now, Arthur has to choose between love and his hate for magic.”
Merlin knew that there wasn’t much choice for Arthur. Between his father’s laws and Merlin’s magic, the prince would never prefer the latter. Merlin felt his sadness come to him in waves, accompanied by the thoughts about the ways that he had helped and saved Arthur, all the times that the prince had mocked him, but also the times that Merlin had known that they were truly friends. And now Arthur would hate him, and Merlin didn’t want that. If he had to choose between true love and banishment or friendship and staying in Camelot, he preferred to stay with Arthur for the rest of his life. At least if Merlin chose that, to remain as Arthur’s friend under the guise of servant, then Arthur would still accept him. In that circumstance, Arthur may never like him, but at least he wouldn’t despise him, either. But sadly, Merlin knew that he no longer had the choice. Arthur knew about the magic, and now Merlin could never return to Camelot.
He was so engrossed in his thoughts that he had forgotten the witch was still there. He startled only when she spoke again in a loud and clear voice.
“So, what do you choose?”
Merlin looked at her with a frown. What was she talking about? He couldn’t choose anything besides leaving his friends, but he had already done that.
“If I answer your question, will you leave us alone? No matter what I choose?”
Merlin jumped at the sound of Arthur’s voice, and turned his head to the other side of the field. What was he doing there? Merlin wondered with despair if the prince hated Merlin so much that he wanted to kill him himself.
“Yes, Arthur Pendragon, I will go,” the witch said slowly, a small smile on her lips. “I just need to hear your answer.”
Merlin felt so much sorrow and fear that he spoke without thinking of what he was saying. “Just go! Why do you need to hear the answer that you already know?”
A tear fell from his eye when he saw Arthur looking at him. “Leave us alone, please,” he sobbed.
The witch moved close to Merlin. “Believe me, it would be better if you heard what Arthur has to say,“ she said calmly. Then she turned to Arthur again and asked, “Can you tell us your answer?”
Merlin closed his eyes tight, trying to protect himself from the words he knew he was going to hear. He couldn’t see a thing, but he noticed that Arthur was moving closer to them, slowly but resolutely.
“If hating magic will cost me my love, then it’s not hard to choose… I want love back.” The prince´s answer came quick and hard, like he has trying to convince the witch of the truth of his words.
Merlin felt the witch’s hand on his shoulder, but he still didn’t open his eyes. “Good Luck, Merlin,” she murmured, then vanished.
Merlin was so confused. He could not understand what Arthur meant. Had the prince forgiven him? It seemed like he had said that, but Merlin wasn’t sure… Maybe he had imagined it; he wanted to hear those words so much that perhaps his mind was playing tricks on him…
Merlin looked up at the sound of Arthur’s voice. The prince was close to him already, his blue eyes sparkling and his golden hair reflecting the orange and red colors of the sunset. Merlin missed Arthur so much by now that he felt like touching him, but he stopped himself before the prince changed his mind and decided to kill him right there.
“Why are you here, Arthur?” he asked. He needed to know with certainty what was on Arthur’s mind.
“I came here to find you and bring you back to Camelot. I need my manservant, you know?” Arthur said, nonchalant.
Merlin didn’t know how he was supposed to answer, he had expected Arthur to be mad –no, furious- not kind. Merlin wondered if Arthur didn’t actually remember the spell incident. ‘Yes, that must be it,’ he thought, ‘or else Arthur wouldn’t be so friendly.’
“Arthur… what do you actually remember?”
The prince looked at him fondly and Merlin felt strange because Arthur never used that look on him. It was making his body tingle, and the forest suddenly felt too hot. He needed an answer quickly or he was going to go crazy. Merlin sighed and tried again. “Art-“
“I know everything… or at least most of it. I remember how you broke the curse and I know that you are a sorcerer. After I woke up, I tried to find you so that you could explain what was happening, but then Gaius started revealing everything: that you born with magic, that you saved me a lot and other things I didn’t really catch.” He smiled a little and rolled his eyes. “I think he was trying to convince me not to kill you, which is funny, because I didn’t intend to do that in the first place.”
Merlin’s mouth was open in shock. Arthur knew everything, but he was so calm about it, like he was talking about the weather.
“And… are you okay with it?” he asked, looking at Arthur’s eyes, trying to see the answer.
“Surprisingly, yes. I actually had a few suspicion, but I couldn’t prove it and I couldn’t ask you either or you would run away from me, like you did now.”
Merlin looked at the ground in shame. “Sorry, Arthur. I was scared, I thought you-“
Before Merlin could finish what he was saying, Arthur grabbed his hand and pulled him close. “You are an idiot, have I ever told you that?” Merlin glared at the prince, but Arthur only laughed. “Of course I have, because it’s true. Do you really believe I would hurt you like that? You are my friend, Merlin, and I know you’re not evil. So, your secret is safe with me.”
Merlin smiled for the first time since he had left Camelot. Arthur didn’t hate him, nor did he mind that Merlin knew magic! He looked at his hand, which was still interlaced with Arthur’s, and he smiled even more.
“Thank you,” he said, relieved.
“So, that means you’re coming back, right?” Arthur looked at him a little anxiously.
Of course Merlin was going back; he missed all of them so much that he couldn’t think of saying no.
“Yes, of course I will,” he smiled.
“Merlin, I need you to clean my room. Can you see the state of it?”
Arthur was eating his breakfast in his chambers and he was being a prat again. Merlin sighed and started moving to Arthur’s bed, murmuring something snide about royal people.
“And if you use magic, I will put you into the stocks.”
Merlin looked at Arthur with a frown. “Are you serious? You are a prat. No… On second thoughts, you’re a complete pillock!”
Arthur moved behind Merlin, laughing hard. He turned Merlin around and pulled him, closing the space between them. “Am I? Are you sure?” he stroked the warlock’s face slowly, then leaned in and touched Merlin’s lips lightly with his own.
“That is so unfair…” Merlin murmured, breathless. “Okay, you won, and you’re not a pillock, just a royal arse.”
Arthur put his arm around Merlin’s waist, pulling Merlin even closer. Merlin grabbed Arthur’s tunic and landed his head on the prince’s shoulder. His heart was beating fast, like a rabbit’s, and his body was tingling with anticipation.
“Arthur? Didn’t you have a meeting with your father?” Merlin asked. “You are going to be late…”
Arthur hid his face in Merlin’s hair. “I don’t want to go, Merlin…” and he kissed Merlin with passion. He moved towards the bed, still kissing Merlin, and gently pushed him down upon it.
The kisses grew more urgent and needy, and as Merlin moaned into Arthur’s mouth, the prince slid his hand beneath Merlin’s shirt and stroked the bare skin of his stomach.
“I guess that going to the stocks for this is worth it. You’re lucky I’m always covering for you,” Merlin said between kisses.
Arthur laughed, looking at Merlin with such love that Merlin felt his heart constrict. “That is why I love my manservant so much,” he whispered tenderly.
Merlin smiled and kissed Arthur’s nose. “And I love you, frog prince.”