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Fic: Whipping Boy

Title: Whipping Boy
Author: astri
Fandom: Merlin
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: ~ 1.300
Disclaimer: Don't own anything about them.
A/N: Shameless Arthur/Merlin emo-porn and schmoopiness. Bit cracky as well.
many thanks to lovis for a super-speedy beta and encouragement

Summary: Merlin gets caught breaking the law. Will Arthur turn his back on him this time?



Whipping Boy

Merlin struggles against the guards but their hold on him is too strong. Not to mention the fact that he is still feeling a bit under the weather, the fever that just recently spread through the city of Camelot not leaving him untouched either, although his condition never proved to be as severe as that of others. Merlin shudders at the thought of one in particular.

Of course, he could free himself with magic but doing so – here, now – would make everything that much worse for him. He curses his own stupidity. His visits to the dragon have grown so frequent, Merlin knows he has gotten too careless trying to hide his steps as it is.

But when not only king Uther had fallen ill but Arthur as well, with Gaius nearly at wit’s end, Merlin had fully thrown caution to the wind. Too bad he had been spotted by one of the few guards still in possession of perfect health. Ironic really.

Well, in the end, Gaius had prevailed and the royal family had made a full recovery, so now Uther can devote all his newfound energy to the judgement of a boy caught in clear violation of the law.

Merlin knows Gaius is there, as is Gwen, can practically feel their concerned looks on him but it’s not their faces Merlin seeks out right now. It’s not them, he silently asks for help.

Arthur is angry too, that much Merlin can see. But his gaze softens when it falls on the picture of misery Merlin presents.

“Father, I’m sure he meant nothing by it, just some misguided attempt to help.”

“Help?” Uther paces the hall angrily. “No one is allowed to see or speak to that thing. It’s a creature of magic, vile and evil. It wouldn’t help us in a time of crisis any more than any other magic-user would. That foolish boy…” here Uther waves his hand in Merlin’s general direction though he doesn’t bother looking at him, “…could have done even more harm than we already faced.”

“The creature is still secured, bound by the strongest chains. What could a skinny little lad like Merlin do about that?”

Hey. We can’t all be over-muscled brutes like you, Arthur. Merlin knows better than to say that out loud but the comment stings a bit. Last week when they sparred together, Arthur had even praised him for becoming a half-decent fighter. Okay, maybe Arthur had used different words but he had smiled at Merlin and thrown an arm around his shoulders. He never really did that when he trained with one of his knights. At least never that Merlin had seen.

Uther isn’t swayed by his son’s words. “Your servant broke the law, he has to learn that actions yield consequences.” He fixes Arthur with a stern look. “And you should learn not to coddle him by fighting his battles like he were some damsel in distress.”

Someone snickers discreetly, and Merlin can feel his face grow hot in embarrassment. Even Arthur’s features redden a bit.

Stupid dragon, Merlin thinks. All his fault. Besides, it’s not true that Arthur treats him like a girl. For one, Merlin has seen how Arthur does behave towards girls, as in, he tends to insult them and be even more of a pompous ass than usual. Okay, that last part is unfair, Arthur can be pretty decent company, once you got to know him.

“Father, he saved my life,” Arthur implores.

Uther snorts. “You keep saying that a lot - every time the boy gets himself in trouble, if I’m not mistaken.” He holds up his hand to silence Arthur when the latter opens his mouth to protest. “And did you not risk your life to acquire a cure when he fell ill? Surely, any debt you owed him has been repaid by now.”

Arthur presses his lips into a thin line. “I don’t haggle the price for my life like a fishwife on the market.”

Low murmurs break out in the grand hall. The insult to the king hard to miss.

Predictably, Uther’s face darkens in anger. “Do not dare speak to me like this. Whatever foolish notions might have gotten into your head, I am still the your father and king. Or do you wish to challenge my authority as such?”

Arthur looks taken aback but not yet ready to back down. Merlin decides it’s time to step in. He is grateful for Arthur’s help but if the prince gets himself in trouble as well, it will do neither of them any good.

“Sire, I admit to my crime and am ready to face my punishment,” he offers.

Uther nods curtly at Merlin. “Very well then, the punishment, as you well know, is twenty strokes with the flogger.”

Merlin’s shoulders slump, but Uther is right, he did know what awaited him.

“Father.”

“Sire.”

Though the words are different, Gaius and Arthur’s protests come in perfect unison, and momentarily they look at each other in surprise.

Gaius tries anew. “Sire, the boy is still not fully—“

“He was strong enough to commit the crime, he is strong enough to pay the prize,” Uther cuts the old healer off. He inclines his head to the guards holding Merlin. “Take him outside and do your duty.”

Merlin gets one last look at Arthur’s conflicted face before he is dragged out of the hall. He is brought to the stables where one of the guards makes quick work of tying him to a post and ripping open his woollen shirt.

The whip is cutting through the air before it lands on Merlin’s back with an audible crack. He cries out. It’s much more painful than Merlin imagined it would be and the thought of nineteen more lashes is not exactly brightening his day. He braces himself.

“Wait.”

At the sound of the voice, Merlin twists around in his bonds to see Arthur standing there, looking angry and commanding.

The guard holding the whip hesitates. “M’lord, your father…I have to follow my orders.”

Arthur nods. “And you will.”

Then he steps behind Merlin, encircling Merlin’s waist with his arms.

Merlin gapes. “Are you crazy? What are you doing?” He tries to shake Arthur off which only makes the prince hold on more tightly.

“M’lord,“ the guard squeaks in protest.

“Your orders are to deliver twenty lashes, no one said to whom,” Arthur’s voice is cold.

Merlin even feels pity for the poor man with the way he looks like he just swallowed half a dozen raw eggs. “But…but…you’re the…I can’t…”

“Either you follow your orders or you tell me father you could not,” Arthur commands.

Merlin tries to dislodge Arthur’s grip once more. “You don’t have to protect me. I can take it.”

“You’re my servant, that means I can protect you all day long if I want to.”

“That doesn’t even make sense,” Merlin points out.

Now Arthur’s lips even pull into a tiny grin. “I’m the prince, I don’t have to make sense.”

“You were very sick just days ago.”

Arthur raises his chin. “I’m fine now. Which is more than I can say for you.”

“This is crazy, please let go of me,” Merlin begs.

Slowly, Arthur shakes his head. “I won’t,” he says firmly.

He bears the remaining blows stoically, only his fingers, pressing into Merlin’s stomach reflexively, giving away his pain.

Merlin is still the one angrily blinking back his tears, vowing to repay Arthur, vowing to be more careful from now on and vowing to find a little spell to give Uther some particularly nasty warts.


- End -

Comments

( 59 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
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kat_fanfic
Oct. 21st, 2008 11:39 am (UTC)
Awww! You know, I think Merlin suffers more through seeing Arthur in pain than he would've taking the strikes himself. I really liked it!
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 12:04 pm (UTC)
You know, I think Merlin suffers more through seeing Arthur in pain than he would've taking the strikes himself.

Yup, it was a worse punishment for him actually but easier for Arthur this way. Those two just can't stop saving each other. *pets them*

Thank you muchly, glad you enjoyed it.
nachekana
Oct. 21st, 2008 11:54 am (UTC)
You're awesome! And I need to find a Merlin icon...

“You keep saying that a lot - every time the boy gets himself in trouble, if I’m not mistaken.”

*snickers* So true! Arthur justifies everything with this point.

What those boys would do for each other... *daydreams* I love the idea, it was brilliant!

He bears the remaining blows stoically, only fingers pressing into Merlin’s stomach reflexively giving away his pain.

Great line. And the next one too actually, I support the warts!

I hope you'll write more of this! =D
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
And I need to find a Merlin icon...

Heh. I actually made my very first icon myself yesterday.

*snickers* So true! Arthur justifies everything with this point.

I so love those scenes. Arthur is really riding this point into the ground, isn't he? Uther is starting to get this "not again" look. *g*

I love the idea, it was brilliant!

Thank you. I thought this is just the right kind of schmoop for them.

I support the warts!

Me too. :D Even though I love ASH.

I hope you'll write more of this! =D

I try. Still testing out my Merlin/Arthur-voices.

Thank you muchly for the lovely comment.
lastling
Oct. 21st, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
That was great! I really liked it; the way Arthur steps in and takes the punishment was somehow both beautiful and sweet.

Write more? *puppy eyes*
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
the way Arthur steps in and takes the punishment was somehow both beautiful and sweet.

Aww, thank you so much. I love that imagery myself.

Write more? *puppy eyes*

Oh boy, I already got an idea for another fic. Someone stop me. :)

drjenny88
Oct. 21st, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
Oh NOES!
Extremely cute that Arthur stepped up to take Merlin's punishment, and I love the idea of Merlin getting caught visiting the Dragon; surely, it's only a matter of time - the guards can't be distracted by mysteriously moving dice more than a few times, no matter how stupid they are!

I also liked the brief moment of Arthur insulting/questioning Uther in public; at the rate he's developing in the series, it really wouldn't surprise me.

Very enjoyable.
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
and I love the idea of Merlin getting caught visiting the Dragon; surely, it's only a matter of time - the guards can't be distracted by mysteriously moving dice more than a few times, no matter how stupid they are!

Very true. And the way Uther explodes over everything even remotely connected to magic, I can't believe he wouldn't be furious over someone going to see that dragon.

I also liked the brief moment of Arthur insulting/questioning Uther in public; at the rate he's developing in the series, it really wouldn't surprise me.

He's already come a long way from the first episode and we're only 5 in. Whee.

Thank you muchly, I'm glad you liked it.
xloving_memoryx
Oct. 21st, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC)
Now Arthur’s lips even pull into a tiny grin. “I’m the prince, I don’t have to make sense.”

Best. Line. Ever.

Very cute, love it!
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
Best. Line. Ever.

Thank you so much. *blushes deeply* Glad you enjoyed it.
_profiterole_
Oct. 21st, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
Poor boys! *hugs* Uther is such an ass! >_>
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)
Awww, thanks muchly. I gotta admit I'm still trying to like Uther because of residual Giles-love but he is making it hard. :)

Glad you enjoyed it.
kathkin
Oct. 21st, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
*huggles Arthur and Merlin* : ( Poor pretty boys. I love it, though!
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC)
Poor pretty boys.

They so are. Thank you so much, glad you liked. :)
(Deleted comment)
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
and I can see Arthur being such a stubborn ass about taking the punishment instead. I really like the fact that he wraps himself round Merlin in order to protect him, a lovely visual and a sweet move.

Aww, thank you muchly. Arthur has already come a long way since his introduction in the first episode. *huggles him* Or better yet *lets Merlin hug him*

seeingstars27
Oct. 21st, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
Aww, Athur taking his punishment for him is really sweet :)

And yes, a spell to give Uther nasty warts sounds like a great idea after this!
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC)
And yes, a spell to give Uther nasty warts sounds like a great idea after this!

Hehe. And of course he would not admit to the fact that it's magic happening to him.

Thank you so much, glad you enjoyed it.

mamoru22
Oct. 21st, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
Oh whee, that was lovely. Arthur being protective is just the thing we should see more off!
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
Oh whee, that was lovely.

Aww, thank you, glad you liked.

Arthur being protective is just the thing we should see more off!

Mmmm. Protective!Arthur. Certainly a flavour to my liking.

demon_faith
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)
ARTHUR! Oh, he's just so...protective and caring and *melts*.

Gorgeous.
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)
ARTHUR! Oh, he's just so...protective and caring and *melts*.

Isn't he just? *pets him* Thank you so much, glad you enjoyed it.
clearillusion
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
Oh Arthur, I love you and your protective ways :)
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
Oh Arthur, I love you and your protective ways :)

*draws hearts around him* He is impossible to resist. :) Thank you muchly, I'm glad you liked it.
oximore
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
OMG!!! Very very cool! (and just what I needed right now!) I bet Merlin will be more careful now, if not for himself, for Arthur! :D
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC)
OMG!!! Very very cool! (and just what I needed right now!)

Aww, thank you muchly. Glad it came at the right time.

I bet Merlin will be more careful now, if not for himself, for Arthur! :D

Hehe, true.

kathydacat
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
This was lovely. ^_^
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you muchly, glad you liked it. :)
(Deleted comment)
astri13
Oct. 21st, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC)
i love protective Arthur. makes me melt..

Oh, me too. *discreetely wipes drool away* Thank you muchly, glad you enjoyed it. :)
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