Title: Ties That Bind
Fandom: Merlin (bbc)
Disclaimer: I do not own
Summary: When Merlin saves a young boy from would-be-kidnappers, he unknowingly starts the course of events that lead him to meet the boy's father, Arthur, who has played a painful part in changing Merlin's familiy's life in the past.
Merlin added shadowing to the coloring, concentrating hard on the final copy of the cover for John's book. He'd gone over the draft John and Mordred had both liked and made some slight alterations, and now he was finishing it and readying to send it to his agent. He had to admit that with everything on his mind he'd almost messed up a couple of times, but this was his job, he loved what he did, and he refused to let everything that was going on, refused to let the mysterious Cornelius Sigan, disrupt his life. Despite that, he was glad that Uther's Minions (as he liked to call the wizards working under Arthur's father) were keeping an eye on the girls and Mordred while they were at school. Well, while the three were at the same school.
The girls had changed school.
Merlin would never had agreed to the disruption of the girls' normal lives if it hadn't been for the fact that Mordred's school was founded by Uther's magical alliance, and the faculty were all on Uther's payroll. There would be no safer place for the girls to get their education.
"Here you go."
Merlin looked up as a cup was placed down in front of him, confusion clear on his face.
Lancelot smiled and placed down the plate with a sandwich. "Its lunch time."
"Is it?" Twisting in his chair, Merlin's eyes widened on the clock. "It is."
"You forgot again." Lancelot smiled, the skin around his eyes wrinkling pleasantly. "You do that too much to be healthy."
"I get caught up in my work." Merlin admitted sheepishly, smiling up at the man personally responsible of his security, and whom was quickly becoming a close friend. "Gwen says that its the reason why I'm so abysmally skinny."
Lancelot tried to hide the amusement on his face.
"Thanks." Merlin finally reached for the glass and took a long sip of the drink before putting it down and smiling.
"It's looking nice." Lancelot announced, eyes venturing to the drawing. "I could never draw. My talent was always the physical."
"I wish I could have some physical thing to boast of." Merlin smirked, leaning back in his seat and picking up one of the sandwich slices and taking a bite out of it, groaning in appreciation of the taste.
Lancelot's smile grew somewhat before he headed towards the window and fingered the curtain out of the way, gazing out into the street with that constant vigilance that Merlin had to admire.
The phone rang.
Merlin swallowed and reached forwards. "'Ello."
"Merlin." Arthur's voice sounded tired on the other end.
"You okay?" Merlin asked, worried.
"Tired." Arthur sighed. "And incredibly bad tempered. My assistant, who is basically the most spineless person ever, even told me how much of a monster I've been today."
"You need to sleep." Merlin sighed, filing away the information that whatever Arthur did required him to have an assistant.
"I don't sleep well in a place filled with strangers." Arthur grumbled, obviously referring to Lancelot and Will, the two Knights in charge of his and Merlin's safety.
"You slept perfectly well that first night you and Mordred stayed here---until his curse was activated of course."
"God Merlin!" Arthur hissed. "Don't remind me of that!"
"Sorry." Merlin apologized, gaze going down to his sandwich.
"No, I'm sorry." Arthur sighed, sounding somewhat disgusted with himself. "You don't deserve me taking this out on you. You're going through the same thing as me but you're being insufferably understanding about the whole situation."
Merlin remained silent, gaze to where Lancelot was still visually scanning outside for any possible threats.
He didn't have the problem Arthur had with Will, Merlin actually quite liked his protector, whereas Will seemed to enjoy making Arthur miserable.
"And as for your comment, you've always been different, Merlin." Arthur cleared his throat. "Back then I wasn't sure what it was, but I guess we know what it is, huh?"
Merlin took in a deep breath, still not sure why it bothered him every time their shared soul or life essence was mentioned.
He just didn't like it.
It was as if it made their relationship null and void.
"Can't we just have one night with just our family?" Arthur seemed to be pleading, which was a big deal since Arthur Pendragon did not plead. "Without the add-ons?"
"Oy!" Will could be heard commenting in the background. "You should be glad Lance an' I are protectin' your skinny arse!"
"Shut the fuck up you stupid wanker!" Arthur hissed at him. "You're protecting against my will so just shut up! I don't want anymore bloody annoying commentary from you!"
"Ungrateful sod." Will exclaimed.
"Merlin." Arthur's voice was a snarl. "I'm going to hang up now. I'm calling Uther and telling him to get rid of this nuisance before I get rid of him myself!"
"Bring it on Rich Boy!" Will could be heard taunting before the phone call was terminated.
Merlin looked at the phone with slight worry. "I think Arthur and Will are going to try and kill each other in a minute."
Lancelot turned his head towards Merlin in amusement at that. "Really?"
"I'm serious." Merlin frowned. "They really seem to hate each other."
"Don't worry, it's just old resentments. Will will get over it eventually."
"Get over what?" Merlin asked in curiosity.
"Arthur probably doesn't remember this, but Will went to the same school as we did." Lancelot announced, a smile tugging at his lips. "He was under orders to keep an eye on Arthur like I was, except he kept too much of an eye on Arthur."
For a moment Merlin wasn't getting it.
And then he did.
His eyes widened. "You're joking."
Lancelot shook his head. "He even confessed to Arthur."
Merlin went still.
"It was an All Boy's School, and you'd be surprised how the cliche actually happened there." Lancelot seemed quite amused as he went to sit down next to Merlin once more. "Arthur was always the shining star of the school, and Will was far from the first boy to confess to him and get viciously rejected."
For some reason Merlin was feeling sick.
"Arthur was very cruel in his rejection." Lancelot remembered. "Will said he'd told him that Will disgusted him, as did any faggot. And that Will should just go and jump off a bridge to help rid the world of worthless shits like him."
"I can't believe he'd say that." Merlin whispered, not understanding how the nausea was rising in his stomach.
"Truly?" Lancelot asked in surprise. "I respect him for Uther's sake, but Arthur's always been somewhat of a prat."
"But that was bastardly." Merlin whispered. "No wonder Will enjoys making Arthur miserable."
"And Will realizes Arthur doesn't recognize him, which only hurts his sensibilities even more." Lancelot continued. "He just needs to get past that episode and realize that this is a job, and he shouldn't bring anything personal into it." His cellular began to ring and Lancelot took it out of his pocket, frowning when he saw the caller I.D., bringing the phone to his ear. "Sir?" He listened in silence before nodding. "Yes sir, immediately sir." Hanging up he sighed and turned to Merlin. "Apparently Arthur and Will have come to blows and I'm to go and fetch Will and take him to headquarters."
"Are they okay?" Merlin asked, worried, standing when Lancelot did.
"Course." Lancelot smiled. "Neither have magic."
Merlin wanted to point out that many people did horrible damage without the help of magic, but decided to remain silent as he grabbed his coat. "Let's go."
"You're coming?" Lancelot asked, surprised.
"I've been dying to figure out what it is Arthur does." Merlin announced, pulling on his coat. "There's no way in hell that I'm letting this opportunity pass me by."
Lancelot seemed amused. "It's nothing bad or embarrassing, you know."
"Then why all the secrecy?" Merlin countered.
"Maybe he didn't want you treating him differently just because of what he did." Lancelot announced before heading to the door.
Merlin frowned in confusion before following him.