Title: The Taming of the Prat
Pairings: Merlin/Arthur, Lancelot/Gwen
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: When Merlin has Uther's son hoisted onto him in a last ditch effort to 'straighten Arthur out', Merlin's world is turned upside down by the blonde arse, who makes him confused one minute, want to kill him the next, and reluctantly aroused the next...
Today was Arthur's first day at the bookstore.
Freya, the owner, was an old friend of Merlin's. He'd helped her when she'd been mugged a couple of years back, but Merlin had assured Arthur that Freya's friendship with him was not the reason he'd gotten the job. Ever since nearly being mugged, the brunette had become nearly paranoid when it came to people, especially those working for her, and while the fact that Merlin had accompanied Arthur to drop off the CV, it was the way Arthur easily intimidated a bunch of loitering teenagers away that'd sealed the deal for him. Freya was way too mild and timid to rough up the brats, but Arthur had sent them packing.
Freya had hired him on the spot.
She'd interrogated Merlin extensively as to Arthur's character later on by phone, while Arthur had been glued to the telly, watching a game of rugby. Merlin had told her the truth, that Arthur could be Grade A
prat, but that he seemed smart, and he had no need to steal anything from her since he had enough money to buy a small country-but to not let Arthur know she knew. When Freya had asked why someone that 'obscenely rich' wanted to work in her store for minimum wage, Merlin had reluctantly told her more, but it'd seemed to be the right thing to do. Freya was impressed by Arthur's need to prove himself for himself, and his willingness to start from the bottom, and she'd told Merlin to tell Arthur to be at work bright and early the next day since he didn't have any morning classes.
Arthur had tried to shrug off the news as unimportant, but Merlin had noticed the small smile on the blonde's face when he hadn't thought Merlin was watching.
"He's good with customers."
Merlin jumped from where he'd been hiding behind some some shelves in the back of the store. He'd snuck in while Arthur had been busy with a gaggle of old women, and had hidden there to see how Arthur behaved when he didn't realize he was being watched.
Arthur, it would seem, had a way with old women.
Merlin turned towards Freya, who was standing behind him and smiling in Arthur's direction. "Do you even understand how his presence alone has helped me? I made him dust all the books in the display window-three times-because every time a girl passed by and saw him through the glass she and her birds would enter the store and end up buying something before she left." Freya chuckled. "He's ridiculously good with the girls."
Merlin could easily recall Arthur's assurance that he was everyone's type. "He knows it."
Freya grinned, leaning against the wall. "He's not your usual type."
Merlin turned to her, eyes wide. "He's definitely not my type."
"Then why are you helping him and sneaking in here to make sure he's doing well on his first day?" Freya wanted to know, eyebrow raised.
"Because his father asked me to look out for him!" Merlin sputtered.
Freya smirked. "Then why are you blushing?"
"Okay, okay." Merlin growled at her before sighing and looking away, pouting. "I might
be somewhat attracted to him, but it's purely because he's aesthetically pleasing. When he opens his mouth and speaks two words the attraction fades away rapidly and all I want to do is choke him."
"Oh, you two are so cute." Freya sighed, a silly expression on her face. "So, how are you going to introduce him to Hunith tomorrow night?"
Merlin frowned. "What?"
Freya rolled her eyes at Merlin. "You know what I'm talking about! I got the invitation this morning."
Merlin felt even more confused. "What...invitation?"
The smile was beginning to wobble on Freya's face as she narrowed her eyes at him. "You mean to tell me that you have no idea about the big get-together Hunith is throwing tomorrow night? The "We're Going To Miss Lancelot and My Beloved Spy Gwen But We Welcome The Newest (And Reportedly Handsome) Addition To My Son's Life: Arthur" thing?"
Merlin's eyes widened and he felt himself go pale. "Are you joking?"
"I have the invitation in my bag if you want to look at it." Freya bit down on her bottom lip, worried. "Maybe it was a surprise?"
He was going to have to talk to his mother and make sure she realized that Arthur was a pseudo-charity case and not
a future son-in-law.
Hunith was-well-she was a very accepting woman.
She hadn't batted an eyelash when Merlin had come out to her when he was sixteen-his mother admitting that she'd always suspected it, and had spoken to Kanen about the possibility before they married, wanting to make sure that he understood that if it turned out that Merlin was gay Kanen wasn't allowed to be anything but loving and supportive. Kanen had understood, thoroughly, and only after he'd assured Hunith that Merlin's sexuality really wouldn't change the way he felt for the boy, had Hunith fully agreed to the proposal.
It'd warmed Merlin's heart to know that his mother loved him that much and was willing to risk her own happiness to make sure that he wasn't abused.
But Hunith could sometimes be a bit too supportive.
One of the ways the proud mama was a little...too...supportive was the way in which she was constantly trying to hook up Merlin with any cute, random gay guy she met. Usually Kanen would try to curb her matchmaking enthusiasm (or call Merlin to warn him of the new 'potential' when he couldn't stop Hunith on time), but thankfully with this pregnancy Hunith had been too busy to try and hook Merlin up anymore.
Which was good, because with Uther starting to try and line him up with 'eligible, worthy chaps', Merlin didn't think he'd be able to withstand them both at the same time.
Jumping at that voice, Merlin was shaken out of his thoughts and turned, realizing that Arthur had spotted him and was coming towards him. "Hello."
"What are you doing here?" Arthur wanted to know, raising an eyebrow as he rested his arm on the shelf next to Merlin, bringing him somewhat into Merlin's personal space as Arthur's face adopted its usual smirk. "Couldn't stay away from me, could you?"
Merlin rolled his eyes at him.
"Merlin came to see that you were doing okay on your first day of work." Freya informed Arthur.
Arthur's face lost its smirk, looking surprised as he looked at his flatmate. "You did?"
"No." Merlin shook his head.
"He was worried about you." Freya continued.
Arthur blinked, an odd expression on his face. "You...were?"
." Merlin announced strongly.
Arthur watched him, face expressionless.
Freya looked between the two of them and then giggled, slinking off towards the shop's phone...mumbling something about calling Hunith to RSVP.
Merlin cleared his throat, wiping his palms on his skinny jeans "Freya says that you're bringing in the business. She seems happy so far with your work."
worried." Arthur looked shocked.
Merlin frowned, looking away. "Yeah, well, I didn't want you to lose your job just because of your attitude. Your father is always telling me about how smart you are, and how far you could go in life if you just applied yourself, and-."
"He said that?"
It was the sound of his voice that made Merlin turn to look at Arthur.
The blonde looked a little pale and confused.
"Of course. All he does is speak about your potential." Merlin wondered why this had come as such a shock to the handsome man. "Uther mightn't be the most loving individual, and I know that you two don't have the best of relationships, but your father knows your strengths-and just wants to help you get over your weaknesses."
Arthur was silent, looking away, face troubled. "He just doesn't want me to bring shame to the Pendragon name."
"Oh, there's a bit of that as well." Merlin had to agree. "But you should hear the way your father talks about you, Arthur. He's proud. Of course, he has an utterly snobbish way of putting it, but you can hear the pride in your father's voice when he talks about you and what you're doing and how well you're doing it. And he knows you can get better grades because according to him you outshone everyone in all of your schools and even the teachers learnt things from you."
Arthur leaned heavier against the shelf. "How would he know? He never even went to one of my school functions. None of the Parent/Teacher meetings. He doesn't even know what sports I play, much less has ever gone to one of my games. He never even met my teachers."
Merlin frowned at that thought.
While alive, Balinor had been the epitome of the embarrassingly proud father. Merlin mightn't have been into sports, but any sort of activity he was in, anything he did, Balinor and Hunith were there cheering him on. He'd always known that no matter how poorly he might perform, his parents were there and proud. When Balinor had died Hunith hadn't let it keep her from cheering her son on, and then, when Kanen married Hunith when Merlin was thirteen, he'd taken the boy aside and told him that he wasn't trying to take his father's place, but that he'd like to be Merlin's friend and be there to support him. And then he'd asked if he'd mind if he went to cheer.
So the rest of Merlin's teenaged years Kanen and Hunith were there cheering him on.
He just couldn't imagine being that kid on the sidelines, seeing the other children smiling with their proud parents, while he stood all alone.
Something inside of Merlin hurt at the thought of Arthur having to go through that.
"What sports do you play?"
Arthur looked up, a little confused. "Rugby...soccer...lacrosse...some basketball."
"Playing in any team?" Merlin wanted to know.
By now Arthur was blinking, an odd, small smile forming on his lips. "Not official. No. But the boys and I play others for fun."
"Oh." Merlin nodded, looking away.
Arthur looked at him in silence before that odd smile grew and he shook his head. "There's something about you, Merlin. Just when I think I have you pegged down, you pull the rug right from under me and leave me even more confused and intrigued."
"You'd be bored if I were any other way." Merlin shrugged that off, chuckling.
Arthur chuckled as well, shaking his head. "You odd, odd
Merlin rolled his eyes. "Well, my break is over. I have to be getting back." He shoved his hands into his pockets, making his way towards the door. "Don't scare off the customers by being an utter prat."
Arthur scoffed behind him. "I'll have you know you're the only one who thinks I'm a prat."
Merlin turned as he crossed the doorway. "No. I'm the only one not seduced by your looks enough to lose all reason and be silent in hopes of getting into your pants."
"Enough?" Arthur called, walking towards the doorway.
Merlin stopped backing away, a little confused. "Enough what?"
Arthur reached the doorway and grinned at him, reaching for Merlin's scarf as he played with it. "You said you were the only one not seduced enough
." He smirked as he rose his gaze from where he was playing with the red scarf, up to Merlin's face. "Means you're a little
Neither noticed Freya hanging on every word, whispering heatedly into the phone.
Merlin cleared his throat and looked away. "I think what happened earlier in bed was enough to prove that I don't find you physically repulsive, Pendragon."
Arthur leaned in closer, into Merlin, fingers clasped around the scarf. "So...about this reward system you were talking about earlier..."
Merlin frowned, a little confused.
What reward system?
"What if I wanted it implemented?" Arthur wanted to know in a casual tone of voice.What
Merlin looked at Arthur, still confused. "What exactly are you saying?"
Arthur opened his mouth.
Someone cleared her throat. "A-Arthur?"
They turned as one, Arthur still leaning into Merlin's personal space, clasping his scarf, to see a fidgety redhead.
Arthur frowned at her. "How do you know my name?"
She was clutching a book to her heart. "I-I bought this earlier? I-..."
Arthur raised an eyebrow, looking her over and over before making a guess. "Sonya."
." She corrected, giving Merlin a long look before looking back at Arthur and smiling. "I finished re-reading and was wondering if there was anything else you could recommend me?"
Arthur sighed. "I'm kinda on break right now and-."
"No, you're not." Merlin corrected, slipping out from Arthur's grip and taking a couple of teps back. "Plus, I gotta go to my work anyway too." He began to walk away.
"Oi! Merlin!" Arthur called after him. "We weren't finished talking!"
Merlin kept walking. "Later."
Back to Arthur, he frowned, fixing his scarf, silently thanking Sophia for the interruption so he could have some time to get his thoughts together once more.
And more importantly, by the next time he talked to Arthur, he needed to know what 'reward system' had Arthur been talking about.
"I'm telling you, there were sparks
." Freya whispered into the phone, watching Arthur as he watched Merlin leave, a genuinely disappointed look on his face. "And Arthur spent most of the time we were together this morning asking me about Merlin. He was trying to do it in a subtle 'give me more to taunt him about' way, but it was obvious that he really was interested in Merlin and too embarrassed (or too much of a boy) to come right out and tell me that." She brought a hand to her blushing cheek. "Oh, he's so utterly besotted. Its heart-warming."
"Are you sure about this now?" Gwen wanted to know. "He might be playing with Merlin you know. And we need to keep an eye on those types. Merlin's suffered enough after Edwin and Will for us to let another bastard have it at him."
"True true." Hunith nodded, also on the conference call.
"Who has seen them together out of the three of us?" Freya wanted to know. "Yes, of course, me. You two
haven't even met Arthur yet. I'm telling you, he really likes Merlin. He really
does. Maybe even more than he realizes."
"He sounds like a smart young man." Hunith finally announced, sounding more pleased and less wary than she had moments ago.
"Hunith! Don't let yourself be swayed by the promise of darlingly precious adopted grandchildren!" Gwen announced firmly. "We must test this Arthur Pendragon for ourselves! That is why we planned on having the party tomorrow, remember?"
"Yes, yes." Hunith sighed. "But we mustn't be too
hard on him. I don't want to scare
him off." She paused. "When I was with Uther he was a bit of a prat, yes, I'll admit. But he was a fine, misunderstood man. He wasn't the man for me, but who says that this isn't fate? Maybe his son
is made for my son
"Oh, he is
." Freya smiled, twirling the phone cord around her finger.
Gwen sighed. "I see I'm going to have to be the voice of reason here. The level-headed one. Freya is swayed by this bloke's looks and the thought of him and Merlin shagging endlesly into eternity...and Hunith has been bought by the thought of fate and grandchildren."
"They'd adopt the loveliest
grandchildren." Hunith was assured despite never having met Arthur personally. "Any child of Uther's would make sure of that."
Freya smiled, before her eyes widened. "I have to go! Arthur's coming back with a customer!"
And so she hung up without waiting to hear whatever it was Gwen was trying to say.