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...
Merlin hadn't been able to concentrate in his classes, and now, as he made sure the puppies in the display window had food and water he was distracted.
Had Arthur gotten himself breakfast?
Had Arthur gone to school?
Had Arthur somehow managed to burn down their flat?
Merlin sighed, feeling like he'd suddenly had a child thrust onto him, and didn't know whether he was capable of parenthood.
Maybe he should go visit his mum and ask her for some tips.
As Uther liked to point out, Merlin hadn't come out completely
horrid, so the woman must have done something
"Merlin! You're going to drown them!"
Merlin looked up, eyes wide, before looking down and realizing that he'd poured more water than the bowl could hold, and it was covering the floor of the pin.
The puppies were watching him disapprovingly.
"Sorry!" Merlin told them, putting away the large pitcher of water and looked up, coloring in embarrassment, when Lancelot returned to his side with the mop and began cleaning out the mess. "Thanks."
"No problem, mate." Lancelot sent him a smile.
The puppies looked up adoringly at Lancelot.
Merlin sighed, feeling defeated.
"You okay?" Lancelot asked, giving his friend a worried, side-long gaze. "You looks pretty spaced out there. I called your name out a couple of times when I arrived and you didn't even hear me." He paused. "What were you thinking of?"
"Raising Arthur." Merlin sighed, turning to the handsome dark haired, tanned male. "But enough about my pest. Tell me."
Lancelot took in a deep breath. "I told her about my plans."
Merlin took in a deep breath, feeling a little nauseous with nerves. "And then?"
"She wants to join the Peace Corps with me."
Merlin felt his stomach drop to the ground.
Obviously Merlin's expressions were as readable as always.
"I'm torn, Merlin." Lancelot sighed, placing his hand on Merlin's shoulder. "In one sense you don't understand how extremely happy I am to have heard Guinevere say that. Two years away from Gwen would have been torture for me, and the thought of being able to do good deeds and help those less fortunate in countries who haven't had the privileges we take for granted here, with her by my side, is like paradise." He paused. "But you two have been best mates since you could walk. And I don't want to come in between you and take her away." The handsome man took in a deep breath. "So, Merlin, if you feel that-."
Merlin stopped him before he could finish that, reaching out and hugging Lancelot tightly.
God, he was in pain right now.
"You're so noble sometimes that it's sickening." Merlin muttered into Lancelot's shirt, feeling his eyes prick with the tears he wouldn't shed. "Do you really think I'd feel better keeping Gwen here by my side and standing in the way of you two?"
"Of course not Merlin, but-."
"No buts." Merlin interrupted before finally pulling away, proud of how calm he was able to keep during such a painful moment. "When are you two planning on leaving?"
"They have a spot open for next week."
Merlin forced himself to smile. "We need to go out and have one last night out together then."
Lancelot smiled tenderly at Merlin, placing his hand on the younger boy's shoulder. "Thank you, Merlin. If it wasn't for you I would never have known the feeling of true love, or of true friendship."
It was all Merlin could do to keep smiling.
Lancelot's grin grew mischievous as he squeezed Merlin's shoulder. "Now, you must tell me all about this Arthur
Merlin cleared his throat, glad for a change in subject and yet confused as to Lancelot's interest. "Uther's son. A prat. Annoying." He gazed down at the puppies, who'd seemed to forgiven him since they were looking up at him and wagging their tails. "That's all there is to say about him."
Lancelot raised an eyebrow. "Come now Merlin. I was there. I saw
the way you were together."
"The way we-?" Merlin blinked. "What
Lancelot grinned as close to a lecherous grin as Merlin had ever seen on his face. "Oh, don't play coy, mate. I saw the way he was looking at you...and glaring at me. His expression was clearly animalistic. And the look he gave me clearly said: Stay away from my territory.
" Lancelot chuckled. "If he'd gotten any more territorial he'd have taken a piss
Despite how ludicrous that accusation was, Merlin couldn't help but burst into laughter at the imagery. "You're insane."
"Don't play innocent here Emrys!" Lancelot poked Merlin. "You looked like you were about to jump him."
"Denial isn't just a river in Egypt you know, and I would know, I've been to Egypt."
Merlin rolled his eyes. "There is nothing going on between me and Arthur. I can't figure out why no one else will believe that." He motioned with his head for Lancelot to follow him as they put the things away and then began to make rounds to the animals in the pet shop, making sure they all had water and food. "The closest we've gotten was him fainting on me last night and straddling me to the ground. ALL night." Merlin winced. "The only way I got free was because Uther came in and, after interrogating me about buggery being afoot, he finally pulled his spawn off and let me escape."
Lancelot thought for a moment. "Uther Pendragon finds you, the son of the woman he never stopped loving, under his own son, and he says the word buggery."
"Buggering, to be precise."
Lancelot blinked. "I never would have thought that word would be in his vocabulary." He snorted. "He looks so posh and proper."
"Merlin." Lancelot turned to him, curiously. "Did you tell me this morning that Uther asked you to keep Arthur?"
"You make him sound like a pet." Merlin snickered before sighing, leaning down to pet some of the rabbits. "Arthur apparently has some gambling problems, and he got into debt with a bookie. Uther agreed to pay the debt on conditions, and staying with me was one of them."
Merlin rubbed the rabbit's ear. "According to Uther I'm the sort of example he wants his son to have."
Lancelot watched him oddly.
"Oy, it's not that far of a stretch to believe!" Merlin defended, blushing a little. "He says that Arthur's smart but he's not applying himself to what he's studying, and Uther wants me to mellow him down a little."
"He wants you to tame the prat." Lancelot deduced.
Merlin thought that over before grinning. "Something like that."
"Well, you bloody loved that story by Billy Shakes, maybe this is divine punishment for making me read it." Lancelot teased.
"William Shakespeare." Merlin couldn't help but smile at Lance's continual refusal to say the author's name correctly. "And if you think I'm going to do what Petruchio did with Kate and pretend that every vile thing Arthur does is nice-you've got something coming to you."
"Merlin!" Peter, the owner, stuck his head out of his office. "Mrs. White called earlier. She wanted to thank you for training Buttons for her. Said she'd nearly given up on the poodle until you came along, and that she'll be dropping something off for you later as a thank you."
Merlin blinked. "Uhm, okay. Thanks for letting me know."
Peter nodded and disappeared back into his office.
Lancelot made a face. "You do dog training? Since when?"
"I don't, not really." Merlin turned to the man he was giving up completely. "I took a course online on cat and dog training...you know, since I'm doing this. And when Buttons was left in the kennel while Mes. White was in the hospital I remembered Mrs. White complaining about being unable to potty train her, so I did some work with the poodle while she was here and apparently it worked."
"Oh, okay." Lancelot nodded, before going back to the previous topic. "About Arthur, I'm not saying you should use reverse psychology on the bloke. I'm saying...train him like you would Buttons."
Merlin raised an eyebrow, reluctantly interested. "I"m afraid to ask you to elaborate."
Lancelot beamed, flinging an arm around Merlin's shoulders and squeezing tight. "Find out what he likes, maybe a little special treat...and when he behaves...give it to him as a reward."
Merlin didn't understand why that made him blush a little.
Then again, maybe it was Lancelot's smirk.
"Uther, despite what you obviously believe, you are not
Ignoring the man with the inhumanly high raised eyebrow, Uther turned off the video camera, cutting off the rather impressive performance of Lady of the Lake. "I'll have you know I have young birds panting otherwise."
Gaius' Eyebrow (for it could only be referred to in capital) rose even higher. "Uther. Your dalliances with girls young enough to be your granddaughter are not of interest to me nor are they relevant to this situation."
"You suck the joy out of life, old friend." Uther sighed, leaning back in his large, posh chair as he steepled his fingers over his chest. "And stop giving me the Eyebrow. I'm doing nothing unethical and you know it."
"You're manipulating and using Merlin." Gaius frowned. "How do you think Hunith
would feel if she knew?"
Uther flinched, unable to look at his old friend. "That was a low blow."
"But necessary." The doctor announced as he sat down. "That boy trusts you."
"I have done nothing to abuse that trust." Uther defended. "Arthur needs someone like Merlin in his life. By his behavior my boy is basically begging for a good example. Arthur needs a strong hand, needs someone other than me who can handle him and shape him into the man he can be."
Gaius sighed. "Uther."
Uther pouted. "And so what if I hope that maybe he'll stop dating money grabbing whores and instead find someone simpler, more responsible, caring, trustworthy, someone-."
"Like Merlin?" The Eyebrow was at its highest to date. "Uther
"I was never happier than the time I was with Hunith." Uther played with a statue of a dragon on his desk. "I know I failed Arthur, Gaius. I know that when he needed me the most I wasn't there for him, and when I finally was able to get my head out of my arse it was already too late. But Arthur deserves something good in his life. And I know Merlin. He's a decent lad, he inherited all of Hunith's good traits and some of Balinor's. And I've warned him about Arthur's womanizing ways. Contrary to your beliefs I do not
want Merlin hurt. I just believe that he could help Arthur become the man I know he has inside of him."
Gaius sighed, the Eyebrow lowering. "This could end spectacularly bad."
"Or," Uther smiled, resting the statue of the dragon back down on his desk. "It can be the start of something grand."
At least Arthur hadn't burnt the flat down.
But he hadn't gone to his classes either, if the state he was in had anything to say about it.
Merlin frowned and locked the door behind him, as he gazed at a shirtless Arthur as the blonde laid on the sofa.
The whole living room was a mess.
"Merlin!" Arthur smiled, raising the beer in his hand as some sort of greeting before turning his attention back to the television, watching the rugby game. "Get me something to eat will you mate? I'm famished!"
Merlin put his keys and other things on the small table by the door, and took in a deep breath, trying to remind himself why he wasn't going to kick the blonde in the nuts. "You didn't go to classes, did you?"
Arthur shrugged, gaze on the television. "Nothing wrong with taking a day off."
"What about the part time job your father got for you that you were supposed to start today?" Merlin folded his arms over his chest.
Arthur sneered at the television.
"You could've lost it!" Merlin snapped.
Arthur sighed and turned on the sofa, eyeing Merlin. "I don't know why you've suddenly forgotten it, Mer
lin, but my father owns one of the most successful recording labels in the United Kingdom. I don't need
to work part time."
Merlin wondered if this was how Petruchio felt when he first encountered the obdurate Kate.
Of course, while Merlin had detested the slight misogynic nature of the play, and didn't believe that women should be obedient to their husbands...he'd loved how with determination and patience and intelligence a person could change.
He was just going to have to be patient and cunning and...
He might just have to train Arthur.
The dark haired male ran a hand over his hair.
He owed a lot to Uther, and...
Merlin wondered how the dog training tips he'd learn might be applied to this situation...
Lancelot's comments about Merlin being Petruchio to Arthur's Kate echoed in his brain, and for a split second Merlin actually considered following in the character's footsteps by not letting Arthur have food, or new clothes, or anything really, because nothing was 'good enough' for Arthur, the grand prince. But just as soon as that thought crossed his mind he felt guilty and decided against it. He hadn't quite appreciated reading that in "Billy's" story, and he doubted he'd be able to bring himself to do it in real life either.
"It doesn't have anything to do with you needing to work." Merlin hadn't planned to say this, but his mouth had just started working without his consent. "It's about you proving that you're more than some trust fund baby who is forever happy to live on his father's money. It's about you proving to others, and most importantly to yourself
, that you're capable of standing on your own and being someone because of who
you are, and because of what you
are capable of. Not because of who you're related to."
Arthur was silent, a strange expression on his face as he just looked at Merlin.
The dark haired male shifted on his feet, a little uncomfortable with the intensity of that look.
Arthur moved so that he was sitting, but he didn't look away from the lithe, pale man.
Merlin cleared his throat. "I'll start supper." He escaped to the kitchen and leaned over the sink, not exactly sure if he'd made progress or insulted the blonde. "Sodding hell." He sighed and turned to get some things out of the fridge.
And he nearly shrieked.
He hadn't heard Arthur enter the kitchen, but the blonde was there, face serious and arms folded over his ridiculously broad chest.
"How am I suppose to prove anything if I got the job because my father used his influence to get secure it for me?"
Merlin frowned slightly, leaning back against the sink. "Is that the reason you didn't go?"
The blonde shrugged, looking away from him.
Merlin tilted his head slightly as he looked at Arthur. "What if I got you another job? One where no one knows your ties to Uther?"
Arthur turned to look at him in surprise.
Merlin cleared his throat. "It won't be as big or important or as well paying as any job Uther could have gotten you, but your successes or failures would all be yours
Arthur eyed Merlin as if he was the oddest creature he'd ever beheld. "You'd do that?"
Merlin nodded wordlessly, his throat having constricted for some reason.
"You're...there's just something about you, Merlin." Arthur chuckled and ducked his head before looking up and smiling at him. "I can't put my finger on it yet, but I will soon."
"Well, while you're waiting for that...how about you put your finger on a shirt?" Merlin cleared his throat once more, hating the fact that his voice had squeaked. "It's a rule, remember that."
Arthur smirked broadly. "Does my being half naked bother you?"
Merlin looked up at Arthur and blinked. "Did you just quote Jacob Black?"
Confusion colored Arthur's face. "Who's Jacob Black?"
"Nevermind." Merlin snorted, the idea of Arthur reading the Twilight Saga ridiculous and comical. He chuckled and went to the fridge, looking in at what they had. "We're going to have to go to the supermarket tomorrow." He looked up at Arthur, and nearly jumped when he realized just how close behind him he was. "Uh." Merlin cleared his throat. "Tonight I'll make us something light, like a sandwich, and then I'm going to map out the chores each of us will have to do around the house. I don't know what type of, uh, place you're used to staying in before but you're not going to have a maid here to clean up after you. You'll have to learn to do that yourself."
Arthur took a step closer.
Merlin let go of the refrigerator's handle and didn't notice the door swinging closed as he turned his back on it and looked at the blonde. "And, uh, um, I, uh." He cleared his throat once more. "I know a couple of stores close to where I work that are looking for someone to hire part time. Tomorrow I'll look around during my lunch break and, uh, we can talk about them at, um, dinner?"
Arthur took another step.
Merlin found himself stepping backwards into the fridge.
Arthur smirked. "You okay Merlin?" He leaned forwards, one palm flat against the surface next to Merlin's head. "You seem a little...distracted
Arthur's chest hair was really blonde.
Merlin wondered if the hair down there
was that light as well.
Or maybe Arthur shaved.
Eyes widening as he realized what'd been going through his mind, Merlin raised his gaze to Arthur's face when he realized that during his thoughts his gaze had drifted down that chest and...downwards.
And Arthur seemed to have noticed...if his smirk had anything to say about it. He leaned in closer, bringing their faces close together as he smiled smugly. "Not your type my arse
Merlin glared at him and made to push him away, faltering when once again the man proved to be made of steel and wouldn't budge. "Don't make me knee you."
Arthur's smile grew larger, if possible. "You're feisty."
"You're frustrating." Merlin shot back.
"You're attracted to me." Arthur proclaimed confidently.
"You're supposed to be straight." Merlin countered.
"You're an exception."
Merlin's eyes widened in shock.
Had Arthur just-?
The blonde smirked, blue eyes going to Merlin's lips and then he swooped down, trapping Merlins bottom lip between his teeth. He gave that lip a playful nibble before letting go and pushing away.
Merlin just looked up at him in the same gobsmacked way.
Arthur chuckled. "Not his type." And with that he strutted out of the kitchen.
Bringing his hand to his lip, Merlin slid down the fridge door and tried to calm his racing heart.
What had just happened