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...
"You can't be serious." Merlin sputtered, looking up from the multi-chaptered document piled in front of him on the table.
"Every business arrangement needs to be cemented in an agreement." Arthur declared, suddenly very business-like, as he sat on the other side of the table, hands clasped over the desk. "Of course, this is the first, rough draft. It has what I bring to this arrangement and what I expect from it, and there's a sub-section for you to fill in what you bring to the arrangement and what you would expect out of it. You can go over it tonight and fill in your portion and if there are any questions or problems we will hash them out tomorrow night during our next meeting. Then, once we have both agreed to the terms, we'll sign these agreements and I'll have my lawyer file them."
"Wait, lawyer?" Merlin squeaked. "Don't you think you're going a little overboard here?"
Arthur raised an eyebrow. "I'm a Pendragon. We do not do things half-sies."
"But a lawyer?" Merlin tried once more, eyeing the large document in front of him suspiciously before his gaze rose to the very serious Arthur. "We're not starting a business together."
"No, but we're establishing a partnership." Arthur replied easily, obviously not getting the double-meaning that word could have. "It's important we both know exactly what we're getting into beforehand. It will save us from future mishaps or misunderstandings."
Merlin opened his mouth and then closed it because, well, it kinda made sense.
He cleared his throat and finally reached for the document, browsing through it, surprised at how professionally it'd been created. He raised an eyebrow and looked up at the blonde. "Did you do this yourself?"
"Yeah. So?" Arthur asked, suddenly defensive.
"No, it's just-really well done. I mean, you have the different headers and footers, and even a table of contents." Merlin mumbled, continuing to browse through. "It's actually...kinda impressive."
Arthur paused, surprise obvious on his face. "You really think so?"
"Yeah." Merlin admitted, putting the thick thing back down. "How did you learn to do all that up?"
The blonde cleared his throat, obvious uncomfortable, as he leaned hard on his chair, tilting it back on its back legs a little. "My only real girlfriend was studying to be an Administrative Assistant, and made me learn all she did so that I could grill her on what she was doing and let her know if she was doing it properly or not." He snickered. "She was an utter mess and dropped out later on, but it kinda stuck with me."
Merlin was surprised at the pang he felt realizing that the prat had actually cared about this girl. "What was her name?"
Suddenly Arthur's face closed up and he frowned, rightening his seat once more. "Doesn't matter. We broke up and she's long gone." He pushed up to his feet. "I'm going out with the boys, I'll be late so don't wait up on me."
"Like I would." Merlin muttered moodily to himself, gaze going back to the document. "But don't stay out too late. You have classes early tomorrow."
Arthur smirked and rolled his eyes. "Yeah, mum." He grabbed his wallet and slid it into the back pocket of his jeans, making his way towards the door.
"Oi!" Merlin turned in his seat. "My mum is having a going away thing for my friends Lancelot and Guinevere, and she wants you there."
Arthur froze, back to Merlin, hand half-outstretched to the door. "Lancelot is going away?"
"Yeah." Merlin sighed, trying to imagine his life without either of his best friends and unable to do so. "He's joined the Peace Corps, and since Gwen can't live without him for two years she's going along as well."
There was a moment's silence, and then Arthur turned to face Merlin, face made up in confusion. "Wait. Who the bloody hell is this Gwen bird?"
"Guinevere, my other best friend, and Lancelot's girlfriend. You haven't met her yet." Merlin replied with a shrug. "She wants to meet you though, before she leaves."
"Wait, wait, Lance-alot has a girlfriend?" Arthur took a couple of steps towards Merlin, confusion all over his face, and it grew when Merlin nodded. "But I thought he and you were shagging each other?"
Merlin rolled his eyes, having known that. "I don't really know why you automatically assumed that day that he and I were together, but we're not. It's why I told you that day that even if you liked Lancelot, he wouldn't be interested in you. He's straighter than...something really straight."
Arthur just looked at him as if his whole world had been shaken upside down and then thrown into a bottomless pit. "So you and Lancelot aren't...together."
"No." Merlin couldn't believe that he had to repeat that. "Lancelot and I are not together, have never been together, and never will be together."
"Seriously?" Arthur seemed to find it hard to believe.
Merlin was feeling a little annoyed. "Seriously."
Arthur made a face, gazing a little off to his right, mumbling something to himself.
"What was that?" Merlin enquired, almost sure Arthur had insulted him for some reason or the other.
Arthur shook his head and turned to Merlin. "So you're actually single."
"Not that it's any of your business, but at the moment yeah, I'm not seeing anyone-male nor female."
Once more mumbling something to himself that Merlin just couldn't make out, Arthur suddenly stormed towards the table and yanked the document back. "In light of new information, this needs alteration. You just live to annoy me, don't you, Merlin?"
"Excuse me?" Merlin gasped.
"See? This is why things need to be spelled out and known from before. To avoid misunderstandings like this one." Arthur berated him, shaking the document at him. "If you had been truthful and up front to me from the beginning I wouldn't have to go back over this and make the alterations and edits that need to be done."
"Well excuse me for not-." Merlin glared.
"You're forgiven." Arthur replied loftily, interrupting his rant. "Next time though, I expect better from you."
Merlin felt his blood pressure rising as he clenched his fists. "Is that in the contract as well?"
"No..." Arthur suddenly grinned. "But that's a good idea. See? You're being more useful already!"
Merlin bit on the inside of his cheek to keep his words from leaving his mouth.
"I'll have this back by the end of the night." Arthur promised, though it felt more like a threat somehow.
The dark haired youth suddenly wondered why he felt slightly scared.
What could have possibly changed so drastically in their 'arrangement' to have Arthur going from business-like seriousness...to evil glee?
"See you later." Once more sounding somewhat like a threat, Arthur grinned and exited the flat, document in hand.
Merlin watched him go, wary, but he shook it off, telling himself that he was just being paranoid.
But he had to admit, he was really curious about what exactly was in that multi-chaptered document Arthur had drawn up. Seriously. It was thick. What could have Arthur have cooked up that was in such detail-and would have to have 'alterations' and 'edits' due to Merlin's being single? Merlin really couldn't see that his being single affected anything at all. So this was intriguing and nerve-wrecking as he spent the rest of the night trying to study. It was unfortunately very hard to do, since his mind kept on going to that damned document, and to the girl that had obviously meant something to Arthur. He wondered what she'd been like, and why things hadn't worked out in the end.
Maybe she just hadn't been able to deal with Arthur's pratness.
Or his gambling.
Merlin made a face as he chewed on his pencil's eraser.
It was ridiculous that some anonymous woman could intrigue him this much. He didn't know anything about her except that she was Arthur's only 'real' girlfriend and that she'd tried unsuccessfully to be an Administrative Assistant...but this woman intrigued Merlin completely. He'd seen Arthur's face shift from its usual arrogance to a softer version of himself, and even though it'd only been for a couple of seconds its been enough for Merlin to see that this faceless, nameless woman had actually meant something to Arthur. And he was almost sure that Arthur hadn't been the one to end the relationship.
Hearing his phone ring, Merlin reached for it and answered without looking at the caller I.D. "Hello?"
"Hey Merlin." Morgana surprised him. "I just wanted to thank you, Lady of the Lake just signed a deal with Uther Pendragon and we're all still somewhat shocked. It's hard to believe that it's actually happening."
"I'm so happy for you." Merlin smiled, a genuine fan of the fledgling group. "You girls are serious talent, and I knew that once Uther heard you in person he'd be as blown away with you as I was."
"You're too sweet." Morgana replied. "Lady of the Lake are going to be having a little party this weekend to celebrate and we want you to come. If it wasn't for you telling Uther about us we'd still be unknowns."
"Tell me the address and I'll be there." Merlin promised, writing down the address and time.
"Oh, and I also wanted to apologize for being so brazen earlier. I couldn't help it. You're so cute." Morgana sighed. "But Uther set me straight and I think I can let you go happily knowing that it's because I don't have the right equipment, and not because there's some other girl."
"Huh?" Merlin frowned, a little confused.
"And on that line," Morgana declared. "Uther says you're single...and so knowing what I do know...my brother has the hots for you, so expect to meet him at the party. He can be a little introverted but he's a really nice guy once you get to know him. And you will. At the party." And with that, she hung up.
For a moment Merlin could only look at his phone in confusion, and then it all made sense.
Morgana must have somehow made her interest in him known, and Uther (the villain) obviously must have some interest in her himself because he'd made Merlin out to be completely gay so she'd lose interest.
Merlin could see where Arthur had gotten his pratness from.
Vowing to put both Pendragons in their place before he died, Merlin went to his room.
He had a feeling that he was going to need a good night's rest to deal with Arthur's new and improved contract.