Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 48
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur had a plan to stay in the United States. That plan was Merlin. It totally worked.
Warnings: Ridiculous fluff
Word Count: 708
Prompt: 238, Unexpected
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom which starts here.
Merlin falls asleep on the drive home, waking up just as they pull into the driveway.
“It’s strange how you find stop and go traffic so restful,” Arthur remarks.
“It winds you up enough for the both of us,” Merlin laughs. “For some reason I find listening to you swearing at strangers soothing.”
“Very funny,” Arthur says, hauling the suitcases out of the Mustang’s trunk. He gives the car an affectionate pat in passing then lets them into the house, dropping the luggage in their bedroom. “All that swearing was thirsty work. Do we have any beer?" Merlin heads off to the kitchen to see. Arthur follows.
"It was great driving around in a convertible this weekend. We’ll have to think of a way to thank Gwaine.”
“As a matter of fact, he called this morning and asked if we could watch Clyde while he’s in Japan for that soda commercial this week,” Merlin says. “He sounded a bit desperate.”
Arthur’s eyes widen in horror. “Tell me you said no. That maniac dog humped my leg every time I stood still in its company and snuck into the bathroom to lick water off my bum when I was showering last time I watched him.”
“Well, he is Gwaine’s dog,” Merlin laughs, digging in the refrigerator for a couple beers. “But he said that Clyde’s trained now.”
“And you believe him?”
Merlin snorts, “Of course I don’t but you did say you wanted to do something nice for Gwaine and he’ll be gone less than a week.”
“I said nice not saintly. Why can’t he just hire a dog sitter?” Arthur takes the beer Merlin’s just opened. He pauses, “Let me guess, he slept with the last one, right?”
“And it obviously didn’t end well,” Merlin agrees. “He doesn’t have time to interview a new one. His dog walker can still come by during the day and if we’re late home. Clyde hates going to a kennel. He barely ate the entire time Gwaine was away last time.”
Arthur frowns, “Now you’re making me feel bad for the crazy dog.” Merlin doesn’t say anything as he sips his beer but it’s still making Arthur feel like a lousy friend.
“Fine. All right, we’ll watch him but I’m telling Gwaine that anything Clyde pees on, chews up, or otherwise defiles has to be replaced.”
“So if he licks your bum again what am I getting instead?”
Merlin grins, “I’ll call Gwaine with the good news.”
“Thank you so much. I was worried I was going to have to board him,” Gwaine says. “He’s a lot happier around people he knows.” They’ve set up Clyde’s dog bed in the living room and Gwaine is now emptying a bag of assorted well loved toys into it. “He’s not allowed to chew on anything but these,” he says but Merlin hears the I hope in the sound of his voice. Arthur is looking skeptical so it’s apparent he heard it, too.
Gwaine crouches beside his blue heeler who has been eyeing the proceedings warily. “I’m only going to be gone a few days,” he croons, rubbing hard behind Clyde’s ears. “Sheri will be by twice a day to take you out to play. Be super good for your uncles and I’ll bring you back a treat.” Clyde barks like he’s understood.
“Bring me back a treat, too,” Merlin says. “I’ll be the one on first shift and he gives me a workout on our runs.”
“He’s very energetic,” Gwaine agrees, giving Clyde another rub, kissing him between the ears. Clyde barks again, then looks around the room.
Arthur watches Clyde scoping out his new surroundings. “I’m regretting this already.”
Merlin wakes before the alarm rings so he slaps the clock radio off. Arthur licking the back of his neck is a strange but pleasant way to start the day. He reaches around to give his husband an affectionate squeeze but finds fur instead of Arthur’s sleep shirt. He rolls over. Clyde is awake, snuggled up under Arthur’s arm.
“Hey, that’s my spot,” Merlin whispers at the interloper. Clyde grins at him. Merlin gets up to pee, wondering if Gwaine is going to have to buy them a new bed.