Title: Enchanting Tours
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Taking the wrong tour bus has its perks.
Word Count: 793
Prompt: #244: Accidental
Author's Notes: Ahhhh, written in a rush, sorry! My muse wasn't cooperating.
Arthur hurries to catch the bus before it leaves him behind. He'd spent more time in the gift shop than anticipated but the quantity and variety of crystals around him had overwhelmed him. He's relieved to find the last of their group about to board, joining them thankful he was not left stranded on mystic lands he knows next to nothing about--expect for what it says on the brochure. Winded by his fast impromptu run he plops down on the first empty spot he finds almost elbowing the lady on the opposite seat. He smiles politely at her as an apology, leaving his backpack on the floor and turning around--much more careful this time--trying to locate his sister. Morgana had said she'd meet him back at the bus bored by Arthur's thorough examination of his birthstone. He doesn't see her, she's probably glued to the window with her headphones on ignoring the fact Arthur is not with her.
He leans back taking their itinerary out to check how many stops are left on their tour. There's a tea house included, they probably can have lunch there.
"All right, it appears we're all here," a very enthusiastic voice says. Arthur looks up confused only to end up even more perplexed. He's pretty sure their guide was not a young man with horrible taste in clothing and an eager smile. "Who's excited about the enchanted gardens?" There's clapping here and there.
"Eh," Arthur says raising his hand.
"Oh, that's the spirit," the new guide says. He walks over to Arthur coming to a full stop right in front of him. His eyes pursing at the sight of him. Arthur can feel himself flush from the long look he gives him. Arthur clears his throat, shifting in his seat as if he's trying to put distance between him and the guide for some unknown reason.
"Yeah? Excited for our next magical spot? You'll be amazed by the gardens," he says either oblivious to Arthur's confusion or ignoring it.
"Um, no," Arthur says, scratches the side of his face trying to sound confident. "You're not our tour guide."
He stares at Arthur the same way Morgana does when she thinks Arthur is being dense on purpose. "Of course I am. Where have you been this entire time?"
"In bus thirteen," he clarifies though he's not sure he was supposed to.
Something like understanding passes over the guides' face. He bites his lower lip distracting Arthur momentarily. "This is bus thirteen B. I'm guessing you were part of the A tour."
Arthur's bumps his forehead against the seat in front of him. Of course. Just his luck. Stupid buses and their secret coding."Is there a way to catch up with the other bus?"
"In about two more stops. They go to the lakes first while we go to the gardens. Don't worry I'm sure you'll enjoy the trip. I'm Merlin by the way, in case you need anything," he says. Merlin extends his hand and Arthur takes it muttering his name back. He tells himself he does not stare at Merlin as he walks back to the front to narrate their surroundings to the rest of the travelers.
Took the wrong bus. He sends to Morgana seeing she's online. Minutes later his mobile pings with a new message.
I figured. See you on the other side. Have fun ;)
Fun? Sure. He will try.
For the next two hours Arthur discovers Merlin is perhaps the clumsiest person he has ever laid eyes on. He trips on his feet and even standing up he looks like he could fall any minute because gravity doesn't agree with him. But he's also passionate about his job. Arthur has learned more about magical herbs and their uses than he could have from any book Morgana's thrown in his direction.
He's absorbed reading the description of a wild looking flower with bright purple petals when Merlin approaches him. "I think I might need some of this to make teas for my sister, that way she'd be calm all the time," he says, only because he felt he needed to say something. Anything.
"Is you sister okay with natural magical medicine?"
Arthur snorts. "More than okay. The whole point of this little trip was for me to learn something about her world. It isn't always easy when your sister is a sorceresses."
"I get it. Sometimes my friends think what I do are parlor tricks," Merlin says, "but magic is so much more."
Merlin's hands move above the flower delicately in circles. If he hadn't mentioned it, Arthur would be guessing about now Merlin has magic from the way the earth hums beneath him and the plants sway around his body.
"So, what do you think of our places?" Merlin asks him looking genuinely intrigued.
"That typing 'good tours for magic users' on google wasn't such a bad idea in the end."
"No?" Merlin tilts his head keeping his eyes fixed on him. Arthur shakes his head vehemently. "I'm glad to hear that. If you ever want to know more about magic or good vacation spots, give me a call."
Arthur swears Merlin's eyes shine gold before he leaves to round up the others. Back in the bus he finds a crumpled piece of paper inside his coat's pocket, Merlin's full name and a number scribbled next to a doodle of the flower that caught his attention earlier.
He sends Morgana a message with a link for the company's next tour. But not before he sends Merlin a friend request on Facebook.