Author: Katie eilonwy77
Title: Turniphead in Love, part 2/?
Pairing/s: Arthur/Sophia, pre-Arthur/Merlin
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Sophia
Summary: Sophia has a Valentine's surprise for Arthur
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: Pickup Lines
Author's Notes: This is part 2 of a tag to another story. The first part is here. FYI, they are teens.
Feathers drifted down to settle directly over the few remaining puddles of milk. Of course they would. Nothing could ever be easy, could it? And certainly not where Arthur was concerned.
What the hell had just happened? One instant things had been great (if you could consider getting smacked with a pillow and shattering a glass of milk great); the next, Arthur was planning his imminent marriage. Merlin's guts burned with fierce disappointment. He wasn't quite sure why. Arthur being in love with some stupid cow of a girl shouldn't matter to Merlin, surely. In fact, things would be much more peaceful. A big improvement all around.
He felt curious, though, to see what kind of vixen could win Arthur's heart so quickly. Merlin decided it was a great time to practice for his future as a spy. He hurried to the arboretum as fast as was possible without drawing unwanted attention. People sprinting through the palace corridors tended to make the security guards twitchy.
The arboretum was a large, glass-enclosed space on the roof of the palace. Nestled amidst the trees and plants was Merlin's favorite feature: the swimming pool. He had loved it from the moment he saw it. Now, though, that love was tempered with residual fear. The glass walls had been replaced since the attack on Christmas Eve, and Merlin had visited a few times, but he was still accosted by bad memories. The experience of the arboretum turning from Christmas wonderland to nightmarish battleground was not an easy one to forget.
Once inside, Merlin used a notice-me-not charm and stayed out of direct sight of the two lovebirds, who were holding hands and strolling through the trees, admiring the wide variety of plant life. Merlin didn't quite trust his magic to completely hide him, so he skulked around in some prickly bushes that tore at his clothing and scratched at his skin. He then tried a senses enhancement spell, to see and hear more clearly. He knew he wasn't that good at espionage, but maybe, if he kept practicing. . . . But for now it was time to spy on that turniphead. Who was, in Merlin's humble opinion, making a gigantic fool of himself.
Arthur ripped an orange hibiscus flower off its tree, where it had been happily minding its own business. He held the blossom out to Sophia, who wrinkled her nose. Merlin supposed she'd be happier if it were made of diamonds.
“Until you arrived, this was the most beautiful thing here.” Merlin groaned at the line, but had to admit that Sophia was tolerably pretty, with her long golden curls and lacy confection of a dress. Though there was something about the way she pursed her lips that he found unpleasant.
“Er, thank you,” she managed. She took the flower gingerly between two fingers, as if it might be infected with cooties. “I'll just . . . leave this over here, shall I?” She placed the flower on the pedestal of a small statue that sat under a bower of roses. Merlin chuckled when he realized it was a statue of Cupid, who somehow managed to look disapproving at both the offering and the scene that followed.
Arthur grabbed Sophia by both hands. “My love. . . . Marry me and I can make you a princess.” He sounded stilted and unnatural.
“I am already a princess.” Sophia's voice dripped with irritation, but Arthur was undeterred.
“Then, I can make you a double princess. A princess times two! That's got to be twice as good, right?” Merlin groaned. As far as pickup lines went, Arthur’s really sucked. He would have had more luck if he just sounded like his normal pratty self. Though why his personality had shifted so dramatically, Merlin couldn't fathom.
Sophia rolled her eyes. “How about we just go for a swim?”
Arthur looked confused. “That's a great idea, but we didn't bring our bathing suits…”
Sophia batted her eyelashes, then looked through them coquettishly. “Why should that stop us?”
Arthur's jaw dropped. “But, my love! It would be most unseemly. If my father should catch us, he would forbid our marriage. We can't risk our eternal happiness on such a foolish whim.”
Sophia giggled, but Merlin could tell she wasn't amused. There was something in the glint of her eyes, the clench of her jaw. How Arthur couldn't see it, Merlin didn't understand.
“Arthur, weren't you suggesting earlier that we could elope? What does it matter if anyone catches us?”
“But don't you want to be on the throne of Camelot? You are so perfect, you deserve a kingdom. No, two kingdoms. You deserve all the kingdoms!”
Sophia gave an undignified snort, but Arthur didn't flinch. If he were in a cartoon, there would be bright red hearts floating in his eyes.
“While I don't disagree with you, it is not earthly kingdoms that I seek. Come, let us swim.”
She grabbed at his hand and pulled him down the flower-lined path towards the crystal blue swimming pool. Merlin shuddered at the idea that the two of them would actually go skinny-dipping. Well, in Arthur's case, that would be not-so-skinny dipping. Merlin suddenly missed the prat intensely, which was strange because he was right there. But who else could he tease about eating too many sausages once Sophia had stolen him away?
It was, perhaps, because Merlin was feeling a bit sorry for himself that he didn't register the utter lack of security in the arboretum. And when Arthur balked before stepping into the pool and Sophia's eyes momentarily sparked red, Merlin figured she was wearing a ruby that had flashed in the light.
It wasn't until a fully clothed Arthur submerged into the pool and didn't resurface that Merlin finally realized there might be a problem. Sophia stood over the place he had disappeared, chanting, eyes glowing red.
Merlin leaped out of his bush without thinking, drawing Sophia's immediate attention.
Oops. So much for the whole espionage business.