Title: A Minor Detour, Part 16
Rating: PG-13 this part, R overall
Character/s: Merlin, Gwaine, Percival, Leon, Arthur
Summary: Looking at the reflection of his makeshift garment, Merlin couldn’t decide if he found it hilarious or mortifying.
Word Count: 1,000
Prompt: #261: Idiot
Author's Notes: Part 1 | ... | 10 | ... | 15 || All Parts on AO3
Looking at the reflection of his makeshift garment, Merlin couldn’t decide if he found it hilarious or mortifying. The pale blue bedsheet made his skin look pasty, especially his mostly uncovered shoulders and skinny legs sticking out from what could really only be called a skirt. He’d searched through the entire bunk room and hadn’t been able to find any pins, clips, or anything else at all useful for keeping the sheet up and where it was supposed to go, so he’d had to sacrifice a foot of length from each end of the sheet to tying a knot where they met around his waist.
It was better than being naked, probably—except for the way the Arthur had looked at him when he was naked. That had been a very good look. It was a look that reassured Merlin, even more than their conversation had, that Arthur really did find him attractive. He knew he wasn’t as fit as most of Camelot’s officers, but Arthur had now seen—had very deliberately looked at—everything under the uniform and had seemed pleased by it.
Merlin wouldn’t mind seeing more of that look. But Arthur had asked for time, and Merlin was going to give it to him. Even if it meant looking like an idiot for as long as it took them to procure him actual clothes. It wasn’t like that was anything new, really. And Arthur wanted him anyway. Knowing that, he could live with wearing even the most unflattering of sheets until they got him something better, though it was likely to be a long time.
Unless his internal three-dimensional map and effortless calculations were wrong (which they never were, no matter what Arthur said when he was grumpy), the nearest station was Everwick: run and overrun by Camelot’s fleet. They had enough fuel to go further than that, though, at least to Wayfarers’ Wander, which promoted itself as a neutral outpost. He’d never had occasion to test that assertion before, but they’d find out the truth of it soon enough.
He should probably tell Arthur that they were on course to the Wander, come to think of it. He’d set it in mostly on instinct while Arthur was having his moral crisis. Since Arthur hadn’t asked, it probably meant he trusted Merlin to do exactly what Merlin had done; that, or he was on the bridge right now trying to plot a course somewhere.
Since that would be disastrous, and seemed to be the more likely scenario, Merlin checked himself over once more—still ridiculous—and left for the bridge.
Arthur wasn’t there after all, but Percival and Gwaine were. So was Leon, by way of a viewscreen displaying the bridge of the other shuttle. He was in the middle of saying something, but the words died off when he caught sight of Merlin and he snorted out a laugh before he could stop it. Leon getting his giggles under control didn’t make much difference, since Percival and Gwaine had turned to see the source of his distraction and Gwaine’s guffaws could probably be heard back on the Albion.
Merlin jabbed a finger in his direction. “This is your fault,” he reminded him, but he was helpless against the grin that broke out in answer to Gwaine’s mirth. That broke Leon’s facade, and soon Percival joined in and all four of them were cackling like idiots.
It was nice, even if it was at his expense. They all needed the catharsis. Their situation was uncertain at best, terrifying at worst, and Merlin would never forget that they’d done it for his sake. Well, the Knights had. Gwaine, he suspected, never did anything that wasn’t for Gwaine’s sake. Which was probably why he was magged to a chair. Had Arthur done that? He must have, because it definitely wasn’t Percival’s style.
Using his free hand to wipe tears of laughter from the corners of his eyes, Gwaine said, “It is, and I’ve never been prouder to be blamed for anything in my life. What’d Princess have to say about it?”
Merlin frowned, and not just at the nickname. “I haven’t seen him. I thought he’d be here, actually?”
Percival shook his head, and Gwaine added, “Not since he made sure I was comfortable,” and tugged on his shackled arm; it didn’t move.
“I was trying to talk to him,” Leon said. “They told me he was with you and couldn’t be interrupted.” Leon’s eyes moved in a way that probably meant he was looking Merlin and his sheet outfit over again, then widened. “Oh. Did Arthur finally—”
“No!” Merlin interrupted, feeling his cheeks heat. Whatever Leon had been about to ask about Arthur and Merlin and Merlin wearing a sheet, and Merlin had it narrowed down to a very select number of possibilities, the answer was no.
(Unless it was about Arthur staring at him naked. That was a yes, and a yes that Merlin was very happy to remember.)
“Thank you!” Gwaine yelled over Merlin’s protest. “Mountain of Man over here”—he jerked his head at Percival—“refuses to talk about it. But those two idiots need to get it together and shag, am I right?”
As Leon turned as red as Merlin felt, Percival smacked Gwaine in the arm. Gently, from the look of it, but Gwaine flinched dramatically anyway.
“Leave them be,” said Percival.
“Yeah, you’ve done enough, thanks,” Merlin told him with a scowl that still couldn’t completely cover the bit of smile hiding beneath. “Leon, I’ll go find Arthur for you.”
He turned to do just that, and succeeded far more quickly than he expected: he ran straight into Arthur before he’d even finished spinning around. Warm, confident hands closed around his shoulders to keep him from falling at the surprising impact, though they shook with the force of Arthur’s laughter.
“Merlin,” he gasped out, sounding like the effort pained him. “What the smeg are you wearing? You look like a complete idiot!”