Title: Prof. Merlin Emrys, B.A. (Hons), Ph. D.
Word Count: 1257 (oops, blame it on the heat?)
Summary: Merlin isn’t sure that his friends won’t ruin his promotion day
Notes: Sorry, once again not beta’d. And I guess it shows that I know nothing about the academic system and how promotions and professorships actually work. It had sounded so good in my head, but…oh, read for yourself.
Merlin was looking forward to the ceremony and he was dreading it all the same. It was nobody’s fault but his own, if he were honest. He shouldn’t have left the letter lying about for his friends to see. The moment they had spotted it, they all had decided to come and made jokes about what they would do to him to embarrass him in the post important moment of his life.
He had assured them more than once that this wasn’t like a graduation ceremony where everyone brought their whole family including the dog. It had been a coincidence that Rodriguez and him had finished their papers at the almost same time, so the university had decided to hold a little get-together in which the dean would praise their research and publications and they both would be promoted to professor and from that day on could bear the title.
The list of attendees shouldn’t include more than the closest people around you, so for Merlin was clear that those would be his mam and Arthur. Arthur had promised to pick her up from her house she was stubbornly still living in and they planned to go out for a nice meal after the little thing.
But then Elyan had found the letter – which he had carelessly tossed on the coffee table – and it didn’t take five minutes and all their friends knew and decided that they had to be part of this and make it special. No matter how often Merlin told them it wasn’t a big thing and he couldn’t bring so many people, they had set their minds on showing up.
Merlin plucked at his bowtie for the umpteenth time and checked his looks in the little mirror in the room; he was nervous. More nervous than in his entire career, more nervous than when he handed in the papers for publication, more nervous than when he finally handed in all the things he needed to get this promotion.
It was so unbelievable. He had dreamed of teaching children about magic when he was still a child himself. He, the little boy from Ealdor – which back then had been a tiny community just outside of Camelot, by now it was a part of the city – had never dreamed about becoming a doctor of magic, a scientist, and that after today, he would be allowed to call himself Professor Doctor Emrys. That was almost too much to wrap his head around and even though he was a bit sad that his days as a teacher were counted and he would be busy with the scientific side and history of magic, he could help feeling the slightest bit proud that he had gotten so far.
This wasn’t the reason for him to be nervous, though. He feared that their sometimes rowdy friends would ruin the ceremony and embarrass him in front of the entired Camelot University.
Taking a deep breath, he stepped into the smaller of the assembly halls and was shown his seat by the nervous secretary who pretended that the success of this event was solely on her shoulders and on the verge of failing already. Merlin had known her for years and knew what she was capable of, which unfortunately never kept her from panicking at these things.
Coming in, all Merlin had seen where the folks Rodriguez had invited. It seemed he had his whole clan flown in from Puerto Rico and all of a sudden it seemed a bit ridiculous that he had insisted on only his mam and Arthur being there. Turning his head, he tried to find out where they were, so he could look at them when it was his turn up on the little stage.
Mam hadn’t talked about anything else but the new dress she would buy for the occasion and when Merlin finally spotted her, he knew that Morgana had been in on the dress-buying. He smiled. His mam and Morgana; they were the most unlikely of friends, but somehow Morgana seemed to think that his mam was her mother, too, once him and Arthur were married. Merlin could just imagine mam struggling and arguing when she saw the price tag on the dress and Morgana waving it off, assuring her that this was the dress for this occasion and in the end they bought it. Morgana had been right, mam looked stunning, classy and very well-dressed. Not that Merlin knew much about these things.
Next to his mother, Arthur leaned over and talked to her, most likely making sure that she was alright and asking if she needed anything. Arthur looked just as stunning in his new suit.
That was when Merlin saw them coming in and his heart missed a few beats. Their friends had really made good on their promise to show up. Oh no. They seemed to be in their Sunday bests and Merlin could have sworn he had never seen Percy in this suit before, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t behave. He didn’t have much time to elaborate on this further as the ceremony began.
Merlin listened to the Dean going on about what a great scientific research institute Camelot University was and how many talented scientists in their fields it had brought forth, may they be as diverse as mathematics and magic. He threw Rodgriguez a sideways look and they both bit back a grin. How many lunches had they sat and discussed how similar their fields of work were when it came to knowing the basics and calculating the outcomes of what they were doing.
Then it was time to step up to the microphone and say a few words. As much as he loved teaching children – or now young adults – about magic, Merlin hated when he had to hold speeches, so he made his quick, not wanting to bore the audience with too many details about his work, threw in a witty remark or two, then smiled for photos while the audience was applauding politely (Rodgriguez’s side of the room) and cheered frantically (his side of the room). Then it was Rod’s turn and they switched roles.
So far – aside from the over-enthusiastic applause, their friends had behaved which made Merlin even more nervous. He was sure they had something planned, he wouldn’t get away so easily.
The reception began and Merlin had time to greet his mam and his husband properly, feeling like a little boy when his mam patted his cheek, telling him over and over again how proud she was. He got a quick peck on the lips from Arthur and lots of handshakes, hugs and shoulder-patting from the others.
The two hours went by almost too quickly but Merlin was happy that he was done making the rounds and talking to some honorary guests who were supposed to sponsor Cam U’s scientific work and then being flirted at by every single female member of Rod’s huge clan.
They made it through an early dinner in Merlin’s favourite restaurant, where they could ditch the ties and hang their jackets over the back of their chairs and Merlin was able to relax a bit.
Arthur leaned over. “Told you.”
“What?” Merlin threw him a look.
“They might be loud and rowdy at times, saying inappropriate things at moments where they should have kept quiet, but they do know how to behave, too.”
If Gwaine hadn’t chosen this exact moment to toss an olive at Merlin’s head to get his attention, Merlin might have agreed.