Title: What a Mess
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Morgana
Summary: Arthur follows the text he got from Merlin asking him to meet at Merlin's room immediately.
Word Count: 1,562
Prompt: #271 potential
Author's Notes: Bit of an emotional roller coaster. There's a lot between the lines that I didn't walk you through, so, idk, read slowly enough to let all of that sink in. Here's hoping for more detail next time. -- And WHOOPS on the word count! Hah, uh, I blame Morgana this time.
Arthur follows the text he got from Merlin asking him to meet at Merlin's room immediately. He is not particularly happy about this interruption to his busy schedule. He is annoyed at having to take three busses from work just to meet with Merlin in the middle of the day, so he stomps his way across the common area of their group flat to let off some steam.
Arthur shoves Merlin's door open, and it bangs against the wall. "Alright, Merlin, what exactly is going on here?"
Merlin yelps at Arthur's sudden entry. He is on the floor sitting in the middle of a heap of laundry. It looks to Arthur like a cyclone rolled through the room and tried to restrain and strangle Merlin with his own clothes.
Merlin scrambles to cover up his near-nakedness, though Arthur isn't sure why Merlin should decide to start being shy now. If Arthur were in a better mood, he would laugh at just how stuck Merlin manages to get in the long-sleeve shirt he hastily pulls from the top of the laundry monster that appears to be eating him feet-first.
Once it becomes clear that Merlin does not see the knot he has made of the sleeves, Arthur steps into the mess of the room to help. Merlin blindly tries to push his arms through even while Arthur is untying them.
"How do you get yourself into these situations, Merlin?" Arthur asks.
"It just happens," Merlin says. His voice is muffled by the shirt he's still battling his way out of, but Arthur thinks Merlin sounds a bit too resigned to his fate. There's something in Merlin's tone that doesn't sound right.
Arthur finishes with the knot, pushes the edges of the sleeves to Merlin's wrists, and moves on to helping Merlin get his head through the right end of the shirt. Quietly, he says, "Really, Merlin, this is ridiculous."
Merlin huffs a laugh as his head finally makes it out of the shirt and he sees that it's on backwards.
"Leave it," Arthur suggests. "It'll be another ten minutes if you try to turn it around."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Merlin throws back.
Arthur grins. "So what's going on? Why am I here in the middle of the day?" he asks.
Merlin doesn't answer as he searches for some trousers from his spot in the eye of the clothing storm.
Arthur looks around the room again. It looks like Merlin has taken everything he owns out of the wardrobe and drawers and thrown it all haphazardly on the floor.
Arthur thinks it's probably not laundry Merlin is doing after all. "What are you doing in here, anyway? Planning to give some of this stuff away to charity? I suppose some of it has the potential to actually be bought by someone else, but those are the items you probably want to keep...."
"I'm not giving things to charity," Merlin replies. He looks pointedly at the door Arthur came in through.
Arthur looks, too, and he sees that there is some cardboard sticking out from behind the door. Too much cardboard.
Arthur's heart drops. He turns back to Merlin, and his face is stricken. "You're moving out?" he says.
"One way or another, yes," Merlin says.
"Can't we discuss this? I mean, this is really sudden! You didn't talk to any of us about this! Nobody else is even home right now! Were you even going to tell them? Were you planning to leave while we were all out today and we just wouldn't know where you'd gone when we got home?!"
Arthur takes a breath, and Merlin seizes the opportunity to interject. "Arthur! Arthur, it's not like that. Here, sit down before you hyperventilate."
Merlin stands and guides Arthur to sit on the nearest edge of the bed. Arthur sits, and Merlin crouches down in front of him to be at eye level.
"What is going on, Merlin? Don't you like us anymore?" Arthur asks, and his eyes are watery.
Merlin looks upset. He says, "Oh Arthur, I'm sorry it had to happen this way. I knew you wouldn't like this. But one way or another, I can't stay here beyond today."
"What do you mean?" Arthur asks.
"Well, it's really to do with you. Well, a little to do with the others - particularly Morgana, - but mostly you," Merlin says.
"What about Morgana?" Arthur asks.
"In a minute, Arthur. You first." Merlin lets go of one of Arthur's arms which he has been using to keep Arthur seated on the bed and reaches into the depths of the clothes pile.
When he pulls his hand back out, he holds it palm-up in between Arthur and himself.
"Arthur, will you marry me?" Merlin asks.
Arthur's mouth is hanging open and his eyebrows are halfway up his forehead. He stares at the gold band in Merlin's open hand. His eyes move up to meet Merlin's as a smile breaks on his shocked face. He laughs a little bit, then he takes Merlin's head in both his hands and kisses Merlin hard.
When he lets go and they break apart, Arthur scrubs his hands down his face to wipe away the watery emotion showing there. He laughs again, and Merlin smiles along with him.
"Yes," Arthur says.
Merlin takes Arthur's left hand and puts the ring on. He threads their fingers together and squeezes, and he smiles.
Arthur kisses him again. He pulls away and smiles slyly before he says, "It's a bloody miracle that ring stayed where you hid it in this mess."
"Don't I know it!" Merlin replies with a laugh.
Arthur's phone rings in his back pocket, and Merlin pulls it out to see that it's Morgana calling. "Hey Morgana," Merlin answers.
Arthur can hear Morgana's squealing through the phone, and Merlin holds it away from his own ear for a few seconds. When he puts it back to his ear, he listens for a moment and then says, "Are you sure? He's kind of emotional right now." Arthur watches Merlin listen again, then reply, "You're so evil! I told you it should have been in a park or something! The packing could have waited!" Another few seconds, then Merlin says, "Fine, fine," and passes the phone to Arthur.
"She wants to talk to you," Merlin says unnecessarily.
"Hi Morgana," Arthur says.
"Arthur! I knew you would say yes. Don't let Merlin let you think otherwise!" Morgana says.
"What do you want to say, Morgana? I want to keep kissing my fiancé," Arthur says.
"Oh, I just want to let you know how pleased I am for you. And that you can come over and visit the baby any time you want," Morgana says.
"What– You're pregnant?!" Arthur shouts. He looks at Merlin. "You knew about this before me?! I'm her brother!"
"Technically now I'll be her brother soon, too, and I found out by accident a few days ago," Merlin replies.
Morgana cuts in still in Arthur's ear. "Arthur, I have to get back to work now, so you go have this little tantrum without me and we'll talk later about your duties as uncle. Mkay? Love you!"
Arthur hears a click. He does not move the phone away from his head as he stares at Merlin with his mouth moving but no sound coming out.
"Arthur, it's a good thing I found out first. I've had that ring for a few weeks. I was nervous, and I needed the proper catalyst to get my head out of the sand and actually ask you." Merlin slowly takes the phone from Arthur and puts it down on the bed. He doesn't look at Arthur when he says, "This way, there would be a reason for me to move even if you did say no."
"Stop that," Arthur says suddenly.
Merlin looks him in the eye.
Arthur shifts into his confident work persona. He sniffs haughtily. "I assume you have chosen a location where we're moving to."
Merlin bites his lip to hold back the beginnings of a smile.
"Can I expect that you've at least put thought into it?" Arthur asks.
Merlin giggles. "You are so obnoxious!" he says.
Arthur uses both hands to grab Merlin by the front of his shirt*. The ring on his finger glints when it catches the sunlight coming in through the window. Arthur glances down at it, then back up at Merlin's face. He grins deviously. "Should I suppose," Arthur says with a hint of danger in his tone, "that a certain assistant of mine who also happens to live here will know to expect a call from a certain pregnant sister of mine?" Arthur quirks an eyebrow. "Should I suppose this assistant of mine will know to clear my schedule for at least a few hours more?" Arthur brings their faces close enough to let his breath tickle Merlin's lips when he says, "Should I suppose that you planned to answer that phone call from Morgana only if I'd replied in the positive?" Arthur puts his cheek against Merlin's cheek to speak directly into Merlin's ear. Arthur purrs, "Should I execute my next plan based on these assumptions, Merlin?"
Merlin shivers. "Yes," he whispers.
Arthur hauls Merlin on top of him on the bed.
"Good," Arthur says, and he does just that.
*The front of his shirt: which is, in fact, the back of the shirt itself, since Merlin is still wearing the thing backwards.