Title: Persuasion Tactics
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Aithusa
Summary: Merlin has an interesting way of getting his way
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: "Whatever you're going to ask, the answer is no."
Merlin took a deep breath, his hand resting over the door handle. He pulled back and knocked, respectful and polite, just the way Arthur had been trying to drill into him over their years together.
He let himself in, looking around. These chambers were as familiar to him as his own and he wondered what destruction he was about to unleash.
“Merlin?” Arthur didn’t look up. He was sitting at his desk, one leg folded up and his arm balanced over his knee. He looked relaxed, at ease, and Merlin swallowed.
Arthur sighed. He put down his report and pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.
“Whatever you’re going to ask,” he said, “the answer is no.”
“Wha-?” Merlin gaped at him, all attempts to be polite disappearing. He knew the king, probably better than Arthur knew himself. He never considered that bond might work both ways now a rather large secret was out of the way.
“I wasn’t going to ask anything,” he lied.
“Mm hmm.” Arthur lifted an eyebrow, an amused smirk tugging at his lips. Merlin scowled.
“How did you know?”
Merlin groaned. He should have known: if there was one thing that would get Arthur’s attention, it was acting out of the norm. He had never knocked, regardless of how many times Arthur threatened him with the stocks.
“You don’t know what I was going to say,” he protested, “you might love the idea.”
“Name one idea you’ve had that I’ve loved.”
Merlin grinned, winking. “You weren’t complaining when I suggested the stables…”
“Fine.” Arthur stood up, stretching out his back. “Name one idea that I’ve loved that involved us both being fully dressed.”
“Who says this idea involves clothes?”
“You wouldn’t be nervous. You would have blurted it out the second you walked through the door. Insatiable minx.”
Merlin felt his cheeks burn and he suddenly found all the spots he had missed while cleaning the floor the other day. There was nothing but fondness in Arthur’s tone though and when he finally looked back up, Arthur was grinning.
“The answer is still no,” Arthur said. He rounded his desk, fastening his belt around his waist as he did so. “So stop standing there gawping and fetch my sword, would you?”
Merlin scowled. He was tempted to blurt out his question anyway, but Arthur would dig his heels in through sheer stubbornness. He found the sword, lingered over slipping it into the belt and had to sit down suddenly when Arthur kissed him before leaving.
Damn Arthur and knowing him too well…
If attempting to be respectful wasn’t going to work, then he was going to have to try something else.
“Mm? Oh gods, don’t stop!”
Merlin rested his hands on the bed, holding himself still. He could already feel his thighs trembling and Arthur stared at him, looking wrecked and bewildered in such an adorable way that Merlin had to kiss him, momentarily distracted from his plan.
He shifted again, making certain Arthur’s attention was on him. Not he thought the king was capable of wandering thoughts given their position.
“Arthur, can I ask you something?”
“Yes,” Arthur panted, “anything, just move.”
“Anything?” Merlin stopped again, his eyes glinting. He was pretty certain he could ask his lover for the kingdom right now and Arthur would hand it over just to make Merlin change his angle.
He knew he could make Arthur beg in bed. The king was surprisingly vocal.
“You love me, don’t you?”
“And you want me to be happy?”
“How many questions are there? Yes!”
Merlin knew how on edge Arthur was – he would have normally told him to shut up by now. He moved, just a little, making the king whimper. Arthur wouldn’t last much longer (neither would he) and he knew his moment had come.
“And you’ll let me keep a baby dragon in your chambers while she’s too small for outside?”
“Yes! Gods, yes, just…wait-what?”
He shifted, changing angle as he finally gave the king what he wanted. It seemed fair, considering Arthur had just given him what he wanted.
The king was a man of his word. It didn’t matter how the conversation had come about; now he had agreed, Merlin knew Arthur wouldn’t back down. It was too easy to work his honour against him sometimes.
“Don’t be absurd, Merlin.”
Merlin turned, sheltering Aithusa in his arms. Arthur was glaring at him from the bed, his hair still stuck up at odd angles. The sun hadn’t fully risen but Merlin wasn’t prepared to leave Aithusa outside for any longer.
“You manipulated me.”
“Giving you what you want is manipulating you?”
His arms tightened instinctively as Aithusa gave a soft mewl, tugging at his scarf with her teeth, sensing the tension in the room.
When he looked at the bed again, Arthur was watching Aithusa. His expression had softened and Merlin shifted, making sure the king had full view of the little creature. Arthur tried so hard to appear closed off from his emotions, but Merlin had the benefit of being the only one to see past those defences. The king was the first to look away.
“You’re still being absurd,” Arthur said. “You can’t possibly put her on the floor, the stones are cold.”
Merlin was across the room in a few steps, scrambling up beside the king. Aithusa tentatively stepped out of his arms and onto the covers, nudging Arthur’s hand with her head. The king sighed dramatically.
“Between you and your strays, there’s going to be no room for me in my own bed.”
“Don’t worry,” Merlin rested back against his love, rubbing Aithusa’s head. “You’re one of my strays too. You can stay.”