Title: It’s all Gwaine’s fault
Pairing/s: Gwaine/Morgana, Percival/Elyan, Gwen/Lance, Leon/Elena, Audrey/OC, Arthur/Merlin
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine, Percival, Morgana, Gwen, Lance, Elycan, Leon, Elena, Audrey
Summary: Merlin could never say no to a friend, even Gwaine.
Word Count: 1333 (sorry it got away from me – again)
Camelot_drabble Prompt: 364 – Pretend Couple
Author's Notes: I couldn’t figure out a way to make it shorter. Sorry!
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
It was all Gwaine’s fault. Well, most of it although Merlin didn’t have to agree. But what was he to do when Gwaine batted those eyes at him and flounced a bit of hair and pouted. Merlin could never resist Gwaine’s pouts.
“Come on, Merlin. You know this will work. Morgana will never want to go out with me unless she thinks she’s lost me.” There was another pout and slow blinking.
“People will think I’m your boyfriend.” Merlin grumbled back. It wasn’t that he wasn’t willing to help out Gwaine. After all, Gwaine had done him a dozen favours in the last month alone. But people –Arthur– might think that they were a couple and then Merlin would never have a chance. Not that there was really a chance. Arthur was as far above him as the stars in the sky. Remote and untouchable. Damn it.
“Merlin, that’s the point.” Gwaine grabbed Merlin’s shoulder and gave a little squeeze. “It will only be for a week at most. Please, please, please. She’s all I ever think about and she’ll come around. Once we get past the stubborn resistance to my obvious charms.”
“Fine. Just don’t… don’t make it look too convincing, okay?”
Gwaine beamed at that. “Hey, it’s me. When have I ever let you down? Wait, don’t answer that.”
Then Gwaine pulled him close, bending Merlin down as if they were in one of those over-the-top romantic movies, giving him a long, hard kiss.
Gwaine just laughed and let go.
With Gwaine and Morgana a couple, word must have gotten around that Merlin was a soft touch. Percy was next. Moaning about how Elyan never looked his way and that maybe a little jealousy might help, with Percy’s sweet nature and unhappy eyes, Merlin couldn’t say no.
Luckily it didn’t take long. It made him feel a bit warm inside that he’d helped and a bit sad, too, because the man he wanted would never want him back.
After that, it was Audrey the cook and a knight Merlin never heard of. Luckily, the man wasn’t too aggressive when he told Merlin to back off, just a shove, and Merlin stumbling over a few pots, scrambling past a bench, and then skidding across greasy flagstones to end up next to the roaring fire. And several chickens cooking on a spit. Audrey wasn’t happy, started berating Merlin for making a mess, but her scowls turned to smiles when Herbert gathered her into his arms and proposed.
A few bruises were worth the look on Audrey’s face.
Merlin got a chicken for his trouble, too.
With Lance, it was easy. Gwen heard about Lance staying with Merlin in his room, just the one small bed there and Lance in it. Merlin had done nothing to give Gwen the idea of Lance being his boyfriend, but she made an assumption, and Lance, being the honourable man that he was, quickly set the record straight in a quiet conversation that ended up with Gwen snogging Lance and them moving in together.
Merlin got looks, of course. Everyone assumed that Merlin was a slut that kept losing partners, and even Arthur’s eyes narrowed when he watched Lance and Gwen going at it. But there was nothing to be done. Merlin protested that it wasn’t like that, but no one believed him, least of all Arthur.
Leon was a stubborn one, though. When Elena came for a visit, Merlin could tell that they were just made for each other but both too shy to say anything. So this time, Merlin actually suggested that he pretend to be Leon’s boyfriend. After all, he’d had a good track record with the others, everyone –well everyone except Merlin- seemed to be happy in the end.
But Leon said he could do it on his own. At least he said that at first. But when they danced around each other, those heated looks and stumbling conversations growing ever more obvious that something needed to be done, Merlin offered again.
Of course, Leon was taller than him, so he had to reach up on tiptoes to give Leon a kiss. But Merlin timed it just right, with Arthur and Elena walking down toward the council chambers.
There was a soft oh from Elena and an annoyed silence from Arthur.
Grabbing Merlin, Arthur began to frog-march him back to Arthur’s chambers.
“What you do in your own time is your own business, but kissing Leon in the middle of the day in front of Princess Elena, especially when you know how Leon feels about her, is going too far.”
As Merlin tried to squirm out of Arthur’s grip, twisting around to protest, he saw Arthur’s face, furious and disappointed, and knew it was too late. He’d lost whatever chance he’d had with Arthur, not that there was really any chance, but it was now lost forever.
Behind them, Elena was standing there, looking up at Leon and Leon with his arms around her.
Shoving Merlin into his room, Arthur slammed the door behind him. “This has got to stop, Merlin.”
As Merlin lay on the floor, rubbing at his elbow –because stone floors are not forgiving, he said, “I’m….”
“You’ve gone through half the staff, most of my knights, and plainly you’ve a serious problem. It reflects badly on the crown for the prince’s manservant to be whoring himself out.” Arthur towered over him, glaring down, his face a hard snarl.
Merlin stood up, and with arms waving, furious and depressed that Arthur would think that, said, “I… am… not… a… whore, you clotpole.”
Arthur threw up his hands, then pointed toward the door, yelling, “What else would you call it?”
Wincing, because there was no way to explain it properly, Merlin yelled back, “Helping out a friend.”
It was clear that Arthur didn’t believe him. He said, flat and annoyed, “I understand that you have needs. Many needs apparently. But if you’d been more discreet, this wouldn’t be a problem.”
“That was the whole point, you arse.” Merlin shouted. “It wouldn’t have worked if I’d been discreet.”
“What?” Arthur scowled at him. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
“It was all fake.” Merlin sat down on the bench and looked at the floor, feeling miserable, not wanting to see the disappointment in Arthur’s eyes. “I pretended to be their boyfriend so they’d make them jealous. I’m not anyone’s boyfriend. Not ever.”
Arthur sat down, hard. “Fake?”
“Yes, Arthur, fake.” Merlin looked up at that, giving Arthur a sad smile. “It worked, too.”
“So you aren’t whoring yourself out to everything that breathes?” Arthur was still scowling at him. It didn’t matter though. He’d never look at him as anything but a pest or a crap servant.
“No. I give them one kiss in front of witnesses and a few smiles and people assume things. Lots of things.” Merlin shrugged. “I’ll stop. It’s….”
“So you don’t have a lover of any kind.” Arthur sounded almost confused, not angry but hesitant.
Merlin shook his head, then his shoulders slumped further. He wanted to sink into the ground and never come up again. “What part of fake don’t you understand? No, no boyfriend, no girlfriend, no lover, no nothing.”
“Thank the gods.”
Looking up, Merlin almost fell off the bench when Arthur pulled Merlin to him and started kissing him, hard and fast and with tongue. Tongue! There were fireworks going on somewhere in his chest, and further down he was getting hard when Arthur tightened his grip.
When they finally came up for air, Arthur said, “Don’t ever ever fake boyfriend again. Only real ones. Or rather one real one.”
Merlin could only grin, grabbing Arthur’s face. “There’s only one boyfriend I’ve ever wanted and I’m about to kiss him, if that’s okay with you.” And then he did.
Sometime later, in the tavern, Gwaine said to Percy, “I told you it would work.”
It had indeed.