Title: Friendship Distilled: A Batty Idea
Pairings: Leon/Morgana, Gwen/Lancelot, Merlin/Gwaine, background Arthur/Percival
Characters: Arthur, Elena, Gwaine, Gwen, Lancelot, Leon, Merlin, Morgana
Summary: Gwaine suggests a trip to a haunted corn maze. Why does Arthur get a bad feeling from this?
Warnings: nothing, really
Word count: 1119 (got away from me)
Prompt: 385, scream
Author's Notes: Part of Friendship Distilled. This AU is growing bigger from when it was just me looking at Gwen and Merlin.
“One of these days, we’re not going to pay attention to any ideas your boyfriend suggests.” Arthur glared at the brunet looking at the incomplete map of the haunted corn maze he’d conned the others into visiting.
Merlin stood next to Arthur, his arms crossed before him. “Why is he ‘my boyfriend’ when he pisses you off, but every other time Gwaine is ‘your friend’?”
“Because when he’s stupid like this he can’t possibly be my friend.”
Gwen nudged Arthur in the side, “Who is more foolish? The fool or the fool who follows him?”
Arthur transferred his glare to Gwen, who just shrugged it off as she grinned.
“I’m having fun. Aren’t you, Arthur?” Ellie bounced on her heels as she waited for Gwaine and Morgana to come to a decision as to which path to follow. “We’ve already been chased by two zombies and a ghost!”
Arthur snorted and shook his head fondly at the irrepressible woman in front of him. She was an utterly ridiculous friend, but he adored her. How could he disappoint her? “Yeah, Ellie. I’m having fun.”
“Oh, good, because it looks like they’ve decided something.” The friends watched as Gwaine and Morgana approached the group. “Have you figured out which way we should go?”
“Well, we have a question for the group. Would you rather go through the Caves of Balor or the Perilous Lands? Either will get us to the end, but we don’t know what their themes are. They could be just about anything.” Morgana spread her hands out in question. “The way it looks, the caves are the shorter route.”
“I say we go with the caves. It’ll probably be bats or vampires.” Leon scratched his beard. “Neither of them is particularly scary.”
Lance and Gwen both nodded. Gwen leaned a bit further into Lance’s side. “I’m with Leon. I’ll be honest, I’m getting a bit cold and could do with a nice, warm mulled cider.”
Merlin chuckled, “But you have your honey to keep you warm. Mine is playing Dora the Explorer.”
Gwaine leaned into Merlin and gave him a quick peck on the lips. “That makes you the monkey, Boots.”
“Sounds about right.” Arthur grimaced. “Let’s just get out of here. Fastest way possible.”
The path to the area the maze designers called the Caves of Balor was riddled with creepy things, of course. Arthur ended up limping for a few minutes after Lancelot jumped straight back on his foot when a pale, sad-looking woman dressed in a dark cloak stepped in front of him, her arms outstretched. Ellie walked into a swarm of little blue lights and shrieked as she batted them away from her hair.
The Caves of Balor were finally in front of them. A woman stirring a cauldron looked up at the group and gave them an enigmatic smile, waving them into a wooden tunnel that was lit only by an eerie blue light along the base. As they got in, they heard a soft, yet malicious chuckle from the woman. Arthur felt a shiver run down his spine. He really wished Gwaine hadn’t suggested this. He wished even more that he’d been as wise as Perce and had claimed work that evening, especially since Arthur was pretty sure that Perce was just sitting in their flat reading the book he’d had sitting on the top of their TBR pile for about two months.
As they made their way through the tunnel, Arthur heard the skittering. He jumped a bit as Ellie grabbed his hand. “Maybe we should have gone through the Perilous Lands?” she muttered.
He squeezed her hand. “Maybe we should have just ordered pizza and watched a movie at home,” he whispered back.
She chuckled. “Well, this is supposed to be a bit scary.”
“They’ve done their job well.” Arthur looked at the wall as if he could actually see whatever was making the faint noise around him.
The group reached a slightly wider area of the tunnel and paused. There were two paths. “Oh, great. Now which one do we follow?” Merlin poked Gwaine in the side. “I don’t want to be in here anymore. This is freaky.”
Gwaine laughed nervously. “Yeah, agreed. Morgana, ideas?”
She shrugged, the motion barely visible in the dim light. “Go to the right?” She started walking toward the right hand tunnel and the sound of skittering started to get louder. Morgana paused. “Um, maybe we should go to the left?”
“Sounds good.” Leon took her hand as they stepped to the left, the skittering sound getting just the tiniest bit fainter. The rest of the group followed. As soon as they all got into the new tunnel a door closed behind them, blocking off the room they’d just come from. “Yeah, let’s just keep going, guys.”
Arthur held Ellie’s hand closely as the two followed the others. He was man enough to admit that this entire haunted maze had scared the bejeezus out of him. Ahead, they saw a faint light that got brighter for a few moments before it faded back out. It only took a minute to reach the spot where the light had been. As they traveled through the tunnel it lightened back up - revealing scores of spiders lining the walls above and around them.
“Ahhhhh!” Arthur screamed as he clenched Ellie’s hand. “Oh, hell, no. We’re done with this,” he yelled over the others’ equally loud yelps and screams. “Leon, Morgana, move your asses. We’re getting out of here now.” He pulled Ellie along with him as he pushed their friends forward.
Thankfully, the tunnel ended after a few more minutes, opening out to a congratulatory sign that they’d survived the maze. It was the next sign that made Arthur laugh. “Come back again? I think not. Gwaine, next year, if we do a corn maze, it’ll be one without any scary shit. Understand?”
Gwaine looked over from where he was cuddling with an even paler than normal Merlin. “Yeah, mate. Gotcha.”
Ellie took in a deep breath. “Arthur, do you think maybe I could stay in your guest room tonight? Perce won’t mind, will he?”
“Ellie, how about we just make a blanket fort in the living room and have Perce guard us both tonight? I doubt I’ll be sleeping otherwise.”
“That sounds pretty good, too, actually.”
Arthur grimaced. “I hate spiders.”
"Hey, Arthur, mind if Leon and I crash your little fort?” Morgana smiled wanly.
Arthur chuckled. “Let’s grab some cider and pizza for everyone while I call Perce and have him grab every blanket and pillow in the flat. We’ll all go to my place after this.”
“Hey, we can watch scary- Ow! Merlin, that hurt!”