Title: Inside Out – part 6
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Morgana, Gwen, Uther
Summary: Arthur finally goes to the faire.
Word Count: 1117
Camelot_drabble Prompt: pt 419:bingo-round 2- movie night
Author's Notes: I figured in the middle ages, plays were the equivalent of movie night.
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Uther didn’t let up. He sent Arthur on several more dangerous missions and each time if Arthur objected to something or indeed anything in public, Uther would throw him into the dungeons for a night or two. It almost became a game between them.
But as the days grew shorter, Arthur grew more confident. No longer flinching, no longer lowering his eyes, still, he was the obedient son for the most part. In public, yes, but privately, he and Uther had a series of arguments that got loud enough to penetrate the solid wood doors of the council chamber. Merlin wasn’t privy to them, but afterwards Arthur would often let out little hints about what went on.
Surprisingly, Arthur also relaxed more, insulted Merlin more, even smiled at Morgana more which drove her crazy.
But most important of all, Arthur agreed, if somewhat reluctantly, to go to the faire with Merlin.
Merlin was over the moon with excitement. Not only was Arthur finally coming out of his shell but there was going to be a play, not just with puppets, but real people on stage. Merlin didn’t understand why men played all the parts, something about modesty and decorum, so Merlin tried hard not to laugh when Helen of Troy came onstage decked in colorful clothes and a long beard. And when ‘she’ and Paris were moaning out their passion in the garden – a bunch of fake trees wasn’t a garden but Merlin thought he’d just ignore that part, it was so over the top that Merlin had to slip away for fear of Arthur jabbing him in the side to keep him quiet. He had enough bruises as it was.
Afterwards, Arthur just rolled his eyes and said, “You know that it was a play from ancient Greece. And it’s said that my family is descended from Aeneas who escaped Troy. So in a way, it’s the story of my family.”
“Some family,” Merlin said, snickering. He stopped when Arthur sent him a glare. “Arthur, I tried hard not to laugh but the beards and the moaning and when Paris kept spitting out Helen’s hair. There were bits of apple in her beard, did you notice?”
Shaking a finger in Merlin’s face, close enough that Merlin tried hard not to cross his eyes, Arthur said, “Of course, I noticed. Who wouldn’t? But if you keep this up, I won’t take you to another faire.”
Merlin grinned as he stepped back out of Arthur’s way. At least Arthur was thinking about going to more faires and that was definitely a win for Merlin. Turning, using his chin to point at the last of the players taking their bows, Merlin said, “Well, at least Achilles and his Patroclus were sweet. Sacrificing everything for love. I hope I find that kind of love someday.”
“I hope so, too.” For a moment, Arthur sounded wistful.
Not wanting Arthur to go all sad on him, the man got enough of that with Uther, Merlin said, “So are you enjoying your faire? We’ve not done the knife throwing or dunking for apples, and the horse dancing is next. Did you notice that Morgana won another prize for Gwen? She’s really good at that. And Gwen giving her the last piece of pie.”
“How come you didn’t get me any pie?” Arthur was looking at him as if he were the worst servant in the Five Kingdoms. He was pouting, too, the git.
Tart and trying to sound annoyed but not really, nodding down toward Arthur’s stomach, Merlin said, “You’d already had two and I didn’t want to put another notch in your belt. It’s straining a bit as it is. Any more and I’ll have to let out your clothes. Again.”
Pretending offense, Arthur sputtered a little, “I’ll have you know I’m fighting fit.”
“Fighting maybe but fit…” With that, Merlin gave Arthur a shove, then took off at a run, grinning as he looked behind him.
Arthur was right on his tail, and even running as fast as he could, Merlin was tackled within seconds. Then they were both rolling around in the grass, wrestling to see who could get the upper hand. Finally, Arthur, lummox that he was, sat on Merlin and began raising his arms in a kind of sitting down victory dance.
Laughing so much that he could hardly breathe, Merlin didn’t notice Morgana and Gwen staring down at them both.
Finally, Morgana said, “I believe the wrestling competition is in the next field over. Although you might not want to wear Merlin out since he’s been talking about the dancing horses for days now and it starts in a few minutes.”
Arthur didn’t move though. He just smirked at Morgana and bounced a little on Merlin’s stomach. “Merlin just has to overpower me and he’s free to go. Right, Merlin?”
Fighting fit, indeed. The arse was heavy. Knowing that he didn’t have the strength to throw him off without being sneaky about it, Merlin used other tactics. Pointing to the food tent, Merlin said, in a loud obnoxious voice, “Oh, look Arthur, they just brought out more pies.”
Arthur glared down at him, looking as if he knew Merlin was insulting him but Arthur didn’t seem to care. Chuckling, he stood, then pulled Merlin up, too, before leaving them behind as he started toward the food tent.
For a moment, Merlin stood there, listening to the sound of laughter and cheers coming from the faire, music, too, and the jingle of horses.
“Arthur is happier than I’ve ever seen him.” Morgana said, watching Arthur walk away. “I assume it’s all your doing.”
Looking at them both, he shook his head. “Not me. I’m just the bumbling servant who gets tackled on a regular basis.”
Gwen giggled, covering her mouth with her hand. “He certainly likes to do that.”
Merlin grinned. “It beats getting bashed on the head with a mace which he also likes to do. And swinging swords at me and using me for target practice. I’ll take wrestling any day.”
“He does like having you around,” Morgana said, trying to hide a smile. “Despite him being a prat, he’s grown kinder. And don’t think we haven’t noticed your influence.”
“He’ll be a great king someday.” Softer, almost in a whisper, Merlin said, “And I hope he’ll stay my friend, too.”
But before they could say anything else, Arthur came bounding up the hill, shouting, “Come on, Merlin, you’re going to miss the horses.” Then from behind his back, he brought out a pie and handed it to Merlin. “Oh, and it’s blackberry, your favorite. You can eat it on the way.”
And Merlin did.