Title: Another Fine Mess
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Arthur was having an unbelievably bad day. Merlin wasn’t helping at all.
Word Count: 1054
Camelot_drabble Prompt: pt 427: Love will find a way
Author's Notes: bees have stingers that you have to scrap to get out. If you pinch them, you can make it worse.
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
“Well, this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into,” Arthur yelled into Merlin’s ear. “Do you have any redeeming qualities at all or are you just incompetent at everything you do?”
That they were dangling ten feet off the ground, caught in a net —again, was a given. Considering the day Arthur had been having, it was a wonder that they were still alive what with the bee’s nest Merlin tripped over, the shriek Merlin let out when he was chased by said bees which then scared away the horses which had their food, bedrolls, and at least one of Arthur’s swords still attached to the saddles.
Arthur tried to keep the situation from getting worse by jumping in front of the horses, hoping to grab their reins, but Merlin, his idiot servant and all-around menace, didn’t look where he was going. Instead, swinging his arms around, trying to bat away at angry insects which only made them angrier, Merlin stumbled into Arthur, pushing him out of the way.
Arthur wasn’t sure it wasn’t deliberate.
By then, Arthur had had enough. So furious that he couldn’t even yell at the dollophead, the bees still swarming around them and stinging, he needed to get away from the insects before things got dire.
Grabbing Merlin’s jacket, Arthur ran down to the stream, and shoved Merlin in, diving in after him.
The water was bloody cold, too, but thankfully it was deep enough to stay underwater and wait for the bees to leave. At least Arthur hoped they would leave.
Arthur checked every time he ran out of air. It took several tries before, finally, the coast was clear.
Pulling Merlin up, looking at the blue lips and the way he shivered under Arthur’s grasp, Arthur would have liked to say he had some sympathy, but he was just too irate.
Swatting Merlin’s head, then shoving him away, Arthur said, “The horses are gone, you idiot. What the hell were you thinking?”
Rubbing at where Arthur had hit him, Merlin scowled. “It wasn’t my fault.”
“Do you see anyone else here, then? Some murderous bee sorcerer out to sting us both to death?” Arthur wasn’t having any of it. When Merlin turned mulish and then began to shiver, Arthur said, “Start a fire. You are capable of doing that, right?”
“The flints were in the saddlebag.” Merlin didn’t look any happier about it than Arthur right then.
“Great, just… great.” Grabbing onto Merlin and dragging him along, Arthur stomped off in the direction of the horses. “They can’t have gone far.”
He just hoped he’d find them before they both froze to death, although it was early autumn so that wasn’t likely but then he wasn’t in the mood for splitting hairs.
Scratching at his stings, Merlin kept complaining as he stumbled and grumbled and was a general pain in the arse, but at least it was easy to track the horses. Along the way, Arthur’s cloak had fallen off his horse which was a mercy since it wasn’t getting any warmer. He would have kept it for himself, but Merlin’s shivering was annoying, so Arthur dragged Merlin up next to him and shared his royal cloak.
It was warmer that way and underneath it all, rather nice, but Arthur would rather die than admit it. Plus, Merlin was a snuggler apparently and Arthur was assuredly not. Finally, with the horses in sight, Arthur thrust him out into the cold, and said, “Go get the horses and be quick about it. Or are you too incompetent for even that?”
Merlin elbowed him back. “You prat, it’s not like I did it on purpose.”
But Merlin wasn’t watching his feet, and Arthur shoving him away had absolutely nothing to do with what happened next.
One moment, they were yelling at each other, the next they were captured in a huge net, hanging high over the forest floor, their two bodies mashed together in a highly improper manner.
It was ridiculous that people would put net traps in the middle of the forest unless they were bandits and even then, wouldn’t it have been better to set them closer to the road so that more people could be captured? The whole thing was absurd.
Once they got back to Camelot, Arthur was going to do something about it, like tax the hell out of nets.
It didn’t help that Arthur’s sword was on the ground, and while he had a knife, it could take hours to cut through the thick ropes.
Merlin didn’t say anything, just started bouncing, the tree holding the net beginning to sway, and them, too. But beyond the fact that it was long way down, Merlin’s body kept rubbing up against his own in a rather frantic pace. Not that he was getting excited because net, ground, not good. But he could feel every lump and bump against him. Everything.
With all the bouncing and struggle against the net, Merlin was breathing hard, his mouth close to Arthur’s ear, sometimes brushing against his skin and Arthur stopped thinking about the ground and more about Merlin’s warm, wet… and then the branch broke.
At least one thing went well. They didn’t break anything. Okay, two things. The horses didn’t run away this time.
Arthur rolled over to Merlin, then began to run his hands over him, looking for injuries. Surprisingly, Merlin didn’t complain about that, just started doing the same to Arthur.
Finally, Arthur realised what they were doing, and he shoved Merlin away, then, his face flaming, scrambled up and went over to the horses. Behind him, Merlin said, “Arse.”
Arthur had no idea what just happened, but he felt peculiar, like he wanted to keep doing what they’d been doing. It must have been the fall. He must have hit his head or something because wanting Merlin was just ridiculous.
So, he did what he always does. Ignored it. “When we get back, I want to get out of these wet clothes.” Then his face got hot again when he realised what he’d said. “I mean, it’s uncomfortable and I….”
Merlin just smiled. “Yeah, me, too.”
“Shut up, Merlin.”
But once they got back to Camelot, Arthur had a lot of things to think about and the taxing of nets wasn’t one of them.