Title: Storming the Castle
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Buying gifts for a rich prat is hard but Arthur did love puzzles.
Word Count: 500
Camelot_drabble Prompt: pt 444: Puzzle
Author's Notes: modern AU, yes, this puzzle exists.
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Buying things for rich people, Arthur the prat being a prime example, was always a problem for Merlin. Not that he was destitute, far from it, but it wasn’t like he could just pop into the local shop and buy whatever struck his fancy.
When he saw the King Arthur castle in 3-D puzzle form, he knew he’d found something perfect. Arthur was a bit of a control freak, everything in its place, and he loved puzzles. Plus hey, Merlin would always mock Arthur mercilessly about it. King Arthur and Merlin and a Camelot puzzle? It was almost like it was meant to be.
But Merlin wasn’t going to make it easy. Merlin knew that most of the others would have spent hundreds of pounds on fancy electronics or jumpers in soft cashmere or tickets to sold-out concerts for Arthur’s birthday. A plain box with a puzzle inside would certainly not impress.
Gathering lots of cartons in various sizes, Merlin began to cover them up in newspapers and left-over wrapping paper, making them look as festive as he could as he put one box inside another and another and another. When he was done, he had a dozen boxes fitted like nesting dolls. The largest could barely fit through the door.
When Merlin showed up with it, Arthur gave him the stink eye, trying to figure out what Merlin was doing, but Merlin just grinned back, a gormless smile and eyelashes fluttering as if daring him to call Merlin out.
Arthur, of course, being an absolute pillock, waited until the end of the evening to open Merlin’s gift. Paper flying, boxes tumbling around Arthur like a miniature Stonehenge, when he finally pulled out the puzzle box, Arthur’s eyes lit up.
“I always knew you were a puzzle,” Arthur said, reaching over and giving Merlin a one-armed hug.
“Fathom me out?” Merlin said, waggling his eyebrows.
“Help me, would you, to put it together, just like King Arthur and his geeky pointy-hatted Merlin did?” Arthur gave him another squeeze, then let him go.
“I’ll just use my magic, and it will be done in no time.” Merlin splayed out his fingers, pretending to summon magic.
Arthur hugged the puzzle box to his chest. “Don’t you dare! The best part is putting it together.”
“It always is,” Merlin said, then reached over and shoved Arthur into the largest of the boxes.
Laughing, Arthur pulled Merlin down until they were squeezed together surrounded by cardboard, a large box falling on top of them.
Around them, Merlin could hear muffled sounds of the party but nestled there with Arthur, he felt warm and alive and so very happy.
It was only when Arthur grinned at him, then began to snog him senseless that Merlin knew just how perfect it was. That in the coming days, they would build the castle together and then Merlin would push and Arthur would pull and they’d tumble down and maybe create new puzzles between them.
Merlin couldn’t wait.