Title: Late night workouts
Word count: 866
Summary: Arthur needs to find out where Merlin is late at night
Author’s notes: Not beta’d. Yay! What else is new? Happy Easter! This is set in season 5ish and totally canon AU.
“Where’s Merlin?“ Arthur threw a look around that made the guard take a step back.
“I…I don’t know…” The man stammered.
Ignoring that, Arthur stomped down the corridor. Where was his useless manservant when he needed him? It was close to midnight, so he was probably in his bed, so that was a place to look for him. He didn’t care that he would wake up Gaius as he opened the door.
To his surprise, Gaius was still busy with some of his experiments. “Sir, what are you doing here so late at night?”
“Looking for my manservant. Is he warming his skinny arse under blanket, snoring loudly?”
“Err…no, Sir. He’s…”
“If you say ‘in the tavern’ now, I’ll toss you into the dungeons.” He wouldn’t and Gaius knew that, but it felt good throwing this threat around once in a while. “I know he’s never in the tavern when someone tells me he is. If he were, he’d have a severe problem and wouldn’t be such a lightweight when it comes to ale.”
“He’s…” Gaius was clearly searching for an answer to that.
“Gathering herbs that can only be plucked by the full moon?” Arthur crossed his arms in front of his chest and threw Gaius a look.
The old man shrugged and decided to now answer at all.
Sighing, Arthur turned and left again. It wasn’t that he really needed Merlin for anything right now. He just wanted to know where he was every time he went missing. How could he protect him from the evils of the kingdom when he always wandered off? And if he were honest, every time Merlin was gone, he couldn’t try to…well, you know…get on his good side and make him see that he was so much more than a servant for him?
He stopped and hid behind a pillar when he heard footsteps at the end of the corridor.
“You think so?” That was clearly Merlin’s voice.
“Of course. Everyone with eyes to see notices that you almost burst out of that shirt of yours. All the logs I made you haul around built up nice muscles in your shoulders and arms. Maybe we should start working on your legs, too. Running up and down the stairs for an hour a day would be too obvious, wouldn’t it be?” Percival. Clearly Percival.
“What if he will never notice?” Merlin sounded sad and that alarmed Arthur. Or course he had noticed that Merlin’s shoulders had gotten a lot wider lately and that Merlin had built up a lot more strength in his upper body but he had always thought that was because of all the chores he put on him.
“He will. Give him some credit, he’s not as dumb as some people think.” Percival laughed.
So someone, a male someone, had caught Merlin’s interest and he went through a tough work-out to look better and catch that someone’s attention? Fierce jealousy shot through Arthur. Merlin was his! If he hadn’t managed to show him that before, he had to work harder to make Merlin forget that other man.
“But…I’m around him every day and it’s always just ‘Merlin this’ and ‘Merlin that’. It’s never ‘Hey, Merlin, you look tired, come sit with me’ or ‘This lunch is way too much, want some of it?’” Merlin sounded defeated and tired.
“Hey, don’t give up. Arthur will come around. He usually has weird ways of showing people that he likes them. Stick to our training and have a bit more patience. And if he really isn’t interested, I know a knight or two who are.”
What? Who? WHAT? Merlin was interested in him and was going through all of that to make him more appealing for him? And who were those knights that had an interest in Merlin? He would throw them in the dungeons for sure!
Merlin chuckled and then yawned. “I should get some sleep. I’m sure his royal pratness wants something stupid or other again early in the morning.” He paused a moment. “Thanks, Percival, I really appreciate what you’re doing for me.”
Arthur couldn’t see it from where he was hidden, but he was certain that Percival shrugged at that.
“I can finally show someone what I do to stay fit, that’s…”
There was probably another shrug before both men said their good-nights.
Arthur pondered to just step out from behind the pillar and confront Merlin but he thought about that a moment too long and Merlin had passed him on his way to his chamber.
Waiting until the footsteps had trailed off in the distance, Arthur took a deep breath and made his way back to his own. He needed to make a plan to let Merlin know that he indeed had noticed the physical change, that he’d had no issue with Merlin’s former physique at all and that the midnight work-out sessions had to stop as they wore Merlin out. Maybe they could make room in the knights’ schedule for official work-outs and make Percival the head instructor as he knew a thing or two about it.
And most of all, he would share his breakfast with Merlin first thing in the morning.