Title: May Hem
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwen
Summary: Arthur is a prat and Merlin is a wizard with sewing skills. So much for May hems.
Word Count: 800
Camelot_drabble Prompt: pt 459: Mayhem
Author's Notes: The Victoria and Albert Museum in London defines slashing as: “a decorative technique that made regular, spaced cuts into the fabric of a garment, hat or shoe.” From the 1600s.
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
With the May festival coming up, all the nobles needed—demanded new outfits. Even Arthur grumbled about his wardrobe, the pillock, and insisted that he had to have a new cloak in Pendragon Red. Like the other ten cloaks. Only newer.
Merlin, of course, just wore what he always wore. His mum made them, putting all the love and care into every stitch. They were getting a little frayed but his royal arseness didn’t really pay him enough to buy anything new, so repairing them was his only option.
Of course, when Arthur found Merlin hemming his torn tunic, the prat insisted that while Merlin was inept in that as in everything else, the seamstresses had too much to do, and Merlin would make Arthur’s outfits from now on.
Great. It wasn’t bad enough that Merlin had to muck out stables. That was what stable boys were for. Or laundry because you know, laundresses.
The dollop-headed toad did it on purpose, Merlin was sure of it.
So Arthur wanted new outfits? Sew be it.
Gwen gave him the side-eye when he showed her his work. Then she tried to talk him out of it, but he had put a lot of effort into every stitch, just like the spleeny boil-brained flap-dragon demanded. She rolled her eyes, then hurried away before the inevitable explosion.
It didn’t take long.
“Merlin!” roared Arthur.
“You bellowed, sire?” As Merlin looked up, it was hard not to laugh. Bloody hard.
The neckline was fine, but one sleeve was much longer than the other, the hem rippled and sewn together in places so that Arthur looked like he had gained about 20 pounds. One armhole was too tight, the other open down to the elbow. At the wrist were ruffles, lots of ruffles and long enough that they would drag and catch easily on things. And the embroidery work of the ruffle edges was… well, a bit historical? As in the legend of Saint George killing the dragon—only the dragon was winning.
“What the hell is this?” Arthur’s face was furious-red, and his forehead seemed to be throbbing.
Merlin put on his best innocent face. His lips wobbling a bit as if he were about to cry, Merlin said, “You don’t like it? It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I did the embroidery specially for you.”
“You idiot. This is… I can’t go down to the feast in this.” Arthur tried to get out of it again, but it was a struggle, catching half-way and finally, Arthur just cut himself free.
As the monstrosity lay on the floor, Merlin gazed down at it. Then when Arthur just yelled at him to get him something else, Merlin bowed a little, scurrying over and pulled out what was left of the ceremonial robes of the servants of Camelot, all reds and golds and puke green, complete with feathered hat. “This, sire? It’s Pendragon red, and the feathers would compliment your complexion. It’s practically new. Only been worn once.”
“You did this on purpose,” Arthur threw a goblet at Merlin, then kicked at the mis-sewn tunic before picking it up. Scowling at him, shaking the shirt at Merlin, Arthur said, “Well, we can’t have resources go to waste, now can we?” Stalking over to Merlin, he shoved the garment at him. “Put it on.”
“Oh, no, sire, it’s far too precious. Made of the finest silk and the embroidery alone….” Merlin was already backing up, getting ready to escape.
“Put it on or it’s the stocks for you.” Arthur looked serious.
The stocks were sounding pretty good at this point. “But you’ve cut it up. There are holes,” Merlin protested.
“The feast is in ten minutes. I’m sure with your excellent sewing skills, you will fix them in no time,” Arthur smiled, the kind of scary grin that meant no good. “Hurry, now, don’t be late.”
Merlin knew he couldn’t magic it right. Even if he fixed the hem, took off the ruffles and cut the one sleeve shorter, all of Arthur’s knifed slashes in it would just take too long to sew back up.
Then it came to him.
His tunic was a hit. He managed to fix most of the things with a bit of magic, but then instead of sewing up the cuts, he added more in an intricate decorative pattern, then wore one of Arthur’s old tunics underneath so that the white showed through the slashes as he moved.
Before he knew it, others were clamouring for the same style and the seamstresses were busier than ever.
The best thing was that Arthur kept getting congratulated on having such a clever servant. He sent Merlin glowering looks which Merlin returned with a satisfied grin.
Hurray for May hems.