Title:Flour, Water, Yeast, and Salt
Character/s:Arthur, Merlin, Gwen
Summary:Merlin's life in under a thousand words is calm and zen like except for one thing.
Warnings:Tis Fluffy with a moment of 'Oh No!'?
Author's Notes:Was supposed to be only the first section with them as kids but something took a turn in my head.
Flour, water, yeast and salt. Flour, water, yeast and salt. Merlin worked at his mother's bakery making bread. Flour water, yeast and salt were really all anyone needed to make bread. and Merlin knew this at the very advanced age of seven. This year since he was tall enough now and old enough he was allowed to help prepare the rolls. He still wasn't allowed near the ovens or the hots pans yet, but he was old enough now to be trusted to hand make the french rolls. He had practiced it for many many years(or at least has many as a seven year old could practice something), and was really good at it now.
Besides, with his help, his mother could take larger orders from customers. Which meant more money for the store, which meant maybe he might get that used PSP from the game shop down the street. All Merlin had to do was come in after school and make rolls.
The trick of making rolls is to get into a rhythm, a pattern of repetition. Cut the dough with the dull bench knife(which really wasn't a knife, and more of a rectangular hard plastic thing), then put the cut piece on the scale. Add more or less so that each roll would be the same size, and then use his hands to shape them. Over and over in a pattern.
It was easy in such a pattern to let thoughts drift to other things, like school or Merlin's pet frogs. Did he need to changed the water today or tomorrow? It was while having such ponderings that he felt a set of eyes on him. The space he worked in was small and off in the corner of the bakery. It was closed off from the customer area, but a large bay window was all that separated Merlin from anyone who was interested in buying the bread.
Normally if anyone was interested it was a mother or father with a small child. At least smaller than Merlin, because apparently bigger kids were too cool to come to bakeries and stare in windows. That was until Merlin spotted the eyes that were watching him today. Actually it was really hard not to notice since the boy in question was definitely Merlin's age and currently had his face smashed up against the glass making a disturbing face. Merlin jumped at the sight and nicked himself with the plastic knife. Nothing dangerous or scar worthy but it pinched. "Stupid Prat." Merlin muttered to himself, and did his best to ignore the idiot making faces at him behind the glass.
It wasn't enough the boy picked on him in school but now having found out where Merlin work, Arthur Pendragon, HAD to come all the way from his posh home with one of his governesses every day.
Being 15 meant Merlin was now responsible for the ovens. It was hard work and it meant he sweat a lot next to the stone hearth used for their bread, but again if he worked hard he might be able to afford that used car down the street. The one with the sign in the window for the last 3 months.
About half way through his first shift as a full fledged baker, the chime of the front door let him know a customer was there. His mom was out for supplies so he would have to cover the counter as well. He dusted himself off with a towel quickly, washed his hands again, and went to the front of the store.
Gwen was standing there hair everywhere and out of breath. She grabbed Merlin by the arm screaming something about Arthur being hurt. Merlin wanted to laugh at her. Arthur could never be hurt. This was the boy who stayed up every friday night watching bad horror movies before running drills in practice on Saturday. This was the boy who came out at school assembly after taking a punch for kissing Merlin on the cheek(Merlin thought he was teasing).
Arthur did not get hurt! Gwen had it wrong!
Flour, water, yeast, salt. He liked it. And so when offered the bakery at the advanced age of 24, his mom comfortably retired knowing her son was happy.
The place always seemed to suit him. He would get into these zones of zen tranquility where nothing and everything seemed to matter. His bones and muscles liked the ache of the long day too. Besides something about it was consistent in its simplicity. He could always count on those basic ingredients providing him with perfect bread. The hearth's warmth would always fight off any chill in his body and the uniquely beautiful face pressed to the glass as Merlin made rolls every afternoon would be that of his husband Arthur.
"Stupid Prat!" Merlin held up his barely pink finger to the glass in accusation, like he did every day, but the hard plastic knife never left a scar, not even a scratch.
"Don't be such a girl!"
Arthur's idea of fun now was traveling the world tasting bread. "Let's stop at this one."
"Arthur! That's not my shop! You can't go pressing your old wrinkly face to windows!" Merlin was retired, and handed off the bakery to Morgana's daughter who seemed to like it better than his and Arthur's son.
"Shut up Merlin! I can do what I want."
"You're going to scare them!"
"Don't be such a jealous girl, I'll still peek at you tonight." Arthur stuck out his tongue at Merlin. Some things never changed.