Title: Forecast: Mild and Sunny
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur insists on a picnic. Things happen.
Word Count: 987
Prompt: 36 - mistletoe
Author's Notes: This prompt demands fluff. Seeing as Arthur, Gwen and Merlin are always going on a picnic this series, I chose a picnic as the setting.
Merlin woke to a brilliantly sunny morning that was surprisingly without the usual, bone-chilling damp that crept through the thick walls of Camelot half the year. After enduring a slew of foggy, wet days, the sky was finally clear, the air crisp and as the sun rose, the temperature was downright warm.
Arthur was whistling when Merlin entered his chambers with fresh fruit. "Today, my dear Merlin, is a day for a picnic," he declared. "Pack up a hamper and a blanket. It may be almost the winter solstice, but we're not missing a gorgeous day like this."
"What about Gwen?"
"Gwen?" Arthur looked blank. "Oh, Gwen will find us, I'm sure. She's gone off to do some holiday shopping in the lower town. I don't want to miss a moment of sunshine."
"No holiday shopping for you?" Merlin teased.
"Mer-lin." Arthur glared at him. Apparently kings didn't shop for gifts.
It took no time at all to find a suitable spot on the edge of the woods and Merlin laid out the blanket and the provisions, then stood to the side. It was a bit odd without Gwen. Arthur looked at him, pleased, then fell on the blanket, folded his arms under his head and looked up at the sky with a mile-wide grin. After a moment, he glanced at Merlin. "Well? What are you waiting for? Get down here."
"Oh. I wasn't sure..."
"Come on. It's too beautiful a day and there's more than enough food to share." Arthur rolled on his side to look at Merlin more directly. His relaxed, happy expression lightened Merlin's heart. It wasn't often that Arthur smiled so freely these days.
"Alright. Why not?" He joined Arthur on the blanket, sitting cross-legged next to him. They started in on the food: some leftover chicken, bread, cheese and apples. Merlin gazed at the sky, pointing out various shapes he saw in the clouds: a boat, a dog, a tulip. Arthur was right. The day was glorious and Merlin was perfectly happy to be outside in the sunshine chatting with Arthur instead of doing his chores in the chill damp of the castle.
They finished eating and Arthur laid back on the blanket, looking blissful and satisfied. He closed his eyes while Merlin kept watch - you never knew what dangers might be lying in wait around Camelot. But after awhile, the meal and the warm sun got to him too; his attention drifted and his eyelids grew heavy. He inspected the immediate area. It looked safe enough, as far as he could tell, and his sixth sense about threats to Arthur didn't tell him otherwise. So he lay down next to Arthur and immediately fell asleep.
A bird crying from the forest woke Merlin from a pleasant dream about his mother's apple pie. He felt soft fabric under his palm and steady, warm breath on his face. With a start, he realised his arm was around Arthur's waist and his head was resting on Arthur’s shoulder. Thankfully, Arthur slept on. After a moment's hesitation, Merlin resumed his position. After all, they'd slept in all kinds of strange circumstances before - dangling in a net, for example. The sun heated Merlin's face and he soon was swept back into his dreams.
When Merlin's eyes opened a short time later, he could feel a blue gaze on him. His head was nestled on Arthur's arm, which cradled him with a hand around his shoulder. His entire side was curled into Arthur, and to top it off, he'd lopped his foot over Arthur's leg. No wonder he'd kept sleeping; it was quite cozy wrapped in the safety of Arthur’s body.
"Hello," Arthur said, terribly near and intimate. Merlin jerked but Arthur held him tightly. "No, don't move. This is nice, don't you think? Comfy. We don’t often get to do this sort of thing at the castle when Gwen’s about."
Merlin wrinkled his brow - had Arthur been enchanted again? - but he stayed put. "Yes?" he ventured. Of course it was nice. It was Arthur.
Arthur pulled him in even closer, so their bodies were flush against each other. Merlin swallowed, both nervous and delighted. "Besides. If you look up there," Arthur pointed to the tree branch above them, "there's mistletoe." Arthur arched an eyebrow.
Merlin looked and sure enough, there was a spray of white berries nestled in shiny green foliage. "Oh." His heart began racing. "Will you look at that."
"And you know what that means." Arthur smirked, his eyes growing dark. His lips met Merlin's and Merlin closed his eyes. Arthur's mouth was all warm, lush sensation and for a moment, Merlin lost all sense of where he was. Before things could get too heated, Arthur pulled back, his face flushed, eyes bluer than ever. "That's alright, isn't it?"
In answer, Merlin reached hungrily for Arthur and pulled him back in.
By late afternoon, they were headed back to the castle. Merlin tried to gather his wits, still dazed from the afternoon's activities. An idiotic smile kept stealing across his face. Arthur was more restrained, but continually darted glances at Merlin from under his lashes. It was difficult to slough off the intimacies they’d just shared and resume the master-servant relationship.
They dallied in the hallway. “I guess I’ll just, you know, take these things back to the kitchen,” Merlin said, not wanting to let go of the mood just yet.
“I suppose you should do that,” Arthur agreed. And yet they couldn’t seem to part, their eyes caught helplessly in each other’s. “Oh, for heaven’s sake,” Arthur said before dragging Merlin to an empty banquet hall. “See? Mistletoe,” he said somewhat impatiently, pointing to the decorations of seasonal greenery.
“Oh, mistletoe!” Merlin said, dropping the picnic bags and laughing as Arthur hauled him into an alcove and greedily attacked his mouth.