Rating: NC-17 next part
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Arthur needs a photo taken
Word Count: 837
Author's Notes: Sorry guys, got a bit carried away, needed to split it in two...
Merlin sits in his studio and waits, playing around with Photoshop on his laptop. His first client after lunch is late. It’s one Arthur Pendragon, who Merlin knows from his quick googling research is a rising political star. This photograph will be for a magazine interview, one Merlin’s never heard of but pays well enough. From the looks of things this Pendragon is only doing the interview because his sister owns the magazine.
So really, Merlin isn’t looking forward to this.
The one thing he never allows himself to do is look up images of his clients online before they arrive. He doesn’t want to be influenced by what anyone else has done with them; wants to see them for what they are the first time they meet, instead of through someone else’s lens.
If he had, he reasons as Arthur Pendragon strides straight into his studio, he would’ve been a lot more excited for their meeting. Because Arthur’s gorgeous; everything Merlin loves to capture on film. Everything he loves to worship in the flesh, too, but Arthur won’t be finding out about that. That golden hair and those blue eyes; it’s a cliché, he knows, but they’re perfect to photograph. And he’s just the right build to be beautiful but human; accessible. He has just the right mix of muscle and a slight lack of tone; they don’t ripple under his shirt as he moves but there’s a definite strength there.
“I have an appointment with Merlin Emrys,” Arthur says as he strides in, setting his briefcase down and looking straight at Merlin, “Show me through to him, I’m late.”
Merlin looks him over once more, before closing the lid of his laptop. He may be beautiful, but he’s insufferable.
“I’m Merlin,” he says, slipping into his good businessman mode. It doesn’t pay to lose your manners. “If you’d like to come to stand over here, I’ll just adjust the lighting.”
Arthur does as he’s told, standing stiffly in front of the background sheet while Merlin tilts the lights to hit him just right.
“Can we make this quick? My lunch meeting overran and I’m meant to be on a train very soon.”
“It’ll take as long as it takes, Arthur, more if you don’t relax.”
Merlin steps away from the lights and then behind his camera tripod. He tests the light levels and adjusts the settings. Arthur taps his feet.
“So, what sort of a shot are you looking for?” Merlin asks.
“Well, there must be an image you want to present.”
“The PR people want me to be the young, accessible politician, on the side of the youth.”
Merlin nods, lines up the camera.
“And are you?” Arthur looks confused for a moment, before realising that Merlin’s continuing the conversation. He shrugs.
“I’d like to help the students and the young unemployed and all of that, but there are other factors and it’s not as easy as the newspapers make it out to be.”
“I can understand that.”
Arthur smiles back, but it’s more wry than friendly. Merlin snaps it anyway, and checks the screen. He looks like the archetypal politician with secrets to hide. It won’t do at all.
On impulse, Merlin takes his camera off the tripod. Arthur needs to loosen up, so he’ll make the setting less formal.
“What did you talk to the interviewer about, then?” Merlin asks, trying to get Arthur into a relaxed atmosphere.
“I’m really not at liberty to say. There are some exclusives in there that I’d rather not come out in another format before the publishing date.”
“But I’m only the photographer.”
Merlin is silent for a while, kneeling to get the angle he wants, clicking away. Arthur clears his throat after a while.
“What are you doing?”
“Oh, sorry, I forgot. You’re too good a subject.”
“What do you mean by that?”
Merlin blushes a little bit, flaps his arms, flustered.
“Well, you know, the colours are right, and the angles, and you’re-” he waves his hands, expressively, “Proportioned. Well.”
“Mr Emrys, do you think I’m pretty?”
“Now, I didn’t say that.”
Arthur smiles, self-satisfied and smug. Merlin snaps that, but it won’t do either, too self-absorbed by far. Merlin rolls his eyes and goes to sit down on his sofa, the other side of the room.
“Where are you going?” Arthur asks.
“I’m going to wait for you to play nicely. I give up. You won’t talk and let me set you at ease, you won’t do a fake smile.”
Merlin flops onto the sofa and curls around a cushion. Arthur’s eyes soften as he watches him.
“I didn’t want to tell you what I said because I come out in that interview. It’s a gay magazine, Merlin, I’m surprised you didn’t notice it.”
And wow, Merlin really should get in touch with the LGBT community a little more, because it sounds like the magazine is pretty well known.
“What can I say? I live under a rock.”