Title: Smile for the Camera
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Reincarnated!Arthur finds a camera. He thinks it just makes pretty lights.
Word Count: 676
Author's Notes: Reincarnated!Arthur is fun. :D
“Arthur?” Merlin called, poking his head into their bedroom.
A bright flash went off in his face.
“Ow!” Merlin rubbed his eyes furiously. “A little warning would be nice!”
“But Merlin! Look! Look!” Arthur cried, bounding to Merlin’s side and yanking Merlin’s hands away from his face.
“Look at what?” Merlin asked, amused at Arthur’s excitement. Almost amused enough to forgive Arthur for blinding him for several moments without warning. Almost.
“This, Merlin!” Arthur exclaimed, shoving something into Merlin’s face.
Merlin took the thing from Arthur and chuckled when he saw what it was. “A camera?”
“Yes, exactly,” Arthur said, nodding furiously. “A chimera.”
Merlin spluttered a laugh. “Not a chimera, Arthur. A camera.”
“Right,” Arthur sniffed. “Well, it’s brilliant and it makes flashes.” Arthur promptly snatched back the camera and started clicking away, watching the flashes of light with poorly concealed awe. After several minutes of this, Arthur finally exclaimed, “It’s like magic! See?” Arthur pointedly clicked the camera in Merlin’s direction again, making the flash go off.
“Magic’s more than pretty flashing lights, you know,” Merlin replied, rolling his eyes. “Besides, cameras do a lot more than you seem to think.”
Arthur looked down at the device in his hand with widening eyes. “What else does it do?”
Merlin laughed. “It’s meant to take photos. That’s what the flash is for. It adds light when there is none so you can see the image.”
“Photos?” Arthur asked, eyebrows furrowing.
Merlin smiled ruefully. “Sometimes I forget how long you’ve been gone.” Merlin winced as soon as the words left his mouth. Because, no. He didn’t. He never forgot those long lonely centuries without Arthur, and he thanked the gods every morning when he woke up with Arthur’s head beside his on the pillows.
Arthur shot Merlin a small smile, exuberance receding in favor of memories of a time long past. Merlin reached for Arthur’s hand and gave it a squeeze, simultaneously giving and seeking comfort.
Arthur finally broke the silence by saying, “Well, tell me what this thing can do then, Merlin.”
Merlin took the camera from Arthur and held it up to his face. “Smile!” he said cheerfully.
Arthur frowned. The flash went off in his face anyway.
“Suit yourself,” Merlin said with a shrug, ignoring the puzzled look on Arthur’s face.
Merlin opened up the pictures folder on the camera and held it out to Arthur. Arthur’s jaw dropped open as he saw his own face frowning back at him. Arthur quickly snatched the camera from Merlin’s hand and rushed over to a mirror. He looked at his own face in the mirror, then at the picture in the camera. Then he held the camera up to the mirror and stared at it and his own face at the same time.
“It’s me!” Arthur gasped.
“But I’m right here!”
“But how – “
“I’m afraid I don’t know enough about photography to explain how it works, Arthur. But it happens. It captures a snapshot t of real life and translates it into an image on here.” Merlin reached for the camera again and plugged the memory card into the computer. Arthur followed his movements with rapt attention. After some fiddling, Merlin printed out the picture of Arthur he’d just taken and handed it to him.
“Sorcery!” was Arthur’s only response.
“Afraid not,” Merlin replied, grinning at Arthur’s fascination. “Just science. You know what science is at least, don’t you, Sire?”
Arthur glared. Then he snapped another picture, flash going off in Merlin’s face abruptly.
The next morning, Merlin woke to several dozen pictures of himself sleeping scattered on Arthur’s side of the bed. Merlin picked up the only one of Arthur, in which he was wrapped in his Pendragon cloak from Camelot. Merlin gave a soft smile.
Another flash went off in his eyes. Merlin looked up in surprise to find Arthur standing in the doorway, still dressed in the cloak, camera in one hand, and a photo album in the other.
Merlin smiled for the camera.