“Just surrender and give us the hostage already!”
Arthur winced when he heard the aggravated tone of what must have been one of his bodyguards Percy or Percival or whatever his name was. He’d lost count of who his security was after the fourteenth time he’d been kidnapped and/or threatened with an assassination attempt. It was getting a bit ridiculous how many people wanted to either a) kill him b) get revenge on his father for screwing up their lives in some convoluted way c) gain a lot of money, probably to do more kidnapping or d) all of the above.
It had come to the point where Arthur just expected that he’d gain another set of bodyguards every other day, since it was apparently difficult to find competent protection these days.
He needed a drink.
Beside him, not tied up in chains but equally as threatened by the man who held gun to his back, and tied by the wrists, was a poor museum employee who had just happened to walk in as this group of (what were they this time? Terrorists? Arthur didn’t remember) thugs had gathered everyone up in the room and asked for Arthur Pendragon. Now they were both hostages.
Despite the gravity and life-threatening aspect of the situation (as well as the well-armed men surrounding them with god knows how much artillery), Arthur quirked up a smile.
“I can’t believe you were stupid enough to walk into another hostage situation again, Emrys.”
The kid, Merlin, let out a startled laugh, “Yes, well, I can’t believe you were stupid enough to get kidnapped again.”
It was probably suicidal to giggle, but neither of them could resist grinning like the pair of idiots they were.
The first time Arthur met Merlin, he’d been at a dinner party for a baroness of some sort. She was famous for her opera (or was it just solo work?) or something to that effect. It didn’t really matter. What did matter was that she tried to kill Arthur with a pistol that she pulled out from her dress after knocking everyone else out with sleeping gas.
Merlin had been working as one of the waiters and had stepped out for a smoke. When he came back in to see everyone unconscious, he tackled the drowsy Arthur to the ground before his brains could be shot into the walls and then (coincidentally) a chandelier had fallen on top of whatever her name was and killed her.
His father had been so pleased that he offered Merlin a job as Arthur’s personal servant which Merlin had politely declined with an idiotic smile (which Arthur had not spent hours after envisioning in his head, thank you very much.) All he had asked for was to remain anonymous and then with a final embarrassed smile, vanished from the party.
The second time Arthur met Merlin, he’d been kidnapped by a crazy and delusional woman named Sophia who was convinced that they were going to be married and live happily ever after. She’d taken a tied up and gagged Arthur into a chapel where her father was apparently a priest who would marry them.
Sophia had stumbled into one of the altar boys, who was apologizing for getting candle wax all over her clothes, when the altar boy’s eyes had widened at the sight of Arthur (whose hood had fallen off.)
“Mmmmf?” Merlin? Arthur had tried to say through his gag.
The altar boy’s eyes widened. “Sire?”
Panicking, Sophia tried to stab Merlin with one of the candlesticks at one of the displays but Merlin had ducked out of the way and somehow locked her into one of the confession stalls. When his bodyguards and his father had come to collect him, Merlin had already tended to Arthur’s wounds and was again refusing the knighthoods and rewards showered upon him.
The third, fourth and fifth time that Arthur had met Merlin ended the same way. Arthur being kidnapped and/or about to be killed, and Merlin as the random store clerk/taxi driver/civilian who just happened to be in the way.
“You know, you are much more efficient at protecting my son than any of these other idiots,” Uther noted once it was clear that Merlin had a habit for saving the prince’s life. “You should become his personal bodyguard.”
Merlin’s eyes widened. “But I have no training, I can’t even hurt a kitten—” This, Arthur could believe, “—maybe—”
“No, I insist,” Uther grinned predatorily.
This made Merlin the official protector of Arthur Pendragon (because companion made him sound like a concubine... and that was just odd.)
Arthur had smirked when Merlin complained to him, “Well, you should probably stop taking so many part time jobs that attract kidnappers and assassins.”
“It’s not my fault, you pillock! You’re the one who gets me fired from them!”
It was the start of a beautiful friendship.
“It was supposed to be my day off,” Merlin moaned after he had miraculously escaped his binds and then coincidentally knocked all of the kidnappers out with the butt of their own pistols. “Can’t you have one day where people aren’t out to get you?”
“Not my fault that your idea of a ‘day off’ seems to include more work,” Arthur snorted. “Besides I’m fine now, thanks to you.”
Merlin rolled his eyes, and stood up to walk out the door. “Stop thanking me, I’m just a university student.”
Arthur grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him close so that their chests were touching and their lips were inches away from each other.
“Now, you and I both know that’s not exactly true, Mer-lin,” he whispered.
Hints of gold sparked in his sorcerer’s eyes in amusement, “As you say, sire.”
They spent the next twenty minutes that it took for the police to burst through the doors kissing the daylights out of each other.