Title: Third Time, No Charm
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: The Universe conspires against Arthur and Merlin having a pleasant afternoon – now featuring angry sorcerers and daddy issues.
Word Count: 646
Prompt: #75 Foolish
Author's Notes: One of this days I'm going to work out something resembling a plot, I swear! This is a continuation of my last entry. Thanks to keire_ke for help!
"Foolish" was Uther's favourite word when it came to describing Arthur. Sometimes he would even go for "irresponsible" or, on several memorable occasions, "absurd".
His trip to the Rising Sun would most definitely by classified as the latter.
Making himself look inconspicuous was a lot easier when the crowd's attention was focused on the arena. Now that the show was over he was getting odd looks a few people looked like they might have recognized him. The growing discomfort sent him looking for Merlin.
Ah. There he was, emerging from the shower, with his hair all damp, his clothing indecently tight, wearing an expression of anxious innocence.
Arthur couldn't fight off a grin.
They'd made arrangements to go—places, in what had to be the single most awkward conversation Arthur has ever participated in, his coming-out included. But ah, the future was bright again when Merlin smiled at him like that.
Suddenly his smile faded and he grabbed Arthur's wrist – presumptuous, but pleasant – and began tugging him towards the exit.
"Come on," he murmured. "Let's go."
That spiked Arthur's curiosity enough to make him turn around and survey the crowds. Sure enough, at least two people were staring at them – a pretty young woman with startling blue eyes and a guy with a beard and a smug expression to match.
"No time," Merlin hissed. He was no match for Arthur – physically, Arthur amended, and shuddered at the memory of Merlin tossing his magic around – but he made up the difference in body mass with sheer stubbornness.
Arthur followed him outside, onto the brightly lit street. It was a lovely day for a first date, with the sun high up in the blue sky. If only they could get out of this run-down district…
Merlin was actually dragging him towards the buildings, instead of the nearest bus that got the hell out of here. He found a narrow alley and manhandled Arthur against the wall, keeping him in place with both hands on Arthur's shoulders.
Definitely presumptuous. But not, in any meaning of the word, unpleasant.
"Shh," Merlin said, his brow furrowing in concentration. Arthur tried to twist around to get a better view. Merlin responded by leaning forward and putting more of his body weight into holding him still. The freshly-washed hair tickled Arthur's face.
Arthur held his breath.
Soon enough the tension seeped out of Merlin's muscles and the expression on his face relaxed into something much more fitting a date-type scenario. This, however, finally made him take notice of the position they were in, his eyes widening slightly.
"Um," he said.
"Yeah," Arthur agreed.
They parted and made an awkward show of straightening their clothes.
"So," said Arthur, "will you tell me what that was about?"
"Oh! Oh. You see," Merlin seemed momentarily happy for the change in topic. "You, erm. Remember when I told you magic is essentially harmless and can only be used for good?"
Arthur raised both his eyebrows.
"Well," Merlin said. "That was Nimueh, High Priestess of the Old Religion. And the guy was Alvarr, renegade Druid. They are—the other kind."
He paused, as if to let that information sink in. He wasn't meeting Arthur's eyes.
"Merlin," Arthur said, exasperated. "What have you gotten yourself into?"
"Nothing important. I'll deal with that."
Arthur felt that banging his head against the nearest wall would be in order. For now though he settled on rubbing the bridge of his nose between forefinger and thumb.
"If it's any consolation," he said. "I never actually believed you."
"That's a good thing, right?" Merlin grinned.
What it most likely probably wasn't, was a good way to start a relationship. Arthur could almost hear his father's cry "Foolishness!" in his best scandalized voice.
Oh, whatever. It seemed as if all the best things in his life started out that way.