Title: The King Still Sees
Characters: Merlin, Arthur, Uther
Summary: “Son, your lack of progress with Merlin is appalling,” Uther says one morning over breakfast, while he is eating his guilty pleasure, cocoa puffs.
Warnings: crack, fluff, pre-slash, implied reincarnation, matchmaking
Word Count: 849
Author’s Notes: Stand-alone. But also the sort-of sequel to “Hints of Gold.” I don’t even know where this came from, probably the crack filled section of my brain. Thanks to everyone who set up the 5th prompt, it’s a very good one!
It takes only the first time that Merlin saves his life for Arthur to admit that he might have a slight attraction to skinny, endearing, big-eared waiters with adorable smiles. The second and third time that Merlin accidentally saves his life, Arthur realizes that he has more than an attraction, it’s a crush. Merlin is funny, witty and doesn’t care who his father is.
The next few encounters aren’t as smooth, as when Arthur tries to flirt with Merlin; his father is too busy trying to present Merlin with Nobel prizes and medals for bravery. The startled university student is out of the palace before Uther can intimidate him with more riches and Arthur spends the rest of the day sulking.
Kidnapping/assassination attempts six and seven are worse because apparently pulling Merlin’s metaphorical pigtails don’t work well as pick-up lines. It isn’t his fault that Merlin is slow and oblivious to his affections. What else could his calling him a ‘clumsy oaf with big ears’ mean? It certainly didn’t warrant having a cart of oranges thrown at him (that’s another story altogether.)
The frustrating thing is that Merlin always has a knowing look in his eye when Arthur calls him names, as if he really does know what Arthur is up to but is playing the fool to watch his struggle.
It makes Arthur want to kick something.
“Son, your lack of progress with Merlin is appalling,” Uther says one morning over breakfast, while he is eating his guilty pleasure, cocoa puffs.
Arthur spits out his coffee and nearly breaks the pitcher of milk in his spasm.
“I’m sorry, father. What did you say?”
Uther looks unimpressed, as usual, and continues to eat his cereal in the scariest way possible.
“The boy, Merlin, you are interested in him, aren’t you?”
“Uh... you mean in a romantic way...?” Arthur flounders. “Because, um, I’m definitely not, you know, he’s an idiot—”
“An idiot who has saved your life more times than you can count.”
“...and I don’t generally like men that way...”
“Arthur, I’ve known that you were bisexual before you were even born—”
This time he really does break the pitcher, “What?!”
“—and even an idiot could see how you pine away after him. He’s a remarkable fellow, better than those gold digging floozies you used to date as a teenager. At least you can’t get him accidentally pregnant—”
“But... but what about the crown? And heirs?”
His father folds his hands together, “Honestly, Arthur, Morgana can be Queen if you like. Besides, we have plenty of relatives eager for the monarchy and if you still want to be King, the law can be changed to account for your lover.”
“...I’ve walked into some alternate dimension, haven’t I? Next thing you’ll tell me is that Morgana’s actually my reincarnated evil half-sister who’s bent on taking over the world.”
Uther only glares at Arthur menacingly over the breakfast table and it’s oddly reassuring.
After kidnapping/wooing attempts number twelve and thirteen end with Arthur getting pushed into a puddle (on purpose) and a river (this one was accidental) he is desperate enough to ask his father for some advice.
“Flowers,” Uther answers. “I always got your mother flowers.”
“But I tried those!”
Well, technically, he had shoved a bouquet of daisies into Merlin’s face and muttered something about finding them unpleasant so they’d be a perfect match for the adorable git, but Merlin hadn’t taken it very well.
“Merlin likes lilies, they remind him of Hunith,” Uther continues, ignoring Arthur’s complaint.
He is wise enough to back away slowly.
It turns out that Merlin adores them and Arthur manages to score a coffee date.
Arthur ends up being captured by a madman named Edwin halfway between their stroll around the park and Merlin has to fish him out of yet another pool.
But the end result has them cuddling under the same towel together when the ambulance comes so Arthur can’t really complain.
“Your father told you about the lilies, didn’t he?” Merlin asks him during the third date Arthur has won from him.
He freezes in mid-step and casually takes Merlin’s arm, “...What? Oh no, I just... guessed.”
Merlin gives him that knowing look again but doesn’t bring up the subject any more during the evening. Arthur is starting to believe that he is forgetting something important.
In the morning, he gives his father a new wristwatch and even cooks him breakfast (well, makes him more cereal.) Uther observes the gifts with a stern eye and pours some milk into his bowl.
“So,” he says carefully, “when are you going to propose?”
When he hears his father chuckle after he’s fallen over on the kitchen floor from shock, Arthur wonders if Uther is doing this on purpose.
Later, when he’s regained his memories of Camelot and his sorcerer’s powers, he realizes that, yes; Uther really was doing this on purpose.
But his father’s smug grin when Arthur gets down on one knee in front of Merlin is worth it.