Title: Annoying Blond Prats and Enigmatic Cabbies
Pairing/s: pre-slash Arthur/Merlin
Character/s: Merlin, mysterious cabbie
Summary: Angry at the blond prat who stole his fish and then insulted him at the market, Merlin takes a cab ride back to Ealdor with a very weird cabby.
Word Count: 783
Prompt: #80 Wrath
Author's Notes: Continuation of "Lust and Crab Napoleon."
Merlin’s blood had already started to boil after the fish market interaction with that prat, but the trip home only made things work. After Arthur had left, Merlin had quickly pulled out his phone and looked up the recipe for Crab Napoleon. He didn’t need a lot of vegetables for it, just beefsteak tomatoes and a whole bunch of herbs. Percival was happy to provide the tomatoes, and Merlin had to admit that they were gorgeous. Big, plump, and red, they were basically the pornstar versions of normal tomatoes. It took Merlin awhile to find a stall that had the perfect cilantro and chives to go with it. In the meantime, Merlin also picked up ingredients to make lasagna and a whole bunch of other vegetables. By the time he was ready to leave, Merlin had two full bags of groceries and the basket full of crabs. He had no idea how he was going to get home.
He gave up trying after struggling for three blocks. The bags either slipped out of his hands or the basket would dig so far into his fingers that he would have to set it down and wiggle them to get the blood flow moving. The only good part about where he stopped was that he was past the majority of the parked cars and closer to the center of downtown. It was easy enough to stand out into the streets and whistle for a cab.
One pulled over right away. Merlin sighed in relief and quickly loaded his bags of vegetables and the basket of crabs into the back of the cab.
“Where to, young chef?” the cabby asked.
Merlin rattled off Ealdor’s address and sat back in relief. He was on his way home.
“How was your trip to the market?” the cabby asked, “Did you meet anyone interesting?”
“Just some blond prat who bought all the tilapia out from under me and then managed to insult my cooking skills and me,” Merlin said.
“Sounds like someone was trying to get your attention,” the cabbie said.
“There are better ways to do,” Merlin said, his annoyance bubbling up, “Like maybe asking me out or asking me if I like to cook. You don’t have to insult me to get my attention.”
“Aye, young chef,” the cabby said, “Some people never grow out of their elementary school courting practices. Besides, it worked. You’re fuming about him now, but how long has it been since you interacted with him?”
Merlin didn’t answer him. He didn’t want to. Because the cabbie was right. He was still thinking about stupid Arthur and his fit body and stupid glorious blond hair.
With an effort, Merlin forced himself to pay attention to the cabbie. He couldn’t see much of his face, just glimpses in the rearview mirror of dark green eyes boring into his own. The back of his head was surprisingly interesting. He was bald and had a dragon tattooed so that somehow seemed to move so that the dragon’s head was staring straight at him. When the dragon winked, Merlin nearly hit his head on the roof of the cab, he jumped so high.
“Didn’t I see you outside of my restaurant earlier?” Merlin asked.
The cabby smiled into the mirror. “You did if you are the chap that owns Ealdor ,” he said.
“I do,” said Merlin.
“Then you saw me. I love that restaurant,” the cabby said.
“I’ve never seen you in there,” Merlin said.
“Well, I haven’t been in there lately, but your mother was the best cook,” the cabby said.
Merlin looked away so that his focus was on the world outside. “I wish I could be that good,” he whispered.
The cabby laughed. Then his face quickly sobered up, and he said in a serious tone, “One day you will be, young chef. You just haven’t found the other half of your coin. Once you do, you’ll be unstoppable.”
“Well, the other half of my coin better hurry up. I’m about to lose my restaurant,” Merlin said.
“No, you’re not,” the cabby said, “Your mother told me so.”
For a moment, Merlin couldn’t speak. The cabby spoke so confidently that he could almost believe that he had talked to his mother that morning. Before he could ask about it, however, the cab pulled up to the curb outside of Ealdor .
“Here you go, young chef,” the cabby said, “Now that’ll be $15.50.”
Merlin handed over the money and quickly moved himself and his purchases out of the cab. As he shut the door, he thought he heard the cabby whisper, “How small you are for such a great destiny.”