Summary: After being accused of a plagiarizing, Merlin discusses the case with Arthur, a lawyer, when the two realize that they have been snowed in.
Warnings: Alcohol Use (Side Note: Although Merlin reports being tipsy, what happens in here is pure consent)
Word Count: 4,909
Author's Notes: Thank you witty_teacup for being awesome and betaing this for me! I actually think that this might be the best fic I've written so far-however, I am still an amateur writer. I'd like to say that the addresses noted in this fic are NOT meant to be real, I just pulled them out of random. I hope you enjoy this drabble, contusionss! Happy New Year, everybody~
Disclaimer:Merlin is owned by the BBC and Shine. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. Don't send us to the dungeons.
“Gwen, I so need your help right now!” Merlin worried into the phone. He was pacing around his dust covered flat near his small makeshift study.
There were papers scattered about on a desk that stood in a corner of the study. A laptop sat on a few of the papers, and there were two empty Christmas mugs followed by a half full mug next to the dark blue laptop. The apple cider inside of one of the mugs has probably grown cold.
A window hung up above the desk, the sun shining down on the corner of the room and making the dust on the ground more noticeable to the human eye. It was currently morning, and Merlin wished that he were able to be outside to watch the bare trees in front of the yard dance for the cloud covered sky. But, unfortunately, that was not possible for Merlin to go outside, as he had a probably that needed to be taken care of. The way things are going at the moment, Merlin wasn't sure if he'll ever be able to go outside ever again.
“What on Earth are you talking about, Merlin? It's way too early in the morning for me to do a grammar check on your writing,” Gwen said over the phone, “Not that your writing ever has any grammar problems, that is to say,” she stifled a yawn while talking.
Merlin sighed and collapsed into the chair in front of the desk, running his hand through his mop of black hair, “No Gwen, it's not that....ugh, I've been sued!”
Gwen snapped awake, “What do you mean?”
“I got an email this morning from some jerk,” Merlin said clicking open the email on his laptop again.
“What does the email say?”
“I won't say the whole entire email, but an author who goes by the pen name of Valiant has accused me of plagiarizing one of his novels.”
“Which book of yours is the victim?”
“The King and the Lionheart,” Merlin said.
“That's not good. You just got that book on the shelf last month,” Gwen replied, “What did Valiant think that you were plagiarizing?”
“Apparently,” Merlin reached up and picked up a copy of his book that was sitting underneath the desk. The book was yellow with a matte cover and had a simple cartoon picture of a sword in the middle. Quite a few people had already purchased his book, as Merlin was a rather popular author in his town and others nearby, “Valiant thinks that I took his whole plot, along with all the personalities of his characters.”
“Okay, I'm signing onto the computer. Did he ever say the title of his book?”
“Oh, he made sure that I knew exactly who he was and what books he has written and how much money he makes. He's such a pompous fool, Gwen,” Merlin complained to his best friend and his agent, “The book that I happened to plagiarize is called 'Torn to Shreds.'”
“That certainly doesn't sound like your book at all,” Gwen commented.
“I know,” Merlin said, “It's ridiculous. That's why I need your help, because I need a lawyer and I definitely do not want to spend my Christmas in jail...plus, I don't know where I can find a lawyer.”
Merlin tapped his fingers anxiously on the desk as he waited for Gwen to answer.
“I can get you a lawyer,” Gwen said, “My friend has a brother who runs a law firm.”
“What? I'm not your only friend?”
Gwen chuckled, “Merlin, I hope you know that just because you hide yourself behind mountains of papers doesn't mean that I do, too. Even though I do join you behind the papers on occasion.”
“I feel so betrayed right now,” Merlin teased.
“Oh, hush. Let me call my friend right now to get you set up for an appointment.”
After thanking Gwen profusely, Merlin hung up and let out a breath of relief. Of course he would be able to count on Guinevere for finding him a lawyer. She was his best friend since he first moved into Cardiff, wanting to make a residence in England for his job—completely by accident, too. He had happened to run into her on the streets after witnessing and stopping the bullying of a little boy...however, that is a story for another time.
Merlin looked at the Christmas mugs on his desk and decided to move them into the kitchen while waiting for Gwen to call him back. His kitchen was quite messy, with dirty dishes piled up in the sink and musty smelling rags hanging up on a hook that was used to dry the dishes. However, there was no rotten food anywhere in the kitchen—Merlin was proud of that accomplishment. He rarely ate when writing books, even when he was looking for a simple distraction to keep himself from writing.
In all, Merlin's entire flat was messy (it was a small flat, of course one should expect for it to easily get messy). The floors needed vacuuming, the walls needed scrubbing, and the bed needed to be made. But Merlin never bothered with the bed, as he had once read in a document that it was easier to fall asleep with an unmade bed, and Merlin often had trouble falling asleep. He often has too many ideas and thoughts tumbling around his head to make time for sleeping.
Merlin picked at a hang nail on his thumb, worried. He definitely couldn't afford to be sued for plagiarism. Although Merlin hasn't read Valiant's book, he could tell that the book was definitely not the same. His book was about adventure and freedom with a little bit of romance on the side. Valiant's book seemed to be about going on an adventure and then witnessing everybody dying. And all of that is just based on the title of Valiant's book.
When Merlin made his way out of the kitchen and into his study, his phone rang and Merlin quickly grabbed the phone that was sitting on the desk. He held the phone onto his ear, “Gwen?”
“It's me, Merlin,” Gwen said, “There is a slight problem with this appointment.”
“What? Can it not be made? Do we have to wait until next year?” Merlin started to worry, “Then we won't be able to do anything at all, I'd be in prison by next year!”
“Calm down! I got you your appointment, don't go off to conclusions again, okay?” Gwen said.
Merlin breathed a sigh of relief and sank into his chair, tapping his fingers on the desk.
“The only problem with the appointment is that the whole firm closes down tomorrow, since tomorrow is December 20th, and that is basically when most schools close. In that case, it's when this law firm closes, because they allow their employees proper vacation time,” Gwen began, “Because of that, you have to meet them today. And not at the law firm. They are all booked with meetings today, so you would have to visit somebodies home to talk about this.”
“I don't have a problem with that. Do you know who I will be meeting?”
“Yes, you'll be meeting the head of the law firm. My friend, Morgana, is his sister and figured it would be easy to ask him to meet with you.”
“But won't he be busy?”
“Trust me, according to Morgana, this man doesn't do anything with his life but work.”
“What's his name?”
“Arthur Pendragon, head of Pendragon & Le fay law firm. It's named that because Morgana is somewhat of a head too, however, she hardly works there,” Gwen said.
“Okay...” Merlin bit his lip, thinking about this future meeting, “When and where will I be meeting Arthur?”
“At his house at around four PM.”
“Okay, so six hours from now?”
“Yes...do you need any direction to his house?”
“I'll at least need his address. Where does Arthur live?”
“Near Kilgharrah Books, which is one of the shops that buy from you.”
“I think I remember visiting that place before. What is Arthur's exact address?” Merlin asked.
It was a small moment before Guinevere replied again, “Let's see, he lives at—do you have a paper and pen on you?”
Merlin grabbed a sheet of paper out of a stack that was inserted into a printer beside his desk, and then picked up the pencil that sat still in front of him, “I do now.”
“Okay, he lives in Barter Close, Kingswood, Bristol BS132
“But that's near fourty-five minutes away!”
“That's not long.”
“It is when you don't have a car.”
“Did you run out of gas again?”
“...yes. I'll just take a taxi.”
“Sorry Merlin,” Gwen said, “I would take you over there myself but Lance and I are going out to eat tonight.”
Merlin sat up in his seat, “Wait, is today your anniversary? Oh no, I didn't mean to forget!” Merlin put his head in his hands. Of course he had be that one friend who forgets all of these events. He has to be that one terrible friend who is useless at everything.
“Don't worry, it's not today!” Gwen quickly said, “It's already gone by, don't you remember going out bowling with us a few weeks ago?”
Great, Merlin even forgot that.“Gwen, I'm really sorry. My mind is so jumbled up these days...”
“Let's just focus on getting this case done and over with, okay? Then we can focus on clearing your mind up. What you need is a boyfriend.”
“I don't need a significant other, Gwen. Not at the peak of my career. I just need to clear my mind up with good planning skills, that's all.”
“Whatever, Merlin. I'm sure you'll find the one for you in your life some day, anyways,” Gwen said.“I've got to go now, Merlin. I'm starting a new job at the grocery store until I can find a real one.”
“Good luck! And thank you so much for doing this for me. I'm so lucky to have a friend like you.”
“Don't flatter me too much. Good bye! Have fun with your meeting! Oh, and Merlin?”
“This man is twenty seven years old, so he's bound to be wiser and more expecting of his clients to act in a formal manner. Don't make a fool of yourself, okay?”
“No promises,” Merlin then waited for the noise of Gwen hanging up on the phone and walked to the kitchen, putting the phone back on the receiver. With six hours to kill, Merlin decided that he would start typing up the plan for his next book before getting dressed for the appointment.
Catching a taxi was harder than Merlin remembered. He had walked out of his flat and stood on the side of the road, holding his hand out every time he saw a taxi pass by. But they always ignored him, too busy having another passenger in the car to stop by and pick up Merlin. Many people were probably getting off work now, although the standard time for leaving was around five pm. Merlin supposed that many jobs were just letting the workers out early.
When Merlin was finally about to catch a taxi (after walking up the block a bit), he told the driver where his location was, and sank down into the cracked leather seats that were behind the driver. The car smelled of mustard and there was perhaps a faint stench of vomit. Merlin then remembered why he stopped taking the taxi and started to ride is bike everywhere. Merlin could have ridden his bike to Arthur Pendragon's flat, but that would be unprofessional, and he would be riding home in the dark, which is not safe in the slightest bit.
The driver turned the radio on and Christmas carols started to play. Christmas was only five days away...how unbelievable. It seems as if time has flown by fast—last time Merlin checked, it was October and he was handing out candy to little kids dressed as fairies and pirates. These last few months have been a long blur. It's not as if Merlin really did anything important in those months, anyways.
When Merlin looked out of the window, he noticed that the sky was pure white and absolutely covered by clouds. A few snow flakes had started to make their way to the ground, and in a flash, a small flurry of the small white balls appeared. It was going to be cold outside, and Merlin wished that he had brought more than a simple jacket to wear.
Merlin was thrown out of his blank reverie as the taxi driver glided to a stop in front of a neighborhood. “There you are,” The taxi driver said to Merlin with a deep voice, “I can't enter the neighborhood due to restrictions on my job, but you can walk to the location. Have a good day.”
“Thanks,” Merlin opened the door and scooted out of the taxi, waving the driver goodbye as he sped off. Merlin turned back to the entrance of the neighborhood, his arms folded across each other as he hugged himself warm. It certainly was cold outside. Merlin looked up to see all the small snowflakes dance around in the sky. A few stuck to his cheeks and he felts some go in his eyelashes. Merlin looked down again and wiped the snow flakes away from his eye lashes.
Reaching into the pocket of his pants, Merlin grabbed the piece of paper that had Arthur's address on it, and unfolded it. The paper started to get wet and wrinkled from the snowflakes melting onto it, so Merlin hunched over the paper to read the words written in all caps—Merlin has to stop that habit. “BS132...”
Merlin walked inside of the neighborhood at a fast pace, wanting to reach Arthur's house in time. He looked at his watch and noticed that it was four pm. He was going to be late. Merlin frantically looked at all of the addresses of the buildings in the neighborhood and never saw a flat in the area. A few blocks later, Merlin came across a row of flats to his right.
It was peculiar that somebody like Arthur Pendragon would live in a flat. After all, he owned and ran a law firm, so he would obviously be making a lot of money. Perhaps Arthur was just living in a flat until he could find a big house to live in.
Suddenly the addresses started to get near Arthur's number. Merlin got on top of a side walk in order to see the numbers better. 128...129...130...131...ah, there is is, 132. Apparently BS132 was the flat in the middle, sandwiched between flat 131 and 133. Merlin started to walk up the walkway to these flats, and wondered where these people put their cars. Maybe there is some garage or parking lot the middle of the neighborhood...
After climbing up the stairs Merlin made it to the front door or Arthur's flat.
“Here goes nothing,” his breath puffed out white clouds in between each word.
Merlin raised his hand and knocked onto the dark red door exactly three times. While he waited, he looked around the area surrounding Arthur's flat. There were two window's to the right of the door, and there were curtains covering the inside to both of the windows. The ground beneath Merlin's feet had a bit of dirt on it. This is the exact opposite of what Merlin expected Arthur's flat to be like.
A moment passed before the door opened, and Merlin found himself staring at Arthur for quite a while. He was just a little bit shorter than Merlin, looking up at him with two bright blue eyes. Small purple shadows loomed underneath of his eyes and Merlin guessed that his job put a lot of years into him. Besides harvesting a tired look, a small smile played on his lips as he looked down at Merlin with a slight curiosity. Arthur had a strong jaw line and high cheek bones, which only added to his beauty. Not only did he have great facial features, but he had dirty blond hair that feathered just below his ears along with messy side swept bangs. Boy, was he a sight to see.
Merlin's face flushed. He hadn't realized that he was staring at Arthur for that long. This might prove to be a problem throughout the meeting. Arthur probably wasn't even gay anyways.
“Ah...I'm here to meet you to talk about my being sued for plagiarism?” Merlin said. He then realized that he had forgotten to introduce himself, and stuck out his hand, “Oh, uh, I'm Merlin Emrys.”
Arthur smiled, and Merlin noticed that he had white teeth, which were mostly straight. His eyes brightened up when he smiled, and Merlin softened up a bit more around Arthur. He’s so beautiful.
Arthur took Merlin's hand and shook it, “I've been expecting you. Let's go inside so that we can discuss this better. I'm sure you're freezing out here.”
Moving aside from the front door, Arthur led Merlin inside of the flat. The floors were wooden and the walls were painted a nice cream color. The décor of the flat was nice and formal, which seemed to reflect against Arthur's attitude and formality. Arthur just seemed to act like a very formal sort of fellow. However, Merlin was sure that this was just what he was acting like in order to make his clients feel like they were talking to a professional lawyer. Which, in a way, is exactly what Arthur was.
“I can take your jacket for you. I can't believe you went outside in just this. Did you walk all the way over here?”
“No, I took a taxi,” Merlin said, “I just wasn't thinking about how cold it would be outside.”
“That's not a good idea,” Arthur stretched out his hand and Merlin put his dark blue jacket into it, “I'll turn the fire on for you. I just got home about a half hour ago, so I haven't had the time to get everything ready for you—I don't often host these kinds of meetings in my own home.”
Arthur then pointed Merlin to his living room, “Feel free to take a seat.”
Merlin looked at the space in front of him. There was a black gas fire place standing against the wall with an inverted book shelf on both sides of the fireplace. A picture leaned against the mantle of the fire place, and Merlin guessed that it was a family picture. Arthur was standing on the edge of the photo, smiling at the camera. His arm was around a girl with black hair—probably his sister—and two other people, a middle aged man and a blonde woman, who also appeared to be the same age as the man.
There were two brown love seats sitting across from each other on the opposite sides of the living room. A coffee table was standing across from it with a few magazines scattered on top. Beside the two windows covered by curtains, there was a desk with a computer on top of it and a phone was plugged in right beside the desk. Arthur’s flat was interesting, but there seemed to be nothing to do here but to surf the web and to write down notes. Merlin guessed that Arthur was quite busy with work to worry about any free time.
Merlin walked into the living room and took a seat. Arthur sat across from him.
“Morgana tells me that you've been sued for plagiarism?”
“By a man named Valiant,” Merlin said.
“Oh, Valiant loves to sue people. I have cases dealing with him all the time. Sometimes I am even his lawyer. I assure you that I win almost every single case that I get, so you have no need to worry.”
Merlin felt slightly relieved. He let himself look at Arthur a bit more while he talked—man, he would love to become good friends with Arthur.
Merlin snapped out of his reverie when he thought he heard music going on in the background, “Are you playing classical music?” Merlin suddenly asked. He mentally kicked himself. This is a formal meeting.
“Um,” Arthur said, not expecting what Merlin had just asked, “Yes, I am. I don't like silence in the house...it's more of a habit than a hobby.”
Merlin nodded his head slowly at Arthur's explanation.
“So, what kind of plagiarism is Valiant holding against you?” Arthur asked Merlin.
“He's accusing me of plagiarizing his book,” Merlin answered.
“Have you brought his book and your book here?”
Merlin's eyes got wide as he realized that he had forgotten the books. He quickly patted himself down, hoping that maybe, just maybe, he had brought them. “Oh no,” Merlin said, flustered, “I'm so sorry, I forgot the books! That's so terrible of me!” Merlin couldn't believe it. This was possibly his only chance of saving himself from being sent to prison and he'd ruined it.
“It's alright, we might not even need the books. Those are just extra material. If you give me the information on both of the books I'll be able help you out,” Arthur said, “I'll win this case for you, Merlin. You seem like too nice of a fellow to be in prison.”
Merlin hoped that Arthur wouldn't see him blush, and if he did, that he just thought it was from being out in the cold. “I'm not that nice of a person,” he replied.
“Sure you are.”
“You don't even know me yet,” Merlin said.
It was a small moment before Merlin said something again, “Okay, so to start things off, the title of my book is called the King and the Lionheart. Valiant's book is called Torn to Shreds.”
“Definitely not plagiarism, I can tell you that right now. Why don't you tell me more about what these books are about?”
By the time they got done discussing the case, it was seven PM, and it was already dark outside. Arthur had listened carefully to everything Merlin had said, even even got up to write notes down on a piece of paper. Merlin stood up from the love seat and stretched his arms back behind him. Arthur also stood up, and Merlin shook hands with him (while trying not to think about how soft his hands felt).
“Thank you so much for helping me on this case,” Merlin thanked Arthur profusely. “I don't have to worry about going to prison anymore. That is definitely not a good way to spend the holidays.”
“Like I said, I'm glad to help you out. It's not like I had anything to do today.”
“Is that all you do? Work?”
Arthur rubbed the back of his neck, “Ah, yeah. Pretty much.”
Merlin whistled, “Do you not know how to enjoy life?”
“I do! Working is...fun.”
“I hardly believe that. What do you like about work?”
“It's like a system. When you're a lawyer, you get to solve all of these cases for people, and you're able to help people out a lot. It's...heroic, in a way, I suppose. It's like a mathematical problem, with these cases. You figure out the loop hole in which the accuser is wrong, you apply what you've learned, and you win.” Arthur explained. Merlin watched him carefully while he was talking. Arthur seemed to be reminiscing about how his job seemed so simple to him. Arthur was smiling while telling Merlin about his job, too—god, that magnificent smile.
Merlin just loved Arthur's smile. It freed him from the reality of life for a moment. He loved the way it made his eyes squint just a little bit and wrinkle at the edges. Arthur made everything seem okay whenever he smiled. Merlin mentally kicked himself again. He doesn't know Arthur that well...why is he worshiping this man? Why is Arthur making him go so crazy, for such a short amount of time?
“So, basically, you're one of those guys who like to pretend that they are super heroes? I guess you'll be looking for a side kick soon, too?”
Arthur rocked on his feet as he pondered on that statement, “I wouldn't say that. Although it does have a nice ring to it...”
Merlin laughed, “Okay, I've got to go now and take care of some other chores. Have a good rest of your night now.”
“You too,” Arthur moved to open the front door for Merlin.
As soon as Arthur opened the door, snow piled up onto the floor and immediately started to melt on his floor, and cold air flew in and stung Merlin's cheeks and ears. Merlin guessed that there was about a foot of snow outside. Snow flakes flew in every direction and started to come inside of the flat.
“What! How can there be this much snow already?” Arthur exclaimed.
“I don't know but you should probably close your door before more snow comes in!” Merlin said.
Arthur quickly slammed the door shut. “Shit...this is going to ruin the floor. Can you get some towels, Merlin? There are some on top of the dryer in the next room.”
Merlin looked around for wherever a washer and dryer could be, and found his destination. He grabbed two towels and moved towards the entrance of the flat. “Here you go,” Merlin handed one towel to Arthur and he took it.
Both Merlin and Arthur got onto their knees and started to wipe up the snow. The towels instantly got wet, and when most of the snow was picked up, Merlin had gotten two fresh towels and just laid them on top of the mess. “That should be good enough,” Merlin said.
Arthur stood up, “Thanks. Ah, I guess you're snowed in for now. I don't want you to go outside in this weather, and I would offer you a ride home but I'm afraid there might be ice on the roads.”
“That's fine. I don't believe that you can be any type of murderer.”
Arthur smiled, “Good. Oh my...I forgot to be a good host. Would you like something to drink? I have wine, if you would like some?”
Merlin pondered this for a moment. He would be able to spend a few more hours with Arthur, getting to know each other while drinking wine. It's a bit romantic. “That sounds good.”
Arthur took Merlin into his kitchen, which was right across from the living room. The kitchen was small, but it still looked nice and matched the overall theme of his house. The floors were checkered black and white, and there was a row of counters meeting up to a refrigerator. There was an oven to the left, and a sink near it.
Opening up a cabinet, Arthur took out two wine glasses, and then took a bottle of red wine out of the fridge. He poured each of the glasses half full and handed on to Merlin. Arthur then leaned against the counter and took a sip of his wine, “So, tell me about your job.”
Merlin and Arthur talked to each other for about another hour until Merlin had noticed how close Arthur had gotten to him. They were still in the kitchen, but Arthur was just inches away from his face.
The two had just been talking about everything and nothing at the same time. Merlin told him about the books he had written and told him about Gwen and how she was friends with Morgana. Arthur in turn had complained about Morgana while Merlin said that she seemed like a nice person.
They had both had around three glasses of wine and Merlin was starting to feel a little tipsy. It was warm inside of Arthur's flat and Merlin noticed that Arthur was looking at him with a weird expression on his face.
“What is it?” Merlin asked.
Arthur blinked, and widened his eyes a little bit, as if he were lost in thought, “Sorry, I just...” He furrowed his eyebrows, “There's something...about you, Merlin. You're just...so captivating...”
Arthur started to lean closer to Merlin and put his hand on the counter behind Merlin. Suddenly Merlin found Arthur's lips pressed against his, all warm and soft as he kissed Merlin. As Merlin let Arthur kiss him. Merlin started to feel himself melt into Arthur's kiss before he realized what was happening. Alarmed, Merlin pulled away from Arthur, his eyes wide.
“What is it? Did I do something wrong?” Arthur said. He moved back, “Oh hell, I'm sorry, it al just happened, I didn't mean to—”
Merlin shook his head, “No, Arthur, don't worry. Nothing went wrong. I just haven't really...kissed anybody before...”
Arthur looked at Merlin curiously, “You haven't?”
“Nope. It's a shame, isn't it? For a man who writes the occasional romance.”
“Well...what do you think?”
Merlin bit his lip, “I think I can get used to it.”
Arthur chuckled at Merlin, “Good, because you should be expecting more kissing now that you're mine. Wait...is that okay with you?”
Merlin smiled inwardly at the thought at what Arthur had just said. At the fact that Arthur just proclaimed Merlin his boyfriend. Merlin has a boyfriend.
“Of course it's okay,” Merlin said before he went to kiss Arthur once more.
Life just couldn't possibly be better than it was at that moment.