Title: Moving Forward
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: It's not easy being forced to listen to modern music when you're fifteen hundred years old.
Word Count: 603 (\o/)
Prompt: 95 - Song prompt 'Strong' by One Direction
Author's Notes: Well within the limit for once! No offence at all is intended to One Direction, who are entertaining and fun to watch and everything a teen pop group should be. (Also fills my trope_bingo square 'Road Trip'.) Not betaed, sorry.
Fifteen hundred years of waiting apparently wasn't the worst of it after all.
Arthur was still a prat. He was in fact, the Once and Future Prat this time, because he certainly hadn't been reborn as a king or a prince or anything. No, Arthur Pendragon was an annoying student barely out of his teens who drove the most expensive car on campus because his rich and powerful daddy (who might even have been Uther reincarnated as well because Merlin's life was that unfair) had bought it for him. He'd probably bought the horrible, horrible CD that Arthur had blaring out of the speakers at top volume too.
Apparently this was what passed for music in the twenty-first century. Merlin hadn't heard anything that sounded remotely like music to him for a good sixty years now. Arthur seemed to be enjoying it, singing along to some of the tracks. His ability to hold a tune was as poor as it had been fifteen hundred years ago.
Merlin was sitting in the passenger seat of Arthur's ridiculous car and starting to wonder if really he should have spent all that time hanging around waiting for the cabbagehead to return. He could have toured the world, over and over instead of brief visits to Europe and even briefer ones to the rest of the world. He could have done so many things, but he had stayed close, waiting. Now he was going through university, again, just so that he could be close to Arthur now that his king had finally returned.
Arthur didn't have a clue. Merlin was just some geeky genius he gave a lift home to in return for help with his coursework. Though sometimes, recently, Merlin had caught Arthur looking at him curiously, as if he was half-recognising something. One day, perhaps, Merlin would be able to tell him everything, rekindle everything they ever were to each other. But not yet.
The CD came to an end, mercifully. Merlin leaned over and took it out. Now That's What I Call Music 86, it said on the disc. Eighty-six. There were eighty-six of the things. Merlin shuddered, and put it away in the glove compartment, enjoying the sudden peace and quiet.
It didn't last long. Arthur, apparently, couldn't bear silence. He reached over to turn on the car radio and some random pop tune started blaring out. Merlin sunk lower into his seat.
"This is awful!" he blurted out.
"What? They were on that CD, you didn't complain. Best Song Ever."
"More like Worst! You really like this sort of thing?"
"It's okay. There's nothing wrong with a guy liking pop music, Mer-lin. There's some great music out there. What are you, ninety? I sometimes wonder."
Merlin ignored that. Ninety was so long ago. He'd been a mere child. "As you've never heard Adelina Patti, or Enrico Caruso, nor indeed have any idea who they were, you're hardly in a position to judge what makes great music. A couple of slightly flat teenagers..."
"There's five of them, not two of them. They all take turns singing."
Merlin took a swig of his water bottle, rather than comment. Sometimes, he felt every one of his fifteen hundred years.
"And you know, that Zayn... I wouldn't mind seeing just how strong he is..."
Merlin quickly reached forward and turned the volume up on the radio.
"Hah! See, you're liking it!"
The group were warbling about being strong. The Once and Future Prat started to join in, horribly off-key.
There were two more years of university. Merlin wondered if he should invest in earplugs...