Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwen, Morgana
Summary: Merlin has seen him around, the man with the sun-kissed hair and indecipherable, who always smells like coconut and never removes his sunglasses during the day.
Word Count: 936
Prompt: #100 Century
Author’s notes: I have no idea what this is, but I like it. Also inspired by a post on tumblr that I can’t seem to find. Since you can use coconut water as substitute for emergency blood transfusion or something, what if vampires these days drank coconut water instead of blood. It’s not crack, I swear!
Merlin has seen him around, ever since he moved to Camelot . The man with the sun-kissed hair and indecipherable, who always smells like coconut and never removes his sunglasses during the day. But those are just stories. The only time Merlin has seen him around is at night, and he knows that his eyes are an intense blue; with a depth in them that sometimes makes Merlin uncomfortable. The man looks like he has seen a lot, seen too much perhaps, and now everyone can see it through his eyes. Maybe that’s why he never removes his sunglasses. He’s fit, too, with a strong jawline, and the way he carries himself—like a King—makes Merlin’s knees go weak.
“Arthur,” the man says when Merlin asks one night, and Merlin laughs. The name suits him so well.
“What’s your name, then?” Arthur asks, haughty and a little offended.
Merlin feels an instant attraction towards him. It’s neither Merlin’s fault, nor Arthur’s achievement that Merlin is attracted to blokes who are a little bit too proud for their own good.
Merlin’s magic wakes up around Arthur. It’s mostly useless, moving objects here and there, sometimes levitating them, but around Arthur, it curls in his belly, and thrums under his skin, dances around wildly in golden ribbons of power.
When they first go out, it’s in a small restaurant. It’s the biggest on the island of Camelot, but it’s tiny compared to the ones in London, from where Merlin shifted here.
The food is delicious and affordable (not that Merlin has to worry about it since Arthur insists on paying), and the setting is warm and wooden, understated in a way that just adds to its beauty.
The waiter brings Arthur coconut water without asking, and Arthur gladly drinks it and smiles at Merlin with his slightly pointed teeth.
They don’t kiss, after. Arthur walks him to his door, and they linger for a few seconds, Merlin wondering if he should just lean in and kiss before Arthur takes a deep breath and takes his leave.
Merlin doesn’t see him again for three weeks. He keeps thinking about him, though, wondering what he did, what went wrong. But eventually, he thinks about Arthur less, some nights he sleeps without Arthur on his mind, even if these nights are rare.
When Arthur calls him again, it’s to invite him to dinner at his house. Merlin means to say something scathing, to decline, but Arthur sounds earnest, as if saying this has cost him something. So Merlin nods.
Gwen tells him Arthur lives with his half-sister, Morgana. That people had started disappearing a few years ago and Arthur’s father was one of them. That the police never found the person who was doing the kidnapping and concluded that maybe Uther Pendragon was the one they were after.
Merlin wonders if Morgana will be there at their dinner, too.
It turns out that she is, and she’s gorgeous. They’re so different, her and Arthur, but they’re similar, too. The way they carry themselves, the way they talk, like they’re from a different time, a time long lost. There’s something about Morgana’s eyes, too, the knowing look of it, but she seems to hide it better than Arthur, and Merlin wonders.
He asks around, and they say that the Pendragons have been here forever, that Arthur’s grandfather looked exactly like Arthur and something in Merlin’s belly curls at that, his magic twisting in uncomfortable shapes.
When Arthur tells him two months later on a Wednesday night (Wednesday nights are now reserved for dinner with Arthur and Morgana), he doesn’t tell him at all. It’s Merlin who figures it out. The way Arthur never takes off his sunglasses during the day, the way his house is surrounded by trees, the way there’s not a spec of sunlight entering his house, even on brightest days, the way they both seem to drink soup for dinner, a soup made of coconut water, the way when Merlin opened their fridge for something to eat one time and the only thing he could find were bottles and cans, the way Merlin’s magic twists vigorously within him when Arthur’s around.
“Do you drink blood, then? Do you—do you kill people?” Merlin asks when Arthur finally sighs and admits it. He knows he should be afraid, but he’s not. And for some reason, his magic is sitting contentedly in his belly.
Morgana makes a disgusted sound and curls her lips. Arthur’s not looking at Merlin.
“Vampires stopped drinking blood a century ago, Merlin,” she says, offended by Merlin’s question.
“Then what do you do?”
“We drink coconut water. It’s a lot less messy.”
“My brother is brooding, let him be.”
“I can’t believe this. How am I supposed to believe this?”
“You just have to.”
“Why are you living on a sunny island if you’re vampires, then? Doesn’t sunlight burn you?”
“Not really. But it is uncomfortable,” Arthur says before Morgana can, and Merlin turns his head to look at him. When he doesn’t offer more, Merlin turns back to Morgana.
“The more blood you drink, the more sunlight will hurt you. The less you drink…”
“How old are you?”
When none of them answers, Merlin stands up and turns around. This is too much. He needs to go home, to think about this, to not see Arthur for a few days until his head is clear.
Merlin doesn’t turn around, he doesn’t stop. He walks out of the house and keeps walking. Arthur doesn’t follow him.