Title: Sour Grapes
Pairing/s: Pre slash Arthur/Merlin
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: At seven, Arthur really was very, very annoying.
Word Count: 828
Prompt: 105 - Sour
Author's Notes: This also fills my trope_bingo square 'au:mundane' - that's 12/25 done. Thanks to celeste9 for the beta.
Arthur was very, very annoying.
He'd come in that morning wearing flashy new trainers, and then had made fun of the worn black ones from the discount shop that Merlin had been wearing. He did that sort of thing a lot, but then Arthur's father was extremely rich and Merlin's mother really wasn't that well off.
Merlin didn't really understand that. He didn't understand why Arthur was always teasing him either. If he wasn't making fun of Merlin's clothes then it was his ears, if it wasn't his ears then it was something else. He didn't even like Arthur's trainers, they looked uncomfortable.
It wasn't that Arthur ever threatened him or anything like that. In fact, if any of the nastier boys went anywhere near Merlin then Arthur was right there warning them off. It was as if Merlin was his own personal property and only Arthur was allowed to tease him.
Years later they'd both work out exactly why that was, and that Arthur was just as much Merlin's property as Merlin was Arthur's, but that was many years away. At seven years old, all Arthur seemed to want to do was be Merlin's personal tormentor. He was extremely good at it.
Merlin sat outside at break time on the little wall near the school gates. It was just out of view of the main playground and he thought he might not be spotted there, and be allowed to eat in peace. They weren't supposed to bring chocolate or anything nice like that for snacks, only fruit. Merlin's mum had packed him a little pot of sweet, juicy black grapes that day. They were delicious.
Arthur was quite greedy, and he particularly loved grapes. Merlin had discovered this when he'd helped himself to most of them last time Merlin had brought some in. Merlin had hoped that he wouldn't be found this time, at least not until he'd finished his little treat, anyway.
No such luck.
It was as if Arthur had been following him or something. As soon as Merlin took the lid off the small plastic tub, Arthur was at his side, grinning happily.
"Grapes! Brilliant, Merlin!"
Without waiting to be asked, or have them offered to him, Arthur stuck his chubby little hand in the pot and grabbed a good share of the contents.
"They're mine!" Merlin wailed, but Arthur took no notice.
"Your mum's great. Tell her to put more in tomorrow," Arthur told him. Or at least that's what Merlin thought he said. It was difficult to tell. Arthur's mouth was quite full.
Lunchtime wasn't so bad. Arthur's father paid for his dinner, whilst Merlin's mother always packed him something good for him instead. Merlin had learned that it was a good idea to eat this before Arthur emerged from the dining hall and came looking for him, particularly if his mother had cut up the food so that it looked like a smiley face because Arthur really, really seemed to want to steal anything like that. No, it was during break time that Arthur was the most annoying.
Merlin's mum wasn't very helpful either. She told him that Arthur didn't have a mummy, so they should be nice to him. Worse, when Arthur (annoyingly) went home with them one day, Merlin's mum had made him smiley-face toast with the special cutter that was normally reserved only for Merlin. When Merlin had wailed about it afterwards, he found that Arthur had told his father that Merlin was his best friend and Mr Pendragon had called Hunith to ask her to have Arthur round for tea. (Merlin thought it was really just because the man who drove the big posh car and normally came to collect Arthur had got a flat tyre. He'd heard their teacher say so.) So when he complained to her about Arthur stealing his grapes, he wasn't expecting much help.
Indeed, his mum just smiled at him. He loved her, but she could be annoying too. But then, to his surprise, she suggested something quite brilliant.
It was break time.
Merlin sat on the low wall near the gate and opened up the snack pot. The contents looked delicious.
Sure enough, Arthur was following him as always. He swaggered over in his very shiny trainers and sat down, eyeing the pot hungrily.
"Ooh, grapes again, Merlin?"
Merlin didn't answer. He picked up one of the ripe, juicy black globes and put it in his mouth. It was delicious.
Arthur, as usual, grabbed a large handful and shoved them in his mouth greedily. Merlin watched the smile on his face turn to horrified disgust, and then the olives were all being spat out onto the ground.
"That's horrid!" Arthur exclaimed. He kept on spitting, even though the olives were gone.
Arthur did have a very sweet tooth, as Merlin's mother had pointed out.
It was lucky that Merlin liked olives. He thought he might bring them in every day.