Title: International Exchanges
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine
Summary: The Essetir exchange programme was turning out to be far more fun than Arthur had ever thought that it might be.
Word Count: 909
Prompt: 108 - Exquisite
Author's Notes: This also fills my trope_bingo square 'Language and translation' - that's 17/25 done. Thanks to deinonychus_1 for the beta.
The Essetir exchange programme was turning out to be far more fun than Arthur had ever thought that it might be.
First of all there had been a mix-up with the bookings, and somehow Percival had been allocated a girl. That wasn't entertaining in itself, because Percival was only ever going to behave like a total gentleman despite the fact that this Freya was tiny with an ethereal beauty, and oh so very exotically foreign. No, the entertainment was the epic sulk Gwaine had gone into when he realised the terrible mistake hadn't been extended to him, and that he'd been saddled with a spotty boy with BO who barely spoke a word of Albion.
To add insult to injury, Percival had probably got the student who was supposed to go to Gwen. Gwen looked even happier than Percival when she saw Lancel Du Lac, or whatever the far too pretty twat's name was. Neither of them were raising any objections at all.
Arthur wasn't protesting either. No mix-up in his case, just excellent luck. Merlin Emrys was all limbs and ears and far too endearingly fascinated with the new land to be any kind of disappointment. He was watching Percival with some concern, however.
"Is not right," he told Arthur in his halting, lilting version of the Albion tongue. Arthur thought he could easily listen to it all day. "Freya is girl."
"Freya is exquisite," Gwaine told him grumpily. He looked across at Gilli, his own exchange student and gave a deep, exaggerated sigh.
"Exquisite," Merlin repeated. Arthur watched his lips form the word. It was never spoken more truly. The things he could do with those lips... "I do not understand."
"Fit," Gwaine supplied unhelpfully. "Shaggable."
"She's Merlin's sister," Arthur pointed out. He'd managed to discover that much at least.
Gwaine did have the decency to look ashamed. For a moment or two, at least. "Um... She's very pretty. What do you lot call it? All in? Al... Alan?"
"álainn," Arthur put in quickly. He thought that was it, anyway. Gwaine evidently hadn't bothered to learn any of the language his guest would be speaking. Arthur felt slightly sorry for Gilli, who was probably not going to have a very insightful fortnight. But his concern was Merlin, who was still looking quite lost.
"Percival is a good man," Arthur spoke clearly and slowly, as his tutor had advised. Had he known his guest was going to be quite so attractive he would have paid more attention. "Freya will be safe."
Possibly not, as the pair were smiling happily at each other and for all Arthur knew Freya could be some kind of nympho and Percival might be the one who needed protection. But Percival had three sisters, all living at home. No, Freya's honour, or Percival's, would be safe enough.
"It's a waste," Gwaine grumbled.
"Just look after your own student."
Gwaine looked at Merlin, then back at Arthur with a smirk. "Yeah, I'm sure you'll be looking after yours. Have fun."
"Your friend is strange," Merlin told him as Gwaine walked away. "His words are strange. I do not understand him."
"Few people do," Arthur agreed. "Come on, let's go home."
Merlin glanced at Freya again.
"Percival has three sisters," Arthur assured him. "His family are nice people. Freya will be happy." Unlike Merlin, he thought, having to live in a house with Uther Pendragon. Though perhaps he would like Morgana.
Arthur rather hoped he wouldn't.
Merlin's eyes widened when they drew up outside Arthur's house.
"This is... exquisite? Is that correct? Shaggable?"
Arthur burst out laughing at that. "Definitely not shaggable. And exquisite means something more beautiful, perhaps something a little more delicately attractive than a house."
Merlin nodded, getting out of the car and staring. "My home is small."
"Small is nice, in a home." Arthur would take small and loving over large, ostentatious, cold and empty any time.
His father wasn't in, but then Uther rarely was. Merlin might not even meet him in his fortnight's stay. Morgana breezed past them in the hallway, heading out. Arthur watched but although there was a pleasant enough smile on Merlin's face when she greeted him briefly, there was no hunger, no lusting after his sister.
Already this Merlin was a vast improvement on Gwaine.
"My sister," Arthur explained.
"Yes." And then, because he couldn't help himself. "Do you like beautiful girls?"
Merlin dropped his gaze to the floor, blushing. The blush actually spread to his ears. It was delightful. Arthur wasn't sure he could keep his hands off Merlin for two whole weeks.
"I am... I do not know the word... I like beautiful boys."
It was music to Arthur's ears.
"Me too," he assured him, watching the uncertain expression fade into relief.
And he shouldn't, he knew he really shouldn't, but he reached out to stroke his fingers down Merlin's cheek. "Exquisite boys."
Merlin didn't pull away. Arthur knew he was probably lost already, and when Merlin leaned into his touch, he knew he was.
"God, yes you are," Arthur breathed, then leaned in to capture those lips, feeling Merlin yield to him eagerly.
He knew Merlin didn't understand all of what he was saying, but it didn't matter because they were definitely both on the same page. He had a feeling he was going to enjoy teaching Merlin the meaning of all sorts of words... all sorts of things.