Title: Prince Charming
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Hiding in a storage cupboard to avoid working, Merlin didn't expect to be joined there.
Warnings: Strong language
Word Count: 999
Author's Notes: I so want to take this further now.
Merlin let out a sigh as he ducked into the cool room, letting his head rest against the wall for a moment. He had such a headache, but he knew there was no chance of finishing his shift early. Not when he had the `privilege` of playing waiter to all the high and mighty. Why anyone would want to duck away from being treated like he was nothing all evening was beyond him; he was exactly where he wanted to be.
The feeling of the cold stone against his forehead was a blessing and Merlin wondered how long he could just stay here and breathe. A costume party was happening in the great hall behind the door, one of the largest event halls of the time. He knew he was lucky to have this job but when people treated him like this, he seriously considered quitting. It was only their lack of money that forced him to put a smile on his face as he was dismissed with just a glance.
It wasn’t usually so bad, but the Crown Prince was turning 18 and the king apparently thought he would revoke tradition by throwing a ball and introduce his son to all the eligible ladies in the country. The thought made Merlin snort. Poor bugger.
“Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck,” the voice drew Merlin from his thoughts and he lifted his aching head from the wall to see one of the guests come bursting into the room and then almost fall over his own feet when he realised there was someone in there. The language and the clumsiness made Merlin smile; the man was dressed as Prince Charming.
“You aren’t supposed to be in here,” the man accused. Merlin lifted an eyebrow.
“Neither are you, I’m guessing,” he retorted, having no inclination to play the quiet waiter any longer. The fact the man didn’t answer meant Merlin knew his secret was safe for now. The guy moved further in, tugging his shirt away from him in order to examine it. Merlin tried and failed to avert his eyes. The white suited his tanned skin perfectly and Merlin had a glimpse of perfectly toned abs underneath. This guy had money and the body… and no doubt the attitude to go with it.
“Bloody hell, she has hands everywhere,” the man groaned.
“You are a real prince Charming, aren’t you?” Merlin muttered. His head was getting worse and he closed his eyes, hoping when he opened them again the man was gone. He had very nice eyes though, Merlin couldn’t help but note. That was all he could really see of the man’s face, however, for a mask adorned the rest of his face, just like the other guests. Merlin bet they all knew precisely who each other was out there in order to bitch about the costumes, but he couldn’t tell one from the other.
“When it suits me,” the man flashed him a smile and Merlin was momentarily taken aback. He didn’t even realise he had opened his eyes again, only a split second after closing them. The man might have been an arse, but he was quite nice to look at. Merlin told himself it was helping his head. “Or when I have to be.”
“When would you have to be charming?” Merlin asked, curious despite himself. He should be getting back before he was missed, not standing talking to whoever this was like an idiot.
“Like when your father is trying to set you up with a total bitch just because her father has connections.”
Alarm bells started ringing in the back of Merlin’s mind. His head was too painful, however, he just let that noise join the rest of the drummers pounding out a beat in his mind.
“Yeah well, sure she has something else to make up for it. The body, perhaps.” Merlin didn’t see what the guy was moaning about; dance with a girl and everyone would be happy.
“Wrong body parts more like,” the man muttered. Merlin wasn’t sure he even meant to say it out loud, but Merlin straightened up before he realised what he was doing. That mutter had suddenly put the man back in his playing field. Merlin might have hated the rest of the guests, but this one didn’t seem too bad. And he had a nice body.
And might just happen to be gay.
But unfortunately, his head decided to remind him why he had escaped in the first place and he gave a soft groan.
“Are you alright?”
“Headache,” he mumbled through gritted teeth as he lifted a hand to rest it over his eyes to drown out the light. He didn’t hear the man move, but there were suddenly gentle fingers at his temples, massaging softly. The throbbing settled back a little and Merlin realised he no longer felt as sick. He dropped his hand and found the man was impossible close.
He had also taken off his mask.
And he was gorgeous.
And… Merlin lurched again as he finally put the pieces together.
And the man was the prince. The real prince Charming. Hiding in a cupboard with one of the waiters. The prince – Arthur, Merlin seemed to recall him being called) – mistook his lurch and backed away.
“Sorry. I should have asked. My mother always used to do that for me when I got a headache. It helped.”
“Thank you,” Merlin mumbled, knowing he should say something and wondering if he should bow or not. Arthur smiled, genuine and sincere and Merlin was damned if his heart didn’t skip a beat. “Shouldn’t you be back out there?”
“Probably. But I’d much rather hide in here with you for a bit longer if that is okay?”
The prince was asking permission to hide in the cupboard with him. Merlin would have laughed if he thought he could get away with it. But instead, he just gave a casual shrug.
After all, why the hell not?