Rating: General Audiences
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: "Wedding?" Arthur echoes, lifting up the pillow a fraction. "Who's getting married?"
Word Count: 846
Prompt: #125 Priority
Author's Notes: I've tagged this Arthur/Gwen since I had canon in mind, but she's never actually mentioned in this drabble so the pairing is slightly ambiguous.
The first hint should have been that neither Gaius nor Arthur (a servant from Arthur that is) throws Merlin from his sleep that morning, but the sleep-drugged manservant is too busy trying to make sense of his surroundings to give this glaring clue much thought. Instead, the young man and his bed-head hairdo launches out from under the blanket at the sound of the morning bustle across the city, and tumbles around the little room in search of his decency and some magical formula to hide the fact that he's far too late for Arthur's breakfast to even consider having a wash.
Arthur is absolutely going to murder him - Merlin's been late for his duties before, but never so late that Gaius hasn't realised he's still in bed.
Flattening down his bird-nest hair is impossible, so he casts aside that task in favour of digging out a pair of trousers from the bottom of the cupboard. Hopping around the room to tug on his boots, Merlin curses himself for being so lazy (for letting Arthur work him so late) and tries not to peek at the sunlight streaking in through the gaps in the window shutters.
Dawn. He should have been up before dawn and oh god getting dressed is taking far too long -
It takes walking into the wardrobe door for Merlin to recall that he's the greatest warlock of all time.
With a flash of molten amber, the wreckage in the wake of his hurry tidies itself into normality. With another, his body is clean and his hair is tamed. With a sigh of relief, Merlin shuts the wardrobe door.
Then opens it again.
"Oh no," he breathes.
There's an exceptionally well-kept Pendragon red jacket hanging in there (one that fits him!) and there's only one reason he would be in possession of one of those.
Gaius squawks so loudly when he rushes past that Merlin is almost certain the guard at the base of the stairs had jumped out of his skin. Not taking the time to shout back an apology, the manservant wishes desperately for the ability to turn back time as he zips through the castle's morning routine and thunders towards the King's chambers. Hurtling past the guards stationed at the doors, Merlin throws himself into the roaring golds and reds of the private rooms, his heart in his mouth, his magic pondering whimsically if reversing time is even possible -
Arthur Pendragon, the reigning King of Camelot, rolls over in his bed and snores something like a greeting.
Time travel, Merlin thinks. I need time travel.
But, ever the self-sacrificing idiot, he tiptoes closer. One of the guards shuts the door behind him, sealing him in with his fate. Swallowing back further curses, Merlin shuffles around the room. The King grumbles something and flops an arm off the edge of the mattress, unaware of the approaching ruckus. When Merlin is mere feet away from the bed, he leans down over his friend and hisses;
The next snore is a replying question.
"Arthur!" Merlin says again, praying the Fates to be kind as he tugs on the bed sheets. "Arthur, you need to wake up!"
The King mumbles into his pillow, but there are definitely words slurring into the feathers this time. The manservant takes a deep breath and then shakes his friend's shoulder, the hot sweat of his hands like fire against Arthur's cool skin. Arthur grouses at the touch and turns over to glare sleepy cognisance at the ruffled form of his servant.
"What god-awful time is it, Merlin?" the King rumbles, sounding far more enthusiastic about burying himself further under the sheet than facing the demands of the day.
"I don't know," Merlin hastens, shaking Arthur again. "But you need to get up right now!"
The blond peers through his fringe, considers Merlin's anxious expression, and then pulls the pillow over his head.
"Arthur!" the manservant all but shrieks. "You have a kingdom to run! You - "
"It can wait a little longer," sighs the King from somewhere beneath the warmth of the den. "Sleep is priority."
"The wedding is priority!"
"Wedding?" Arthur echoes, lifting up the pillow a fraction. He stares at Merlin for a moment, and then his brows crease into confusion. "Who's getting married?"
The answer sticks in Merlin's tongue. His eyes widen at the pain of the sound, clogging his throat. Mute with terror he shakes his head, and that is all Arthur needs to put together the horror of the scene. But instead of leaping up and tearing Merlin's head from his shoulders like the servant expects, the King goes still under the safe naivety of his covers; his mouth falls open, he ceases to blink.
"I'm getting married," Arthur says stupidly, looking for all intents and purposes like a startled deer.
"Yes," Merlin says slowly, because there's really nothing else he can do at this point. "You are."
"When?" the King asks.
The bells of the castle ring outside.
Merlin decides not to grace him with an answer.