Title: Noble Family
Characters: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur takes issue with Merlin moments before Gwen’s coronation.
Word Count: 992
Author's Notes: This is cannon, a possible missing scene before the coronation because I always wondered about something with Merlin. Sorry I’m posting this so soon after my other post. Can’t get LJ at work.
“What are you wearing Merlin?”
Stepping further into his master’s chambers, soon to be shared with his upcoming wife, Merlin shrugged. “What I always wear.”
Arthur shook his head with a grimace, gesturing rudely, his red tunic and cloak draped neatly across a chair. “Your jacket looks like you came from a pig sty. And that red scarf is shredded on the ends.”
“Well maybe that’s because I just spent hours getting your chambers into order!”
Arthur’s eyebrows came up for a moment before he shrugged with little care. “That’s your job Merlin as my manservant, to keep everything in order. But if you can’t keep yourself in order then well…”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean Merlin…that I can’t have my manservant at my wedding and the coronation of my new wife looking like a scraggly ruffian.”
Now just a touch subconsciously Merlin pulled at the end of his scarf, giving a bothered grunt. “Well this is all I have to wear.”
Arthur crossed his arms. “Well I’m sorry Merlin, but it’s completely unsuitable. I noticed it at my coronation too. Your wear is not up to standard.”
Eyes widening for a moment, Merlin growled under his breath as he stalked toward the door. “You supercilious-
“Of course, if you were wearing something more-
Stopping at the door, Merlin shook his head hard. “OH NO. I’m not wearing that official Camelot garb either. That HAT looks like a peacock.”
The servant, still not turning around continued his rant, poking fun at his master. “Makes me look almost as awful as you look in that crown that makes your head look like a big fat egg!”
Holding his temper, Arthur gritted out, “Merlin.”
“WHAT?” Merlin turned around now, incensed and expecting to see Peacock hat, but instead…
He gaped. “What…what is that?”
Holding it up with one hand, Arthur stated matter of factly. “It’s a coat, Merlin.”
His servant rolled his eyes, making Arthur laugh. “As I was saying, your attire now just won’t cut it. But if you wore this…”
Merlin stared at it. It was red. Not extravagant or overly flashy. But a regal red, beautifully quilted. Leather laces crisscrossed the front and at the shoulders. Tasteful studs framed the neck. It was like it was painted with the stamp of nobility.
Arthur smiled tightly at his servant’s awed reaction. “I think if you wore this, there wouldn’t be any issue.”
As Merlin still said nothing, Arthur continued. “It was my uncle’s, on my mother’s side.”
To that Merlin finally moved, face blanching.
Arthur grimaced. “Merlin, what’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Merlin shook his head. Agravaine’s? No. He couldn’t borrow something that once belonged to the man he killed. Of course he had no choice. Agravaine would have ended Arthur’s life, but still, no. “I can’t wear that Arthur. Not if it was Agravaine’s.”
Arthur’s brow furrowed, correction on his lips. “Not Agravaine’s, Merlin. My mother had more than one brother. This was Tristan’s.”
Now Merlin looked stunned.
Arthur stepped forward, his voice softening with vulnerability as his fingers unconsciously rubbed against the rings that had once been Igraine’s. “I never knew him of course. But Gaius did. And he told me often enough when I was growing up, when I asked about him because my father would say nothing, that Tristan was the brother my mother was closest to.” He gave one of those full-fledged boyish smiles. “They could hardly be separated.”
It shocked Merlin that Arthur actually wanted him to wear it, but it was a gesture of kindness and he wouldn’t shun it. “Thank you. Uh, I’ll be sure that it’s well cleaned before I return-
Arthur cut him off there. “Merlin, I’m giving it to you.”
Arthur shrugged, not wanting to make too much of it. “Makes sense. I’m king now. Guinevere’s going to be queen. You’re my manservant and you’ll be there for her too. Can’t have you looking like a ruffian.”
“Prat.” Merlin let out, but then. “Arthur, I’m not family.”
The king weighed those words carefully, saying nothing. He could argue that Merlin proved he could be trusted more than certain members of his family. He could tell him that wherever he went, Merlin went too, faithfully, even bravely. He could state something mischievous, bringing up Merlin’s amusing ire.
But he simply reiterated,
“I’m giving it to you Merlin.”
So all the servant could do was nod his head making Arthur smile. “Great. Now, let’s see how it fits. Just like Merlin regularly helped Arthur into his attire, Arthur now assisted Merlin with the coat, getting it over his shoulders and standing back to assess. “Alright. Tristan was close to your size, but definitely a bit broader. He was a knight after all.” The coat was fitting a little too loosely. Arthur moved around the room, finding something within his wardrobe. “Here, this should do.”
Merlin wondered if this was all a dream as Arthur a bit clumsily fiddled around with the belt before he got it to settle around the waist of the coat.
“Yes, much better. But one thing’s still missing.”
Merlin grimaced, but then Arthur brought out an impeccably clean and well-tailored neckerchief. “You know Guinevere. Seamstress at heart. When I told her about the coat, she wanted to make you this to go with it.”
Merlin fixed the neckerchief around his neck, smiling with a touch of something burning in his eyes. “Thank you. Tell her…thank you.”
Voices rung from the hallway. Noticing the deep timbres of his knights, Arthur excused himself with a smile. “Well, we should get on with this.”
Merlin stood in the room silently, taking in all that had happened, baffled, happy and-
And brought back from all the emotional wonder with that familiar bellow. Letting out a low chuckle, he walked out of the room, his head held just a bit higher, stance just a bit nobler.