Title: Driving Mr Pendragon
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: It would be fine. Everything would be just fine. Merlin would never hurt him. Well, not intentionally.
Word Count: 947
Prompt: 156 - Intimidating
Author's Notes: This also fills the 'road trip' square of my Trope Bingo round 4 card - that's 18/25 done.
Disclaimer:Merlin is owned by the BBC and Shine. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. Don't send us to the dungeons.
Here on A03
Driving Mr Pendragon
Arthur tried not to grip the car seat too tightly.
It would be fine. Everything would be just fine. Merlin would never hurt him.
Well, not intentionally.
Merlin was his friend. His best friend, and a lot more besides. He’d asked Arthur for help with learning to drive, and Arthur was going to help. He was. He really, really was. He was not going to show any fear either.
“So,” said Merlin, putting the key into the ignition. “Which of these pedals should I press?”
He accidently sounded the horn whilst he was looking down at the pedals.
Arthur wished they’d gone somewhere else to do this. He could see the curtains twitching. His father was probably watching and would be out at the first mistake. At least then he could call an ambulance for them if it was needed.
“That middle one is the brake.”
“Won’t that make it stop?”
“Yes. That’s a good thing, Merlin. A stopped car is a happy car, a safe car.”
Merlin was looking at the steering wheel, then down at his feet, then back at Arthur. “But I want to know how to make it go.”
Of course he did. And Arthur could cope with that, he really could. “Clutch is on the left. Accelerator on the right. Turn the engine on,” Arthur kept gripping the seat. “Press down the clutch and put the car into first gear.”
“How do I do that?”
Arthur tapped the gearstick. “Only moves when the clutch is pressed down. Try it.”
“Should I turn the engine on first?” Merlin asked.
“Noooooooooo…” Arthur said far too quickly. “Just… get used to the pedals and gearstick first.”
He watched Merlin crunch the gearstick into third rather than first, lift his foot and render the gearstick immobile.
“Clutch needs to be down,” Arthur prompted. He watched Merlin biting his lip, concentrating hard. It was adorable, but Arthur didn’t want to get distracted, not this close to imminent death. Arthur had been driving since he was seventeen. Merlin couldn’t afford to buy a car, or lessons. Only now that Arthur was 21 could he offer to give Merlin lessons in his own old car. Well, perhaps not offer. Perhaps Merlin had asked right in the middle of a blow job and Arthur would have agreed to anything, anything as long as Merlin didn’t stop.
“Put it in gear, always start with first unless you’re on a hill but we’ll worry about that later. Then slowly release the clutch. When you hear the engine sound change, press on the accelerator very, very gently. And release the handbrake at the same time.”
“This,” Arthur patted the handbrake.
Merlin tried to push it down, then realised there was a button. He pushed it before Arthur realised what he was doing, and released the handbrake. The car started to roll forward and Arthur immediately grabbed the handbrake and pulled it up again.
“No! Not when the engine isn’t turned on!”
Merlin, unfortunately, took that as an instruction. The car rumbled into life.
“Clutch down,” Merlin checked. “First gear…”
Oh god, they were going to die. They were going to start moving forward and then they were going to die…
“Let the clutch up until it sounds different…” Arthur managed not to whimper. He was brave. He’d done scarier things than this. Possibly. “Press down on the accelerator and release the handbrake…”
The car lurched forward alarmingly in a sort of drunken bunny hop, and then stalled. It rolled forward a little until Arthur once again applied the handbrake. Merlin looked vaguely startled.
“I’ll try again.”
“Yes,” Arthur breathed. “Do that.” Calm, calm… he could do this.
The car stalled again, though without the bunny hop this time.
“Third time lucky,” Merlin beamed. Arthur could feel the palms of his hands getting sweaty. He tried to smile back encouragingly.
This time – horror! – the car started.
“I did it!” Merlin cried, grinning at Arthur as they slowly rolled down the thankfully very long driveway towards the road. “Look! I’m driving!”
He was. Although he was looking at Arthur rather than the driveway, or the road which was getting closer and closer…
“Cat!” Arthur yelled!
Vivien, his father’s precious Persian prize-winning ball of pampered fluff, was sitting on the wall sunning herself. It was unlikely that she would actually do anything as effort-filled as run in front of the car.
Merlin looked panic-stricken and flung up his hands. “Which pedal? What do I do?”
Fortunately in his panic he took his feet off both pedals as well and Arthur quickly engaged the handbrake. The car, which had only been doing about 10mph, blessedly stopped.
Arthur stared at the L plates in the window of his car, feeling his life expectancy shortening rapidly. No, he couldn’t do this.
“Merlin,” he said as gently and calmly as he could. “Perhaps it would be best if you had some regular lessons first. In, you know, a car with dual controls.” He watched Merlin’s face fall a little.
“I can’t afford…”
“Oh don’t worry about that,” Arthur said quickly. “I’ll pay, I promised I’d teach you after all. And of course once you’ve had a few lessons, mastered the basics, then we’ll go out again.”
“I can’t let you pay…”
“You can pay me back in kind. I can think of lots of ways. We could go back to my room and start now, if you like?”
“Okay!” Merlin agreed enthusiastically.
Good. That had worked. Merlin was looking happier again. Arthur quickly took the key out of the ignition and pocketed it.
That was quite enough of a lesson for one day, he thought. Time for payment…