Title: Arthur Pendragon Vs The Ironing Board
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Obviously Arthur should never be left home alone.
Word Count: 1358 (sorry, got carried away)
Author's Notes: Written for camelot_drabble prompt 165 - Own Prompt, I've taken Curtain fic as the prompt. So it's also for merlin_writers trope bingo squares 'Curtain fic' (that's 6/25 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.
Read it here on A03
Arthur Pendragon Vs the Ironing Board
It hadn’t been a great week for Arthur.
Merlin had gone home to his mum. Not because he’d had a row with Arthur or anything. Hunith had slipped over and twisted her ankle, and Merlin had rushed to her side. Well, perhaps not rushed exactly, as he’d first left a week’s worth of food in the fridge or freezer for Arthur, along with cooking instructions. Specifically, instructions on how to operate the microwave for each item.
It wasn’t that Arthur was incapable or anything, Merlin just didn’t seem to trust him in the kitchen. Arthur thought it was a little unfair, he’d managed to microwave two of the dinners successfully, and was perfectly capable of going on the internet and ordering whatever he wanted from Just Eat for the three he’d messed up. It wasn’t as if he’d starve. There was really no need for all the post-it notes on all the meals.
Merlin was calling him every night, supposedly to let him know how things were going but Arthur could tell from the questions that Merlin was also checking Arthur was managing to feed and clothe himself.
“I did go to university and live on campus for a year before I met you,” Arthur pointed out on the fifth evening.
Merlin had made a comment about catering services and wrinkly t-shirts with food stains on them. It wasn’t fair, he had just been between laundry deliveries when Merlin first met him. And Gwaine had been trying to instigate a food fight, hence the stains.
Ever since then, Merlin had sort of looked after Arthur. These days, though, he was starting to look a bit tired. He had been working long hours, and now with his mum hurt it would be an extra worry. Arthur wasn’t quite sure how he could help, because Merlin liked his job and he seemed to like looking after Arthur. But Arthur was perfectly capable of looking after himself and he was going to prove it.
He’d proved it to his own satisfaction with the feeding. He thought he might add in problem-solving as well when he mentioned it to Merlin. After all, he’d still managed to feed himself when the microwave had failed to cook his food properly. That was also partly Merlin’s fault as he’d scribbled on the post-it notes in his horrible handwriting (although Arthur might possibly have kept all the notes because of the little hearts and kisses on them all) and Arthur couldn’t really tell if it was a 3 or a 9 on the minutes.
But then, on the Friday morning, he ran out of clean shirts.
Strictly speaking, he didn’t run out, it was just that all the clean ones were in the washing machine waiting for Arthur to take them out. It was on the list that Merlin had left him of things to do. Merlin had left the washing machine running and told Arthur to take everything out when the cycle finished and hang it on the line in the utility room.
Arthur had possibly forgotten to do this. Actually, he’d opened the door to the washing machine and just left it to dry like that. Another tick for the problem solving box. At least it was until he went to the machine and pulled out a more or less dry shirt.
It was amazingly crumpled. Arthur shook it a bit, but that didn’t seem to make a lot of difference. He tried it on, but the creases didn’t magically drop out. He tried covering it with a jacket, but it was still visible. He searched through his wardrobe to make absolutely sure there weren’t any clean ones left, but came up with nothing. He pulled all the others out of the washing machine, but they were equally dry and crumpled.
Merlin was only going to think he couldn’t look after himself if Arthur rang him and asked him what to do. Besides, Arthur knew what to do. He’d seen Merlin do it many times, and it didn’t look particularly difficult. He didn’t need post-it note instructions either.
Feeling fairly confident, Arthur went to the cupboard in the utility room, opened it up and took out the ironing board. For good measure he also took out the iron. He’d absolutely got this. Merlin would see he could take care of himself.
Merlin usually had the ironing board out in the living room while they were watching TV. Arthur tried to do the same, although there wasn’t much time for TV as he was in danger of being late for work. First, he pulled the legs out to stand the board up. Merlin always did that very quickly, in one easy, fluid movement.
Arthur managed to pull the legs out. It creaked quite a bit when he did so, and as soon as he let go it promptly collapsed onto the floor. Two more attempts proved no better, so Arthur decided to kneel down and iron the stupid shirt on the collapsed board.
He plugged in the iron. It had a dial on it that went from 0 to 3, and as 3 was coloured red Arthur decided this was probably the hottest and therefore the best one to use. There were a lot of creases in the shirt, after all, and he was in a hurry.
At first it didn’t seem to do a great deal. Arthur ran the iron over the shirt like he’d seen Merlin do, but it didn’t seem to be reducing the creases much. He tried pressing harder, which didn’t help. Perhaps he was going too fast? He tried ironing more slowly, and then had a brilliant idea. In hotels, he’d noticed there was such a thing as a trouser press. Merlin had operated it for him, but Arthur knew it was sort of like a giant iron. Pressing, therefore, was probably a clue. He stopped moving the iron around and pressed down hard in one place on the front of the shirt.
Soon enough steam started to rise, just as he’d seen happen sometimes when Merlin did the ironing. There wasn’t usually the same unpleasant burning smell when Merlin did it though. In fact, perhaps it wasn’t steam at all but smoke.
Arthur gave a little yelp and quickly put the iron on the floor beside him. There was a huge, horrible hole in his shirt, and brown scorch marks around the edge of it. He couldn’t possibly wear it to work. Plus the house stank of burning… Oh! Burning carpet! He grabbed the iron before it did any more damage, wincing at the brown, iron-shaped mark it left there.
Quickly he unplugged the iron so that it couldn’t do any more damage. He left it on the ironing board, remembering to stand it on its end like he’d seen Merlin do when he finished the ironing. Arthur had complained about it looking untidy, but he could remember now something about it needing to cool down and being safer that way. He wasn’t completely hopeless…
Then he grabbed a t-shirt and hurried off to work, stopping off to buy a new shirt on the way. He could throw away the old one, maybe get a rug on the way home to hide the mark on the carpet… Merlin would never know!
And perhaps he wouldn’t, except mid-afternoon Arthur got a text message from him:
“Surprise! Mum’s feeling better, I’m home! xx”
Followed rapidly by:
“WTF have you been doing? Trying to burn the house down?”
It was a little unfair, Arthur thought. He’d tried. But at least Merlin would fix it all. Oh… he’d find all of last week’s washing still in the machine… And all that washing up in the sink… And the takeaway boxes… Perhaps he’d better take Merlin out for an expensive meal that evening to make up for all the cleaning he was probably doing right now.
“:D Love you xxxx” Arthur texted back.
He wasn’t surprised when the reply was simply: “Prat.xxx”
It was a good thing though. Obviously Merlin would see that he could never be allowed to leave Arthur alone ever again.