Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, puppy
Summary: The dog gets hold of something questionable and Arthur uses that catalyst to his advantage
Warnings: none, but PG for mentions of packers and phallic imagery
Word Count: 956
Prompt: 172, puppy love
“ARTHUR! Bloody hell. I told you we were not in any way equipped to look after a puppy and now look!”
Arthur follows Merlin's dulcet tones through to the front door and finds him tugging trainers on and rushing out of the door. The bang echoes through the house and Arthur's left standing in the hall, wondering what's going on. His curiously being un-solvable, he goes and makes tea and sandwiches. He's got quite a pile by the time Merlin comes crashing through the back gate, scowl firmly in place, puppy on a lead. Merlin comes into the kitchen, muddy shoes and all, and drops something on the bread board Arthur's about to cut some more cucumber on. Arthur looks at the cucumber in his hand, then the object on the bread board, then the cucumber again.
“I know it's been said before, but the similarity is striking,” Arthur says, “you're getting mud on the floor.”
“The dog was running around the village with that in it's mouth,” Merlin says, exasperation rolling off him.
“I made lunch. And tea,” Arthur offers.
Merlin makes a strangled noise and kicks off his shoes before stalking through the house, puppy trailing sadly after him still on the lead. Arthur picks up his hard packer and drops it in the sink. He washes it thoroughly and then washes the bread board thoroughly and then puts the sandwiches and tea in the dining room before tiptoeing into the living-room to witness Merlin telling the dog off.
He's not telling the dog off, though. He's lying on his back and the puppy's on top of him and they're tussling, Merlin grinning widely.
“Shh, shh. We have to be quiet or your Dad will find us and use this as ammo to try and make me keep you,” Merlin says, when the dog yaps.
“Too late,” Arthur says, crossing his arms and looking sternly down at Merlin.
Merlin and the puppy both look up at him, and there's really no fighting against two sets of eyes like that. Arthur relaxes his stance.
“My packer's a lost cause,” Arthur says.
“You never used that thing, anyway. I don't why you bought it.”
“I thought maybe it was just not connecting with my body that was making me ace,” Arthur says, “And I liked having it. I wore it sometimes.”
“You used it as a kinky unicorn horn to freak Lance out,” Merlin says, getting gracefully to his feet and scooping the dog up on his way.
“You know, we should name em,” Arthur says, ruffling the dog's ears.
“We are not keeping the dog! And can't you just call her 'her'?”
“No point gendering a dog, Merlin. Honestly, what a weird idea. Like they have any concept of gender. Isn't that right?” Arthur asks, “yes it is! Give em here, Mer, I want a cuddle too.”
“Mrs Posh Old Lady at number six said she and her husband had been trying to work out what the dog had in it's mouth. I told them I didn't know, maybe a bit of plastic. Mr Posh Old Lady said it was an interested shape and giggled.”
“I made sandwiches,” Arthur says, then, when Merlin continues looking at him, “I'll take you out on a proper date. And put my packers away properly.”
“And stop telling everyone you transitioned so you could date me, because I refused to turn straight for you?”
“And- but, that's a perfect answer, Mer. And it's so romantic. Lance says so.”
“Lance reads too much Mills and Boon.”
“True. Very true. Alright, I promise not to tell anyone our awesome love story.”
“In that case, you can have cuddles while I eat lunch.”
Arthur bounces on his heels and the puppy's tail starts going, catching the excitement. The transfer from Merlin's arms to Arthur's is wriggly and Arthur gets a paw to the neck and eir tongue nearly gets in Arthur's eye and Arthur tumbles them to the floor, rolling about until he finds a chew-toy that is less phallic than the one ey wanted.
They play tug until Merlin comes back in with some sandwiches and a cup of tea, then Arthur sits against the arm chair with the puppy in his lap, cheek against eir soft fur, watching Merlin.
“Stop plotting,” Merlin says around a mouthful of sandwich, “I can see you thinking.”
“I was thinking we should call em Baskerville.”
Merlin's lips quirk up and Arthur knows he can win this. Push and wait, nudge and cajole. Now is a pause while Merlin does the linking up. Arthur knew Merlin at school, but they hadn't really got to know each other until an Aven meet up while they were both at uni in London. They'd begun with Merlin throwing recriminations Arthur's way for things left unsaid at school, and ended up arguing about the representation of Watson in various adaptations of Sherlock Holmes.
“Alright, name em what you like. Still not keeping em. We both work, the house is hardly dog proof, we kill cactuses!”
“You make it sound like murder. We don't do it on purpose, we just forget. We're hardly likely to forget Basker, are we?” Arthur says, “you like your name, Baskerville? Hmm?”
The puppy licks his face and Arthur rolls over, tumbling the dog with him, joy singing through him. He comes up tousled and pink and Merlin's giving him an indulgent, resigned look. Arthur knows that Merlin's already giving in. Now he just has to wait for Merlin to admit it. Baskerville's staying, it's too late; Merlin's fallen in love.