Title: Puppy Love
Pairing/s: Pre Arthur/Merlin
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary:It wasn’t that Arthur was houseproud, or fussy, or had OCD, or was just anally retentive or any of the many things that his sister accused him of on a regular basis...
Word Count: 651
Author's Notes: Written for camelot_drabble prompt 172 - 'Puppy Love', and also fills the 'flatmates' square of my merlin_writers trope bingo (that's 13/25 done) and the 'moving' square of my hc_bingo round 6 card (that's 4/25 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
It wasn’t that Arthur was houseproud, or fussy, or had OCD, or was just anally retentive or any of the many things that his sister accused him of on a regular basis. No, he just liked to live somewhere clean and tidy, somewhere that didn’t have bacteria growing.
Unfortunately, Arthur also liked to have a very large and expensive house, and needed to rent out one of the rooms so that he could pay the mortgage without having to live on beans on toast all month. Apart from anything else, that didn’t make him very popular in the office.
For a room in a shared house, it was perhaps a little bit on the expensive side. But the tenant would have full use of the garden, space on Arthur’s drive to park their car, and of course the pleasure of Arthur’s company.
Strangely, there was only one applicant.
Merlin Emrys came with excellent references and was easily able to afford the exorbitant rent. Apparently he was a successful cartoonist who had several collections and a TV series in the offing. He just didn’t have time for all the buying and selling of property, and anyway liked to live with people as they inspired him.
On hearing this, Arthur immediately wrote into the rental agreement that Arthur was not to appear in Merlin’s cartoons in any way, shape or form. Merlin looked very sad about this, and Arthur knew he’d just made a very wise move.
The main star of Merlin’s cartoons, though, was a dog. Well, perhaps dog was stretching it. Kilgharrah, the original dog had recently died, and Merlin had got a puppy. And Aithusa the puppy arrived with Merlin in Arthur’s perfectly spotless house.
“But we agreed,” Merlin protested as Aithusa bounded happily into the lounge, sniffing at everything and wagging his little tail. “I said I had a pet dog.”
“You said it died!”
Arthur stared at Aithusa, who had his nose in Arthur’s shoe, then glared at Merlin. “Clearly not.”
Merlin blinked at him, and Arthur thought maybe his new housemate was going to burst into tears. Insensitivity was another one of those things his sister was always accusing him off too. “He was 17. That’s really old for a dog. He’d been with me since I was a kid. And all his fans organised this big online funeral for him, it was really touching.” He gave a sniff, and Arthur shuffled his feet uncomfortably.
Please don’t cry, he prayed. He was useless if people cried. Plus there was all the icky snot.
“That’s why I chose this place,” Merlin continued. “The garden… I thought it would be a really great place for Aithusa to grow up. But, I suppose, if it’s not to be then we could just go.”
Aithusa gave a little whine, as if he understood. But most likely it was the smell of Arthur’s shoes. Merlin sniffed again.
“Oh I suppose you can stay,” Arthur said quickly, before any tears started. “Just keep it away from me!”
Merlin’s face broke into a huge disarming smile, and Arthur quickly looked away because it was alarmingly attractive.
“Thanks! We’ll be perfect houseguests, won’t we Aithusa?”
The pup barked annoyingly and came racing over to jump up at Merlin, who sneezed.
“Sorry, hay fever,” Merlin explained, crouching down to make a fuss of his pet.
Hay fever. Not crying at all. Arthur could have just sent him away along with his wretched mutt.
Aithusa wriggled free from Merlin, and started to jump up at Arthur instead.
“Not very well-trained, is it?” Arthur pointed out.
“I know,” Merlin beamed. “He’s just a pup, but the more fun he has, the more inspirational he is.” He looked across at Arthur’s shoe, which was now well-chewed. “Um… maybe I’ll keep him in my room?”
“Do that,” Arthur agreed.
He had a very, very bad feeling about this.