Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 12
Rating: Future R but still PG-13 for now
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur has a plan to stay in the United States. That plan is Merlin
Warnings: Defrauding the US government
Word Count: 1120 (Sorry, Again)
Prompt: Compromise, though I sorta hand waved that with Percy's gift.
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom which starts here
Sunday morning Morgana picks Hunith up for breakfast and a spa day in West Hollywood. ”It’s my treat, Hunith. I swear the Rub and Scrub will have you glowing like a teenager!”
“Since your mum’s busy I thought we could open wedding presents and get started on writing thank you notes,” Arthur says over coffee.
Merlin's just taken a bite of toast and has to chew for a bit before asking “Wedding presents?”
Arthur gives him a small kick under the table. “What did you think that stack of gift wrapped boxes and all those envelopes on the table behind the sofa were?”
Merlin shrugs. “Early Christmas shopping?”
Arthur rolls his eyes. “It’s August, Merlin, I don’t even start thinking about Christmas until October. Also, both our names are on them.”
“I actually hadn’t looked too closely. I didn’t want to be nosy.”
“It wouldn’t have been nosy to look. This is your house, too, you know.”
Merlin smiles, pleased. “I’m still getting used to that.”
The stack is pretty impressive. There are dozens of envelopes and several gaily wrapped boxes. Merlin’s eyes are drawn to a large gift messily wrapped in a rainbow flag. “I bet that’s from Gwaine,” he says pointing.
Arthur laughs, “You’re right. He was shocked I didn’t already own one. Like I’d hang any kind of flag in front of the house. They’re tacky.”
Merlin smiles, “Don’t let my mum hear you say that. She's been admiring the huge "Autumn's Almost Here!" flag hanging from your neighbor's front porch. She thinks it's sweet.”
Arthur collects the envelopes and Merlin gathers an armful of packages, placing them on the coffee table to sift through. “I’d better get a pen and paper so we can make a list for thank you letters,” Arthur says, walking off down the hall.
Merlin gets the rest of the boxes, wondering what these people could think Arthur needs to embark on married life. Looking around, anyone can see Arthur has everything he could possibly want.
“Did you register us anywhere?” he asks when Arthur returns.
“No. This was all on such short notice I assumed people wouldn’t bother with gifts. I should have made it clear that we didn’t need anything,” Arthur hands Merlin an envelope and a letter opener.
Cards are opened, gift cards and checks written onto Arthur’s growing list, congratulatory statements read aloud and set aside.
“This is a bit ridiculous. What could we ever need at Sephora? Do we look like men that wear make up? Do they even sell men’s makeup?” Arthur wonders aloud.
“I’ve been known to wear eyeliner a time or two,” Merlin smiles opening another envelope.
Arthur gives him a look. “You know, I bet it suits you.”
“If we ever go clubbing, you’ll see.” Merlin says with a wink.
A beautiful card from Morgana reads I got you Hunith as a wedding gift. You may thank me with jewelry. “That’s a mystery solved,” Arthur says, “And she’s not joking about the jewelry.”
“Maybe she’d take a Sephora gift card instead?” Merlin asks. Arthur just laughs.
There are restaurant and Home Depot and Crate and Barrel gift cards added to the list. Merlin’s head is reeling at the amounts racking up. “Don’t people realize that you’re rolling in it?”
Arthur gives him a playful shove. “They’re just being, nice, Merlin. You should be quite moved that Gwen and Lance gave us this lovely gift certificate for a couple’s massage. Very romantic,” he says with a smile.
Merlin blushes and opens another card. “Someone named George has given us another fifty dollars at Home Depot. The card says You can never have enough brass polish. What the hell do you think he means by that? Is brass polish a euphemism for something?”
Arthur makes a face. “He has a weird brass fetish. Don’t ask.”
Percival writes he couldn’t choose between a family membership to The Natural History Museum or The Museum of Contemporary Art, so he’s given them both. A museum apiece!
The boxes are next. Gwaine’s gift first because Arthur just knows it’s going to be embarrassing and wants to get it out of the way. “Gwaine and your Uncle Gaius would get along great,” Arthur says with a laugh holding up the fur lined handcuffs that come with The Beginner’s Bondage Kit. There’s also a gift certificate for The Pleasure Chest, one of LA’s most famous adult stores. He writes BDSM kit from Gwaine, who thinks he’s hilarious on the list.
Leon has given them a set of plush towels monogrammed HIS and HIS.
Uncle Agravaine gives them a framed portrait of himself. “He’s going to look for this damn thing every time he drops by,” Arthur grouses, already looking for the least conspicuous spot to display it.
“What a creepy photograph.” Merlin says. “Did you notice his eyes seem to follow you? Don’t put it anywhere near our bedroom.” Merlin opens the accompanying card. “Hey, he wrote us a check for a thousand dollars to go toward a honeymoon,” he says with a smile. “For that, Uncle Agravaine goes on the mantelpiece.”
“No, I don’t want him staring down at me when I’m trying to relax. I see enough of this oily smirk at work,” Arthur says looking at the portrait. The eyes really do seem to be tracking his movements. “I think the guest room is a good spot for him. It will keep friends and family from staying too long,” Arthur says with a grin, immediately getting up and putting action to words, firmly closing the door on the photo.
Merlin hands him the last box. “Here, this one’s from your father.” Arthur wonders what Uther could have selected as a gift. He pulls off the top of the box and puts it aside, reaches in and lifts out two heavy objects wrapped in white tissue paper. They’re a pair of silver candelabras that have been displayed on the Pendragon dining room table all of Arthur’s life.
“Wow. Those are gorgeous,” Merlin says, taking one from Arthur, hefting it like a barbell. “This weighs a ton.”
“They were a wedding gift from my grandparents who got them as a wedding gift from their parents,” Arthur says taking out the card. He smiles as he reads and then hands it to Merlin.
Uther has written These heirlooms have been handed down from one happy couple to another over four generations. May they shed warm light on many celebrations over the next several decades until you two are ready to hand them along to another happy couple years from now. Love, Father.
These take pride of place on their dining room table and Merlin has a sinking feeling that he’ll feel guilty every time he looks at them.