Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: All good things come to an end.
Word Count: 901
Author's Notes: Written for camelot_drabble prompt 181 - 'Compromise'
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.
This is chapter 3 of the ninth part of the 'Impressions' series, which can all be found on A03 here.
All good things had to come to an end. Eventually Merlin and Arthur’s sort-of-a-honeymoon finished, and they had to head home. Arthur had made their break stretch out for three glorious weeks, in which time they’d visited Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, King’s Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and then headed up to the Canadian border and visited Niagara. They’d done a few cities as well, ending up in New York, but they both agreed the national parks were what they’d both enjoyed the most.
Sadly, Arthur couldn’t stay away any longer because there were some important meetings the following week and he needed to attend, so reluctantly they’d bought tickets home. Now they were checking in at JFK airport. Arthur watched Merlin handing over his passport, and frowned.
“It says Emrys,” he commented, when they were safely through security and standing in a queue for coffee.
“Your passport. It says Merlin Emrys.”
“That’s my name,” Merlin confirmed. “So it would.” Arthur thought he caught an eye-roll, but Merlin was turned slightly away, looking at the list of drinks up above the coffee machines, so he couldn’t be sure.
“Well you’ll need to get that amended, won’t you? You’re Pendragon now.”
Merlin looked at him slightly incredulously. “I am not.”
Arthur leaned over and tapped the ring Merlin was still wearing. “Married.”
“We were drunk. You’re getting it annulled,” Merlin reminded him. “Then I expect to be wooed. Extensively.”
Arthur had been torn for weeks between wanting to just stay married, and his desire for a huge over the top proposal followed by a carefully planned and romantic wedding. Followed by a proper honeymoon, because the practice one had been great. So he didn’t argue the annulment, although part of him really wanted to. The name, however…
“But when we remarry,” he began.
Merlin apparently couldn’t hide his huge, delighted grin at that assumption, but didn’t interrupt.
“When we remarry, obviously you’ll take my name.”
“It’s an ancient and respected name. Goes back to legendary kings!”
“Emrys is ancient too. Goes back to legendary wizards.”
“Who didn’t actually exist. Wait, is that why your mum gave you that silly first name?”
Merlin glared at him. “Merlin’s a great name! And I’m keeping my surname.”
“Well I’m not giving up Pendragon.”
“Well then we’ll sound like we’re not married, won’t we? Not impressive wooing so far, Arthur.” Merlin pouted at him, and Arthur couldn’t help staring at those lips and thinking what a waste it was not to kiss him. So he did. It had the bonus effect of stopping the argument as well.
They were interrupted a few minutes later by a discreet cough from the barista. Merlin blushed adorably, and ordered for them both.
“Merlin and Arthur… Emrys,” Merlin told her, giving Arthur a cheeky grin as he did so.
“Pendragon,” Arthur put in.
The girl looked at them both, and Arthur felt very slightly sorry for her, she probably got idiots in there all day.
“Merlin Emrys, Arthur Pendragon,” he told her, handing over the money. “He refuses to take my excellent and ancient family name.”
The girl smiled at them, scribbled on the cups, took the money and turned away to make their drinks. Arthur and Merlin wandered to the end of the counter.
“This doesn’t mean I’ve given up,” Arthur told him, using the wait time as an excuse for a cuddle. “I just didn’t want to give the barista a hard time.”
Merlin snuggled in. “You’re improving. I’m obviously a good influence. Ah, our coffees.” He picked them up and headed for the nearest table. Sitting down, he took a closer look at the paper cups and what was written on them, then shoved one towards Arthur. “Well, that would be a compromise.”
Arthur Emrys-Pendragon was scrawled on the side of his cup, and when he looked across at Merlin’s he could see Merlin Emrys-Pendragon scrawled over it. It was a great idea. He’d have to leave a big tip for the brilliant service. There was, of course, just one thing wrong…
“I like it. Except… it would have to be Pendragon-Emrys, naturally.”
Merlin narrowed his eyes. “That sounds silly. Emrys-Pendragon is alphabetical and clearly better.”
The worst thing was, Merlin was right. And, eventually, Arthur knew he would have to capitulate, because even he thought Emrys-Pendragon sounded better. But he didn’t see why he should make it easy for Merlin.
“Pendragon-Emrys, I think.”
“Fine,” Merlin sipped his coffee. “You know, the woman’s maiden name traditionally comes first in double-barrelled surnames? So yeah, you can be the wife in this relationship.”
Arthur wasn’t sure if that was true or not, but he wasn’t going to risk it. He could just imagine Merlin meeting Arthur’s father and explaining that, and then his father’s reaction…
Merlin edged closer, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes, and added in a whisper: “Which means I get to top, all the time!”
“Mmm,” Merlin leaned in and kissed him. “I love you, Mr Pendragon-Emrys.”
Arthur melted, just a little bit, every time Merlin told him he loved him. “And I love you, Mr Emrys-Pendragon. I suppose we’ll have it your way round. I’ll want compensation though.”
As he reached to kiss his husband again, Arthur couldn’t help notice Merlin was looking a little bit smug, and realised he’d probably been had.
He really, really didn’t care.