Pairing/s: Arthur/Others, Arthur/Merlin
Summary: Just what is says on the box
Warnings: Arthur's handler Merlin seems to enjoy throwing Arthur under the bus.
Word Count: 1315
Author's Notes: dead_pendragon asked for Arthur as a spy. I hope this hits the mark even though i was an idiot and totally forgot the holiday part of a holiday fic exchange. Wow. Who does that?
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.
“I don’t see why you had to plant Gwaine in my bed. Sophia knows we were raised together. We’re practically brothers and he’s engaged to one of my best friends,” Arthur growls into the phone.
Merlin’s tinny voice patiently explains, “We had to extricate you from the mansion before her father was picked up for questioning about the long range nuclear missile plans sale to the North Koreans. It had been determined that being caught with Gwaine was a sure fire way to get you thrown out of their house.”
The bag of frozen peas Arthur is holding over his swollen eye shows how spot on that intelligence had been. Merlin continues, “Sophia’s past reactions to infidelity have been well documented and here you appeared to cheat on both her and your best friend. The scene practically wrote itself.”
Arthur groans, “This will be all over the tabloids by morning.”
“I’m typing up an anonymous tip for The Sun right this minute,” Merlin says cheerily. “Sophia is citing caddish behaviour as the reason for your break up.”
“Caddish behaviour,” Arthur says. “Well I guess it’s better than having been caught in bed with Elena’s fiancé.”
“Oh, I have a quote from an upstairs maid that spells out the entire sordid scene. She’s gone on record that Gwaine looks like a Greek god naked. There are also some very blurry photos but you can’t mistake your shiny blond hair,” Merlin says happily.
“You’re enjoying orchestrating this smear campaign way too much,” Arthur says.
“I do get a feeling of satisfaction when my visions play out,” Merlin agrees.
“Elena’s going to eviscerate me.”
“She was on board for the entire ruse and Gwaine thinks it’s hilarious,” Merlin placates.
“So I was the only one kept in the dark?” Arthur asks, outraged.
“It had to look good for your girlfriend,” Merlin says.
“Ex-girlfriend,” Arthur answers.
“You go through partners like Kleenex,” Merlin says.
“That’s in your anonymous tip isn’t it?”
“Of course it is.”
Arthur hangs up.
“I promised Percival a weekend at the beach not two days and nights of him alone in a four star hotel while I dodged bullets and disarmed bombs,” Arthur mutters into the empty room as a pipe bomb’s timer continues to countdown in the sub-basement of the bustling casino.
“You can do it, Arthur,” Merlin says in his ear. “There are still thirty seconds left. Think.”
They’ve already run through birthdays and famous dates in history, Gilli’s addresses old and new. And then inspiration hits Arthur, “Oh, hell, of course. Look up James Bond’s security password in Casino Royale. Little terrorist has an autographed poster over his bed."
Entering 836547 halts the timer with a very Bondian three seconds to spare. Arthur breathes a sigh of relief before looking at his watch. Percival is due back in London in ten hours and Arthur still has to round up the missing teenager.
“Could you arrange a limousine and helicopter to get Percival back to London?”
“The usual champagne and regrets?”
“Yes, the usual,” Arthur sighs. “And the chauffeur or concierge or check in clerk will be telling the paps what, exactly?”
“The hotel staff is too discreet but the casino staff is happy to say you’ve been swilling martinis and winning at baccarat all weekend,” Merlin says promptly.
“Caddish behaviour,” Arthur says.
“It’s your cunning disguise, Arthur.”
“At least I wasn’t bedding some beauty while Percival was cooling his heels at the hotel,” Arthur says.
“Glass half full, Agent Pendragon,” Merlin agrees.
Arthur throws another punch, this one landing squarely on his adversary’s temple, finally knocking the sniper to the ground. He has her wrists and ankles zip tied in seconds.
“The shooter has been subdued and is ready for interrogation. The target is safe for now,” Arthur says into his communicator. “Two missed dates and now Gwen’s birthday makes three,” he sighs. Arthur regrets hurting her feelings but things like thwarting assassination attempts come up in his line of business. “I have a feeling you’ve already got some very unflattering cover story cooked up.”
Merlin sounds even perkier than usual, “I do! I have incriminating photographs of you and Sefa going in and out of your hotel room when you two were casing that arms dealer in Scratchy Bottom. Sefa’s happy to drag your philandering name through the mud for a few months,”
“You leapt at the chance to get me and Scratchy Bottom into the papers, didn’t you?” Arthur says with a laugh.
“You betcha!” Merlin says with a laugh of his own.
A few hours later Arthur’s cell buzzes. The text from Guinevere is short and to the point: Don’t call me again.
“You were all over him, Arthur. It’s the lead on Yahoo News,” Vivian says icily.
“Yes, and the internet is never wrong,” Arthur replies, rolling his eyes at Merlin who’s grinning at the angry voice coming from the speakerphone.
What actually had been captured on film was Arthur reviving an unconscious Leonel Suárez, the bronze medal winning decathlete during an escape from his handlers.
The Cuban government had caught wind of his plan to defect and when Leonel didn’t show up at their scheduled rendezvous Arthur got himself invited to the Olympic Village, ditched his date and found his quarry.
He’d broken into the athlete’s room, slung Leonel over his shoulder and escaped to a stolen security vehicle where he administered mouth to mouth (referred to on Yahoo News as the ”very sloppy, possibly drunken snog” embarrassingly caught on camera). Arthur then whisked Leonel off to UK Borders Agency.
Unfortunately, Leonel’s mother had been placed under house arrest in Havana so the decathlete regretfully declined the government’s assistance and returned to the Olympic Village, telling reporters he and Arthur had just been having a bit of celebratory fun. Arthur was pretty sure it was Merlin that put the words “definitely not a gold medal winning lover” in the young man’s mouth.
“I knew it was a mistake dating someone famous,” Merlin says. “I cautioned you about it and now here we are.” The tabloids were beside themselves over Arthur having stood Emma Watson up at the premiere of Noah. There were photos of Britain’s Most Lovable Sweetheart in tears.
To the press, Arthur ferrying the recently kidnapped and ransomed daughter of a billionaire industrialist back to Morocco translated into Pendragon’s Tryst With a Troubled Teen headlines.
Arthur shakes the newspaper in Merlin’s face, “I am hating this stupid nickname.”
“That’s not mine, though I quite like the alliteration of Pillock Pendragon,” Merlin says.
“This article makes me sound like a cradle robbing, cheating creeper.” Arthur says.
“I’m sorry. Emma seemed nice,” Merlin says with a little frown.
“I’m never getting laid again,” Arthur says with a sigh.
“I’ve come to a decision,” Arthur announces as he walks into Merlin’s office. “The entire world believes I’m a callous, bubble butted heart breaker, I’m changing dating tactics.”
Merlin doesn’t look up from the headset he’s repairing. Arthur pokes him in the shoulder. “Merlin, I’m talking to you.”
“I focus your bad press in Europe. You’ve got six more continents that have no idea who you are,” Merlin answers distractedly.
“Well, that’s a problem, too. I’d like to date somebody who actually knows who I am.” He walks behind Merlin’s desk and puts a hand on his handler’s shoulder. Merlin raises his head and looks into Arthur’s eyes. “Who I really am.”
Merlin’s eyes widen but he doesn’t move away as Arthur slowly leans in for a kiss. After a few seconds hesitation he’s on his feet enthusiastically kissing back, before pulling back grinning, “Took you long enough.”
Arthur has to agree.