Summary:Magical Studies wasn't a proper subject. So it wasn't really fair that it was so popular, or that the department was expanding. Arthur was determined not to like the new teacher. Even if he did have cheekbones to die for.
Word Count: 5108
Author's Notes: cas_tielle asked for an au with Merlin and Arthur as teachers. I've tried to incorporate the likes and dislikes as much as possible, hope you like it.
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.
Fic is here on A03
Magical Studies 101
Staff meetings, every Monday, first thing without fail, were never much fun.
Arthur always sat at the front, up next to the head, Uther Pendragon, who also happened to be his father. It was partly because Uther insisted Arthur sit there, but mostly because Arthur knew nobody else wanted to and there would be a large, noticeable gulf between Uther and everyone else, and that was really a bit too symbolic to be good for Camelot Academy. It also meant that there was absolutely no chance of Uther not noticing if Arthur wasn’t there. Or, worse, if he was late.
Arthur was never, ever late for meetings. Except that one time a few months back, and that hadn’t been his fault anyway. Morgana and her wretched advanced magic class persuading him to take part in an practice exam piece that had gone wrong… even when they’d released him from their stupid magical cage he still hadn’t been able to get his hair back to its normal colour for over a week. He’d never quite forgiven Morgana for that one.
There were lots of things he’d never quite forgiven his sister for. Most of them stemmed from simple sibling rivalry (though there was little that was simple about the Pendragon siblings). But since they’d both started working at Camelot Academy, the list of unforgiveable things had grown.
That particular morning, she’d called him to make sure he was attending (as if he wouldn’t!) because she was bringing in the new teacher for her department.
Her department! Because what she was really reminding him of was that Magical Studies now was considered to be an entire department, rather than… well, Business Studies was just a class. A class that Arthur ran. By himself. With no backup. Morgana, on the other hand, now had a second teacher helping her and was therefore head of a department. And, being Morgana, she was horribly smug about it.
Arthur was considering all this, and perhaps not paying complete attention to where he was going as he headed to the meeting on that particular Monday. So when someone came racing down the corridor and cannoned into him, knocking them both off their feet, it was really Arthur’s fault as well. But Arthur would never, ever admit that. Not even a decade later when someone asked how they’d first met. No, it was most definitely not Arthur’s fault. At least, not in Arthur’s mind.
“Sorry… sorry!” the human cannonball wailed, scrambling to gather his books and papers which had spilled out of his rather threadbare bag. “Oh god, it’s my first day and I’m late… sorry!”
Arthur got up and dusted himself down, checking his suit for any rips or tears. He was sure he’d heard a seam go as he crashed to the floor. “This is Armani,” he grumbled. “If you’ve damaged it, you’ll pay for the repairs.” He glared at his assailant, looking at him properly for the first time.
It was a young man. Pale, skinny, with a shock of dark hair that looked as if it hadn’t seen a comb in a while. Or perhaps it had, and the comb had just conceded defeat. The whole effect was rather cute, but Arthur wasn’t going to let that sway him. Blue eyes gazed back at Arthur in surprise for a moment, then narrowed in anger.
“Who the hell wears Armani to a school?”
“I teach Business Studies,” Arthur retorted. “It would hardly be setting a good example if I were to…” he looked the man up and down for a moment. “Wear a pair of jeans that look as if they’re going to fall down at any minute, and a t-shirt with some stupid slogan on it!”
The other man pulled his open plaid overshirt around himself a little self-consciously. Arthur couldn’t tell what the t-shirt beneath it actually said but it was bound to be something ridiculous and inappropriate, and the man’s actions confirmed it.
“It’s less intimidating for the students,” the man protested. “I bet they’re all scared of you. I prefer to be approachable.”
Arthur narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “Please don’t tell me you’re teaching here.”
The man glared back at him defiantly, and just raised an eyebrow. It reminded Arthur of Professor Gaius, the ancient head of the science department. Gaius was far better at it than this… person. Admittedly, being angry was just adding to the man’s attractiveness, but Arthur was never one to back down from a fight, no matter how small and petty.
“I don’t believe you. My father would never allow anyone to teach here dressed like that!”
“Your father… Well I know you’re not Morgana, because she’s really nice and polite.”
It was Arthur’s turn to raise an eyebrow at the hopelessly inaccurate description of his sister.
“So you must be… what did she call you? Oh yes, her uptight prat of a brother Arthur.” The man stuck his hand out, still not smiling. “Merlin Emrys, Magical Studies Professor, I’d say it’s nice to meet you but obviously that wouldn’t be entirely truthful.”
Magical Studies. He should have known. Arthur rolled his eyes. “You’re Morgana’s new staff member. Wait… Merlin? Seriously? A Magical Studies teacher and you’re calling yourself Merlin?”
“It’s my name,” Merlin said shortly, withdrawing his hand. “Mum realised I had magic before I was even born. It’s not like I can’t live up to it. And I’ve heard all the jokes. I could always turn you into a frog,” he added. “That usually stops them.”
Arthur wasn’t entirely sure he was joking. Some of Morgana’s friends were really quite talented at their craft, and this one was probably quite good if she’d hired him. Though he wouldn’t put it past her to take him on just to annoy their father. The t-shirt was visible again after Merlin had let his overshirt fall open again, and that alone would probably do the trick. It was bright green, and sported a picture of a dragon pointing forward and declaring ‘Maybe I don’t believe in you!’
Cute, Arthur thought, then immediately tried to un-think it. Because the entire effect, with the just-fallen-out-of-bed-on-his-head hair, and the far too kissable lips, and the striking cheekbones, and those ears, wasn’t attractive at all to Arthur. No. Definitely not. This was a Magical Studies teacher, who worked with Arthur’s sister, and… Arthur knew he needed to get away before he made a fool of himself. He wouldn’t put it past Morgana to have hired Merlin simply because she knew he was exactly Arthur’s type. Not that Arthur had ever considered that he’d got a type, but Morgana probably knew better. The fact that she usually did was another of those things that Arthur would never admit to, even decades later.
Arthur nodded towards Merlin’s chest and snorted disparagingly, desperately trying to hide his attraction to the other man. “Nice shirt,” he said as rudely as he could, and pushed past Merlin to get into the meeting. Late.
The one saving grace was that although his father looked furious when Arthur walked in, it was nothing compared to the horrified expression on his face when he caught sight of Merlin.
The staff meeting itself was predictably awful.
Magical Studies were not, as far as Uther Pendragon was concerned, a proper subject. They had no place at Camelot Academy, and would probably never have darkened its doors if Morgana had not turned out to be a magic user. Even then, Uther had hoped she would grow up to work as a nice Cookery & Nutrition teacher, or something equally fitting. There had never been any realistic hope of that happening, and as soon as Morgana qualified as a teacher, there had only been one subject she was interested in teaching.
There were quite a few academies that taught Magical Studies, but Morgana had a real flair for it and her reputation was drawing a large number of gifted youngsters to the place. They were bright, intelligent students, and their good scores in other subjects were raising the profile of Camelot Academy. Uther didn’t like the subject, but even he could see it was helping the school. And so, when the pupil numbers continued to grow, he’d allowed Morgana to take on a second teacher. Merlin.
Arthur watched Merlin as he dropped that ancient, ratty bag on the desk and it more or less fell apart. For the second time that morning half the contents ended on the floor. Merlin went crawling under the desk to retrieve his things and somehow ended up with two pens rolling right under Uther’s desk. Arthur barely managed to hide a snort of laughter as Merlin picked one up and smiled a little sheepishly. It was, actually, quite endearing.
“Oops,” Merlin said.
Uther just glared at him. Arthur saw his gaze flicker to the t-shirt, and back again. There was the barest whitening around his nostrils, only noticeable to those familiar with Uther’s moods. Merlin seemed to have picked up on it though. His smile faltered, and he looked around nervously, probably seeking out Morgana for reassurance. But she was at the back of the room, and he would have needed to turn his back on Uther in order to see her. Instead, the only people facing him were Uther and Arthur.
“Who,” Uther asked, his voice at its most icy. “Is this?”
Merlin actually blanched, and glanced at Arthur pleadingly, then away. Arthur knew Merlin would assume there would be no help coming from that direction after their earlier encounter. But Arthur wasn’t without a heart (no matter what Morgana might say to the contrary) and instead he quickly reached down and retrieved the other pen.
“This is Merlin, he’s the new Magical Studies professor,” Arthur said. He could see his father’s expression twitch with dislike at the mere mention of the subject. “Here,” he handed Merlin his errant pen. “Welcome to Camelot Academy, Merlin. Maybe stop by a store on the way home tonight and pick up a new bag?”
“Yes,” Merlin glanced nervously at Uther, who just glared at him. “I’ll do that. Thanks.”
“Sit down,” Uther growled, and Merlin scuttled back to his seat. Arthur tried not to watch him as he did so.
The rest of the meeting was swiftly dealt with, Uther shooting disapproving looks in Merlin’s direction at regular intervals. Uther did not like Merlin.
Uther, however, was alone in that sentiment. Everyone else just loved Merlin. Gwen, who had grown up to work as a nice Cookery & Nutrition teacher, was always popping in to the Magical Studies section (Arthur refused to think of it as a department) to gift Merlin and Morgana with leftover samples from her glasses. Apparently they both needed fattening up, though Arthur had it on good authority that Gwen liked Morgana just the way she was.
Someone had to.
Merlin, though, didn’t put so much as an ounce on. Perhaps that was down to the amount of time he spent with Gwaine from Physical Education, who headed up the Friday night pub crew. Gwaine spent far too much time in Magical Studies for Arthur’s liking after Merlin arrived. Arthur was quite sure he wasn’t in there to see Morgana. In fact, he couldn’t recall ever seeing Gwaine anywhere near the Magical classrooms before Merlin started work there. Now he was in there all the time. It seemed completely unnecessary.
Even crotchety old Gaius from Science liked Merlin, and Arthur kept finding them sitting in the staff room on breaks, drinking tea and arguing about some magical theory or other, because apparently Gaius was into all that. Who knew? After that first meeting, Merlin just seemed to be everywhere.
And he was always right at the heart of Gwaine’s pub nights. Arthur had always tried to avoid them like the plague, because Gwaine was… well, he was Gwaine. Loud, brash, handsome, and possessing a sky-high tolerance for alcohol that Arthur couldn’t hope to match. Gwaine’s pub nights always resulted in a bad hangover for Arthur, which put him behind with his marking and therefore cut far too deeply into his precious weekend. All good reasons for Arthur to keep at a safe distance. But once Gwaine started dragging Merlin along, Arthur felt it was his duty to go too. Merlin was new and vulnerable, after all, and who knew what sort of trouble Gwaine would get him into. And anyway, initial meetings aside, Arthur liked Merlin. The man was bright and witty, and blushed adorably if Arthur sat close enough.
Arthur always made sure he sat close. He knew Gwaine didn’t like it, so that just made him do it more. After all, he was just protecting the new staff member. Merlin probably needed a lot of protection, given the way Gwaine looked at him sometimes. But Merlin just smiled at Gwaine the same way as he smiled at everyone, and sipped his beer, apparently oblivious. It was all the more reason for Arthur to stick close by. Arthur would edge closer to Merlin whenever he thought Gwaine might be making a play for him, and Merlin would turn to him with that sweet little half-smile he had. Sometimes Arthur would nudge Merlin’s leg with his own, just to watch the delicious blush spread across Merlin’s face right up to the tip of those huge, adorable ears, and to see Merlin duck his head, suddenly shy. Arthur just loved that. In fact, Magical Studies aside, as time went by there was very little Arthur didn’t love about Merlin.
Behind them, Gwaine quite often just rolled his eyes and left them to it. Arthur liked to think of those occasions as wins because, well, life mostly felt like a competition to Arthur and he liked to ensure he won. It would be even more of a win if he could pluck up the courage to ask Merlin out. But he’d been so rude to him on that first day, there was a good chance Merlin would say no. Arthur preferred to keep flirting and hoping.
Arthur visited Magical Studies even more often than Gwaine did. But unlike Gwaine he had a valid reason, his sister worked there and so of course he would need to be there too. Important family reasons. Messages to deliver from their father. Questions about family birthdays and what to buy. Addresses that he’d mislaid, yet again. Quality brother and sister time and all that. Perfectly valid. It was a coincidence that Merlin was always in there as well. But then, he worked with Morgana.
“Here again, Arthur?” Morgana commented as he strode into her classroom at the end of a particularly harrowing day. The kids should all have gone, but Merlin was down on his hands and knees in front of Morgana’s desk, talking to a small dark-haired girl. They appeared to be going through the details of a particular spell. It meant that all Arthur could see of Merlin was his arse. Arthur was starting to see why this would be called Magical Studies. He gazed for a moment, then suddenly realised what he was doing, and that Morgana was still talking to him and he had no idea what she had said. Guiltily, he looked away from Merlin to see his sister smiling at him knowingly, one eyebrow raised. He wondered if that was just a thing all magic enthusiasts could do.
“Um…” said Arthur eloquently, and then went for the vaguest answer he could give. “Possibly.”
“Really?” Merlin scrambled to his feet, grinning delightedly. “That’s great, Arthur! I’ll help too!”
Obviously Arthur had just semi-committed himself to something. He wondered how he could find out what that was without making it obvious that he’d not been listening at all and just staring at Merlin. Merlin on his knees in front of Arthur. Which was not a position Arthur had ever thought about Merlin being in. Truly. No.
“We’ll both teach you,” Morgana decided. She looked quite surprised, Arthur thought. That probably wasn’t a good thing. “It’s going to take both of us, after all. I’ll do Tuesdays after class, could you do Thursdays, Merlin?”
“Yeah,” Merlin was still grinning. “I didn’t think you’d want to, Arthur.”
Arthur still wasn’t sure what he’d sort-of agreed to. “I didn’t say definitely,” he ventured.
“Rubbish, you’re always in here these days, it’s obvious you want to learn,” Morgana told him, waving her hand dismissively. “What other reason could there be? Please can I tell Uther though? I want to see his face.”
Arthur suddenly had a horrible, horrible feeling that he knew what he’d signed up for. Oh no. “You’re talking about teaching me magic.”
The smile faded from Merlin’s face, and suddenly Arthur wanted more than anything to have it back there, directed at him.
“Which of course is exactly what I want,” he added quickly, and was rewarded by that smile again. He had it really bad, he knew. Morgana had been talking about trying to teach him the basics of magic for years and must have made another comment about it whilst Arthur was distracted by Merlin. She was still looking surprised that he’d finally agreed, but the expression was rapidly being overtaken with delight. It didn’t bode well. “But I don’t have magic, so surely I can’t learn?” He attempted. It was one, last, desperate hope.
“Look, Professor Emrys!” the young girl called. She had a couple of butterflies fluttering around her head, weaving and diving at her. “I did it!”
Merlin’s attention was immediately diverted. He crouched down beside the girl, smiling almost as widely as she was. “Mithian, that’s brilliant! I knew you’d get it! You can show Professor Pendragon how it’s done!” He glanced up at Arthur. “Mithian only has a tiny, tiny bit of magic, but we’ve been working on amplifying it. We’re running a Magical Basics class at lunchtimes because some of the non-magical kids wanted to learn as well.”
“It’s so cool!” Mithian breathed, her little face shining. “I can’t wait to show Elena!”
“Maybe wait until we’ve done this a few more times before you show your friend,” Merlin suggested as the butterflies faded. He picked up her school bag from a nearby desk and handed it to her. “We’ll try again next week. You’ve done really well today.”
Little Mithian, still beaming from ear to ear, grabbed her bag and raced out of the classroom. She paused briefly in the doorway to call back. “Thank you Professor Emrys! You’re the best!”
“You’ll need to be if you’re going to help me teach Arthur,” Morgana commented. She gave Arthur her most calculating, evil smile.
“Witch,” Arthur muttered.
“Oh yes,” Morgana agreed. “A very good one.”
Arthur had a horrible feeling that he was going to regret this.
Morgana was the worst teacher ever.
Arthur had decided this about 5 minutes into the first lesson, and he was even more convinced of it by the end. He hadn’t actually wanted to be taught by his sister anyway, but he could hardly say it was only Merlin he wanted any sort of extra-curricular activity from. Also there was no need for Gwen to sit there and watch, regardless of whether she was waiting for Morgana or not. Surely there was a different room where she could go and sit. Somewhere else. Anywhere else. And she could take Merlin with her.
The pair of them were sitting on one of the larger desks, sharing some of the goodies Gwen had brought from her class earlier, and watching him with interest. Gwen looked amused, but then she was Morgana’s girlfriend and therefore probably not as nice as everyone believed. Merlin at least was watching with what Arthur liked to think might be a bit of concern.
“You know,” Merlin said as Arthur yet again failed to produce even the faintest glimmer of magic. “Maybe levitation is a bit difficult for a starter spell?”
“Yes!” Arthur grasped at that idea gratefully. The book Morgana had given him was obviously far too heavy and bulky, and that was why he was completely failing at the magic thing. She’d probably done it on purpose, just to see him fail.
He’d have done exactly the same if Morgana had suddenly decided to take up Business Studies, he knew. They’d always been competitive, ever since they had been children. Gwen had commented on more than one occasion that she wondered if they still were. Anyway, it wasn’t Morgana that he wanted teaching him.
“Nonsense. My Year 7s got this right away,” she said. “Come on Arthur, you’re not even trying.”
At least all the students had gone. Arthur had laid down that one rule before they started, and had known he was right to do so when Morgana’s smile had dipped a little in disappointment.
Merlin got down off the desk and wandered over, picking up the book and examining it. “I think we should try him with transformation first. Something gentle.”
“Levitation is how I started,” Morgana protested.
“But Arthur doesn’t have natural ability.”
“Neither did Gilli Brown, and look how well he’s doing now.”
“I think we should…”
Arthur edged away, leaving them to argue over the best way to deal with him. Gwen waved him over, and offered cookies which Arthur gratefully accepted.
The discussion went on way past what should have been the end of the lesson. Arthur and Gwen eventually gave up and went to the pub. It was over an hour before the other two joined them, still arguing about the best way to teach the less gifted.
Morgana didn’t turn up for Arthur’s first lesson with Merlin. Merlin said she had a prior engagement, but Arthur knew she would just be sulking because she was just as competitive as Arthur was. If Merlin’s lesson went better than hers, she wouldn’t be too happy. Still, she always had the pleasure of telling their father. The fallout from that would not be fun.
Merlin was alone in his classroom when Arthur turned up. It was smaller and lighter than Morgana’s room, with a half-finished mural of a dragon taking shape on one of the walls. It looked a bit like the one from his t-shirt on that first day.
“Interesting,” Arthur commented, nodding towards the dragon.
“Yeah, the year 10 art class are working on it. I thought it would liven up the place.”
Merlin himself livened up the place with his bright t-shirts and ready smile, but Arthur wasn’t going to say that. Instead, he gave the cop-out that he’d been thinking up earlier. Because he really didn’t want to learn magic, not even with Merlin, and his father was going to totally lose it when he found out.
“You don’t have to do this, you know? I’m not that bothered about learning magic, I don’t want to waste your time.”
Merlin smiled and carried on with what he was doing, which appeared to be setting out a bowl of water on one of the workbenches.
“You’re not wasting my time. I enjoy teaching. And you’re helping me, actually.”
“Yep. It’s going to be harder to teach this to an adult, so whatever works best on you is going to work really well with the kids. Definitely not wasting time.”
Arthur couldn’t decide if that was a good thing or not. More time with Merlin was definitely good. But the magic thing… “I think Morgana wanted to teach me.”
Merlin shook his head. “Morgana and I have come to an agreement. I’m doing all the non-magicals and those who’ve fallen behind. She’s completely brilliant with the gifted, but she hasn’t got the patience or understanding to deal with the kids who need more time. Or you. So she’s banished from these classes from now on. Means you’re stuck with me in all the sessions.” He looked at Arthur shyly, a faint blush colouring his skin.
Arthur wondered if he could ask for daily lessons. He was going to be horrible at this, but suddenly it really didn’t matter. The longer it took, the better. He suddenly felt full of enthusiasm for the subject.
“Sounds good to me!” Arthur sat at the workbench, and peered into the bowl. There was a large white flower floating in the water. “What’s this?”
“Simple transformation, stage one. See how the petals are tinged purple at the very tips, just a tiny amount? I want you to try to spread that colour into the white part. We’ll do some concentration and focusing exercises first, and then I’ll give you the basic spell. Because you’ve not got any magic that we’re aware of, I’ll help you. Sometimes having a little jolt of someone else’s magic can set off your own latent ability. I’ve seen it happen before.”
Arthur wasn’t quite sure what Merlin was talking about, but it all sounded good.
“First, we close our eyes, and try to clear our minds…”
“Shouldn’t be hard!” Arthur quipped. Merlin immediately opened his eyes again, looking sternly at Arthur. Yep, that was attractive too.
“You have to take it seriously or it won’t work.”
“Sorry.” Arthur schooled his features into what he hoped was a very calm and serious expression, and closed his eyes.
Half an hour later, and the poor flower was a hideous shade of lurid purple, with one petal completely curled up and another lying at the bottom of the bowl.
“You’re doing really well,” Merlin assured him brightly, although Arthur was sure any progress was only due to Merlin’s magical help. “I’ll just get a fresh flower and you can have another go.”
Merlin hurried off to the big store cupboard at the back of the room, and disappeared inside. Arthur waited a few minutes but there was no sign of him, so Arthur followed.
The store cupboard turned out to be more of a store corridor. It probably led along the back of Morgana’s adjoining classroom, it was narrow and dimly-lit, and Merlin was halfway along it, searching through various containers.
“Is this where you store all the magic wands?” Arthur asked, pausing at the doorway.
“Funny. Go and visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour, you’ll have more luck there.”
Arthur laughed, took a step forward, caught his foot on something, stumbled, and fell forward. The storeroom door immediately slammed shut behind him and they were plunged into darkness.
“Oh, no no no,” he heard Merlin say. “Arthur! Don’t move! Don’t’ touch anything!”
Arthur stayed where he was, and a moment later Merlin was at his side, feeling for him in the dark. Arthur let himself be pulled to his feet.
“I must have tripped over the doorstop,” Arthur realised.
“Yeah. Stay still, I don’t want you knocking anything off the shelves. There’s some potentially quite dangerous stuff in here.”
The door had slammed quite hard. Arthur heard Merlin rattling the handle, but the door didn’t open.
“It’s locked itself,” Merlin groaned.
“Can’t you just magic it unlocked?”
“It’s the Magical Studies storeroom, Arthur,” Merlin said as if that were an answer in itself.
“So I can’t use magic,” Merlin continued patiently, coming to stand near Arthur again. “It would be the equivalent of lighting a flame in the chemistry lab’s store cupboard. Could ruin your posh suit!”
“So much for your brilliant magic,” Arthur grumbled. “I’ll call Morgana.” He got his phone out. “Ah.”
“Yeah, there won’t be a signal in here. The room’s heavily protected. We have to keep it locked at all times when there are regular classes going on. We’ll probably be stuck in here till morning.”
Arthur turned on the torch app on his phone, because at least they could have a little light. Merlin’s face instantly appeared, inches away from his, shadows from the torchlight making his cheekbones even more prominent. He looked a little ethereal, his eyes shining as he gazed at Arthur.
“I could use that,” Merlin breathed. “Check what’s near the door. If it’s safe, I could try an unlocking spell after all.” He didn’t move, just stared at Arthur. Arthur wondered if the light was distorting him as well.
“Or we just spend the night here,” Arthur suggested.
“There are worse places.”
There was a dead bat pickled in a jar on a shelf behind Merlin. Arthur wondered just how much worse the places were. He averted his gaze, and concentrated on Merlin’s face, his lips. Merlin had gone very still, and was just standing there, face to face with Arthur, looking into his eyes. Torchlight was romantic, Arthur thought, even stuck in a store cupboard with a dead bat. He leaned in, slowly, giving Merlin the chance to back away if he wanted, but Merlin met him halfway, kissing him eagerly, passionately. Arthur slid his arms around Merlin, one hand holding the back of his head to keep him close, the other around his waist, stroking his back.
They kissed for a long time, barely coming up for air before they started again. But when Arthur’s hand started to explore the warm skin beneath Merlin’s shirt, Merlin pulled away.
“Not in here. Too many relics and charms are based on sex, we might set something off. Hold on…” He grabbed the torch, quickly scanned the nearby shelves then turned, faced the door and held his hand over the lock. Apparently if there was a good enough incentive, Merlin was prepared to risk using magic in there after all. There was a faint blue glow, and then the door clicked open. Arthur blinked in the sudden light.
“We should probably… uh…” Merlin suddenly seemed shy again, looking away, anywhere but at Arthur. But he was rumpled and dishevelled from the store cupboard, from Arthur, and Arthur wasn’t going to let that pass.
“Probably go home,” Arthur finished for him. “We can grab a takeaway on the way. And then,” he leaned in to kiss Merlin again, because he didn’t think he was ever going to get tired of doing that. “We can finish what we started. If you want to, of course.”
Merlin smiled at him, radiating happiness. And it wasn’t the same smile everyone else got, Arthur realised. There was a special one, and it was all his. He reached to kiss Merlin again, claiming that smile for himself.
“So,” Arthur breathed when they broke apart again. “This was my first proper lesson. How did I do?”
“A*, definitely,” Merlin grinned, and pulled him enthusiastically into yet another kiss. “But I think we can forget about teaching you magic.”
That, Arthur reflected, leaning into the kiss, was just fine by him.