Title: Caun't Trust a Leprechaun
Character/s: Arthur, Gwen, Morgana, Percival, Gwaine, Merlin
Summary: Summer solstice had come and gone and Merlin had kept avoiding him. It was stupid; Arthur could find him anywhere in Camelot with barely a thought. But tracking him down would look desperate, and Arthur wasn’t willing to let his guard down again without an answer.
Word Count: 999
Prompt: #208: Picture Prompt (Do You Like Me)
“I’m not telling you that.”
Arthur frowned at Guinevere. “The Prince Under the Hill is making a request of you. Aren’t you required to assist me?”
“Not if it’s a ridiculous request.”
“That’s not specified in the Treaty!”
“No,” Gwen agreed slowly, “but if you want to enforce the Treaty over this, you’ll need to petition the Court. Do you really want to to tell the entire Council what you just asked me?”
Arthur’s father would turn him to stone for a century if he went before the Council with it, and Gwen knew that. Maybe it hadn’t been the best idea to come to the tree nymph in the first place, but he hadn’t done it because of their diplomatic ties.
She and Merlin were friendly, particularly since summer solstice had come and gone and Merlin had kept avoiding him. It was stupid; Arthur could find him anywhere in Camelot with barely a thought. But tracking him down would look desperate, and Arthur wasn’t willing to let his guard down again without an answer.
It was bad enough Merlin had caught him trying to learn those stupid pipes, at least he hadn’t seemed to realize why Arthur did it.
“Fine,” he said with a put-upon sigh. “I’ll release you from your obligations this time, but only as a favor to the Witch of Mists because of your friendship.”
“You’re not fooling anyone, you know!” she called after him, laughter rustling through the leaves as he strode purposefully away.
“All-Seeing Witch of Mists, I come before you—”
The mists roiled bloody red, creeping menacingly along the forest floor towards him, but Arthur held his ground.
“Morgana, I won’t be scared off by your theatrics. Come out here and talk to me!”
She appeared, her hair billowing wildly despite the complete lack of wind from anywhere. Aside from two spots of color high on her sharp cheeks, her skin was as pale as the snowy fog that shrouded the mouth of her cavern even at the height of summer. When she spoke, her voice took on the melodic resonance that accompanied her gravest predictions.
“Little brother. For the past fortnight, I have not been able to sleep without dreams of your future giving me headaches. I refuse to let you do it in person, too!”
“Visions?” Arthur demanded, mist disappearing underfoot as he stepped closer. “What have you seen?”
“Nothing I can tell you. Now leave!”
“Morgana!” he shouted, but there was only a dense fogbank where she had been.
He stared into the single, large blue eye peering down at him, forcing himself to be patient as he waited for a decision.
“Why can’t you ask him?” Percival asked in his slow, booming way.
“It doesn’t work that way.”
“I don’t know... Isn’t it better to be honest?”
“I’m not being dishonest, I just—You know what, forget it.”
Arthur startled backwards as the diminutive figure popped into existence in front of his face. Recovering himself with a glare, he greeted, “Gwaine.”
The leprechaun floated around his head, but Arthur refused to turn and follow his movement. As he came back around, Gwaine said, “I hear you’ve got a problem. Lucky for you, I’ve got a solution!”
Gwaine was just about the least trustworthy people in the entire forest—he always had his own agenda—but Arthur was out of options. “You do, do you?”
Gwaine grinned and snapped. Something appeared suddenly before Arthur’s eyes again—a scroll this time—but he had enough forewarning not to react embarrassingly.
It looked old but not ancient, the edges of the parchment just beginning to crack where it wound around itself, and a dark green ribbon tied it closed.
Arthur reached for it, but Gwaine interrupted. “Ah ah ah, there are conditions!”
Arthur snatched his hand back with a scowl. “Conditions for what? I don’t even know what that is.”
“I told you, it’s the fix for your problem. Get Merlin to open that and you’ll have your answer.”
“How does that work?” Arthur asked, suspicious.
“Magic, obviously.” Gwaine rolled his eyes. “But it only works if you give it to Merlin yourself, and no one can see what’s inside before he does.”
“What’s in it for you?”
Gwaine floated backwards, hands clutched over his heart. “I’m hurt! I’m heartbroken! You don’t believe I just want to help my dearest friend?”
Arthur kept his face skeptical and stared until Gwaine sighed and fell back, parallel to the ground with his arms outstretched.
“Fine! You got me. Honestly, I’m just sick of watching...” When he sat back up, he had a conjured daisy in his hand. Putting on an insultingly high, squeaky voice, he started to pluck petals from the flower as he chanted, “He loves me, he loves me not, he—”
“Shut up!” Arthur crushed the daisy with one hand and grabbed the scroll with the other. “I’ll do it. And I don’t sound like that.”
Gwaine raised an eyebrow.
“And... thanks,” Arthur said grudgingly.
Merlin was predictably easy to find. He tripped over his own hooves when Arthur dropped down from the tree next to him, which was also predictable. And amusing.
“What do you want?” Blushing, Merlin had to almost yell to cover Arthur’s laughter.
After a deep breath, Arthur helped Merlin to his feet then handed him the scroll.
“Just do it.”
“What is it?”
“You’ll see that when you open it, won’t you.”
“You’re an arse,” Merlin told him, but he pulled at the ribbon. It fell away and he unrolled the scroll.
Nothing happened. He knew he shouldn’t have believed Gwaine.
Then Merlin’s ears—still ridiculous—turned as pink as his cheeks. “Oh,” he squeaked. “Um. Arthur?”
“What?” Arthur’s worry increased. “What is it? Is it something horrible?”
“No! I mean, it’s not horrible, not no like no. Because, well, yes.”
Arthur peered over Merlin’s shoulder to finally see what the scroll said.
He hated Gwaine. But he also had an answer.