Title:Dr. Candyman and Father Christmas part 9.
Character/s: Morgana, Arthur, Merlin and Lance.
Summary: Having heard Arthur ramble about the cute doctor, Morgana decides he should take a bigger part in the Christmas gifts for the childrens ward charity.
Warnings: None in this.
Word Count: ~1000
Prompt: #194 Expectation
Author's Notes: What? It's been 4 months since I posted the part 8?? o_O
(That is a long time to leave our boys on their own at a party :P )
Follow up to:
Dr.Candyman and Father Christmas Part 1
Dr.Candyman and Father Christmas Part 2
Dr.Candyman and Father Christmas Part 3
Dr.Candyman and Father Christmas Part 4
Dr.Candyman and Father Christmas Part 5
Dr.Candyman and Father Christmas Part 6
Dr.Candyman and Father Christmas Part 7
Dr.Candyman and Father Christmas Part 8
Arthur straightened his back and scanned the area before them. Though less crowded than the ball room, the wide hall was dotted with guests who had recently arrived or was planning to leave early. Some had stopped to chat on their way to or from the rest-rooms. Arthur nodded a greeting and offered a kind smile to those who looked his way, but he never looked long enough for them to open for any kind of conversation. The good doctor was a good aid. He kept giving Arthur discrete and amused smiles, cleverly keeping Arthur's attention centered on him. Or maybe Merlin gave Arthur amused looks because Arthur found it difficult to look away. Never mind that though, Arthur was not too distracted to know that a sharp turn right was in order right about... now.
“In here,” he instructed.
With a kind hand on Merlin’s back he steered Merlin away from the crowded areas, down a short corridor. It was sparsely lit and mostly in shadows compared to the hall to not draw too much attention to it and lead guests astray. It ended in a wider corridor in the more private areas of the building. As a child Arthur would have dashed down the corridor and turned the corner at great speed, either dragging Merlin with him or knowing he was running with him. As an adult this would no longer simply receive a huff and a few tuts. No-one would chirp fondly; “Oh, look at them go! To have but an ounce of that energy!” No, causal strolling with purpose was the way to do it. Arthur threw a few looks behind them to make sure they weren't followed. Then at last they were out of view and on their own. He felt his shoulders relax.
Merlin leaned closer and whispered in a conspiring tone. “Are we in the clear, Mister Bond?”
Arthur couldn't help grinning. Ok, perhaps he was a bit more transparent than he had hoped. Arthur slowed down nearly to a halt, then he turned around completely to check. He might as well do it properly and admit to being caught, and it gave him a plausible excuse to remove his hand which was embarrassingly still on Merlin’s back.
“All clear, there's -” As his turned back he found Merlin gone.
Arthur found him again approximately one meter below his previous location, kneeling on the floor and unlacing his shoes. He briefly glanced up at Arthur through his lashed. Arthur had to take a moment to appreciate exactly how smart and hard-working this man had to be. He was certain that Merlin could have easily winked and cheek-boned his way to a very comfortable life. But good looks alone wouldn’t get you through higher education and a doctor’s degree. It might rather make it harder to be taken seriously. A guy like that must have a lot of suitors, Arthur thought a bit mournfully. He might have misread some of the moms at the hospital, but Merlin was sure to have lot of interesting options. He made himself look away so he wouldn’t be caught staring.
It didn't take long before Merlin was on his feet again, with the Champagne flute secured in his right hand and his shoes dangling from two fingers on his left.
“Sorry about that. Medical emergency. True story.”
Merlin nodded solemnly to underline his words in a fairly good Barney Stinson impersonation. His face brightened as Arthur went from stunned to laughing.
“I see. Tight shoes there, Cinderella?”
Merlin’ sock clad toes danced against the stone floor.
“Yes. But I simply had to wear them with this outfit.” Merlin made a face as he said that and Arthur could easily guess that Merlin wasn’t quoting himself.
“There's no end to what suffering you have to go through tonight, huh?” Arthur said, grinning. They continued walking.
“Oh, I don't know.” Merlin said in a slightly melodic voice. “I've been treated like celebrity, I've been fitted for an overly expensive suit and driven to a ball in a limo, I got to speak for my cause, I stole the prince-”
“Hey, I stole the prince!” Arthur accentuated his words with his champagne flute.
Merlin raised his eyebrows. “You mean the shoe-less, dead-tired medicine man in borrowed feathers? I think you've missed your mark, Mr. Bond.”
Arthur huffed indignantly.
“If I wanted feathers, I would have aimed for Mrs Lövengreen-Smith.”
Merlin hummed as if he was giving this statement some serious thought.
“I’ll admit that hat would be hard to miss.”
“She has a new one each New Year’s. We have a secret poll to guess the colour.”
They both chuckled before an awkward silence fell only disturbed by the sound of their footsteps.
“Speaking of feathers, who's the guy on the wall?"
Merlin adds a nudge of the head towards an old oil painting hanging in an alcove ahead of them. Thick red curtains hang on both sides of the frame and an old, worn crest was mounted underneath.
Arthur smiles and grabs hold of the offered distraction. “That is lord Leopold, one of my ancestors. Hat and big feathers were very much in vogue in his days.”
Arthur easily slips into the role as tour guide after that. The manor was filled with history. Portraits and antiques had been collected for generations. He loves giving life to the dry facts and stories these items and walls could tell. He could get embarrassingly enthusiastic about it at times.
Merlin made a wonderful one-man audience, offering both serious questions and humorous observations and adding some medical 'fun facts' to some of the mentioned illnesses and plagues. Arthur clumsily masked as snort of laughter as a cough when he suddenly imagined Merlin enthusiastically describing the symptoms of the bubonic plague to wide eyed school children. Arthur can’t help thinking how this feels a lot like happiness.