kageygirl: (arthur--watched)
[personal profile] kageygirl
Last night, [livejournal.com profile] shetiger was moping pondering aloud a problem she thought she was having with her writing, and so I whipped out a writing exercise for her: write me a paragraph about how someone felt about something, without using any direct emotional verbs (hated/loved/etc). Being a terrible person, I told her to write about how Merlin felt about Arthur's swordbelt.

Being a terrible yet somewhat fair person, I said I'd do the same, and she picked Arthur and Merlin's neckerchief.

I want to stress that this was not a contest. I want to stress equally strongly that she completely kicked my ass. *bg*

But here's my snippet anyway.

Tightening Knots

Today, again, it's the red shirt and the blue neckerchief, and Arthur's fingers twitch.

The neckerchief's colour has faded from repeated washings, but the fabric, he knows, is all the softer for it. The corners are warped where Merlin ties it off behind his neck, but the edges have been carefully stitched over, to keep it from unravelling.

They'd once been hunting near a cliff face, and quite narrowly avoided a rockfall. Arthur had gotten slashed along his upper arm, and despite Arthur's assurance that it wasn't serious, Merlin hadn't hesitated to whip off the neckerchief and use it to bandage the wound. He'd tied it off with quick, deft fingers, and a little nod to both of them.

It was rougher and plainer than anything Arthur owned, and despite that (or perhaps because of it), he hadn't been able to stop studying the thing.

When they'd returned to the castle, Gaius had insisted on examining and redressing the wound. He'd lost the bright little band of colour to an impersonal white bandage from Gaius's stock.

Merlin had twisted the neckerchief in his hands while Gaius worked, heedless of the rusty blots where Arthur's blood had seeped in. Despite appearances, it had actually done its job fairly well.

When Gaius finished and stepped away, Arthur had nodded down and said, "I'll replace that. I know you don't have much clothing to sacrifice for me."

Merlin had looked down at the scrap of cloth as if surprised to still be holding it, then back up at Arthur. "You don't have to. It'll wash."

"Blood leaves stains," Arthur said, frowning.

"But working for you has given me plenty of practice with laundry," Merlin said impishly. He'd glanced down again, then back up at Arthur, his expression softer. "Besides, I like the one I have. I wouldn't want to change it." He smiled faintly and said, "I've just got it broken in."

Arthur had left it alone then. He hadn't really liked the idea, anyway.

The next time Merlin wore that neckerchief, Arthur couldn't see any trace of their misadventure on it. Merlin had leaned in to serve him his breakfast, and Arthur had tugged the dangling point of the neckerchief between finger and thumb.

"All cleaned up, I see," Arthur said.

Merlin gave him a grin. "My mother always said that if you take care of your things, they'll take care of you." Arthur rolled his eyes, and then tossed Merlin an apple, without warning, to watch him fumble it and back away.

Today, Arthur hasn't got any apples. When Merlin bends to pick up his boots, Arthur flicks one of the tails bobbing from the knot with his fingernail, and Merlin turns that grin on him again.
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