kageygirl: (arthur merlin none taken)
[personal profile] kageygirl
Um, oops. A week of especially special insomnia, and I let it slip to [livejournal.com profile] shetiger that I realized I had, well, forgotten to post something I wrote for her. She threatened to defriend me, of course.

Merlin/Arthur UST, 875 words, spoilers for 1x07 "The Gates of Avalon" and takes place immediately thereafter.

Summary: There are no small potatoes once the things have been aimed at your head.


A Gesture, Deliberate


Apparently, someone didn't think it punishment enough (even entirely undeserved as it had been) that Merlin ended up in the stocks yet again.

The kitchens served potatoes for the next three days.

"This is your doing, I know it," Merlin said, as he slid another supper plate of meat-with-a-side-of-mockery in front of a lounging Arthur.

Arthur gazed up at him without lifting his chin from where it rested in the palm of his hand, the very picture of princely indifference. "You do realize that dictating to the kitchen staff is far below my station?"

"Yeah, you'd--you'd never go out of your way to give me a hard time," Merlin said. "By the way, you might have to speak up--I think there's still a bit of berry in my ear, thank you for that."

"You shouldn't turn your head next time."

"Well, if it's a choice between a berry in the ear or a carrot in the eye--" Merlin straightened himself up and narrowed his eyes at Arthur. "Hang on, I'm not planning for a next time. There will be no 'next time.' The king would probably just have me beheaded instead in order to give the produce merchants a holiday."

Arthur leaned forward on his elbows, looking up at Merlin with a detachment so studied that Merlin began hurriedly counting his clean shirts in his head. "Don't be ridiculous. It's bad form to execute the feeble-minded." He tore off a hunk of bread and turned it over in his fingers, then smirked up at Merlin. "I'm sure he'll simply have you flogged."

"Right, that's great, really." Merlin set a stein of ale in front of Arthur, and considered thumping it down solidly enough to splash, but he knew he'd just end up cleaning it up anyway. "I should have known it was all a scheme to look out for my well-being."

"Someone has to, the way you get into trouble." There was full-blown mischief in Arthur's eyes now, the kind that made Merlin consider searching the room for any more feathered hats and quietly setting them on fire. But Arthur just sat there watching him, and Merlin had to conclude that no humiliating headwear was immediately forthcoming.

Merlin rubbed at his neck and then waved his fingers at Arthur's food. "That's going to get cold."

"In which case, you'd have to bring me a fresh plate." Arthur continued torturing the poor defenceless morsel of bread, which Merlin was sure never did anyone any harm and hardly deserved so ignoble an end as getting reduced to a tiny ball and flicked into the fireplace.

He frowned down at Arthur, who seemed to be taking the spoiled noble thing a bit too far, even if he were in one of his moods. Which he didn't really seem to be, so Merlin wasn't quite sure what to do with him. "That's wasteful, you know."

Arthur took a drink from the stein, watching Merlin over the rim. He set it down and started toying with his fork, though he didn't bring it anywhere near his food. Merlin thought he was watching the candle flame flicker between the tines.

Merlin stifled a sigh--well, all right, he barely stifled a sigh--and Arthur looked up at him again. "Right then, let's consider this," Arthur said, dropping the fork. "What do you think would have happened had someone of standing expressed a desire to see more potatoes served with meals?"

"He'd be lucky if the things didn't end up all over his head." Arthur raised his eyebrows, and Merlin gave an insincere head-bob. "Accidentally."

Arthur sat back in his chair, fitting his elbows to the armrests and folding his hands together. "Of course, if someone were to have professed such a craving to the cooks, the cooks would have been forced to stock up the pantry. Which might have created a shortage of potatoes available in the market."

"Which... would mean fewer potatoes for the pelting of entirely innocent and undeserving servants." Merlin rested his weight on the back on an empty chair and gave Arthur a good long look. "Is this your way of apologizing to me?"

Arthur's answering gaze was just as steady, then his lips curled up in a sardonic little moue. "I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about."

"Unless it's just that you really are planning to get me in trouble again," Merlin said with a chuckle, but he sobered up when Arthur's expression didn't change. "Are you?"

"That would be like planning for the sun to rise in the morning, Merlin," Arthur said, plucking an apple from the basket in the middle of the table and turning it around in one hand. "It's going to happen whether you schedule it or not."

"Very probably," Merlin said. Arthur glanced up at him again, and there was that dangerous twinkle back in his eyes. Merlin felt a flush of heat creep over his neck, and thought that he must have overfed the fire.

He picked up Arthur's discarded fork and presented it to him. "Eat your potatoes, sire," he said firmly, meeting Arthur's eyes. Arthur finally set down the apple and took the fork, giving Merlin an understated nod, his fingers brushing warm against Merlin's own.
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