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Merlin Fic: Special

It never, ever ends. :)

Title: Special
Rating: PG-13
Genre/Pairing: Arthur/Merlin, pre-to-mild slash
Wordcount: ~ 1.200
Disclaimer: Don't own anything
A/N: Slight spoilers for "Poisoned Chalice". Mucho thanks again to nachekana for the beta.

Summary: Protective Arthur, nuff said.




Special

The evening started out well enough for Merlin. Not only was he allowed to attend another banquet, this time he didn’t even have to wear those atrocious ceremonial robes that his royal Prickness had put him in last time. Not to mention he didn’t get poisoned either – so far.

Of course the lack of humiliation, as well as impending death, should have made Merlin wary. If there ever was a talent besides magic he possesses in abundance, it is the uncanny ability to find trouble wherever it may roam. Or Arthur finds it, which, in the end, means Merlin does, too.

Tonight, though, all he has to do is make sure the cups of all the guests don’t run dry. Which doesn't exactly prove to be a daunting task, even for someone who isn’t a powerful warlock. Not that Merlin would dare use his powers just to get out of a little work - alright, he totally would - but not in front of Uther and his guest of honour tonight.

Lord Aldrick of Eccleston is a visitor from up North and, as far as Merlin can tell, a royal pain in the arse. He is arrogant, vain and spoiled. It makes Merlin think of Arthur when they first met. However, since then, Merlin has glimpsed beneath the surface with the young prince, and he knows that while Arthur can be all those things, he is also brave, compassionate and honourable. Whereas Lord Aldrick is lacking any such characteristics.

Now the little prat waves for Merlin to fill his cup again, and, with a sigh, Merlin steps forward to comply. Aldrick is animatedly chatting with another knight, waving his cup back and forth, and Merlin is trying his damnedest to get the ale in the cup. If he had been free to call on his magic, he might even had made it, but, as it is, a generous amount of ale splashes on Aldrick, staining his precious tunic.

Before Merlin can so much as start to utter an apology, he finds himself lying on the cold stone-floor, pain blossoming all over his face where Aldrick has struck him. Stunned, he raises a hand to wipe his mouth, his fingers encountering a sticky wetness there, blood.

“What was that?”

The room has fallen so silent, the angry question rings out like the crack of a whip. All eyes go to the speaker - Arthur.

From his place on the floor, Merlin can see Arthur who has jumped to his feet and is now making his way across the table in the direction of Merlin and Aldrick.

The latter doesn’t yet appear to realize what sleeping dog he might have just awoken. Instead the spoiled nobleman fingers his garments in outrage. “That little idiot. Look at what he did to my new tunic.”

“It was clearly a mistake. And in Camelot we are not in the habit of beating up on servants.” Arthur’s voice is tight, drawn, in a way Merlin has never really heard.

When Arthur reaches them, he leans down and offering a hand to Merlin. Yet Merlin’s usual wits seem to have all but left him at the moment. Never has he been treated in this manner before, not in his home village and certainly not in Camelot.

With an impatient sigh, Arthur leans down further and grabs Merlin’s slack hand, pulling him to his feet.

He gives Merlin a concerned look. “Are you alright?”

All Merlin can do is nod.

Seemingly satisfied with the answer, Arthur turns back to Aldrick who, for his part, rolls his eyes.

“Ah, I see, you seem to be in the habit of mollycoddling your servants. No wonder they appear to be such clumsy halfwits. Take my advice, Arthur, beating them works much better."

Aldrick sports a smug little grin, which soon starts to fade, however, as Arthur marches up really close to him. “Um…I…I meant no disrespect, I…”

Ignoring Aldrick's babbling, Arthur raises his right hand and slaps Aldrick clear across the face. A low murmur descends over the room, the act and its intent very clear, a knight challenging another. And, while Merlin is no expert on matters like this, he thinks the slap was executed a lot harder than it is necessary or even customary in cases such as this. Not that he has ever heard of a challenge being issued over a servant.

Aldrick seems to share in Merlin's confusion. His eyes impossibly round, he presses a hand to his cheek. “Are you...are you crazy? What are you doing?” He cries.

“You are a nobleman,” Arthur scoffs “By name, at least, so I would expect you to be familiar with the meaning of the gesture.”

Now Aldrick gapes in open disbelief. “You’re challenging me to a duel over your manservant?”

Arthur smiles grimly. “I’m challenging you because you need to be taught a lesson. You said you meant no disrespect yet you obviously don’t know how to show respect. I’m willing to help with that.”

Aldrick gulps, looking at Uther pleadingly. “Sire, surely you won’t—“

The King leans back in his chair. “You’re free to refuse the challenge, Sir Aldrick. Of course. It would be, after all, only a friendly sparring between noblemen.” He fixes Arthur with a hard look, daring him to protest the truth of those words.

Arthur’s expression makes it clear he considers his challenge anything but a harmless little contest, yet he seems to sense that Uther will be ultimately endorsing his side in the matter.

And sure enough, the next words out of Uther’s mouth cause Aldrick to pale. “However, it has always been my belief that a man proves his worth by his valour in battle. Refusing a challenge seems…unfortunate, don’t you agree?”

Thus caught in the web, Aldrick doesn’t have much choice but to incline his head at Arthur and mumble his acceptance, lest he be branded a coward in front of the whole court.

“Tomorrow then,” Arthur says. He tugs lightly at Merlin’s cuff. “Come on, Merlin, I wish to retire for the night.”

Merlin is too stunned by what just happened to do anything but meekly follow Arthur to his chambers.

He doesn't even really wake from his stupor when, in the sanctuary of Arthur's room, the young Prince himself proceeds to gently clean the cut in Merlin's upper lip before he sends him to bed.



* * *

The fight that takes place the next day is swift and brutal. And quite one-sided, as Merlin notices. And even though his cheek still throbs occasionally, he can’t help but wince at the way Aldrick gets his arse handed to him.

Merlin risks a glance at the other spectators. Gaius, as usual, looks mildly concerned while Morgana and Gwen wear identical grins of satisfaction at the humiliation the spoiled young lord suffers at Arthur's hands. However, Uther’s face remains impassive, impossible to read. He gives Merlin a hard, yet also somewhat wistful look and the young warlock quickly averts his eyes.

Finally, it seems to be over, with Aldrick lying in the muddy fields and, if Merlin isn’t gravely mistaken, honest to God crying for mercy. Arthur shakes his head at the display and turns on his heel. When his gaze finds that of his father, Arthur raises his chin proudly, and Merlin is surprised to see Uther acknowledge him with a nod.

As Arthur reaches the spot where Merlin is still standing, he hands Merlin his sword. “That needs sharpening.”

It is nothing but a simple order, given by a master to his servant but right now Merlin feels special in a way he never has before.


- End -

Comments

( 127 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
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(Deleted comment)
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
*cheers for him*

Thank you, glad you enjoyed. :)
(Deleted comment)
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks, glad you liked. :)
lastling
Oct. 30th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC)
Arthur: Prince Vengence, at your service.

*dreams*

They don't make 'em like that anymore..
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
They don't make 'em like that anymore.

*wistful sigh* Hopefully at least BBC will continue to give us our fix. *g*

Thank you muchly, glad you liked.
janne_d
Oct. 30th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)
I loved this. This should totally happen on the show.
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
Awww, thank you. If it did, I would probably die of glee.
kathydacat
Oct. 30th, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC)
Yaay!
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, glad you liked. :)
shantirosa
Oct. 30th, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
It's so nice to read a fic where Arthur gets to be... so very Arthurish, in the best way possible. :D And I loved loved loved your use of Uther, and the interaction between Merlin and Arthur was just totally spot on. *flails madly* This = brilliant.
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
It's so nice to read a fic where Arthur gets to be... so very Arthurish, in the best way possible. :D

Yay, it fills me with glee you found him to be true to character. Thank you so much.

And I loved loved loved your use of Uther

I love the Uther/Arthur-dynamic as well. They're so gloriously dysfunctional. :)

and the interaction between Merlin and Arthur was just totally spot on. *flails madly* This = brilliant.

*deep blush* *happy sigh* Many thanks.
(Deleted comment)
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
oh, i am so in love with protective Arthur.

He is positively scorching, isn't he? Thank you muchly, glad you enjoyed it. :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - astri13 - Oct. 30th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
georgiebest7914
Oct. 30th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
That was superb.
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you greatly, glad you liked. :)
oximore
Oct. 30th, 2008 07:02 pm (UTC)
*is smiling like a fool*

That was really really good! :D I totally think that Arthur would stand up for Merlin, because he is the only one that can mess with the boy! :) Quite a possessive prince!
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
I totally think that Arthur would stand up for Merlin, because he is the only one that can mess with the boy! :) Quite a possessive prince!

Just the way we love him. *g* Also, very true. He will tease and taunt Merlin forever but protect him against anybody else. *pets them both*

Thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
caiyene
Oct. 30th, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
Now that was really sweet! Go Arthur!
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
Go Arthur!

*cheers* Thank you so much, I'm happy you liked it. :)
demon_faith
Oct. 30th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, awesome! Arthur defending Merlin is fantastic!
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
Awww, thank you. I just love protective Arthur. He makes my knees melt. Glad you enjoyed. :)

Btw, icon-love. It's the scene. *flaily hands*
(no subject) - demon_faith - Oct. 30th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - astri13 - Oct. 30th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
mahaliem
Oct. 30th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
This was excellent.
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, glad you enjoyed. :)
(Deleted comment)
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
Also, Nursemain!Arthur is a brilliant notion XD

Hee. I can just picture it. Thank you muchly, glad you liked it. :)
bleu4bleu
Oct. 30th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
Yay! This was so made of win! Arthur defending Merlin like that? :D
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
Awww, thank you muchly. Arthur in defense of Merlin is such a kink of mine. Glad you liked. :)
(Deleted comment)
astri13
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
I think I didn't mention it before: chivalrous!Arthur is hot!!

It's that whole knight in shining armour thing. :D

I adore the addition of Arthur taking care of Merlin's lip (and this sentence also managed to give me naughty thoughts. You're good with double-entendre! LOL).

Or, I just have a dirty mind. *g*

Thank you. *smishes you*
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