The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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slow plague death and a snippet
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Day Three (Four?) of My Life as a Germ Depository:

Due to work rules, I have to go to the doctor today and get a note excusing me from work for having the plague. On the upside, there's no chest congestion, which is yay, as I have been a totally paranoid person and spending a lot of time coughing as much as possible to test this. For anyone who has had pneumonia and the doctor gave you a torture device to breathe with and then cough copiously, you remember this horror, but it's not nearly that bad. On the downside, head congestion is like walking around with lead sewn into my cheekbones and head and a headache that is like an analogy for the hugeness of the Titanic--or perhaps Australia?--and I have no intention of actually thinking up an adequate analogy so just deal.

So. Being miserable and sick, I want attention and basically, I will take it any way I can get it. Snippet below cut. It's a dumb snippet. But I am sick and it made me laugh myself into easy coughing fits to imagine it, so there you go. Dedicated to shinetheway for her life-saving porn ficlets. This is not porn. Which you will see, is the entire problem.



Efficient
by Seperis
Merlin/Arthur

Merlin's found, over time, that there's a relatively predictable pattern to Arthur's bad days, and all of them start with special, deeply familial midday meals with Uther and Morgana. Merlin doesn't even need to guess anymore; when the kitchen tells him they are setting three plates and they don't have visiting courtiers, Merlin knows he's doomed and plans accordingly.

Which is why he's ready, more or less, when he's summoned to Arthur's chambers at nearly midnight, because after the joy that was their afternoon together (fell off horse, fell over due to sword, fell down the stairs carrying armor; basically, Arthur's bad days are also Merlin's bruised days), their evening (he didn't have to duck a thrown dagger or a bottle of ale, but that's about all he can say for it), Arthur won't hesitate to let him escape any more prince/manservant bonding time for anything as ridiculous as sleep.

Merlin reserves the right to be an ass about it, though, pushing open the door and staring resentfully at Arthur, who is camped out in front of the hearth in nothing but his unlaced shirt and trousers, with three skins of wine and a wide, brilliant smile.

Predictable, yes. Merlin closes the door. "I'm not that funny when I'm drunk."

Arthur grins at him winningly. "Yes, you really are."

*****

This is how it goes wrong. Arthur blames society.

"Oh my God," Morgana says, and Arthur lifts his head and regards with no favor the swell of her chest only a few inches above his face. Morgana is not to be faced before breakfast. Or ever, really. "Arthur!"

Arthur reaches for a pillow and finds something terribly un-pillow-like. In fact, it feels a great deal like skin.

"I had--" Morgana, for a wonder, turns a hideous shade of red, backing up a step and actually stumbling. "How long?"

The skin-covered pillow moans and says, "Please, sire, next time, I'll do it without wine, I swear," and Arthur thinks Merlin and wine and fuck as Merlin rolls over and collapses across his back. Swallowing, Arthur tries to decide between vomiting and going back to sleep in hopes this is all a bad dream.

Hope wins. "Later, Morgana," Arthur manages with dignity intact, reaching for an (actual) pillow and covering his head, while Merlin's breath puffs against the back of his neck and he says, "Yes, later. Very sore now."

This cannot end well.

*****

Merlin wakes up to Arthur sitting up (naked) and staring at the floor (he's naked) with an expression somewhere between epic homicide and hilarity (while naked). This is never what anyone sane calls a good sign; Arthur lacks a reasonable sense of humor and finds the oddest and most inappropriate things amusing.

(But naked and Merlin admits, to himself if no one else, his own patience with Arthur grows in inverse proportion to how much he's wearing. Merlin's agreed to many terrifying things when Arthur's bathing. Many things.)

"Sire?" he starts, then realizes that the sheets feel so very good against his naked skin because he's naked as well. Closing his eyes, Merlin reaches for a pillow and covers his head. "Later?"

Arthur drops back on the bed beside him and nearly crawls under him with a sigh. "Yes, please."

*****

Here's what they know: they did not have sex. But no one will ever believe it.

"Merlin, you can't stay in here forever," Arthur argues, though his heart's not in it. Staring at the sun (well above the horizon, which will only add to the entire horror), Arthur stares hatefully at the wineskins and thinks of horrible purges of winesellers throughout the world for their foul discovery of what happens when grapes sit too long in large casks.

"I'm not going out there again," Merlin states, stealing half of Arthur's very late breakfast with the shell-shocked look of someone who was questioned gently about consent and willingness by Morgana for an entire hour in the dining hall and then even more gently questioned by Gaius on whether Arthur had been--had been-- "I can't face another inquiry on my virtue, Arthur. It's not happening. It's not."

Arthur sighs and picks at the bread and cheese and says, "Gaius asked me if I was gentle," Arthur says, staring at the wall. "After you ran away. And if there was bleeding."

Merlin says, "Why isn't there a purge of winesellers?"

"They're next."

Merlin drops his head on the table. "No one will ever believe us. Ever."

Arthur picks up a knife and wonders if falling on it would be such a bad idea. "My father did compliment me on the efficiency of using my staff for dual purposes," Arthur says, and this time, he doesn't even feel like crying. "One who cannot get pregnant."

Merlin lifts his head miserably. "Gwen complimented me on bagging a prince."

Arthur nods thoughtfully. "More wine?"

Merlin nods gratefully. "Please, yes."

*****

Which is how the entire rumor started. How it became true...well, that's a different story entirely.



shinetheway and I are snippeting here on what happens next. Feel free to add if you wish. And no, this is not a desperate and transparent plea for entertainment for the afternoon. Except you know, it totally is.

This is, in fact, how it went.

Merlin left the room after all, because unfortunately, Arthur turned out to be completely unreasonable about his manservant hiding away until the end of time. He spent a lot of time avoiding Morgana, who tended to give him unbearably sympathetic looks, and Gwen, who tended to give him unbearably amused looks. He would have avoided Gaius, but, well, he lived with him. But he avoided basically everyone else because apparently the entire downstairs population of the castle wanted to be the one to heal his broken heart and body and teach him to love againm, and the entire upstairs population of the castle wanted to hear about Arthur's pillow talk and manly physique and bed skills. Merlin wasn't sure which was worse.

After a week, he was ready to kill them all.

While Merlin was skulking around avoiding people who wanted to soothe his poor ravished soul, Arthur spent an excessive amount of time attempting to forget that Gaius had ever asked him about Merlin's ass and ignoring the jokes and laughter of his knights and the cringing fear of the chambermaids that cleaned his rooms. He mostly accomplished this by hitting things--people, animals, targets, trees--with other things--swords, maces, his fists, crossbow bolts, and a horse (but that was only once). He avoiding his father, because Uther was apparently thrilled that his son had turned out to be a buggering sodomite, since it wouldn't muck up the succession and there was absolutely no chance that Merlin would ever be an effective pawn against the throne.

After a week, he was ready to kill them all.

Arthur opened the door to his chamber and threw his sword on the table. Merlin looked up from his seat on the hearth. "I'm ready to kill them all," he announced, and Merlin groaned and tipped over onto his back and stared at the ceiling.

"Tell me about it," he said wearily. "Do you know how many times Bronwyn has tried to get me to 'tell her all about it, so the healing can begin'? Five times so far. Two of them today."

"Sir Archibald called you my mistress," Arthur countered, and sat down on the floor next to Merlin.

"Gaius left a bottle of oil by my bedside," Merlin said, "with a note. It said 'tell Arthur to be more gentle next time.'"

"My father asked me if he should try sleeping with his servants, if it worked so well for me," Arthur said, and Merlin stared at him, horrified.

"All right, you win," he said, and shuddered. "That's just...god. Wrong."

Arthur lay down and pillowed his head on Merlin's stomach. "So," he said gloomily. "What now."

"Well," Merlin said hesitantly. Arthur felt a hand touch his hair, stroke it. "I don't suppose..."

Arthur lifted his head, careful not to dislodge Merlin's hand, and stared. Merlin looked apologetic. Merlin met his eyes. "I mean, if they all think we're doing it anyway, well. We might as well, you know..."

Arthur thought about this for about five seconds. "All right, fine" he said abruptly, and turned over, hitching himself closer to Merlin and grinned down at him. Merlin looked a little stunned, and a little relieved, and a lot happy.

"After all," Arthur said, hands starting to run down Merlin's sides, and Merlin was pushing into them hopefully, eyes shining and bright, and his mouth was pink and wet and Arthur couldn't resist it anymore, "I suppose there's nothing left to lose now."

"That's the spirit," Merlin said dryly, and kissed him, and the whole miserable week was worth it because Merlin is underneath him, hot and wriggling and willing, rying to get his hand down Arthur's pants and breathing hard. It's sunny and bright and there's no wine anywhere, and Arthur kisses him again and again and feels drunk just the same.

The original snippet is lovely; all the proposed endings are utterly endearing.

Hee! I can only take credit for shamelessly hijacking seperis's idea and molesting it repeatedly, but thank you. :)

So. Adorable. *PURRS* Yes, this one. I love it. I do. I so do.

OMG UTHER INAPPROPRIATE COMMENT IS INAPPROPRIATE.

Heh. I love torturing Arthur. And Uther having cozy father-son chats about buggering his male manservents is so wonderfully WRONG. [giggles]

These are all outstanding. Every one! ♥

He avoiding his father, because Uther was apparently thrilled that his son had turned out to be a buggering sodomite, since it wouldn't muck up the succession and there was absolutely no chance that Merlin would ever be an effective pawn against the throne.
BEST. LINE. EVAR.

All these proposed endings are absolutely brilliant.