Fanfic about my favorite couple . . .
How Arthur Knew Merlin Was Gay
Summary: Gaius can't keep a secret and Arthur is worried about Merlin's drinking problem. Comedy.
“But Gaius,” Arthur said and looked at the healer, “I’m worried about him. Aren’t you? I mean, he’s always at the tavern. I think he might have a mead problem.”
“Oh, sir,” Gaius said and walked to one of his tables to start brewing a remedy for one of the knights, “I’m sure it’s nothing.”
“That’s just what I used to say, Gaius. But this isn’t stopping. Everytime I turn around...where is Merlin? ‘Oh, Merlin’s at the tavern!’ It’s ridiculous. Honestly, I don’t even know why I keep him around.”
“I wouldn’t worry yourself over it, sir. He probably doesn’t even go to the tavern for mead.”
“And what does he go for then, Gaius?”
“Well, the men, of course,” Gaius said and then instantly winced. Behind him, Arthur was silent. “...the men?”
“To hear all their stories!” Gaius covered up fast. “To get to know them. To learn about the honor of the Knights of Camelot! You know he thinks the world of them.”
“He told Leon yesterday that he was a trollop.”
“...well, maybe not Leon. But I’m sure he respects the others.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it, sir! I wouldn’t worry at all.” Gaius turned around and gave Arthur a smile. “Merlin is fine!”
“...alright. If you say so. But...the mead...”
“Oh, he’s not drinking that much mead.” Gaius started to shoo him out of the room. “And if you’re that worried about it, I’ll brew him a potion!” He shut the door in Arthur’s face and rolled his eyes up to the ceiling.
After a full five minutes of silence, Merlin couldn’t take it anymore. “What?” he asked Arthur, turning around to look at where Arthur sat near the window. Arthur suddenly looked away, not meeting his gaze.
“No, it’s something. When you have that look on your face, it’s always something. What is it? Are we going to kill another unicorn? Oh, or maybe you have to prove your honor by getting the sacred blacksmith’s apron from the dreaded flying deer monster.”
“Don’t make fun of sacred quests, Merlin. That was a very big trial for Leon and you know it was.”
“Of course, sire.” Merlin said and went back to cleaning. “And the apron really was fetching.”
Another bit of silence, and then Arthur burst out. “What do you think about wenches, Merlin?”
Merlin turned back to him and blinked. “Wenches.”
“Yes! Wenches! I mean, you’re always down at the tavern. Surely that’s why you go. Are you a man about town? Got a couple of serving girls down there all over you?”
“Ah, no. I’m too skinny, they say. Besides, I’m not really that interested. I have to keep my mind sharp to remember when to change the sheets and when to clean the floor and how to clean your boots and how to clean Leon’s boots and how to clean Gaius’ boots and how to clean Elliot’s boots...why do you make me clean so many boots?”
Arthur ignored him and looked down at the table beside him. He became very, very interested in the set of quills there. “...what about the men?”
“What?” Merlin asked and looked extremely confused.
"The...the men! Men! The men at the tavern.” Arthur struck his fist against the endtable and looked up at Merlin, lifting his chin and meeting his eyes. “Do you fa--,” he cleared his throat to get the stutter out. “Do you FANCY the men at the tavern, Merlin?”
Merlin set down the rag he was cleaning with and looked at Arthur. “The...men? You think I fancy the men at the tavern?”
“Well, I’m trying to decide what it is that draws you down to that...pithole!”
“...you know, I don’t go down there that much.”
“Don’t lie to me, Merlin. Gaius keeps a careful track of you,” Arthur shakes his finger at Merlin, “and he is ALWAYS telling me you are at the TAVERN.”
“Well, I’m...” Merlin stood up straight. “I am not interested in the men at the tavern, Arthur.”
Arthur deflated. “Oh.”
When it was clear that Arthur wasn’t going to say anything else, Merlin picked up his rag again and started cleaning the chair he was working on. Arthur sat in silence for a moment, before declaring. “So you’re just a drunkard.”
“NO!” In a fit of rage, Merlin threw the rag at Arthur. He didn’t even get halfway across the room and he rolled his eyes at himself and at the situation. “I AM NOT A DRUNKARD! And I am not after wenches or men or anyone at the tavern!”
“Well, then, I’m confused Merlin. If you’re not after wenches and you’re not a...you’re not into men...then what are you?”
“I AM INTO MEN!” Merlin shouted and then clapped his hand over his mouth. “Shit.”
“Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh,” Arthur said and stood up and pointed at Merlin, “So you were lying to me. You were lying to your Prince.”
“I wasn’t lying,” Merlin said and looked at the floor, “I just didn’t know how to tell you. Can we just...forget about this?”
“No,” Arthur said with a decisive nod. “I want to know what man down there has you all in a twist. Who is it? It is one of the knights? It’s not Elliot, is it? Is it Gwaine? It’s Gwaine, isn’t it? It’s the hair. I knew he was a little.” Arthur flips his wrist.
“I am not after anyone at that stupid tavern, Arthur. My sights are set elsewhere.”
“Well, where elsewhere?”
Merlin backpeddled. “...nowhere. Nowhere elsewhere. No elses. No wheres. Can we stop talking about the people I fancy?”
“No, we shall not stop talking about it. Come on.” Arthur punched him, playfully. “Come on. Tell me. We’re friends. I tell you everything.”
“...no, I don’t want to tell. Where are your boots? Don’t your boots need cleaning?”
“Merlin,” Arthur said in a warning voice.
Merlin looked up at the ceiling and huffed. “Fine. FINE. Fine.” He looked at Arthur and rubbed his shoulder where Arthur had hit it. “I kind of...fancy...”
“Spit it out, Merlin.”
“I kind of fancy...”
“Come on.” Another punch. “Tell me.”
Merlin glowered. “I kind of fancy twats of princes who do nothing but hit their defenseless servants!” He snapped his mouth shut and his eyes went wide. Arthur, in mid-punch to get Merlin to talk, pulled back.
“You fancy who?”
Merlin looked off into another corner of the room. “...you.”
Arthur stared at Merlin. Merlin stared at a dustbunny. “You fancy me?” Arthur asked and Merlin nodded slightly.
“Why haven’t you...told me?”
“Because,” Merlin said and looked at Arthur, “I’m a servant. And I’m not that, you know, graceful or anything. And I’m skinny.”
“Oh, Merlin,” Arthur said and put his hand on Merlin’s shoulder, “is this why you’ve been drinking?”
“I have NOT been DRINKING,” Merlin said and growled. “Gaius just keeps covering for me by saying I’m going to the tavern when I’m really...” Merlin cut himself off and then started again. “...avoiding you because I like you so much.”
Arthur stared at him. “Well, Merlin, I knew you were a dimwit, but I didn’t know you were this dumb.”
“I know,” Merlin said and looked down at the floor. “It’s stupid to fall in love with your master.”
“No,” Arthur said softly and then hesitantly reached out and tilted Merlin’s chin up, “Merlin...” Arthur smiled. “Why do you think I keep you around if not because I like you? Because let me tell you, it’s not your boot-cleaning ability.”
“Fancy you? Yeah,” Arthur said and then leaned in and kissed him. “I do. Happy Valentine's Day.”