Word Count: 555
A/N: Vampire!AU written for AU day at comment_fic. The first fic in the Scent 'verse.
Summary: "Merlin is about 99% sure that the first thing that people are supposed to do upon meeting you is not to press you against the nearest wall and start sniffing you."
Merlin is about 99% sure that the first thing that people are supposed to do upon meeting you is not to press you against the nearest wall and start sniffing you.
No handshakes, no 'hi, how are you?', no 'My name's Rude Prat, what's yours?'. Push and sniff. That's all. He hears the stranger take another deep inhale, face buried by his neck with his nose brushing against Merlin's skin. His blond hair tickles against Merlin's jaw and the grip of his hands on Merlin's upper arms is almost unnaturally strong. He'll probably have bruises there tomorrow.
"Um," Merlin says, clearing his throat awkwardly and wondering what is the appropriate thing to say in this kind of situation. He's new to Camelot and new to the castle, but even he knows enough to say that this is not normal around here. "Can I help you?"
"You smell good," the stranger growls at him. His hands clench on Merlin's arm.
Merlin blinks, then looks around the empty stone corridor that they're in. It doesn't seem that anyone is going to come along and untangle him any time soon. "Thank you. I think. Will you let go of me now?"
The stranger's hands only tighten.
Merlin decides to clear his throat at him. "Really. I have things I have to do today."
"You're a servant," the man sighs, still buried at his neck. "It can't be that important."
Merlin rolls his eyes. "Certainly not as important as sniffing random people's necks, but we can't all be as vitally integral to the running of the castle as you. I need to go. You need to let me go."
The stranger pulls back and meets Merlin's gaze, still pinning him against the wall with supernaturally strong hands. "I want to taste you."
That is… Well. That's not exactly what Merlin had been expecting as a response. His mouth flounders for a few moments, lost for words. His mother had warned him that there were some very strange people around once you left the village. He'd thought she was exaggerating, as overprotective as ever.
"I don't know you that well yet," he says once his brain kicks into gear.
The second that word slips out he's mentally kicking himself and wondering if he has some kind of death wish. Associating with Random Neck Sniffers cannot be good for your health, even if you have magic skills to protect yourself.
The stranger's mouth twitches in a smile that looks naturally cruel. "What is it?" he asks. "Why do you smell so…"
"I smell perfectly normal, thank you very much," Merlin says, while resisting the urge to raise his arm and take a whiff.
Eyes narrow and focus on his neck, lingering there without responding to Merlin's defence of his scent. "What did you say your name was?"
"I never told you my name. But it's Merlin."
Nodding, the stranger backs away. "I'm Arthur," he says. "I'll see you soon, Merlin."
It's hard to tell if that's a promise or a threat or something half-way in-between. Merlin watches Arthur retreating up the corridor and restrains a shiver: there's something just not right about that man.
It isn't until he's half-asleep that night that he realises what it was that had bothered him: when Arthur pulled back from his neck, his eyes had been black.