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It's All Fun and Games (Until Someone Turns into a Squirrel) - Merlin - Arthur/Merlin - where the daydreams reign — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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It's All Fun and Games (Until Someone Turns into a Squirrel) - Merlin - Arthur/Merlin [Apr. 30th, 2009|02:36 pm]
where the daydreams reign

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[toestastegood]
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Title: It's All Fun and Games (Until Someone Turns into a Squirrel)
Pairing: Arthur/Merlin
Word Count: 1823
Rating: PG
A/N: Vampire!AU in the Scent 'verse.
Summary: Arthur corners Merlin to get answers about his magic.


Over the past few days, Merlin has avoided certain areas of the castle. A survival strategy, of course. These areas include (but are not limited to) Arthur's bedroom, Morgana's chambers, the great hall, all the lesser halls, the training grounds, the castle's grounds in general, the stables, the armoury, and anywhere else that a royal vampire is likely to skulk around. Not that Arthur skulks, really. He's nothing like what Merlin thinks a vampire ought to be like, or even what tradition and legend would require him to be. He strides around in the sunlight and he doesn't wear any black clothing. Merlin's fairly certain that he can't turn into a bat either. If Arthur had such an ability Merlin has no doubt that he'd spend every waking moment showing off with it.

The wound on his arm is healing nicely, Gaius says, but it itches like mad. On nights when he can't sleep it's like he can still feel Arthur's lips against his skin and he can imagine Arthur's fangs teasing the cut. Arthur's eyes had shone gold as he drank and Merlin doesn't know what that means: he doesn't particularly want to know, and therefore the best thing to do is to avoid everywhere that might result in him running into the prince.

Unfortunately that does somewhat restrict where in the castle he can actually go. It's hard to hide from someone in his own castle. Merlin likes to think that he's done a rather admirable job of it, to be honest, though Gaius has taken to frowning at him in disapproval at every opportunity he gets and Gwen is fond of sighing at him.

Avoiding Arthur is a full-time job, and when Merlin heads to his bedroom at the back of Gaius's quarters at the end of the day he's looking forward to slumping into bed and sleeping for an unnatural length of time.

As with all things in his life, however, he should have known that this would not go exactly according to plan.

After plopping down onto the bed, lying on his back, Merlin tries to toe off his boots without sitting up to use his hands. It's fair to say that he does not succeed at all, and in fact his attempts only make his shoes wedge themselves in an uncomfortable position on his feet. With a put-upon groan, he pulls himself up into a sitting position and—

Finds himself staring at a moody-looking vampire standing by his door.

Merlin isn't sure if it's the fact that he's moody, the fact that it's a vampire, or the fact that it's Arthur that is the most terrifying, but he knows without a doubt that the combination of all three can't be a good thing. "Hello," he says after a brief pause during which it becomes clear that Arthur is not going to be the first one to speak.

"You've been avoiding me," Arthur says. "Ever since what happened on the full moon, you've been sulking around the castle without doing your job. If you were anyone else I'd fire you."

"Why don't you fire me?" Merlin suggests. "I'm awful at my job. You tell me that all the time."

"I tell you that because you are awful at your job. You didn't even see fit to turn up all this week." He sounds exasperated and – Merlin realises with a warm, loved sense of horror – more than a little affectionate. "But I want you working here so you won't get to squirm out of it that easily, Merlin."

He says Merlin's name like it's an insult, something mean to throw at him. Merlin finds himself smiling despite all his determination not to. "I needed a break," he states, a flimsy excuse. Judging from Arthur's expression, he knows it. "I did nearly die a few days ago, sire. I think that warrants a few days off."

Arthur nearly died as well, all because of him, and that's the thing he wants to avoid most. Not Arthur's presence as such, but the possibility of having to discuss what happened.

Arthur checks that the door is closed, and then looks at Merlin with the most serious expression on his face that Merlin has ever seen. He dreads what might be about to come out of his mouth, but the words he utters are certainly not what he was expecting. "I turned Gaius into a squirrel."

That, Merlin has to admit, is certainly not what he'd ever predicted Arthur would say when they ran into each other again.

"Oh?" he replies, eyebrows raised, because there is very little that he can think to actually say.

When he thinks about it now, Gaius has been uncharacteristically twitchy for the past two days.

"While you were passed out after I'd drank from you, Gaius touched my shoulder and a moment later he was running around the floor. I don't suppose you'd know why that is?"

The leading tone of his voice says that he knows Merlin has a few answers tucked away in the dark corners of his brain, but Merlin smiles all the same and shrugs innocently. "Why would I know? Maybe it's some new vampire thing."

Arthur watches him. Merlin would swear that he doesn't even blink. "It happened after I tasted your blood. Yours."

"That is a very strange coincidence, I agree."

"Merlin…" Warm and coaxing, there is only the faintest hint of disapproval in Arthur's voice, but that doesn't stop Merlin from tensing when Arthur takes a step forwards. It's an instinctual thing, far beyond his control, but Arthur's footsteps falter then stop all the same. "If I was going to hurt you, I would have done so long before now," Arthur sighs at him, "and if I was going to have you punished for using magic I would have sent the guards for you immediately."

"I didn't use magic," Merlin lies automatically. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"It's in your blood," Arthur says, as if he hadn't bothered to protest his innocence. "The magic itself is in your blood. I didn't think it worked like that."

"What do you mean?"

"It's something you learn. I shouldn't be able to taste it any more than I'd be able to taste that someone can speak Latin or dance – which means that there's something different about you. I'd like to know what it is." Arthur's eyes search him, assess him, and Merlin doesn't know what to say: confession lingers on the very edge of his tongue. "What are you?"

"I'm a person," he answers: too fast, too defensive, because this is a question he's been left wondering far too often recently. "Just like everybody else."

"Not just like them." Arthur moves forward again and Merlin manages not to flinch, though he's tense: ridiculously tense. Arthur sits at the end of his bed, watching him with eyes that look so human now, a far cry from the inky blackness that fills them when he's hungry. "You used magic on me, didn't you? You don't have to say it: just nod."

It's easier when he doesn't have to say the words: easy but still a little on the terrifying side. He used magic against a member of the royal family. Merlin's fairly certain that a plea of self-defence isn't sufficient in such cases, but some irrational part of him trusts Arthur. He nods.

Arthur lets out a long puff of air and his shoulders sag. "So you're a sorcerer?"

Merlin's eyes are wide and he's trying to work out what he'll do if Arthur turns on him. "Yes," he admits, very small and very quiet.

"Does anybody else know?"

"Just Gaius."

"You're sure of this?"

"Yes, I'm sure," Merlin sighs. It's the only secret he's ever been able to keep, and the only one he's ever had to. He doesn't let it slip out nonchalantly.

"Let's make sure it stays that way," Arthur says decisively. "Don't tell another soul. My father hates magic after what was done to Morgana and myself – it'd be best not to give him a target for his anger, unless you want to be the next in line for the chopping block."

"No thanks," Merlin mutters with a shiver. Knowing what happens to people like him in this kingdom makes him wonder every day if he should just go home and take his chances there: anything would be safer than hiding right under the king's nose, surely. "You're not going to tell Uther?"

Any troubles that Arthur may have with lying to his own father are hidden well by his expression. "No, I'm not. Now move over – I want to lie down."

"I'm not letting you sleep here, y'know," Merlin says even as he shifts over on the bed to allow Arthur room to lie beside him. "Last time we shared a bed you tried to eat me."

"But I didn't actually do so."

"Only 'cause I stopped you."

"Yes, with that strange magic of yours," Arthur says defensively, as if that had been cheating. He rests beside Merlin, and without asking if it's okay he moves his arm around Merlin's shoulders. One firm tug causes Merlin to fall against him, left leaning against his chest. "What else can you do, other than drive me mad?"

Merlin shrugs: he doesn't quite feel up to demonstrations yet. It's alarming enough to let Arthur know about it, let alone see it. "Sometimes when you give me too much to do I use magic to help," he confesses.

There's an amused smile in Arthur's voice when he answers. "You have all this power at your fingertips and you choose to use it on chores. You're something else, Merlin, that's for certain."

Merlin snorts. "When you had it, you turned Gaius into a squirrel. I think I'm making better use of it than you did."

"I also turned him back," Arthur points out.

"Ah, so you used my magic to fix your own mistakes?"

"… I'm the prince. I don't make mistakes." Arthur clears his throat importantly. Leaning against him, Merlin can hear the way it rumbles through his chest and smiles. "I knew exactly what I was doing."

"Mmhmm, I'm sure you did," Merlin agrees. He wishes he'd been around to see it. Maybe one day he will be: he knows that this won't have been the last time that Arthur drinks from him. Relying solely upon Arthur's self-restraint isn't an acceptable plan.

It isn't something he's worrying about now, lying in bed with Arthur. Arthur's arm around his shoulders is comforting, and though Merlin can feel the way he inhales deeply to take in the scent of him he doesn't bother to mention it. As long as it's smelling and not tasting, he thinks it can't be too harmful. With Arthur now aware of his secret, the world seems like a slightly less dangerous place: because he knows that, whatever comes next, they'll be facing it together.

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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: nightingale_r3
2009-04-30 01:57 pm (UTC)
That was so wonderful :) Could it be possible that you'll write the scene of Arthur turning Gaius into a squirrel? just some extra to the series? Please?
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-04-30 02:09 pm (UTC)
^^ If I have time I'll see if I can whip something up for you.
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[User Picture]From: firewolfsg
2009-04-30 02:06 pm (UTC)
BWAHAHAHA! Arthur turned Gaius into a squirrel?

nipick: I think I'm making better us of it than you did.
Should be 'use'
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-04-30 02:09 pm (UTC)
I think Gaius would be an unreasonably grumpy squirrel!

Thanks for pointing that out - just fixed it.
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[User Picture]From: blaidd_drwg
2009-04-30 02:15 pm (UTC)
Ooh, *tingles with delight* I loved this! And you say it's part of a series. Hmm, guess I know what's going on my reading list next. ;-)

Loved Merlin's reactions to Arthur and how snuggly and perfect this particular story ended. Excellent characterizations.
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-04-30 05:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you (for this and your other comments!) I'm delighted you're liking the series, because it is so much fun to write. Vampire!Arthur really is an incredibly snuggly fellow. ^^
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-04-30 05:01 pm (UTC)
♥ Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: laurapetri
2009-04-30 02:29 pm (UTC)
LOL Gaius as a squirrel!!!!!!!!Too fun!I love how Merlin trust that they'll face the future together.
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-04-30 05:01 pm (UTC)
:) Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: vanishing_cake
2009-04-30 04:21 pm (UTC)
I grinned like a maniac when I saw you posted another part of this, and I had to wait until after class to read it.

I bet Arthur only changed him back because squirrel!Gaius gave him the Eyebrow. Vampire!Arthur is surprisingly cuddly (YAY). How very awkward that must be for Merlin. This series is pretty much awesome and a lot of fun, and...if we're allowed to ask questions, I'd like to know what implications the whole being-a-vampire-thing has on political and magical matters. Do diplomats and visiting knights know about Arthur and Morgana, and does it affect negotiations? Would Sophia's magic work on vampire!Arthur? How do Arthur's knights treat him? *is annoyingly curious*
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-04-30 05:08 pm (UTC)
Of course you're allowed to ask questions (though I fully reserve the right to bullshit my way through the ones I don't have answers to :P).

I have very vague plans for the plot for a future fic in the series to have a delegation from another kingdom visiting the castle, but they're not solidified yet. It must be hard for Arthur in tournaments with other knights, now that I think about it: surely having vampire strength and speed on your side counts as cheating in some way, so any wins would probably be attributed to that rather than to skill. Poor Arthur. :(

And, omg, a squirrel!Gaius would totally do the eyebrow at Arthur. That's awesome!
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[User Picture]From: archaeologist_d
2009-04-30 04:24 pm (UTC)
I loved the idea that he turned Gaius into a squirrel. I certainly understand Merlin trying to avoid Arthur at all costs but Arthur is certainly persistant.

Great job.
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-04-30 05:08 pm (UTC)
Yes, avoiding Arthur was a plan that was never really going to work. Silly Merlin. ^^
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[User Picture]From: fresica
2009-04-30 04:28 pm (UTC)
It's not just the fact that GAIUS WAS A SQUIRREL that cracks me up, it's that he was twitchy for days afterward! lol Poor Gaius...

I love this Arthur so much, and not just cause he's a vampire. He's kind of awesome, isn't he?
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-04-30 05:09 pm (UTC)
I think vampirism has definitely increased Arthur's awesome points by a fair amount, but I'm biased. :P
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[User Picture]From: laurelancalime
2009-04-30 04:57 pm (UTC)
awesome as always! I'd love to see one from Arthur's POV
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-04-30 05:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm way more comfortable writing from Merlin's POV for this 'verse for some reason, but I think one from Arthur's would be pretty interesting to try as well. -ponders-
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-05-01 05:43 pm (UTC)
^^ Thank you for reading it!
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[User Picture]From: glass_icarus
2009-04-30 05:59 pm (UTC)
SQUIRREL!GAIUS! *DIES LAUGHING*

WIN.
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-05-01 05:44 pm (UTC)
HEY, DON'T LAUGH AT HIM! I'M SURE SQUIRREL!GAIUS BITES. ;)
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[User Picture]From: myrimidryad
2009-04-30 06:24 pm (UTC)
Hee! Squirrel!Gaius FTW! When he thinks about it now, Gaius has been uncharacteristically twitchy for the past two days. XD!

I love this series so much, it's ridiculous. Moar?
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-05-01 05:44 pm (UTC)
-nodnod- Definitely more on the way. Writing this thing is frickin' addictive.
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[User Picture]From: magog_83
2009-04-30 07:28 pm (UTC)
I think I have to reward myself for my self control - I saved this fic ALL DAY so I could enjoy it properly once I'd got all my work done, even though it was just sitting there on the internet, taunting me.

I absolutely loved this chapter - the squirrel thing, the banter, Arthur wondering 'what' Merlin is and then cuddling at the end (just to completely finish me off). That last line sounded a bit final though - it isn't final is it???!
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-05-01 05:45 pm (UTC)
Nope, not final - no worries! I'm so glad you liked this part. ♥
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[User Picture]From: babydracky
2009-04-30 07:37 pm (UTC)
Awwwwwww!!! I love the idea of Arthur using Merlin's Magic! ÖÖ
(Gaius Camelot Squarrel xD)
It is good to have Arthur knows about Merlin and that they now know they can share much more than they thought ÖÖ
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-05-01 06:09 pm (UTC)
I'm very fond of the idea of Arthur getting a chance to use Merlin's magic. Lots of fun possibilities to play with there!
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[User Picture]From: toestastegood
2009-05-01 06:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad that it comes across that even disregarding the vampire stuff there's a connection between the pair of them. ♥
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