|From Far-Off Lands - Merlin - Arthur/Merlin
||[May. 10th, 2009|12:53 am]
where the daydreams reign
Title: From Far-Off Lands
Word Count: 531
A/N: Written for comment_fic for the prompt "silk".
Summary: After visiting a foreign court, Arthur returns with a gift for Merlin.
Merlin runs the material through his fingertips, watching as individual threads glint in the sunlight. It's the softest thing he's ever touched by far and seems to float through his fingers as if it is nothing more than air itself. The red colour is bright in a way he's never seen before and he knows that this scarf is probably worth more – objectively speaking, anyway – than he is himself.
He looks up to find Arthur watching him, arms crossed over his chest. The second that their eyes connect, however, Arthur looks stubbornly away as if something on the other side of the courtyard has just caught his attention. Following Arthur's eye line, Merlin soon discovers that there's nothing there, only the other knights who are tired and weary after their journey.
"I thought you'd like it," Arthur says defensively, "that's all."
"I do. It's…" He doesn't quite know what to say, actually. Arthur's never brought him gifts back from his expeditions before. He doesn't even bring anything for Morgana, other than sharper words and a fouler mood than usual. "It's really nice. Thanks."
Arthur grunts at him and looks to the opposite side of the courtyard now. Merlin thinks unwillingly that he's really rather cute when he's uncomfortable. "Are you going to put it on or not, Merlin?"
"Ah- right. Yeah. Right now?"
"Some time before I die of old age would be preferable, yes."
Arthur has spent several days on horseback after spending even longer trying to schmooze princesses in foreign courts, and it is for that reason alone that Merlin lets him get away with being an impatient twat. "Uh-huh, will you hold it for a second?"
He passes the gift back to Arthur who sighs impatiently at him as he reaches behind his neck to undo the knot of the scarf he's wearing right now. Once it's free they trade, Merlin handing Arthur the old one while regaining the new one. The red silk neckerchief is tied loosely around his neck and he tugs at it a little, self-conscious at wearing something so above his station.
Arthur is finally looking at him, though, and it's with something a lot like satisfaction – and more – on his face. He reaches out, and for one irrational moment Merlin thinks that something is going to happen right here in the courtyard. He doesn't know what exactly, but his gaze flicks down to the dry curve of Arthur's lips. It's been a long time they've been apart, such a long time, but even Arthur wouldn't do that, not here, not in front of so many people, and Merlin can't stop his heart from racing and then—
Then Arthur's fingers touch the new material, so close to his neck that he can feel the heat from his hand. "It looks good on you," he says. Merlin wonders if maybe he's hearing things, because Arthur rarely gives such open compliments. "I'm keeping this one, by the way," he announces, tucking Merlin's old neckerchief away: no doubt for important, princely purposes, Merlin tells himself.
He can't help smiling as he strokes his fingers over the gift Arthur had brought him: he has to say that it seems like a good trade.