kumquatix: Merlin smiling (merlin)
[personal profile] kumquatix
Title: Merlin worships Arthur from afar, up close
Author: Kumquatix
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Spoilers: Valiant
Rating: R
Word count: 1100
Summary: Merlin accidentally turns Arthur into a bird, and learns something about his feelings for him.

Merlin did not mean to turn Arthur into a bird. It was a regrettable slip of the tongue.

Merlin and the guard both reacted immediately, when the audience seeker turned and cast a glowing ball of spell fire at Arthur - the guard cut off his head with a single, mighty swipe of is sword, and Merlin threw up a magical shield around Arthur. Or that is what he had meant to do, anyway.

The severed head of the sorcerer bounced and rolled away over the floor, and the tapestry Arthur had been standing in front of burst into flames. Arthur shook out his feathers and puffed himself up, and with a hoarse "Craaa!" took off and circled the throne room anxiously.

Gaius shot a quick look at Merlin, subtly raising an eyebrow and inclining his head toward Arthur, who had now found a perch on a window sill far from the burning tapestry. Merlin nodded, trying to will Gaius to understand that he had been the one to transform Arthur.

"It looks like Prince Arthur managed to duck, and let most of the spell pass over him, Sire," Gaius said loudly to King Uther.

Uther who had frozen in shock, staring horrified at his son the crow, turned sharply to Gaius: "Can the spell be undone?" he snapped out.

"Yes. Because this transformation was caused by only the nimbus of the curse rushing closely past Arthur, it should wear off by itself in a few days," Gaius said confidently.

Just long enough for us to find the counterspell to whatever I accidentally said, Merlin though to himself. If they were lucky, he could turn Arthur back the same way he had turned the statue of the dog back.

"Good!" Uther exclaimed. "Sir Leon, well done. Carry out that," he motioned to the corpse lying a polite 20 paces from the king's throne and also over in the corner, "and prepare a bonfire for it. You!" he pointed at Gwen, "open the windows. You!" he pointed at Merlin, "stamp out that fire."

They all hopped to. Merlin grabbed a runner from a side table, wet it with diluted wine, and started beating at the smoldering, stinking tapestry. The priceless silk had melted into little hard bunches, which broke off and fell to the floor when he hit them. He managed to put out the fire easily, as no one was paying any attention to him. What had been the centre of the image had completely burned away, and the rest of the fabric was black, but he had managed to stop the fire before it spread to anything else.

Gwen had opened all the windows except the one Arthur sat in, and Merlin felt the icy cold draft keenly where the vigorous exercise had made him sweat. He fetched the long pole with the hook where it was hidden behind the tapestry closest to the door, and tried to reach up behind the burned one to lift it off the wall. It wasn't easy, because he had never hung a tapestry himself, and he had a hard time picturing the way the fastenings worked in his head.

"I'll get a broom and a blanket to carry the charred remains in," Gwen whispered to him, and hurried out.

Merlin had unhooked half of the tall tapestry, and his arm was starting to get tired when Gwen returned, so they switched. He swept while she reached up with the rod and found the fastenings, and slipped them off one by one. It looked like she knew what she was doing, and had to search and twist and turn the rod a lot less than he had done.

Sweeping was relaxing, and he took his time doing it carefully and getting all the little bits of charred, melted silk that had been blown around. It also gave him the opportunity to watch the king unobtrusively.

Uther was standing by Arthur's window, still as a statue, and holding out a handful of what looked like mutton torn off one of the platters of snacks. He wasn't looking at Arthur, but staring fixedly out the window, probably at nothing.

Arthur was sitting in the far end of the window sill, clacking his beak and hissing once in a while.

Merlin swept under the table, and arranged the plates and platters which had been shoved around so it looked neat and appetizing again. He put the food with visible ashes on it aside.

Gwen had reached the last fastening, and called him over to help support the heavy tapestry while she unhooked it from the wall, and together they lowered in down on the drop sheet. Merlin scooped up his sweepings, and they wrapped the sheet tightly around the mess, and took and end each and carried it out.

Before he left the audience room, Merlin saw that Arthur had stopped hissing, and was now staring fixedly at the meat in his father's hand.

---

After work, Merlin went straight home and cracked the books. He looked up the transformation spells he was already aware of, and started analysing their nuances trying to pick the best one. He had read studied them all before, so he was reasonably certain, but he wanted to confirm with Gaius before he used any of them on Arthur.

Gaius came back at supper time.

"How is Arthur?" Merlin asked him worriedly.

"He looked to be in good health," Gaius replied with a smile. "When I left, Uther had him eating out of his hand."

Merlin snickered.

A silly part of him wished fiercely that he could have been the one to tame Arthur. If the bird had no reason or memory, only instinct to guide it, to have it respond favourably to him would have, must have been a sign of a deep and fundamental connection of trust between them.

Merlin considered having Arthur be in a position of complete helplessness, and still willingly and gladly give himself into Merlin's power, knowing that Merlin would always protect him and look out for his best interests, and he felt a pleasant, squirmy heat spread through him.

---

Next morning, Merlin followed Gaius into the throne room. Arthur sat on Uther's shoulder, busily preening his hair, while Uther patiently submitted to this treatment with a twinkle in his eyes.

Casting the counterspell, half hidden behind Gaius, was the work of a moment, and soon Merlin and Gaius were smothering their laughs at the expression on the restored Arthur's face when he landed in his father's lap.
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