Title: Spotlight
Series: Merlin au
Character/Paring: Arthur/Merlin
Rating: PG-13
Author's note: lj user=comment_fic: Merlin/Arthur, "Stop practicing! You sound crap!" (courtesy of Eddie Izzard) As a caveat: I have never actually watched American Idol. I was very tired when this idea came to my mind, and was too tired to resist it.


The lights soared, the music sounded and the judging was finally there. The contestant was haughty, as if sure of her success, instead of the usual trembling and nervous ones.

"And I wonder what our judges think of that one?" Gwen said.

The spotlight fell to the judges. Merlin and Arthur were leaned close together, whispering something. When the spotlight fell on them, both looked stunned for a moment, and leaned back to their respective seats.

Arthur cleared his throat.

"I think you need to go home, fire whatever music teacher you had – providing you actually ever had one, which I doubt you did, and break every musical instrument you've ever played, and leave Camelot because you're an embarrassment to this whole establishment," Arthur said.

"I-I wouldn't say that," Merlin interjected. "That's too cruel, even for you, Arthur."

"Oh, really, Merlin. What would you say?"

"Well, first I'd say that she picked out a very nice dress, very classy. And then I'd say that she tried very hard and her lyrics in the second song were quite catchy–"

"Which is all a nice way of saying that she's utter crap. I would compare her voice to nails on a chalkboard, but that would be an insult to the nails on a chalkboard, which sounds utterly melodious compared to her."

Dragon, the third judge, made a sound like a long bout of painful flatulence. "See, I too can sing with just as much skill as you!" he said. "I believe you were destined to fail this one."

He was quite the playful one.

Nimeuh's face twisted into a mask of rage. "You!" she screeched. "I'll put a hex on you!"

Gwen tried to salvage the situation. "Uh – and look, it's a commercial break. We'll be right back on Camelot Idol."


The contestant had to be taken off the stage by guards, and even then she made threats on their lives. Merlin personally thought the other two were far too harsh on her. Her singing voice did have a certain haunting quality once you got past the first screechiness. He'd meant to mention this beforehand. And she had seemed really nice up until Arthur and Dragon had torn her to pieces. But the network didn't pay to hear someone say they were nice. The network wanted people torn apart even if they weren't really that bad and had seemed very pretty, classy and nice up until the death threats.

Backstage Arthur as always, was at the vanity doing his hair.

"I do not get paid enough for this job," Arthur sighed.

"You have one of the largest salaries in the world, only outdone by Oprah and the Queen."

"And look what I have to deal with day in and day out. The should give me a raise, or at least filter out the trash first. I mean what kind of crazy woman is that? A hex in these day and age? She might as well said she was going to flame me on a messageboard."

Arthur shook his head and took to lovingly combing his hair in the mirror again. He lost a lot of time taking care of himself. Manicures, facials, he was a total girl about things when it came down to it.

Merlin just happened to share dressing rooms, while Dragon insisted on having his own, far larger one.

"I went to the store today and I saw a bunch of those gossip mags – the tabloids what have you. We were on the cover. Also, a woman in line asked if you were as good in bed as you claimed to be and the size of your –" Merlin flushed at the last. It wasn't that the word cock embarrassed him. He wasn't a nun. It was more being asked by a woman he didn't know how Arthur wielded his. Now that, that was embarrassing. Arthur would have rolled with it, or told her to fuck off.

"I see my reputation precedes me. Did you tell her at length what a fantastic lay I am?"

"No! I mean .why would I? That's private."

"You should have," Arthur said. He gave the mirror a winning smile. His teeth were blindingly white from all the constant treatments he was doing. Merlin was pretty sure they'd caused a few car accidents via Temporary Teeth Reflection Blindness.

"If I were you and doing me, I'd be yelling from the hills what an awesome lover I had and how lucky I was."

"You mean you'd come out?" Merlin said, aghast.

"You know I don't care what other people think. In fact, I say it at least ten times a day."

"...even your father?"

Arthur was quieter then. Thoughtful.

"I care in that respect...but I'm not going to be skulking around my whole life. I suppose I could have a miserable life and marry a girl I don't love just to appease him. Or I could stay like this and actually live my life."

"Don't love...wait, are you saying that you lo–"

Gwen leaned in. "We've got an interview in ten, are you almost ready? Have you ever started Arthur?"

Arthur's time getting ready had become a running joke between the whole cast within the first week of working there. He might have even been called 'princess' behind his back, though no one would admit it if pressed.

"Wait, did I interrupt anything?" Gwen said.

"Oh no – We were just..."

"–discussing where we're both going for the holidays," Arthur finished for him.

"Oh, great. Maybe we'll all see each other." Gwen smiled "And remember, don't lollygag!"

Gwen left.

"Erm. Yeah. About the holidays."

"You're coming to my house," Arthur said. "Bring your mother for all I care."

"As your coworker?" Merlin asked.

"As...my boyfri – lo.....the person I'm sleeping with," Arthur said. It seemed almost as if it were painful for him to say such words as 'significant other' and 'boyfriend', so Merlin let it slide.

"Alright. I'll...be looking forward to it. Right then."

"Go on ahead and meet the interviewers, will you? I'll be right out."

Merlin turned to go. Arthur cleared his throat.

"Forgetting something?"

Merlin thought hard. "No, not that I can think of."

Arthur bent and kissed him, quickly, only because of necessity.

"We'll finish up later," he said, and patted Merlin on the arse.

"I will..be looking forward to it," Merlin said, unable to control his laughter as he walked into the blinding light of the camera.