A/N: Oh, come on, Americans - you know you wanted to. ;)
For Brits And Other Non-Yanks Who Don't Know What I'm Talking About: the day after Thanksgiving in America has always marked the start of Christmas shopping, and a time when revenue was almost guaranteed to be highly profitable for retailers. They nicknamed this Black Friday - for the color profits used to be labeled in, as opposed to the red of lost margins - and the consumer population caught onto this, and thought it was funny, and started shopping on this day more and more for lack of anything better to do. The stores caught onto this, and started making more deals on this day, which the people latched onto more, which made the companies more interested, and well...all this bouncing off each other has resulted in a holiday dedicated to shopping. It's one step away from getting government recognition, and if it helps give a little boost to the economy that many people are hoping for, then it probably will get government recognition.
Only in America will you get a holiday dedicated to consumerism on the day after a holiday created to celebrate the nation's original anti-materialists.
"Arthur!" Merlin cried out in the shivering cold as he bundled himself up even tighter in his jacket. "Remind me again, why did we let Morgana drag us out here in the middle of the night to wait out here in the dark and freezing cold?"
But Morgana answered before Arthur could.
"We're here for Black Friday-"
"We're not even American!" Merlin yelled out.
"He has a point," Arthur said dryly.
"So?!" She said. "You love shopping just as much as I do. More."
Gwen giggled. "Oh, c'mon, it'll be fun!"
"This is not fun," Arthur said. "We could come back later-"
"And all the good stuff will be gone!" Morgana said. "No - if anything, we should've come earlier!"
"It's three in the fucking morning, Morgana," Merlin said. "We're here too early as it is!"
She glared at him and pointed to the several dozen people ahead of them.
"Why couldn't we at least go to a good store?" he begged, looking across the parking lot longingly at the electronic stores. "I mean, split up, cover more ground?" He was desperate.
"Oh, no you don't," Arthur said, reaching out one gloved hand to curl tightly and possessively through Merlin's. "You're not going anywhere."
"What happened to defying all the stupid effeminate stereotypes about being gay?" Merlin moaned out, tugging towards the much saner stores.
"There's nothing innately gay about shopping," Arthur sniffed.
"There is about waiting in the dark and freezing cold at three in the morning to shop."
"Oh, don't worry, the stores are opening early, today," Gwen said.
"We've still got two hours to go!" Merlin yelped. "And it's for a clothing store."
"It's still clothes!" Merlin said, cutting off Arthur. "We don't even need any!"
All three of them gave his outfit a pointed look and promptly dismissed his arguments.
"Can I at least go and get us some coffee while you three wait here?" he asked.
Arthur glared at the electronic stores across the parking lot and tugged Merlin even closer to him, wrapping his arms around Merlin. "Not a chance."
Merlin sighed, defeated, and slumped into Arthur's chest as he made plans to make sure they never went vacationing in America again. At least, not during a holiday dedicated to fucking shopping.
Merlin sighed as he tugged the armful of clothes closer to his chest and followed his friends obediently towards the changing rooms, hoping that getting to separate from Gwen and Morgana for a bit while they change will give him some room to breathe.
But, of course it was too much to hope for.
Apparently, during the absolute chaos of his stupid 'holiday', Americans forgot about the uptight and conservative attitudes enough to be able to collectively pull their sticks out of their arses so's to have something to whack fellow shoppers with, and the changing room manager managed to get too caught up in dealing with errant shoppers and overworked employees to notice Gwen and Morgana walking into the Mens' changing rooms right in front of her.
"Come on," Morgana said, dragging them through the maze of little stalls towards two at the end, opposite the hall towards each other, and shoving Gwen and Merlin into one, and Arthur and herself into another.
Merlin smiled, though - he and Arthur'd had at least one plan for Morgana and Gwen, outfits to force them into in revenge...well, revenge on Merlin's part, amused sadism on Arthur's part.
"So," Gwen said, a moment later at the pile of clothes before her where Merlin had dropped it and collapsed on the bench. "Here's what you'll be trying out, first."
Merlin squeaked when she showed him.
Of course, he didn't let her get away with it.
"How did you get something without me or Morgana noticing?" she asked, when Merlin, fully dressed again, said he had an outfit for her to try.
"I didn't," Merlin said, grinning evilly. "Arthur did. We planned this while you two were looking at all those stupid hats."
"So what's my outfit, then?" she asked.
Merlin dug into the clothing pile and held it up.
She squeaked even louder than Merlin.
At the same time, in the stall across, Merlin heard Morgana yell, "I'm not wearing that!"
Gwen didn't look reassured.
"Who's going first?" Arthur yelled five minutes later.
"Merlin!" Gwen hissed at him as she stared in the mirror. "I can't go out like this!"
She was wearing what Merlin could only think of as exotic lingerie. A simmery gold bikini, with detached sleeves and a long, sarong-like skirt all made of translucent gauze.
Merlin smirked as he remembered what Arthur'd gotten Morgana to wear.
"They are!" Merlin yelled, if only to delay his own humiliation.
"WHAT?!" Gwen squeaked out.
Ripping open the door behind him, Merlin shoved her outside before locking the door behind her for a moment.
"Merlin!" she cried out. "Merlin, let me-"
"What are you wearing?!" Morgana cried out, having been shoved out a moment later.
"...oh my god..." Gwen said breathlessly a few moments later.
Deeming it safe, Merlin unlocked the door and poked only his head out, smirking at what he saw. Morgana was wearing some slutty-looking goth chic corset and mini-skirt that was all lace and no cover, and she and Gwen looked about ready to eat each other.
The door behind Morgana had closed, but Arthur had apparently forgotten to lock it.
A moment later, Morgana shoved Arthur out and shut the door behind him.
Now Merlin was the one wanting to eat Arthur. In some ridiculously fancy suit that of course would only be found at such a posh place like this (or, as the Americans would put it, a stuck-up-town fancy-shmancy place like this), he looked positively delectable. In a pitch black suit that looked it was poured around Arthur, the jacket framing his broad shoulders well and tapering down towards his waist and flaring out again, complemented by a rich, red silk shirt, and with trousers that hugged his bum and thighs far too well and flowed tastefully loosely after his knees...
Arthur shifted, and the unbuttoned jacket moved, and-oh dear god the thing even had braces. Black. Leather. Braces.
"Well?" Arthur said, after a moment, bizarrely nervously. "What do you think?"
Merlin spend all of two seconds pondering before shoving the door fully open and reaching out and grabbing Arthur by those damn suspenders and pulling him into the stall, and smashing their lips together.
Arthur seemed momentarily surprised by this, but happy to go along as he leaned back against the door and let Merlin ravish his mouth almost obscenely, only barely managing to keep himself quiet.
Finally, after several long moments, Arthur shoved Merlin back and said, "At least let me see you."
Merlin nodded, stepping back, and he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He was clad in dark blue skinny jeans with a broad, studded belt, tight, electric-blue tee-shirt and a black leather blazer, all with a white fedora to top it off. His face was flushed, and his lips were swollen from the kiss.
Arthur seemed to have similar sentiments about Merlin as Merlin did him.
"Come here," Arthur growled, dragging Merlin towards him.
And suddenly, Merlin found he didn't mind the chaos of Black Friday at all.
Later at the till - or check-out, which made no sense at all - the cashier seemed almost completely unsurprised to find stains on the clothes she was scanning.
As they walked out with their bags around their arms, Merlin looked at the others and said, "Okay, now can we go look at the fun stuff?" While gesturing towards the electronic stores across the lot.
"Do you concede?" Morgana challenged.
Merlin looked over at Arthur, who was still slightly dazed as he walked around, eye glazed over in a memory of pleasure, hair all mussed up, a possessive bite mark poking out of his collar that Arthur cared nothing to hide, and lips bright red from Merlin's ministrations.
"Yeah," he said. "Black Friday isn't so bad after all."
Morgana grinned. "Okay - now we can go."
Merlin smiled, and made plans to come back next year in time for this rather fantastic holiday.
A/N: Sorry, Black Friday celebrators - I couldn't help myself!