Disclaimer: All characters within this story do not belong to the author. They belong to the BBC. Dangit.
Author's Note: EPILOGUE! And it's cutesy and fluffy and I hope it's satisfying. It's been a really good run. Thank you, once again, to all my AWESOME reviewers. Seriously. You guys just. Gah, I love you, if that's not too forwards. I will bare your children.
Summary: Arthur Pendragon has had enough. He's run away to become Camelot, and work as a busboy in Ealdor, where he meets mysterious stranger Merlin Emrys, whose new goal in life is saving Camelot.
Warnings: No warnings for this specific chapter. But earlier chapters are DEFINITELY M.
Epilogue (About One Year Later)
"Mmm, Merlin, Merlin," Arthur mocked, kissing his way along Merlin's jaw.
"You gotta…you gotta," Merlin was having some troubles articulating. Arthur decided to rectify the problem by claiming Merlin's lips with his.
"I gotta, I gotta?" Arthur mumbled against Merlin's lips, teasing and tasting. "I've a feeling you're trying to tell me something I don't want to hear right now," he said when they broke away.
Merlin huffed and frowned and pouted, and Arthur couldn't stop himself from kissing Merlin once more, before Merlin placed his hands on Arthur's chest and gave a mighty shove. Arthur 'oofed' as he was shoved away, grinning as he observed Merlin's flushed and ruffled state. His hair was a mess (once again), his blazer was unbuttoned, his vest nearly completely unbuttoned, and his tie loosened. His glasses (which Arthur insisted he wore) were sliding down his nose, and he was glaring.
"We're not going to be late because you have the libido of a 15 year old boy," Merlin stated, shoving himself off the wall, his knees only slightly wobbly. "People are waiting on us, and it's rude to keep them waiting just because you can't keep your hands to yourself."
Arthur would have pouted if Merlin weren't glaring so fiercely at the moment. Arthur sighed, already sounding resigned, but gave it the ol' college try anyways, "Can't I say I'm sick or something?"
"No, you can't. He's going to stop believing you soon. First it was the flu, second time it was a kidney infection, third time it was head lice. Head lice, Arthur. You're running out of illnesses as excuses," Merlin had his back turned to Arthur now, facing the hotel mirror and straightening his tie and hair and vest again. "We're going to have to do this sooner or later, and sooner is better than later."
"You're telling me you're not nervous?" Arthur asked incredulously.
"Oh god, I'm so nervous I could die right now, but I'm also not a big sissy," Merlin informed him, turning back towards Arthur with a slight (fake) smile.
Arthur could now see the nervousness in Merlin, though he was good at hiding it. Arthur could see the beaded sweat on his upper lip, and the way Merlin's eyes darted around and his lips kind of pursed when he started thinking too hard. It was incredibly adorable. So adorable that Arthur just had to kiss Merlin again.
Merlin allowed the kiss, until Arthur started pushing his hand under his blazer once again, and Merlin pushed him away again. He stood with his hands on his hips and gave Arthur a disapproving look, looking frighteningly like Hunith at that moment. And if that wasn't a turn off, then the sound of the actual woman knocking on the door and efficiently cock-blocking Arthur was. (Merlin was going to give in eventually, he always did. Resistance is futile!)
Merlin sighed, straightening himself out in the mirror once more, pushing his glasses up his nose before fixing his winning smile and going to the door to let his mother in. Arthur heard her and Merlin exchange the pleasantries they always did, and then Hunith fussing over Merlin's tie and hair, tutting at him before coming into view.
"Arthur! You look so handsome!" she chortled, taking his hands in hers and pressing a kiss to his cheek fondly. "Why couldn't Merlin get a little of your fashion sense in the last year? He's always dressing like he's going to his junior prom again. And that ridiculous tie!" Merlin's tie was a little ridiculous; bright red and wider than most ties, like he were back in the seventies. It clashed in a good way with the blue button up dress shirt he wore. The vest was a tasteful black velvet, and his suit jacket was only slightly big on him.
"Mum! There's nothing wrong with the way I look!" Merlin objected, scowling as Arthur smiled smugly over his mother's shoulder.
Hunith waved her hand back at him, dismissing the subject, "It was really kind of your father to invite us out," Hunith was saying to Arthur as she distractedly smoothed his hair into place and smoothed down his (much more tasteful) tie. "The plane ride went smoothly this time around. Merlin hardly got sick at all!"
"Mum!" Merlin snapped, looking as if he were going to take Arthur up on his offer to play sick. Hunith turned to Merlin and began fussing over him again, both of them falling into an easy conversation about Gwen and Lance.
It'd be the first time that Arthur's father would be meeting Hunith. Arthur was really nervous, but he'd never admit it to anyone besides Merlin. He and Merlin had been together for a whole year now, and in that time frame a whole lot had happened.
They got their own place together, not Gaius' old flat, but an actual house, in Albion. A new observatory opened up, and Merlin was offered a job there, which Arthur heartily encouraged him to accept. He himself got a job as a waiter, and eventually worked himself up the ladder to manager in the course of 8 months. He found he really had a knack for the restaurant business. Hunith took credit for that.
Morgana visited often, though Arthur supposed it was to see her new prodigy in evil, Mordred, instead of him and Merlin. Lancelot came with her every time, under the guise of being her designated driver, though it was plain to everybody that it was to see Gwen. They thought they were being discreet, but it was plain to anybody who had eyes that they were madly in love, almost sickeningly so.
Will finally found himself a steady bloke. A police officer, to boot. The very police officer that responded to a dispute at his home from that one night stand that swore Will stole his watch. Turned out the guy was a bit of a nutter, and showed up at Will's house one day and very violently and loudly told Will what he thought of the missing watch situation. In retrospect, Arthur wasn't surprised that Will would end up with a police officer, since, for his birthday, he got him a pair of handcuffs.
The biggest thing to happen was probably the sudden appearance of Merlin's father. At first Arthur thought it was a joke, the scruffy looking man on his doorstep asking if Merlin were there. He was about to send him away telling him they didn't want any or no, they hadn't heard the good news and would rather not, before he produced a small wooden dragon from his pocket.
Merlin had been drawn to the door and gasped at the dragon, and then his eyes narrowed as he politely shoved Arthur aside. For a second, Arthur thought Merlin might punch the man, that's how tense he was. Instead he set his jaw in a hard line and demanded to know how he got the balls to show up at his doorstep after 23 years.
Turns out Balinor was on the lamb when he left Merlin and Hunith. He was eventually arrested, for tax evasion, and he'd only just gotten out of prison. He couldn't stay for long, just wanted to touch base. He and Merlin still kept up a correspondence, and there didn't seem to be any bad blood between them, though he could tell Merlin was a little more than hurt that he hadn't chose to stick around. Arthur thought it was for the best.
"Arthur?" Merlin was asking him something, and Arthur had zoned out again. He was smoothing down Arthur's lapels, looking up at him with a concerned expression. "Are you alright? We can put this off for another night if you want…"
"No, no it's got to be tonight," Arthur said, nodding his head once sharply. "You're right, we're not putting it off anymore. Besides, I miss Torento," Arthur said. Torrento was their massive, shaggy Irish Wolfhound that had a penchant for chewing on things if he was left to the care of other people for too long. He was a rescue, from the local shelter. And Merlin's bleeding heart had brought him home one day. Arthur had resisted at first, never having had a dog before. He eventually fell hard for the scruffy beast, even more so than Merlin, who was stuck cleaning after him, as Arthur put himself in charge of exercise.
"Oh god, I hope he hasn't eaten anything horrible yet," Merlin bemoaned, stepping back from Arthur. "Then we do this tonight; for Torento."
"For Torento," Arthur echoed, and they finally followed after Hunith, who had probably left to go chat up the rather handsome driver that was in charge of being their chauffer in New York that she had been flirting unabashedly with since they met. That kind of unnerved both of them, 'cause neither of them wanted to think of Hunith hooking up with anybody. Merlin would rather think that he was miraculously conceived, and had told Arthur as much.
As expected, Hunith was leaning against the side of the car, not so subtly flirting with the driver, who laughed a little too boisterously at something Hunith had said. "Oh, here's the boys! I was expecting you weren't coming down at all. Merlin, I really wish you would've changed your tie. I need to make a good impression, and what you wear is a reflection on me."
"It's fine, Mum. Really. I've met Uther before, I don't think he minds, just get in the car, please?" Merlin ground out. Hunith sighed a sigh of long-suffering, sliding (unsurprisingly) into the front seat. Arthur and Merlin took the back seat, sitting closer together than necessary and clasping each other's hand, both mentally preparing for the shit-storm that would be dinner with Uther and Hunith, both strong personalities in their own respects.
They arrive at the upscale restaurant and the driver rushes around to the other side of the car to open the door for Hunith, who blushes and flutters her eyelashes. Arthur can see that Merlin is looking a little more than sick, but from nerves or from seeing his mother flirt, Arthur isn't sure. They have to open their own doors, since the driver is carefully helping Hunith avoid a puddle next to the curb.
Merlin is tugging at the edge of his jacket, twisting the fabric and pulling at a loose string. Arthur has to pull his hand away from the jacket and fold it with his. They enter the restaurant, and neither Merlin nor Hunith are used to the splendor. Maybe Merlin is a little bit, but Hunith isn't and she's awed by it. Arthur was sure if Uther hadn't offered very politely in a way that was wrong to say no to, to pay, Hunith would have turned on her heels and marched (in her fancy new dress) to the nearest greasy spoon and ordered fish and chips.
The maitre d' let them to their table, where Uther was waiting. He stood up as they approached, and pulled the chair out for Hunith. He then politely greeted Arthur and Merlin with friendly nods, asking after their jobs and their flight here. It was formal and uncomfortable and Merlin looked a little overwhelmed. His past meetings with Uther had been tense. Uther was displeased with his choice of career, and his lack of Ivy League education. They got on well enough, though.
Hunith was sizing Uther up when they all finally sat. Uther seemed oblivious to the sizing up, as he did some of his own, discreetly observing Hunith. He ordered some wine for everyone, and Merlin ordered water for himself (since he still didn't drink. He had once, since he and Arthur got together, and Arthur found out very quickly that Merlin was a lightweight and had a penchant for breaking out into Aretha Franklin songs when inebriated, much to Arthur's delight).
The atmosphere was tense for a while before Hunith finally looked up from her menu, "Good heavens, we're all acting like somebody went and died in the middle of the table and we're all too afraid to mention it!" she said, and Merlin looked horrified at his mother's outburst. Arthur just smirked, but hid it by taking a look drink of wine. Uther just stared at her blankly, as if he couldn't quite believe she was speaking.
Hunith continued, "So Uther, you're in the technology business, hm? That's fascinating. I myself, have never understood a thing about computers. A colossal waste of time, I've always said. What can a computer do that a long day in the library can't, other than surf porn?"
"Mum!" Merlin gasped, blanching and looking as if he might faint. Arthur choked on his wine as he tried his best not to laugh. Uther's eyes widened comically, and he opened his mouth to reply, but couldn't think of the proper words.
They were thankfully saved by the waiter, and all placed their orders. Merlin was unsure about what to order, so Arthur ordered for him. Hunith, surprisingly, ordered in fluent French, which seemed to impress Uther. The rest of the meal was spent in relative, silent awkwardness. Every once in a while someone would attempt some small talk that would die off quick enough. Arthur was kind of thankful that their parents didn't get along. It would've been weird if Uther and Hunith had become friends.
Arthur was snapped out of his musing over Hunith and Uther going out to a dinner party together or an art museum when Merlin started coughing violently next to him. "Merlin?" Arthur asked, reaching over to pat his back.
Merlin's face was turning an alarming shade of read, and he was looking a little puffy. "Wal…nuts…" he gasped out, scratching at his neck and shoulders.
"Oh dear, Merlin is rather violently allergic to walnuts," Hunith said, rising to her feet quickly and coming around the table to inspect Merlin's salad. "Merlin, dear. You knew that, why would you eat the salad? Now you're the same shade as that horrid tie."
"Not…help…ing…Mum," Merlin gasped out, and Uther rose to his feet.
"Should we call an ambulance?" Arthur asked worriedly, rubbing soothing circles on Merlin's back, who was leaning into him and trying his best not to cough up what he already ate on the table.
"Yes, I suppose," Hunith sighed, and Uther pulled out his mobile to call 911. The ambulance was there in 6 minutes. The restaurant staff was in a state of panic, thinking they were going to get into some kind of trouble, or Uther was going to sue them with his very good lawyers. Uther was talking in hushed, soothing tones with the manager, who was offering a refund.
Hunith rode in the back of the ambulance with Merlin to the hospital. Arthur and Uther eventually made it there as well, with lots of bickering on the way in the car about why Arthur had ordered the salad for Merlin if he knew Merlin was allergic to walnuts. Arthur had said he didn't know Merlin was allergic to walnuts, to which his father responded that he knew Merlin was allergic to walnuts.
Arthur just scowled and stared out the window like a petulant child until they reached the hospital. They were escorted to the little room that Merlin occupied, his jacket and vest stripped off and his tie loosened, one of his sleeves rolled up for the I.V. drip. His face was less puffy, and he wasn't as red as his tie anymore. Hunith was in the corner speaking quietly (arguing) with a doctor who looked younger than Merlin.
"Are you alright?" Arthur asked, rushing to Merlin's side and taking his hand, pressing his lips to it.
"Yeah," Merlin replied, his voice a bit scratchy, "They just gave me a shot of a bit of something, and they said I should be good to go by the morning. They want to keep me here overnight for observation. You know how they are."
Arthur smiled, pressing another kiss to Merlin's hand, ignoring his father as he joined in on the argument Hunith was having with the doctor. "Why didn't you tell me you were allergic to walnuts?"
"I thought you knew," Merlin answered with a shrug, taking Arthur's hand in both of his and playing with his fingers gently. "I didn't know there were walnuts in the salad until I was halfway through," he then frowned, looking pained, "Oh my god, I ruined dinner."
"To be fair, I think dinner was ruined when your mum said the word 'porn,'" Arthur replied, grinning.
"Please, please, never mention that again if you love me," Merlin pleaded, squeezing Arthur's hand.
"Not even when I'm losing an argument?" Arthur pouted playfully, and Merlin shot him a death glare.
"No, not ever. Or I'll bring up that time you broke the headboard and knocked yourself out when you were trying to surprise me for my birthday with the handcuffs Will got you…" Merlin threatened.
"Okay, okay. I promise," Arthur conceded, hopping up on the bed next to Merlin, the paper crinkled as they shifted closer, their fingers lacing together. Merlin leaned his head on Arthur shoulder and sighed, closing his eyes, smiling.
The doctor left the room, followed by Hunith and Uther, sensing that Merlin and Arthur were having a private moment. They looked so content there, that they didn't want to disturb their children.
"They look happy," Hunith sighed, looking through the window that looked into the room.
"Indeed," Uther agreed politely. He did like Merlin, despite his rather atrocious career path and fashion sense and outgoing mother.
"What say you we get along, for their sake?" Hunith offered, turning to Uther.
"As long as you promise you didn't pick out your son's attire, I say we can get along rather splendidly," Uther said, glancing back towards the room, where Arthur had his lips pressed again Merlin's ear, whispering something that made the large-eared young man laugh and blush.
"Oh, lord. I told him not to wear that tie!" Hunith fretted, waving her hand in a distracted way before his expression softened as she looked back towards the boys. "They really are happy," she sighed wistfully. "For the longest time I thought Merlin was hopeless. He was such a shy young boy. He never really stuck with any one person…"
"Arthur was the same, except not as shy. Rather, he was too outgoing, and had no sense of discretion," Uther said conversationally. "Merlin has…tamed him, somehow. He's accomplished the impossible."
"Merlin always had a knack for saving Camelot," Hunith agreed quietly.