Title: COD (Centre of Detention)

Author: topperchar

Characters: Merlin/Arthur (various OCs and canon characters mentioned in passing)

Rating: NC-17

Word Count: 2797

Summary: Merlin is in detention and he finds company from a very odd source – Arthur Pendragon. High school AU

Warnings: Naughty language, tiny bit of blaspheming. The rating is for the language not anything else.

A/N: I still lack a beta – it is sad, I know. Sorry in advance for any mistakes. COD (Centre of Detention) were a band in my old school and I saw something the other day that reminded me of them and for a peculiar reason that I don't really know I was bitten by a giant killer plot bunny. Now we all know the nature of these viscous creatures, so I sat down and wrote this. Then it exploded as most of my projects do. At the moment this is a one-shot, but I am considering adding more. This is where you come in, my lovely readers. I would like to know if you think it's good or bad and should be continued or binned. It would be really helpful if you tell me your opinion and if I have a good bit of interest then I will continue. So tell me what you think and I hope its ok.

Disclaimer: All characters are the property of the BBC. Everything else is the product of my odd mind. Enjoy!


It was official – Merlin's life sucked. He had been put into detention for a reason unbeknownst to him; what exactly was wrong with calling a teacher an idiot anyway? Especially seen as said teacher was an idiot; who uses long division on a calculator paper in maths, really!

Nevertheless, he followed Mr Baxter – the school's head teacher – into the hall where all detentions took place. The room was large and had a monumental stage at one end. There were long wooden panels which were in-keeping with the old architecture of the school on the ceiling and the immaculate linoleum floor squeaked under Mr Baxter's gleaming shoes. Merlin's own shoes were looking a little run down – he would have to buy a new pair sometime soon. He had moved to Camelot Academy two weeks ago and almost every night of those two weeks had been filled with a detention. It was hardly his fault that he had gotten into a fight with one of the parent governor's sons on the first day – it really hadn't been his fault, well maybe a little.

Merlin sighed the sigh of the greatly put upon and lowered into the chair that Mr Baxter gestured at; there were three sheets of paper in front of him.

"You will write Mrs Spencer a letter highlighting how very sorry you are about the incident and about how it will never happen again. Understand?" the man said imperiously, he looked down his nose at Merlin in a clear show of disgust.

Merlin nodded sharply, "Yes."

"Good," Mr Baxter replied with a false smile. "I will be back in one hour to check on your progress and let you go. I will be telling your uncle about this Emrys."

Merlin glared as the man pranced out of the room. He despised people who called him by his last name. Sighing again, Merlin pulled a pen from the depths of his bag and starting scribbling his letter.

Dear Mrs Spencer,

I am exceedingly sorry for calling you an idiot; perhaps it was slightly rude of me. Although, to be honest, it was stupid of you to use long division on a calculator paper and I think you need to understand that I was right in calling you an idiot. You seriously need to rethink your teaching techniques. How many people do you know who will willingly do long division when there is a calculator sitting right there?

Merlin paused and chewed the top of his pen. Was he being too blunt? He had never been very good at tact. If only Gwen were there, she'd know what to write.

Gwen was the first person Merlin had met at Camelot Academy – well, after Prat-Face (the parent governor's son who he had gotten into a fight with) that is – and she and Merlin had become fast friends. She was sweet and kind and had an amazing talent for making everyone love her and do exactly what she asked without seeming like a bitch or even really needing to ask. Merlin loved her a little. Not only that, but the girl had been a life saver, offering Merlin tips about what not to do. He read through his letter again and dropped his head onto the table with a groan – Gwen was exactly what he needed and exactly the kind of person who would never get into detention, ever.

"You're not going to write a letter of apology by doing that," a voice said from somewhere behind Merlin.

The dark haired boy jumped and yelped, managing to scatter his papers, drop his pen and make a fool of himself all in one go. Merlin was talented like that. He turned to scowl at the voice that had frightened him, when his eyes met Prat-Face his scowl morphed into a glare. Prat-Face – or Arthur, as that was his name – had already bent to collect his pen and his papers and were holding them out for Merlin with a smug smirk on his perfect face. Damn these pretty boys and their handsome tendencies, Merlin thought savagely to himself as he snatched the pen and paper from him while feeling a blush rise up his neck to swamp his ears and cheeks.

Arthur (Prat-Face) raised his eyebrows and leant against the desk next to Merlin's. Merlin groaned internally – what did he want? It was one of five options, to tease, to taunt, to tease, to gloat or to tease. Well technically that was only three, but it really depended on whether Arthur was going to tease Merlin about the size of his ears, about his inability to stay standing upright for longer than ten seconds or about Merlin's mental disease, which he so did not have no matter what everyone said. "What do you want?" Merlin spat out harshly.

"Just to ask how you were doing," Arthur replied with a satisfied grin.

Merlin raised his eyebrows. "Oh yeah, I'm doing just dandy, you know. I'm stuck in detention again because a teacher is too retarded to teach and now Mr Baxter is going to call Gaius and he's going to rip the shit out of me. I'm doing fucking spectacular, how about you? Beat up any little kids recently?" he replied sarcastically.

It was Arthur's turn to raise his eyebrows. "Your language is appalling," he said. "And I detest the stereotypical idea you have of me. I only beat up kids the same size as me."

"A bit like me," Merlin returned humourlessly.

Arthur smiled – all teeth and feral edges. "Yes, like you." He picked up Merlin's letter before he had the chance to snap it out of the way. "It's a shame that you can't defend yourself though."

Merlin bristled at the insult. "I can defend myself," he subconsciously straightened to his full height.

The blonde looked down on him condescendingly. "Right," he let the paper fall back down to the desk. "It needs some work. Do you actually know what an apology is?"

"Ha ha, you are so funny. My sides are splitting." The other boy pulled his letter towards him defensively.

Arthur rolled his eyes and lowered himself into the chair beside Merlin's. The dark haired boy immediately recoiled and watched Arthur cautiously. "I could help you," he said.

Merlin raised an eyebrow in a perfect imitation of Gaius. "Why would you help me?"

"You can be my charity case."

"Is that how you're planning on getting me to agree?" he asked.

Arthur flashed a sharp toothed grin at him and Merlin felt his heart constrict slightly. Stupid attractive prat, he thought looking down at his paper to hide the blush that was creeping back up his neck. "Really Merlin, you need all the help you can get. You should be jumping at my offer of assistance. I don't do it often you know," Arthur leant his chair back, balancing it on two legs, and started twirling Merlin's pen between his fingers. He looked so smug.

Merlin snatched his pencil away from the blonde and resisted the urge to push the chair over. "You think you're so important don't you?"

"That's because I am," Arthur returned simply.

Merlin snorted. "If you are so important then why are you in detention?"

"I'm not."

"Well you clearly are because you are here annoying the hell out of me," Merlin scowled at him and shuffled towards the other end of the desk.

Irritatingly, Arthur followed his shuffling retreat. "I'm not here because I have a detention. You're the only one here with a detention as you can see," he waved a vague hand around the hall. It was empty except for them.

"Then why are you here?" Merlin asked, curiosity getting the better of him.

Arthur shrugged and avoided the question. "I agree with you on Mrs Spence being an idiot, but I think there are better ways of displaying your views than calling someone a retard."

Merlin was getting increasingly suspicious – Arthur was offering his help, being nice to him and agreeing with him. Since Merlin had arrived in Camelot, he couldn't remember the blonde doing anything other than teasing him or trying to trip him up. Maybe this was a new game, his friends were probably going to pop out from behind a wall and say something ridiculous about his parentage in a minute. Just to check, Merlin shot a quick look around the room; he couldn't see any badly concealed students, although you never know...

Arthur pulled him out of his thoughts by clicking his fingers in front of his. "Christ Merlin, you have the attention span of a small child. Were you even listening to what I just said?"

"Um..." the truth was that Merlin hadn't been listening, but it was unbelievable how much he really didn't want to admit that to Arthur.

"I'll help you rewrite your...apology. If that's what that awful excuse of a paragraph could be called," Arthur said smugly, flicking at Merlin's letter distastefully.

"Shut up," Merlin hugged his letter to his chest. For a strange reason he felt protective of it and had a peculiar urge to defend it. "I'd like to see you do better."

"And you will," Arthur replied. He pulled one of the other pieces of paper towards him and picked up Merlin's pen. He placed the pen in Merlin's hand and said, "Right, first of all you need her name..."

That was how Merlin ended up spending his entire detention (one whole hour!) with Arthur Pendragon dictating what he should write in a letter to apologize for calling his Maths teacher a retard. When Mr Baxter returned and saw Merlin's completed (and improved) letter along with a laughing Arthur and a petulant Merlin he looked like he was about to faint.

"Mr Pendragon," he exclaimed. Merlin could practically see him trying to resist getting on the floor and kissing Arthur's feet. Why does Arthur get a 'Mr Pendragon' and I get an 'Emrys'? Merlin scowled at the teacher who was going down in his good books considerably quickly. "I was not aware that you were here. What are you doing staying after school so late?" the teacher asked Arthur with a sickeningly pathetic lilt to his tone.

Arthur shrugged and rose from where he had been sitting beside Merlin. "Oh you know, just thought I'd stay." He grinned at Merlin, "I was helping your detentionee with his letter."

Mr Baxter's attention was ripped back to Merlin. "I see," he frowned at Merlin. "I haven't got round to calling your Uncle yet Emrys."

Merlin contented himself with imagining Mr Baxter setting alight instead of actually getting up and punching him in the face while screaming "My name is Merlin!" Somehow he didn't think the latter would go down too well, but at least he wouldn't be blamed for the former.

"You don't need to do that Mr Baxter," Arthur interrupted. "I think Merlin has learnt his lesson well enough without his Uncle being informed, don't you?"

Merlin blinked at Arthur in surprise. Had he seriously just got Merlin out of trouble? The dark haired boy shuddered internally at the demands Arthur was likely to make in payment for this. Or maybe Arthur was just genuinely being nice, either way he was shooting up to the top of Merlin's good books as fast as Mr Baxter was falling.

Mr Baxter spluttered at Arthur. He wouldn't say no – no teacher in their right mind would say no to Arthur, his father did practically fund the school after all – but he was definitely shocked. "Ok...um...Of course Mr Pendragon, I think you are right." Mr Baxter strained a smile and then dismissed them.

Merlin gathered his things together rapidly and darted out of the hall, tripping over his feet in the process. He was almost out of the gate by the time that he heard Arthur shouting, "Hold on a second Merlin! Slow down will you!"

Reluctantly, he slowed his pace and the blonde caught up with him. His school bag was slung over his shoulder casually. "What's the rush?"

Merlin glanced down at his feet and mumbled something – not even he knew what he had mumbled, but thankfully Arthur didn't ask.

"Where are you going?"

"Home," Merlin replied. Was it not obvious?

Arthur glanced at him. "Where do you live?"

Immediately, Merlin bought up his defence. "Why do you want to know?"

He was met with a shrug. "Just curious. Are you walking?"

"Does it matter?"

"No," Arthur smiled. "What are you doing tonight?"

"Is it any of your business?"

"Stop answering my questions with questions dammit!"Arthur stopped abruptly and Merlin – for a reason he didn't really understand – stopped too. "Shall we start again? Where do you live?"

Merlin pointed to the right, they had stopped just outside the gates; to the left was the place where most of the students in Camelot Academy lived, the rich and posh area, and to the right was the place where Merlin and Gwen along with a few others lived, the not-so-posh-but-not-exactly-deprived-area.

Arthur raised his eyebrows. "That's a bit vague. There are a lot of houses and roads down there."

"I'm not telling you."

"Why?"

"Because you'll tell your friends and then you'll probably come and egg my house." In all honesty, Merlin had never had his house egged. When he had lived in Ealdor he had been one of only a few youngsters and they all got along reasonably well. They thought he was odd, but wouldn't pick on him because he had Will who would threaten to beat them up if they so much as looked at Merlin in the wrong way. Will was one of the things Merlin missed most.

Arthur spluttered. Merlin assumed it was in outrage from the expression on his face. "Why would I egg your house?"

Merlin's only reply was an indifferent shrug. "Am I finished with yet? I want to go home."

"No, I still have more questions," the other boy replied.

"Why do you want to know?"

"Because I'm curious. Are you walking home?" was the next question.

"Yes," Merlin replied shortly.

"Finally a straight answer, I thought I'd never get one," Arthur smiled at Merlin and let out a small bubble of laughter.

It was not Merlin's fault at all that he couldn't help but return the smile. And Arthur's laughter did not fill his stomach with butterflies. No it most certainly didn't. Not even a little bit. "Next."

"What are you doing tonight?" Arthur asked.

"Working."

"Like homework?"

"Like work."

"Oh," Arthur looked at Merlin blankly.

"My Uncle owns a shop; I sometimes help out after school and stuff. He pays me. It's not brilliant, but it's good and he doesn't have enough money to actually get someone in, you know?" Merlin was suddenly embarrassed.

Arthur was nodding but he said, "No. I don't really know at all."

"Maybe I could show you sometime?" Merlin suggested with a small smile.

"That would be nice," Arthur replied with a small smile of his own. This one was nothing like the grin and laughter, but it still sent butterflies dancing in Merlin's stomach for an entirely different reason.

"That was the last question," Merlin realised with something like disappointment.

"Yeah it was." At least Arthur looked disappointed too. "I'll see you around, yeah?"

Merlin nodded and started walking backwards. "Ok." He really didn't want to stop looking at Arthur.

"Bye," Arthur called and started walking backwards too.

Merlin nodded. "Bye," he called back still unable to tear his eyes away. So really it was all Arthur's fault for being too bloody attractive for his own good when Merlin walked backwards into a lamppost and fell over a bin because he wasn't watching where he was putting his feet.

Arthur – being the unsympathetic sod that he is – laughed. Merlin pulled himself back to his feet with much cursing and flailing. His face was not burning with heat because he had fallen over in front of Arthur and his hands were not grazed and his knees were not throbbing with pain and highly likely to turn a horrible purple colour tomorrow. That was all a figment of Merlin's imagination which he was going to ignore. However, he couldn't bring himself to ignore Arthur's query of, "You are alright aren't you? Haven't wounded anything but your pride?"

"I'm fine," Merlin called back.

"Good. I wouldn't like to think a lamppost can do a better job of tripping you up than I can." Arthur was grinning broadly when Merlin turned to look at him, this time he stopped while observing the blonde. "I'll see you later."

Merlin didn't reply and instead carried on walking home. He was a little confused. What had just happened? Maybe Gwen would have the answer to that question.


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