[A/N: JSYK, this is my first Merlin fic, my first attempt at writing in the present tense, and my first attempt at humor on . This was intended to be crack, but I don't think I succeeded, but hey at least it ends with a snog session and that should be plenty of incentive.]

[Summary: In which Merlin receives a pair of very nice pants that make Arthur want to do bad things to him. His arse looks amazing, unfortunately Arthur is not the only one to notice. This does not make Arthur happy.]

Sometimes All You Need Is A Good Pair of Pants

Merlin eyes the package in his hands suspiciously. It had been left in front of the rooms he shares with Gaius; the young sorcerer's name scrawled neatly atop the lid. He considers the box before him with a critical eye and decides to open it. If it's a trap of some sort, at least Arthur won't be the one dying today.

Inside are a pair of breeches. Very nice breeches, Merlin notes with satisfaction. They are also his exact size and when he tries them on they fit him perfectly. He examines his arse in the mirror and he has to say his butt doesn't look half bad. He gives a little wiggle. Not bad at all. He tucks in his tunic and straightens his scarf. Then he heads out to start the day's chores.

He can't help but notice all the stares he's getting, all eyes directed towards his derrière. Including leers from some of the men. Including a very creepy, lecherous old man. He frowns. Why was everyone staring at him? Did his pants have a giant hole ripped in them and everyone could see the frilly pick knickers Morgana had bought him as a gag? (Honest, he did not think they were cute, he just needed something clean to wear.)

He walks quickly up to his master's room, trying to ignore the stares he's getting from the King's guards. He breathes a sigh of relief when he makes it to Arthur's quarters until he is confronted by an angry looking Arthur.

"Merlin, when I tell you to wake me up at dawn, I mean when the sun comes up, not two hours past. That makes it morning. Are you even listening?"

"Yes, sire, sorry." Merlin looks out the window, making sure Lecherous Old Man Number One is no where in sight.

"I've been waiting here for almost an hour!" Merlin doesn't bother to ask why he stayed in bed for an hour when he could have just gotten up. "Where's my breakfast?"

"Oh. Right. Sorry. I'll go get it." Merlin struggles to figure out how he can avoid the lecherous old man and get Arthur his breakfast.

Arthur gives a heavy sigh. "Forget it. Help me dress."

Merlin instinctively obeys; he turns towards the dresser and gives Arthur a good view of his glorious backside. Arthur's breath hitches.

"Um, Arthur?"

"Hmm?"

"Why are you staring at my arse?"

Arthur sputters. "I wasn't!" he shouts, a little bit too defensively. Sure he always knew Merlin harbored a great tail, but damn. "Help me dress unless you prefer the stocks."

Merlin grimaces; imagining the easy access the lecherous old man would have to him and he shudders. This morning his fingers fumble more than usual as his hands glide gently over Arthur's back, smoothing the fabric there. His hands linger a little too long on his shoulders. He can't help it: Arthur is beautiful.

"Merlin!" He snaps out of his thoughts. "Stop daydreaming. I need you to get my horse ready."

"Yes. Right," Merlin says, barely aware of what he's doing.

Arthur follows him out, his eyes focused on a certain part of his man servant's anatomy that he was not staring at earlier. He's a Prince; he would never stare at such a lowly person's backside and find it ridiculously attractive. Not even a little bit.

The Prince fetches the armor Merlin had so painstakingly polished yesterday and heads for the stables. He does not like what he sees. A lecherous looking old man has Merlin, his Merlin, cornered. He's whispering quietly in his ear, Merlin looks horrified.

Arthur's eyelid twitches. When the old man makes a move to grope Merlin, he draws his sword.

The old man, startled, jumps away from Merlin and the Prince cuts him some serious shank eyes. The look on Merlin's face is one of pure relief.

"Are you bothering my servant?" He asks the man, with a heavy emphasis on the "my."

"No, no, no, sire, your majesty." The old man bows.

"Because if you were bothering my servant I'd-" He bends down to the man's ear. Merlin can't hear what's being said, but the man jumps up, gives a sloppy bow, and rushes away.

"What did you-?" Merlin shuts up quickly when he sees the fury on Arthur's face.

"Get my horse. And one for you as well. We're going hunting."

"But, sire, last time we went hunting together you said I was scaring away all the wildlife and ruining your day. You didn't kill any little forest animals."

"Go. Fetch. The. Horses."

Merlin scrambles away to do as he is told.

About a week later, Arthur feels completely warn out. Keeping his manservant out of the clutches of dirty old men has proven a difficult task. He has to keep a constant eye on him, not trusting even his most loyal knights to guard him. (Even the ones he knows are straighter than a stripper pole; they've all been leering at Merlin lately.) That's why every night he finds himself outside Gaius' rooms, asleep in front of the door, in case anyone tries anything. Before Gaius stirs, he picks himself up and returns to his quarters, sleeping until Merlin wakes him.

The next day Merlin finds himself climbing a ladder in the library, heading towards the top of a bookcase, at Arthur's request. Why Arthur wants a book, Merlin can't even begin to guess. But the Prince has looked exhausted for a few days now so he doesn't question it.

Down below, Arthur ogles him, his mouth slightly agape. He watches Merlin's ascent and licks his lips. Damn, he looks good.

"Which one was it?" Merlin asks, fortunately not looking down.

"Hmm? Oh, the red one on top."

Merlin's hand pauses. There are about twenty "red ones" on the top shelf. "You know you could have had the Librarian do this. You won't even tell me the title."

That's because I don't know the title, Arthur thinks to himself. "Second to the left," he says randomly.

Merlin raises his eyebrows at that. How Lady Hanover Seduced Her Baron. "That one, Arthur? Are you sure?" Merlin groans.

Down below, Arthur's pants feel suddenly tighter. He can imagine Merlin saying his name in an entirely different scenario. In a breathy sort of moan-y voice as Arthur licks his-

"Arthur!" Merlin shouts as he starts to fall. The Prince has no time to move away as Merlin lands on top of him.

"Merlin, you and your infernal clumsiness! Get off!"

Merlin hurries to get away, but not before he feels something hard poke him. Must have been his sword.

A couple of days pass by with Arthur looking even more haggard than before. Merlin is really starting to worry, he knows he's been eating since he brings him all his meals. He must not be getting enough sleep. But when Merlin brings up getting a sleeping potion from Gaius, Arthur balks at the thought.

"Well, is there anything else I can do?" he asks after Arthur shoots down the medicinal remedy.

"Pick Lavender or something? Gaius says it helps a person to sleep."

You can get on the bed and strip for me. But Arthur can't say that because it might get a bit…um, awkward. As his mind struggles for something to keep Merlin occupied (other than his own person), a knock at the door saves him.

Merlin is handed a huge bouquet of red roses from a servant. The sorcerer stares at them dubiously. "They're for me."

"From whom?" Arthur asks, unable to keep all his anger out of his voice.

"Doesn't say."

Arthur's foot taps angrily on the floor. "Red roses are a symbol of love. Romantic love. Anything you'd care to tell me?" Arthur's voice, despite his best efforts, is angry. He doesn't want to be incensed; he doesn't want to feel the jealousy that's currently twisting his stomach into knots. He imagines some man courting Merlin, his man servant; he pictures their first date, their first kiss, their first time, and it pisses him off. Merlin is his.

Before he even realizes what he's done, Merlin is pressed up against the wall, still clutching the roses in both his trembling hands. Arthur studies those hands for a moment, imagines all the things those hands could do. His body presses close to Merlin. Both can feel the heat radiating off the other's skin. Arthur looks Merlin in the eyes. In those beautiful eyes he wishes he could get lost in.

"Merlin," he says, no inflection on the first syllable, "I-" The words are there, in his heart, on the tip of his tongue, but he can't say them. It isn't the time. Not when Merlin looks like a deer caught in the path of the hunter's arrow. He reaches out a hand, intending to caress his face, but Merlin pulls away, as far as he can, presses himself into the wall, hoping he can become part of it.

After over a week of the stares and leers, Merlin's come to the conclusion his pants have got to have a spell on them. Especially when Arthur starts acting the way he has been, always watching and now this. Merlin can't bear it-Arthur doesn't love him, it's just some stupid spell. Or some cruel joke. It's the pants.

Arthur pulls back, giving Merlin room to pass and leave the room abruptly. A single rose falls to the floor and Arthur picks it up, inhales its fragrance. Everything had been fine until a week and a few days before. When Arthur caught all those men staring at Merlin, trying to court him. He'd been forced to admit he was jealous. Merlin hadn't had any admirers before and that suited Arthur. He had to admit to himself that he needed him. He was all he thought about; he was the first face he saw when he closed his eyes at night, and the first face he saw when he opened them the next morning. He cared about him-as much as it pained him to admit.

He crushes the rose in his hand.

But Merlin doesn't care for him.

Somehow in the intervening days, Arthur ends up sitting across from Morgana in a carriage headed for the town square. Actually he knows how he ended up here: Uther. His father decided a suitable punishment for sulking would be the torture of going shopping with Morgana. As he listens to her drone on and on about clothes, he wonders if he has time to slit his wrists and muses on whether or not she'd notice.

"Arthur, are you even listening to me?"

He rolls his eyes and directs them towards the carriage ceiling. "Ye olde gods, I don't want to hear about the latest trends in fashion. Talk to Gwen."

Morgana pierces him with an icy stare. "I wasn't talking about clothes. I was talking about Merlin."

Arthur sits up straighter. "What about Merlin?"

"Didn't he tell you?" She looks smug. "Oh, he didn't. Poor Arthur." She goes silent and stares out the window.

Arthur is getting impatient. "Well? What about Merlin?"

"No, never mind. I talk too much. I'll just sit quietly until we arrive."

"Morgana."

"I'm sure Merlin will be okay."

"Okay? What do you mean? What happened?"

Morgana shrugged. "Gaius' rooms were broken into and Merlin nearly got kidnapped."

"Is he alright?" Arthur's voice is full of concern.

Morgana's smug smile is back. "Well Lord Chase tried to get his hands down his pants, but Gwen fought him off with a baguette," she says cheerfully.

Arthur's jaw drops. "What?" is the only coherent thing he can think of.

"Oh, look we're here." Morgana smiles at him. There's something in her smile Arthur does not like, but he can't pin it down. "Are you going to accompany me?"

"No," he says curtly and turns to look at the other side of the carriage.

He hears her sigh and she turns away. "Fine, stay here and sulk like a petulant child." Only seconds later she re-enters.

"Listen, Morgana, I told you already I d-"

"Um."

He knows that "Um." Arthur turns around and sees a nervous looking Merlin watching him. The smaller man sits down across from him, his hands clenched together tightly.

"Gwen and Morgana have decided to intervene and force us to talk to one another. We're locked in." He smiles sheepishly.

Arthur takes a breath, a tirade ready, but stops himself. Instead he hisses loudly, "Bitch."

Outside he hears an, "I heard that!"

"There's nothing to talk about." He keeps his face and part of his body turned away from Merlin. He is not looking at Merlin out of the corner of his eye, definitely not. And certainly he's not looking anywhere near his arse. Certainly not. A preposterous notion.

"Um, Arthur, I'm sorry if I did anything to upset you. Really I am."

Arthur tries hard to keep his thoughts clean and pure. A flower. A blue bird. A kitten. Merlin's hot little tail in those pants. A puppy. A flute. A carving of a bear. Merlin's perfectly sculpted buttocks in those pants. A hummingbird. A butterfly. A shie-Oh, screw this.

He lunges at Merlin, straddling his hips; his lips meet his in a messy kiss. As Morgana and Gwen had both instructed him, Merlin wraps his legs around Arthur as best he can (to prevent escape) and latches onto his arms, holding on tightly (as an added measure to prevent escape, just in case Arthur realizes who he's kissing.) This is one tongue lashing Merlin is actually enjoying. Rather a lot.

"Arthur," Merlin's whispers dazedly as the Prince moves down to kissing his jawline, his neck, his collarbone. His eyes flutter closed as Arthur nips a particularly sensitive spot on his neck.

"Say my name again," Arthur commands.

"Arthur. Arthur. Arthur."

Merlin's thoughts are completely incoherent, fortunately Arthur's focus was unwavering: making Merlin a hot, sticky mess in this vehicle. "Sire, we're in a carriage."

"I'm the Prince. I can do whatever I what," he says, kissing down his chest.

"Prat," Merlin mutters. Then, even the capacity to speak leaves him as Arthur did something amazing with his tongue.

Gwen and Morgana return thirty minutes later. They take one look at Merlin and his smirk says all they need to know.

[A/N: Any comments, thoughts, etc. are always appreciated. I really want to improve my writing. So, review, k?]