A/N: Keep in mind that this is the first time I've ever written a fanfiction, so please be gentle with me...
Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin. (Duh)
Arthur was pacing.
He had come to like pacing.
He certainly did it a lot.
He thought that the long, pensive strides he made as he slid across the floor of his chambers probably made him look very decisive and clever. These were the kinds of qualities he thought that a future King of Camelot ought to possess.
As Merlin pattered into Arthur's chambers to find him galumphing along from one end to the other with his hands gripped tightly together behind his back, he thought he looked like a prat. To the secret warlock, Prince Arthur Pendragon seemed neither decisive nor clever: he just looked like he had ants in his pants. (Wait, why was Merlin thinking about Arthur's pants all of a sudden?)
Merlin wasn't bothered about hurting his master's feelings, and so he was about to inform him of his rather blatant clot-polishness, when he was instead gripped by the desire to do something far more disturbing.
This desire made Merlin frown. It made Merlin frown very, very hard.
If Arthur had turned to face Merlin when he finally stopped pacing, Merlin would have seen that the prince's frown mirrored his exactly.
"Merlin," Arthur began, his voice sounding breathy and passionate without him wanting it to, "why on earth am I experiencing the sudden desire to... to..." There was a pregnant pause (which didn't seem to make any sense, as pauses can't reproduce) and Arthur seemed to be plucking words from his head and trying to force them out of his mouth. "To rip off that stupid neckerchief and kiss the naked, pale flesh beneath it?"
"Um..." Merlin had absolutely no idea what to say to that. Under normal circumstances, he would just have assumed Arthur was trying to be funny. However, the circumstances were certainly far from normal; because Merlin was feeling the desperate urge to run up to Arthur and sink down into his firm embrace.
Arthur shuddered, as if he was imagining bits of Merlin that he really didn't care to. (He was.)
Another one of those blasted pregnant pauses loomed into view.
"It's... it's like someone else is controlling my thoughts," Arthur turned to face his servant. "Someone else with a really, really dirty mind." Arthur's 'baby blues' skipped involuntarily towards Merlin's groin, and seemed to get stuck there.
"I have a theory..." Merlin began, but he suddenly found himself panting. He was feeling the need to quench some kind of thirst... and Arthur's lips really did look very wet (this was partly because the prince was licking them, whilst still staring at a certain part of Merlin's anatomy rather determinedly). "You know, all of a sudden, I'm feeling rather peekish. Does that make any sense?"
At last Arthur looked into Merlin's eyes (not that that was much more comfortable, given the intensity of his gaze) "Err... do you mean peckish?"
"I don't know. I think so. I do feel rather hungry..."
Arthur nodded, his blonde tresses swaying in a way Merlin was now finding rather attractive; his fingers twitched as he imagined stroking them...
"I feel hungry too... At least, I think I do. There's this voice in my head that keeps telling me to do everything hungrily." Arthur didn't mention that by 'everything' he meant kissing Merlin.
"You do look very venerable right now, Arthur."
Arthur looked bemused for a second. "I think you mean vulnerable."
Merlin nodded in agreement, but it was a very sharp, pained sort of nod. All of Merlin's movements had become strained, his entire body looked really tense, as though it was trying to fight itself.
"I think I know what's going on..."
Arthur waited for Merlin to continue, but his manservant seemed to be having trouble speaking. Arthur was damned if he was going to let another bloody pregnant pause take up time that he could spend talking, so he decided to start chiding Merlin; "Please, feel free to take your time Merlin. After all, the longer you stand there playing with your petticoat, the more time I have to think of chores to give you... You know, it's been a really long time since anyone cleaned out the sewers under Camelot with their fingernails..."
"I think we're in a slash."
"A slash... it's a kind of fanfiction."
"What in the name of Gaius' eyebrow is a fanfiction?"
"Um... Well, I wouldn't know exactly, because I certainly don't write that kind of thing... not ever... but, well, I heard some stuff from Gwen and Morgana. It sounded pretty graphic, actually..."
"Guinevere? Has someone hurt her? Because, if they have..." Arthur's hand went flying out to his sword, and he looked as though he was prepared to slice the head clean off anyone standing in front of him. Unfortunately for Merlin, he was standing in front of him.
"No, Arthur. No one has hurt Gwen... At least, not physically."
Arthur narrowed his eyes. "How else can you hurt someone?"
Arthur looked blank.
"You can hurt their feelings?"
Still no response.
Merlin rolled his eyes round a full circuit in their sockets. "Someone make Gwen sad," here Merlin stuck out his bottom lip and rubbed away pretend tears, just to make absolutely sure that Arthur understood.
Arthur had calmed a little, and he now seemed less like an enraged gibbon, and more like a mildly irate orang-utan. Merlin decided to try answering the earlier question, and made a point of leaving Gwen and Morgana out of his explanation: "A fanfiction is a kind of story that some people who live in a land called the Internet write about people like us. They seem to have some kind of power over how we behave, think and feel."
Arthur looked like he was comprehending, which was not something that Merlin was used to him doing first-time-round.
"A slash is a special kind of fanfiction that sort of forces two people to like each other. The only rule is that those two people have to be of the same gender."
Along trundled another pregnant pause (there seemed to be rather a lot of those around lately, they must be randy creatures...).
Arthur flopped down on his bed with a massive sigh of relief. "Thank goodness. I was beginning to think I would have to re-evaluate all of my life choices..." Then something seemed to occur to him. "Wait... so there is some sick, evil person making us do and say all of this right now?"
"Yes. And we'll have to do it again and again and again every time someone reads it."
Arthur snorted. "Well... That's not going to be a problem. It's hardly stunningly written, is it? I can only read one in five words, the spelling's so awful, and the grammar is all wrong."
Merlin was about to make some sort of side-comment about a pot and a kettle, both of which are black, but he found himself unable to. Instead, he glid across the floor (which seemed implausible as 'glid' isn't a word) towards Arthur, whose legs were getting him up all of their own accord.
"MERLIN! What's going on?"
"It's the plot... It's catching up with us." This seemed obvious to them both as hands snaked around waists and there was some involuntary moaning.
"You buffoon! What are we going to do?"
"I don't know. I guess we could just go with it?"
Merlin regretted the words as soon as they were out of his mouth.
"I didn't mean the touching..." he explained as they tried their hardest to spring apart (to no avail) "just the script".
Arthur nodded vacantly, trying to think about something, anything, else.
Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen Gwen
"WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?"
Merlin frowned, as if he was struggling to say something. He screwed his eyes very tightly shut, and he looked almost as though he were trying to read words printed in his eyelids.
"Nope." Merlin sighed. "It's no use. I have no idea what that says. None whatsoever. You're right. The spelling is horrible."
Finally, their bodies managed to tug themselves apart.
"Right! We need to travel to this land of Internets..."
"Internet" Merlin corrected.
"Internet, find this person and order them to stop immediately. This just isn't right. You can't force people to do things they don't want to do! It shows a total lack of respect for human autonomy!"
Merlin didn't have anything to say. Autonomy was the longest word he had ever heard Arthur use, and Merlin didn't want to ask him what it meant.
"I don't think we can order them. That's the problem."
"I am Arthur Pendragon, Crown Prince of Camelot. I CAN ORDER ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING!"
"Shall we test that theory?"
"Fine." Arthur stood completely still, spread his legs wide apart, stared up at the ceiling and bellowed, "I, ARTHUR PENDRAGON, ORDER YOU TO STOP THIS RIGHT NOW!"
Was that a good thing?
Arthur shook his head. "No... No, it definitely did not work." He stole another glance at Merlin. "Definitely."
"We're like two sides of the same coin..." Merlin simpered pathetically.
"STOP IT! You're not even trying to resist." Arthur pointed his sword at Merlin's neckerchief and jabbed his collarbone just a little bit. "We need to think... We've managed to resist some of this. How?"
"Well... we always seem to be best at ignoring the, err, urges, when we're insulting the writer."
A plan was forming in the eyes of Arthur Pendgragon. "I see... she must have low self-esteem. We must destroy her by picking at the writing."
"Why did you automatically assume it's a 'her'?"
"It could be a boy writing. You don't know."
Arthur scoffed. "What self-respecting male, other than you, would describe your eyes as 'deep blue pools of wonder that I want to skinny-dip in'?"
Merlin chuckled. "You think my eyes are 'deep blue pools of wonder'?"
A blush spread itself across Arthur's cheeks. "No. NO. Of course not. That's what she wants me to think." Here he pointed his sword accusingly at the ceiling, and then he grinned, as he noticed something.
"Merlin, where are we?"
Now Arthur had definitely lost it. "What do you mean 'where are we'? Don't you recognise your own chambers?"
"No," Arthur grinned gleefully. "And, if you think about it, neither do you."
Then Merlin gathered his meaning. They had both assumed that they were in Arthur's chambers, because that was what they had been told; but now that they looked more closely, they could see that the place they were standing in was dull and grey and totally unidentifiable.
"This place hasn't been described at all..."
They could almost hear furious, panicked typing. It sounded as though someone were going back over their words and trying to add in the odd archway or vase of flowers. Vague sketchy lines started to appear around them, but they contained no depth or meaning.
"This isn't well-written at all."
"In fact, if you think about it... I'm not even sure which one of us is talking anymore."
"No, me neither."
"Who is 'me'? Which one are you?"
"I have no idea. I seem to have lost all sense of my own personality."
"A lot of the things you've been saying have sounded rather out of character..."
The room around them disappeared into blackness, as the sounds of some poor girl's sobs retreated into the distance.
"I feel a bit bad now," one of them pointed out.
"Yes... me too," the other mused. "She was only expressing her love for us... in an odd way."
Neither of them felt bad enough to apologise, though.
"So... what was that you were saying about slash... and Gwen and Morgana? That sounded rather interesting..."
Two pairs of blue eyes lit up the darkness as some highly inappropriate thoughts of femslash danced across their minds.