You might remember that Jissai, PoisoningPigeonsinthePark, and Kitty O each wrote a story where Arthur is forced to read. We thought it was an excellent idea, so we randomly walked over to our bookshelf and randomly chose the book we wanted. (Translation: We cheated.)
As usual, we don't own Merlin.
On his hands and knees, rag in hand, Merlin scrubbed at the cold stone floor. As he was thus the door swung open. In stormed Arthur. The prince was carrying two books and an extremely irate expression. Merlin's heart sunk. He didn't want to deal with a grumpy Arthur right now.
When the prince's eyes landed on Merlin, the warlock felt his heart sink further. Arthur's face had become a mask of mischief.
"Merlin," Arthur said, trying and failing to sound casual.
Merlin winced. "Yes, sire," he responded as respectfully as possible, hoping to ward off whatever was brewing in the prat's mind.
"Gwen is making me read this." Arthur held up one of the books he had been carrying.
Remembering that he was in danger of mischief, Merlin fought the urge to laugh. However, before he could stop himself, these words fell out of his mouth:
"Have fun, sire."
The servant instantly regretted his words. His master's face became astonishingly more impish. Merlin hadn't known that was even possible.
"You're going to read it too," Arthur announced as he held up the other, identical book.
"No," Merlin snapped commandingly.
"I give the orders." Arthur's eyes gleamed maniacally. "If I have to read it, you have to read it."
"The stables. I need to muck out the stables!"
Merlin bolted for the door. But before he could touch the handle, he found himself being dragged away from said door.
"You've got it," Arthur said cheerily. He then shoved his servant into a chair and slammed one of the books onto the table.
"No," Merlin protested, "Gwen never said I had to."
"Oh, but I did."
Merlin grimaced at the words that were delicately stretched across the book's cover. Merlin knew that—if they could—the letters would also be grimacing back at him. "Pride and Prejudice" was never meant to be read by a man.
Merlin reluctantly opened the front cover and flipped past the introduction and to the first page of story. He pretended to read. Merlin was willing to put up with a lot of trash, but he certainly wasn't going to let the prat emasculate him.
Satisfied that his servant was submitting to torment, Arthur flopped onto his bed. He proceeded to dutifully read.
Having scanned the first page, Merlin turned to the next page. He had caught something about a man with a funny name, Bingley. A husband and wife, the Bennets, were discussing him. Something about marriage and beauty. In the unlikely event that Arthur quizzed him, Merlin could satisfy the prat with a few key names.
Suddenly, Arthur shouted.
"That is so true!"
Hehe, this actually has a SLIGHT plot to it. So, what made Arthur yell? I know! Pick me! Pick me!