Title: Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover
Disclaimer: Merlin is owned by the BBC and other associated parties. I do not make any profit from this story and the plot is purely fiction.
Summary: AU, Pre-Slash, you would think that the way they acted now, their first meeting would be just as epic. Well, it was, just not in the way you would think.
Warnings: humor, first meetings, commotions.
Pairings/Characters: Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine, Lancelot, Gwen (mentioned), Hunith (mentioned).
Word Count: 1,090
Author's Note: So this is my new Merlin University AU that was inspired by a prompt from Trident_Love's Hot and Bothered Month of June. This is set before 'Through the Eyes of a Stranger', when the three have their first run-in.
The library buzzed with quiet chatter as students from all walks of life and career choices pursued the books needed for their work. If he could have recorded it, he would program it into his iPod as a soundtrack. It was a soothing sound that allowed him to lose himself amongst the bookshelves.
Pushing his glasses up from where they threatened to drop off of his nose, Merlin put the last book in its place. Going to the next shelf, he started to load up on those books. Although it was tedious, logging books and taking inventory always had its perks. He often found some of the best books just by taking inventory.
There was a sound behind him, but he ignored it, probably someone walking past. He continued to load up. A cleared throat and he frowned, but kept going. Finally, there was a loud sigh and some spoke, "Excuse me", they drawled.
Looking up at him from under his fringe, he stared at the blonde, just noticing the brunette standing behind him. "Yes?" He asked, keeping his voice polite even as the blonde stared down his nose at him in contempt.
"Where are your text books?" he asked, looking put upon by being forced to ask such a question to one so low as Merlin.
"I'm sorry what?" He asked, straightening.
"You text books? Where are they located?" he asked again, irritation seeping into his voice now.
"There are none." He answered easily.
"What do you mean 'there are none'. There are supposed to be text books here, this is a university library. The last time I came in here last spring semester, there were text books here." He demanded, eyes flashing as he glared at Merlin.
He wasn't impressed. Mr. Pratface, as he decided to call him, wasn't the worst he'd seen nor the most intimidating. His mother held that title. "Yes, they were here last year. And a letter was sent out over the summer that this fall, the library would no longer carry them due to the fact the students kept stealing them instead of buying their own. If you need a specific textbook, go to the book store or try the city library."
Dismissing the arrogant man, he went back to work. "I wasn't finished talking with you." He growled out, hand seizing his shoulder to spin him back around.
Merlin went with it, seizing his wrist to pull him off of him. "Let go of me." He said lowly.
"Is there anything going on here?" Someone asked from behind them. Merlin could have kissed Lancelot for his timing if not for the fact that his friend might not like it and was firmly attached to his girlfriend Gwen.
The darker skinned man was one of the library's security personnel since often people got in fights over the last book that they needed for a research paper or assignment. "Ah, yes. Lance, could you please escort Mr.…" He let the man fill in his name.
"Mr. Pendragon from the library. He is not to step foot in here for the rest of the day." He informed the guard.
"This way sir." Lancelot said just as politely as Merlin had spoken. When Arthur started to argue, Lance stared him down. "These are the rules. You are lucky that it is only for the day."
Seeing that he had pushed his luck as far as it would go, he nodded and followed. As they disappeared amongst the shelves, Merlin let a sigh escape, leaning against his cart for support. "Sorry about him. He's been really stressed lately and tends to overreact."
Merlin glanced at the brunette. He was tall, about an half an inch over Merlin with long brown hair that stopped just before his shoulders and was pulled back into a horsetail at the moment. A beard and mustache adorned his face and mischievous brown eyes stared at him as he grinned at him.
"And I hope you won't overreact?"
"Me? Nah, that's not my style. Gwaine." He held out a hand and Merlin shook it.
"Nice to meet you Merlin. And don't worry about him. Once he cools off, he'll realize what an idiot he was and will apologize, though it might not seem like an apology at first. See you around, Merlin." He sauntered off, grinning lazily with his hands in his pockets to follow his escorted friend.
"You alright?" Lancelot asked a few minutes later, just as Merlin finally pulled himself together and started to work again.
"Yeah, just caught me off guard is all. I'll be fine." Nodding his friend left to go man his post again now that the situation was over. Sighing, he let the chatter of the library sooth his jangled nerves and got back to work.
Merlin jumped as a book landed heavily on the counter in front of him, still a sleep so early in the morning. He was seated behind the checkout desk, staring into space as he waited for the coffee maker in the back to finish percolating the first brew of the day.
Looking up, he could have sighed in annoyance as the blonde scowled at him from the other side of the desk. "Yes?" He asked in his most blandest voice. If he was going to cause another row, then Merlin would have no qualms about getting security again.
"I am aware that my behavior yesterday was subpar and uncalled for in such a situation. I can only say that a lack of sufficient sleep and stress combined to make me react so and that I hope this will not affect you in any way." He answered grumpily, pink flushing his cheeks a little as he stared at something over Merlin's head.
"Okay." He finally responded, still too tired to fully compute what he had just said. Nodding, he held out his book and library card. Checking the book out for him, he nodded curtly and left, shoulders tense and back straight as he left the library.
"Well, that was weird." He said softly. A soft beep in the back room proclaimed the coffee was done brewing and he raced back there to secure the first cup. It was only until he was awake that he realized what had transpired earlier. "That was the worst apology I've ever heard." He muttered under his breath, amazed by the guy's gall. Sorting at the humor of his thoughts, he went back to work. He still had inventory to do.