Things That Merlin Isn't Allowed To Do (According to Prince Arthur)
Author's note (new – 2012-08-03): The fic has now been completed and I'm in the process of going through this story a final time to adjust a few things (nothing major I promise! No plots will be affected) and correct some grammar. I just want to say a HUGE thank you to all of the people who've read, favourited or added this story to their alerts lists; and also to all the people who might in the future do the same. Without you I'd never kept going with this story. It exists thanks to you. Some of you also have left ideas or little plot bunnies in their reviews and though I unfortunately didn't manage to make them all come alive, I used some of those ideas so thank you for giving me them! This fic is dedicated to all merthur lovers out there.
Please note as you read that the chapters are not in any particular order! They do NOT follow upon one another (unless stated otherwise), so events may be entirely random. Extremely random, even. In one chapter Arthur may know of Merlin's magic only to not know in the next, and characters from various seasons also may appear at random moments at times they probably shouldn't be there. So there's no fixed timeline. Think of this more as several one-shots or vignettes bunched together. Do not take it for serious.
1: Collect Cute Baby Animals and Take Them Back to Camelot
Sometimes, Arthur thinks, Merlin is really, truly annoying. His selfless kind heart and too-endearing personality aside, the servant can sometimes drive the prince to the edge of insanity. With worry – very often. With love – all the time (but if the word spreads about that Arthur might have somebody put in the stocks for years or decades, and only Morgana can wriggle them out of him, only because she takes sadistic pleasure in seeing his pained humiliated face as he confesses it). With exasperation – more times than he can keep count of. So in short, Merlin might shorten the prince's lifespan by several years because of all the trouble he attracts with his stupid wonderful smile and stupid cute ears and his blue eyes that always catch sight of unnecessary cute things that Camelot (or Arthur, or Merlin) have no need for.
It's happened before; he's seen this look on Merlin's face many times enough to recognize it. As soon as the servant appears, bouncing on his heels, Arthur groans.
"But, I haven't said anything," Merlin says, confused.
"Still, the answer is no."
"But why!" Merlin cries with a pout (even if he denies it's a pout), holding out his arms like Arthur can't see what he's holding there. "Can't we keep him?"
The 'we' is a temptation, but Arthur ignores it.
It's happened before; there was the dog (Merlin really should stop bringing statues to life), the cat, the rat, the bunny and the horse (two of them actually). There might have been a couple of magical creatures involved too, like the unicorn, which is why Uther walks around frowning so much nowadays and why Arthur might have a heart-attack, and there's the occasional peasant claiming they want to be a knight (but for some reason Arthur never really believes them, with Merlin practically clinging to their arm). Oh, there've been a lot. The dog is still around somewhere and the horse, well, it wasn't so bad though it had some temper. But, a man has his limits, and honestly, why must Merlin pick up and take home every cute, lonely thing he finds? What was the bloody urge coming from?
"Where on earth would you keep it?" Arthur asks with a snort. "The stables?"
"Uhm…I don't know," Merlin says uncertainly. "But look at him! He's so tiny and sweet, he can't do any harm! When I saw him lying in the forest I couldn't just leave him there! Look, his wing's been hurt, so I borrowed some stuff from Gaius and bandaged it. Poor thing, he practically cried whenever I left his side. Please let me keep him!"
"Merlin," the prince says seriously and Merlin looks at him expectantly, probably jumping with hope and excitement inside. "It's a dragon."
"It's a dragon."
"It's just a baby!" Merlin turns to the small scaly thing in his arms, patting its head, and Arthur avoids looking at them both, just rolling his eyes feigning annoyance, refusing to admit that the thing really is a bit cute and he loves seeing Merlin's eyes shine, his smile, oh his wonderful smile when Arthur lets him keep his stupid pets. "Don't worry, Cal, he's just being a prat, but you can stay with me, promise," Merlin says to the dragon, cooing, and it looks like it smiles and purrs, cuddling into the young man's arms, golden eyes fluttering like it's going to fall asleep. "I know! I'll take you to meet Kilgarrah, he can be sort of like your daddy! It's going to be great."
Arthur glares at them both.
Really, it should be a law against Merlin looking so endearing. Stupid, he means to say stupid. Annoying. Because it's what Merlin is. Stupid and annoying.
"See? Cal's completely harmless," the servant says smiling at him.
"You named the beast?" Arthur asks, incredulous. "You named a bloody baby dragon? It's a stupid name, you know."
Merlin frowns and makes a displeased sound, the creature sensing his distress and glowering at the prince with a small growl. "I want to keep him!"
And though Arthur is truly, really annoyed with his manservant's childish behavior, seeing him unhappy makes Arthur unhappy, and something in his chest twinges at the thought of seeing Merlin's face covered with displeasure or anger or sadness, and though he dislikes admitting it, the dragon isn't that bad. It's not put fire to anything…yet.
It's unfair: Merlin knows he can't resist that pitiful look.
"Fine," Arthur mutters and looks away, and Merlin grins, beaming like a ray of sunshine, cuddling Cal to his chest. He chooses to ignore it when Arthur hurriedly adds; "But only until we find some better place for him!"