Rating: PG for boykissing
Summary: A magical truth epidemic hits Camelot, so where else would Merlin be but hiding in his room? And where else would Arthur be but on the other side of his door, annoying him?
Notes: Written for the space "wildcard" for cliche_bingo; prompt was "truth serum."
Three hours into what Gaius is calling the "truth epidemic" in Camelot and Arthur is only a little surprised to find that Merlin has already locked himself into his room. Only a little because it hasn't escaped Arthur's attention that Merlin seems to have a keen sense of danger; he just seems to ignore it most of the time and stumble right into the middle of the deadly situations.
It's a talent.
Arthur pounds on the door again. "Come on, Merlin, I know you're in there."
"I know I'm in here too and there's not much I can do about it," Merlin calls back.
"You could try to escape," Arthur suggests, trying not to smirk.
"You're bigger and stronger than me," comes the reply.
"Well, as long as you know it," Arthur mutters. "What are you even doing in there, anyway?"
There's a pained pause, until finally Merlin says, "Trying desperately not to answer your questions."
Arthur rolls his eyes. "I'm going to keep asking them and I'm not going to go away, so you might as well open up and let me in."
"I'd really rather not, thanks," says Merlin.
Arthur leans against the wall by Merlin's door and crosses his arms. "So tell me, Merlin," he calls, "did you wet your bed as a child?"
Another pained silence. "There are no words for how much I cannot stand you right now," Merlin replies.
Arthur frowns, then suddenly stands straight up, incredulous. "That wasn't an answer!"
"But it was true," Merlin points out.
"You're fighting the spell," Arthur accuses.
"You're bloody well right I am!" Merlin shouts back. "As if you aren't."
"Of course I am, but you don't see me succeeding!"
"Well, maybe you're not trying hard enough."
"Oh, do you think?"
"Of course not."
Arthur sighs. "Merlin, do you really think I couldn't get in there if I really wanted to?"
"Frankly," comes Merlin's voice, "I was hoping you'd have some respect for my privacy and personal space."
"And does that seem particularly likely to you?"
There's a long pause, and then Merlin opens the door, looking sullen.
"That's better," says Arthur cheerfully. "Now, I believe we were discussing your childhood sleeping habits?"
"Oh yeah?" says Merlin. "Why don't you tell me about your latest attempts to woo the Lady Catherine? How are those going for you?"
"Horribly," says Arthur instantly, then, "Damn!"
"The knife cuts both ways," says Merlin smugly.
"How long have you been in love with Gwen?" asks Arthur quickly, smirking.
"I'm not in love with Gwen," protests Merlin.
Arthur frowns. "What, really?"
"I can't exactly lie, can I?" Merlin points out. "And I keep saying I'm not, and nobody believes me! I mean, she's nice and all, but - "
"Then why did you confess to having done that witchcraft for her those months back?"
"Well, because I did it," says Merlin casually, right before his eyes go wide and horrified and he makes a break for his room again.
Arthur actually is bigger and stronger than Merlin, which makes it easy to catch him and tackle him to the ground.
"Ow!" shouts Merlin as Arthur lands on top of him.
"Ow yourself - I think your elbow broke my nose," says Arthur.
"Oh, right, blame my elbow for your own problems," says Merlin bitterly.
"Shut up," says Arthur, "I'm thinking."
"And I thought you couldn't lie," mutters Merlin.
"You're not as funny as you think you are," Arthur tells him. "And why the hell did you confess to doing magic if you actually did it, you unbelievable idiot?"
"Why would I confess to doing magic if I didn't?"
"Well, obviously the reigning theory was that you were in love with Gwen, but since that's out, I was assuming it was to throw off suspicion that you really were a sorcerer - you know, putting it out in plain sight."
Merlin goes very still. "Wait. You knew?"
Arthur climbs off of him. "Well, yes. Apparently I'm not as stupid as you think I am, which is very." He pauses. "Should I be insulted?"
"How long have you known?" Merlin demands. "And why didn't you say anything?"
"To answer the first question, I realized it right about when you made a huge whirlwind right in front of me, you moron, and then confirmed my suspicions by talking to Gwen and Morgana right afterward - they both suspected, too, but didn't want to say anything since they thought I'd lop your head off. Once they knew that I knew, both of them wanted to say something, but I bet Morgana that she'd tell me first and, well, she can never forgo a wager." Arthur smirks. "And I just won, by the way."
"Are you trying to tell me," says Merlin slowly, "that you just took advantage of a truth spell cast over all of Camelot and made me reveal my secret - the one that could get me killed by your father, I should add - to win a bet?"
Arthur considers this, then nods. "I think that sums it up quite nicely, yes."
"Prat," says Merlin instantly. "And besides, you cheated."
"I consider it more of a creative allocation of resources," says Arthur, grinning. "The only thing I'm guilty of is being cleverer than Morgana for figuring it out first."
"You're still a prat."
Arthur half-bows awkwardly from his seated position. "Now that I can't deny." He waits for a second, then tries again. "So if you're not in love with Gwen - Morgana?"
"What are you, five years old?" asks Merlin. "And no. Although she does have very beautiful eyes," he adds, then blushes.
Arthur waggles his eyebrows. "What, you honestly expect me to believe that the first thing you noticed about Morgana was her eyes? Are you even interested in women?"
"No," answers Merlin promptly, and then his face completely freezes. Arthur would be surprised if his didn't, too, and he gapes openly for a few seconds.
Eventually he gathers enough coherent thought to speak. "Are you saying - "
"Let's make a deal," says Merlin quickly. "You stop asking questions and I'll stop answering them and we can just pretend none of this ever happened."
"Are you - "
"Stop asking questions!" says Merlin desperately.
"Are you interested in me?" asks Arthur, completely serious.
Merlin just looks at him for a long moment, and then says quietly, "What would you do if I said yes?"
The physical situation is awkward; Merlin is still mostly on the floor from when Arthur tackled him, but Arthur is nothing if not flexible and spacially aware. So it's not that hard to lean over Merlin, planting his hands above his shoulders, and lean down to kiss him.
He's had better kisses. He's had a lot of better kisses, actually, but that's probably because one of his hands slips just as things are getting interesting with the introduction of tongues and he ends up smashing his nose against Merlin's cheekbone and landing heavily on his ribcage.
"Ow!" says Merlin again, as Arthur tries to pick himself up. "Are you completely determined to leave me black and blue today?"
"Is that an invitation?" asks Arthur, even as he resettles his weight and gingerly feels his nose - at least it isn't broken.
"You're hilarious," says Merlin dryly. "Honestly, just a bucket of laughs."
Arthur peers at him through watering eyes, and begins to grin. "You actually think that, don't you?" And when Merlin begins to blush, but doesn't deny it, Arthur starts to laugh. "You're in love with me," he crows. "Oh, I bet you're doodling in the corner of Gaius's books, Merlin Pendragon, with little hearts drawn around it - "
"I do not!" protests Merlin, only he's grinning a bit, too, even if he's trying (and failing) to hide it. "Besides, you're the one who kissed me, so - "
"After you said you were interested," says Arthur, reveling in it.
"Technically, I never said it," says Merlin.
"Fine, you implied it, whatever." Arthur draws himself up, trying to look dignified. "Well, as my manservant, you have duties to attend to."
Merlin raises his eyebrows. "Oh, do I, now."
"Oh, yes," says Arthur. "I've got a problem that requires some urgent attention."
"I see, sire," says Merlin, his lips turning up a bit at the corners. "And would this problem be in your pants?"
"Just shut up and kiss me again," says Arthur, and for once, Merlin is actually somewhat obedient.