Characters/Pairings: Merlin, Gaius, Arthur/Gwen
Genre/Rating: G, CRACK. SO MUCH CRACK YOU MAY OD.
Spoilers/Warnings: Implications from 2x13, reference to 2x10. I repeat: YOU MAY OD. Oh, and there's an absolute disregard for things like historical accuracy. Who says Merlin couldn't have known the word "fandom"?
Summary: Merlin and Gaius tag team write an Arthur/Gwen fanfic. It does not quite go to plan.
Author's Note: [Vague spoilers for 2x13 in this A/N] Dedicated to timeblind who, by watching the finale fresh last night, reminded me that Gaius and Merlin are epic shippers, and clearly write fanfic together, praying for the day when it's good enough to post. She is my enabler. Any complaints can be sent to her. Any other form of comment can be directed to me XD
The sun poured as the richest honey ale across Camelot, alighting each roof and spire in a golden filigree. Guinevere was just stirring, her hair a mess kin to the nest a mother sparrow might make in the earliest days of spring, but her eyes bright, as the first light reflects from a puddle after a heavy rain.
Her day was set to be a busy one, but Guinevere worried not for she was likely to come across her beloved.
Merlin set down the parchment and raised incredulous brows at Gaius.
"What do you think?" Gaius asked, his clasped hands lying loosely over his belly as he leaned back in his chair. Merlin tipped his head to the side, feeling a bit guilty because Gaius looked so satisfied with the tripe he'd produced.
"Honestly?" Merlin ventured.
"Honestly," Gaius confirmed.
"It's complete rubbish." At Gaius' indignant splutter, Merlin nodded emphatically. "No, really. There's no way we can show this to anybody."
"I dare you to do better, then!"
Merlin took up his quill.
Arthur was set for the day. His armour looked fantastic thanks to the work of his brilliant and dashing servant - who he really could not live without - and Arthur was certain he would catch Gwen's eye.
"You think armor is the reason they're in love?" Gaius scoffed, reading over Merlin's shoulder.
"Not the reason," Merlin replied. He paused then, and looked thoughtful. "But all right. I'll change it."
Arthur was set for the day. His armour looked fantastic thanks to the work of his brilliant and dashing servant - who he really could not live without - and
"Marginally. And that is an incredible run on sentence."
"That wasn't a compliment."
"Oh." Merlin paused, tapping the end of his quill against his chin. "Why don't we start with having them together already?"
Gaius gave Merlin his most condescending of scowls when Merlin glanced over his shoulder. "With no introductory exposition to set the scene?"
Merlin rolled his eyes and set his quill to the page again.
"Guinevere!" Arthur said happily when he saw her.
"Hello," she said. If Arthur was one for poetry - which Merlin actually knew that he secretly was; he had found the scrap of parchment with 4 rhyming lines on it - then he would have said Gwen's smile could match Merlin's.
"He isn't in love with you, Merlin," Gaius said, snippy.
Merlin was really beginning to find Gaius' hovering frustrating. "I know that, but how else will I ever feel appreciated?"
"You're going to make yourself into a Mary Sue."
"It's Gary Stu for males, Gaius." Really, new fans just threw fandom terminology around with no idea how to really use it properly.
"All right, then you'll be a Gary Stu."
"Guinevere!" Arthur said.
"Hello," she replied.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"Just collecting the laundry," Gwen replied.
"Oh," Arthur said.
"And you called my piece rubbish," Gaius huffed.
Merlin stood abruptly, thrusting the parchment and quill into Gaius' arms. "You try it again, then!"
"I'm glad you've come to see reason," Gaius responded graciously, taking the seat Merlin had vacated. Merlin grunted his reply, dropping himself down onto a bench and throwing his legs onto Gaius' work table.
In the dawn sunshine, Guinevere found herself humming tunelessly as she made her way along the dusty streets of Camelot. She was glad of the season's turn to spring, it meant that the mocking birds would soon begin to deign their glorious sunrise song upon the citizens once again.
Turning a corner, Guinevere found herself face to face with Arthur. The pair of young lovers watched each other in utter surprise before slow smiles began to lift their features, washing away fatigue like the changing of the tides along a sandy beach.
"Just a moment, Merlin! You've had your turn."
"Yeah, but -
"My lady," the young prince greeted her warmly. Guinevere felt the adoration of his words move through her in a way not unlike the rush of wind through the bright green leaves of a flourishing forest.
She dropped quickly and elegantly into a small curtsy, dipping her head only the slightest as was required of the court, though she knew Arthur had no need for such formalities between them. "It is a fine morning, sire," she replied courteously, believing that her day could only improve from then on.
"No. Gaius. You really ought to stop."
Arthur took five very deliberate steps towards her, carefully unwrapping her fingers from the basket's handle to take it from her. Guinevere tried not to let the excitement of their fingers brushing distract her.
"Let me help you with that," he offered chivalrously, displaying for her once again the traits that had captured her heart as the steel trap of a hunter. (Note for second pass: this metaphor requires some improvement.)
"Thank you," she responded, now a little shy. Though they had shared a moving and passionate kiss in the tent when Arthur had been enchanted to fall in love with the Lady Vivi-
"Merlin told you about that?!"
The voice which had spoken was certainly not Merlin's and Gaius dropped his quill, turning around quickly to find Arthur and Gwen standing behind him. Arthur was glaring daggers at Merlin while Gwen stared at Gaius in horror.
"I... That is, Merlin - he explained to me what was required to break the enchantment, though he didn't tell me who the girl was, but I thought it safe to assume..."
"Oh my..." Gwen buried her face in her hands and Arthur advanced on Merlin menacingly.
"I thought I told you," he began, leaning over as Merlin hunched down on his bench. "That if you ever spoke of that again, I would kill you."
"You did," Merlin squeaked.
"And not only did you speak of it again," Arthur continued, bending down lower and poking a finger into Merlin's chest. "But you told Gaius!"
"To be entirely fair, my lord," Gaius began, standing and moving very cautiously towards Arthur. "Merlin did not tell me the story in full."
"I don't care! He was not meant to speak of it at -
"Arthur," Gwen called quietly, drawing all of their attention towards her. She had the parchment in her hand, and was reading it with a tiny smile on her face. "You should read this part."
Arthur gave Merlin one final withering glare before walking behind Gwen and, looking over her shoulder, read the part she pointed out.
"I like that," she said, very softly, once Arthur had finished.
Arthur hesitated, and then reached around her to point to something else. "And this bit is absolutely true," he said.
"I know," Gwen murmured. She turned to face him, laying the parchment on the table beside them.
Gaius and Merlin glanced at each other, grinning slightly. Arthur and Gwen were looking at each other that way again.
"That doesn't mean I want them writing about us," Arthur said after a moment.
"Oh, heavens no," Gwen agreed, looking a little as though she may die of mortification just at the thought of them writing more. "In fact..." She picked up the parchment and strode purposefully towards the hearth, tossing it in with no regard for Merlin and Gaius' shrieks of protest.
Arthur turned on them both, scowling. "If I ever catch wind that this... This sort of... That these fantasy stories are being written again, I will have you both in the stocks. And it won't be rotten vegetables people are throwing at you."
"What will it be, then?" Merlin asked curiously.
There was a brief pause before Arthur said with a huff, "I'll decide that at the time."
There was an uncomfortable silence before Arthur said, "In any case, the reason for our visit is that my father requires your presence, Gaius."
"And I was hoping you could help me with something, Merlin," Gwen added.
"Of course, sire," Gaius said, gathering up his satchel and following Arthur from the chambers.
"Yeah, sure," Merlin replied distractedly, looking morosely at the parchment still curling in the flames.
"Oh, honestly, Merlin," Gwen said, linking her arm through his and pulling him towards the door. "It was just a first draft, wasn't it?"
"What?" Merlin asked, shocked.
"Well, you'd have needed a few re-writes anyway," Gwen said reasonably, dropping his arm once they'd reached the corridor. "So not much is lost. Just begin again."
"But Arthur said - but you said -
"What Arthur doesn't know won't hurt him," Gwen said a little bashfully, even daring to offer Merlin a wink. "Just promise me one thing."
"That you'll show me your best ones?"