Merlin sat by the fire, bent over the boot he was cleaning, brow furrowed and mouth pursed in concentration. He thought briefly about using magic, but these were Arthur's rooms, who could be back at any time. He sighed, guess he'd have to do it the hard way.
The young prince was off....
Actually now that he thought about it he couldn't remember where Arthur had said he was going.
He'd been distracted by the boots.
Sturdy knee length dark brown leather boots. That were almost completely covered in dried mud, bits of leaves and something he didn't want to think about, because it looked awfully like blood.
And just what had Arthur been doing it get them in that state.
Boots he'd been told had to be ready for morning, and it was already late in the evening. So he may have stopped paying attention at that point. He did remember him striding out of the room though, his long coat flaring dramatically behind him.
He sighed again as he looked down at the object in his hand with a critical eye. He decided it was good enough, he placed it back on the floor close to it's still filthy neighbour.
/One down, one to go/ he thought.
He reached for the second boot....
....and nearly leapt out of his skin as a cool hand landed on the back of his neck.
Scowling as he twisted to look up into Arthur's amused, smirking face.
“It's not nice to sneak up on people” not bothering to mask the irritation in his voice.
“Amusing though” Arthur's smirk actually got bigger for a moment before he frowned, belatedly taking offence at Merlin's words.
“I do not sneak. I was just taught to walk properly. And not” a hand waved vaguely “lumber around.”
The silent implication had Merlin actually gaping for a moment. Standing abruptly to face the annoying blonde.
“I do not 'lumber' around. I walk normally like everyone else. Just because...
...Just because I wasn't brought up to be able to balance books on my head or something does not mean ....”
Merlin voice trailed off as he noticed the bemused look on Arthur's face, which quickly turned to one of disdain.
“I can't say I've ever balanced a book on my head. Nor would I want too. Where do you come up with these things?”
The 'you idiot' wasn't said but Merlin heard it anyway. Before he could think to defend himself however he noticed Arthur was once again frowning. Not at him this time, his gaze below and past him at the... Oh. The boots.
“You not done yet”
Merlin found himself gaping at the prince for the second time.
“You must be joking. You weren't gone half an hour, your lucky I was able to get even one done the state they were in. What you thought I'd just snap my fingers and they'd be done by...”
Merlin mentally cursed as he cut himself off.
If there was one word in all of Albion you should be careful of, even in jest, it was that one.
Especially if were secretly a sorcerer in training.
Arthur looked at him sharply, and for a moment he thought he was going to be reprimanded. Instead with a sigh the prince looked away briefly to the flames in the fireplace, before looking once again at Merlin.
"Well, leave it for now. I need you for something else"
Merlin blinked in surprise, feeling his earlier annoyance return.
"What! But you said..."
A hand shot out grabbing his shirt and pulling him until he was flush against Arthur's body, who's lips were now a hairs breath from his own.
Arthur pulled back incredulous.
"You'd rather clean boots?" The disbelief obvious on his tone.
Merlin smirked. "No, but I don't want you complaining at me tomorrow when they're not ready either."
With yet another sigh Arthur spoke. "What if I promise not to?"
Merlin grinned. "Then I'm all yours Sire"
As Arthur led him to the bedchamber Merlin made a mental note to get up early.
It wouldn't do for the crown prince to be seen in dirty boots.