@raywritesthings prompted "can I tell you a secret?“ + merthur
“Can I tell you a secret?”
Arthur freezes, putting his quill down carefully lest he blotch the parchment, and swallows thickly.
He supposes he should have known this day would come. It’s not like Merlin is exactly as good at keeping secrets as he often makes himself out to be. Arthur’s just… well. Let’s just say he’s chosen to turn a blind eye. Constantly.
Which he really can’t do if Merlin spills the beans now.
After a brief pause, Arthur swings around in his chair, shifting his facial expression into one of oblivion. “Ah, Merlin! Exactly who I’ve been meaning to talk to!”
“You have?” Merlin asks, blinking twice, but then he shakes his head, face determined. “No, listen, it’s important-“
“More important than your duties?” Arthur cuts in with a derisive snort before the idiot can get too far. “I think not.” The scrape that emits from his chair as he pushes it back and rises to his feet echoes in the room. “I think it’s a good day to get that pile of laundry done, don’t you? Gwaine’s stench is bad enough already – we don’t need your laziness making it any worse.”
“Sire, really, I-“
“Merlin,” Arthur cuts in rather harshly, finally turning towards the manservant and narrowing his gaze. “What is your job, exactly?”
The other’s jaw flexes, but the defeated breath he lets out tells Arthur that he’s lost his wind. His stomach rolls a little with guilt, but he knows he’s doing the right thing here. This is for Merlin’s own good. Or at least, that’s what he keeps telling himself.
“Right. Fine. Right away, sire,” comes the semi-sarcastic reply, accompanied by an eye roll. Arthur’s about to follow up with some form of apology until Merlin follows his words up with a mumbled “prat” that he’s not entirely sure he was supposed to hear.
His lips twitch in amusement regardless. This he can do.
“While you’re at, Merlin, the floors are looking a bit grubby.”
“I cleaned them yesterday!”
“Yes, well, you’ll just have to do them again, won’t you?”
He’s not entirely sure how long he can keep this up for – pretending that he doesn’t know Merlin’s secret, but he’s at least grateful for the extra time he gets as Merlin throws his hands in the air with a frustrated groan and marches towards the kitchen to fetch a pail of water with extra fury in his step.