Title: Taking Advantage of a Weakness
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Merlin (BBC)

Rating: PG
Pairing: pre-Merlin/Arthur
Disclaimer: Definitely not my world and I don’t make a dime from this!
Summary: Arthur likes it when Merlin is helpless.

Bunny: #32
Feedback: I’d love some!


Arthur had only just managed to drift off to sleep when the flap of the tent opened and in came a gust of wind. With that came a splatter of the relentless rain. And with that came Merlin.


Opening one eye, Arthur gazed up at his servant just as icy water splashed onto his face. He winced and held up his hand. “Ah! Merlin! You’re dripping on my head!”


“Sorry.” Merlin shuffled and moved out of the way so he was dripping more on Arthur’s bedroll than anything else. “I… I-huh…


Arthur braced himself.


huh-EHHTCHUhhhhhh! K’tchuhhh!


The time for saying bless you after each sneeze had come and gone and stayed gone. The time for groaning, however, was there. “Must you keep doing that?”


“Sorry.” He snuffled and dragged his whole forearm beneath and against his nose. “You d’knew I had a code whed’n we left.”


“I did, but I didn’t expect you to be so annoying about it.” In fact, Arthur had thought Merlin would be something quite different from annoying. He loved seeing Merlin all helpless and worn out. He liked being the one to push the young man to see how far he could go. When Merlin had come to him at the castle, all sniffly and miserable, Arthur declared that they must immediately leave on a quest to find the mythical albino bunting that would bring luck to whoever caught it. He wanted to bring it back in time for the castle’s autumn celebration in two days.


He wasn’t sure why he liked it so much, but he looked forward to seeing Merlin struggle and sniffle helplessly all through the trip. Though right now he also wanted Merlin to be quiet so he could get some sleep. They’d been walking through thick forests and wading through rivers all day. Most of the time, it had been raining. And, it seemed, the rain hadn’t let up any now that night had fallen. At least it was relatively dry inside the tent.




Or it would be dry, once Merlin stopped sneezing and dripping on everything. “Get out of those clothes and into something dry,” Arthur ordered. Merlin sniffled against his palm and cleared his throat. Then he began to peel off his soaked garments.


When he was down to nothing but pants, his breath caught again. And, with a shiver, he pitched forward again. “hetchuhhhh! Ehtchuhhh! Ketchuhhhh!


Arthur sighed and motioned. “Hand me my pack, Merlin.”


Merlin shot him a look but, pinching his pinkened and tickling nose, he reached over with his other hand and handed Arthur his bag.


After rooting through it for a few minutes, Arthur pulled out two pieces of cloth. The first was a tunic, which he threw onto Merlin’s head. He rubbed the young man’s dripping hair with it until the dark strands were mostly dry. The second piece of cloth was one of Arthur’s handkerchiefs. When he presented it to Merlin, Merlin grabbed it at once. His look of appreciation only lasted a second before he pressed a corner of it to his nose. “heh-ehtchfffffff!” Even his sneeze sounded less miserable now.


“You cold?”


Merlin blinked at him. “Yes, I hab a code.”


Arthur sighed. “No, Merlin, I meant: are you feeling cold?”


He pulled on a fresh under-tunic and pants, but he was still a bit shivery. If Merlin were to lie, Arthur would have known. So he gave a small nod.


“I think we’d better share bedrolls tonight then.”


Merlin recoiled, his eyes wide. “We have a lod’ng way to go tob’morrow add a lod’ng way hobe. You haved’t caught adythig so far out there, but if we stay out here b’much lod’nger, you could catch this frob b’me.”


“Merlin, quit trying to talk and just climb in here already.” With both bedrolls wrapped around the two of them, it was quite warm. Merlin’s arm brushed against Arthur’s side. Arthur’s leg pressed against one of Merlin’s. They were as close as possible without really touching… until Merlin felt another sneeze coming on.


Desperately, he tried to get away, but the blankets were wrapped around and tucked beneath them. He tried to turn in place, but there wasn’t enough give in the blankets. So he tried curling in on himself to at least hide himself partially. Clamping the handkerchief to his face, eyes closed, he shook. “hehhhTihfffff!


Congested afterward, Merlin had to blow his nose and cough a while.


Arthur reached out and stroked his forehead before he even realized he was doing it. Merlin looked so pathetic and seemed to relax a little at Arthur’s touch. “Do you think you’ll be able to fall to sleep and stay quiet long enough for me to get back to sleep?”


“It is always about you, isd’t it?” He coughed again.


“Well, I am Prince. And I don’t think I heard your answer.”


“I’ll try,” Merlin croaked. He did close his eyes and did not even snore. Within minutes, Arthur was asleep and Merlin was smiling. His head was pounding, nose was running, throat was itching, but he was warm beside Arthur. “There’s really got to be ad easier way,” he whispered.