“A friend would bail you out of jail. But a BEST friend would be sitting in the next cell jumping up and down, saying: ‘Let’s do that again!!!’” –Anonymous
Lawrence gasped as the burlap sack was pulled off his head. Quickly, he kicked his captor’s legs out from under him before pinning the man to the floor. He glared at his captor.
“I know forty-three pressure points on the human body that could kill you instantaneously. So answer me quickly: why did you break into my bedroom and kidnap me?” hissed Lawrence, dressed only in a thin tank top and his boxers.
“Because you know us,” said another voice softly. Lawrence started at the sound of it. He licked his cracked lips because the voices of his captors did sound familiar, like old friends. Emerson told him, the nights when he was overwhelmed by memories of his life as Merlin and had to climb into his bed for comfort, that he was reincarnated from the knight Lancelot. Lawrence would just hug Emerson a little tighter and dream of griffins, golden eyes, and a girl with curly hair and kind eyes.
As he got older, Lawrence was inclined to believe Emerson more and more. He dreamt of Camelot, of the knights, of his travels, of Merlin, of Arthur, and…of Guinevere. He swallowed as he looked at the man that he had pinned to the ground. A name came from the recesses of his mind.
“Gawain,” he murmured looking at the man, “You’re Gawain.”
“And you’re Lawrence,” said Gawain with a small smile, “Do you mind…?”
Lawrence flushed and stood up before helping the other man to his feet.
“Why did you kidnap me? I would’ve come if you asked.”
(Alright so it would’ve taken a little poking and prodding, but he really would have come. He thought his friends were weird. Immortals were apparently just as wacky.)
“Not as fun,” stated a chipper voice that Lawrence’s mind identified as Galahad.
“So what is so important that you needed to kidnap me from my bed?” asked Lawrence with a quirk of his eyebrow.
“We need your help,” said a dirty blonde haired man that Lawrence’s mind called ‘Leon’.
“For what? Some kickass saving the world mission? Because I’m gonna be honest with you lot, I’m the snarky sidekick at best.”
Lawrence then paused and groaned. He knew one day it would happen: the he would pick up Emerson’s thought process. He just thought he would be okay until his thirties at least. Now he was twenty something and going into eccentricity.
“Nothing that important,” promised the bald-headed one (Percival, his mind insisted), “We need your help with something important though?”
Lawrence, who knew the whole story, leveled them with his one of his patented Lawrence Stares (where he looked at Emerson like he was an idiot before getting him to confess to anything). This particular one was number five (a.k.a: Stop Beating Around the Bush and Freaking Tell Me or I’ll Hide Your Nutella, Bitch). While he wasn’t sure if any of the immortal knights even liked Nutella, it was beyond the point as it had worked splendidly.
“We need your help to get Emerson and Arthur together,” said Galahad in a rush unable to take the full force of the Lawrence Stare number five, “Because you know if they don’t then Emerson’s soul won’t be reborn for a really long time, like millennia long, and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen because,” and here he paused thoughtfully, “because…Arthur’s our friend?”
Gawain snorted, “That and he’ll be a whiny little bitch until the soul is reborn again. And I can’t take it during the centuries apart but millennia? We may kill him. So we need your help to make Arthur happy, Emerson happy, and the whole fucking world sunshine and daisies. Because apparently a modern knight goes around messing in people’s homoerotic love affairs.”
Leon groaned and banged his head against the table. Lawrence watched as he bypassed the shot glasses and began gulping down vodka like it was water. The reincarnated knight wanted to remind the immortal one that it was only eleven in the morning, but as he considered the fact that they all had to probably go through this multiple times before, decided against it. He would probably be right in Leon’s position if it was him.
“So basically,” said Percival, “We need your help to get one clueless sod together with one insane eccentric before Leon here has to grow a new liver. He had to do that in the fifteen hundreds, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.”
Leon mumbled what sounded like a cross between “Bite me” and “Kiss my ass” before looking at Lawrence.
Lawrence stared at the four hopeful faces. His mind was bombarded by a familiar feeling that he had stared at the same expressions before. As he decided that being reincarnated sucked, Lawrence stared at them before letting out on explosive sigh.
“Alright. What do you want me to do?”
“First you’re going to help us sober up Leon,” began Gawain seriously ignoring Leon’s protests, “then you’re going to tell us everything about Emerson.”
Lawrence stared at them before sighing again, “Alright. But I want some breakfast, please.”
A silence overtook the room as Galahad went to fulfill that request. Lawrence stood up to help sober up Leon before looking down. The tanned man rubbed his long fingers against his temples.
“And if it isn’t a terrible bother,” he began, “I would also like some pants.”
Judy Witwicky: I have a bald spot. From a waffle iron! When you go, he goes! I cannot live with a psychotic alien in my garage!
Ron Witwicky: Judy sssshhh! National Security…look, if we stay quiet, they’re going to take care of everything. Let’s consider this the official start of our remodel…okay?
Judy Witwicky: Fine. If the governments paying, then I want a pool and a hot tub! And I’m gonna go skinny dipping and you can’t say shit about it! –Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
“You know,” said Morgan pleasantly as she waltzed into That Shop, “I’m beginning to think that Old Mrs. Anderson is putting a curse on us.”
“And why would you think that?” asked Liam as he put down a cup of coffee in front of one the café’s patrons. Emerson looked up from his spot sitting on the counter by the registers with a curious look.
“She keeps on muttering in Italian and spitting whenever I walk by,” explained Morgan patiently, “Either she really hates me or she just hates us.”
“I have no idea why either,” murmured Emerson thoughtfully, “I mean we did accidentally take out one of her shop’s windows but we apologized and paid for the damages and everything.”
“And we learned that while building a miniature Trojan horse is a kickass idea in theory. It doesn’t work as well in practice…unless you’re a contortionist or have a lot of midgets,” said Liam brightly.
“I don’t think midget is a P.C. term, mate,” stated Emerson before looking confused, “Or it could be. Hell if I know. Those P.C. people never make up their minds.”
“I always just use ‘little people’,” said Morgan with an embarrassed grin, “It always seemed safe enough.”
“Damn P.C. people,” muttered the person the coffee was given to.
The trio could only nod in agreement. Emerson turned back to his book.
“So any more gifts from Arthur?” asked Morgan with a wicked grin.
Emerson sighed and put down his book. He wasn’t going to get any reading done relatively soon.
“Nothing,” stated Emerson with a pout, “But I’m fairly certain that he’s stalking me.”
“Why do you say that?” asked Morgan curiously.
“Because wherever I go lately…he’s just there. Or he has a hell of a lot of doppelgangers.”
“Well at least he’s an attractive stalker.”
“Not helping, Morgan. It’s like Edward Cullen stalking. I’m mildly frightened to sleep alone at night.”
“Well see,” said Merlin from his mirror, “There are two problems there.”
“Then tell me oh wise one.”
Merlin settled back in his mirror before speaking, “Arthur isn’t a sparkling douchebag with a bad wig and an overactive sweat gland.”
Morgan and Emerson simultaneously snorted at that. Merlin continued as if he hadn’t heard them.
“Emerson, the problem with Arthur is that while he was raised as a price and does have some semblance of social grace around most people he also is neurotic and socially awkward. He has an unhealthy appreciation for poking people with various weaponry and he doesn’t know how to go after someone he likes in a healthy way.”
“How did you two get together?” asked Morgan.
Merlin paused and flushed, “I won’t go into the full story, but I will say this. It involved Arthur and a very inappropriate birthday gift.”
“What happened?” whined Morgan to Emerson.
“Arthur half tied himself naked on his bed and tried to seduce Merlin that way. Merlin thought that he got attacked by a hooker and left half tied to the bed post. Arthur got frustrated by this and naked tackled Merlin. There was some dry humping and something with strawberries and fur rugs.”
Morgan stared ahead for several moments.
“Oh my,” she murmured as a wicked grin alight her face, “That is the single hottest thing I will think about today.”
“So his misplaced affection is just how he shows his affection,” Merlin sighed, “I honestly thought he would have some idea what to do at this point.”
Emerson nodded looking thoughtful, “So what you’re saying is that he needs to be half tied up somewhere naked with strawberries and fur rugs?”
“I don’t think Elton John’s place is free nowadays,” called Liam as he brought in more biscuits from the tiny kitchen.
“You’re missing the point,” said Merlin as he rubbed his temples.
“Well tell me the point,” grumbled Emerson glaring at his past life, “Because I don’t even like strawberries.”
“It’s not about the strawberries,” said Merlin as he waved his arms about in a half crazed manner.
“Then what is it about?” cried Emerson in annoyance.
“You need to take some initiative, idiot. Arthur is the kind of bloke that will stalk you into submission.”
“…So I should stalk him back?” asked Emerson as he thoughtfully rubbed his chin.
Merlin stared at his latest incarnation and threw his hands up in the air. He missed Avalon. Things weren’t nearly as frustrating.
Morgan and Liam just laughed at the pair without helping.
(A free show is always a good show.)
“Life doesn’t happen in chapters-at least not regular ones. Nor do movies. Homer didn’t write in chapters. I can see their purpose in children’s books (“I’ll read until the end of the chapter then go to sleep.”) but I’m blessed if I know their function in adult’s books.” –Terry Pratchett
(In which Emerson hijacks the story once again)
There’s no romantic action going on right now isn’t there? It’s driving you insane right? I mean we have a couple of clandestine meetings between the knights, some flirting, cross-dressing, and mostly snarking between friends. But I know fangirls and all of you probably wanted me and Arthur going at it from the moment we met.
I apologize in advanced because Arthur and my getting together won’t end with him running into an airport to stop me from boarding a plane. I’m not sure which plane, but since I’m certain this part of my life is a romantic comedy there should have been a plane at some point.
The plane thing wouldn’t fly because air security is utter hell to get through.
Here’s the thing about why you shouldn’t expect all the flowery romance shit.
Arthur is romantically stupid.
And I’m not better at it either.
Sure there’s a connection between us. And I think he’s all kinds of sexy (I mean I’m dying to see what he has hidden under those pressed suits and silk ties). And I want to do so many bad things to him involving my teeth, chocolate, and those expensive ties of his. But life isn’t always about sex you know?
Oh sure sex is a good part of life but usually there are bigger things in life as well.
I know you all are probably thinking that I’m being needlessly cruel to him. That I should just run into his arms and never let go.
But here’s the problem with that.
It just really isn’t me.
…I’m scared he won’t love me for me.
And I keep on trying to drive this point home. I mention it time and time and time again.
I may have Merlin’s soul and memories but dammit I’m not him. And I don’t know if Arthur can see past that. Because it’s not Merlin who’s gonna live forever if this works…it’ll be me.
Zany, eccentric, invulnerable, strange M. Emerson Gray will live forever if all ends well. The bloke that hates the modern horror movie but loves the classics, that opened a business on the fly and worked to the bone to make it successful. The guy that everyone expects to remain strong. The scared boy growing up in an orphanage where he was teased for his gifts…
That’s the one who will live forever.
And I do have an attraction to Arthur. He’s smart and gorgeous and sweet. He made my heart go into double time when I first met him with those light blue eyes of his.
All I’m trying to do here is give you an honest account of what happened between us. I don’t know…maybe there should be more romance right now. Maybe there should be a grand romantic scene and declarations of love shouted from rooftops. I know how people want these stories to go.
However as someone (I think it was Shakespeare but I could be wrong. Too be perfectly honest I think I’m a little drunk right now) once said: “Love is a many splendor thing.”
And I suppose there are splendors of love as there are pitfalls. All that give and take shit that people keep on going on about. (Which I think is utter bullshit. Love is all about the take. You fall so deeply into it that you get greedy for everything about your partner. You want them around you all the time, you drown in everything about them, and you take their highs and lows and everything they have to give.)
Sure there’s something festering for Arthur that I won’t deny. Deep down, somewhere in my mind or my soul or whatever I have is the knowledge that Arthur would be good for me. I tend to dance in the clouds too much...because it’s safer there.
Maybe...Arthur needs someone to take him dancing too.
(God that’s so fucking corny. Sorry. I should really stop drinking Morgan’s homemade Jello shots.)
Reid: I need to stop by a bookstore and pick a copy of Empty Planet. I’d like to reread it before we talk to the author…I haven’t read it since I was six.
Morgan: Six? I was still riding my Big Wheeler at six years old.
Reid: (ignoring Morgan) Do you mind? It’ll only take ten minutes.
Gideon: To buy it or to read it?
Reid: Uh…both, actually. –Criminal Minds
Emerson looked up from his spot on the couch as Lawrence stumbled in that night. He raised an eyebrow at the man’s attire: one of his sleep shirts and a pair of jeans that were a size too tight and a little on the short side.
“Mate,” began Emerson cautiously, “You do realize that if you can’t make rent this month that I’ll cover you right? You don’t have to sell your body.”
Lawrence looked up. His hair was slightly greasy and his eyes were bloodshot.
“I’m not selling my body. I had to borrow some pants.”
“Where were you that you had to borrow pants? You look a wreck, Lawrence. Did you go on a bender?”
Lawrence paused thinking about all the liquor consumed during the course of the day to figure out how to bring Emerson and Arthur together.
“…It probably would’ve been easier if it was a bender. But I was kidnapped, if you want to know.”
“Arthur’s friends are crazy, crazy blokes. They thought we should bond since Arthur is courting you.”
“So you’ve been out all day drinking with Arthur’s friends? Was there a holiday I wasn’t aware of going on?”
Lawrence shook his head in the negative as he dug for a hangover cure that Emerson cooked up with Merlin’s knowledge. He let out a cry of triumph as he pulled out a corked bottle the color of moss; popping the top he downed it in one gulp.
“How did it taste?”
“Like I licked the dankest dungeon in the Tower of London,” said Lawrence through a grimace.
Emerson’s countenance brightened at that. He beamed proudly.
“So I’ve improved the taste. How are you feeling?”
“Better. Anything more you can for the taste?”
Emerson looked thoughtful, “Not sure. I don’t know if I can make it taste better without mucking up the composition.”
Lawrence nodded, “I’m going to go shower and eat a bar of soap to get the taste out of my mouth.”
As he left the room, Emerson leaned over and called.
“We have some of that Dove stuff that smells like cucumbers! It’ll probably taste better.”
He laughed when he heard Lawrence grumbled from the bathroom before turning back to his book. Merlin looked over from his mirror.
“So he met with the knights?”
“Apparently,” stated Emerson as he reached for his mug of peppermint tea, “it was a friendship bonding experience.”
“Please don’t tell me that you bought that,” said Merlin with desperate look.
Emerson raised an eyebrow at that, “I’m not that big of an idiot. But I know that if it was going to hurt me then he wouldn’t lie like that. I would probably be helping burying some bodies right now.”
“Lawrence is creative.”
The next couple minutes descended into silence as Emerson went back to his book and Merlin stared blankly out the mirror to watch the telly.
“You should call him.”
“Who?” murmured Emerson distractedly determined to read his book.
“Why do I want to call Arthur?” asked Emerson blandly as he shut his book again. He sighed knowing that he probably wasn’t going to get anymore reading done that knight.
“Because,” said Merlin simply.
“Just because,” stated Emerson’s former life with a stubborn set to his jaw.
“That’s not a good reason and you know it Merlin.”
“Yeah,” began Merlin slowly, “Well you should at least talk to him. I mean he’s a prat. Not evil.”
“I know that.”
“Then call him. It may get him off his royal, prattish ass and into gear.”
“…I don’t think you’re using that phrase right.”
“I don’t care!” exclaimed Merlin as he threw his hands up in frustration, “Just call him!! Or I will come out of this mirror and smack you upside the head.”
“You can’t do that.”
“Do you want to try me?”
Emerson considered this for several moments before deciding that he didn’t want to take his chances on getting an ass whopping by his past life. He sighed grabbed his phone and began dialing the number from Arthur’s business card. Merlin kept a careful watch on his latest incarnation.
“Hi Arthur. It’s Emerson. Oh nothing’s wrong. I just wanted to call you. Well I thought the flowers were a sweet gesture and stuff. I could do without the stalking though.”
Emerson’s laughed filled the apartment. Merlin desperately wished he could listen on the phone call.
“Yes I saw you. I’m not an idiot, Arthur. Insane yes. But not an idiot…oh I’m not doing anything right now. Just, you know, reading a book. What book am I reading? Well…”
Merlin smiled as he watched Emerson get lost in the conversation with Arthur. He cracked his neck and grinned.
Honestly, those knights had nothing on him.
Brian: …Will you please listen? I’m not the Messiah! Do you understand? Honestly!
Woman: Only the true Messiah would deny his divinity!
Brian: What? Well what sort of chance does that give me? All right, I am the Messiah!
Crowd: He is! He is the Messiah!
Brian: Now fuck off!
Arthur: How shall we fuck off, my lord? –Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’
“So here’s what I’m confused about,” began Arthur as he glanced at his breakfast companion, “Why, if you’re so resistant to my advances, did you invite me to breakfast?”
“Because I’m giving you a chance,” stated his breakfast companion a.k.a. M. Emerson Gray.
Arthur seemed to accept that answer with a nod. He calmly took a drink from his cup of coffee as Emerson tucked in to French toast and bacon.
“Are you ever going to tell me what the M stands for?”
“Maybe,” said Emerson smugly.
Arthur snorted, “Okay that was a little clever.”
“I have my moments. Are you sure you’re not hungry?”
Arthur shook his head and nibbled on his toast, “I never get that hungry in the mornings. Are you always this hungry?”
“Most of the time,” said Emerson, “But I never wake up in time to enjoy. Usually I just steal some toast and gulp down some coffee. Then when I get to my shop someone usually takes pity on me and gives me a pastry from the café.”
“Is that healthy?”
Emerson raised an eyebrow and gestured to his (Merlin-like) skinny frame, “I can stand to gain some weight. I’m too thin.”
“I think you look lovely.”
Emerson stared at Arthur bemused, “Did you just give me a half-hearted compliment that someone would give his girlfriend? The ‘oh no honey, you ass looks fantastic in those pants’ compliment?”
“I don’t know,” Arthur deadpanned, “I’ve never took a good look at your ass in pants before.”
Emerson stared at Arthur before letting out a cackle of pure delight, startling some of the restaurant’s patrons: “Would you like to take a look, Arthur?”
Arthur flushed and looked down, suddenly finding his coffee fascinating. Emerson chuckled at his pink tinged cheeks before going back to eating.
“I’m still confused.”
“That’s okay,” promised Emerson with a grin. His eyes were bright, “You and me are playin’ hooky today.”
Arthur blinked, “Beg pardon?”
“We’re ditching our jobs. It’s the only we’re going to be able to go on a proper date,” said Emerson breezily, “So we’re playing hooky.”
“I live some of the people that I work with,” pointed out Arthur.
“So do I,” stated Emerson, “Look I thought that you wanted this to happen.”
“I do!” agreed Arthur immediately.
“Then come on lover boy. Let’s have a date.”
Emerson held out a hand, slight sticky due to the syrup and a little bit greasy from the bacon. Arthur looked up and saw him.
Really truly saw this man.
He saw the insecurities and the downfalls and the triumphs and the laughs. He saw the nervousness in his blue-gold eyes that matched the feeling of butterflies in Arthur’s stomach. He took in the playful mouth and the silver ring lining his sticky-out ears and the multi-colored streaks in his raven hair.
And his heart flipped a little in his chest at the sight of Emerson.
Because that was all Arthur saw in that moment.
He swallowed and he knew that this was going to be one of his life defying moments where he just dove in with his eyes closed.
Arthur slowly took Emerson’s hand and smiled.
Emerson’s smile light up the room (and from the very brief flash of gold in his eyes brought out the sunlight as well).
Arthur could only smile back.
Merlin watched the pair from his position in Emerson’s reflection. The two too wrapped up in that moment to care. Slowly he walked toward Arthur’s reflection and stroked the images cheek. Smiling sadly Merlin whispered.
“I promise that I would take care of you didn’t I? Silly King.”