red_cortina: (Default)
[personal profile] red_cortina
Title: EnCounter
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Summary: Silly fluff originally posted at kinkme_merlin for the prompt "Something, anything involving a choir... pretty please? I'm not specific but if it's a get together I would be very, very happy." Not something I'd have thought of myself but I really enjoyed writing it, so many thanks to the anon poster!


“I’d definitely do that counter-tenor,” Arthur comments as he slides onto the bench behind the table at the pub, setting down his half pint. The words aren’t particularly encouraging given Merlin’s hopes for this evening, but his warm smile and the way he nudges Merlin with the whole side of his body are more promising.

“Yeah?” replies Merlin. “Think you may be out of luck - I heard he only likes real men.” Merlin can’t really remember when he first started referring to basses as real men to annoy Arthur, but it’s become a running joke between them.

“Well, I heard he doesn’t like all those low notes you lot manage. They intimidate him, you see.” Arthur nods sagely.

“You’re both out of luck,” Morgana interrupts before Merlin can think of a comeback. “Given that he’s asked for a comp for his wife.”

Arthur shrugs, giving Merlin an intimate smile he can’t help but return. “Ah, well,” he says, amusement in his eyes.

They’re having a pub dinner between the rehearsal and the concert; tonight they’ll be performing Handel’s Samson in front of a hopefully packed audience. The rehearsal was more relaxed than usual – the choruses are dramatic and fun and practically sing themselves, and the work had really come to life with the addition of the soloists.

Arthur is cheerfully disregarding the conductor’s “no alcohol until afterwards” warning, but Merlin suspects he’ll pay more attention to her “eat plenty” instruction. He sips at his Coke, the sugar reviving him after the long sing.

“Bizarre, though, a voice that high coming out of a man that big,” Gwen remarks as her boyfriend, Lance, joins them, bearing drinks for Gwen, Morgana and himself.

Merlin nods. The counter-tenor is tall and broad-shouldered, and it’s easy to imagine him as a friend of the ill-fated Samson – except that the tenor they have singing the part of Samson is much shorter and almost as skinny as Merlin himself.

“So it’s going to be a good concert?” asks Lance as he sits down.

“Yeah, it is,” Morgana assures him, taking her orange juice and lemonade. “Cheers.”

Gwen used to say that she’d love to have a boyfriend who was in the choir, and had even had her eye on Arthur before it became clear that his tastes lay in other directions. She’d changed her mind pretty quickly after meeting Lance, who cheerfully and supportively came to all of their concerts, was happy to look after Gwen and Morgana’s valuables if there wasn’t anywhere secure for them in the church, and had even sold tickets on the door a couple of times. It had been hard for Merlin not to resent him when they’d first got together about a year ago; although Will had come to the occasional concert in the five years they’d been together, it had always been with such a bad grace that it would have been better if he hadn’t come at all. It hadn’t bothered Merlin at first – choral music wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, after all – but even though Lance wasn’t into choral music either, he always seemed to be pleased to be there; pleased to be able to support Gwen. Merlin doesn’t think it was the comparison with Lance that had precipitated their long, drawn-out breakup, but he knows it can’t have helped.

“Gwen’s back on the front row this time,” Morgana tells Lance with a glint in her eye at giving him the pun-opening they all know he’s just waiting for.

“So there’ll be no-” Lance begins, and Merlin and Arthur chorus with him “-Haydn at the back this time.” As she always does, Gwen groans and then laughs, and Lance laughs with her at his own joke. It had started two concerts ago when they’d performed Haydn’s Creation and Gwen had been moved from her usual front-row position to the second row for stage-management reasons. The first thing Lance had said when the four of them had found him at the interval, a glass of wine in one hand and a hot cross bun in the other, had been, “How come you’re Haydn at the back?” before dissolving into giggles.

“How long have you been planning to say that?” Gwen had asked with an indulgent grin, and Lance had admitted with a sheepish smile that he’d been thinking about it since the beginning of the concert.

After dinner – Lance is the first to finish his massive plate of gulash and rice, but Arthur isn’t far behind, and by the time everyone else has finished, they’ve already ordered and started dessert – the girls head to the toilets to get changed into their concert gear. Merlin and Arthur had both left their things at the church, planning to find a quiet corner of the vestry to get changed in, so, apologising to Lance for leaving him on his own, they go back.

The vestry is still empty – most of the choir will have gone home between the rehearsal and concert and will only get back in time for the warm-up - so they begin to pull off their jeans to replace them with formal black trousers. Arthur tugs on his shirt and buttons it up, and then starts making frustrated noises as he fiddles with his cuff links. Merlin waits for a few moments, doing up his cufflinks and tying his bow-tie, before taking pity on him.

“Need a hand?” he asks casually, ignoring the way his heart is suddenly beating faster.

Arthur gives him a brilliant smile. “Please,” he says, holding his wrist out.

Merlin fumbles with the cufflinks, feeling Arthur’s warmth through his shirt sleeves. Eventually they’re done to his satisfaction and he steps back reluctantly, but Arthur holds out his bow tie.

“Do you think you could…?” he asks awkwardly. “I’m rubbish at it.”

It doesn’t necessarily mean anything, Merlin reminds himself as he takes the bow tie. After all, Arthur is rubbish at it; Morgana always comes in from doing her make-up, takes one look at him, rolls her eyes and reties it for him. That doesn’t stop Merlin’s face from heating, though, as he steps closer, doesn’t stop his hands from shaking.

Arthur lifts his collar and Merlin slips the material round his neck. Arthur inhales sharply as Merlin’s hands slide over his shoulders. He’s looking down, not meeting Merlin’s eyes, and a slight flush has stained his cheeks. Merlin lets his hands linger on Arthur’s shoulders longer than they really need to, before moving them round to tie the bow tie. He concentrates hard on tying the knot, trying to calm his trembling fingers.

“Finished,” he murmurs eventually, but can’t bring himself to let go of the ends of the bow tie. Arthur looks up to meet his eyes and inhales shakily. Merlin’s used to seeing him smiling but now he looks incredibly serious, intense. He slowly brings his hands up to cover Merlin’s, and his eyes flicker down to Merlin’s mouth. Merlin’s eyes begin to flutter shut as he moves closer, and then-

Suddenly, the door bangs open and the counter-tenor strides in. Both Merlin and Arthur jump back. Arthur’s gone a rather endearing shade of pink and Merlin suspects he’s the same; he shoves his hands in his pockets and looks at the floor.

“Don’t mind me,” the counter-tenor says cheerfully, rifling through a bag in the corner. Merlin gives him a weak smile. He finally lifts up his score and then strides out again, but by that time people are beginning to arrive for the warm-up. Merlin moves away from Arthur to grab his jacket, but Arthur reaches out and brushes his hand with his own.

“Hey…” he says softly as Merlin turns. He gives Merlin a warm, intimate smile and Merlin knows he’s not imagining the promise in his eyes. He returns the smile, and they both shrug into their jackets and try to look ready for the warm-up.

When Morgana and Gwen come in, Merlin’s absurdly relieved Morgana doesn’t pass comment on the bow tie; she merely gives Arthur her usual once-over and then nods, eyebrow quirked.

The concert rushes by, the choruses they’ve been working on for months whizzing past in minutes. He’ll miss this, Merlin realises; he’ll miss the secret smile he and Arthur always share at the line “And triumph over Death, and Thee, O Time” because they’d once agreed after a couple of pints that it was actually about the Doctor Who Christmas special; he’ll miss teasing Gwen about the misogyny in “To Man God’s Universal Law”; he’ll miss the plaintiveness of “Weep Israel Weep”. Before he knows it the celestial concerts have been united and they’re clearing up and heading round the corner to Gwen and Lance’s house for post-concert drinks and pizza.

They’re all cheerful from the success of the concert and it doesn’t take much alcohol before Gwen and Morgana decide it’s time to sing along to the CD of their previous concert, a habit Will had treated with the contempt it probably deserves, but which Lance just seems affectionately amused by. As the beginning of “Zadok the Priest” comes through the speakers Merlin heads to the kitchen for more beer.

He’s barely in the kitchen before he hears Arthur’s quiet “Merlin” behind him. He turns slowly and backs up against the kitchen counter, and Arthur follows him, crowding him against the worktop. He can still hear the introduction of Zadok building in the background as Arthur presses their hips together and lifts his hands to Merlin’s face. He doesn’t kiss him yet though, and Merlin wonders, given that he’s very clearly taken the initiative here, what’s keeping him. Arthur’s hips move minutely against Merlin’s as the music builds and builds, but it’s only when Merlin sees the spark of amusement in Arthur’s eyes that he realises that he’s sodding waiting for the introduction to end. Ridiculously cheesy as the idea is, it suddenly really appeals to Merlin, and he moves his hands down to Arthur’s arse to pull him closer, smiling wickedly as he feels Arthur’s erection and knows Arthur has felt his, too.

Merlin’s breathing fast and his heart is hammering as Arthur slowly brings their faces together, pausing for a second when their noses are almost touching…just…waiting until suddenly the choir explodes into life on the CD and Arthur’s mouth is on his, open and demanding, and Merlin is sliding his tongue against Arthur’s, pulling him even closer. Arthur groans into his mouth and the vibration makes Merlin moan too, desperately wanting. He’s almost at the point of forgetting they’re in Gwen’s kitchen and is just about to start frantically pulling Arthur’s shirt out of his trousers so he can get at the skin underneath when there’s a cough from the doorway.

They freeze and then carefully release each other without really moving apart and look round to see Lance standing there, an amused expression on his face.

“Just getting more wine,” he says, crossing the kitchen to the fridge, and then he pauses, smirks and says, “Glad to see you two are finally getting a Handel on it.”

Arthur and Merlin look at each other for a second and suddenly the joy is bursting out of them in uproarious laughter. They collapse against each other, Merlin leaning heavily against the counter and holding Arthur up.

Lance looks bemused for a minute and then grins broadly. “You two should get off with each other more often – that’s the best reaction I’ve ever had to one of my puns.”

Arthur draws back from Merlin a little, still sniggering. Merlin is entirely in agreement with him when he replies with a wink, “I’m sure that could be arranged.”

Date: 2010-09-23 04:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kore88.livejournal.com
I really loved this great how you got so much backstory into such a short story.
The pun at the end was great, makes me glad there was no one else in the house to hear the fit of laughter it inspired.
Also I liked the Doctor Who reference.

Date: 2010-09-23 06:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] red-cortina.livejournal.com
Ah, thanks so much! Glad you liked the pun - I was rather pleased with it, myself!

Date: 2010-09-23 04:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] romankate.livejournal.com
This is adorable, the whole thing, but I think my absolute favorite part is the first line. *whew* /me fans self

Thanks for posting it!

Date: 2010-09-23 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] red-cortina.livejournal.com
Haha, thanks. Not quite sure where that first line came from, so I'm glad it worked for you!

Date: 2010-09-23 06:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] archaeologist-d.livejournal.com
That was adorable. Loved the puns, too. Very cute.

Date: 2010-09-24 07:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] red-cortina.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm embarrassingly pleased with the puns, so I'm glad you liked them!

Date: 2010-09-23 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leashy-bebes.livejournal.com
Hee, omg this is totally adorable! I love Lance and his terrible, terrible puns <3

Date: 2010-09-24 07:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] red-cortina.livejournal.com
What do you mean, terrible terrible puns? They're my best jokes!

Seriously though, thanks so much - that means a lot, especially from you :)

Date: 2010-09-23 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] persephassax.livejournal.com
The puns! (I am a secret sucker for puns. I groan and make faces but secretly love them.) They were brilliant!
As was the rest, really. Excellent fun!

Date: 2010-09-24 07:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] red-cortina.livejournal.com
Haha, I'm exactly the same when it comes to puns. Thanks so much for commenting - glad you enjoyed!

Date: 2010-09-24 02:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ah-lisa.livejournal.com
...I tried hard not to laugh at the pun at the end. Real. Hard. It didn't work.

Date: 2010-09-24 07:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] red-cortina.livejournal.com
Nothing wrong with laughing at awful puns! Thanks for commenting.

Date: 2010-09-24 03:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alexi-lupin.livejournal.com
This was hilarious! MUSIC PUNS, MY SECRET JOY.

I was in choir for a couple of years so there was a lot of music dorkery here that really rang true for me. :D

Date: 2010-09-25 12:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] red-cortina.livejournal.com
Glad it worked for you!- yep, very much based on my choir experiences (no-one remotely like Merlin or Arthur in my choir though, unfortunately). Thanks for commenting!

Date: 2010-09-25 05:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] de-tensai.livejournal.com
Oh! So cute! And it's so adorable that Arthur was making a fuss in the changing room just to get Merlin's attention on him (at least that's what I think :D)

Date: 2010-09-25 12:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] red-cortina.livejournal.com
Ooh, I hadn't thought of it like that, but yeah, definitely could be! Thanks for commenting!
Page generated Jul. 24th, 2017 12:41 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios