Title: Dressing Merlin Rating: PG Word count: ~900 Pairings: none Warnings: none Disclaimer: I do not own this version of Merlin, nor am I making any profit from it. Prompt: This was written for Merlinadvent 2009 Day 9, using the prompt: dressing
Merlin decides to protest to Morgana.
Merlin pauses at Morgana's door in dread. He has to speak to her. The Mercers' Fair is over, but he can still organise something for himself. He just has to tell Morgana that he doesn't want to cause her any trouble...
Unexpectedly the door in front of him jerks open.
"Merlin! I thought I heard someone at the door - were you waiting long? I'm sorry we didn't hear you knock," Gwen exclaims.
"No, that's all right," Merlin says gloomily. "Um... is Lady Morgana here?"
"She's just being measured by the seamstress in the other room," Gwen replies cheerfully. "I'll let her know that you're here, shall I?" Without waiting for an answer she bustles through the door leading into the second chamber and Merlin can hear faint sounds of conversation from within.
"She says you have perfect timing," Gwen announces as she re-enters the room. "The seamstress needs to measure you for your new clothes. Isn't it nice of Arthur to have them made for you? Not that your normal clothes aren't very nice, because they are, but it's always nice to have something new, isn't it? And it's nice that Arthur was... thinking of you..."
She trails off, seeing Merlin's sullen face remain unmoved. "Don't you want new clothes?"
Merlin shrugs. "Not really."
Gwen frowns at him, evidently trying to phrase something tactfully. She opens her mouth and closes it again, then finally ventures, "Um, but don't you want to have something different for best? I mean, you always wear the same thing, and it looks good on you but most people have something a little special for feast days and holidays, you know?"
Merlin has noticed that, but it hasn't really made any impression on him given that he dresses Arthur in richly varied clothing which often has to be changed several times a day. The smaller variations of the other servants' clothing haven't really been something he particularly noticed.
Ulric does have a hat that he always wears to feasts. Merlin has only noticed because it doesn't make him look like a total prat. Ulric actually looks sort of nice in it.
Hylda and Anna have pretty flowered bodices that Merlin has only ever seen them wear to feasts and dances. Merlin can scarcely be blamed for noticing that they are cut at least an inch lower at the front than their normal brown and blue bodices, especially in Anna's case. Perhaps Gwen has a valid point. Although that would mean conceding that Arthur had a point, which he is not so eager to do.
"I s'pose," he mutters ungraciously. But it isn't Gwen's fault and she merits better than that so he adds, "We never did anything like that in Ealdor."
Gwen smiles again and then the seamstress is in the room and before he quite knows what is going on he is stripped down to his undertunic and breeches and being measured in unexpectedly invasive ways.
Luckily the seamstress is a grandmotherly sort of woman with a soft friendly manner, because if she hadn't been Merlin would have been quite upset about the way she fitted him for breeches. While he is still reeling from the shock she pats his shoulder and tells him that he is to collect his new clothes from her in four days.
"Wait!" he says, as she packs her tools back into her basket and makes briskly for the door. "Don't you need to know anything else?"
"Oh no," she twinkled at him. "Lady Morgana was very specific. Don't forget to pick them up. Lady Morgana has my address."
He is standing half-dressed in a lady's bedchambers and quite helpless as she disappears out the door. By the time he's found his boots and tunic she is long gone.
Lady Morgana comes into the room as he is doing up the buckles on his boots. "I'm so pleased that I could help you, Merlin," she says complacently. "Now just remember that you're not to wear those neckerchiefs with your new clothes. They wouldn't go at all." She looks intently at him until he takes his cue.
"Oh, er... Thank you, my lady," he says miserably. "Wh... what will my new clothes look like?"
"It's a surprise," she says, dimpling at him so sweetly that he is a little dazed. "Don't worry though, I know just what will suit you. I've been wanting to dress you for ages."
"I'm not really... comfortable... with fancy clothes," he ventures, but she shakes her head at him.
"Really, Merlin. With those cheekbones you will look utterly stunning in what I have chosen. Now don't fret. When you pick up your clothes on Monday will you collect mine too? It will save Gwen a trip."
He can do nothing but agree.
That night he dreams that he is a rag-doll such as the little girls carry around at home. Lady Morgana peers down at him as she strips his clothes off with efficient hands and replaces them with a dress just like her own. "There," she says, "Now we match!"
Merlin sits up gasping in the streaming moonlight, clutching at the assets he didn't possess in the dream. If it's a metaphor he doesn't want to know about it.