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The King's Corgis

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Merlin will never tell a soul how Arthur got him to agree to get a puppy so fast. Sure, he loves animals to death (especially the fluffy ones), but he thinks that getting a pet now would be too soon. Arthur is still recovering from the flood of memories from their past lives, after Merlin saved him from being run over by a car.

He's been pestering Merlin for a puppy for weeks now and when Arthur finally realized that pouting and acting like a spoilt child didn’t work on him, he resorted to dirty tricks. The prat actually locked himself in the bath, the only one in their flat he might add, with only a plate of sandwiches and a pillow, and wouldn’t come out for hours. And whenever Merlin passed by the door, trying to ignore his antics, Arthur would let the tap run.

It has taken Merlin’s bladder ten hours before it betrayed him and Arthur that jerk only let him into their bath after Merlin gave in and agreed to get a puppy. Should he also mention that Arthur had leisurely taken a ten minute shower before he finally unlocked the door?

****

“I heard that golden retrievers are the friendliest and easiest to handle when it comes to dogs. Sure you don’t want one of them?”

Merlin glances at Arthur who looks like he’s been to the fair for the first time, all smiles and twitchy fingers as they reach the ranch. It’s been ages since Merlin has seen him so radiant and happy. Well, actually no, the last time he’s seen Arthur so ecstatic was only last night when they—.

Whoops, let’s not go there. Merlin couldn’t let his mind enter dirty territory, not when they were about to see a bunch of puppies, the equivalent of furry babies. Okay, that sounded a bit strange but you get the idea.

“No,” Arthur said.

“Sorry?” Merlin has been so lost in his thoughts that he'd forgotten that he was still talking to Arthur.

“I want a corgi!” Arthur turns to him then, looking at him like he's a country bumpkin (which is nothing new). “The queen also has corgis, so these majestic creatures are only fit for a king.”

Merlin rolls his eyes. “Cabbagehead.”

Luckily for Arthur, Merlin found a Corgi ranch focusing on the breeding of Pembroke Welsh corgis just an hour drive away from the city.

And here they are, in a room with eight puppies that are more stumbling than actually walking. Not like they could crawl far yet on their wobbly and too tiny legs.

Arthur is sitting with crossed legs on the floor, holding his hand out for the pups. The one closest to him pushes his nose into his hand before tripping and falling face down on the green blanket laid out on the floor for them. Arthur coos at him.

“Look Merlin, aren’t they cute?”

“I’m cuter,” he says out of spite, but only because he's more of a cat person himself.

The cooing intensifies when after one pup falls down, it leads to a chain reaction as his other siblings follow suit and fall to their side. And though three of his siblings have fallen over him, one of them remains deeply asleep. “Oh my god, I want to carry them all home with me and make them my puppy blanket.”

“Disney has corrupted your soul, Arthur Pendragon.” Okay, the evil lady had wanted a coat but same difference.

“Oh god, not like that. I only meant that I want them to climb on top of me and cuddle.” Arthur sighs, probably already dreaming of his lala- land with this so-called puppy blanket.

“Oh really? You can sleep on the couch with them then.” He pets one of them on its head, surprised at how soft the fur is but unfortunately his hand is a bit too heavy for the puppy as its legs give in and it lies with outstretched paws on the floor.

“No!” Arthur cries out.

“Then choose one.” He notes with glee that the corners of Arthur’s mouth turn southward as he looks at all the puppies in front of them, probably dying a little more inside with each puppy he has to leave behind. But then they turn their head when they hear some soft barking and see one of them, trying to get to the lower bottom of the coffee table; he succeeds in his quest. Ah right, they’ve been told that this bundle of energy is the oldest one of them.

“Fine. I want this one. He’s as adventurous as me. He’s perfect!”

He snorts at Arthur’s choice of words. “If he’s as adventurous as you, our house will be filled with puppies in no time, dollophead.”

Merlin rolls his eyes when Arthur looks at him all shocked and actually holds his hands over the pup’s ears, who has tried to sniff his hand moments before. Seriously?

“Not in front of the puppies!” And Gwaine calls him the prude one. Really now.

Merlin was just about to remind him in vivid detail of just how adventurous Arthur had gotten last night, when the last puppy on the blanket finally awakens only to find himself all alone on the big blanket. His big black eyes turn watery and his pathetic cry pierces through Merlin’s heart. Oh god no, now Merlin feels all protective over him. Bad situation, really bad situation. Tiny, fragile beings have always been Merlin’s weakness.

But apparently, he isn’t the only one with such a weakness. “Merlin, look how sad he is. We can’t leave him behind. Can we get him as well? Pleeease?”

He pretends to think about it. If he gives in too fast now, Arthur will probably notice his weakness and take advantage of it by shoving one of these little fluffballs into his face whenever his pout isn't enough to get Merlin to comply. “Alright, we’ll get two. Seriously, now I have three puppies at home to take care of. “

“What was that?” Arthur was only half listening to him, already grabbing the whining puppy and trying to soothe him by petting him gently.

Merlin sighs. “Nothing.”

****

“I don’t think Arthur junior likes to be bathed, Merlin.” Arthur says as ‘Arthur junior’ takes advantage of Arthur’s slippery wet hands and wiggles himself free to dive between Arthur’s legs and out of the bathroom. Of course, the little pup is gracious enough to leave a wet trail of water and soap bubbles behind him. If Merlin slips and as much as gets a bruise, he’s going to slaughter Arthur, the human not the puppy.

“We’re not naming him Arthur junior!” Merlin yells as he runs out of the bathroom to follow the wet trail.

And as luck would have it, he slips on a puddle of water courtesy of the run-away pup as he utters the last syllable of his protest and falls face down on the floor. Fuck Arthur, there are way too many puppies in the flat for Merlin to handle and sooner or later, he’s going to pop a blood vessel in his eye from all the stress Arthur’s giving him with his incompetence. One of these days, he’s going to throw Arthur out and laugh at his puppy-less existence as he cuddles with ‘not- Arthur junior’ and his little brother in front of the telly.

Merlin groans as he feels something wet poking at his ear. Great, just great. He moves his face slightly to the side and sees trembling stubby legs out of his peripheral vision before Merlin turns his whole body to the side, resting his face on an outstretched arm and comes face to face with their bonus puppy. He pokes at its wet nose and gets a whimper and more shivering as a response. “Never ever stick your nose in my ear again, you little weirdo.” Merlin pets his tiny head with one finger and muses, “We still don’t have a name for you.”

“Oh, I’ve already got one for him.” Arthur sticks his head out of the bathroom, throwing a towel on the floor to mop the water away with his foot. Couldn’t even lift a finger to help him up, that clotpole.

“Let me guess, ‘Merlin junior’?”

Arthur snorted. “You wish. I was thinking about something badass like ‘Dragoon the Dragon Slayer’.”

“What?! No way, I’m going to take the video games away from you. You’ve clearly played too much.” Merlin splutters.

“Fine. We’ll call him Dragoon for short then, party pooper.”

There’s no way he’s letting Arthur name the cute scaredy-cat of a puppy after his crazy and haggard alter ego, let alone call him a dragon murderer. Kilgharrah would turn over in his grave (or wherever his bones lay). He hangs his head in frustration, dealing with the present Arthur is even worse than attending to him as a king.

What has his life become?

Merlin lifts his head when he hears a squeak from the pup whose eyes have turned all watery, oh dear. Being the runt of the litter, he always needs to be coddled and given their attention all the time. As if on cue, his older brother, who used to be something of the leader of the litter of useless stubby legs, comes running. Always too reckless and nosy and yet, whenever ‘Dragoon the Dragon Slayer’ cries, he always comes back running to comfort him. See? This is why this name doesn’t work; it's not at all fitting for the fluffball.

****

So Merlin has to begrudgingly confess that their pups are now actually named Arthur junior and Dragoon and unfortunately, Dragoon responds more to his full name than just Dragoon. There’s also a reason why he was so vehemently against Arthur’s narcissistic wish to name the pup after himself, things would just get confusing and embarrassing. Like two weeks ago.

He was just telling Gwen about the puppies’ names on the phone and only managed to tell her about Dragoon, when he heard a distressed squeak between his legs. Dragoon was trembling all over while Arthur junior was right beside him, nose squished under Dragoon’s tail.

“Arthur, stop sniffing his butt!” Merlin made a shooing motion and when that failed, he scooped Dragoon up and laid him on the couch beside him. Thankfully, Arthur junior still couldn’t jump that high.

He faintly heard some yelling and remembered that he was still talking to Gwen.

“Oh my god, is Arthur cheating on you?!”

See? Bad choice of name.

“What? No, that was just—,“ but before he could fully explain to Gwen that Arthur was not in fact sniffing some other man’s butt, he heard her make some protesting noises before a new but familiar voice was on the line. He could faintly hear Gwen frantically calling his name in the background.

“Are you having a threesome with my brother, Merlin?”

Very bad choice of name indeed. Stupid Arthur, both Arthur’s actually.

Merlin sighed, rubbing his temples. “Yes, Morgana, we’re having a threesome. Actually we’re going through all our bi-curious friends. Turns out that Leon is quite the feisty one and we’ve gagged Gwaine, so he can’t say hello to you now.” He hung up but not before he heard some glass breaking.

And that’s how Gwen has spent the last three days blushing and running away from him and Arthur, and Morgana making the most inappropriate jokes, leaving Arthur, Leon and Gwaine confused. He only had actual pity for Leon, Arthur and Gwaine deserved it some way or another.

****

Merlin had just closed the door behind him when he heard a high pitched voice calling for help in the sappiest way, though he could still make out that it’s Arthur’s. He rolls his eyes in annoyance. This seriously needs to stop, and how could Arthur even believe that Merlin still hasn’t caught on?

And then, in a voice that sounds much more like Arthur, but deeper, he hears, “Don’t worry, Merlypoo. I’ll save you from the witch.” He hears some barking and then Morgana’s voice, her heels clacking loudly on the floor as she walks. “Who are you calling a witch?”

Merlin walks into the living room just in time to see Morgana punching Arthur’s arm, earning an exasperated outcry in the process. They still haven’t noticed him as Arthur continues with his charade. Arthur junior crawls over the hot pink pillow that he’s lain out there since Dragoon spends most of the day sleeping, Arthur says in what he deems to be a manly voice but sounds more like he’s constipated in Merlin’s opinion, “You’re safe now, my love.” Arthur clutches a hand over his heart and lays an arm over his forehead, telling Merlin that there have been way too many stereotypical damsels in distress on the telly. “I’m swooning.” Is that supposed to be Merlin’s voice?

He’s seen enough now and wow, Arthur sucks as an actor. “What the hell are you doing, Arthur?”

Arthur turns, looking like a child caught with his hand in a cookie jar. “Um, nothing?”

Merlin has completely forgotten about Morgana, so he flinches when he hears her. “His exacts words were ‘Arthur, my knight in shining armour. My one true love, help me. I need you.’”

It sounds even cheesier when Morgana says it.

“Arthur, for god’s sake. You need to stop with these ridiculous voice overs.” He should intervene now before Arthur corrupts their puppies.

“Never!” Arthur huffs and pushes his namesake closer towards Dragoon. “Oh Arthur, your body must have been chiseled by god himself. I can’t even look at you without blushing.”

“Arthur!”

“Did you really say that to him, Merlin?”

“NO!”