Spoilers: Probably only episode 1 of Season 1.
Summary: Slightly fluffy banter ficlet.
A/N: For brandonkittycat, prompt Arthur/Morgana + "Don't kill the messenger"
There's a knock on the door and the first sight she sees as she turns toward it is a ragged trail of purple fabric, which she followed up to Arthur's face above it, who was wearing a misplaced smirk of barely concealed laughter.
“The dress you ordered, my Lady.”
Morgana is speechless, not expecting the prince to have delivered the delayed item in person, nor expecting it to arrive in such a condition, but Arthur blunders on with the ill-conceived joke.
“Is this the fashion in your homeland then? If so you might be a little under dressed for the ball next week, in more ways than one,” Arthur says as he pokes his whole hand through a particularly large tear.
Morgana finally regains her composure and races across the room to snatch the ruined garment from him, causing him to wince as she gives him a fabric burn in the process.
“Ow. What was that for? What do you want with it anyway? It's been run over by a cart, trampled by cattle and frankly it smells like-”
“It was for being inconsiderate of my feelings,” she interrupts, a pointed glance thrown at him, “and for your information I might yet be able to salvage it with Gwen's help. A few panels inserted could work possibly.” She mutters the last part as she examines the damage, leaving Arthur slightly puzzled.
“Since when do you care about a dress this much?”
“Since Uther decided I must make more effort to secure a future husband.”
“Well, don't tell me you weren't expecting it. Your father has been dropping hints for years, not to mention setting me up with noblemen of the realms across the banquet table. No doubt he wants me to secure a new alliance as part of it because I doubt it is my welfare he has in mind.”
“But what does this dress have to do with it? It doesn't exactly look special.”
“No, not anymore, but neither would you if you'd been trampled by cattle.”
“Right.” That hadn't been the answer he was expecting and he honestly didn't know what to make of it – was there a compliment somewhere in there? “So, let me get this straight. My father is trying to marry you off all of a sudden.”
“Like I said, it's hardly a sudden development.”
“Yes, but... I always thought he was attempting to steer us together, in a roundabout fashion.”
“That's rather egotistical of you to think Arthur, don't you think?”
“Was I imagining it then?” he said, taking a step closer, casting a shadow across her face as he blocked the light from the window.
“No,” she replied gently as she met his gaze, ”but I think your father finally saw how hopeless the whole idea was. I'd sooner marry Merlin,” she teased, “At least he has manners.”
“Hopeless, really?” Arthur repeated thoughtfully, his voice quiet and laced with what could have been concern. He continued to stare into her eyes for longer than strictly necessary. The action was clearly starting to unnerve Morgana, who blinked rapidly, much more than was normal and swallowed nervously, acutely aware of the short distance between them. However, she would not turn away, leaving that to Arthur. He took a slow deep breath as if he might release it as a sigh but spun on his heel instead, striding towards the door.
He then paused on the threshold, his flippant mood returned. “Merlin may have manners but he distinctly lacks a castle, and cattle. I hear they can be quite useful in fabricating excuses against attending tedious balls with blind dates.”
With that Arthur promptly left. She let him have the last word for once.
Morgana has a suspicion her special clothes orders for the foreseeable future might experience some setbacks, though next time she probably wouldn't protest as much, just a little for show and just a little...because. Because a regular bit of banter keeps her feeling alive and in control and sometimes it's what they both need more than anything else.