Merlin Emrys arched his back and extended his arms to the morning sun, then leaned back against the opaque glass door of his balcony, glorifying in the heat on his mostly bare skin. The sights and sounds of Camelot greeted him cheerily, and for a moment, everything was beautiful. Peaceful.
The imaginary utopia screeched to an abrupt halt along with the angry sound of tires burning from the too-fast friction against the pavement far below. Sighing, he rushed inside to throw on his suit and then rushed right back out. Nimbly hopping up onto the ledge, he checked for passersby or witnesses in the buildings across the street and then stepped off, allowing his magic to slow and soften the impact of his feet meeting generally unforgiving pavement.
No rest for the wicked - or so they say.
“Ealdor, where have you been?”
Adjusting the spectacles which might have been made out of tar for all the good they actually did his 20/20 vision, Merlin peered up from his computer to meet the disgruntled gaze of his reluctant partner and frequent sharer of bylines. “I had to - buy more soil for my azaleas.”
Arthur Penn stared at him as though he was the lowliest kind of worm and then clarified flatly, “More soil? For your azaleas?”
“Yes.” He widened his eyes as innocently as possible, trying to imply that he could not imagine how Arthur could find it so difficult to conceive the dire need of his potted plants.
“Well, I hope for your sake that they are the most amazing azaleas the world has ever seen, because while you were out taking care of your precious plants, Superboy was helping our boys at Scotland Yard catch The Dark Physician, and I couldn’t get anywhere near enough to take a statement from anyone because my father insists that I not go off without my little watchdog anymore.” The diminutive stung, but probably not as much as it should have. Ever since coming to the Camelot Press, Merlin had watched over its star reporter, who time and again found himself kidnapped or stuck in an air vent looking for evidence or something heinously life-threatening.
Camelot’s criminals were far too aware of the Boy in Blue’s soft spot for the Chief Editor’s son.
“I think they’re blooming really beautifully this year, actually, and the new soil should really help. Maybe you could come over and s-”
“Penn, Emrys, what are the two of you still doing here? There was a murder in the East Side - I expected you to be out there looking into it five minutes ago.” Perhaps Merlin should have been thankful that Uther Penn chose that moment to interrupt yet another botched attempt to ask Arthur on a date, because honestly, the lie about needing new soil was bad enough - inviting Arthur over purely so that he could see the azaleas he did not actually own? Way to go, Emrys. Real sodding smooth.
In spite of the overall futility of the gesture, after he and Arthur reached a dead end in their research for the day, he went and bought some truly phenomenal azaleas - and a large bag of what the sales assistant had assured him was the best soil out there for potted plants.
As he set about arranging the flowers on his previously bare balcony, Merlin told them, "He could come here one day. He might even decide he likes Merlin Emrys more than he likes Superboy."
The azaleas stared back at him impassively, and he jerked his head back, highly offended by their lack of support.
"He could! He will!" He pursed his lips and then muttered, "Just you wait."