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Fate is a Mysterious Idea

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Merlin flashed his hall pass at the teacher walking towards him as he made his way to the bathroom for maybe the 3rd time that day. Camelot university was boring enough as it was- it didn't need triple math on a Wednesday to help. He was basically a pro when it came to skiving, he'd been avoiding lectures so often he was quite sure most teachers didn't even know him. Actually- scratch that, he was quite sure most people didn't even know him. In his mind that was the best way for things to be. When he had first transferred here he was already carrying enough of a bad rep from his previous universities and colleges. It was becoming increasingly difficult to switch constantly as less and less universities were willing to accept him. Yet for whatever reason, Camelot welcomed him with open arms and shining eyes. They acted like it was because they were accepting of all candidates no matter their history, but Merlin was 99% sure they wanted him for his 'exemplary' grades. His mother had passive-aggressively told him to behave himself as he attempted to escape her lovingly painful grasp and get onto the train. His continued expulsions were building up and he assumed this was his last chance.

Once he reached the bathroom he pulled out his phone and prepared to waste an hour playing games. Somehow, he hadn't been caught yet and until then this plan was fool proof; especially since it didn't affect his grades. As a child he was always praised by his teachers for his work in tests and lessons but they always would complain about how he was 'hot-headed' or 'disinterested' or in one case 'overtly negative'. Like what the fuck is that supposed to mean? Either way he was sure he could get past not giving a shit at some point and actually put his head down to get through one year without a visit to his parents or a suspension or a ban from the art block (don't ask). It had been maybe 30 minutes when, as expected, Arthur and his group of assholes waltzed in to disturb the peace of the male bathroom. They liked to call themselves 'The Knights of the Round Table'. Merlin thought it was extremely cringe-worthy and exceptionally stupid but who could tell them that? According to his knowledge, 'The Knights of the Round Table' consisted of 5 students:

Gwaine Heralden, the school lover boy and class clown, has probably broken every single girl's (and boy's) heart ever- and that's an understatement, well known to be Arthur's right hand man (the two are basically inseparable), went to the same secondary school as Merlin but they 'unfortunately drifted apart', probably- definitely will be some kind of sports super star in the future.

Elyan Kauffman, delinquent, has never turned up to a lecture ever (and wouldn't be seen dead doing so), not actually that bad but he still has a few of the qualities you'd expect from your average arrogant twat, B+ student (still the highest grade of the entire group), has a magnetic personality, shares a dorm with Guinevere- his sister (somehow!?!?), teachers HATE him because he ruins every study session he attends- one time he wrote on the board that there was a £10 note hidden somewhere in the room, there wasn't, and watched as the class descended into chaos attempting to find it.

Percival Everstark, stone cold in both comebacks and appearance (how is he that ripped?), could be your enemy or your best friend, not exactly the brightest person ever, actually not as extroverted as he seems, likes to keep to himself and really appreciates the Knights company, not afraid to let you know how he feels upfront, shares a dorm with Gwaine, the height of dark humour.

Leon Brolen, school president and representative of everything, doesn't seem like he fits into the Knights at first glance but think about it- they're the highest ranking group of Camelot, of course they're going to have the leader of the student council in their group, seemingly bubbly but if you mess with him there's hell to pay, his demeanor cannot be dented, sassy as fuck, kind of like a gay best friend stereotype but not gay + without the stupid accent.

And of course- the ringleader- Arthur Pendragon, doesn't share a dorm with anyone as his overbearing father believes it'll be distracting to his education, a physical embodiment of the 'my dad wants be to be as successful as him but I don't want that career path' trope, is rich and makes sure everyone knows it constantly (probably a defence mechanism but what is it to Merlin?), one of the sporty kids, C+ grade guy, somewhat condescending and unlikeable yet (annoyingly) people love to surround him regardless, he's somewhat of a dick and Merlin somewhat hates him.
Anyway, now that the brief introduction is through, we can get back to how Merlin is wondering how to escape the bathroom without a confrontation. He knows as soon as he walks out there they'll start staring and remarking and he really doesn't have the energy to deal with that at this time. He tucks his phone into his pocket and mentally prepares himself to bear whatever hell awaits him beyond the when someone else comes straight through the door with no knowledge of who's inside. Merlin can feel the tension as whoever it is walks fearfully towards him. He doesn't make it to his cubicle though as (maybe Percival?) slams him against the door of the stall beside him. He hears Arthurs voice laughing "Hey Percival- no need to be so violent" then "Hello... whatever your name is, have you anything of worth in that blindingly brightly coloured backpack of yours to give us?" Merlin already had a terrible feeling in his gut at Arthurs words so when he hears the voice of the poor soul against the door speaking above them, he immediately pushes himself out of the cubicle with a concerned expression on his face seeing as the voice is unmistakably that of his best friend and room-mate, Lancelot de Talet. At their first meeting Merlin had assumed he could never get to know such a kind and eccentric guy especially since it seemed his entire wardrobe had no specific colour while Merlin’s was entirely black. It was as though they were opposites brought together like magnets since they immediately hit it off and are now the 'fucking human recollection of BROTP' in Lancelot’s assumedly drunken words. He studied English and Classics which meant he was never not fun to be around. So, as usual, Merlin would have to save his best friends pastel themed ass.

He had only a few seconds till the initial shock of him having been hiding in the bathroom subsided so he took the time to grab hold of Lancelot and pull him from (Yeah it was Percival)'s loose grip. Once Lancelot was behind him the Knights turned to Arthur for their next move; Merlin looked around, quickly assessing the situation before deciding that making a run for it was their best chance at survival. He squeezed Lancelot’s wrist, conveying all he needed to know in one gesture before pulling him forwards and using his now free hand to hit Percival across the face in a wide swung punch. He reeled and Merlin took this as a gateway to run past him. The men's bathroom on the ground floor was very idiotically made and had toilets lining the pale walls at the back of the rectangular room, then urinals down one side of the walkway and a long wooden bench along the other side with pegs along the top as apparently it was also a make-shift lounging room. Either way, the situation was clear, most of the Knights were seated on the bench and only starting to get up while Lancelot was already 3 steps from the door, Arthur, however, was leaning by a urinal and only had to reach out and grab Merlin’s shirt collar to stop him abruptly and admittedly quite painfully as the cloth pulled against his collar. This action and Merlin’s strangled cry were enough to cause Lancelot to stop running and turn around to check on him, unfortunately that was all the time that was needed for Elyan to grab him from behind and wrap 2 arms around him, one around his arms and waist and the other on his chest, Gwaine backing him up from behind. "Well well well, what have we here Knights?" Arthur smiled and Merlin struggled to escape his hold. "I feel we have a duo of desperado's don't you think?" He spat, addressing his followers as they laughed in turn. "Get the fuck off of me!" Merlin retorted before realising something and slumping completely against Arthur. As he thought, Arthur had been too busy using his strength to hold him there that he hadn't actually steadied himself against anything, this meant that as Merlin leaned backwards into Arthur, Arthur leant backwards into air and immediately lost his balance and his hold on Merlin: he collapsed into the wall just too far behind him. Merlin brushed himself off before turning to him and grabbing his Calvin Klein shirt collar with unexpected strength and pulling him forcefully upwards. They were face to face, so close that their noses almost touched. Celeste eyes with flecks of white staring into azure ones that briefly flashed gold in the light. Arthur had never felt more vulnerable. "Stay the fuck away from me and Lancelot or I swear to God I'll do a lot more than this" He punctuated the 'this' by kneeing him forcefully in the balls before staring into his pain-eyes and letting him slump against the wall with his eye's clamped shut and mouth in a grimace. He turned to the rest of the Knights that looked at him with a range of emotions that mostly consisted of shock, fear, apprehension, anger and disbelief. Merlin let his eyes run over them then turned to Lancelot who was trying desperately not to laugh (he had a habit of doing so in the worse situations) before grabbing his shoulders and steering him out of the door and into the corridor. Lancelot stared at Merlin with wide eyes and a mouth that was slightly ajar. Merlin stared back with slightly less of a shocked expression. The two then took off sprinting down the hall cackling as they heard voices stirring from the inside of the male bathroom.