Character/s: Arthur, Merlin,
Summary: Locking himself out was a brilliant plan to meet his new neighbour.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: I had fun with this one!
Arthur cursed his sister as he loitered in the hallway, feeling as if he was up to no good. Some people might even say that he was. But Morgana had dared him, challenged him to talk to his extremely attractive new neighbour and Arthur was never one to back down from a challenge.
He probably hadn’t helped himself by telling her in the first place how Merlin Emrys had caught his eye the day he had first moved in, struggling to get everything through the door of his new flat. Not that Arthur had been watching. Not at all.
Arthur moved closer to Merlin’s door. The sound of running water had stopped and Arthur knew this was his moment. When he had first approached Merlin’s door, he could hear the shower running and while that had filled his head with delicious thoughts, it had also left him stranded in the corridor like a fool.
Raising a hand, Arthur knocked. His heart was thudding hard and he felt uncharacteristically nervous. He was used to men and women alike throwing themselves at him but as of yet, Merlin hadn’t given any sign he noticed Arthur existed, let alone lived next door. Arthur wasn’t used to having to introduce himself.
Merlin opened the door and both of them blushed.
“You’re not Gwen.”
“Gwen?” Arthur was amazed he formed any thought at all considering Merlin was standing there in nothing but a towel. He had been wrong thinking that Merlin was attractive: the man was gorgeous, all lean lines and toned muscle. Arthur forced himself to think rationally.
“Gwen Smith?” He knew that Merlin ran with the same crowd as Morgana sometimes – it was how he had found out about the flat. Arthur had known Gwen since they were children. Merlin nodded.
“Doesn’t Gwen have a boyfriend?”
“A boyfriend that isn’t you?”
“You normally open the door in just a towel?”
“Oh!” If anything, Merlin’s flush deepened and Arthur resisted the urge to reach out and run his thumb across Merlin’s cheeks. It was tempting though, so tempting…
Merlin opened the door wider, inviting Arthur in as he stepped back into the shadows. Arthur hadn’t kept his voice down and no doubt old Mr Kilgarrah who lived at number 3 would be poking his head out to have a nose any moment.
Arthur stepped in, shutting the door behind him. Merlin swiftly moved away. The flat layout was the same as Arthur’s and he knew that Merlin had gone through to the bedroom to find some clothes.
Then Arthur decided he needed to stop thinking about Merlin in a bedroom the same as his without any clothes on.
“We’ve been best friends for years,” Merlin called, “we don’t even think about stuff like that.”
Arthur nodded, then realised that Merlin couldn’t see him. He didn’t say anything though, not trusting his voice.
Merlin returned wearing joggers and a baggy hoody. He had gone from gorgeous to cute and Arthur mentally kicked himself for agreeing to this challenge in the first place.
“What can I do for you?” Merlin asked and Arthur gulped, his mind full of several things. His silence must have lasted longer than he imagined though because Merlin frowned.
“Are you alright? It’s Arthur, right? You knocked on my door, remember?”
“Right, yes.” Arthur pulled himself together. He was a businessman, he was not going to act like a teenager with his first crush. He shrugged apologetically.
“I’ve been an idiot and accidentally locked myself out.”
He may have never met Merlin but his new neighbour had his spare key. Arthur had Morgana to thank for that and he wondered if it was because of him Morgana had persuaded Merlin to look at the flat.
Merlin moved through to the kitchen. “I’m amazed I haven’t done that yet. I was always doing it at my old place.”
Arthur followed him, watching as Merlin rifled through a kitchen drawer and pulled out Arthur’s key.
“Actually…” Merlin trailed off as he handed Arthur the key. “Do you mind if I give you my spare? Just in case you need to return the favour one day?”
“What, answering the door in my towel?” Arthur spoke without meaning too.
But the look on Merlin’s face said it all. He had known who Arthur was despite them never speaking and Arthur was not the only one admiring a new neighbour. Merlin’s flush reappeared and he bit his lip, forcing Arthur to look away so he didn’t make any moves that he might regret.
“If you want,” Merlin said quietly, a shy smile on his face. Arthur grinned, holding out his hand for the keys.
“Sure,” he said. Merlin passed them over and Arthur may have accidentally closed his hand a little too fast and brushed the back of Merlin’s fingers.
“I’ll let you get on,” Arthur murmured. Merlin nodded and they walked to the door in silence. Arthur was halfway towards his own flat when Merlin spoke again.
“Anytime you need anything,” he said, “just drop by.”
“Likewise,” Arthur said, his voice an open invitation. He couldn’t decide if he wanted Merlin to pop round to borrow some sugar and they could get to know each other properly over a cup of tea, or whether he wanted him to knock on his door desperate for sex. Arthur would oblige, either way.
Arthur waited until Merlin had shut his door before staring at the spare key in his hand. Then he grinned, put his hand in his pocket and pulled out his normal keys. As far as plans went to get to meet his new neighbour, he thought that one had been genius even if he had introduced himself as a forgetful idiot.
He let himself in, sprawling across the sofa and thought back to every expression that had crossed Merlin’s face. Arthur had a feeling he was going to become far more forgetful over the next few weeks.
Any excuse to knock on Merlin’s door.