Summary: Merlin is very reluctant in revealing why he’s wearing long sleeves
Word Count: 1117, oops!
Author's Notes: Sorry, once again not beta’d.
„Thirty-two degrees Celcius in the shade and he’s still wearing long sleeves and jeans.”
Merlin heard the whispers and he felt his ears starting to burn. There was no doubt that they were talking about him. It didn’t make it easier that one of the blokes standing with those who made remarks was Arthur Pendragon.
He’d had a crush on Arthur for ages and at the party at Percy’s house last weekend, Arthur had kissed him. That Arthur hadn’t said anything since then meant that he wasn’t interested, that the kiss had meant nothing to him, Merlin knew, but he couldn’t help crushing even harder.
“Oh, cut it out.”
Merlin couldn’t help but peeking over when he heard Arthur’s voice. He saw the others in Arthur’s group stare at him, unable to believe that he was defending the odd one. Arthur didn’t seem to care, he left them standing and came over to where Merlin was pressing his books against his chest. The blond looked so good in his t-shirt and the baggy shorts, bare feet in his sneakers.
“Hi, Arthur.” If only that damn blush went away! Merlin felt his heartbeat speeding up and that he started sweating again and that didn’t help either.
“Hey, listen…” Arthur scratched the back of his neck. “I meant to call you after last weekend, but…you know…homework and training and all that…”
Merlin just nodded. Did Arthur really mean that? He had meant to call him? Or was it just a brush-off?
“I thought…I hoped…maybe you want to go have an ice cream or something?”
Arthur was worrying his lower lip with his teeth and it was the hottest thing Merlin had ever seen. “You…yeah!” He nodded. “I’d love to.” A wide smile took over his face, Merlin couldn’t help it. Maybe the kiss hadn’t been so bad and now Arthur wanted to spend time with him? But…Merlin consciously pulled the sleeve of his t-shirt even more onto the back of his hand. “If you want to spend time with the odd one, that is.”
Damn, why had he said that now? This was difficult enough and now he had blown it, giving Arthur the perfect excuse to wiggle out of this again.
Arthur looked at him for a moment. “I want to.” Then he grinned his trademark toothpaste-commercial-worthy grin. “After class today?”
Merlin just nodded and knew he wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything that would happen in the classes he still had on his schedule.
With beating heart, he had gone to the ice cream place where Arthur had been waiting, leaning against a wall outside, looking better than Merlin could have ever dreamed of. Merlin had feared that it would be weird, that they would have awkward silences and hoped that Arthur wouldn’t leave after ten minutes. Nothing like that happened. They started talking and didn’t stop when their ice creams arrived or when Merlin had to reply to a text from his mother who demanded to know why he hadn’t come home after school.
Merlin laughed at one of Arthur’s jokes. He had heard Arthur making snide remarks and poke fun at people but he did no such thing, he was funny and clever and had a lot more to say than people in school thought. Without even noticing what he was doing, Merlin pulled the sleeves of his t-shirt up to his elbows and then froze when he saw Arthur looking at his arms. Quickly, he tugged them down again. “I’m…” Gosh, now he had blown it. “I…” He started to get up.
Arthur reached for his wrist and held him in place. “What? Why? What happened?”
Closing his eyes, Merlin swallowed hard. He didn’t want anyone to see this, it was embarrassing enough that it had happened.
Very gently, Arthur turned his arm and then pulled the sleeve of his t-shirt up a bit further before he looked up at Merlin questioningly.
Merlin’s cheeks started to heat up again. “It’s not what it looks like.”
“What do you think it looks like?”
“I’m not cutting myself, this is…”
“It doesn’t look like cuts, more like scratches, tears and burns.” Arthur, who had examined the arm again, once again looked up. “A friend of Leon’s cuts herself, this doesn’t look like her arm. What happened? Is someone hurting you?”
The concern in Arthur’s voice was something that Merlin had never heard before and it almost brought tears to his eyes. “No, don’t worry. I’m just a clumsy klutz.”
For a moment, a grin tugged at the corners of Arthur’s mouth but then he grew serious again. “What happened? Is it everywhere? Is this the reason why you are wearing long sleeves and jeans in this weather?”
Merlin nodded slowly.
“Who did this to you?” There was a fierce glow in Arthur’s eyes.
“I kind of did this to myself.” Merlin gave Arthur a wry smile. “Promise me not to laugh.”
Arthur just looked at him.
“It’s not as bad as it looks. I helped mam and Uncle Gaius remove some of the old trees and shrubbery in Uncle Gaius’ garden. Well, it’s more like a wilderness, not a garden, but with a bit of work, it will look nice again.”
Merlin sighed and then a giggle bubbled up in him. “So there we were, trying to pull those roots out that had grown everywhere and I pulled and pulled and then only heard my mam yell and then felt that the root had ripped off and…” He was laughing now.
“What’s so funny about that?” Arthur looked confused.
“I fell backwards into some bushes and they had thorns and on top of it, there was growing something underneath that I am obviously allergic to, so it gave me this rash and the cuts and scratches are from the thorns when I tried to free myself.”
Arthur chuckled, too. “This is not funny.” Now he laughed. “Oh hell, the image is funny, even though the rash and the rest aren’t.” He grew serious again. “This must hurt like hell.”
“It’s not enjoyable.” Merlin agreed. “Especially not in this hot weather.”
Merlin made a face. “Kind of. I was just wearing shorts and work boots and thick working gloves. It was too hot on Saturday to wear a shirt.”
Arthur stared for a moment and then cleared his throat. “Are you…did you get any treatment?”
“We’ve spent most of Saturday night at the A&E and I have a lotion that I need to apply but it will take a while before I stop looking like a crumble cake.”
Arthur laughed at that. “Did you know that crumble cake’s my favourite?”