Title: The Secrecy of a Star
Character/s: Gwaine, Leon, Merlin
Summary: Merlin and Arthur set Leon up on a blind date that they refuse to tell him anything about.
Warnings: Modern AU
Word Count: 1,044
Prompt: #249: Blind Date
Author's Notes: none
Leon caught a glimpse of Merlin in his wardrobe mirror as he eyed two prospective ties.
It made him uneasy for multiple reasons.
“If you’re interested in outside opinions,” Merlin said, taking a step towards Leon, “I would suggest you wear that one.” Merlin pointed to the tie in Leon’s right hand, the bolder of the two choices in red with thin diagonal gold stripes. He smiled as Leon held it up to his chest. “It brings out your eyes.”
Leon nodded his thanks as he hung the other option back among its peers. He turned up his collar and slid the tie around his neck, feeling a rare sense of gratitude for the many personal and professional times in his life he’d been required to wear a tie. His hands went through the motions with ease, his mind free to question for the umpteenth time why he had agreed to this blind date tonight. He wasn’t a fan of the concept – Leon, in general, was not one for surprises – and yet he had agreed because Arthur and Merlin were his friends.
His unrelentingly persistent friends.
“Yes? Oh,” Merlin smiled, “that was a good choice.”
“Thank you,” Leon nodded politely. “Since I did agree to go on this date and since this date is happening in a matter of hours, do you think you could tell me something about who I’m meeting?”
Merlin’s smile dimmed. “No, Leon, I… I can’t.”
Unease prickled under Leon’s palms. “Nothing?”
“Even his name?”
“No.” Merlin shook his head. He had at least had the decency to look remorseful about his choice. “I’m sorry, Leon,” Merlin said, making an awkward move to tap Leon on the shoulder. “I know asking you to go into this completely blind doesn’t exactly breed confidence but he asked me not to tell you. I think you’ll understand why soon enough.”
Leon sighed, tugging at his already even sleeves.
“He is my friend,” Merlin reminded Leon with a growing smile. “We’ve known each other our whole lives just like you and Arthur. I wouldn’t ask you to do this if I didn’t genuinely think you’d get along.”
Leon felt a bit of reassurance; Merlin was generally a good judge of character. “You really think so?”
Merlin nodded, smiled, and handed Leon his scarf.
“You’re just his type.”
Much of the good faith Leon had in Merlin’s opinion began to fade away as Leon got closer and closer to the actual date.
Leon traveled to the date in uneasy silence thanks to Arthur’s insistence that Leon take his hired car to the restaurant. He would have greatly preferred to take the tube or walk, anything to distract him from the sheer blindness of the date. Arriving at the restaurant itself did nothing but add to Leon’s unease. For a restaurant listed as new and trendy on Yelp there was a distinct lack of people on a Saturday night. Leon was hesitant to get out of the car but the driver and the woman waiting expectantly on his arrival saw that he found his way.
Leon was seriously beginning to question what was going on as he was led through an empty restaurant devoid of any people other than staff.
They arrived at a table set for two in a sea of otherwise empty seats.
“Here you are, sir.”
Leon’s date, presumably, stood up as the woman pulled Leon’s chair out for him. The man’s smile was brilliant.
“You must be Leon. I’m-“
“Gwaine Green,” Leon said without any prompting.
Gwaine Green smiled and shrugged, tossing his hair out of his eyes with a casual grace.
“Guilty,” he laughed.
Leon stared – there was no other word for it – as Gwaine Green invited him to sit down.
Leon never was and never would be a person who was well-versed in popular culture but even he could recognize Gwaine Green. It felt impossible not to be able to recognize him; the man had a career that spanned the globe and was only growing. In recent years he’d started to branch out beyond his music into acting and producing which only put his face on TV, posters, and social media all the more.
‘Surreal’ didn’t even begin to describe what it was like to be sitting across a table from Gwaine Green.
“You okay over there?”
Leon’s head snapped towards Gwaine Green’s voice. The multiplatinum singer looked back at him, his brow creased somewhere between concern and apprehension. Leon nodded, taking a moment to breathe and pinch himself under the table.
“I, I think so,” Leon admitted.
“You sure?” Gwaine Green asked, setting his menu down. “Because it’s okay if it’s not. I know this isn’t… normal... and probably not the best first impression given all the secrecy. I’m sorry about that, by the way. I’m supposed to tell you that Merlin is sorry too.”
“It’s not necessary,” Leon said, gently waving off the apology. “I understand why you did it.”
Gwaine Green’s brilliant smile returned. “I appreciate that.” His gaze dropped to the table briefly and when he looked up his expression was less natural, more fixed. “But it’s okay if you’d rather not stay.”
Leon considered the situation for a moment, taking the time to process everything that had happened in the last few minutes. He could feel the initial shock wearing off although he doubted it would ever truly go away; even if they didn’t hit it off, he would never know how to tell people he’d been on a date with Gwaine Green. He tried to remember why he was here, going on a blind date because his friends insisted on it.
He thought back to Merlin saying with full confidence that Leon was just his type.
“Is it also okay if I stay?”
Gwaine Green’s expression warmed into something hopeful. “If that’s what you want.”
“Yes,” Leon nodded. “I’d like that.”
Gwaine glanced to his side and a server seemed to materialize out of thin air. He ordered a bottle of wine for the table, smiling at Leon as the server went off the retrieve a bottle from the cellar.
“I like your tie, Leon.”
Leon felt a bit of reassurance; Merlin was generally a good judge of character.