Title: The Perfect Line
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin,
Summary: Arthur doesn't know what to say. Merlin helps.
Warnings: Tinest bit of swearing.
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: Pick Up Lines
Author's Notes: Hope you enjoy!
“You must be the North Star, because the light around you guided me here.”
“If you're here, who's running heaven?”
“Which is easier? You getting into those tight jeans or me getting you out of them?"
“Roses are red, bananas are yellow, wanna go out with a nice little fellow?”
A sudden snort of laughter made Arthur jump. He whirled around from the mirror, face flushing in embarrassment. There was no one behind him, but that didn’t mean anything.
“Come out, Merlin,” Arthur called. Sure enough, Merlin slipped around the door, his shoulders shaking with suppressed mirth.
“You know,” Merlin said, his voice spluttering with laughter. “I’m not sure anyone can resist you with lines like that. You might have to turn yourself down occasionally, just to keep things interesting.”
“Shut up,” Arthur grumbled. He could feel that his face was a blushing inferno but didn’t dare check the mirror to find out how bad it was. He could have sworn the flat was empty. He crossed his room, casually sitting on the edge of his desk and reaching behind him to shut his laptop. The last thing he needed was Merlin realising that he had looked the lines up.
“What are you doing?” Merlin asked when he had gained control of himself. Arthur glared at him.
“What does it look like?”
“Perfecting your act as a twat?”
“Why do you even exist?” Arthur grumbled. Merlin smirked at him. They had been best friends for years, flat mates for the last two. But it wasn’t the embarrassment of being caught practicing that meant Arthur couldn’t look his friend in the eye.
At least he now knew how Merlin felt about pick-up lines and could spare himself the humiliation later.
“So, who are you trying to get into your perfectly perfect bed this time?”
“Does it matter?” Arthur retorted, wishing the doorbell or phone would suddenly ring so they could put this conversation on hold to never resume at a later date.
“Yep,” Merlin said. He crossed the room and hitched himself onto said bed, swinging his legs childishly. “Depends whether you know them or not.”
Arthur stared at him. Merlin sounded earnest and, despite his teasing, Arthur knew his friend wanted the best for him. But asking Merlin’s advice could be the best way to scope out how his friend felt.
“Fine, I know them.”
“Yes.” Arthur could feel his blush returning in full force and stared at the carpet instead of Merlin.
“In that case, it’s easy,” Merlin said. Arthur looked up and almost fell off the desk. He hadn’t heard Merlin move, but he was suddenly right in front of him.
“You don’t need any silly lines if it someone you know. Just talk to them.”
“What if it isn’t that easy?”
“Of course it is.” There was nothing mocking in Merlin’s voice now. Arthur’s gaze slowly locked on Merlin’s and neither of them could look away. “Watch.”
Merlin took a deep breath, as if he was the one nervous instead of Arthur.
“Arthur, we’ve known each other for a while. It’s been great and you’re my best mate. I won’t do anything to jeopardise that. But I can’t lie – to you or myself. I like you more than that. I like you more than a friend and I need to know if there is a chance you might feel the same.”
“Yes,” Arthur breathed, not thinking about what was happening. Merlin smiled, a beaming smile that lit up the room and placed a hand on Arthur’s chest.
“Will you go out with me?”
Merlin’s smile turned shy, then he coughed and sprung back.
Mortification spread through Arthur like a disease. He had forgotten that Merlin had just been pretending. He stood up, intending to move away. But out of the corner of his eye, he saw Merlin looking at the floor. He looked as if he was trying not to cry.
“What? Nothing. You never clean, it’s dusty!”
“Bullshit,” Arthur said. He turned back to his friend. This time, he initiated the eye contact and Merlin didn’t look away.
“Was that for real?”
“Was what for real? Of course not, I just thought that-,”
Merlin’s mouth snapped shut and he visibly swallowed. “Yes,” he whispered, his voice barely audible. This time, it was Arthur’s turn to grin.
“My answer was real as well.”
“What?” Merlin stared at him, examining Arthur’s face closely. Arthur knew he was looking for a sign that this was a trick.
“But you were going to ask someone out.”
“Someone I knew - well. You idiot, I was going to ask you out.”
“Me?!” Merlin stared at him for a long moment and Arthur wondered if this was all a big misunderstanding. Then Merlin’s smile returned and this time, it was coy. Arthur swallowed.
“You were going to use those lines on me?”
Arthur mutely nodded. He didn’t trust his voice, nor the look in Merlin’s eye. Merlin moved closer, his hand once again resting on Arthur’s chest.
“In that case,” he murmured, leaning in. “I think I’m definitely quicker at getting my jeans on than you are getting them off. You’re all fingers and thumbs when you’re nervous.”
Arthur playfully swatted at him and Merlin ran from the room, laughing. Arthur lobbed a cushion after him, relief coursing through him. They had a chance – and it hadn’t made things incredibly awkward.
Then Arthur realised something.
“You never answered me!” He yelled, knowing that Merlin would hear him from his own room.
“You never technically asked!” Merlin shouted back.
“Go out with me?”
Arthur grinned as he moved across to his bed and collapsed back onto it. He had been worrying about this for days, months even. He couldn’t believe he had been such a fool.
Then again, he wasn’t the only one who hadn’t noticed that his best friend was feeling more than friendship. It wasn’t entirely his fault. Merlin was to blame as well.