Title: 5 times Merlin fell even deeper in love and 1 time he learned he was not the only one. Part 5: Merlin alone.
Pairing/s: (pre) Merlin/Percival
Character/s: Merlin, Percival
Summary: Merlin tries not to panic during Percy's mysterious disappearance.
Word Count: ~1000
Prompt:#250 Pick up lines (Love and Friendship month)
Author's Notes: Oh how I struggle. Hope it doesn't show too much. Edited to not look like a single bulk of text when in mobile mode...
Follow up to Four beddings and a funeral
Some guys were smoking in the loos, again, but that was the biggest problem Merlin came across. All the meetings and preparations beforehand had paid off. Instructions and agreements were followed pretty much to the t. There was nothing for Merlin to do but watch and walk around to show that he was still here - whatever good that did. He shared a few words with some of the teachers, he helped to refill paper and soap, and he felt utterly useless. He tried to locate the creepy staring guy, but he hadn't seen him. The Instagram tag on the banners might be helpful though. Maybe the guy wouldn't be tagged with name, but if Merlin found a photo of him then at least he could ask someone. Merlin himself was rarely on Instagram or such himself, especially not since the funeral.
The spot by the wall where he had stood earlier seemed too exposed, so he found himself a corner to lurk in. The screen on Merlin's phone filled with an seemingly endless row of selfies, smiling couples, group shots and photos of people dancing. He scrolled and scrolled hoping to find something useful around the time he had noticed Creepy Stare Guy. He paused when he found a pictrue of himself and Percy. It had to have been taken while they were talking about the cats. Percy looked lovely, smiling down at his phone with a fond look. Merlin was leaning close, grinning wide. A feeling of dread washed over Merlin as he noticed one of the tags attached to it was called #Mercival. He didn't dare to check what it was about. Nothing good came out of checking such things. Maybe this is where Arthur got the idea that this prom job was a date. Arthur did had some trouble seeing when he was laughing with someone and when he was laughing at someone. No, Merlin was not clicking that tag. He did, however, save the picture on his phone. A testament to his stupidity.
He kept on scrolling, feeling even smaller and dumber than before. Several more images had him and Percy in them. Some where the selfies they had posed for and some others were snapped without Merlin knowing. At last he found Creepy at the edge of someone's photo and he stopped scrolling. He saved that image too, but playing detective had lost it's appeal. Instead he wondered if he should leave. He wouldn't truly be missed until it was time to lock the doors. He was getting paid to stick around, but so was Percy and he had left first.
He sighed and thought about Will, and them growing up together back home in Ealdor. Will would have known what to say or do. He found himself smiling and realized he had a good idea of what Will would have had to say about this. Quitting certainly wouldn't have been an option. Quitting was never an option.
Pathetically checking his watch and hoping Percy would be back soon, was not an option to be avoided either. Nearly an hours had passed before Merlin noticed the 'personnel only' slide door open and he saw Percy sneaking back in. He seemed less composed than earlier. Coming closer, Merlin could see he looked a bit ruffled. His shirt and tie were askew. A red hickey glowed from his neck. Merlin tried hard not to imagine all the things Percy might have had time to do with this unnamed “Nothing” while he was away.
He moved in to correct Percy's collar and tie. First and foremost so he didn't have to see the mark and all the truths it told. Secondly so others wouldn't see it either. Percy's catched his breath as he realized what Merlin was doing. His hand instinctively tried to move up and cover it, but Merlin was in the way. Merlin felt protectiveness surge inside him. Percy was clearly not good at this secrecy business.
"Must have been one hell of a pick up line to made you dash off in such a hurry." Merlin murmured to Percy.
Merlin adjusted the collar again, pretending to do a final adjustment when in truth he was avoiding Percy's eyes.
Percival's voice had a guilty tone, perhaps from being caught.
"He's an ex. I didn't plan this."
Merlin nodded without really believing him. He brushed some invisible lint from Percy's jacket before he moved to Percy's side, out of Percy's personal space.
"Well, you didn't miss much here. Jackobs wants to talk to you about putting the donation money in the safe. I said I'd talk to you about it. No rush though."
"It's a nice mess you have created for yourself," Merlin thought to himself. "Now you are such good friends that he trusts you to cover for his secret rendezvous."
Merlin tried to smile and act normal. Even this couldn't shake Merlin's feelings. Percy was still interested in someone else, even if that probably wasn't Gwaine anymore. And Merlin would do anything for Percy if it meant Percy was happy. There was something else nagging at Merlin too. If Percy had just been swept away from his responsibilities for a hot snog fest, with no repercussions, shouldn't he look... happy?