Title: Fresh Start
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Morgana, Gwen, Gwaine, Leon, Lancelot
Summary: It's Arthur's first day at a new school
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: Artist Appreciation - AU
Author's Notes: Hope you enjoy!
Arthur sighed, resting his head on his folded arms and leaning on the table. He stared around the cafeteria glumly, resisting the urge to tug at his new uniform. It was uncomfortable and scratchy – not at all like the clothing he was used to.
A flash of black flickered across his vision as Morgana tossed her hair and he scowled. This was their third school in a year and Morgana just took it in her stride. The uniform fit her well and Arthur wondered how many boys he was going to have to fight. It wasn’t that he cared – Morgana could handle herself –it was the principle.
“Stop showing off,” he muttered. Morgana glared at him.
“Stop sulking. If you didn’t look so depressed, people might actually talk to us.”
Arthur winced at the truth in her words. He used to be one of the most popular people in his school. All of the girls and half the boys wanted to go out with him, everyone wanted to be his friend... He sighed again. He missed those days.
But when their father had started dragging them around the country every time his firm moved, Artur had stopped trying. If he had no friends, he couldn’t miss them.
Morgana’s phone pinged and Arthur glanced up at her.
“Vivian?” he muttered as Morgana started texting back. A curt nod was all he received in response. He couldn’t get through to his sister that her friend was a cow.
“Excuse me,” a voice said. Assuming whoever it was would be talking to Morgana, Arthur said nothing.
“Excuse me,” the voice repeated. Artur looked up. Morgana was still texting and Arthur slowly sat up. There was a boy standing behind him. Arthur thought he might have been in one of his classes that morning. A petite girl was standing next to him with a pretty smile.
“It’s Arthur, right?” the boy asked and Arthur nodded. He had been introduced at the start of every class that morning.
“I’m Merlin. This is Gwen. We were wondering if we could share your table.”
Arthur stared at him, nonplussed. Why would they want to share a table with the new kids?
“Oh my god!” Morgana squealed, putting her phone away. “We’ve taken your seats!”
Arthur flushed. He knew the importance of sitting in the right place at lunch time. Gwen laughed, shaking her head.
“Of course not! Well, we do normally sit here, but that doesn’t mean you have taken our seats! There’s room for us all, if you don’t mind, that is. We can-,”
“Just sit down,” Merlin laughed, pushing his friend into a seat. Morgana instantly leant forward and Arthur stared in disbelief as she engaged the girl in conversation. Wherever they went, Morgana never had any trouble making friends.
“Girls, huh?” Merlin said with a nervous laugh, also watching them.
“You’re not finally interested?” a loud voice drawled and an arm appeared over Merlin’s shoulders. He pushed it away, laughing.
“I don’t need to be when people like you are swanning around.”
“Loyal to a fault,” the boy said with a wink. “Who’s this?”
Arthur barely paid any attention as Merlin introduced him. His mind was spinning. His father had made him swear that he would keep quiet about the fact he was bi. Arthur had been happy to – he didn’t need a target on his back.
That conversation, however, made it quite apparent that not only was Merlin gay, his friend knew and didn’t care.
“Gwaine,” the boy said with a flip of his hair. “Nice to meet you, mate. If you need anyone to show you around-,”
“Ask Leon,” Merlin laughed. “Gwaine will send you the wrong way!”
“Ask me what?” A curly haired boy joined them next with another friend in tow. The latter was looking at Gwen with a soft expression and Arthur knew they were a couple.
“Leon,” the curly haired boy held out a hand. Arthur shook it awkwardly. Gwaine elbowed Leon in the ribs.
“Formal as they can be,” he teased, “but a great goalie. You play?”
Arthur shrugged. “A little.”
“He’s being modest,” Morgana butted in. “Which is unlike my brother. He’s great!”
It wasn’t often Morgana praised him. But when he glanced at his sister, he saw she was watching him with a look of pride. She had clearly watched him interacting and was glad he was trying. Artur hadn’t spoken to anyone for three days at their last school when they had started.
As Arthur glanced at her, he realised she was watching Gwaine. Who looked back with just as much interest. Arthur rolled his eyes, then hoped no one had seen. It never took Morgana look to catch someone’s eye.
But she was right; he was good at the game. Saying so, however, didn’t feel like the right thing to do.
“Good,” Merlin said happily. “I can go back on the bench then.”
“You just want to admire the view!” Gwaine teased. Merlin shrugged, even as blushed as Gwaine’s comment. Arthur noticed how blue his eyes were. If Morgana could show interest, then surely, he could as well?
“It’s not my game,” he told Arthur. “I’m their cheerleader instead.”
“And we couldn’t do it without you,” Leon said.
Arthur suddenly realised he was sitting comfortably back in his chair, the tension having left him as he listened to their banter. They were all different; that much was clear. But he could sense how close their friendship was and realised those differences didn’t matter.
“What do you say, mate?” Gwaine asked. “Want a kick about later?”
Before he knew what he was doing, Arthur had nodded. Morgana beamed at him before resuming her conversation with Gwen.
Arthur smiled and started on his previously ignored lunch. Maybe he didn’t have to do it on his own this time? As long as his father didn’t want to move on any time soon, Artur felt that maybe, just maybe, he could make some real friends this time.