Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwen, Mithian, Percival
Summary: Arthur tries to get to know Merlin.
Word Count: 770
Prompt: "haste" for camelot_drabble
Author's Notes: Unbetaed. Continuation of "A Secret Admirer?"
The night was a total bust. When Arthur had returned to the bar after his chat with Percy by the door, he'd not managed to shake Merlin out of his head. There was just something about the man that intrigued him. No, he wasn't exactly attracted to Merlin, Arthur wasn't sure he could find it in his heart to be attracted to anyone at this time, but he knew he definitely wanted to get to know him more.
Without a glance at any of the other blokes at the club, Arthur left in haste, feeling as though he could no longer stand anyone there. He needed to get out, and fast.
The next day, Arthur sent a text message to Percy to get more information about Merlin. Percy wasn't forthcoming at first, but eventually, he told Arthur where Merlin worked. That was all.
Arthur was disappointed Percy simply didn't give him Merlin's mobile number, and what did he expect Arthur to do? Show up at the man's place of work? Arthur wasn't going to stalk him.
Eventually, his saving grace was Gwen, who told Arthur that she was having a few friends over for tea next Thursday, and she was inviting Merlin.
"But, I don't want you flirting with him at my tea party, Arthur," she said.
"I don't want that. I think…I think I just want to be his friend."
"Be gentle with him, okay?" she said, sounding sincere, and worried.
"Am I the only person the world who didn't know this bloke fancied me? How could you all let this be? Why didn't anyone tell me?"
"You were with Owen."
"Owen, that everyone apparently hated."
"Well, he was your boyfriend. If I were dating—"
"Yes, Gwen. If you were dating someone I thought was an arse, I would tell you."
"It's easier said than done, Arthur. When things were good between the two of you, they were really good. And you smiled in a way I'd never seen…"
Arthur sighed. He agreed with Gwen. Things with Owen weren't always bad. They had their moments, though few and far between that might have been. Perhaps it was his mistake to push their relationship to be so close and so fast. Things done in such a haste were always a terrible idea.
"Very well," he said finally. "Can I still come to the tea party and get to know this Merlin? I won't pursue anything, I promise."
"Fine," she said, agreeing but not really sounding totally on-board with the idea.
Arthur didn't know why his friends were all worried. He wasn't going to do anything rash. He was still getting over his bad break-up.
When Arthur arrived at Gwen's flat for tea, he realised he was the last one there. He saw a few familiar faces in the sitting room as he glanced around, and as soon as he locked eyes with Merlin, he gave a quick nod.
Merlin's eyes had widened slightly before he smiled at Arthur and looked away. He seemed as though he were searching for something.
"Arthur! You're here!" Gwen said with delight and pulled him in for a hug. By the time they separated, Arthur saw Merlin had found what he was looking for. Or who, rather.
A man with long black hair and grey eyes had his hand resting on Merlin's shoulder. He was speaking with one of the guests but kept his hand on Merlin the entire time. Merlin, Arthur thought, seemed distracted as he wasn't in the conversation the man was having with the other guest, but was still leaning into the man's touch.
A date. Arthur reckoned.
Merlin had brought a date.
Arthur shouldn't have been upset by this because he didn't really know Merlin, and Merlin didn't owe him anything, but still, he felt foolish for coming to the tea party now. What was he expecting? To be Merlin's friend? He sounded like a fourteen year old.
As Arthur thought about whether or not he should make an excuse to leave Gwen's flat, or not, Gwen asked everyone to take their seats at the table. They served sandwiches and three different types of teas to all the guests, and Arthur distracted himself by initiating a conversation with Mithian who was sitting next to him.
Mithian had just returned from her trip to the States and was telling Arthur her plans of starting a family, and Arthur was starting to relax. He could do this. He could have a nice chat with his friend, and forget all about why he felt so funny to see Merlin there with another man.