Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Merlin and Arthur talk at Gwen's party.
Word Count: 500
Prompt: "500" words
Author's Notes: Unbetaed. Continuation as part 3 of the "Secret Admirer" Series.
To take a break from everyone at tea, Arthur snuck out to the balcony in Gwen's flat to smoke. He wasn't much of a smoker, but once in a while he indulged in the bad habit—especially if he was stressed.
He didn't really know why he was stressing. He had enough on his plate already than to think about some random stranger and his date.
"Hi…" Merlin's voice gave Arthur a start; he quickly got rid of his cigarette. He felt he'd been caught doing something he wasn't supposed to be doing. Technically, it was exactly that. He hated getting lectured on his smoking habit.
"Sorry…I didn't realise anyone was out here. I thought you'd left."
Arthur raised an eyebrow. "You were looking for me?"
Merlin gave shy smile, looking away from Arthur. "No. Just didn't see you around for ten minutes is all; figured you were bored. I mean, it is kinda boring…" Merlin gave a short laugh as if he was embarrassed.
Arthur simply smiled.
"I shouldn't be so mean, and I keep coming to Gwen's little get-togethers thinking I'll find someone new or interesting."
"What about your date?"
"Oh, Stanley? He's not my date…" Merlin's ears turned red but this time, he didn't look away from Arthur. "He's just a friend. He's a bit too friendly, if I'm honest, but I…" He shrugged casually, "I figured he could meet new people. He just moved back to Camelot."
"Oh…" Arthur said. "So you're not dating anyone?"
Merlin gave Arthur a confused look. "No. I'm not. This isn't about… Percy didn't put you up to this, right?"
"No," Arthur said; he wasn't entirely sure why but he took a step closer to Merlin. His body was starting to relax, the tension in his shoulders was easily leaving him. "Gwen told me she'd invited you. I accepted her invitation also so I could…" Arthur gave a heavy sigh. "Meet you, I guess?"
"Are you asking me or telling me?"
Arthur laughed at Merlin's expressionless face. Now it was him thoroughly embarrassed.
"I'm just looking for new friends… I think. I mean, I went through a bad break-up. Maybe I just need a different scenery. Not hang out with people who remind me of Owen. I don't want to dwell on him anymore. I thought maybe you and I could be friends or…"
Merlin seemed to regard him for a long moment. A very long moment before he said anything. Arthur was sure he was just going to turn around and leave.
"I never liked Owen."
Of all the things Arthur was readying himself for, he was not expecting that.
"That seems to be a common consensus," replied Arthur.
"I used to think that maybe I was just jealous of him. But turns out he's a wanker, and I'd been right all along."
"Sorry. I'm honest. I can't—"
"No, Please," Arthur said immediately. "Listening to people talk shit about my ex is kind of my favourite past-time."
READ PART FOUR