Title: A trip to the cinema
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Merlin and Arthur kind of go on their first official first date.
Word Count: 1250
Prompt: "Anguish" for camelot_drabble
Author's Notes: Unbetaed. Part 11 of "A Secret Admirer?" Story. Kinda fluffy for the anguish prompt.
Realising that going to see a film with Merlin on Friday night was probably not a good idea, Arthur, fidgeted in his seat the entire time.
"Will you relax?" Merlin said in Arthur's ear, and his hot breath sent shivers down Arthur's spine.
"Sorry… I forgot I kind of hate the cinema…"
"Then why did you—"
"Shh!" Someone from behind them scolded.
"Sorry…" Arthur said and tried to sit straight.
"Come on," Merlin said, grabbing Arthur's hand, and got up. He led Arthur out of the hall and into the lobby. "If you don't like—"
"I know, I'm sorry. I sort of panicked. I wanted to see you and— God, Owen used to hate this about me…"
At that, Merlin furrowed his brows. "Fuck that bloke," he said. "He was a cheating arsehole so we're not discussing him."
Arthur smiled. "Okay, we're not discussing any sorts of topics that might bring us anguish," he joked.
Merlin shook his head. "So, do you want to get out of here and go to a pub or something? Or do you want to try and finish the film—"
"How much time is left for the film to be over?"
Merlin looked at his watch, "about thirty—thirty five minutes." He was still holding Arthur's hand with the watch-free arm.
"Okay, let's go to a pub," Arthur said.
They walked out to where Arthur had parked his car, still hand in hand, and Arthur tried not to grin like a complete idiot. Merlin seemed more distant in his text messages than he was in person. Maybe he was just not a mobile communication sort of bloke.
Right after Arthur had thought that, Merlin let go of Arthur's hand and checked his mobile. He contemplated over whatever was on the screen, and then sent a lengthy reply.
So maybe it was just Arthur.
At the pub, they sat closer together; knees bumping, and Arthur's hand casually brushing over Merlin's. There were a few people giving them strange stares, but Arthur didn't care. If someone was going to start a fight with him, he had the strength to take them on. Maybe three of them together.
Besides, he was used to stares. Owen loved going to gay only pubs but Arthur hated putting himself in a box. He liked going to a place where no one was trying to pull his date, and he could actually enjoy the company. There might have been also the reason he didn't know which gay put Owen would be at tonight, and Arthur didn't want to risk it.
"So what is it that you do for work?" Arthur asked Merlin. He remembered vaguely asking Percy about it, but he couldn't remember at the moment.
"I work in the library at Camelot University," Merlin said and Arthur recalled Percy had told him that. It was when Arthur wanted to know Merlin better but didn't want to show up at the man's job and embarrass him.
"Right, of course."
"Wait, you knew that?"
"Percy told me."
"You talked to Percy about me?"
Arthur nodded. "After we'd met. I asked him…"
"Asked him what?"
"I don't know…you intrigued me."
"Yeah?" Merlin said with a sly smile before he took a sip of his pint. "You didn't notice me for ages and then I intrigued you?"
"I was wearing relationship goggles," Arthur admitted. "When I was around Owen—you know this. I'm not the one that cheated. I was the one that wanted to work it out."
"And do you? Still?"
Arthur shook his head. "No. You also know this. That ship's sailed. I don't even want to be in the same room as him. Besides, I don't want to talk about him, Merlin. I want to talk about you."
"So, what do you want to know?" Merlin asked, almost as a challenge, and bit down on one of the pieces of the chips placed between them.
What makes you come apart?
"Why are you so short with me when we're texting, but tonight, you've checked your messages fifteen times since we've sat down?" Arthur asked instead.
"Oh, that," Merlin said. "Sorry, didn't realise it was a problem."
"It's not. I just…wonder. If you're interested."
Merlin raised an eyebrow. "That's rich coming from you."
"I mean in our friendship, you idiot." Or maybe more. Are you interested in me? Do you want to go back to my place and finish what we started last week? Will you take the lead this time? Because I sure as hell am done making a fool of myself.
"Of course," Merlin said, looking slightly annoyed. Arthur couldn't tell if he was annoyed with Arthur or with something else. "I just…I have a family emergency, I mean, I might get a text, I mean… I'd rather not talk about it, okay?"
Arthur nodded. "Of course. Sorry, I didn't mean to pry in your personal—"
"It's fine," Merlin said, placing a hand on Arthur's shoulder. "I'm flattered you want my undivided attention."
Arthur's hand rested on Merlin's knee and someone brushed past them, bumping his shoulder with Arthur. Arthur didn't know if the man was doing it on purpose, or if it was because they were at a crowded bar.
"Do you want to go someplace else?" Arthur asked, looking around, and realising he wanted to be in a less crowded place with Merlin.
"Actually…" Merlin said reluctantly, "I need to head home. I'm sorry, but I…" He hesitated, and Arthur decided he didn't want to push.
"No worries, mate. Can I offer you a lift?"
Merlin seemed to hesitate again, but eventually, he nodded. "That'd be great."
They drove in relative silence. Merlin gave Arthur directions, and Arthur knew the neighbourhood. It was far far away from his own. This was the kind of place his father had warned him about, told him to stay away from, and Merlin lived here?
Maybe it wasn't as bad as his father had thought. His father did have a reputation to keep in society, but Arthur wasn't anything about that. If it'd been up to Uther, Arthur would have never been friends with a club bouncer, and a kindergarten teacher, or a barista. Arthur found all the kids of his father's friends boring. Hell, he'd found Owen's friends boring.
"I know it looks dangerous…" Merlin said, sounding uncertain.
"It's fine. It's not my place to make any judgements or whatever…" Arthur said, feeling awkward. "I mean, I don't think… Shite. I don't know what I think… I just don't want to say the wrong thing again."
Merlin laughed and placed his hand on Arthur's knee. "It's all right."
Arthur nodded but continued to look at the road.
"And this is okay…?"
Arthur rolled his eyes. "If you're flirting with me, Emrys…"
"Of course, I'm flirting with you. You've been flirting with me all week. Wait, right here, on the left."
Arthur pulled into a parking spot in front of what looked like an abandoned building. "You live here?"
"No," Merlin said, "Two streets over."
"This is fine. I don't want…" He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I'm not ready for you to know where I live."
"Why? Afraid I'll stalk you."
Merlin shrugged. "Maybe."
"Wow, you don't trust me," said Arthur.
"No. I don't… Invite people over. And if we park in front of my flat, and if we kiss—"
"I hope so," Merlin said with a shy smile. "Or I had hoped…"
read next part: three days