Title: Be My Hideaway (pt. 4)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur Pendragon is part of Camelot University's rowing team, always pushing himself to be better, giving everything for his team. From outside his life looks ideal. But looks can be deceiving. Merlin Emrys, an art student and sports aficionado finds inspiration in him.
Prompt: #289: Thankful-picture prompt
Author's Notes: None
A splash of freezing water hit him right in the face, Merlin leaped to his feet spluttering and blinking rapidly trying to get rid of his blurry vision.
"Fuck you," Merlin yelled, glaring directly at Gwaine and Freya who looked anything but sorry.
"Sorry," Freya said batting her eyelashes. Merlin knew better than to fall for it. Gwaine kept smirking, he was still dangerously close to the shore.
Gwen giggled and patted one of his legs. She was the only one--besides Merlin--who didn't jump right in to enjoy the cold lake water. Not because she didn't want to, but because she didn't want to leave Merlin alone.
"I hate them," Merlin told her reclaiming his spot by her side.
"You don't," Gwen answered knowingly. "Are you sure you don't want to go for a swim?"
Merlin looked toward the lake where every one else was messing around, their joyous laughter blended with loud voices, they were making a ruckus, splashing water and competing to see who was the fastest swimmer. As tempting as it was, the afternoon was cold and the wind as beginning to pick up. Besides, Merlin had always been sensitive to the cold. While the rest was in swim wear he was wearing his favourite jumper.
"Totally sure." He turned to Gwen and said, "You don't need to stay here. I'm a big boy."
Gwen gazed at the water then back at Merlin hesitating. "But--"
"Go to him," Merlin said pointing to the place where he could spot Lancelot. Gwen kissed his cheek and ran to join her friends in the water.
With a sigh he laid down in the grass, his arms crossed behind his head, above him the trees burned red and welcomed him beneath their shadow. Merlin closed his eyes listening to the sounds of nature: wind and water and rustling leaves.
He must have fallen asleep because when he opened his eyes the sun was low in the sky, there was no more splashing and Arthur was peering down at him. His eyes were narrowed and once again he had the thoughtful expression on his face, as if he was still trying to understand something about Merlin he could see at first glance.
"Afternoon, Sleeping Beauty," Arthur said teasing. His mouth quirked up on one corner.
Merlin suppressed a yawn and rubbed his eyes. Arthur was still there, surrounded by bright spots. "Hi," he croaked out. "What are you doing here?"
Arthur cocked an eyebrow. "That's rude, Merlin. Here I thought you might want company but it's okay, I'll go. Leave you to talk to the crickets."
"Don't be over dramatic," Merlin said. Smiling he pushed himself up to sit, and patted the ground. Arthur pursed his lips but sat down next to him. He pulled his beanie farther down like wanting to hide.
"So, slept well?" Arthur asked, he was staring out at the empty, silent lake. His fingers sank into the grass, almost subconsciously he started tearing it up.
"I could ask you the same," Merlin answered.
He shrugged and gave Merlin obnoxious grin. "I slept just fine. Did you have fun without me? I mean, it's almost impossible but who knows."
"We coped," Merlin deadpanned. When Arthur had joked about sleeping the entire weekend Merlin had assumed he was in fact joking. Turns out Arthur can sleep for hours on end. He barely showed his face around the camp, he kept mostly to his tent. No one commented on it, probably used to Arthur's sleeping habits.
He tried not to stare openly at Arthur, but it was almost impossible now that he had him so close, unguarded and soft looking.