Title: Be My Hideaway (pt. 4b)
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
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: #290: Thankful- Make a list
Author's Notes: previous part.
It was surprising to go back to uni on Monday and realize that his life had changed. Not in monumental ways, but in small ones. Little things that had him striving to catch up with the new developments around him.
Merlin went to met Freya after her first class--like he always did--only to be taken aback by Gwaine obviously flirting with her outside the lecture hall. He slowed down his steps, wondering if he should turn back and leave them to it.
Gwaine was the first to notice him. His smile turned into a grin and when Merlin finally reached them he threw an arm around his shoulders. "You're just in time. We're getting breakfast and you're coming too."
Before he had a chance to say anything Merlin was dragged in the direction of the cafeteria with Freya giggling behind them.
Throughout the day Merlin realized that his group of friends had expanded beyond Freya and Gwen. His former acquaintances were now people who were welcoming him, waving hello to him in passing or even sharing a few words when they ran into each other at the library. It turned out that Leon had interesting things to say about Russian literature.
Apparently a weekend of joking, drinking and telling stories by the campfire was all they needed to form a bond. Realistically Merlin never expected to become friends with the entire rowing team.
Merlin was sitting on a patch of grass behind the Student's Union, working on a sketch of the house he grew up in. He was so engrossed in trying to translate his memories to paper he almost jumped when he felt someone kick the sole of his boot.
"Normal people just say hello," Merlin said lowering his sketchbook to glare more openly at Arthur. His cheeks were flushed and he seemed slightly out of breath. Merlin wouldn't have been surprised if Arthur had been running before.
"I am normal people. I just couldn't resist when I saw you," Arthur said sitting down in front of Merlin, a heavy looking backpack fell next to him. "What are you doing?"
Merlin closed the sketchbook, he couldn't possibly focus on his work when Arthur was there smiling crookedly at him, pushing his trainers against Merlin's boots. Merlin pushed back.
"I'm working on an assignment. It's not due until next week but inspiration just came to me," Merlin answered when he found his voice, their feet glued, sole to sole, until Arthur decided it was no longer fun.
"Ah, you mustn't let inspiration go," Arthur said nodding his head confident.
"I am very smart."
Arthur was arrogant, cocky and so utterly charming there was no way Merlin could do anything but smile at him in a way that implied he was all Merlin could see. He feet warmth spread and his stomach thighten.
"May I?" Arthur pointed at the sketchbook on top of Merlin's crossed legs, he leaned forward but stopped when Merlin beat him to it and pulled the sketchbook up close to his chest.
Arthur cocked his head. "It's fine. You don't have to show me."
He hesitated, Merlin wanted to show Arthur, maybe get his opinion."No, you can-- Here." He shook his head and handed it to him, Arthur took it opening it right on the page where Merlin's mother was staring back at him. Her kind eyes just as warm as Merlin remembered them.
"That's my mum," Merlin clarified for him, Arthur nodded, mumbled something Merlin didn't catch. The following were rough sketches of Ealdor, the horse he once had, his father, Freya, a lake and big trees casting shadows.
"What's this assignment about?" Arthur asked, he looked back up at Merlin.
"A series about things I'm grateful for."
"What else are you thankful for, Merlin?"
Choosing what he was thankful for had been easy. Telling Arthur the small dragon hidden somewhere in those pages was there because of him, wasn't.