Pairing/s: Arthur/Merlin (kinda), Merlin/Gwaine
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Freya, Gwaine
Summary: If only it was easy getting over a broken heart
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: Song Prompt #8 (roundabouts)
Author's Notes: I refused to write sad Merthur again, so this is what came out.
Merlin blushed, trying to regain his balance. The stranger’s hands were on his arms, steading him. He could feel the warmth where the man was holding him up and for a wild moment, he hoped he would never let go.
“Hi,” the stranger said softly. Merlin smiled, tried to hide it and felt his blush deepen. Judging by the soft chuckle, his emotions were visible on his face.
It didn’t help that this was no stranger. He recognised Gwaine – the man turned every head and the easy grin on his face normally revealed that he knew it. But he didn’t look like his usual confident self right now. If Merlin didn’t know better, he would have said that Gwaine looked shy.
“It’s Merlin, right?”
Merlin nodded dumbly, not knowing what else to say.
“I was kind of hoping I’d run into you one day,” Gwaine continued. His tone was soft as well. “Do you want to get a drink?”
“Well, if you would rather not…”
Merlin blinked, furious with himself. He hadn’t meant to come this way. For a year now, he had actively avoided this street. He was standing in almost the same spot as that fateful day and his heart was pounding hard. His hand clutched his phone tightly, his knuckles white with the effort of holding himself together.
It didn’t ring though. Merlin knew it wouldn’t. Gwaine had Percival now and as far as Merlin knew, they were happy together. He wanted Gwaine to be happy, he really did… But that didn’t stop it hurting.
Why did he have to fall for someone like Gwaine? He knew the man had a reputation, but still had believed they could make it work.
Merlin forced himself to move. He was going to be late for work at this rate and that was the last thing he needed right now. He could only blame heartbreak for so long and he knew everyone else was getting fed up with it. Not that they said anything, but he saw the eye-rolls.
A year was a long time to get hung up on someone who had cheated and broken his heart.
Stuffing his phone back into his pocket, Merlin kept his head down as he hurried along, determined not to get lost in memories again. It was easier said than done though.
“Come away with me this weekend,” Gwaine said. Merlin lifted his head from where it was resting on Gwaine’s chest, his lover’s hand fiddling with his hair absently. Merlin yawned.
“Where?” Sex always made Gwaine talk about things that he normally kept in. If he wanted to go away, then Merlin wasn’t going to argue. He would love to get away for a bit, have a break from normal life.
“Anywhere,” Gwaine said, “where do you want go?”
Merlin named a few places, although he knew they were out of their budget. But when Gwaine joined in, he sighed. It was just a game; like always. They weren’t planning properly, they were just playing what-if.
Although he could feel himself falling for Gwaine, Merlin was getting a little tired of playing make-believe. He wanted something real and didn’t know how to make it happen.
“We’re going out tonight,” Freya said, making Merlin jump. He glanced up, stuffing the map back into his drawer. He had forgotten that he had bought it, wondering if it was a way of making Gwaine think seriously about the two of them going away. Freya was leaning on his divider, looking at him with a knowing expression.
“You should come.”
“Maybe not tonight,” Merlin muttered, avoiding her gaze. She tutted.
“You can’t avoid it forever, Merlin. You haven’t been out with us for ages.”
“I know.” Merlin sighed, running his fingers through his hair. He had been a rubbish friend and he wanted to make it better but – “just not tonight, okay?”
Freya didn’t push it. She could see by his face that he wasn’t in the mood to be cajoled. Her fingers touched his cheek briefly and she turned away.
He couldn’t remember the last time he had gone out with his friends. He could, however, vividly remember the last time he had gone out.
He had recognised Gwaine’s car outside the pub. Deciding to just pop in and say hello on his way home, Merlin had no idea that everything he had been dreaming about was about to come crashing down as soon as he opened the pub door.
He could still see it, clear as day. Gwaine in another man’s arms.
The end of the day couldn’t come quick enough for Merlin’s liking. He stormed out of work, head down and pretending to look at his phone in order to avoid talking to anyone. All he wanted was to get over Gwaine, get the man out of his head and start living again.
He was so caught up in his bad mood that he wasn’t looking where he was going. Merlin didn’t see a stranger step into his path until he collided with him.
Strong hands caught him and Merlin looked up. The stranger smiled apologetically.
“Sorry,” he repeated, pushing a blond strand of hair from his face. “I wasn’t looking.”
“No, it was me,” Merlin said automatically. The man smiled, then frowned.
“Are you alright?” His tone was blunt and to the point, but somehow, it cut through to Merlin in a way his friends hadn’t in the last year.
He shrugged. “Not really,” he said, honest for the first time. The man grimaced.
“You look a bit fed up,” he admitted. “Anything I can help with?”
Merlin stared at him. The offer seemed genuine. When he didn’t say anything, the man held up his hands.
“Sorry,” he said again, “that was way too forward. I’ve just had a crap day and thought helping someone else might help.”
Suddenly, Merlin smiled. That sounded like the best idea he had heard in a long time.
“Fancy a drink?”