Title: His favourite football fan
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: 321. Spring. Window. Child. (Dear mods, the tags only give me another 320, so now we have 2 320th prompts, just thought I'd let you know).
Summary: Merlin feels neglected during the World Cup and goes into pouting mode
Notes: Not beta’d. Written after the Sweden/England game. Football’s coming home!
Merlin looked out of the window and sighed. It wasn’t spring anymore, the temperatures were around 30 degrees or else he would have just gone for a walk. In the beginning, it had been fun to watch Arthur’s childlike enthusiasm for the tournament but by now, Merlin was thoroughly bored with the World Cup.
It had been endearing that Arthur had his rituals and put the jerseys he would need for game day on hangers the night before, put them on at a certain time and went through routines Merlin would never understand. The way he decorated the living room and on game day the coffee table. The chips had to stand to the left, the drinks to the right. The throw pillows with the flag and the team photo had to be arranged on the couch in a certain way and Merlin better didn’t get the funny idea to touch them or put them in a different order.
Now they were three weeks into the tournament and Merlin was thoroughly fed up. He didn’t care for any of the teams and only watched the England games for Arthur’s sake. Who could have known that Arthur would watch each and every single game? That he knew all the stats by heart and would bore Merlin endlessly with which country’s team had to leave and what might happen next. The ‘what if’ monologues were the worst. If team A won over team C by whatever score, team XY would still make it to…Merlin rolled his eyes just thinking about it.
There was no use calling any of their friends. Most of them were on their couch anyway, making enough noise for the whole neighbourhood, discussing every single play for hours after a game ended. Even Gwen, the traitor, pretended to love footie, now that she was with Lance, who adored her almost as much as the game.
Merlin wished they had a dog. He would take the dog for long walks, but no. It was just too hot to do that. So he had snuck out and gotten comfy on the bed, his earphones on, listening to a new audiobook. At least he could block out most of the noises from the living room that way.
He didn’t react.
“Merlin, did you fall asleep?” A little louder.
Merlin pulled the headphones off his ears. “What?”
Arthur squeezed himself into the room and came over. “Are you alright?”
Merlin just nodded. He wasn’t. He knew that footie was important to Arthur and he didn’t want to take that away from him. He couldn’t help but feeling neglected a little bit.
Arthur sat down on the edge of the bed.
“Are they gone?” Merlin scrambled up a bit.
“No. There’s another game on in 90 minutes or so.”
Merlin groaned and slumped back against the pillow. “Why is that so important? It’s not England, right?”
“No, but it’s the game that determines our next opponent.”
Our. Our opponent. Arthur always talked as if he was part of the team. As if drinking beer and yelling at the TV screen suddenly gave the players a rush of energy or the coach new tactical ideas.
“You’re not going to join us?”
Merlin made a face. “You don’t need me there.”
Arthur looked at him for a long time. “I always need you.”
“You don’t.” Merlin shook his head. “You’re so busy with footie that you don’t even notice if I’m alive or not.”
Frowning, Arthur crossed his arms in front of his chest. “What makes you say that?”
“Did you even realize that I snuck out?” Merlin didn’t want this now. There were people in the other room and he didn’t want to break Arthur’s good mood, but he couldn’t help it.
“Yes, about twenty minutes into the game. You showed up again for half-time to get some water from the fridge and you talked with Gwen for a few minutes before you wandered off again.”
Merlin scrambled up again and blinked.
“I always notice when you’re not around.” Arthur’s face pulled into a huge grin. “My spider-senses tingle when you aren’t.”
“Your spider senses…now you’re not only a fanatic football fan, you’re also Spiderman?”
“Not saying that I am, but have you ever seen Spiderman and me together in a room?”
Merlin couldn’t help but chuckle. “No, I haven’t.”
“See?” The grin was back on Arthur’s face but then he grew serious. “Hey, listen, tell you what. After this game is over, I’ll throw everyone out, clean up the living room and call you when I got the cocktails ready and waiting for you on the patio. We can just sit there and enjoy the warm summer night and see what it leads to?” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.
“You mean, you won’t go out with them to celebrate?”
“And you actually clean up the living room?”
“And make cocktails?”
“And spend the whole day with me tomorrow without mentioning football once?”
“Now you’re pushing your luck.” Arthur laughed. “I can try? What do you want to do?”
Merlin pondered that for a moment. He hadn’t thought that Arthur would do that so willingly during the tournament. “How about…we could go to the zoo, we haven’t been there in quite a while. Or we could go to the new water park?”
“Whatever you like best. I’m all yours.” Arthur leaned over and pressed a quick kiss on Merlin’s lips before he got up.
Merlin beamed. Arthur would at least try not to talk about football and they’d spend the whole day together. Arthur would actually miss games for him, but… “Hey, Arthur?”
Arthur was already at the door and turned. “Yes?”
“There are no games tomorrow, are there?”
“No, there aren’t.”
Ducking the pillow that Merlin threw at him, Arthur laughed as he fled the room.
Merlin didn’t care. He was looking forward to a quiet summer night outside with a cocktail and his favourite football fan.