Title: Different goals
Prompt: 347: Goals
Summary: Merlin can't tag along any longer
Author’s notes: Not beta’d.
"Did you see that?" Arthur gestured towards the screen. "That's what I call a wonderful goal!"
"Fantastic!" Percy agreed.
Gwaine shook his head. "You don't want to tell me that this one is better than the one we saw before!"
Merlin yawned. Come along, Emrys, we're discussing goals. It's gonna be fun, Emrys. He had thought they were discussing their goals in life or at least their goals for the next couple of months and it would have been fun to find out what his friends were up to or what was going on in their minds.
Little had he known that they would be talking about goals in football, watching what seemed to be all the goals from the last weekend, probably from all around the world. They had to discuss them all. Each and every single one. In the beginning, Merlin had looked at the screen, but after a while it all looked the same. Little men in shorts kicking a leather ball and that ball landing somewhere behind the goalie. Some of them were pentalties, most of them were not.
Eyeing his drink, Merlin pondered downing it all and then excusing himself because of it not agreeing with him, but he knew they would make fun of him for the next couple of weeks if he did. He had nothing to contribute, he wasn't into this sport and watching sports was boring to begin with.
Half an hour later - Merlin had busied himself with sneaking glances at Arthur as he was the only interesting thing in the entire room - there was still football on TV and everyone but him was tossing about theories about tactics and whatever. Merlin didn't understand a word.
Slowly, he got up.
"Where are you going?" Arthur threw him an irritated look.
"Loo." It was the first thing on his mind. Merlin just couldn't tell Arthur what he actually wanted to say. Which was something along the lines of 'Listen man, I really like you, but this is too much, even for me, I need to get out of here.'
Arthur already had forgotten about him again as he effortlessly picked up his conversation with Percy about some goalie of one of the teams.
Merlin slumped down on the loo. What had his unfortunate crush on Arthur gotten him into this time? He had tagged along to footie games, stupid action movies and afternoons of playing video games just for the chance to spend time with Arthur. The man who was way out of his league and who didn't seem to be interested in him in the slightest and seemed to ignore him the moment someone else was around. Why did he ask him to come with him if he didn't care at all?
Leaning his head against the wall to his right, Merlin closed his eyes. He couldn't even remember a time when he didn't have a crush on Arthur. They had met in an extra course in their first semester and even though it always looked and sounded as if they were at each others' throats, they got along fine and seeked each others' company.
Maybe he overinterpreted things. Arthur probably just asked out of politeness. He clearly wasn't interested in him being there. He needed to distance himself from Arthur. His first step would be to get up off this loo and leave Gwaine's and Percy's apartment and tell the truth if anyone asked why.
"Merlin?" The knocking at the door wasn't subtle.
Blinking awake, Merlin looked around a bit disoriented.
"Merlin, everything okay in there?"
This was clearly Arthur, but...oh, he had fallen asleep. Sitting on the loo in an apartment that wasn't his. Awkward.
"How long will this take?"
"I'm out in a minute." Merlin slowly got up and splashed his face with water to waken up a bit more.
He thought, the moment he opened the door, Arthur would dart past him and slam the door shut or he would have gone away after he heard that Merlin was alright. Arthur had done no such thing. He was leaning against the opposite wall.
"Here I am." Merlin went for a fake smile.
"Here you are. Damn, Merlin, I thought you had died in there."
Merlin set to laugh with Arthur, but Arthur didn't laugh. "How long have I been gone?"
"Half an hour at least."
"What did you do in there? Is it your stomach? What have you eaten? Or didn't you anything in too long?"
Merlin shook his head. "I'm fine."
"Then, what took you so long? Did you fall asleep?"
Arthur blinked and then the corners of his mouth pulled up, before he started laughing. "You fell asleep on the loo???"
"Yeah, so what if?" Merlin tried to push past him, but Arthur grabbed his upper arm.
"You were so bored that you fell asleep? Really?"
Merlin took a deep breath. Distancing himself from Arthur would start right here. "Yes, really."
Arthur seemed to be so shocked that he let go and didn't say a word.
"And I think I should leave now." I have better things to do. I don't want to be around you when you don't notice me. I much rather sleep on my couch than on other people's loos. All those things he should have said or at least one of them, but he didn't and just grabbed his jacket and left.
Later, on his couch, under tons of blankets, with a hot tea, not reading the book he had taken off the shelf, Merlin felt very sorry for himself. He had thrown Arthur out of his life. Arthur would never contact him again and much less ask him to come along to any kind of activity. With that, he had also cut his ties with Gwaine and Percy, but at the moment they weren't as important as Arthur. Merlin already missed him.
His mobile buzzed and reluctantly, Merlin reached over to get it from the coffee table. He frowned when he saw that it was a message from Arthur. Curiosity won, though.
What would you like to do tomorrow?
A wide smile spread on Merlin's face.