Title: Staying In
Rating: PG (Naughty Language)
Character/s: Gwaine, Leon, Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur has put a moratorium on dating.
Word Count: 791
Prompt: 369 "I just want a nice, easy life. What's wrong with that?".
Author's Notes: Sambuca is no one's friend, my friends.
“So...you and Sophia?” Gwaine raised an eyebrow as he slid into the chair next to Arthur before handing over the pints he held.
“Over. Done. Finished. History.” Arthur took one of the pints and drained it in three gulps before burping loudly. Gwaine replaced the empty glass with a full one in front of him. “I’ve given up dating as well. Call it Post Traumatic Sophie Disorder.”
“Not to be that friend, but I am glad to see the back of her,” Leon took a sip of his drink and shrugged.
“Agreed,” said Gwaine, holding his own pint close to his chest as Arthur eyed it. “She was like a tornado. Touching down whenever we had plans and whisking you away.”
Arthur nodded glumly. “I’ve never attended so many benefits in my life. I had to get a second tux just to keep up. I had to work late to make up for all those fucking events and then she would lay into me for ignoring her on the few nights we weren’t forced to show face at some other thing. Thank God we didn’t talk about children. I mean-”
“Shots! Shots over here!” Gwaine called to the waitress as she passed their table.
“-there’s a time and place. She kept dropping these hints about Eton. Things were already mad and she wanted to add kids to the mix?”
Leon eyed Arthur closely. “She didn’t get at the condoms with a needle, did she?”
Gwaine winced and slapped a choking Arthur on the back. He shook his head as he caught his breath.
“Sealed pack, everytime. Besides, I think she was waiting for a ring first.”
Leon and Gwaine exchanged knowing glances. “Where the fuck are those shots?” Gwaine looked around for their waitress.
“What’s wrong with some telly and a take away? I’m not some prize to show off.” Arthur was on a roll. “Her friends were all pretentious wankers. All going on about the existentialism in the art of whatever idiot was trying to bolster their failing music career.”
The shots finally arrived, much to Gwaine’s delight and Leon’s trepidation. He was the one who had to drive Arthur home and shots challenged Arthurs upchuck reflex in a bad way.
Gwaine quickly lined up four in front of Arthur, who was still waxing unpoetic critique about Sophie’s social circle.
“I mean, really, what’s the point -” shot “-of capri trousers for men?- “shot” -Ankles are not a male erogenous zone-” shot “-and no one needs to see them-” shot “- in formal settings.”
Leon nodded along as if he actually had an opinion. Which, as someone who wore jeans and safety boots all day, he didn’t.
Gwaine ordered another round.
“There’s nothing wrong with staying in,” Arthur groused, slurring slightly. “I missed Bake Off and haven’t had a chance to catch up yet and it’s already February!”
Arthur paused for a discreet burp.
“Who needs to always be out? I just want a nice, easy life. What's wrong with that?"
The men at the table muttered in agreement. Nothing wrong with a nice, easy, quiet life.
Arthur seemed to have sunk in on himself, having run out of indignant steam and was simply puttering along fuelled by sambuca.
“Oi, Merlin! Over here!” Gwaine was gesturing wildly to this Merlin to join them.
“Oi oi! Allright Gwaine?” Merlin appeared through the crowd.
“Nice of you to join us,” Gwaine gave a bright smile. “Merlin, this is Leon and the drunken, heartbroken fool in the corner is Arthur.”
“Ah mate, that sucks.” Merlin sounded sincere, but Arthur looked up, just to check.
Black mop of I-just-had-sex hair, bright blue eyes and a soft smile.
“How do you feel about telly and take out?”
Merlin blinked in surprise at Arthur’s non sequitur.
“I’m partial to a good palak paneer in front of some QI, why?”
Arthur was quickly reconsidering his stance on his self imposed dating moratorium.
Merlin looked at Gwaine. “Is this some weird speed dating thing you invited me to?”
Gwaine ignored him in favour of ordering even more shots.
“Do you,” Arthur continued despite Merlin’s lack of answer, “like to attend events?”
“I caught The Arctic Monkeys at The Brixton Academy that one time.”
Yeah, Arthur thought to himself. This one. This could be his person for that nice, easy life he wanted. He had every intention of smiling charmingly at Merlin, but unfortunately it quickly dissolved into a grimace followed by a frantic dash to the loo for the sambuca shots to make their inevitable come back.
It took Arthur a week to regain his dignity and actually ask Merlin out.
They stayed in.