Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, OCs
Summary: He got the pub, she got the bookshop, so why the heck was she here - in his pub?
Word Count: 1020
Prompt: “Whatever you’re going to ask, the answer is no.”
Author's Notes: Once again...I have no idea.
Merlin had seen Arthur down his local on and off for the past few years.
They had never actually spoken to each other, just the occasional nod of recognition in passing or the awkward I’ll-just-keep-this-urinal-between-u
Merlin only knew Arthur’s name because one of the guys at his table liked to call it out when Arthur arrived - usually accompanied by someone who looked as if they’d just finished a Vogue photoshoot and was en route to Ibiza, or somewhere else expensive and exotic.
So, it wasn’t as if Arthur was a complete stranger when Merlin approached him one night in a panic.
He’d just left the loo when he spotted his ex walk into the pub. Which, besides being not fair, was also in violation of their break up agreement. Agatha got the bookshop and Merlin got the pub. That’s what they agreed on, but no, here she was, walking into the Hope and Anchor as if she owned the place. And to add insult to injury, the man whose hand she was holding looked...dammit, he looked like Superman or Clark Kent - all black hair and blue eyes and a square jaw that would have the casting directors at the CW jerking off to it.
Will and Freya were running late due to something going wrong on the Victoria Line - something was always going wrong on the Victoria Line. Merlin had warned them over and over that it was faster to catch the 157 to Euston, but noooo. No one actually listens to Merlin’s advise, do they? Which left Merlin standing at the doors of the pub loo looking like a suicide bomber had just walked in.
To be honest, he wished one had.
He quickly looked around and spotted Arthur at the bar, sipping a beer and pointedly looking at his watch between playing games on his phone. Obviously his friends were late too.
Merlin saw Agatha and Clark Kent head towards the bar. If he ducked to the side and wove through the book club, he’d beat them there by fifteen seconds at least.
With the Mission Impossible theme playing in his head, Merlin sprang into action. He slipped between Anne and Flo, grabbed Maggie by her arms and spun her around, like a revolving door and ducked under Henry’s outstretched arm until he popped up in Arthur’s space.
Arthur gave him a quick once over and muttered: “Whatever it is you’re going to ask, the answer is no.”
Merlin blinked and he caught Agatha coming closer. Now was not the time for Arthur to be difficult.
“Drinks on me for the rest of the night if you just play along. Please. I don’t have time to-”
For fuck sake! Merlin grit his teeth and looked around Arthur’s shoulder.
“Agatha. Hi. Hello. Uh - what are you doing - I mean, hi.”
Arthur raised his eyebrows at Merlin and took another sip of his beer, keeping his back to Agatha.
“It’s been a while,” Agatha said, stepping around Arthur. “You’re looking… This is Wesley.” She pulled on the arm of Clark K- Wesley. “Wes, this is Merlin. The ex I told you about?”
Wesley held out his hand like any good-mannered public schoolboy in London. Merlin was not a public schoolboy and just stared at the outstretched hand. “Merlin! It’s so nice to meet you. Aggie has told me all about you.”
“I didn’t know I was such a conversation piece,” Merlin said, his jaw starting to ache from clenching. “Agatha, this wasn’t part of our deal.”
She laughed and lightly punched him on the arm. “Oh come now Merlin, it’s been forever, surely we can let bygones be bygones.”
Merlin felt Arthur shift and turn to watch the conversation.
“Bygones? Agatha, not to be the arsehole here, but moving all my stuff into the street the weekend I went away to go visit my mother and then changing all the locks can hardly be called bygones.”
He felt Arthur slip his arm around his waist. “So, this is the woman who left you homeless?”
Arthur’s words were friendly enough, his body relaxed but Merlin could see cyanide drip from his tone. Agatha visibly shrank back, a smile wavering on her lips.
“Oh, it was all a big misunderstanding, really. We can laugh about it now, can’t we?”
“A misunderstanding, is it?” Arthur seemed to loom over Agatha, and Wesley, for all his Superman-esque appearance, was trying to melt into the crowd behind him.
“A misunderstanding is going to the wrong place to meet or finding an innocent text that reads oddly. It’s not leaving someone out on the street.” Arthur lifted the arm around MErlin’s waist and hugged Merlin to him by the shoulders. “I should thank you, though, for the misunderstanding. Helped me get to know Merlin while he slept on my sofa.”
“Oh, that’s a kind thing to do,” Agatha weakly added to the conversation.
“Yes, I mean, it only took us three months before he moved into my bedroom, isn’t that right, dear?”
Merlin currently resembled a tomato and didn’t know which direction to go.
He wanted to tell Agatha to fuck right off. He wanted to lean against Arthur and just breathe in his cologne which was making his knees weak and speaking of knees, maybe he should just drag Arthur into the loo and suck him off until they’re both speechless.
Where to start???
A small pinch to his arm brought Merlin back from his imagination and he realised that Agatha and Wes were no longer in front of them.
He then realised that Arthur’s arms were no longer around him and that Arthur had gone back to playing on his phone.
“Uh, that...thank you?” Merlin finally muttered.
“You’re welcome, “ came Arthur’s gruff reply.
“So, about that drink…?”
Arthur’s friends entered the bar in a chorus of shouts and laughter.
“Yeah, no, nevermind,” said Merlin and turned to go find a dark corner to disappear into when Arthur slid a business card towards him.
“In case you have an ex situation again,” Arthur muttered and left to join his friends.
Merlin wore a dopey smile the rest of the night.