Character/s: Merlin, Gwaine, Arthur
Summary: Nothing announces spring like jasmine.
Word Count: 986
Author's Notes: *cackles*
Nothing announced that spring was in the air more potently than jasmine.
Its scent would hang like invisible pockets across the pavements and was a pleasant olfactory break between the usual pavement odours of rotting garbage, piss puddles and left over vomit from the night before.
Merlin loved the smell of jasmine and would pause or slow down to deeply inhale the scent on his walks to and from work.
It was his bassline scent that built up onto others to make his nose tingle in happiness. Jasmine with some orange oil that wafted from the Indian woman walking ahead of him, the heady spiciness of the food stalls along Portobello road softened by the jasmine blooming in the gardens behind the privacy walls.
Merlin hadn’t noticed Arthur, as such, in terms of his physicality as he did from his scent. It had a woody base with a masculine musk ending with the slightest whiff of jasmine.
He kept walking around the pub trying to track down the owner of the scent, his nose in the air, occasionally sniffing.
“You got a cold?” Gwaine caught him by the elbow and led him towards the bar.
“No,” Merlin blushed and lowered his head, only to lift it again to scent the air, looking for the faint traces of woods and jasmine.
“You roleplaying a werewolf?” Gwaine laughed. “I knew binge watching Teen Wolf wasn’t a good idea.”
“It’s corny and fun, but no. Not a werewolf. Just...can’t you smell that?”
Gwaine tilted his head back and imitated Merlin only to end up snorting rather loudly and earning a disgusted look from the woman to his right.
“Old chip oil, Chanel No 5 and I think Raymond has gas,” he gestured towards Raymond at the end of the bar, examining a small bowl of olives in front of him.
“That’s impressively gross, but no. Like...it smells like something old...like the woods and leather.”
“Why Merlin, I didn’t know you had it in you to be that kinky. I’m buying you a riding crop for your next birthday.”
“I always keep thinking you’ve reached your gross potential and then you go and raise the bar.”
Gwaine had his head back and was inhaling the air of the bar deeply, his eyes scrunched in concentration.
“Sorry Merls, I’m just not getting it.”
“Nevermind, “ Merlin hunched over his arms on the bar and ordered two pints from the barman. “I guess my mind is just messing with me.”
The barman delivered the pints and as Merlin reached for his drink, something soft and warm brushed against his back for a moment before moving on, but the scent crashed over him. There it was! The woods and the jasmine and the leather.
He jerked around and pushed through the crowd, following the scent right into the men’s room.
There were four urinals against the wall, one occupied by a man in a well cut suit that emphasised his wide shoulders and slim waist. He had blonde hair and was ignoring Merlin as he did his business.
Now, Merlin was smart enough to know that approaching a man at a urinal wasn’t the best way to get to know him and the man must know he is in the mens room with him, so Merlin went to the basin and washed his hands. The man finished and approached the basin one down from Merlin to wash his hands.
The man looked up and caught Merlin’s eye for a moment before dropping his head to concentrate on his hands. Merlin stood there, frozen. The man’s eyes were a gorgeous blue, the kind that reminded him of beaches in exotic places.
Merlin was jerked out of his daze at the sound of the taps being turned off. First the gorgeous man’s and then the man approached his basin and turned off the tap above Merlin’s hands.
“Bit too much to drink?” The man smirked at Merlin.
“What? Oh. No. Just… cleanliness and all that. It is flu season.” Merlin’s mouth ran away from him. “I wouldn’t touch the peanuts if I were you.”
“But other nuts are fine,” the man smiled and Merlin forgot how to use his tongue to form words. “Just as well I prefer mine hot and toasted.”
Merlin couldn’t help it when he choked on his spit and gurgled a laugh.
The man frowned.
“Oh come on,” gasped Merlin. “Were you actually trying to flirt with me?”
“You’re the one that followed me into the men’s room.”
“That was an accident. I was following your-um,” Merlin bit his lip, not trusting him to finish that sentence without sounding like a) a nutcase and b) a stalker.
“My what? Pert arse? Magnetic allure?”
“Cologne, your cologne is really distinct and I was wondering what it was.” Merlin wanted the ground to swallow him right there and then.
The man blinked in surprise. “My cologne? I’m not wearing any.”
Oh dear lord. Merlin blushed a red that has seldom been seen since he’d left puberty. The man leaned forward and sniffed softly.
“Your cologne is rather nice. What are you wearing?”
“Really?” The man gave him a considering look. “Tell me-”
“-Merlin, what do you know about pheromones?”
“Only what I saw on that episode of Torchwood. I was a humanities graduate, not much for the sciences. Never could remember all the latin terms for stuff. Like why call a rat rattus-rattus? You know?”
The man smiled indulgently at him. “How about I buy you a drink and then I can show you exactly what pheromones are for?”
“Yeah, that sounds good, uh…”
“That sounds like a very good idea, Arthur.”
When Gwaine saw him the next morning, his neck covered in hickies, his only explanation was to mutter pheromones and hide in the bathroom while Gwaine almost wet himself laughing in the living room.