Pairing/s: Merlin / Arthur
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Couples always holding hands is something that baffles Merlin...
Word Count: 546
Prompt: Holding hands
Author's Notes: Have your dentist on speed dial...
"That's so impractical."
Arthur, who was in the middle of demolishing his eggs benedict, raised an eyebrow at Merlin's comment.
Merlin gestured with his chin at a table nearby.
A couple was sitting at the table, nibbling at their avocado toast between exchanging smiles. They were doing it one-handed as they were also holding hands.
"You can't eat properly with only one hand." Merlin demonstrated this by picking up his salmon bagel like a sandwich and taking a large bite.
"Maybe they're not here for the food."
"Even worse. Taking up a perfectly good table that some poor hungover folks need. They should keep it simple - eat quickly then go back to bed.”
Arthur rolled his eyes at Merlin. “What’s got you in such a mood? Are you jealous that you don’t have someone to hold hands with while eating?”
“I literally just pointed out how stupid it is, so obviously I’m not jealous.”
“Hmmm. I feel the man across from me doth protest too much.”
“Sod off. I’m not jealous, okay. Just imagine how little you’d get done if you’re constantly holding someone’s hand. You can’t read a book one-handed, or make a sandwich or even...open a beer.”
“Merlin, you’re clutching at straws with that argument. It’s nice to hold hands with someone. It’s like you’re connected to something bigger than yourself. You can’t be scared of floating away into nothing if someone holds your hand.” Arthur sipped his drink. “Besides, if the Beatles sang about it, it can’t be that bad.”
An awkward silence fell over the table and Arthur looked up to see Merlin watching him with a goofy smile on his face.
“What?” He subtly wiped his mouth with a napkin, which made Merlin’s smile grow soft and fond.
“You’re a soppy romantic.”
“No, I’m not.”
“You are. I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am by it, but here we are. You waxing lyrical about holding hands. It’s cute.”
“I’m not cute, Merlin. Nor am I a romantic. It’s just… nevermind. It’s been so long since you’ve been in a relationship, I think you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be with someone you can’t stop touching.”
“Yes, because we all know that I am stellar at being in a relationship,” Merlin’s tone was light, but Arthur felt the bitter sarcasm in his words. He reached across the table and took Merlin’s hand in his own.
“You’ve just had tester relationships. Like practice runs so that when the real deal comes along, you’ll know what to do.” Arthur watched Merlin closely, his thumb running along Merlin’s knuckles soothingly.
Merlin swallowed. “So, you’re convinced that I’d be able to realise when the deal is real?”
“Not at first, but I’m sure you’ll know when you’re ready.”
“But what if the other person is and I’m not?”
“Aren’t you ready?”
“I am. But, I mean...are you?”
Arthur smiled and gently squeezed Merlin’s hand. “For a long time now.”
Merlin leaned over and gave Arthur a soft peck on the cheek. “Let’s get out of here. I feel the need for a long walk around the park.”
“Will it include some hand-holding?”
“Snogging against a tree?”
“Oh, most definitely.”
As it turns out, one can certainly do most things with one hand.