Title: In the dark – part 9 - Superman
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Surprise of surprises, Merlin finds out who wet dream guy is. Film guy, not so much.
Word Count: 1001
Camelot_drabble Prompt: 413 - alarm
Author's Notes: Superman 1978
Also this week, you get two for the price of one. :)
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
The last week had been a wild ride. At work, it was like a fire alarm that just kept ringing in everyone’s ears, getting louder and louder, until Merlin wanted to cover his ears and slink back to his cubicle in the basement and wait until it was all over.
The CEO’s son finally lost it, quite spectacularly, in front of staff and Merlin, too. They’d had a meeting about the next rollout and Merlin had been there with the graphic design setup for it, and Pendragon Junior was there, observing, but when the CEO started making deeply cutting remarks about how badly Junior had done and that he was extremely disappointed in him, Junior quit. In front of everyone.
But what bowled Merlin wasn’t that.
Junior was wet dream guy. From the theatre.
No wonder he was always scowling when Merlin saw him there. Hell, Merlin would be, too.
Honestly, he felt terrible for him. Even if he didn’t know Junior, at least he didn’t deserve that. Maybe next time he saw him, he might go over and say so. Or maybe not. He didn’t really know him and some stranger going up to Junior in a dark theatre might be a little stalkery. At least now, Junior or rather Arthur Pendragon could watch the movies and not scowl down at his phone. Maybe he might even enjoy them.
Wet dream… err Pendragon Junior wasn’t hiding out in the back of the theatre this time, though. Probably licking his wounds somewhere else. Not that Merlin blamed him.
Film guy was early. The music had just started and Merlin could feel the movement behind him. There was a heavy sigh. It sounded like film guy wasn’t happy. Merlin just wanted to cheer him up, no matter what the reason, but he wasn’t sure how. It’s not like they knew each other all that well.
Still, he handed back a small box of Maltesers he’d been keeping for himself for later, and said, “Eat up. Sounds like you could use a sugar rush.”
There was a little huff of sad laughter and then a bag of popcorn landed in Merlin’s lap. “It’s been a week.”
“Tell me about it.” Merlin started munching on the popcorn, watching as Jor-El tried to save his planet. “Krypton breaking up has nothing on the shit show that was work this week.”
Film guy just hummed.
“Arthur Pendragon…,” Merlin started to say but stopped when film guy gave a sharp grunt, then when he didn’t say anything else, Merlin continued, “he’s the CEO’s son where I work. I felt terrible for him. Pendragon Senior just kept going on and on, yelling so loud that the next county should have heard it. Accusing him of all kinds of things and Junior finally lost it.”
As Krypton blew up and the baby was rocketed away from his planet, never to return, Merlin said, “Now that’s a dad. Jor-El sacrificed himself and his wife for his kid. I can’t see my CEO doing that.”
“Maybe the son deserved it,” film guy said, sounding dull and sad.
“Hey, I’m just the lowly peasant but I heard that Junior was making a difference, helping with projects, getting funding for interns that was way more than the minimum. Even trying to expand into new markets for renewables.” When film guy didn’t say anything else, Merlin said, “Junior may look like some movie star, but looks can be deceiving. It’s what he did that counts and I’d tell him so if he were here.”
“Maybe Junior tried to be superman and ended up being Jimmy Olsen or red shirt number three.” Film guy said, his voice a bit muffled, as though his hand was over his mouth.
“Nah, Junior was probably more like Clark Kent, trying to do the best he can while having the whole superhero complex dogging him. It’s kinda sad. All those expectations. It’s really too much for anyone, even Superman.” Merlin watched as Superman flew through the air, stopping the bad guys, the music swelling as he rescued Lois Lane. “Besides, I’d rather be Clark than Superman anyway. I’m no superhero.”
Film guy handed Merlin back the Maltesers box. There were only two left. Film guy must have really needed the chocolate. Merlin popped them into his mouth and enjoyed the burst of flavour. He’d have to bring a bigger box next time.
Leaning forward, film guy bumped his head against Merlin’s. “I think you are… pretty super.”
It wasn’t the rush of chocolate that made his heart race. Face flushing, Merlin said, “Ah, you’re just saying that ‘cause you don’t know me that well. I’m clumsy, and stumble over my words and I hide out in movie theatres. I’m always falling for the wrong guys and well…,” he stopped. Maybe it was too soon or not soon enough but he felt awkward with the whole ‘wrong guys’ thing.
Film guy didn’t mock him for it, though. “You’ve a kind heart.”
That made Merlin blush all over again.
Then film guy leaned back, putting distance between them, as if they’d both said too much. “I’ve some things to think about. I’m not sure I’ll be here next week, but the week after is Kong vs Godzilla.”
Merlin was disappointed but he tried to sound upbeat, as if film guy missing a week wasn’t the end of the world. “So no Jane Austen? No parasols at thirty paces?”
“If I do show up, I’ll bring mine and we can duel it out with quips and endless innuendo.” Film guy sounded upset, and Merlin wasn’t going to press him.
“I’ll be here. And I’ll study up on Austenisms, just in case,” Merlin said.
Out of the blue, film guy said, “Thank you. For understanding and all the rest.”
But before Merlin could reply, could ask him why he said that, film guy was gone.
Damn. Merlin hoped that he hadn’t scared him away. But he guessed he’d find out in two weeks. Maybe.
After this, I'm puttting it all on AO3 because I've written a bunch more and didn't want to wait for the prompts so if you want to read the rest, check https://archiveofourown.org/works/24392518/chapters/58837573. It's not done yet but close