Title: The Secret Crush
Pairing/s: Merlin/Gwaine (one-sided), Merlin/Cenred
Character/s: Merlin, Gwaine
Summary: Merlin has a seemingly inappropriate crush.
Word Count: 864
Prompt: #26 Assumption
Author's Notes:I went back to the start of the story I wrote the end of last week. You don’t need to have read it to read this. The middle of the story may come out eventually too.
Merlin first met Gwaine when he started working at the local supermarket. Merlin was 14 and a half.
While he was in training, he had a few mentors teach him the ropes and teach him everything he needed to know. Gwaine had been one of the people to help him. He was pretty down to earth, though a little intimidating at times when he was trying to teach Merlin something that was probably close to second nature to him. And Gwaine was rather good for a laugh, whether you were laugh at or with him.
It took a while (longer than most), but Merlin was finally allowed behind the counter by himself. Whenever he and Gwaine were on the same shifts, he was very encouraging and friendly towards Merlin.
Sometimes when they would have breaks or before and after shifts together when they were with or without others, Gwaine would pick on some blokes. It was all in good fun. He occasionally had a go at Merlin, but Merlin sort not to give him ammo. It didn’t really stop Gwaine though and Merlin occasionally took to chasing him around the tea room and twice he chased him right into the store. The boss gave them both a warning the second time it happened and both restrain themselves for a while.
Gwaine was definitely handsome. As it turned out, he was three years older than Merlin. Closer in age than Merlin had originally thought, but still big enough for it to keep their relationship at a platonic distance.
The supermarket held yearly team building sessions. Merlin still didn’t feel comfortable enough to consider going after his first year of employment but the following year he did. And he had a ball. Gwaine went to them and that is where Merlin had noticed the start of his crush on slightly older man.
In the second year, his crush had gotten bigger and he couldn't help but flirt a little. It was a good thing Merlin wasn’t a totally obvious flirt because most of his actions could be considered as just friendly mucking around.
Due to the age gap and their place of meeting, Merlin came to the conclusion that his crush was pointless and it was never likely to lead anywhere. And if it did, it could either ruin everything or… it could ruin everything. Merlin had seen what had happened when a couple of other work colleagues had made a go of it. It made everyone else feel awkward and they had ended in ruin, with neither working at the supermarket anymore. So, Merlin’s assumption that a relationship between Gwaine and him would ruin everything had some good ground to stand on.
The third year Merlin attended the team building sessions he had a boyfriend, Cenred. He had gone to Merlin’s high school and they had gotten together during the holidays after they graduated. Cenred had been the new kid on the block in Merlin’s second last year. He was openly bisexual and all of Merlin’s friends had been after him. Merlin had worked hard to get close to him and Cenred had finally agreed to go out with him.
They had been together for several months but a txt message in the middle of the team building session changed that. Cenred had sent a message saying he couldn't do it anymore and thought it best if they just ended their relationship.
It just happened to be Gwaine that saw Merlin first.
“We are waiting for you,” he said because Merlin was late coming back from morning tea. Somehow noticing something was wrong, he added in a softer voice Merlin didn’t him use often. “Is everything okay?”
Merlin couldn’t lie to that face. “Not really. My boyfriend just sent me a message saying he wants to break up with me.”
“Oh,” said Gwaine, obviously shocked and then recovered with, “Well that’s a bit heartless. Did he say why?”
“No,” Merlin started and proceeded to spill some of the things he had been thinking as they walked back to the activity room where everyone else was.
Gwaine listened and when they got to the door, he offered his ear during lunch. “It sounds like he didn’t deserve your love but if you want to talk about it more later, just let me know, yeah?”
“Thanks,” said Merlin and then felt Gwaine’s arm wrap around his shoulders and give a short squeeze, bringing their bodies closer together.
When Gwaine pulls away and opens the door for them both, Merlin is left with mixed feelings. There is no doubt his crush is still burning a small flame but Merlin thinks their bond is almost too much like a brother-type relationship for him to chance ruining it for the small flame.
Of course, there is the assumption that Gwaine isn't into guys anyway. Not that Gwaine really talks about girls with Merlin, since he knows which way Merlin swings, but there wasn’t any real signs of anything more than older figure looking out for the younger ones.
Merlin is content with their friendship the way it is and admitting to his crush and giving it fuel just wouldn’t do.