Rating: PG 13
Summary: Arthur is heartbroken and Merlin tries to cheer him up.
Word Count: 1393
Author's Notes: So, this was my own pinch hit fic as the original fic for this exchange spawned into a multi-chapter monster that I have not been able to finish. So my sincerest apologies if this isn't the best, but I hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer:Merlin is owned by the BBC and Shine. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. Don't send us to the dungeons.
When Merlin arrived at the pub, breathless from running after getting an emergency text from Gwaine, he expected the place to be burning down, of full of football hooligans,
Much to his annoyance, the pub seemed to be in pretty good shape.
It had Christmas decorations all over, adding to the festive spirit of the season.
Merlin pushed his way through the throngs of people to the bar where Gwaine was pouring a pint.
“Where’s this emergency then?” He asked, leaning on the marble bar top.
Gwaine raised his eyebrows and gestured to a distant corner. “Follow the cloud of gloom and you’ll see.”
“No clue as to what it is I’m dealing with?”
By now Gwaine had finished pouring the pint and handed it to the customer. He then turned and poured a double gin and tonic and handed it to Merlin. “You’re going to need this.”
Merlin picked up the drink with a grimace. “As usual, Gwaine, you’re as helpful as a hole in the head.” He raised the glass to his friend, took a sip and then followed Gwaine’s directions to the far corner.
Propped up in a booth, leaning his elbows on the table and staring out the frosted window was Arthur, and Gwaine had not been joking about the cloud hanging over him. Arthur sighed with such feeling, one would think he was part of the Royal Shakspeare Company, before listlessly picking up his near-empty pint glass, and draining it.
“Arthur?” Merlin approached him cautiously.
“I’m not used to losing, you know.” Arthur was now slumped down in his seat running his thumbnail over the condensation on the glass.
Merlin took this as a sign that it was safe to take a seat in the booth across from Arthur.
“Yes, I’m well aware of your sore loser streak,” he joked.
Arthur frowned. “Do you really think I’m a sore loser? Maybe that’s why she chose him.”
“I’m sorry, who chose what now?”
“Gwen. I thought I had a chance, you know. She’s just the sweetest, kindest...” he waved his hand in a vague rolling motion. “I should have known I wasn’t good enough for her. I mean, look at Lance. He’s just all smiley and here-let-me-give-you-my-shirt-off-my-bac
Merlin drank half his gin and tonic during Arthur’s rant, silently thankful for the drink and cursing Gwaine for making him babysit Arthur. Surely it was Leon’s turn?
“Yes, well, you win some, you lose some,” Merlin commiserated, digging deep for tried and tested break up comfort lines. “Many fish in the sea.”
“Only, Gwen is a mermaid and Lance is a fucking dolphin.”
“And this would make you what?”
“An angler fish.” Arthur lifted his glass for a drink, frowned in surprise at it being empty and reached for Merlin’s drink instead.
“No,” Merlin moved his glass out of reach. “You can’t sit here and mope, Arthur.”
“Why not? This is, after all, my moping booth.”
“You’re killing everyone’s Christmas spirit.” Merlin pointed to a nearby table who was in the middle of a gift exchange. One of the women was holding a cheap perfume box set and clearly trying to hide her disappointment.
“He’s obviously not that into you,” Arthur offered loudly across the tables at the woman.
Merlin turned back to Arthur and almost cast a spell to zip his mouth shut. “Will you stop that?”
“No. Why? People need to stop lying about their feelings and just say from the beginning that they aren’t as invested in the relationship as the other person, so the other person can save time and emotional hurt by using their free time not being in a relationship with the first person to do something interesting.”
“Like what?” Merlin, for all his piss and vinegar really enjoyed Arthur ranting about relationships. It was up there with his rant about how to fix the world by closing Eton or something.
“Stop clay animation.”
“You said that way too quickly. Come on, Let’s get you home.” Merlin shuffled out of the booth and grabbed Arthur’s arm to get hin to follow suit. He couldn’t help but notice Gwaine’s shit-eating grin as they left. He made a note to enquire about it the next day.
“Forever alone, I’m gonna be, forever alone. Forever alone.” Arthur had taken to leaning against the lamppost and was mutilating Rod Stewart’s seminal classic, Forever Young, using his own lyrics.
Merlin quickly flagged down a cab and bundled his crooning friend into the cab and gave Arthur’s address to the driver after assuring the man that Arthur was not going to throw up en route.
Once Merlin had given up on trying to unlock Arthur’s door and used some magic to speed up the process, he encouraged Arthur to go to bed. So imagine his surprise when Arthur headed into the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee.
“Where’re all your decorations?”
Arthur shrugged, battling to open the tin of coffee. “No time to decorate. Too busy trying to woo Gwen.”
Merlin took pity on him and removed the tin from Arthur’s hands and set about making the coffee himself. Artur’s coffee machine always seemed a little intimidating until a barista at the Nero on the corner had shown him a trick or two. “Sit down, Arthur.”
“Sit down, Arthur,” Arthur echoed, slumping into a chair at the kitchen table. “Bossy. Always with the ordering me about. Sit down. Don’t have that third jaeger. Blah blah bossypants. Should we order a Nandos?”
Merlin shook his head and whispered a small sobering spell into Arthur’s coffee as he knew that the next level of Drunk!Arthur was to lie on the sofa, watch anything funny that was on and wank off until he passed out. He was in no mood for that tonight.
He slid the mug of coffee in front of Arthur with an instruction to drink it.
“You don’t even have a wreath up,” Merlin felt the need to point out.
“Look, if it’s bothering you so much, you bloody well decorate the place.” Arthur was concentrating on holding his mug of coffee and sipping it carefully.
Merlin tilted his head and narrowed his eyes at Arthur. He should use this moment now, shouldn’t he? The whole I-have-magic-but-I’m-not-an-alien speech was way overdue, right?
Before he could second guess himself, Merlin whispered an incantation and the flat was filled with Christmas decorations within moments. There was even a wreath on the front door.
“What have you done?”
The sobering spell had kicked in then.
“I did what you asked,” Merlin held up his hands. “I decorated.”
Arthur pushed back from the table and stalked into the living room. “This better not be a fire hazard!” He shouted and stalked back into the kitchen. “Only you would decorate a tree with Doctor Who baubles and actual candles.”
“Well,” Arthur licked his lips. “I am surprised you finally decided to come out about your magic.”
“There’s no way you could have known,” Merlin gaped at him.
“You’re not as stealthy as you think you are. I notice things.” By now, he was leaning over MErlin with one hand on the table and he other resting on the back of the chair.
Merlin swallowed nervously. “Really? Like what?”
“You’re always there when I need a friend.”
Arthur leaned closer, lowering his voice a little. “You have really blue eyes.”
Merlin’s stomach was fluttering. Was this actually happening now? “And?”
“I like how they go gold when you do that voodoo that you do.” Arthur broke into a laugh, making Merlin roll his eyes and push him away.
“You’re not as funny as you think you are.” He stood up and went to wash out their mugs.
“Merlin,” Arthur spoke in a low voice, the tone commanding. “Leave that and come sit with me.”
Merlin turned from the sink to look at Arthur. “I’m not your Gwen rebound.”
“I don’t need a Gwen rebound, you numpty. I need to sit on the sofa with my friend, watch some telly and appreciate his decorating skills. Okay?”
Seemed more than okay with Merlin.
They woke up the next morning tangled up and squashed together on the sofa.
Rumour has it they stayed there into the New Year.