Title: Blind Date
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Morgana insists that Arthur go on a blind date. But not the ordinary kind. The kind where the customers at the restaurant are blind-folded so that they can better appreciate the food. And not judge people by their looks.
Word Count: 1346 - sorry again
Camelot_drabble Prompt: pt 450: You had me at hello.
Author's Notes: modern AU, also a blind date prompt
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Normally, Arthur had his pick of companions. Women, men, gender-fluid, they all seemed to vie for his attention. He was rich—some of them making it pretty clear that they were only interested in the finer things in life as long as he provided it. He was handsome—he’d been nominated for Bachelor of the Year more times than he could count—although he didn’t see why. His face was okay, his hair needed more hair product than his witchy sister used to look good, but he did work out at the gym when he got the chance, so there was that. He drove a nice car, he travelled, and most people would think he had it all.
But it was superficial. People didn’t care about the real him, just the outer shell.
The more he dated, the more he felt that it just wasn’t worth the time. And it was a bit depressing.
So after complaining vociferously about the lack of suitable partners, when Morgana suggested a blind date, Arthur just rolled his eyes and told her to bugger off.
He knew he was in trouble when she smiled that cat-got-the-crème smile and shoved a pamphlet at him. It was for a restaurant where everyone wore blindfolds. In order to delight in taste rather than looks. With a schlocky name, too, Verité.
Shoving it back at her, he said, “Gimmicky. And how is this going to help me?”
“They are having a meetup date night. Where you talk to a person for 10 minutes, then change seats. Always in the dark. That way, no one knows who you are, and you don’t know them either.” Morgana grinned. “Eight o’clock tonight.”
“Morgana, you can’t be serious. This is totally absurd,” Arthur shook his head, but at underneath it all, he was intrigued. “I don’t have time.”
“I’ve talked to your PA and he’s cleared your schedule for tonight.” She started pushing him toward the bedroom, then began to pull out a few shirts and his one pair of jeans. “Come on, Arthur. I’m tired, we’re all tired of you complaining about how shallow people are. At least give it a try. If nothing else, it’s an evening out and I hear the food is excellent.”
Arthur could have argued more but once Morgana set her mind to something, it was nearly impossible to move her. “if this doesn’t work out, we’ll never speak of it again, understood.”
She just laughed and shoved a blue shirt at him.
Morgana was right. The food was excellent, and Arthur decided that once this asinine blind date thing was over, he’d come back another time.
Honestly, though, it was kind of charming. Voices became important, the timbre of them. Some were nasally whines, others giggling too much or speaking so fast that Arthur could barely understand them. There was one woman that was almost worth pursuing, her voice soothing, but then she started talking about the riffraff in her neighbourhood and how the little people should learn their place—definitely a no. A man with a pleasant baritone that talked about fishing and hikes—not Arthur’s interest but at least he didn’t sound like a plonker.
Then there was man number 5. Voice like warm honey, a bit of Irish in there somewhere, soothing. The words out of his mouth, though, were not so charming.
“Have we met before? You sound familiar. Not that I’d expect him to come here. Not posh enough for him. But Gwen insisted,” Man 5 said.
“You know Gwen?” That didn’t sound good. Arthur was beginning to wonder if Morgana and Gwen had set him up after all.
Across the table, Arthur heard a utensil, maybe a fork or knife, hit the floor. Man 5 was moving around, too, maybe trying to pick whatever he’d dropped and not having much luck. “Umm, of course not. Don’t know anyone named Gwen. Certainly not friends. Forget I mentioned her. Because she’ll kill me once she finds out I said anything. Which I didn’t.”
The waiter came by and murmured something about getting him another fork.
Nervous and clumsy. The night was just getting better and better.
Arthur snickered. “You’re a bit of an idiot, aren’t you?”
“At least I’m not a wanker,” Man 5 shot back. His voice had deepened into heat and honestly, if nothing else, the git should be on the stage or doing audio books or something because Arthur wanted to hear more even if they were insults.
“Why, and how many wankers do you know?” Arthur said.
Man 5 sighed. “More than you would think. I seem to attract them. Gwen says it’s because… oh, umm, forget me mentioning her again. Fuck.”
Arthur was grinning, not that Man 5 would see it, but he couldn’t keep the amusement out of his voice as he said, “Are you always this nervous?”
“Not usually. Sometimes I trip over things, too.” Man 5 sounded annoyed about it and a little embarrassed.
“I gathered that,” Arthur replied, just as another utensil hit the floor.
“Fuck, this is ridiculous.”
Arthur hadn’t had this much fun in ages. Acting on instinct, thinking that he really would like to find out just who Man 5 was and maybe take this further when he could actually see, Arthur began, “Look I’m not a serial killer or anything….”
“Good to know, I think,” Man 5 gave a little huff of laughter. “Haven’t been one in years.”
“What?” Arthur said, not believing his ears.
“Sorry, oh, Gwen is going to kill me for fucking this up.” Man 5 said, sounding a bit nervous, “I’m not really a serial killer, I played one in primary school. I was the shark in our Nativity festival at Christmastime. Mum was very proud.”
Arthur couldn’t help it. He started laughing.
Man 5 muttered, “It was a very serious play. I got to eat three kids in it. Mum still has the photos.”
Arthur laughed harder. When Man 5 started giggling as well, Arthur leaned over, willed himself to stop, and said, “Let’s get out of here. I want to hear the whole story and I’d… like to see you, too.”
Man 5 sobered up. “I’d like that. Masks off?”
“Masks off,” Arthur said, pulling the cloth away. Across from him, frankly the man was stunning, blue eyes, hair dark and curling a little, lips begging to be kissed. “I’m… I’m Arthur.”
“I realise that now. You’re Morgana’s brother. We met at one of your parties for a few minutes but then I had to leave.” Man 5 reached across the table, one hand offered in a handshake, “Hello, I’m Merlin, shark serial killer and currently junior analyst at the Bayside plant.”
Arthur took Merlin’s hand, held it between his for a long, long moment. Arthur vaguely remembered him from before, but it didn’t matter. They were there now, touching skin-to-skin, and Arthur wanted more of that, lots more.
Not letting go, Arthur pulled Merlin up and hurried toward the exit.
Merlin sputtered, “I’ll have you know I don’t put out on the first date.”
“And the second?” Arthur shook his head, grinning as they escaped. They were still holding hands.
Merlin matched him grin for grin, his turning heated. “Oh, yes.”
With that, Arthur turned, tugging Merlin to him and giving him a kiss that seemed to last forever. It was magical and wondrous and something settled into Arthur’s chest, something breath-taking.
Leaning over, Arthur whispered into Merlin’s ear, “That was our first date. I suggest we start a second one in about five minutes?”
Merlin whispered back, “Five minutes should do it. My flat’s just around the corner.”
“Glad to hear it,” Arthur said, nuzzling into Merlin’s neck. “You had me at hello, you know.”
Merlin’s grin turned heated. “Then hello again, Arthur. And hello and hello.”
“I hope I have enough condoms for that.”
Arthur patted down his pocket to check but Merlin pulled away his hand, kissing the pulse-point of Arthur’s wrist.
“Don’t worry. I do,” Merlin said.
And he did.