Title: Of Fate and Footie
Pairing/s: Arthur/Merlin, Gwen/Lance
Character/s: Arthur, Gwaine, Lancelot, Leon, Merlin, Percival
Summary: Arthur's Saturday night out at the pub with his mates suddenly gets interesting when he discovers that the gorgeous mystery man he's been enamored with is there alone...again. Modern AU.
Word Count: 995
Prompt: #45 ~ Love
Author's Notes: I sat down this morning to write a nice little drabble...and then this happened: Boom! Another Modern AU came out of nowhere! *nervous*
It was a Saturday evening tradition for Arthur and his friends; an impromptu footie game at the park and a couple of pints at the local pub.
As they entered The Great Dragon, Arthur couldn’t help but let his eyes wander, searching the crowd for a distant but somehow familiar pair of sapphire blue eyes and a shock of unruly ebony hair that belonged to one of the most gorgeous men he’d ever seen in his entire life.
Arthur stopped dead in the doorway as his eyes found what he’d most hoped to see.
He was there as he had been the last several Saturdays, sitting in the corner alone and nursing a drink. A sharp pang of surly loneliness rolled off him in waves. As if feeling the weight of Arthur’s stare, the man looked up and their eyes connected…
…and then Arthur felt a shoulder jostle him from behind, startling him. “Oi, mate!” Gwaine grumbled good-naturedly as he threw a friendly arm across Arthur’s shoulder to steer him toward their regular table. “Stop hogging the doorway! Not a good idea to get between a man and his ale…”
“Especially not you,” Lance teased, giving the lone Irishman in their group a friendly shove. “Isn’t drinking an Olympic sport where you come from?”
Bawdily, Gwaine winked. “Were that true, I’d have a gold medal already!”
“Probably more than one,” Leon grumbled as he sat down beside Gwaine at the table.
“You’re just jealous that I can hold my liquor better than you!” Gwaine crowed, elbowing the man just seating himself on his other side, “Right, Perce?”
“I’m staying out of it,” Percy replied, putting up his hands in a sign of neutrality.
“Coward… Just like the French!” Gwaine teased, pointing a finger at Lance, whose mother was French.
Lance, who had just seated himself between Arthur and Leon, raised one unamused eyebrow at him but said nothing. Gwaine grinned at him unrepentantly and popped a pretzel in his mouth.
Arthur chuckled as he settled down between Lance and Percy. “Remind me again why we put up with you?” he asked Gwaine with a smile.
Gwaine’s answer was immediate. “Because I’m funny and witty and charming, and attract all the girls.”
Once the waitress arrived and Gwaine, Leon and Perce were properly distracted by the slight girl with a rather ample chest, Lance leaned in toward Arthur and whispered, “So…is he here again?”
Arthur nodded, jutting his chin toward the corner of the room where the mystery man still sat.
“Why don’t you go and talk to him?” Lance asked gently.
Arthur blushed and turned away. “I don’t know…I…don’t think…”
“Yes, you do,” Lance prompted. “He’s all you’ve talked about for weeks.”
“But what if I’m wrong? What if he…isn’t…”
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Look, I know you’re new to all this, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Might as well be with him.”
“Easy for you to say; you’ve already found your true love,” Arthur groused.
Lance’s face cracked into an ear-to-ear smile. “I know; Gwen is a treasure. Thanks for that, mate.”
Arthur shrugged, his eyes straying back toward the lithe dark-haired man in the corner. “She was special, but certainly not for me. I’m glad it worked out for you.”
“Well, I’m trying to do the same for you,” Lance responded encouragingly, giving Arthur’s shoulder a shove. “Go on, Prince Charming!”
Arthur rolled his eyes at his best friend and started to stand up, stopping when his eyes stuttered across the rest of their group.
Lance immediately interpreted his reaction and pushed Arthur the rest of the way to a stand. “They won’t care…” he said.
“Won’t care about what?” Gwaine interjected, confused.
“Nevermind,” Lance hissed, giving his mate pointed look. For once, Gwaine took the hint and shut up.
Arthur stood and surreptitiously wiped his damp palms on the thighs of his jeans. He’d only come out to his friends a few months before and, while they had been really great about it, this was the first time he was actively going to talk to a guy he was attracted to in their presence. Or, really, talking to a guy he was attracted to at all.
Arthur felt sure the guy must have known he was approaching by the way he was studiously ignoring him when he arrived at his table. Still, the cold shoulder he was getting could have frozen all of Wales. Determined not to chicken out, Arthur stuffed both his hands into his pockets and said, “Hi.”
“Very funny,” the man said, not bothering to look up from the mouth of his ale glass. “Now, bugger off.”
“Sorry?” Arthur said, taken aback at the dark and abrupt tone, let alone the harsh words. “What’s funny?”
“You and your sodding gits all goggling at us. That’s what’s funny.” His bright blue eyes snapped with annoyance. His Irish lilt was lighter and smoother than Gwaine’s, melodic and harmonious with his deep-timbred voice. “As if I couldn’t tell what you all are up to…as if I’m stupid. How much did they pay you to come over here and make a move on the token poof in the room?”
Arthur goggled, his mouth opening and shutting of its own accord several times, as if he was a fish out of water. “What?” he gasped once he finally remembered how to speak.
His heart hammered in his chest. He’d been right; this ethereally handsome man that had so entranced him was gay, too. The thought made Arthur lightheaded.
The man pursed his gorgeous full lips and huffed, “Look, I’ve seen you and your buddies come in here every bleeding Saturday for the past two months, drinking and cozying up to all the pretty girls. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on.”
Arthur felt his legs trembling and slid himself into the bench seat across from the man before his knees gave out. “Not all of us are interested in girls…”