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: 906
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*
The dark head snapped up and Arthur could feel the man’s cerulean eyes searching his face, looking for…something. Finally, he nodded once and leaned back in his chair. “Do they know?” His eyes flickered back to the table where Arthur’s friends sat, watching the progression of their conversation with barely concealed interest.
“About me?” Arthur asked.
One succinct nod was the reply.
“Yeah. They do.”
“Huh,” Arthur’s dark-haired companion said as if that news vaguely surprised him.
“They’re good mates, really,” Arthur admitted. “I’m lucky.”
A wistful, faraway expression passed over the other man’s features. “Yeah…you are.”
Now that the ice was broken, Arthur smiled and asked, “So, I take it you’re not from around here?”
Crinkles formed in the corners of his eyes as the man laughed—a rich, warm sound that made Arthur’s toes curl inside his trainers. “Is that the best you can do?”
A rueful smile touched Arthur’s mouth and he shrugged. “I…don’t know. I’m kinda new to this.”
Understanding and empathy filled the blue eyes as they stared at Arthur. "That's all right," he said. Then, he reached his hand across the table in obvious greeting. “I’m Merlin Emrys.”
Long, graceful fingers clasped warmly over Arthur’s own as he slipped his hand into them. A warmth sizzled up his arm at the touch. Then what he’d heard belatedly registered and both his eyebrows rose in shock. “Merlin?” Arthur repeated breathlessly.
Merlin’s eyebrows scrunched together in annoyance and he pulled his hand back abruptly. “Go ahead,” he challenged, crossing his arms across his chest in defiance. “Make whatever snide comment you were thinking, because I’m sure that I’ve never heard it before…” Sarcasm dripped from every lilted word.
Arthur huffed a laugh and put his hands up in surrender. “No more than I’ve heard, trust me. Hello, Merlin Emrys…my name is Arthur Pendragon.”
This time, it was Merlin’s eyes that widened to the size of saucers. “You’re having me on!” Merlin pointed an accusing finger at his tablemate.
But Arthur was already fishing into his back pocket for his wallet. Without another word, he plucked out his driver’s license and handed it to Merlin.
Merlin stared at it for a long moment before his eyes raised to connect with Arthur’s. “Holy shit,” he breathed.
“Yeah…” Arthur agreed, losing himself in Merlin’s wondrous blue eyes.
Finally, Merlin seemed to come to his senses and broke the connection, looking instead at the card in his hand. “Here,” he said softly, holding out Arthur’s license.
Arthur shivered as their fingers brushed when he accepted the card. As he tucked it back into his wallet, he teased, “Well, fancy meeting you here at the Dragon, of all places. Maybe it was fate.”
This elicited another delighted laugh from his companion. Arthur loved how Merlin gave his whole body up to the action, his belly heaving, his arms wrapped protectively over it. “Now, that’s a much better pick up line…” he teased good-naturedly.
“Shut up, Merlin…” Arthur muttered, but his eyes, bright with amusement, took the sting out of the words. “Come meet my friends?” he asked with a smile.
Merlin’s mouth softened to a fond grin and he nodded. “Yeah, okay.” He stood and picked up his drink while Arthur guided him gently back to his table with a hand at his back.
The din of the predictable debate over footie teams dropped off awkwardly as Arthur and Merlin approached. Resisting the urge to roll his eyes at his well-meaning friends, he said, “Everyone…this is Merlin.”
Their reactions were nothing if not predictable: Percy’s eyes goggled, Lance hacked and coughed as he accidentally inhaled his beer, Leon’s mouth dropped open…and Gwaine snorted loudly and declared, “Bullshit!”
“Truth,” Merlin confirmed, his blue eyes boring a mutinous hole into Gwaine’s skull.
“Who names their kid Merlin?” Gwaine shot back. “Your mother hate you or something?”
Arthur covered his eyes with one hand in mortification. Leave it to Gwaine to say something completely inappropriate and embarrassing…
Merlin shrugged and took a calm sip from his glass. “Mine loved me more than yours did, apparently, since my mum didn’t drop me on my head.”
Gwaine’s eyes narrowed. “Merlin…do you know magic, too?”
Merlin’s lips twitched as if he were amused in spite of himself. “Perhaps. Better watch out or I might turn you into a frog.”
They stared for another tense moment before Gwaine’s face split into an ear-to-ear grin and he guffawed. “You’re all right, man.”
Leon looked from Merlin to Gwaine and back in astonishment. “Was that some sort of weird Irish greeting ritual or something?”
Merlin’s eyes actually twinkled and he grinned broadly. “We Irishmen never give up our secrets, do we Gwaine?”
He nodded toward Gwaine who promptly supplied, “Nope!”
“We Irishmen?” Percy teased, shoving his shoulder into Gwaine’s, “or ‘wee Irishman’?” Percy held up a thumb and forefinger a few centimetres apart in front of Gwaine’s face.
“Don’t hear none of the lovely lasses complaining,” Gwaine replied with a righteous nod and a wink.
“That’s ‘cause there aren’t any,” Leon rejoined with a smirk.
“Christ…” Arthur swore under his breath. “Right, well…if you all are done acting like the wankers you obviously are and embarrassing the shite out of me…”
Surreptitiously, Arthur peeped at Merlin to see if his crazy friends were scaring him off. The warm glance and cheeky smile that met his anxious gaze went a long way toward settling his jangled nerves.