Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine, Lancelot
Summary: If he focused purely on his flaws, he couldn't let himself think about what was right.
Word Count: 979
Author's Notes: Not much to say. Happy Monday?
Merlin sat down moodily at their normal table, Lancelot slipping into the seat next to him while Gwaine went and fetched the drinks. Lance took one look at the fact Merlin had his back to the bar and grinned.
“How can you deny that you are smitten when you won’t even look at the guy because he turns you into a blushing school girl?”
“He does not,” Merlin protested, knowing that a blush was already working its way across his face just thinking about the barman.
“No? So you don’t think he is perfect then?”
“Of course not. He’s a rude, self-centred arrogant prat.” Merlin said firmly, feeling quite proud of himself as Gwaine brought their drinks over.
“Are you talking about me again, mate?”
“He is denying how perfect he is,” Lancelot nodded towards the bar and Gwaine grinned. They both knew their friend had it bad, and they also knew that the barman had begun to notice Merlin. It was just a matter of getting Merlin to admit it, and that was going to be hard when he refused to look at the man.
“Why won’t you give him a chance?”
“He works in a pub, what kind of future is that?”
“Snob!” Gwaine laughed, punching Merlin on the arm and knowing that he didn’t really mean his words. After all, Merlin worked in a coffee shop. He was just trying to find reasons not to admit that he had a crush on the man.
“I heard that he works here because his father disowned him after he came out as gay, but he picked himself up and found a job that he loves. He always has a smile on his face here, bet he didn’t when wearing a suit.”
Merlin forced himself to not think about the man wearing a suit. That was one path he couldn’t go down, any more than he could think about him not wearing anything.
“Probably all he is qualified for after walking in Daddy’s footsteps. Bet he is a womanising alcoholic working in here…”
“He floored a guy last week for not leaving Freya alone and forcibly threw him out before driving her home, a true gentlemen. Besides, are you even listening to me, I just said that he was gay.”
“Yeah, well, he still probably drinks half the profits.”
“Doesn’t touch a drop actually. Had a chat with him once, he serves it, but doesn’t drink it.” Merlin had to bite his lip. He was doing everything he could to come up with flaws here. How did his friends know this man well enough to have an answer for everything? If it was just Gwaine, he might have suspected the man was lying to him, but Lance was simply too honest. He wouldn’t do that to him.
“Look at his nose!”
“Look at you ears!”
“I bet he has got some really stupid, posh name like Edgard or something.” Merlin knew he was clutching at straws.
This time, he let his head thunk down on the table. Gwaine’s hand squeezed the back of his neck reassuringly. “He’s not Val, Merlin. Do you really think we would encourage you to go towards someone who would hurt you in that way? It’s been a year, don’t you think it’s time? All you have to do is at least look at the guy, maybe talk to him.”
“You know what, fine.” Merlin snapped. He would show them that he could do this. He drained his drink and stood up, wobbling slightly as it hit him full on. He took a moment to take a breath before he moved towards the bar and placed his glass down, trying to draw the man’s attention. As one last minute attempt to try and get out of it, he told himself the man probably had the emotions of a shoe and didn’t care what anyone ever thought of him.
That was when he turned around.
And Merlin knew in that instant the hurt in his eyes, burning brightly even in the dim room, was because he had overheard all that Merlin had said about him.
“What can I get you, Sir?” The man – Arthur – said politely, not at all in his usual manner that Merlin had heard him laughing with the other customers. He had done that. He had been so desperate to not let himself get hurt again, not admit that he was falling for someone that he didn’t know because he was simply scared that he had been the one to hurt another. He was no better than Val. Merlin suddenly felt sick, and he knew it was not because of the beer he had just drained.
“Could I have some water, please?” he muttered quietly, feeling disgusted with himself. Arthur slid over a glass in a way that just screamed perfection and Merlin knew he had it all wrong. Maybe this man was flawed, but who wasn’t? And his flaws certainly weren’t there for Merlin to judge before knowing him just because he wanted to keep his barriers up. Arthur turned away, but Merlin took a deep breath, shot out his arm and let his hand rest lightly on Arthur’s arm.
“I’m Merlin and I’m the world’s biggest twat.” To his delight, Arthur turned back, the hurt diminishing as a shy smile spread across his face.
“Arthur. And according to some, I have a list of flaws as long as my arm. Although my arm length is probably wrong as well.” As Arthur tried to make light of the situation, Merlin did the only thing he could think of and surged forward and kissed him. Arthur let out a noise of surprise, but then his hand slid into Merlin’s hair and he was kissing him back. Merlin grinned against Arthur’s lips.
Whatever his flaws were, kissing wasn’t one of them.