Title: A Little Like Love
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Merlin's in love with the music that comes from the music room every day, and maybe a little in love with the musician, too.
Word Count: 1,663 (Whoops)
Prompt: #74 - Warm
Author's Notes: I have a thing for characters being musicians, and because I was actually listening to violin music while I was writing this, it sort of inspired it. I would apologize for the word count, but I would mostly be lying, considering I tried five other ideas before this and couldn't get them to work. So when I finally got this piece to work, I couldn't really bring myself to cut it down too much. (I did a little bit.) But anyway, please enjoy! I actually had fun with this one.
The music coiled around him, filling him up completely, sweet warmth pooling in his stomach.
He could listen to the mystery man in the music room for hours and never get tired of him.
Merlin listened to the carefully played notes over and over, even took to humming along with the tune. The mystery man had been playing the same thing for weeks now, perfecting it, trying to make sure he knew the song with his fingers and his heart at the same time. He didn't need his eyes to see deft fingers repositioning themselves on strings, stroking a long bow along high strung strands to create sound. He didn't need eyes to see the look of pure concentration on the mystery man's face, who practiced every second of every minute of every day, just trying to make sure his work was perfect and worth playing to anyone else.
It had been a complete accident when Merlin first stumbled to the music room, having been on his way out when the sweet melody of the violin reached his ears, and it drew him closer, taking him by the hand and pushing him towards the door. Enthralled, he'd listened to every bit of the music the man produced, as if it were air, something he needed in order to survive.
It became routine to him, really. Every day he'd go to the music room and listen, painting vivid images in his mind about what the man looked like. He was sure it was man, for only once he'd stopped in the middle of his practicing all those weeks ago to answer a ringing cellphone, yelling at the caller for a few minutes, before he closed it. The voice had definitely been a male, and Merlin was sure that the voice was as beautiful and rich as the music he created. He'd never actually peered inside to look, afraid that the man would take notice of him and make him leave. He didn't need to see him so badly that he would risk giving up the music he played.
Merlin thought it was a little creepy sometimes, that he sat outside the door on the floor, listening to someone practice playing the violin. But it made his heart sing, warm and carefree, like destiny had called him there that day.
There was something oddly unique about the way the man played, like all the colors would spring to life right before his eyes, a deep rumble echoing in his chest that made him feel, like he could feel every emotion that his musician felt. It was funny, how he would play the same thing all the time, but he could tell if he was angry, or upset, or happy. It was as if he threw himself completely into his songs, putting his emotions on the line into careful notes and strings, laying himself bare for all to see.
Merlin promised that if he ever worked up the courage to talk to him, he'd tell him exactly how amazed he was.
So caught up in thoughts, he didn't even notice that the music finally stopped.
“Finally did it right. Not one mistake, was there?”
Merlin jumped, and his heart clenched in his chest.
Leaning in the doorway was his musician, and Merlin sucked in a breath at the sight to behold. He knew that boys were supposed to be called handsome, but the only way to describe him was beautiful, all blond hair and piercing blue eyes, sun-kissed skin, full lips quirked into an amused sort of smirk.
He looked a bit ruffled, obviously where once he was well-dressed was now in disarray. His dress shirt was left untucked from his trousers, sleeves rolled casually and carelessly up to his elbows, and in one hand (God, what nice hands, Merlin thought inwardly), held both the violin and the bow.
The beautiful man raised an eyebrow, clearly still expecting a response, and once Merlin's words finally caught up with him, he stuttered out, “N-no. Not a mistake. At all. Nope. Absolutely perfect. Great work.”
He let out a very unflattering, nearly hysteric laugh, and he could feel the heat crawling up his neck and towards his cheeks. He quickly shuffled to his feet, giving a very wide and tight smile to him. “I-I'll go now. Sorry. I, um, wasn't meaning to spy or anything, just heard you a-and you play amazingly by the way, truly remarkable and it's really the best thing I've heard--”
Merlin slapped a hand over his mouth, and felt like he wanted the world to swallow him entirely as the man began to laugh. God, he probably thought Merlin was an idiot (which he kind of was, he supposed). He turned away and began to leave when he felt a hand catch his wrist.
“No, no, stay. I insist. It would be rude of me not to talk to my faithful listener all these weeks.”
At that, he felt even more embarrassed than he had before. He whirled on him, incredulous. “Wait, you knew I was there the entire time?”
The smug smirk was back, and he tugged Merlin back towards the room. “Of course. You're not exactly subtle. Just because I'm playing doesn't mean I'm not aware of what's happening outside of the room.”
Merlin pulled his wrist free, and covered his face with his hands. “Oh my God, you must think I'm a freak. I'm sorry, I won't come anymore--”
Which was mostly a lie, Merlin wasn't sure if he'd be able to stay away after coming for so long, but even so, all he had to do was make mystery man believe he would, right?
“If it bothered me, I would've told you ages ago,” the man insisted, and he sounded sincere. “Really. It's actually been nice, knowing someone was listening. It made me want to do my best, just for you.”
Merlin's heart clenched tighter in his chest. The man turned, setting the violin and bow up against the wall, just inside of the music room. He gave Merlin a gentle smile, and said, quite honestly, “You're really adorable when you're flustered, did you know that?”
“I'm really not,” he protested weakly.
The man raised a hand to his cheek, brushing a callous thumb over the soft skin. “You really are,” he argued, and Merlin found he didn't actually mind the close proximity.
(When did he get that close to begin with?)
“You have been driving me crazy all these weeks,” he mumbled lowly. “Did you know that? Sometimes I'd stand in the doorway, waiting for you to finally look up and see me. But your eyes, they'd always be closed, and you'd have this gorgeous smile on your face, lost in your own world. I kept playing the same song, over and over, because I could see that you loved it. I grew sick of it, but it was all worth it, to see you happy like that.”
Merlin was sure he still wanted the ground to swallow him, but for entirely different reasons. The man's words were nearly drowned out by the blood rushing in his ears. He continued, “I don't even know your name, and yet you've stolen my heart.”
“It's Merlin,” he blurted out, before he could stop himself. He swallowed, and took a deep breath. “My name. It's Merlin.”
An arm snaked its way around Merlin's waist and drew him a little closer, and the man leaned in, grinning as he said softly, “Well then, Merlin, is this okay?”
Taking a deep breath, he subconsciously licked his lips. Before he could think too much about it, he replied, “Yeah. Completely. More than okay, really. Just wonderful--”
His words were swiftly cut off with a kiss, and well, that was pretty wonderful too. It was only natural that the man kissed like he played—powerful and dominating but full of emotion and simply beautiful, entrancing and enticing all mixed into one, big burst of warm bliss, crawling throughout his body and thrumming under his skin. Merlin melted into it after only a few seconds, being completely unexperienced in the art of kissing, but still feeling like this was the best kiss he'd ever had. He wrapped his arms around mystery man's neck, pressing deeper into it, and there may have been tongue involved eventually, but Merlin's mind was in such a daze of happiness and complete thrill he wouldn't have really noticed.
What he did notice was pulling back for air, and then brilliant blue eyes meeting his in a mixture of excitement and anxiety.
“That was good, right?” he asked, giving Merlin a look that clearly said he was the best, and was expecting to be told so.
Merlin nodded dumbly for a moment, and then cleared his throat. “You know, I never did get your name after all of this.”
“Oh,” the man said, as if it hadn't even occurred to him. Then the smirk was back, and he replied, quite charmingly, “It's Arthur.”
He could've laughed out loud, and without bothering to check if he was being teased or not, he sighed, content.
“Well then, Arthur,” he mused, quirking a small grin of his own. “That was good. More than good, really. Quite brilliant. But before I make my decision, I might need a repeat demonstration. Just to be sure.”
“Just to be sure,” Arthur repeated, as if it were obvious. “You'll come by tomorrow, then?”
Merlin laughed, exhilaration rushing through him. “Definitely. I wouldn't miss it for the world.”
“Good, I wouldn't play nearly as well without my faithful listener,” Arthur said, and then looked him up and down, grin widening. “And I was thinking, well, we could do some other things as well.”
Just for the hell of it, Merlin kissed him again, this time shorter and a lot sloppier, but pretty great all the same.
“Yeah,” he said, and a little daringly he added, “I'd like that.”