Title: Autumn Rain
Character/s: Merlin and Arthur
Summary: Merlin takes a gamble and decides he's lost. Arthur proves he's wrong.
Word Count: 1114
Prompt: #86 Autumn
Author's Notes: None
Merlin might have possibly ruined the best thing he'd ever had.
He and Arthur had been working all afternoon, making camp in Arthur's sitting room. It was the weekend, but neither minded putting in the extra hours. Sitting on the sofa, pressed together from shoulder to hip, hands occasionally brushing together as they passed papers around, Merlin had felt content. Rain tapped at the windows, the wind occasionally howling, but Merlin was warm and cosy with the fire burning brightly in the hearth, chasing away the gloom of the autumn afternoon.
Maybe Merlin had gotten too cosy because when Arthur had turned to speak to him, Merlin had kissed him.
Arthur had jerked away, and Merlin couldn't ignore the hurt brought about by that action, and had simply stared at him, looking stunned.
Now Merlin fidgeted where he stood, wondering if Arthur was going to say something or possibly throw him out. But as the awkward silence stretched and Arthur continued to stare at him in shock, Merlin realized he might have caused irrevocable damage to their friendship and may have lost his job as well. He swallowed hard and backed out of the sitting room on shaky legs.
The walk down the hallway to the front door seemed interminable. How could he have been so stupid? What had he been thinking? It was clear by the expression on Arthur's face that he'd never considered having a romantic relationship with Merlin.
Merlin pressed a hand to his stomach, feeling it writhe and twist. After today, Arthur wouldn't want to have anything to do with him.
The front door loomed and Merlin threw it open, needing to escape his humiliation. He'd gotten it so wrong.
Cold drops of rain splattered against his face, the wind tugging at his long-sleeved t-shirt, and he shivered. He'd left his jacket inside, but there was no way he was going back in the house for it. He didn't think he'd be able to face Arthur Pendragon ever again.
Holding an arm over his head to try to shield himself from the rain and doing a poor job of it, Merlin made his way to his car. Shaking as much from the horrible situation as from the cold, he fumbled for his keys.
The keys tumbled out of his pocket and hit the ground. Merlin cursed. Fingers already stiff from cold, he bent down and grabbed for his keys...and noticed that his tire was flat.
Tears of frustration pricked at his eyes. Could this day get any worse?
"What exactly are you doing, Merlin?"
Merlin hung his head, but he could still see the tips of Arthur's trainers out of the corner of his eye. "L--leaving," he said even though it was fairly obvious.
"Not with that flat tire you aren't." A strong hand grasped his elbow and hauled him to his feet.
Merlin lifted his head.
Arthur gazed back at him from under his umbrella. His lips were pressed together and he was frowning.
To Merlin's surprise, Arthur didn't look angry. In fact, he looked concerned.
"You look like a drowned cat," Arthur said gruffly.
"I'm sorry, Arthur," Merlin said, completely ignoring Arthur's observation. He was numb all over and felt nothing. Not the wind, not the rain. None of it mattered. "Please, forgive me. I don't know what came over me. I know you probably are going to fire me, but I truly am sorry."
"What the devil are you talking about? Fire you? Why would I fire you?"
"Arthur, I kissed you," Merlin said, blinking away the rain water that momentarily obscured his vision. He thought Arthur looked amused, but that couldn't be right.
"I know," Arthur said dryly. "I was there."
"Yes, but…" Merlin's voice trailed away. He wasn't sure how to finish his thought. Arthur wasn't ignoring what happened and he didn't appear angry about it either. Merlin was confused. "...but you didn't like it?" he finished lamely.
Arthur crowded into Merlin's space.
Merlin nearly took a step back, but Arthur's umbrella covered the both of them and with Arthur pressed so close, he provided a modicum of warmth against the icy wind. Those were the reasons Merlin gave himself anyway.
Arthur cupped Merlin's jaw, sliding his thumb along a prominent cheekbone. "I didn't?"
"You didn't," Merlin confirmed. Then he licked his lips and added daringly, "right?"
Arthur watched him for a few seconds. Then he casually let go of the umbrella. It tumbled across the garden, snagging on a hedgerow on the edge of of Arthur's property.
There was a clear intent in Arthur's eyes as he held Merlin's face in his hands.
Merlin's lips parted, his heart pounding in his chest.
Then Arthur was kissing him. It started with a gentle press of his lips, then grew more demanding as only Arthur could make it.
Boldly Merlin wrapped his arms around Arthur's neck, and kissed him back just as fiercely. He tasted Arthur's last cup of tea and cold rain. It was an exquisite flavor and Merlin knew he was already addicted.
The thought made him pull back reluctantly, although he didn't untwine his arms from around Arthur's neck. "Arthur? Is this...is this a one off?"
Arthur rolled his eyes and made an exasperated sound. "No, this is not a one off, Merlin."
But Merlin had to be sure. "You made me think...I mean...you didn't respond. Not the first time. I thought maybe I had...ruined things."
"You took me by surprise," Arthur admitted softly. "I've been thinking about kissing you for weeks now, but I had no idea you felt the same."
"You have?" Merlin asked in surprise.
Arthur nodded. "You're very brave, Merlin."
Merlin hugged him close, burying his face in Arthur's shoulder.
Arthur looped his arms around Merlin's waist. "You're shivering. I need to get you inside before you catch cold."
"It's just a little rain." Merlin snuggled closer, afraid Arthur would disappear if he let go.
Arthur snorted. "It's a bit more than that."
"I d--don't want to m--move," Merlin confessed, teeth beginning to chatter.
Arthur slid a hand up Merlin's back, cupping the back of his neck, and squeezing it gently. "We must."
Merlin reluctantly pulled away. "You'll kiss me again?"
Arthur smiled before doing exactly that. "I'll do more than that if you'll let me."
"Yeah? Alright," Merlin said. "That would be good."
"It'll be more than good." Arthur grabbed his wrist and began hauling him toward the house. "Now let's see about getting out of these wet clothes, shall we?"
He would always follow where Arthur led.