Title: New In Town
Character/s: ARTHUR, MERLIN
Summary: Merlin is new in town and meets Arthur
Warnings: Modern!AU fluff.
Word Count: ~825
Prompt: "Holidays" for camelot_drabble
Merlin walked up the hill to the closest restaurant that was open — the only restaurant that was open given that it was the holidays. His car had finally died and the only mechanic in the city was closed for the holidays as well.
He grumbled all the way up the hill, cursing himself for having moved to Camelot, where everyone seemed friendly, yet no one could actually help.
"A table for one, please," he said to the hostess at the restaurant. He looked around; it seemed everyone else had had the same idea as him. The whole town was practically at Avalon.
"Do you have a reservation?" the hostess asked.
"A reserv— no, I don't." He sighed. "I come in here at least three times a week since I've moved here; I've never needed a reserv—"
"Yes, I know. But, it's New Year's Eve," the hostess answered, rather derisively.
"Oh. Well can I get take—"
"Hey, Freya..." A man approached the hostess's station and interrupted Merlin.
"Hi Arthur," the hostess, Freya, said smilingly.
The man, Arthur, turned towards Merlin and smiled. "I've got a table for two, and I'm only one person. If you don't mind the company, you are more than welcome to share it with me—"
"Oh," Merlin said, shocked and hesitant towards the man's invitation.
"There's no other place that's open and—" He turned to Freya and grinned. Merlin wasn't sure why, but he was already fond of this stranger's smile. "What do you think, Freya?"
"Arthur has a standing reservation at Avalon, I'd take him upon that offer," Freya said to Merlin, her attitude and snark had gone out the window.
"Erm...okay. I am rather famished," Merlin answered, trying to tell himself that the only reason he was taking him up on the offer was because he was hungry, not because he'd already imagined this Arthur person naked. No, not at all.
They sat at a table by the window and the moment Arthur looked up towards the waitress, the woman came rushing.
Blimey, this Arthur person, had everyone wrapped around his finger. Merlin couldn't help but imagine him being wrapped around him.
Bloody hell! What was wrong with Merlin? He'd just met this man, and he couldn't stop imagining—
"Had a chance to look over the menu yet?" the waitress asked.
"Oh, no. But I know—"
"Get the Turkey Club, it's the best thing they have on the menu," Arthur offered.
"Yeah, that sounds good. I'll have that and a—"
"Wine?" Arthur asked, interrupting Merlin again.
Technically, Merlin should have been annoyed at Arthur's insistence but he couldn't help himself. If Arthur had offered pickle juice, he would have drunk it.
"Sure," Merlin said and Arthur nodded at the waitress.
The waitress took the menu off Merlin's hands and walked away.
"So, standing reservation?" Merlin asked.
"Yeah. I grew up in Camelot, and I come here every New Year's Eve. So you know—"
"Oh, you haven't been anywhere else?" Merlin asked, slightly shocked. He had only chosen to move to Camelot for work, but he'd managed to travel all throughout Europe before settling for a job.
"Oh, I went to Oxford for Uni, but I missed this town too much, the people—"
"Must be nice," Merlin offered.
"I take it you're not a small town kind of bloke?" Arthur asked.
The waitress brought a bottle of Shiraz and two glasses along with some chips. Arthur took the liberty to pour the wine.
"No, I grew up in 'the system', I never really had a home," Merlin said, taking a sip of his wine.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to—"
Merlin chuckled. It was the first time he saw Arthur be anything but confident.
"No, it's fine. Didn't mean to kill the mood with my sob story."
"It's not," Arthur said, looking at Merlin straight into his eyes.
As Merlin gazed into Arthur's blue eyes, he nearly forgot who he was and what he was doing. He let out a small gasp.
"What is it?" Arthur said, now suddenly self-conscious.
"What is it?" Arthur insisted.
Merlin rolled his eyes, more towards him and his sappiness than anything else. He was truly at a loss for good vocabulary. "Just...nice eyes."
Arthur blushed for a moment, then straightened himself up. "Oh. Thank you." He nodded curtly.
"I apologise, I didn't mean to make things uncomfortable. I—you just did me a huge favour and I've gone and done—"
"No, it's quite alright actually. I'm not really doing any real favour, really," Arthur said and Merlin raised an eyebrow. "I've seen you around town, and was hoping to get a chance to speak with you. I asked around and found out that you're new, unmarried..."
"Gay?" Merlin said.
"Yeah. That too."
Merlin laughed and took another sip of his wine. He was going to like this new town, after all.
PART TWO: BAD FOR BUSINESS