Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur and Merlin grow up
Warnings: Brief angst, homophobia
Word Count: 4 100 word drabbles
Prompt: New year
Author's Notes: This is how Arthur and Merlin got from sharing a sleep mat in kindergarten to the last line in "Arthur To The Rescue" which should be read first.
“Mum made cupcakes,” Merlin announced flopping down on the bench with all the grace of an eight and a half year old who had somehow grown five inches over night. Bony wrists and ankles poked out of a uniform that fit just days before. Arthur’s clothes were getting a bit tight but only around his middle.
Deep down Arthur knew that Merlin would always be two steps ahead: taller, smarter and nicer. He didn’t know Merlin felt exactly the same way about him.
Except the taller part. Merlin knew he would always be taller but Arthur would always be prettier.
Merlin thought Arthur might react badly but he hadn’t expected him to march away without saying a word. Arthur was taking the whole if you don’t have anything nice to say rule too far, setting Merlin off. Merlin stalked after him.
“Jerk. It doesn’t change anything. I’m still me. I still like Gwen and Morgana. I just don’t want to kiss them.”
Arthur glared. “So you want to go on dates with Gwaine? Kiss Lance?” His face was pinched.
“Naw,” Merlin smiled, “I’m holding out for someone better than those two.”
Arthur felt the painful knot in his stomach loosen.
They’d both been accepted to Christ’s Church and Arthur immediately broke up with Sophia. “I’m not starting uni saddled with a girlfriend,” he’d announced.
Merlin had no one to break up with. He was out to his mum and a few close friends but that was all. He was looking forward to university for a lot of reasons, no longer needing to watch himself was front and center.
Arthur slung a well muscled arm over his best friend’s shoulders and gave him a squeeze. “This is going to be brilliant, Merlin.”
Merlin gave him a face splitting grin in reply.
Only ten seconds into the New Year and Merlin felt sick. He thought he might vomit and it wasn’t the champagne. Arthur was staring, stunned. There were sure to be bruises where he gripped Merlin’s forearm.
Arthur blinked. “Why’d you do that?”
Merlin shrugged, stomach churning. “Merlin, why did you kiss me?”
Merlin's shoulders tightened, “It’s New Year’s, Arthur. It doesn’t mean anything.” No. It meant everything. Sixteen years of friendship, seven years hopelessly in love, all lost in an impulsive moment. Merlin wanted to cry.
Arthur smiled, pulling Merlin close enough to whisper fondly, “Idiot. Give a bloke some warning.”