Title: Take Me Back to the Start
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine, Gwen
Summary: It's the morning after one of Gwaine's new year parties and Arthur is struggling to remember what happened.
Word Count: 1214 (Sorry - it was under the limit before I decided I hated it and started messing about with it)
Prompt: 90 New Year
Author's Notes: Not betaed, sorry, I spent far too long fiddling around with it. This also fills the drunkfic square on my new Trope Bingo card.
Take Me Back to the Start
Gwaine threw excellent parties. Technically Arthur threw them, seeing as they were held at the huge mansion he and his sister had inherited, but really they were always all Gwaine's creations.
The pain in Arthur's head when he vaguely returned to consciousness the following morning was telling him just how very good the latest party had been.
Arthur thought he could for once recall some of this one... at least he could up until midnight. That was when Gwaine had made them all toast the new year with several rounds of sambuca shots and ordered everyone to randomly snog the face off whoever was standing to their right.
It had probably been one of Gwaine's least successful seduction attempts ever. He'd lined himself up next to Percy and gleefully announced the instruction. But somehow things had got switched around and Elyan had wound up with Percy. Gwaine had found himself next to that weird Cedric bloke who was working as a lab technician or something for Arthur's father.
To give him his due, from what Arthur could remember Gwaine had gone for it with gusto. But then, Gwaine always did. And Arthur was fairly sure he could remember seeing Gwaine on the balcony with Percy later... or was it Leon? Or Elyan? It could have been any of them. Knowing Gwaine it might well be all of them.
Arthur opened his eyes blearily, winced in the too-bright winter morning sunlight and shut them again. He was in his own room, in his own bed. That was good. Even if he was going to die from the after-effects of far too many shots, at least it would be in his own bed.
Other things were coming back to him. Someone - he thought it might have been Leon - had thrown up over the balcony. The cleaner was going to just love that. Later, much later when his head stopped threatening to explode, he would have to find her and arrange some kind of bonus for the extra work before she threw another strop.
There was the kiss at midnight. Always an ordeal when you were in a room full of couples or potential couples that you weren't a part of. Worse because of Gwaine's insistence on making it a supposedly random thing. Arthur had grinned gamely, but when he turned away from the spectacle Gwaine was making of himself he had suddenly found himself looking into a pair of blue eyes that gazed back at him apprehensively.
The man standing next to Arthur wasn't one of their close circle. Some rail-thin, dark-haired friend of Gwen's who had stuck to her side like glue most of the night because he didn't seem to know anyone else. Arthur had assumed it was one of her charity cases, someone she'd come across at work who had nowhere else to go at New Year. Arthur had noticed the man from across the room earlier, caught him staring and smiled at the too quick and obvious way that he immediately looked anywhere but at Arthur. A pity because he was cute and if Morgana hadn't distracted Arthur at just that point because she needed him to carry up some more champagne from the cellar then Arthur would have gone over, charity case or no. Given the way he'd been staring, Arthur had wondered if the man had ended up at his side intentionally. But no, Lance would probably have elbowed him out of the way at midnight because nobody else was going to kiss his girl, and anyway the fear in his eyes when he looked at Arthur couldn't possibly be faked.
"H-Happy new year!" the man stammered. He was blushing, right to the tips of a pair of rather large ears.
It was the most adorable thing. Stuff introductions, Arthur had thought, and just cupped the man's face in his hands then pulled him in for a kiss. He tasted of champagne and strawberries and something wonderfully familiar that Arthur just couldn't place but he wanted more of. After a moment's hesitation the man had opened into the kiss eagerly, all trace of shyness gone.
"I know you." Arthur whispered, breaking away for a moment. And somehow he did. "How?" The other man's eyes widened, but he didn't get a chance to answer because Arthur immediately captured his mouth again.
There was a vague recollection of someone catcalling because perhaps they'd still been kissing when everyone else had stopped, or perhaps it was simply because Cedric had stormed out in a temper, not finding Gwaine as amusing as everyone else did. Arthur didn't care.
"Merlin," his new friend gasped when Arthur gave him a moment. "I'm Merlin."
The name was unfamiliar. "You're lovely," Arthur had told him, knowing he sounded drunk and soppy but not caring. He might have said more, and definitely would have kissed Merlin again but Gwaine bounded up to them at that point, passing round shots and that was why Arthur's head was throbbing fit to burst this morning. It felt as if the whole room was tilting at an angle but he soon realised that was an illusion.
It was the bed, in fact, that was moving all by itself. Or the mattress was. Or someone was. Someone who Arthur couldn't remember dragging into his bed. Or being dragged into bed by. Or really anything at all. He knew who he hoped it was, but he also knew that given how bad his luck tended to be it would probably turn out that Cedric hadn't left after all and oh God he didn't want to even think about that!
Arthur was aware that it wasn't just his head that was aching. There were other, more interesting places that felt as if they'd had a really good workout. And his bed was warm and the sheets were... Oh. One was slightly stuck to his leg. Great. He'd been too drunk to use protection or bother to clean up and he couldn't even remember it.
And whoever he'd shagged was still there.
It was a bit of a blur after the shots started and it could be anyone. Gwaine might be the best option because he'd sleep with anything and just laugh it off in the morning and it wouldn't matter too much. But Gwaine wouldn't be Arthur's first choice now. Not that he could remember what had happened to Merlin after Gwaine started pushing the shots at them. He had a vague recollection of seeing him laughing with Gwen at some point on the other side of the room.
There was a small groan from beside him. Apparently he wasn't the only one suffering.
Bracing himself for whatever he might find, Arthur rolled over. To his relief he found himself staring into the same pair of blue eyes that had captivated him the night before. They weren't any less attractive or endearingly concerned for belonging to someone who was now sprawled naked in his bed, tugging at the sheet nervously, trying to cover himself.
"Um... Hi. Happy new year?" Merlin offered tentatively.
Arthur gazed down at the conquest he couldn't even remember making, at the ruffled hair and too big ears, the long limbs tangled in the sheets.
It was definitely going to be.