Title: We could be great together
Pairing/s: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Lancelot
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Mordred, Gwen, Lancelot
Summary: Arthur's a single father. Merlin Emrys is a new bookstore owner whose store Arthur Pendragon, and his six year old son Mordred patrons. After sixteen weeks, one would think that Merlin would have grown the courage to ask Arthur out already!
Warnings: If you're looking for fluff, you've found the right fic.
Word Count: 1,351
Prompt: 97, You and I
Author's Notes: This is Part Two. Thank you to merlinsdeheune for the beta.
“Merlin, don't forget to grab the eggs and the milk!” Lance yelled from the bread aisle.
“I'm on the way!” Merlin yelled while walking in that direction, only to stop mid-stride on seeing Arthur in the milk section. He swallowed hard before running his hands through his hair, squaring his shoulders, and setting a face of determination. He would not be deterred today, he convinced himself. He rolled his cart in Arthur's direction. Lance had a cart too. Between the two of them, they had to keep their flat well stocked for whenever Gwen, Gwaine, and Elena came over. It was an everyday occurrence. “Arthur.” Merlin called out as he got within talking distance. Merlin glanced around while waiting for a response to see if Mordred was present before considering the time, and realizing that he was still in school.
Arthur startled but didn't manage to drop the pint of milk he just picked up. He turned around and smiled. “Merlin? What are doing here?” Arthur visibly shook himself. He sounded flustered when he spoke next. “Well, not what are you doing here. It's a grocery store no less! I'm sure that you eat. Well, you have to eat. And you have to shop. And it's a free country--” And Arthur snapped his mouth shut. Damn it. When did he get so nervous?
Merlin smiled. Because a flustered Arthur was almost more adorable than even confident Arthur. And a flustered Arthur gave Merlin some hope. He smiled brighter, and his chest felt warmed because now he felt like he actually did have a chance. “I do. Shop. That is. And I'm shopping right now with my flatmate. He's on the other side of the store.”
Arthur's smile dropped a little. “Oh, is he your...boyfriend?”
Merlin's brows raised before he shook his head. “Oh no, he's my very much taken best mate. And don't ever let Gwen hear you ask that question. She'd have my head on principle.” Merlin couldn't help but laugh by the end of his sentence.
Arthur couldn't help but laugh either. He had a chance.
“Do you have anything...to do...later?” Merlin asked while running a hand through his hair. You can do this! He said to himself. “Cause you see. I've been meaning to ask you out for weeks and if I don't do it now I don't think I'll ever muster up the nerve to do it again. I think you're wonderful and I love the way that you take care of Mordred. You are such a wonderful father. Even though I know that you've corrected me several times saying that Mordred is your nephew as your sister and brother-in-law had an accident several years back. But Mordred is six and you are the only father he has ever known. I think you've done a hell of a job. I think Morgause and Cenred would have been proud.” Merlin took a deep breath. “But not only that, Arthur. I can't help thinking that there’s something more between us. Something I’d like very much like to explore.” Merlin huffed, frustrated in himself. He wanted to get this right “I just know that you and I could be something great together, if we could just give it a try and I think I'll just shut up now.” Merlin said as he took in Arthur expression. It was a mixture of shock, adoration, and grief. His eyes were on the brink of tears. Merlin's never seen that much emotion flowing through Arthur all at once.
Arthur must have realized he left himself vulnerable too because he quickly shook himself out of it. Running a hand over his face to cover his eyes for a moment, he cleared his throat. He was still hoarse with tears when he spoke.
“Was that supposed to be you asking me out on a date now?” Arthur said, trying for banter. Inside he was an emotional wreck. He never thought Merlin would have remembered everything that he had told him in their short encounters. He always thought there was something about Merlin, and he always wanted to find out what it was but he had never worked up the nerve to do anything about it. Even Mordred had noticed. Which prompted their weekly visits to Emrys Bookstore in the first place. What did he do in a past life to deserve such a beautiful man taking interest in him? He thought to himself.
The first response that came to mind in response to Arthur's question was to call him a 'Prat'. But that could be done later. Merlin had other ideas in mind. “Yes, I'm asking you out now.” Merlin said smiling. It was so bright that all of his dimples were showing and his eyes were twinkling too.
And Arthur's heart skipped a beat. “Well, if you're asking me out--” Arthur smiled back too.
And there was Arthur. Showing all the charm and confidence again that Merlin, unbeknownst to himself, had grown to love. It was a question before but it was a certainty now.
Arthur walked a little closer to Merlin. “Then I would have to say yes.”
“Merlin!” Lance yelled, startling Merlin and Arthur both, as he turned the corner coming towards them. “You got the milk and eggs? And who’s this?” Lance asked, while looking at Arthur. Knowing full well who Arthur was and knowing that Merlin would catch on that he was playing it off for his sake.”
Merlin caught on. And Merlin’s got something alright. But it was a whole lot better than the milk and the eggs. He shook his head. “Lance, this is Arthur, he comes to the bookstore. Arthur, this is Lance, my flatmate and best mate.” Merlin said, gesturing a hand between the two.
Lance raised his brow at Arthur in inspection, knowing Merlin was arse over tits in love with the bloke and making sure that he passed Lance's arsehole test for Merlin. And yes, Lance did have an arsehole test for Merlin’s prospective blokes. Many have taken and failed that test over the years! But it seemed...Arthur's passed it. He put his hand forward to shake Arthur's. “Nice to finally meet you, Arthur.”
Arthur put hand out too. “Finally?” He looked at Merlin, who promptly turned beet red. He didn't mean to put Merlin on the spot. But he looked so bloody gorgeous that Arthur couldn't pass it up. He held his other hand up. “It's okay,”before turning back to Lance. “It's nice to meet you too, Lance. I look forward to getting to know you better.”
Lance smiled. “Me too,” he said, realizing Arthur meant what he said meaning he’d be sticking around.
Merlin caught that too. And his heart warmed. He turned to Lance. “Lance. Do you mind finishing the shopping? There's a lovely coffee shop called Elena's around the corner that I would really like to take Arthur to.” He said, as though he and Lance didn't go to Elena's shop everyday. His eyes were pleading with Lance.
Lance couldn't help but laugh. “Go. Have fun. Enjoy. Don't do anything I wouldn't do. Be home by midnight. And practice safe sex.” Lance said as he rattled his normal off to Merlin.
Merlin turned beet red again, while Arthur just laughed.
“Lance!” Merlin shrieked in horror
Merlin’s embarrassment only made Lance laugh more.
But Arthur couldn’t help by find Merlin’s embarrassed expression adorable. Still laughing, Arthur said, “come on, Merlin, why don't you and I go to this coffee shop that you have in mind for me.” He said while placing his hand in Merlin's. It felt nice. It felt right. And It made Arthur feel all tingly inside.
Merlin blushed. Smiling, he said, “let's. And Lance...”
Lance straightened up and stopped laughing for a moment. “Yes, Merlin?”
“I always practice safe sex.” Merlin retorted with a cheeky grin in Lance's direction, while he and a still chuckling Arthur walked towards the exit of the grocery store hand and hand, Arthur's groceries forgotten.
Lance could only shake his head as he turned back to continue shopping.