Title: Bus stop
Summary: Arthur has to use public transport and meets a cute stranger
Word Count: 954
Prompt: Strangers no more
Author's Notes: Thanks issy5209 for the beta!
Fuck, fuck, fuckety, fuck. Arthur frowned as he looked at the time-table. Today his car just had to break down – he would so give the dealer a piece of his mind later! – and Morgana talked him into taking the bus instead of calling a taxi. He would give her a piece of his mind later, too, when he was done with the car dealer. This time-table was so confusing. Did this mean he had to wait for…how long? Five minutes?
“Where do you want to go?”
Arthur looked up and saw a young man in jeans and an old t-shirt, a backpack on his back, one of those oyster cards in his hand. He must use the public transport system frequently then, so Arthur told him his destination.
“Oh, that’s easy. The next one is yours. You don’t even have to switch, just stay on the bus until here.” The lad pointed at the map. “But you’ll see stuff you recognize so you will know anyway.”
“Thanks. I’m…I’m Arthur.” Arthur held out his hand. He had no idea what made him introduce himself to the bloke, but he was gorgeous with his blue eyes and black curly hair.
“Here’s your bus. Don’t miss it.”
Arthur got on and still looked at the bloke as the bus started again.
The next morning, Arthur went to the bus stop a bit earlier. His car was still at the garage. Yes, he had a temporary replacement, but maybe, just maybe the cute guy from yesterday would still be there. And he had been right, the bloke was already standing there.
“Morning.” Arthur smiled.
But before Arthur could come up with anything more to say, a bus pulled up and the man got on and was gone.
Things went on like this for a whole week. Either it was Arthur’s bus that just arrived and he couldn’t let it leave without him since the next one only came twenty minutes later or it was the bloke’s bus and Arthur never got in more than ‘hi’ or ‘good morning’.
So the next Monday, he went to there early and waited. He paced and checked his watch frequently and could barely bite back a ‘where have you been? I’m waiting for almost half an hour!’ when the man showed up.
“Hey, listen, I usually don’t do this. But…I’d like to say thank you for your help last week. Can I get you a coffee?”
The man looked at him. “Nevermind, I’m glad you found out how the system works.”
“No, I mean,” fuck, the guy’s bus pulled up, “I’d like to get to know you. How about a coffee or something?” Arthur knew he sounded desperate.
“I don’t go for coffee or something with strangers.” But the man smiled as he stepped on the bus and turned his head to look at Arthur when his bus pulled from the curb.
Morgana had already made fun of him for not using his car, even though it was back fully functional. He gave her a speech about how much more eco-friendly using the bus was, even though they both knew he took a taxi back home from work every day.
He had tried to talk to the bloke every morning, just making stupid small-talk about the weather – it was rather chilly lately -, the new play that they put a poster up for at their bus stop – Arthur had no idea what it was about – and the reliability of time-tables since the busses seemed to have a totally different one from the one that was on display here. But there never was enough time to really get to know the man, even though lately he smiled when he saw him and didn’t brush him off when he started talking about the latest rugby results.
And what a gorgeous smile that was. Arthur wanted to see it more often and the more often he saw it, the more he wanted to know more about the man who was able to light up the whole place with just a smile. He knew it was risky, he could drive the man away forever, but he bought a cup of tea when he got his coffee, the same he had seen the bloke order.
“Here.” He held it out when the guy arrived.
“My tea?” The man eyed him suspiciously.
“You never let me thank you for your help, so I thought I’d get you the tea you wanted to buy now anyway.” Arthur smiled.
Slowly, the guy reached for the cup. “Thanks, but that isn’t necessary.”
“I just wanted to. So…are we still strangers?”
The man looked up from the cup and smiled. “Not really. I’m Merlin.”
“Hi Merlin, I’m Arthur.”
“You said so on that first day.”
Arthur smiled. Even though he was very shy and reluctant, Merlin had remembered his name, that was a good sign, wasn’t it?
“So…would you let me take you out for dinner?”
“It’s 6:30 in the morning.” Merlin smiled.
“I know, but how about tonight? Or just a snack after work?”
“You’re really not giving up, are you?”
“No.” Arthur grinned as he shook his head.
“And you’re not taking no for an answer either.” The smile on Merlin’s face showed that he was more amused than annoyed.
“I’m not taking the bus for two weeks when my car is back from repair if I took no for an answer.”
A bus approached.
Merlin jerked his head its way. “That’s me.”
Just as Arthur’s shoulders sank, Merlin turned. “But since we’re no strangers anymore, hop on. It’s about thirty minutes to where I have to go.”
Arthur grinned and followed.