Title: Strangers No More
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwen, Morgana
Summary: The boys aren't talking; Morgana and Gwen have a plan.
Word Count: 1291
Prompt: 110, strangers no more
Author's Notes: This also covers my prompt for cotton candy bingo, 'match making'. I know this is a late post for the challenge, but hey, I made it!
"Merlin!" Morgana called.
Merlin sighed as Will tried to smoother a laugh. "Best answer her, mate. You know how she gets."
"Merlin!" Morgana said more firmly.
Merlin slowly turned and raised his eyebrows. "Morgana."
She beamed at him and grabbed his wrist. "You have to come with me--I just found the most wonderful thing."
"Wait, what?" Merlin asked as she began pulling him out of the Science building.
"I told you, the most wonderful thing," she told him, exasperated.
Will chuckled. "I'll just wait here, shall I?" he called.
Morgana smirked over her shoulder. "He'll be late. Just go...somewhere else!"
Merlin tried to get his hand out of hers, but she had a firm grip on him at the least important times and this, at least to her, was important. "Where are we going?"
"The student centre," she answered simply.
He frowned. "The most wonderful thing is at the student centre? That place where we're forced to socialize and watch stupid movies and answer awkward questions in groups? That student centre?"
She clucked her tongue. "Merlin, you need to learn to cultivate hope."
He wisely bit his tongue. Morgana and Gwen had been taking a class about being more positive and leading a healthier life--some kind of hippie elective--and it was starting to wear on their friends. If Merlin had to attend another get together and share his feelings with their friends, he might just quit and find new friends.
"Morgana!" Gwen called, waving and Arthur clutched in her grip.
Oh, no. No, no. This was no good. It likely lead exactly to that stupid class and something about good vibes or good...chi and now Arthur and Merlin were going to have to do...something unpleasant. And as Morgana lead Merlin to the other two, they all four stopped at a wall posted on one of the walls.
Two hand prints had been printed with directions and something about strangers becoming friends. Hippie class, exactly as Merlin suspected.
"Now, we're all here," Morgana began. She nodded at Gwen and smiled at Arthur. "Brother."
Arthur glared. "Morgana."
Morgana rolled her eyes. "Ready?"
"For what?" Arthur asked, eyes narrowing.
Merlin tried to pull his hand away. He really did. But Morgana pulled back and he suddenly found his hand placed on one of the hand prints. Gwen did the same to Arthur and the girls stepped back. Merlin's arm muscles slid and instead of his hand sliding off the paper, it was stuck to the wall.
"You didn't--" Merlin began at the same that Arthur said, "You are fucking kidding me!"
Morgana giggled. "And now, you two can get over whatever dysfunction is causing you two to fight."
Merlin froze as Arthur reached for his sister. Morgana smirked and turned away. Gwen shrugged. "Good luck."
Silence reigned for ten minutes. Merlin looked everywhere but Arthur and tried to undo whatever magic Morgana had done. But whatever it was, Arthur looked resigned to it.
"Aren't you supposed to be the most powerful sorcerer ever?" Arthur asked sardonically.
Merlin's shoulder slumped in defeat. "Morgana's spells are...dirty." He shrugged when Arthur raised an eyebrow at him. "It's true. Her spell craft is like nothing else, fulls of twists and turns that are just...she doesn't fight fair."
Arthur sighed and his free fingers tapped out a rhythm on his thigh. Merlin thought he recognized it and almost had it when Arthur spoke up again. "Do you think they--know?"
Merlin shook his head. "I don't know. Does it matter, really?"
"I guess not," Arthur admitted reluctantly. He licked his lips. "Why didn't you call?"
Merlin blushed and looked down. "I...I just...why didn't you?"
"Merlin," Arthur growled.
Merlin swallowed hard. The morning after they had had sex, he told Arthur he would call him or even text. When he hadn't, Arthur had probably thought...well, that Merlin hadn't really meant it. That the sex had just been sex. But Merlin had gotten scared--what if it had been just sex for Arthur? He had been drinking after all at the bar--how much he couldn't say because Merlin himself had been drinking, too. And somehow, the alcohol had made it seem easier to flirt with Arthur, the way he had always wanted to. Easier to say yes when Arthur asked him to dance and even easier to go to Arthur's after.
It was just an excuse, really. They had been drunk together before, been at clubs while doing said drinking. Hell, there had been at least two nights when their friends had left them as the only single guys at the table.
Somehow, last Saturday, it had just seemed like the best thing to do.
The morning after, though, wasn't easy. At all. Arthur had a reputation for sleeping around, for not having a relationship that lasted longer than six months. What if Merlin was just another one night stand? Or worse--what if he and Arthur did start dating and just when Merlin really let himself admit that he wanted a future with Arthur, they broke up? What then?
"I...wasn't sure," Merlin choked out eventually. "About us, I mean."
Arthur twitched, like he was about to reach out to Merlin but then thought better of it? "You could've asked."
Merlin huffed and shook his head. "Arthur, what part of your dating history would have led me to believe that your answer would be the one I wanted to hear? What if I just thought that it would be better if we forgot we ever had sex?"
Arthur's hand clenched into a fist. "Forgot we had sex? Just--forget that that one night meant more to me than any other kind I've ever had? You think I wanted to forget it?"
Merlin ground his teeth together. "Then you should have called, you clot pole!"
"Well, we're talking now so I think that counts!" Arthur shouted back.
Even the birds were quiet now. Arthur swore under his breath.
"I'm sorry," Merlin offered. "I should've...asked."
"Yes, you should have," Arthur told him. "I was hoping that you'd call that afternoon and we could go snog at the movies or something."
Merlin looked at Arthur from under his eyelashes. "Snog at the movies?"
"Or something," Arthur defended hotly. "I know my dating history is rather...sordid, but they were never really what I wanted. I dated them because I couldn't have the one I did want."
Merlin's heart jumped into his throat. "And what did you want?"
Arthur blushed. "You."
Oh. Merlin smiled. "So..."
Arthur rolled his eyes and reached with both hands to cup Merlin's cheeks to kiss him. It was both sweet and dirty, giving and bruising. Merlin clung to Arthur's hips as he stumbled backwards, but he kissed back with equal enthusiasm.
Clapping broke them apart and Merlin blinked as he turned his head. Gwen and Morgana had been watching them, Morgana clapping her hands with a smirk on her face. Gwen looked happy.
"We had a group project," Gwen explained. "See if you can get two strangers to become friends. But we thought we could do some match making, too."
Arthur groaned. "Get out of here, both of you. Your good deed is good, you'll get an A+ on your stupid 'group project'. We'd like a bit of privacy."
Morgana sighed, somehow sounding both exasperated and fond. "A bit of privacy might be better had in your flat."
"Sounds like a good idea," Merlin told Arthur. He wiggled his eyebrows at Arthur when he looked at Merlin. Arthur pursed his lips. Merlin chuckled and took Arthur's hand in his. "Come on. I'd like to have sex with you and be able to remember all of it this time."