Pairing/s: Vague Merlin/Arthur
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: This wasn't the sort of job Merlin thought he would be auditioning for.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: Wow, I wrote something! The way these days are going, that's a first.
Merlin swallowed nervously as he looked around.
This surely couldn’t be the place.
He checked again the address on his phone, and then at the building in front of him. There was no denying it; the addresses matched up. But surely a place that looked as, well, dodgy was the only word Merlin could think of wasn’t really recruiting for dancers?
He didn’t see what choice he had though. He needed the money desperately. He had grown up dancing – eventually overcoming the taunts of his friends when they realised that a) he was seriously good after winning national prizes when he was young and b) he got to be close to girls in all sorts of ways. Merlin didn’t know how many times he told them that was lost on him due to the simple fact he was gay (probably evoking another stereotype at the same time), they didn’t listen.
He didn’t push it. He would rather see the envy in their eyes than the mocking comments. He never remembered when he had started, but with his mother a dancing instructor and Merlin tagging along to the classes before he could walk because they couldn’t afford a babysitter, it was only natural that he began picking up some of the steps. His mother liked to claim he was dancing before he could walk, but Merlin was convinced that was just an exaggeration.
But he hadn’t wanted to pursue it as a career, or even to university. Instead, he focused on his art. While he loved the course, Merlin knew he was going to be lucky to afford to stay on it for the full duration. Money was tight and when he had seen the flier advertising the dancers were needed, he knew he had to take the chance. He hadn’t left the dancing as behind as he had wanted to, but if it meant being able to pursue his dream, then that was all that mattered.
Swallowing his nerves, Merlin hitched his bag further onto his shoulder and shoved open the door. Instantly, a blast of music hit him so loudly that Merlin wondered if he was going to stumble back through the door the wrong way.
“Alright, mate?” Someone yelled. Merlin looked around and soon located the voice. He was sure he knew the boy looking down on him. He was two years above Merlin. Arthur. Everyone seemed to know him. Rich, talented and top of every class. Not to mention the face in Merlin’s mind each night when he took himself in hand. The music stopped and before Merlin could quite appreciate what was happening, Arthur had grabbed a rope – seemingly from nowhere – and swung down until he was right in front of Merlin.
“It’s Merlin, right?” Merlin jerkily nodded, refusing to acknowledge how his heart skipped a beat at the fact that Arthur knew his name. “You’re looking a little lost, are you..?”
“I came about the flier,” Merlin blurted out, knowing that he was blushing. He realised now that he had walked into some sort of club. This was not the type of dancing he was used too. Arthur grinned.
“Leon!” He bellowed across the room and a man instantly appeared. He shot Arthur a mildly annoyed look even as he crossed to meet them.
“You know I will fire you?” He threatened, but judging by the grin on Arthur’s face, that was a common thing between the two of them.
“And you would lose half your audience if I wasn’t here taking my clothes off.”
Leon cuffed Arthur upside the head that indicated a friendship that bordered on brotherliness rather than an employee and his boss.
“No comment. What are you yelling about, anyway?”
“You mean someone coming to audition.”
“I’m Merlin,” Merlin stuck out a hand, his mind reeling. “Sir.”
Leon ignored the hand and circled him. “He’s got a good body, I’ll give him that. Ever danced before, Merlin?”
Knowing that this was the one answer he was more than prepared for, Merlin reeled off what he had done. Leon held up a hand to stop him halfway.
“Do you enjoy it?”
“What do you mean?” Merlin felt as if it was some sort of trick question. Leon glanced at Arthur.
“Why don’t you show him what to do?” While Arthur moved off, Leon moved closer.
“You can clearly move, Merlin. But we’re not about technique and skill here. It’s about having fun. I want my dancers to enjoy themselves. Arthur here can’t dance a step to save his life, yet has so much fun doing it the audience soak up his vibes. Watch.”
The music started again and Arthur started moving. Leon was right when he said that he couldn’t dance, but the look on his face was pure bliss and Merlin found himself swallowing. Then blushing. Deeply. Arthur wasn’t just dancing, he was stripping.
He had come to audition in a strip club.
He should leave. Now. Before his mother ever found out. She still taught classical ballet, Merlin was sure she would have a heart attack if she saw him now.
There was something on Arthur’s face that Merlin hadn’t seen before.
There was no false smile while his eyes burned in concentration. Instead, he had lost himself to the music and what he was doing. There was no talent there, but there was sheer enjoyment. Merlin suddenly felt an urge to be part of that.
Knowing this was not the place to be shy, he dropped his back, kicked off his shoes and stepped forward. Leon nodded approvingly.
Merlin didn’t even hear the man claim he had the job ten minutes later. He was too focused on the fact that he was somehow half naked dancing erotically close to the golden boy of the university. And if the look on Arthur’s face was anything to go by, he was enjoying himself even more than before.
“You’re gorgeous,” Arthur said quietly as the music stopped.
Merlin could only grin.