Title: Moving Day
Pairing/s: None. Yet.
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Word Count: 665
Prompt: 121 Shocked
Author's Notes: Ridiculous fluff is ridiculous.
Merlin put a box of textbooks down on the porch swing and fumbled in his pocket for the shiny new key to their off campus flat. Gwen wasn’t arriving until tomorrow but he wanted to get a jump on putting some things away.
He and Gwen had rented the right side of a 1960’s duplex. It was bright and well maintained and the shared backyard had a swimming pool and was surrounded by a privacy fence so they could actually get a dog if they wanted.
Their new landlord, Merlin’s physics professor Gaius, had described their neighbors as “quirky but quiet grad students,” which sounded okay, so they’d jumped at the cheap rent and proximity to campus.
It took several loads before the moving van was almost empty. Merlin’s bedroom was a maze of boxes waiting to be unpacked. The large pieces of furniture would have to wait until Gwen and her brother were there to help.
It was sweaty work and though it was still morning, Merlin believed in the drinking before noon rule on moving day so he grabbed a beer out of the fridge and toed off his trainers in anticipation of sticking his feet in the pool while he took a break.
He opened the back door and stepped out, squinting into the sun reflecting off the pool’s surface. There was someone swimming laps and Merlin hesitated, watching him moving back and forth across the water for a few seconds. The pool looked too inviting, though, so he stepped across the lawn and lowered himself to the pool’s edge, sighing with relief when his legs were immediately cooled.
Merlin closed his eyes and listened to the cicadas and the splashing of the swimmer, sipping his beer.
“Who the bloody hell are you?” A sharp voice broke into Merlin’s reverie. Merlin hadn’t noticed the lulling sound of swimming stop.
He didn’t bother opening his eyes before answering. “I’m Merlin.” There was no response so he cracked one eye and focused it on the fit, angry blonde. “Didn’t Gaius tell you he’d rented the place next door?”
“No he most certainly did not. The place has been empty for months.” He made it sound like Merlin had done something wrong.
“Well, it’s not empty any more. We’re neighbors.” He gave the fuming blond a little wave with his half empty beer bottle. “Hey, neighbor.”
The guy glowered in response and Merlin bristled. “What’s your problem?”
“Well, Merlin,” he began snottily, “a stranger appears in my yard, catching me totally unaware. I’m a bit upset that our landlord didn’t see fit to give me or Lance a head’s up so I wouldn’t be caught in a bit of a predicament.”
Merlin smiled, “Predicament?” He focused his gaze on the strong looking arms crossed over a broad, muscular chest.
“My towel’s inside,” he answered as though that explained everything.
Merlin gave the guy a quizzical look.
“I thought I had the place to myself,” the guy gave him another pointed look but, again, Merlin had no idea what he was getting at.
The guy, Merlin just wished the arse had introduced himself already, let out a frustrated huff, “I’m naked, you idiot.”
Merlin’s eyes went wide “Oh!” His eyes slid down the guy's torso but the sunlight reflecting off the water obscured everything below the surface.
“Eyes up here,” blondie barked and Merlin’s eyes shot back to his face immediately.
“Sorry.” Merlin stood. “Look, I’ll just go back to unpacking and you can take yourself inside, dignity intact. Nice to meet you.”
Merlin had the doorknob in hand when he heard “I’m Arthur, by the way, and I guess this means naked swimming is off the table.”
Merlin laughed, “Not necessarily but you’ll have to run it by Gwen, too.”
It took a bit of restraint not to try to sneak a quick peek of Arthur getting out of the pool but Merlin distracted himself by texting Gwen.
Hot new neighbor swims naked!!! I think we’re going to like it here :D