Title: One Quick Drink
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine
Summary: Arthur arrived at the pub to have a drink with Merlin. He still isn't sure if he should go through with this.
Word Count: ~1K
Prompt: Yearning for camelot_drabble
Author's Notes: Continuation of the "reluctant" series. Unbetaed.
Part one: Watching Him Dance
Part two: Buying Him A Drink
Part three: Luck Let A Gentleman See
Part four: Watching Him Teach
Part five: Resisting The Charm
It’s just a quick drink.
Arthur repeated the phrase in his head as he took a taxi to the Thirsty Scholar where he was supposedly going to meet up with Merlin and they were supposedly going to have a drink.
Just one quick drink.
This was not going to be an affair to remember about someone he’d been yearning over for years or something—even if Arthur had sort of been pining over Merlin for a month or so but—no one needed to know about that.
He arrived at the Thirsty Scholar in record time thinking that he’d probably beat Merlin there but he was shocked to find the bloke sitting at the bar. The man hadn’t seen Arthur yet so he wondered if he should just leave.
I should just leave. This is a bad idea.
What are you so scared of? A different voice in his head popped in. A voice that sounded a lot like Gwaine.
I’m not scared. I am just being cautious, Arthur told the Gwaine-like sounding voice.
Cautious? You’re being a fucking coward, Arthur, and you know it.
“Excuse me?” A woman turned towards Arthur and glared at him.
“Sorry, just…” He sighed. “I’m sorry…”
The woman rolled her eyes and walked away.
Great. Now you’re just scaring other people around you. It’s best to just leave.
Too fucking late. Merlin had spotted him.
Arthur turned towards the voice and Merlin had all but run up to him. “You’re here!” he said enthusiastically and Arthur felt slightly guilty for wanting to leave.
“Hi, sorry. I don’t—”
“You’re adorable when you’re flustered, do you know that?”
“Who says I’m flustered?”
“So what are you, then?”
“Maybe I’m not interested.”
“Wow, Gwaine wasn’t lying…”
“About having a pole up your arse.”
“I do not have a—” Arthur lowered his voice “—a pole up my arse! I just… Weren’t we here to get a drink?”
God, I could use a fucking drink right about now.
“Follow me!” Merlin smiled and led Arthur to the bar where he was sitting earlier and offered the stool next to his to Arthur.
“Two more please,” he said to the woman standing behind the bar. She smiled and walked away. A minute later, she was back with two whiskey glasses.
“You drink whiskey?” Arthur asked.
“Most of the times I drink beer, but, you look like you drink whiskey.”
“And you were drinking whiskey before I arrived?”
Merlin nodded. “Yeah, needed to get used to the taste.” He grinned openly and Arthur couldn’t help but smile in return. Merlin just seemed so open, so unafraid, pretty much Arthur’s opposite.
“You don’t have to change your tastes for me,” Arthur said. “I would have sat here if you would’ve ordered a Carlsberg.”
“You know I drink Carlsberg?” Merlin asked, sounding pleasantly surprised.
Arthur tensed up. “Oh, do you? It was just a guess—”
“Relax,” Merlin said and placed his hand on Arthur’s shoulder. He squeezed it gently before he spoke again. “I like light beers because I like to dance and if I drink the heavy stuff then I get drunk too fast and that’s not really a whole lot of fun. Besides, I’d rather not wake up with an incapacitating hangover.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Arthur said. “That’s why I’m probably only having just one drink. I’ve got to be ready for an early morning meeting tomorrow.” Arthur was trying to hint that he wanted to leave. Not that he wanted to leave, but he reckoned he should, because he was a coward.
“You know, I think I give off the vibe that I drink this beer,” Merlin said sounding like he was in deep thought about the matter.
“Why do you say that?”
“Someone bought me this beer at the club, but they never stuck around to introduce themselves. I think I might have a stalker.”
Arthur’s heart was in his throat and he involuntarily coughed. “Maybe they just asked the bartender what you drink.”
“And why not tell me who they are? Why buy me a drink?” Merlin asked.
“I don’t know. You’d have to ask them.”
“True…” Merlin nodded his head. “But I don’t know who they are.”
“That’s too bad,” Arthur said. He felt weird discussing himself with Merlin, and thought of ways he could deviate from the subject. This was going all wrong. What if in the future Merlin found out that it was Arthur that had bought him that drink all those days ago? He’d call Arthur his stalker, and then Arthur had showed up with Gwaine at the Charles where Merlin was teaching…
“What’s wrong? You’re not jealous are you?” Merlin’s tone was flirty.
“You look very cross and I thought maybe you’re jealous that someone was stalking me and buying me drinks…”
“No, I’m not jealous,” Arthur said and finished the last of his whiskey in one gulp. “I should go.” He stood up abruptly almost knocking the bar stool from under him. “Thank you, Merlin. Have a nice…See you around.”
Arthur turned to walk away. He realised he was being rude and what Gwaine would call stupid, but this was all too much for him. He did not want this. He didn’t want to be attracted to Merlin, and then find out that the bloke was actually really decent, and charming and every time he’d take a sip of his drink, all Arthur wanted to do was lean in and lick that bloody lip of his.
Arthur did not want that.
He reached the taxi rank and was about to speak to the attendant when Merlin pulled on Arthur’s arm.
“What is it?” Arthur asked, struggling to not be thrilled at the fact that Merlin chased after him.
“Can we go out again? On a night you don’t have an early morning meeting?”
“Why?” Arthur snapped. He didn’t mean to, it just sort of happened.
“What are you fishing for compliments?” Merlin retaliated.
“No. I’m sorry. I’d like to—”
And then Merlin kissed him and that was the end of all coherent thoughts in Arthur’s head.
Next Part: Just Being Friends