Summary: Arthur thinks that not-dating Merlin might be more exhausting.
Word Count: 655
Prompt: Protect for camelot_drabble
Author's Notes: Unbetaed. Continuation of the "Reluctant" Series.
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
Part six: One Quick Drink
Part seven: Just Being Friends
"So what are we watching?" Arthur asked as Merlin had drove up to his flat and picked him up. They were going to see a film. Two blokes, being friendly, just going to the cinema.
"I don't know, I thought we could do the whole non-romantic route and watch something with car chases, buildings blowing up, and people jumping out of airplanes. Something very American and we can laugh at how patriotic the people in the states are!"
"Sounds great!" Arthur said. An action film sounded like a good idea. It had been a while since he had actually gone to the cinema. Every time his friends made any plans about it, the girls had always picked a romantic comedy and he was just never in the mood for it. He had realised that ever since he'd made the decision to protect his heart, he never really was in the mood for a romance film.
"And you're buying your ticket of course," Merlin said. "You know, since it's not a date."
"Are you going to sit next to me?" Arthur teased. "Or we could just go to two totally different films—"
"If that's what you want," Merlin said, looking at Arthur when they'd stopped at a light.
"If that's what I wanted, then I'd just go by myself, Merlin. You're too much, you know that?" Arthur shook his head and nodded towards the road gesturing for Merlin to drive again.
Merlin didn't say anything and continued to drive. He let Arthur get out of the car first when he insisted in buying tickets for the both of them and went to look for parking.
"What do you want to do after?" Merlin asked when he caught up with Arthur and they entered the cinema hall.
Arthur shrugged. He hadn't thought that far ahead. He'd been nervous enough about this non-date as it was, he'd not realised that Merlin would want to do something after.
"We could go to Avalon," Merlin suggested.
Arthur's heart sank into his stomach. Avalon was the club where he'd first met Merlin, and then bought him a drink after. The barwoman would remember him. No, that was not a good idea.
"I'd rather not—"
"Okay, then the Thirsty again?"
"Where you kissed me in front of all those people and—"
"I told you. There will be no more kissing."
"Right," Arthur said and the found their seats. The cinema hall was relatively empty and Arthur was glad about that. He hated crowds, and especially in a closed environment where people could listen to his conversations.
"You don't sound that happy about it," Merlin said, grinning.
Arthur was thoroughly confused. What were they talking about? Was there going to be kissing or not? And did he want there to be kissing?
"I told you. I won't jump on you like that anymore. I promised to be a gentleman. I'm not interested in being strung along for the ride. I was serious when I said I wanted to be just friends."
"Strung along?" Arthur asked. Had he really been giving Merlin mixed signals, and how was he even to determine that when Merlin took every opportunity to flirt with Arthur.
"Yeah. You say you don't want to date me. You don't want casual sex. You barely want to be friends with me and when I say that there won't be any kissing, you look like I just kicked your dog."
"I am not stringing you along. You need to figure out what you want. I know I want!" Arthur argued. Or what I shouldn't want.
"Which is what?"
"You want nothing?" Merlin turned to look at Arthur, one eyebrow arched.
Before Arthur could say anything, the room went dark and a loud noise filled the silence. The film trailers were about to begin.
Arthur almost sighed with relief. Evidently a non-romantic film non-date with Merlin was exhausting.
READ THE NEXT PART: EXPRESSIONS