Title: Fair Game
Character/s: Arthur, Gwaine, Merlin
Summary: It wasn’t as if Arthur didn’t know that Gwaine had the devil in him. And it wasn’t as if Merlin was actually his or anything. It was just…
Word Count: 975
Prompt: 130 - Devilish
Author's Notes: This also fills my hc_bingo square 'hugs' - that's 11/25 done. Very rushed, no time for a beta, sorry. If you spot a mistake do say!
It wasn’t as if Arthur didn’t know that Gwaine had the devil in him. And it wasn’t as if Merlin was actually his or anything. It was just…
Arthur wished Gwaine wouldn’t be quite so touchy-feely all the time. There was no need to hug everyone whenever he saw them. There was particularly no need for him to hug Merlin quite so enthusiastically. There was absolutely no need to reach down and squeeze Merlin’s arse as he did so. There was completely no need to wink suggestively at Arthur whilst he did it either.
It wasn’t as if he didn’t like Gwaine, despite the man’s behaviour. He was fun to be around, mostly. Or he used to be until Merlin came back to university after so many months away on work placement and Gwaine started… it was flirting. There was no other word for it.
He glared at Gwaine as the man sat down on the couch opposite him in the student bar. Merlin had wandered off to get them drinks.
“What?” It was a wonder that Gwaine could look quite so innocent, but somehow he managed it.
“Leave Merlin alone.”
Gwaine just smirked at him. “Jealous?”
“Protective. He’s my friend. Don’t tease him.”
“Who’s teasing?” Gwaine flicked his hair back. Arthur hated Gwaine’s hair. It always looked far too good, no matter what. “I don’t tease. I put out. Ask anyone.”
Arthur wondered if Gwaine meant that to come out sounding quite the way it did. Probably, knowing Gwaine.
“Anyway,” Gwaine continued. “He’s cute. Filled out a little bit while he was away.”
Merlin was still waiting to be served. There was quite a crowd at the bar. He turned and shrugged apologetically at them, then turned back to the bar, standing on tiptoe, trying to get the attention of one of the bar staff. Gwaine was right, he was definitely more attractive than Arthur remembered. But he didn’t deserve to be one of Gwaine’s notches. Honestly, there was probably hardly any bedpost left by now.
“He’s not one of your one night stands.”
“True.” Gwaine looked across at Merlin thoughtfully. “I wouldn’t mind keeping that one for a bit.”
“What?” Gwaine tore his gaze away from Merlin, and smirked at Arthur again. “Why not? It’s not as if anyone else is making a play for him, is it? He’s fair game. And I like him. You know,” he leaned forward, looking Arthur in the eye. “You could do me a favour…”
Arthur thought he was probably already doing Gwaine a favour by not punching him.
“You could make yourself scarce, give me a bit of space…”
“I am not giving you space to break his heart.” Arthur had seen it too many times with Gwaine. The man didn’t mean to, but he couldn’t do commitment and anyone who thought they were much more than a one night stand usually ended up hurt. He didn’t think he could stand to see that happen to Merlin.
“Hmm…” Gwaine leaned back on the couch, looking over at the bar again. “And what if he’s just what I’ve been needing, eh? Oh, look at that.”
Merlin was leaning over, shouting their order to the barman, his t-shirt riding up to expose a fair amount of pale skin. Arthur tried not to stare. When he managed to tear his gaze away, Gwaine was grinning at him.
“Wouldn’t you like a piece of that? Maybe he needs a hand with the drinks?”
And before Arthur could stop him, he was up and heading over to the bar. Of course he leaned right over Merlin and put his hand right on Merlin’s hip, supposedly to steady himself but Arthur could see his thumb stroking the skin, could see Merlin give Gwaine a nervous half-smile, saw Gwaine take that as a come-on and move up even closer to him.
Arthur had seen enough. He got up, not wanting to watch Gwaine flaunting his conquest. Picking up his jacket, he couldn’t help seeing them again, Merlin turning away from the bar, drinks in both hands. He saw the surprise on Merlin’s face that Arthur was obviously leaving. Gwaine was carrying his own beer, but his other hand was round Merlin’s waist, moving up and under the t-shirt. He gave Arthur a wink.
Merlin didn’t exactly flinch, but he managed to twist away, shaking his head at Gwaine. Whatever Merlin said, Gwaine held his hands up defensively, smiling as always, but he didn’t attempt another grope.
Arthur thought he might stay after all. He sat on the couch, where Gwaine had been lounging, and shifted over when Merlin approached.
“You’re not going?”
“No.” Arthur held Merlin’s gaze, not looking at Gwaine. “Just saving you a seat.”
Merlin immediately sat down beside him, never mind that the couch was a two-seater and quite snug. Arthur shifted a little closer. He hadn’t realised just how much he’d missed him until that familiar smell of aftershave wafted towards him. He tried not to inhale too deeply, but it did smell good.
“You know, if you budge up I could squeeze in.” Gwaine grinned down at Arthur, waggling his eyebrows. “I like it nice and tight.”
Arthur slid his arm round Merlin’s waist possessively before he’d even thought about what he was doing. Merlin didn’t pull away though, just gazed at Arthur with a faintly hopeful expression on his face as he leaned in closer, his mouth temptingly close. It was territory Arthur decided to claim for himself. Just so Gwaine didn’t get any more ideas. And so Merlin wouldn’t vanish from his life for months ever again.
Gwaine gave a little snort of laughter when they pulled away.
He looked up, reluctantly away from Merlin. Gwaine had that devilish grin on his face again as he mimed a little push.
“You’re welcome, mate!”