Title: Seeing Merlin
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwen, Lance, Gwaine, Morgana
Summary: Arthur's friends find out the truth about Merlin and Arthur
Warnings: Fluff. Modern!AU
Word Count: 850
Prompt: "TRUTH" for camelot_drabble [and "reunion romance" for merlin_writers tropes bingo]
Author's Notes: Chapter 7 of "The Casual Fling."
[Read Chapters 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5, 6] - all written for camelot_drabble prompts. Thanks to archaeologist_d for the beta! The remaining mistakes are mine.
Arthur's trip to London proved fruitful in the business sense but he was so busy he barely had time to message Merlin. He'd be back at his hotel at the end of the evening and see three messages from him. By the time he'd write back, Merlin would have gone to bed and would only respond to them in the morning.
Arthur found himself so surprised at the truth of how much he looked forward to Merlin's messages. They even talked on the phone for a quick five minutes while Merlin was on break at his job. Arthur couldn't believe he was starting to miss Merlin.
He couldn't believe he was actually dating someone and it was going so well.
When he returned to Camelot, Arthur was still busy with meetings day in and out. He got an email from Gwaine that Gwen was hosting a dinner party at her place and she'd invited him. Arthur had messaged Merlin about it, but discovered Merlin had to work that night and wouldn't be able to make it.
This disappointed Arthur more than he would have liked. More than he would have admitted to anyone. Even himself.
On Thursday night when Gwaine and Arthur arrived at Gwen's, Arthur thought he was dreaming when he saw Merlin open the door to the flat.
Wait, did I just say that?
In the confinement of his own bed, and in the dark, when Arthur touched himself thinking about Merlin, he often called him Mer as he came.
He couldn't believe he’d just blurted that out here.
"Petnames already, I see," Gwaine commented and patted Merlin on the shoulder before he brushed past him and into the flat.
"Sorry, I didn't tell you I was going to be here," Merlin said, giving Arthur a sheepish grin.
"Oh, did you not end up working tonight?" Arthur asked, happily. He didn't care Merlin hadn't told him. This was a brilliant surprise.
"I'm sort of working... Gwen and Lance want me to cater their wedding so the dinner party tonight is sort of a tasting of samples and things."
"Wow. That's great news!" Arthur said and he was still standing by the door when Gwen and Lance called for them to come into the dining room.
Arthur led the way and part of him wanted to just reach out and take Merlin's hand. He resisted. When Arthur entered the dining room, he was amazed to see all the food that was put on display on the table. Merlin had gone all out. He'd tasted a bit of Merlin's cooking on their first date, and he was sure it was all going to be fantastic.
Gwaine had been a good friend and quiet about the fact that Merlin and Arthur were sort of dating. Morgana, on the other hand, being so close with Merlin, had not kept her mouth shut.
By the time Arthur had reached the table with an empty plate, everyone at the party knew Merlin and Arthur were dating. Maybe they didn't know all the details; they'd only started dating as a dare, really, but they all commented on how lucky Arthur was because Merlin was this amazing chef.
Arthur let them comment to their heart's content and didn't retort or fuel the fire. He figured it was him today, and by the time they'd meet again, his friends would have found a new victim.
"Sorry about that," Merlin said when things calmed down a bit and Arthur was happily stuffed with delicious food.
"I didn't think Morgana was going to tell everyone. I didn't want to put pressure on you like that and—"
"It's okay, Merlin." Merlin looked at him with disbelief and confusion. "Really. We're just hanging out and getting to know each other. If nothing comes of it, we'll still be good friends, yeah?"
"Yeah," Merlin said; Arthur couldn't help but think he was disappointed. He didn't feel so great himself when he'd just said those words. He wanted to be more than friends with Merlin.
"Also, this is the second time I've tasted your cooking in three weeks," Arthur said, a hint of teasing in his tone, and Merlin nodded. "So can we consider this date three?"
"You really want to get this over with," Merlin said, sounding bitter.
Arthur realised he’d said it all wrong. "Maybe I just want another excuse to kiss you," he said biting his lip. Could he flirt with Merlin in front of all of his friends.
"You don't..." Merlin paused briefly, "...need an excuse to kiss me."
"I like the sound of that," Arthur said before he raked his fingers through Merlin's hair and pulled him closer.
Eventually, Arthur didn't care that there were other people in the room. He didn't care that he could hear Gwen giggle and Morgana release an exasperated sigh. What was she so annoyed about, anyway?
So Arthur kissed Merlin, and kept kissing him until he had to break apart struggling to breathe.
READ CHAPTER 8