Title: And it Begins
Summary: Merlin and Arthur have plans for a fun weekend.
Prompt 183: Rendezvous
A/N: Part seven of my reincarnation series Merlin and Arthur Live Again.
"You look good enough to eat, Merlin, don't worry. Arthur's never going to know that you spilled strawberry ice-cream down the front of your favorite shirt and had to go with plan b," said Freya as she shook her head and began laughing, "and it's not like you'll be in your clothes for long. Really, Merlin, you worry too much."
"So, this is okay then? Am I passable?"
She studied him and then went to his closet and looked around. "You can't wear those shoes. They're horrendous. Here, wear these," and she handed him another pair before giving him a peck on his forehead. "Do you realize how lucky you are, Merlin? Not every girl would go over to their former boyfriend's house and help them dress before they go on an extended date with someone else."
Lucky didn't begin to describe how Merlin felt. He didn't deserve Freya, but he was thankful for her. It had taken her a couple months to move on from him, but now they were the best of friends. "Yeah, I know how lucky I am, and how lucky Arthur is. He'll have you to thank for me looking put together," he said as he put on his shoes, then stood in front of the mirror, looking at himself. He sighed. Arthur could have anyone. Why would he want a scrawny, lanky, awkward-looking man who more resembled a boy? Nothing for it, he turned to Freya. "Can you do that thing to my hair you did the day of Arthur's mother's funeral?"
Two hours later Merlin stepped off the train and looked around. Arthur had said he might be late because he had a Latin exam, and, as he wasn't around, Merlin found a bench and prepared to wait. He took out his mobile and texted Arthur, then returned his attention to the surroundings and wondered what it would be like to become a part of the crowd that was milling about Avalon Station. If his mother had her way, he would. She wanted him to attend Avalon Uni. Merlin wasn't opposed to doing so, but it would be expensive and Merlin knew his parents wouldn't be able to afford it. His father was willing to take on a second job, but Merlin didn't want him to. His parents had already done so much for him. His father had given up a high-paying job in Camelot when his family had moved to Ealdor because of the fear of his son's magic being discovered. Merlin would take on a job before he allowed his parents to work themselves to death for him. It was time for him to give back.
"Merlin?" called out Arthur's familiar voice.
Merlin, who had become increasingly maudlin as he thought about his money situation, let all the sadness slip away when he saw Arthur walking towards him, a huge grin on his face. His heart leapt, but he forced himself to calm down. Nothing good ever came from him getting overly excited. "Hey, Arthur. How was the exam?"
"I don't even want to talk about it," he said as he set down his bag and sat beside Merlin. "How was the train? Coming into Avalon Station on a Thursday evening is always an experience."
It was okay," Merlin said, shrugging his shoulders. "Nothing that I didn't expect. If Mum has her way, I'll be here next term," he then said, wistfully, his frown returning.
"And you don't want to come here?" Arthur asked, hurt in his voice.
"You know I do, Arthur, but it's bloody expensive to attend Avalon. My parents have worked hard to get where they are now and I'm not about to add to their burden. I'll probably just go to Ealdor. Erm, can we talk about this later?" Merlin asked, his mood quickly going south.
Arthur stood and motioned for Merlin to do the same. "Of course. I didn't invite you here today to discuss uni or anything serious. You're here to help me have fun, remember?"
"Yeah, so let's go have fun," Merlin replied as he forced a smile and picked up his bag, but by the time he joined Arthur as they walked to his car, Merlin already felt happier, and much calmer than he thought he would.
He'd been nervous when Arthur asked him to come to Camelot for the weekend, but then he'd decided that whatever happened would happen. Neither Arthur nor he had talked about them as anything other than friends, but, as Freya had pointed out, when two people talked on the phone for hours each day and didn't want to end the calls, there was probably more than friendship there. So, yes, Merlin understood what this weekend could turn into. Was he nervous? Extremely, but he knew without a doubt that he loved Arthur and wanted to be with him.
"Here it is," Arthur said as he turned to Merlin and grinned.
"Bloody hell, Arthur," Merlin said as they approached Arthur's beautiful new car, a white Aston Martin Vanquish Volante. "I bet it rides like a dream."
"Oh yeah, it does," Arthur said as he threw his bag into the boot and motioned for Merlin to do the same. "I hope you're hungry. Daisy has prepared us a light lunch to enjoy by the pool. I'm sure your tastes have changed, but I did make sure we have strawberries. There's always got to be strawberries, right?" Arthur said, grinning from ear to ear, and then his mobile rang and, when he looked at the screen, his smile vanished.
Merlin knew straight away that it was Arthur's father, and he wanted to ease that frown off of Arthur's face.
"Yes. Okay. I understand, Father," Arthur said before ending the call. "I hope you don't mind if we make a detour to my father's office, Merlin; he needs me to sign some papers."
"Yeah, that's fine, Arthur."
"Our rendezvous with fun will have to wait."