Title: Waiting For Arthur
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: It wasn't that unusual for Arthur to be late.
Word Count: 1072
Author's Notes: Just some fluff. Written for camelot_drabble prompt 183 - 'Rendezvous' and the 'huddle for warmth' square of my trope_bingo round 5 card (that's 11/25 done).
Disclaimer:Merlin is owned by the BBC and Shine. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. Don't send us to the dungeons.
Waiting For Arthur
Merlin hugged his arms more closely to his chest, trying to preserve the little bit of warmth that he still retained, and looked up and down the deserted street. There was no sign of Arthur. It was a cold night, and he was already late.
It wasn’t that it was unusual for Arthur to be late. He often had to stay ridiculously late at work to finish some last-minute task his father had set him. Most of those tasks could easily wait until morning, but Uther Pendragon never saw it that way.
“If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing immediately, son. I didn’t build this company up by waiting until the morning to do things.”
Merlin could almost hear him say it. Well, actually he could almost hear Arthur saying it in an exasperated impression of his father’s voice, because Merlin had never actually heard Uther Pendragon say it. Merlin liked to keep as far away from Arthur’s father as possible. That was one of the reasons that he wasn’t waiting in the warm foyer of Pendragon Inc. for his boyfriend, or better yet in Arthur’s comfortable and even warmer office. Uther disapproved of his son’s friendship with Merlin, as Merlin didn’t go to the right schools, didn’t come from money, just wasn’t the right sort of person for Arthur to be hanging out with. Merlin didn’t want to even contemplate what Uther might do if he knew the true nature of their ‘friendship’.
Merlin looked at his watch, leaning forward and pushing his sleeve up with his nose so that he wouldn’t have to move his freezing hands away from the warmth of his armpits. 8:38pm. Arthur was supposed to have been there by 8:15. He sent a quick text, his fourth, asking Arthur where he was. He’d tried calling but it had gone to voicemail.
Well they were going to miss the start of the film, that was for sure. Merlin had lost his enthusiasm for it anyway. The cinema would probably have the air con on and even if it didn’t, cinemas were always cold. One of the restaurants might be better. Hot food, a table far away from the door, maybe huddled up together in one of the booths… Yes, he was sure he would be able to persuade Arthur that was a good idea.
There was a car coming down the street, and Merlin looked up hopefully. But it was a blue Fiesta, far too small to ever be mistaken for the BMW Arthur drove. Merlin wished he’d arranged to meet Arthur at the leisure complex instead. At least he could have gone inside and waited.
He looked at his watch again, shivering. 8:46. If Arthur didn’t hurry up they’d be too late for the restaurant as well. Merlin’s feet were starting to feel a bit numb with the cold. He stomped on the ground, trying to keep warm, and got out his phone to type another text.
Suddenly there was a car, heading far too fast down the street and skidding to a stop beside Merlin. The passenger door flew open, to reveal Arthur stretching across the seat, gesturing to him to get in.
“Sorry! Sorry! Couldn’t get out of a meeting and Father’s banned mobiles in the office.”
Merlin scrambled into the car and shut the door quickly, sinking into the heated seat with a sigh of relief. Arthur leaned over to kiss him, then drew back almost immediately.
“God, you’re freezing!”
“Yeah,” Merlin fixed him with a glare. “Standing out in the cold for nearly 40 minutes waiting for you will do that!”
Arthur looked suitably guilty, and shuffled up as close as he could in the front of the car, wrapping his arms around Merlin. Arthur, of course, was wonderfully warm. He’d been in a toasty office all day.
“Could’ve sneaked a text,” Merlin grumbled, his voice muffled because he was snuggling up against Arthur.
“Yeah, I tried. Got caught.”
“Could’ve called when you left the meeting,” Merlin protested feebly, most of his resolve to be angry already having melted away with how good Arthur smelled up close, and what a great way cuddling was to get warm.
“My phone’s still at the office.”
“You forgot it?”
Arthur muttered something that Merlin didn’t quite catch.
“It’s in my father’s drawer, locked away.”
“You mean confiscated?” Merlin sat up, grinning. “Your dad’s confiscated your phone as if you’re a naughty little kid?”
“Did you want to go to see that film or not?” Arthur asked stiffly, sitting up and ignoring the question.
“He has! And no, we’ve missed the start. I want food. Takeaway, I think, we can go back to your flat and you can tell me what a bad, bad son you are.”
“37 minutes late. I could have frozen to death. Bad, bad boyfriend as well. Wonder what your father would say about such carelessness and tardiness?”
“He’d say it was doubtless your bad influence. Indian?”
“Chinese. Shall I ring for delivery so we don’t have to wait long? You know, seeing as you haven’t got a phone or anything…”
Arthur scowled at him and started up the car.
“Ah-ah, no pulling faces. Frozen boyfriend, here, remember.” Merlin reached over and turned the seat heater up a bit more, even though he had stopped shivering. He could probably milk it for a few days, he knew. “I don’t think I’ve got frostbite, but you never know. Maybe I could sue your evil father?”
“Like you’re not scared of him too,” Arthur retorted.
He had a point. And Merlin did feel a bit mean when he thought about the ‘too’ part of what Arthur had said. Perhaps he should stop teasing him about the phone. Still, that didn’t mean he couldn’t carry on complaining about being cold and make Arthur wait on him hand and foot all night. Although Arthur did look really tired. His father was a slave driver and Arthur really did need to start looking for another job. So maybe Merlin would take pity on him. Just a little bit.
“Self-preservation. Talking of which, I’m still chilled to the bone. I’ll need warming when we get back to your flat. Proper warming.”
And that drew the smile he was after. Merlin was confident it would provide the end result as well. He sat back in the lovely warm seat and let Arthur drive him home.