Title: The Key to Success
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine.
Summary: Merlin tries to be secretive about his crush, but it doesn't work. Arthur (and everyone at the hospital) is onto him.
Word Count: 533
Prompt: #190 Obvious
Arthur wakes up to the smell of coffee and bustling outside the room. A quick look at the clock on the wall tells him it's noon and he's slept more than he should have. After 38 hours of working non-stop the first empty sleeper chair he found looked like heaven. He was going in for a fifteen minutes power nap, but it's been forty minutes since then. Panic wants to take over him until he realizes he doesn’t have any appointments for now.
He stretches feeling the pull of his muscles and joints, the soreness and ache from having slept in a weird position more evident. At least he doesn't feel like he might drop down on the floor at any given moment now.
His eyes settle on the cup of coffee down on the floor next to the chair, he takes it filling his nose with the scent which woke him in the first place. He takes a sip noticing the coffee it’s exactly how he likes it. Arthur sees that the red cup he's holding has a drawing of a snowman with scarf, hat and all and the words Hello scrawled on top.
Around the holidays people tend to be nicer, and they smile a bit more like they've smoothed down their hard edges for the time being. Especially in the hospital where bad news are an everyday occurrence and a smile or kind word do wonders.
Anyone could've left him coffee taking pity on his passed out form crumpled over the chair, except he knows that handwriting. He's seen it many times before.
He gathers himself, trying to pull his hair into a decent look but fails. Arthur stops by the nurses' station before making his rounds, catching a glimpse of dark hair amongst the others. He gives a smile in passing to Gwen who's too busy operating the phone.
“Merlin,” he says, clearing his throat.
The guy turns around, the grin on his face slipping. “Arthur,” he breathes out.
“I suppose I have to thank you for this,” Arthur declares shaking the cup.
“I. It was nothing,” Merlin responds, shrugging and crossing his arms.
“All right. Thank you anyway.”
Arthur stares at Merlin, Merlin stares back and...they just stand there looking at each other like they’re trying to figure something out.
“I need to go, do things,” Arthur says, tapping his fingers against the cup.
“Oh. I guess I'll see you around?” Merlin waits.
Arthur looks at him, really looks at him. Appraising. Wondering. “Sure.”
Arthur turns around, leaving Merlin to figure out what just happened.
"You are really terribly lousy at the whole secret admirer thing," Gwaine says coming up to stand in the way of Merlin watching Arthur walk away.
“I wasn't-” Merlin begins, but is stopped by Gwaine’s hand over his mouth.
“Don’t. Your crush can be seen from miles away. We all have a bet going on.”
Merlin is mortified when Leon winks at him.
“Just remember, the next time you try to be secret anything or you want to declare your love: the key to success is to be conspicuous.”