Title: Great New Year
Summary: Merlin doesn’t feel the excitement of New Year’s Eve
Word Count: 946
Prompt: New Year’s Eve Party
Author's Notes: Thanks, issy5209 for the beta!
New Year’s Eve just wasn’t Merlin’s thing. What was so special about the date to have a party that had to be bigger and better than all parties ever before, for people to make resolutions with such high expectations that they would never reach them and give up within 3 weeks? If you wanted things to change, you could start any day of the year, it didn’t need a number at the end of a date to move your arse into gear.
It was just that Gwen wouldn’t have him being curled up on the couch, watching some of his favourite shows, waiting for the noise of the fireworks to be over so he could finally go to bed. She had made him promise to show up and then threatened him with all kinds of things if he pulled out of her party with lesser reasons than being in a hospital at least half dead.
So he grudgingly put on the laziest outfit he would get away with (Gwen would never forgive him the old baggy jeans and the t-shirt she insisted he’d throw out for three years now), pulled the beanie over his ears, grabbed the bottle of sparkling wine and set out into an already very foggy night.
Hours later, Merlin had to admit that it wasn’t half as bad as he had feared. Gwen and Leon had outdone themselves cooking and even Arthur was decent, too busy making eyes at his new beau whose name Merlin refused to remember since they usually didn’t last long.
Getting himself another helping of the most delicious of the various salads, Merlin heard commotion in the living room that could only mean one thing: Gwaine had made an entrance.
Balancing his plate and stuffing his face with food, Merlin entered the room again and his fork stopped in mid-air. It wasn’t only Gwaine, Gwaine had brought a new bloke. He hadn’t even told him that he had someone new. Then again, they hadn’t talked in two days and that was long enough for Gwaine to find a new short-term boyfriend. But damn, Gwaine had all the luck. The man was taller than even Leon, had blond, short hair, kind blue eyes and a shy smile, if you managed to notice these things over the fact that he seemed to be built of solid muscle. Lots of them.
Merlin wasn’t hungry anymore and set the plate down. That was exactly why he hated these parties so much. Everyone had managed to be with someone, only he had been too ugly, stupid, unlikeable to attract anyone for another year.
It was already close to midnight, so he got his coat and went out to the balcony. Gwen and Leon had the best flat, their balcony was facing where the official fireworks took place, so Merlin could pretend he wanted to get the best space when instead he just felt miserable. He’d toast everyone at midnight and then excuse himself as quickly as possible.
From inside, he heard everyone counting down and yelling ‘Happy New Year’ and Merlin swallowed hard against the tears forming in his eyes. He sniffed and blinked when he heard the door behind him opening and then closing again.
Merlin turned at the unfamiliar voice. “Hello.”
“We haven’t met yet. I’m Percy.”
“Merlin.” Merlin offered automatically and reached for the champagne glass Percy was holding out to him. “Thank you.”
They clinked glasses.
“May you have a great new year.” Percy sipped.
Merlin just blinked. He hated ‘Happy New Year!’, it wasn’t more than wishing a stranger in a store a nice day after getting your change back, it meant nothing. Percy, who was basically a stranger, too, made it sound more personal, like he really meant it. “You, too.” He stammered.
The door opened. “Come on, Percy, let’s throw some firecrackers! Happy new year, Merlin!”
“Happy new year, Gwaine.” Merlin smiled sadly and then looked up at Percy. “You should go with your boyfriend.”
“I’m fine here, Gwaine, have fun.” Percy turned back to Merlin and shook his head. “He’s not my boyfriend, he’s my cousin.”
Merlin blinked. “Gwaine never told me he has a cousin.”
“I’ve been living abroad for the last couple of years, only came back last month, so Gwaine just dragged me here, insisting I couldn’t be alone for New Year’s.” He chuckled.
“That’s basically what Gwen did with me.”
They were silent for a while as the fireworks set in and Merlin turned the champagne glass in his hands.
“You had a rough year, didn’t you?” Percy asked softly.
“What?” Merlin’s head snapped up.
“You looked so sad when you took your coat and went out here just before midnight. Sorry, this sounds creepy, like I’ve stalked you. It’s just…I couldn’t help but…”
Merlin huffed out a little chuckle and noticed that he didn’t mind being watched by Percy. “It’s just…you know, it’s a very couple-y time with everyone kissing and such.” He threw Percy a crooked smile. “Can make a bloke feel rather lonely, you know.” He had no idea why he bared his innermost thoughts to a complete stranger.
“Oh, I know.”
There was another silence before Percy took a deep breath. “None of my business, I know, but…did you just break up with someone or…?”
Merlin shrugged. “Just another year gone by and not meeting anyone interesting.” He sighed.
“Oh.” The smile slid off Percy’s face and his shoulders slumped. “Well, then…”
Throwing him a side-ways look, Merlin smiled. “But maybe this year has started just the right way. It might turn into the best year ever.”
The smile returned to Percy’s face. “I hope so, too.