Summary: Modern AU. Getting stuck in the lift was not how Percival wanted to spend his New Year's Eve.
Word Count: 870
Prompt: #192, "New Year's Eve party"
(Note for mods: Is it possible to get a Merlin/Percival pairing tag created?)
Percival stared at the closed lift doors. Two hours he’d been stuck in the bloody thing, and all because he’d volunteered to run downstairs to the break room for more champagne when the bar started to run low. It was supposed to be a quick errand, which was the reason why he’d taken the lift instead of the stairs, but then the lift stopped moving and all of his attempts to reach building maintenance through the emergency line failed because apparently the employees at Pendragon Industries weren’t the only ones having a New Year’s Eve party, so now here he was, boxed up all alone and nobody was the wiser that he was about to ring in 2016 without anybody to share it with.
What stung the most was that not a single soul seemed interested in finding out where Percival might be or why the lift wasn’t working. Well, the former probably wasn’t entirely fair. They could’ve tried, but there was no signal on the lift for him to receive their calls or texts. Just the useless emergency phone for maintenance to ignore. And maybe the latter wasn’t completely fair, either. People were drinking and having a good time. There was no reason to pay attention to the lift unless they were sneaking out early.
But it would’ve been nice for at least one person to wonder where he was and come looking for him.
He glanced at his watch. 11:58. Two minutes until the new year. He couldn’t even greet it with a toast because he didn’t have anything to open the champagne with.
“Perc? You in there?”
Merlin’s voice came through the speaker in the ceiling, startling Percival into lurching to his feet to stare up at it. “I’m here!” he called out. “The lift’s not working!”
“It will be any second. Hang on.”
And then, as if on Merlin’s command, the hum of the motor kicked in to thwart the silence as the lift started to rise.
Percival wanted to shout in relief. As it was, he only stood there for moments before the lift stopped again and the doors slid open. It wasn’t the floor the office party was on, but he had zero problem taking the stairs at this point.
A disheveled Merlin stood there, grinning ear to ear, as a maintenance guy stood at the exposed panel next to the doors. “I thought I’d lost you for a minute,” he commented.
“Are you all right?” Percival asked. His troubles were forgotten in the face of how wrung out Merlin looked.
Merlin waved him off. “I’ve been running around this whole building for the past two hours, trying to find you, and then trying to find somebody who could fix the lift once I realized that was probably where you were.” He laughed. “I think it’s safe to say I should put ‘get in shape’ on my resolution list this year.”
Personally, Percival thought Merlin looked pretty damn perfect the way he was, but he’d never admit that aloud. That would require Merlin finding out just how Percival felt about him, and since Merlin could have his pick of anyone he wanted, Percival wasn’t prepared to deal with the inevitable rejection.
From outside, the sound of distant shouting and horns honking filtered through the walls.
“Sounds like happy new year,” the maintenance guy said. He closed up the panel and turned to Merlin. “Anything else?”
Merlin shook his head. “Thanks for the help.”
The maintenance guy stepped inside the lift. “I’m heading down, then. Enjoy the rest of the night.”
Once they were alone, Percival shifted the champagne in his arms. “Are they still going to need this at the party?” He imagined Gwaine was probably going mad without anything to drink.
“Nah. They’ve gone this long without it, they’ll be fine.”
When Percival started to head toward the stairs, however, Merlin caught his arm.
“I’m sorry you were stuck in there for so long,” Merlin said. “You didn’t even get to greet the new year with someone important to you.”
His stomach twisted, but at the same time, his phone began going crazy in his pocket. Desperate for the distraction, Percival pulled it out. Thirty-eight texts and a dozen missed calls had come through all at the same time now that he had signal again.
All but three came from Merlin.
Suddenly, it didn’t seem so important to pretend Merlin didn’t matter to him. He looked up to meet Merlin’s gaze. “Except I did,” he said softly.
Merlin’s eyes widened. Then, his smile returned.
“The way I see it, I owe you two hours of new year celebrations.” Merlin inched closer, filling Percival’s awareness. “Do you want it upstairs in the office, or would you rather find someplace a little more…cozy?”
“I like the sound of cozy,” he dared.
“Then cozy, it is.” Deliberately, Merlin took away the box of champagne and set it aside before linking his fingers through Percival’s. “For the record, I was being totally selfish about getting you out of the lift.”
Percival hid his pleased smile. As far as he was concerned, Merlin could be as selfish as he wanted if it meant starting the new year together.