Title: Merlin's Birthday, Part One
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Gwaine, Gwen, Leon, Lance, Percy
Summary: It was true that they were friends, but it was also true that he was hopelessly in love with Arthur.
Warnings: Modern AU. Angst. Pining.
Word Count: ~1000
Prompt: Expectation for camelot_drabble
Author's Notes: This is going to be a four part story about friends to lovers that also covers the theme for merlin_writers, thanks to my beta polomonkey
If you asked Merlin about his relationship with Arthur and how they had known each other for so long, he would have probably lied and told you that they were just friends. Because, even if it technically was a lie, there was some honesty to it.
It was true that they were friends, but it was also true that he was hopelessly in love with Arthur.
Merlin had met Arthur back in the sandbox, where they laughed so hard snot came out of their noses and they didn't care. They only laughed more. When they chased girls around and threw toys at them and called them names. When girls threw their own toys back at and made faces at them.
They'd been friends for a very long time.
They'd been friends when Merlin came out of the closet at the age of fourteen and expected his family and friends to abandon him. His expectations had been wrong when Arthur was the first one to hug him and tell him that everything was going to be okay. When Arthur had told Merlin that if no one accepted him, he still would.
They'd been friends still when his mum had embraced him and told him that she loved him no matter what. When Morgana had feigned heartbreak; saying that she'd only hoped that Merlin would marry her one day. When Gwen had teased him about staring at their history professor's arse for longer than was normal.
They'd been friends when Arthur himself came out of the closet at the age of seventeen as bisexual. He'd told Merlin first that maybe he liked boys just as much as he liked girls. That maybe he preferred boys a bit more than girls.
They'd been friends through everything.
So yeah, technically, they were just friends. But Merlin knew that every night he went to bed, he'd wished Arthur were next to him. Every time he'd seen Arthur leave for a date with a different bloke, Merlin had wished that it were him that Arthur was dating.
And now it was Valentine's Day, and Merlin was single. What was worse than being single on Valentine's Day was being single on your birthday, which was on Valentine's Day. At midnight when his friends barged into his flat with cake and champagne, Arthur told Merlin to make a wish. So Merlin did. He closed his eyes and blew out the candles hoping for, yet again, a kiss from Arthur on his birthday. He'd wished for the same thing for over a dozen years, and it was yet to come true.
"Excited for your party tomorrow?" Gwen asked as Lance wrapped his arm around her and snuggled up. They had just started dating a few months ago and were still in their honeymoon phase. Merlin didn't mind, though. They were happy in love, and he was happy for his friends.
Merlin shrugged as he took another piece of cake and enjoyed the sweetness of the vanilla frosting with just a hint of strawberry icing. "Maybe. I hope I meet someone as delicious as this cake," he said.
He threw a quick glance at Arthur who seemed to be blushing. But when he saw Merlin looking at him, Arthur schooled his face. "What about you, Arthur? Going to bring a hot date to my birthday party?"
"No," Arthur said, looking deep in thought. "You know how hard it is to ask a man out on a date on Valentine's Day? People think it's like this big deal or something, and if I say, It's my mate's birthday, they think you're just making an excuse."
"Maybe you two should just be each other's date," Morgana said as she finished the last of her champagne and handed her cup to Leon for a refill.
"Why? That like makes no sense," Merlin said, hoping he sounded confident and confused, and not flustered and nervous. "What would be the point? We'll never find someone to kiss if everyone thinks that we are together."
"Well, you are practically together," Gwaine said and then winked at Merlin like it was supposed to mean something. Merlin had no idea what it was supposed to mean.
"It's late and you lot are making less and less sense," Merlin said, hoping it would give his friends an incentive to leave now. It was nearly two o'clock in the morning, he had to go to work the next day and then prepare for his birthday party the next night. It was always just so convenient to have his birthday and Valentine's Day fall on a Friday.
"Whatever. We get the hint, Merlin," Morgana said with a sneer and she picked up her coat. Thankfully, most followed her lead and decided to do the same.
"I hear you invited Mordred," Percy said, so conveniently at the wrong time that everyone turned at gaped at them. First at Merlin, then at Percival.
"It was sort of—it just happened." Merlin felt his face heat up, and he was so sure that he was blushing.
"Just happened?" Arthur asked; it was more of a growl than a question but Merlin didn't want to read too much into it.
"I ran into him at the coffee shop and he asked about my plans for Valentine's Day and you know he knew it was my birthday. I was so nervous that I started rambling—"
"How many times do I have to tell you to just walk away from the bloke?" Arthur asked, sounding frustrated, and enunciating every word, which was somewhat strange. Merlin had rarely seen this side of Arthur.
"It's nothing. He knows we're over. We've been over for years—"
"Merlin," Arthur said.
"Arthur," everyone else said. They knew that Arthur was gearing up for an argument and it was far too late for that.
"Just don't right now, okay?" Merlin said and practically pushed his friends out the door so he could get a few hours of decent sleep before the dreaded birthday day began.
READ PART TWO