Title: Merlin's Birthday, Part Two
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Merlin tries to confront Arthur about why he's being so weird.
Warnings: AU. Pining. Angst.
Word Count: 1030
Prompt: "Friendship" for camelot_drabble
Author's Notes: Continuation of Merlin's Birthday from last week. [READ HERE]
Needless to say, Arthur's reaction had truly spooked him. He'd acted in such a different way tonight and Merlin didn't know how to react. After all that, he couldn't sleep at all and ended up texting Arthur at five o'clock in the morning.
Merlin didn't have to wait long as Arthur's reply was instantaneous.
Merlin laughed to himself at the image. Mordred and Merlin hadn't worked out for many many reasons. And eventually, instead of just breaking up with him like a proper person, Mordred had ended up kissing another bloke at a nightclub. Merlin was glad when it'd happened, even though he hadn't told anyone about his true feelings. He was glad Mordred was moving on because they weren't good for each other. He just didn't have the nerve to break up with him in the first place. Mordred, although in a shitty manner, had done Merlin a favour.
Of course, he'd been sad about it at first. No one likes to be cheated on. But when Merlin finally pulled his head out of his own arse, he'd realised why it wasn't working out with Mordred. Why it wouldn't work out with anyone else. He was in love with Arthur. He'd been since the day Arthur had jumped in his sandbox and told him they were going to be friends forever.
How could Merlin fuck something up like that? How could he take his friendship to the next level and then risk losing it all? He couldn't. He wouldn't be able to survive. He could handle Mordred cheating on him, but he could never handle Arthur walking away from him. Never.
The workday on Friday was finally over. Merlin was happy his office mates remembered his birthday and had bought him a small cake they shared over apple cider, but he was happy to leave for the weekend. All he needed to do was get through the party and then sleep all day Saturday and Sunday so he could get back to work.
As he'd just come out of the shower, Merlin was startled by the doorbell. The party wasn't on for another few hours so he had no idea who it could be calling. When he opened the door in his towel, his wet hair still dripping, he was surprised to find Arthur standing there. More surprising was the look on Arthur's face. He looked as though he'd taken the view in and then wasn't able to speak.
"Are you okay?" Merlin asked, getting out of the way so Arthur could come into his flat.
"Yeah. Why are you answering the door like that?" Arthur asked.
Merlin shrugged before he closed the flat door. "Caught me off guard, I didn't know who it was."
"What if it were Mordred?"
And there it was. The ever so over-protective Arthur who just couldn't handle Merlin making any decisions about his own life. He shook his head and walked out of the sitting room towards his bedroom to grab a clean pair of trousers and a shirt.
Arthur followed him but when Merlin looked at him, he was looking away as if he were giving Merlin some privacy. "Arthur, we've known each other since forever, stop acting like I'm some girl..."
"Will you just hurry up and get dressed already?" Arthur snapped and left the room.
"Why'd you follow me in the first place?" Merlin muttered to himself. When he came out of the room, he found Arthur sitting at a chair in the kitchen drinking one of the spiked ciders for the party. "Don't finish those before the guests arrive," he said.
Arthur looked at Merlin and made a face. "I was just having one."
"Why are you so early, Arthur?" Not that Merlin had a problem with Arthur showing up so early, or any of his other friends showing up early, but Arthur usually was the last one to arrive at a party. The fact he was there two hours in advance had Merlin slightly worried.
"I just...I went home and then I knew I had to be here so I couldn't do anything else so I just decided to be early. So I wouldn't be late."
"So you could be here when Mordred arrived."
"Exactly," Arthur said. "No. I mean, I just didn't want to be late."
"Arthur." Merlin's tone was stern and he needed to know what game Arthur was playing. He'd never showed any interest in any of Merlin's boyfriends, or ex-boyfriends before. Just what was so special about bloody Mordred?
"Ugh. Whatever, Merlin," Arthur said and threw his chair back as he abruptly stood up. "If you want me to leave, then I'll leave, okay?"
"No, that's not—" Merlin pulled on Arthur's arm before he could do something stupid like leave and not come back. It wasn't what Merlin wanted. He just—he just needed to know what Arthur wanted.
Truth be told, Arthur had been acting very strange lately and Merlin hadn't been able to figure it out. Now he was here, and they were alone; he needed to know what his friend was going through.
Arthur pulled his arm away from Merlin as if his touch nearly burned Arthur. "Don't," he said.
"Why?" Merlin said, taking a step towards Arthur, and Arthur taking a step back. "It's just me, Arthur. What's wrong?"
Arthur continued to take steps back as Merlin approached him, until his back hit the wall and there was nowhere else to go. Merlin crowded his space. He needed Arthur to look at him and tell him what was on his mind.
Arthur's eyes widened and his mouth slightly parted. Merlin was standing so close to him. So close that he could smell Arthur's cologne. So close, he could feel Arthur's breath on his face.