Title: Maybe You Could Be Mine
Pairing/s: Arthur/Merlin, Merlin/Percival
Character/s: Arthur, Gwen, Leon
Summary: Gwen opens Arthur's eyes, but perhaps he needs more than just a little push towards Merlin.
Word Count: 916
Prompt: #199 For an Hour
Author's Notes: Part 7 of Lab Coats & Scrubs. You can find it right here or here on AO3.
For about a month now Arthur has been subjected to talk of soulful eyes and kindness. Of a great sense of humor and good looks. He's been hearing nothing but praise for Merlin's friend. Ever since the guy decided to show up out of the blue uninvited and become a permanent fixture in Merlin's life again things haven't gone like Arthur wanted. Not that they were before, but Arthur is forced to dislike this Percival on principle. And really, what kind of name is that? Not that Merlin is any better, but that name suits his owner. It's unique.
"Right, I get it he's the best thing to ever happen. But do you think I could walk two steps into the hallway without having gushing nurses mention the P word?"
Gwen stops walking, looking up from the chart in her hands giving him this look Arthur knows it means she's knows something he doesn't and she's going to tell him. He's not sure he wants to hear.
"Why does it bother you? You haven't even met him."
Arthur doesn't want to, not even when curiosity is eating away at him. He thinks it's better if they keep their distance, or he keeps his distance. Percival probably doesn't even know who he is.
"And you have?"
Gwen nods. "He brought Merlin lunch last week."
Her words are so light but they have an impact deep inside him. He's surprised to find out just how close Merlin and Percy are despite their history. Arthur has heard the details from Gwaine.
"Percy is the perfect gentleman."
"Oh. You're calling him Percy now. I thought we were friends Gwen."
"We are but I can also be friends with other people. We were never exclusive."
"You seriously wound me. I'm afraid we can't keep seeing each."
She snorts, shaking her head. "If it bothered you so much that I have other good friends besides you, you would've broken up with me when I met Merlin. We're great friends now. We even meet to gossip about this place every Wednesday."
Arthur hums, how can he explain that even if she spent every single minute with Merlin he wouldn't hold it against her. There is something about Merlin that just draws you in, he might not be able to explain why despite of the many times they've been at odds he'd rather have Merlin close to him than anyone else, but it's just something that comes up in his head whenever Merlin just shoots him one of those annoyed faces which makes him smile at the end of a rough day.
"He's different Gwen."
She sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose. "You truly are a ridiculous pair."
"Who?" He can be anything but ridiculous, he's sure of it. Gwen doesn't say anything, just keeps staring him down. Slowly he points at himself.
"Who else? For how long have you liked Merlin now? Don't you think it's time you get out of your head and do something about it."
Arthur blinks fast, eyes wide and mouth agape. What is Gwen talking about...Merlin and him?
"I never said I liked him, I mean I do, but not in the way you're thinking."
"You don't need to, everyone can see the way you two look at each other when you think the other isn't looking. And if you're curious I'd like you to know we've got a pool going on. Gwaine says you're never going to realize how much you're really into Merlin. I said it was going to take you at least a year. I'm almost the winner."
He can't believe what he's hearing, he's been part of the official hospital gossip for a long time now. Probably since Merlin showed up to work for the first time one day turning Arthur's life upside down.
"No, think about it Arthur. You're smart, you can figure it out on your own. If you don't I'm going to have to bring in the big guns."
"I refuse, you're not calling my sister."
"Desperate times call for desperate measures."
Gwen leaves him in the middle of the hall gaping after her, noise and chaos surround him, doctors, nurses and patients bustling around. It's the first time he's ever felt as inadequate as he does then in his white coat. Unmoving. Pensive.
If he's really honest with himself he'd realize there's truth in Gwen's words. That for months now he's been keeping an eye out for Merlin, and that he'd give anything for an hour alone with him, a moment when it's just the two of them and he can finally come to terms with whatever is going on. With the way his chest tightens at the sight of Merlin. Maybe he'd find an answer he didn't know he was looking for. And maybe, just maybe they could find somewhere they could fit in. Together.
Later, much later that day when he stumbles upon Leon he sucks in a breath and asks him about Merlin's whereabouts. He hasn't seen him at all. Leon smirks and tells him about Merlin's day off he happens to be spending with Percy. Arthur doesn't mean to scoff but it's too late and the sound comes out. Leon pats him in the back before resuming his job and taking a tray of food to the room in front of them.
Maybe he doesn't need to figure anything out because Merlin has already found a place to belong.