Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Arthur misses his train and meets Merlin.
Word Count: 787
Prompt: 200 - Amnesty Prompt (Prompts: 59 - Waiting, 199 - For an hour)
Author's Notes: Wrote this whilst on my breaks at work (in a cafe, hence the setting), and is actually just a reworking of a much bigger story in my head, but the idea's been nagging me for a while, so I wrote this :)
The cafe was empty, Will had gone home for the day and Merlin was left to wash the last of the dishes and close up.
Trains rumbled past at intermittent intervals, none of them stopping because theirs was only a small station.
Merlin stepped out onto the platform to wipe down the outdoor tables and found, to his surprise, a blond haired man striding up and down impatiently along the platform. Upon seeing Merlin, the man marched purposefully up.
"Do none of these trains ever stop here?" he demanded.
"Not many," Merlin shrugged. It was the end if a long day, he was tired and the last thing he wanted to do was deal with impatient travellers.
"When's the next one?" the blonde asked.
"Check the board," Merlin replied, trying not to roll his eyes because, really, that much was obvious.
"It's not working."
Merlin glanced up at the wall clock.
"They'll be one in about an hour," he said.
Merlin was met with a stare of determined disbelief.
"Look, I make coffee, not train timetables. You're just going to have to wait."
He headed back inside, not much left to do now except wash up the last of the dishes. He was up to his elbows in bubbles when he heard the bell on the counter go.
Turning, he fixed the man with his most annoyed stare.
"Soy mocha," the man said.
"We don't have soy milk," Merlin replied, a tiny bit if him enjoying just how much this riled his customer up.
"You've got to be kidding me." The man turned and stomped back outside.
A little while later, Merlin had finished clearing up and headed onto the platform again, locking the cafe door behind him as he went.
He looked up and down the platform, briefly thinking the man had gone, but a moment later he saw him, pacing with his phone to his ear, presumably calling a taxi or something.
Merlin sat down on a bench, waiting for Gwaine who would hopefully remember to pick him up, and closed his eyes for a nap.
He was interrupted by a shout.
"No, I don't care about the stupid meeting, and if you'd actually thought about it, father, today is my birthday and the last place on earth I want to be is with you."
Merlin saw the man angrily stab his phone to hang up, but then somehow, the anger was washed away, his shoulders slumped and he brought a hand up to run his eyes.
"Bad day?" Merlin asked, feeling a twinge of guilt.
The man dropped into the seat net to Merlin and sighed loudly.
"Happy birthday," Merlin offered with a smile.
The men looked incredulous for a moment, and then, to Merlin's surprise, started to laugh.
"You know, of all the places to get stuck, and all the people to meet ..." He sobered a little. "I'm Arthur."
"Yes, I know. Weird name."
"You could say that." Something if a smirk was playing round Arthur's lips.
"So what brings you here, Arthur?"
The smile dropped from Arthur's face and he ducked his head to hide his expression.
"My mother's grave is in the village. She ... died, giving birth to me. I always visit on my birthday."
"Oh." Merlin didn't quite know what to say. I'm sorry, seemed meaningless.
"My dad's dead," he said, after a moment's pause. "I was just a kid; I don't really remember him."
There was more silence.
"Well then," Arthur said. "That's that."
Merlin gave a small smile, because it was nice to meet someone who understood.
"I really hate my job," Arthur said, blowing out through his teeth and scowling.
"At least you don't have to deal with spoilt prats for customers," Merlin teased.
"I'll have you know, Merlin," Arthur replied, his eyebrow raised in a challenge. "That your cafe is insufficiently stocked and you service substandard."
"We usually do have soy milk," Merlin admitted, "we just ran out today. And it was funny."
Arthur huffed in amusement.
Talk turned to other mundane things, and Merlin found it was somehow like he’d always known Arthur. Their banter was easy and the conversation flowed. They barely noticed the time passing until the train pulled in and Merlin found out he’d missed five calls from Gwaine.
“Well, see you around sometime,” Arthur said.
“Yeah, maybe next year?” Merlin replied.
“Next year. I expect to see you here.”
“I’ll be waiting,” Merlin grinned. “And maybe we’ll have soy milk next time.”
Arthur laughed and stepped aboard the train.
“It was good to meet you, Merlin.”
Then the doors slid shut, and the train pulled away.