Title: When the Truth Falls from Your Lips
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Percival, Gwen
Summary: Arthur takes a chance on Merlin.
Word Count: 1, 030
Prompt: Prompt 200, Amnesty Post 2 (#15 Confessions)
Author's Notes: Part 9 of Lab Coats & Scrubs. You can find it right here or here on AO3.
When Arthur arrives to the pub everyone around him is pleasantly buzzed, as per usual he’s the last one to arrive. He can never seem to make it in time when his friends invite him somewhere, and it never surprises them, not with his hectic schedule and the long hours Arthur spends making rounds around the hospital.
It’s easy to equate his entire life with work. He barely has time for anything else. But when Merlin had mumbled a ‘see you later’ back at the hospital it sounded more like a promise than a statement made in passing. Arthur rushed through his paperwork and left the hospital as soon as he could.
“Finally,” Gwen says. He looks rumpled but Gwen doesn’t comment on his appearance, instead she pulls him down by the arm to sit next to her. He exchanges hellos and a quick few words with the rest of their party — Gwaine already well on his way towards a hangover — and searches around for a familiar shock of dark hair and blue eyes.
“Merlin? Over there.”
Arthur follows the direction of Gwen’s finger finding Merlin standing by the bar counter apparently having the time of his life. He’s laughing openly, big and his companion seems equally delighted of being in his presence. Arthur catches every move and casual touch, something lodges in his throat and he has to steal someone’s drink to pass the bitter taste.
“Are you going to keep doing that the entire night?”
“What am I doing?” Arthur asks defensively, rising the tall glass towards his lips again. Gwen huffs.
“Didn’t you tell me you were going stop this whole pining thing and do something about it. We talked it over breakfast Arthur. It’s too soon for you to give up.”
“I’m not pining or giving up, I’m just...surveying the situation.”
“Then go already. He’s just talking with a friend.”
Arthur downs the rest of the beer and glances at Gwen, he appreciates her support but he’s feeling like the room just turned hotter and he can’t get enough air to breathe. This time is as good as any he supposes, he’s already spent too many nights ruminating , awake wondering why it took him so long to admit to himself that Merlin is more than a face he sees everyday. He’s always been more.
He’s a Pendragon he can do this.
He gets up with as much decision as he can muster and walks towards Merlin and his companion. Behind him he can hear a few cheers of encouragement and he swears someone is going to get an earful on Monday morning. They need to stop the betting pool thing already.
Arthur stands awkwardly for about a minute behind Merlin until his rival — Percival will be his rival as long as he keeps his hand on Merlin’s shoulder and keeps making him laugh — takes notice of him. He whispers something in Merlin’s ear and Arthur is definitely not clenching his fist.
Merlin turns around so fast Arthur is afraid he might have hurt himself and Arthur almost offers to check his neck for any sign of injuries.
Merlin says his name in this tone like he might have run out of breath too and Arthur can’t keep running.
“You made it.”
Turns out Percival is every bit as charming as he had been told and Arthur stands between both men, occasionally joining their conversation, waiting for the right time to pull Merlin aside and snog him like he should've done months ago.
“I need some air,” Merlin announces after a while. He walks towards the door with as much poise as he can, but he’s a bit tipsy. Arthur watches him go.
“There goes our Merlin.”
When Arthur turns to look at Percy the man’s smirk tells him everything he needed to know.
“I think I need to go and find him.”
Merlin is outside sitting on the pavement. Back against the brick wall, Arthur joins him, leaving very little space between them.
“I could bring you water.”
Silence embraces them and Arthur takes the moment to marvel at Merlin’s very existence and the fact he feels something for him. He moves in closer, gaze leveled with Merlin’s, shoulders knocking together. It’s make or break.
“What? Are you going to kiss me?” Merlin jokes and Arthur deflates backing off from Merlin’s space.
Arthur rolls his eyes and Merlin instantly looks like he’s sobered up, his mouth hangs open. Eyes wide.
“Oh, oh, you are. You’re going to kiss me.”
“Not now. You absolutely blew it.”
Merlin scrambles to pull him closer again, back to their previous position.
“No, no, you can’t take it back. You. I. Why? Why now?”
Arthur snorts, this is a whole new side to Merlin. All tipsy and confused and eager. It’s possible he might be liking Merlin more and more by the second. “Well, it’s come to my attention we’ve been clueless idiots for months and I’m trying to repair the damage.”
“Ha, speak for yourself.”
“Merlin do you mean to tell me all this time you’ve been aware of my feelings for you and were just faking for my sake?”
“Well-wait. Your feelings?”
“Yes, it seems I fancy an idiot train-wreck of a nurse.”
“Oh like you can talk. You’re a terrible pain in the backside in the mornings before you get any caffeine in your system and when you scold those who wrong you like they’re little children, and-”
“Merlin, shut up.”
Merlin does, looking sheepish and Arthur takes Merlin’s face between his hands, leaning in slowly and finally pressing his lips against his. Kissing Merlin is better than he imagined. Like fireworks erupting from his chest. He could spend the rest of the night where he is. Merlin wraps him in his arms, kissing him back. Definitely the best place he could be.