Title: In Between Days
Series: Merlin (Modern au)
Character/Pairing: Arthur vs Merlin for most of it, with a few hints of Arthur/Merlin at the end. Morgana/Gwen
A/N: comment_fic: Merlin, Merlin/Arthur, Arthur gets caught dancing to Lady Gaga. For the record, the title was going to be "Going Gaga", but searains was like NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Merlin was frankly, not too fond of his roommate. Somehow he'd gotten a rich boy, the kind who one would think that would buy his way to a single room. Somehow, he'd not and somehow Merlin had gotten stuck with him. Well, in truth, Merlin was on scholarship, so that did limit his choices. Still, he didn't think he'd get a roommate like Arthur of all things. He was an utter arsehole. He was caustic, prone to bringing home women at all hours when Merlin was trying to study for Professor Gaius' notoriously hard tests.
Not only that, he expected Merlin to do his laundry. Apparently he'd had servants wherever he'd been and thought that Merlin himself was now included among those servants. And he was particular about it. 'Don't turn all my shirts pink, you lout!' or 'iron my things by the time I'm done, Merlin!'
All in all, it was a pain. Really.
Despite his trouble with his roommates, he soon befriended a pair of girls. Well, it was first Gwen he befriended, but befriend Gwen and usually Morgana would think that anyone Gwen liked was worth liking.
Today, he'd been chatting with Gwen about their shared Chemistry class when Morgana came in. She walked in a way that was entirely classy, and wore her high heels well. She never got mistaken for someone else, because there was always a presence to her.
Morgana embraced Gwen from behind.
"Pardon me, Merlin. I have to steal her away. Can't say that I'm sorry, though."
Gwen laughed. "Morgana! You're always stealing me away."
"And never regretting it. I am horribly shameless, I suppose."
They shared a long smile and then left hand in hand. He'd been right in the middle of an important discussion on their joint lab reports too. Ah well, there was always tomorrow.
They were nice girls. Girls who were utterly in love with each other. And there was nothing wrong with that. Merlin thought it was sweet, really. It did mean he'd probably be dateless forever and Gwen was the only nice girl in the whole place Morgana the only other one. But he was happy for their happiness.
Incidentally, two things happened: Morgana got a new high-tech phone, which meant Gwen convinced her to give her old-but-still-recent phone to Merlin, and to teach him how to use the video aspects, and Arthur replaced his iPod. His last one had been broken when he was roughhousing with his nitwit friends and one tackled him too hard. Everyone knew how Rugby stars got.
This coincided to a perfect catalyst that came to a head the day Merlin came back a bit earlier than usual.. Arthur had his iPod on, and was swishing his hips to some song he couldn't hear. He was even singing. Singing very badly.
After a few seconds of shock, and humor, Merlin quickly got out his cellphone and put it to tape. Arthur put his hands in the air and shook them like he really didn't care and shook his arse like it was on fire and this was the only way to put it out.
It was made all the better the moment when Arthur turned around, the twisting from being happy to being enraged, it all played like in slow motion.
"Smile! You're on camera!" Merlin said cheerily.
"Give it to me!"
Merlin held the camera away. Arthur looked like he very well might tackle him. Rugby player and all, as well as being a lot bigger and a lot stronger than a chemistry nerd, Merlin thought quickly of a way to fend him off.
And it all came so easily. YouTube.
Just as Arthur had taken quick strides for him with something like blood in his eyes, Merlin put his finger on the button to hit send. He held it there, as a warning.
"No! Come any closer and I'll email it to Morgana. And she'll put it on YouTube and then everyone will know."
"Fine. What is it you want? Money?" Arthur said.
"Money? Money? I just want you to do your own damn laundry and stop treating me like he hired help. I'm your iroommate/I, not butler," Merlin said, sounding much more desperate than he wanted to. In his mind it sounded so much more manly and impressive.
"So you'll keep it to yourself if I do my own laundry?"
"And stop bringing home girls at all hours."
Arthur raised an eyebrow to that.
"It's embarrassing. I'm here and I'm studying and the suddenly it's all 'sorry mate, I'm getting laid tonight. You'd understand if you were getting laid.'."
"Alright, I'll take them elsewhere. Is that all?"
Merlin mentally counted out his requests. This might be his only chance.
"And treat me like a human being! I'm not your slave."
"We got that with the no laundry," Arthur said.
"Well, yeah. But this covers the other stuff."
"Fine. Is that it?"
"I..I think so. Though I'll tell you if anything else comes up."
Arthur held out his hand. "The phone."
"No, no. I need this phone to call and such. Besides, you'd just delete it and then where'd we be?"
"Then how do I know you won't send it out?"
"You have..my word. I won't lie to you."
Arthur looked him up and down a long while, but finally moved back.
"Fine. But break that word and you'll be sorry."
That didn't mean he was finished with Arthur quite yet. Or that he could keep it to himself. He shared it with Morgana and Gwen the minute Arthur was away, mostly because the secret was just bursting inside him.
He and Morgana and Gwen laughed and laughed over it. Really, they played the thing over and over. But Morgana had another idea.
"Let me get his cellphone. We need to remind him of this whenever possible."
This technically wasn't breaking the deal, and frankly, the prat deserved.
Arthur had just taken the shower after practice and thrown on his clothes. He had been talking of birds and passing around drinks when a ringtone cut through their laughter.
Shaking my hips like yeaaah!
One of his teammates scrunched up his nose.
"Isn't that Miley Cyrus?"
"I'd hit that," another teammate said.
"Dude, she's just a teenager," piped in another
"Ok, who's got the girly pop ringtone?"
Arthur looked about, predatory at who to tease this time. The room suddenly got much quieter, only broken by the sound of the song bursting to life in spurts.
"I think it's your bag, Arthur."
The smile evaporated.
"It's not mine," he said tersely. "My roommate and my phone got switched."
"There's nothing wrong with liking teenie pop....if you're twelve," laughed another teammate.
"I told you it isn't mine!"
He dug in and turned the damned thing off. This, this was one step too far.
When Arthur returned he was in a foul mood. It was made only more foul by coming on Merlin grinning cheekily as he watched the video over and over again.
"Oh. Hello?" Merlin said.
"Your watching it again," Arthur said darkly.
"I'm watching it again," Merlin said with a grin.
"Let me get this straight – you're watching and rewatching a video of me shaking my arse."
"Wait, wait wait– It–It's not like that. This is about you dancing around like a fool and me laughing at it. I'm the winner here," Merlin said.
"And you don't like me bringing women in. Because you're jealous," Arthur said.
"I'm not jealous! You can go shag the whole bloody population of England and get a disease for all I care. I have to sleep on the bottom bunk. I have to study. I can't study when there's all these girls going 'Oh Arthur, plow me harder, will you?' when I'm studying for Professor Gaius' midterm."
"It sounds like you want to be the one being plowed," Arthur said.
"No, no – you are the loser here. I got video! You danced like a fool! You can't turn this around like this. You can't."
Arthur clapped him on the shoulder. "Since you want to be my bitch so badly, you can start by doing the laundry."
"I'll send it. I swear I'll send it."
"And I'll tell everyone that you're madly in love with me and watch me shower and got me drunk just to tape me for fap material."
So there went his victory. Pride goeth before a fall indeed. Except where Arthur was concerned. There the pride just got back up and kicked him in the arse.
But that wasn't the last of it. Merlin did laundry and ironed shirts. He kept his mouth shut, mostly, except when it came to his best friends, Morgana and Gwen.
Of course, he knew in the back of his head that Morgana and Arthur were sort of related. By adoption, not blood, but they acted like siblings.
And then came the day when he returned to find a very shell shocked looking Arthur.
Merlin set the clean laundry aside. "What happened to you?"
"Morgana and Gwen is what happened. Both of them ganged up on me and yelled what a horrible bastard I was until I finally gave in."
"Well that sounds about right and what you deserve," Merlin said. He crossed his arms. "So what'd they want?"
"It was mostly your name I heard. It seems you're their favorite person."
"No," Arthur said.
"You're stopping being an arse to me?"
"I ordered pizza and am sharing it with you."
It was a far cry from all he wanted, but he could hardly turn down free pizza.
"Alright. I'll take it. What kind?"
"Pepperoni, of course. As far as I'm concerned, it's the only type of pizza there is," Arthur said.
"What about double-cheese with herbs?"
"Herbs? Herbs? What are you, a girl?"
"Well if I were a girl, I'd probably have beaten you in the end. Look at Gwen and Morgana, they beat you senseless," Merlin said.
"If you were a girl, I'd have slept with you already."
It was a bit awkward then, as Arthur realized the implications of what he'd just said.
Arthur cleared his throat and brought out the box. He pulled off a piece, and the cheese held on, until it popped, stringy and ropey. It was the perfect sort of temperature, not too hot and not lukewarm. Where the cheese was just right, but didn't burn his mouth.
Merlin took a bite. It really was good.
"They're really close those two. One yelled at me only for the next one to get started like they were psychic," Arthur muttered.
"They're together," Merlin corrected.
"Gwen and Morgana? But I kissed Gwen and Morgana definitely had a crush on me. They can't be lesbians."
"...Arthur, I have to inform you that every woman in Camelot, no, Earth doesn't exist solely to lust after you. I know you seem to find this hard to believe, but it's true," Merlin said in exasperation.
"Morgana said about the same," Arthur said. He folded his pizza as he took bites, big bites that left streaks of grease on his chin. He wiped them off with his shirt sleeve.
Arthur sighed, as if the girls were right there glaring at him.
"I guess I'll say 'good show, mate' then."
Arthur held out his hand.
"For what? Blackmailing you with your own horrid dancing skills? You're just doing it so you can tell Gwen and Morgana so they'll leave you alone."
"Of course. But it wasn't a bad prank. I'd probably have done the same if one of my teammates was an arse to me," Arthur said
"Alright. Friends. Or at least tolerable roommates," Merlin said. took his hand and shook.
Arthur gazed at him long, a gaze largely focused on his lips.
"What? Is there something on my lips?"
Merlin brushed his shirt sleeve over his mouth like Arthur had.
"Nothing," Arthur said.