Disclaimer: Characters in this story I guess technically belong to the BBC. I mean, how can someone own something as wonderful as the sexual tension between Arthur and Merlin?
Author's Note: So, I know it's been done to death: the whole 'Merlin is Arthur's roommate in University, and there's some UST and blah blah blah…' But I added Lance into the mix as the unwitting matchmaker. And this is, to date, the longest fic I've written.
Summary: Arthur hates the new DHR (Devilishly Handsome Rogue) that's seemed to capture Merlin fully. Slash, Oneshot, M/A
Warnings: Uh, major slash. Some hot n' heavy gettin' down between two boys.
University life was an enigma to Arthur Pendragon. He had done his dutiful underage partying his freshman and sophomore years. In his junior year he had to pick his major, and that was no easy task. He was here on a football scholarship, so he really hadn't thought of anything beyond keeping his grades up to the bare minimum he needed to keep the scholarship.
But Arthur really wasn't into existential thinking right now. He had more pressing matters. Like, why in the world was his roommate Merlin walking across the courtyard with some devilishly handsome rogue's arm thrown over his shoulder, hand tucked under his armpit, and supporting Merlin? And why was Merlin limping, holding a white pack to the side of his head, and laughing, and looking like he just got into a fight with a grizzly bear?
Arthur frowned, and feeling just a little creeped out with himself, followed after the pair quietly. He was supposed to be waiting for Pen and the guys to come meet him by the fountain so they could meet and ride to practice together. But, once again, more pressing matters. And morbid curiosity.
Arthur could see now that he was leading the devilishly handsome rogue, the DHR, Arthur called him in his head, towards their dorm building. They exchanged a few surprised exclamations, before both laughing and heading in the direction of the dorm room he shared with Merlin.
Good, so it wouldn't be totally creepy that Arthur was following them. He paused just outside of the door, closed, and pressed his ear to it. He could hear someone moving around in there. It wasn't the heavy clunk of Merlin's clumsy feet, so it must be the stranger. There was more laughter, Merlin's, and Arthur was suddenly enraged that this stranger was making Merlin laugh.
He flung the door open, taking a sort of sick satisfaction in the startled yelp Merlin let out and the gasp the stranger let out. Now that Arthur could see him better up close, he really was a DHR, with big brown eyes and hair to just below his ears. He had a face that anyone could trust, and Arthur didn't.
"What's going on?" Arthur snapped, glancing between the DHR and Merlin, whose eyes were almost comically wide.
"Nothing," Merlin supplied quickly, too quickly. Arthur narrowed his eyes. "Arthur, this is Lance, Lance, this is my…rude roommate, Arthur. Excuse his manners; he's taken too many balls to the head during football."
"This is Arthur? As in, Arthur Pendragon, captain of the Knights Football team?" Lance asked, and Arthur didn't like his over eager tone one bit.
"The very same," Arthur replied, somewhat coldly, and ignored Merlin's glare.
"I was looking for you!" Lance exclaimed excitedly, smiling a too bright and too sweet smile that made Arthur's teeth ache.
"Great, good for you, you've found me. So please leave now," Arthur snapped, glancing towards the door.
Lance frowned, then glanced at his watch and sighed. "Oh, okay, I've got to meet with the dean anyways. It was…nice meeting you Arthur. See you later, Merlin. Watch out for the big bad beastly scooters, yeah?" Merlin answered that with a laugh and a shy little wave as Lance left the dorm.
Arthur whirled on Merlin, crossing his arms over his chest, "What happened to you?" he snapped, still a little short because the dang DHR had left Merlin blushing.
"Gee, I'm fine, thanks for asking Arthur. How are you?" Merlin replied, just as snappishly as he lowered the ice pack (for that's what Arthur could see it was now) from the side of his face. Merlin sighed, "Will was letting me ride his new Griffin electric scooter," he began with trepidation.
"Stroke of genius on Will's part," Arthur commented snidely, Merlin just glared.
"What's your problem?" Merlin snapped, standing to his feet quickly and then wincing, quickly dropping back to the bed again, pressing the ice pack to his head and sighing, "I'm not in the mood for it right now. Short story short, I kind of lost control on the scooter and it took off with me on it. Luckily Lance," Merlin didn't miss Arthur's snort and glared, "was there to stop it, but not before I had fallen off of it and it was turning around to run me over again. I think it was possessed."
"You're alright now, then?" Arthur asked, giving Merlin a once over. He didn't seem to be bleeding, and that was good enough for Arthur. He was quite experienced in injuries.
"Other than a sprained ankle and a bump to the head, yeah," Merlin pulled the ice away from his head and turned that side of his face towards Arthur, "How's it look?"
"Like hell," Arthur commented, dropping into the desk chair and pulling his laptop towards him.
"Thanks," Merlin muttered, standing up more slowly now. "Aren't you supposed to be at practice right now?"
"Yeah," Arthur shrugged, pulling up the term paper he was supposed to be working on and staring at it blankly.
"Well?" Merlin asked, pealing off his ridiculously brightly colored scrubs top, but keeping the white undershirt on.
Arthur looked over his shoulder, and blinked at Merlin. He was pealing his pants off now, and his boxers were slipping dangerously down with the bottoms, giving Arthur an eyeful of a trail of fuzzy black hair leading down to Merlin Jr. Arthur absently licked his lips, "Well what?"
"Well…why aren't you at practice?" Merlin asked, oblivious to Arthur's wandering eye as he fetched a pair of jeans and pulled them on, then pulled on a long sleeve t-shirt.
"Hm? Oh, term paper, you know," Arthur said, wondering just why he felt disappointed that Merlin was covering up. Arthur chalked it up to the whole thing with the DHR. Maybe he's had a little too much of Classic British Lit class. Who thought of people as devilishly handsome and a rogue? He shook his head and turned back to the computer again.
"We both know you're not going to get that done anytime soon. It's been almost three years, and you've yet to complete a term paper early," Merlin commented, turning to his drawer to dig through it. He pulled out a scarf and fastened it around his neck, then stood in front of the mirror, preening.
"Big date?" Arthur asked, not turning away from the computer he was still blankly staring at.
"Erm. No, not really. Lance invited me out for a couple of drinks with him and a couple of mates," Merlin said, shrugging nonchalantly.
"Lance?" Arthur asked, confused.
"You just met him," Merlin deadpanned.
"Oh, the DHR," Arthur muttered.
"The what?" Merlin asked, head cocked to the side, making his overly large ears look even more adorably large.
Adorably large? What? Arthur shook his head again and cleared his throat, "Nothing. You've just met him and you're already going out for drinks? He moves a little quickly, huh? Saves your life once and you're throwing yourself at him."
"I am not!" Merlin exclaimed, straightening his scarf in the mirror, "You should really give him a chance. He's really nice, and super fit. He plays footie, like you, you know. He's wanted to meet you since he got here. He's an exchange, from Spain."
"Oh, that explains the stupid accent," Arthur commented.
"It's not stupid! I think it's splendid. I love the way he rolls his 'r's," Merlin sighed, dropping to the edge of his bed. "You ought to listen to him, he's here on a football scholarship, too. But he's not just some dumb jock. He's brilliant. He's going to be a brain surgeon or something like that. We've a couple of classes together."
That's right, Merlin had his future all sorted out. He was doing his mandatory four years of college before med school, where he'd go to be a pediatrician. He had this whole long story on how ever since high school he had wanted to be a pediatrician, since his little brother Mordred was diagnosed with some mystery illness that would knock him out of commission once or twice every month.
Arthur admired him for that. He had purpose behind what he was doing. Arthur was still confused about his future. He and Merlin had stayed up countless hours as Merlin patiently listened to Arthur whinge about his inner turmoil, and he was a saint through all of it.
Arthur really did owe Merlin a lot. He had helped him through just about every major event in his life that could happen in University. That one time he got the flu really bad and missed two whole days of classes, and Merlin had tracked down people from all his classes, and painstakingly copied down notes for Arthur. Or that time Arthur had broken up with Sophia, got totally wasted, and almost went home with some blonde tart named Vivian, and Merlin had talked him from the ledge, so to speak, by tempting him with a night of beef jerky and action flicks.
Or even more serious times, like that big fallout Arthur had had with his father over what his major would be. His father wanted him to go into advertising, like him. Arthur had been anti-that from the start. Merlin had patiently told a furious Arthur that he should do what he feels is right. And had helped Arthur hide from his father for one whole week, even going so far as to hide him under his bed during one horrifying on the fly visit.
"Arthur?" Merlin's voice cut through his thoughts. What was Merlin asking? Arthur blinked, trying to remember. Oh right, the DHR. He was talking something about how Lance was a transfer, and planned to try out for football and how Arthur should really, really give him a chance, and that he would if he was a real friend.
"Oh, alright," Arthur grumbled, as if it were some great and might burden he'd have to bear, "But don't think I'll go easy on him just because you fancy his arse in those too tight denims he was wearing."
Merlin blushed to the roots of his hair. "I-I don't fancy him! I've just met him!" Merlin defended.
"You're sure prattling on an awful lot about him for having just met him," Arthur stated dryly.
"I was only trying to talk him up to you, you didn't seem to like him very much," Merlin mumbled, ducking his head. He cleared his throat and glanced up at Arthur, "Do you want to come tonight?"
"On your date with you? No thank you," Arthur replied, smirking. Really, he had no right to butt into Merlin's business so much. If Merlin fancied the DHR, then so be it. It's not like he and Merlin were dating or anything. They hadn't even ever shown any sort of those feelings towards each other like that, anyways.
"It's not a date!" Merlin snapped quickly, though he was smiling that sort of half smile he got. "Are you going to go to practice then?"
"Yeah, probably. Do you mind giving me a lift on your way?" Arthur asked.
"Oh, we're not going out 'til much later, Lance's got class," Merlin said, frowning, "But I'll still give you a ride!" he said brightly, gathering up his keys and shoving them into his pocket, "It's not too far, and I've been meaning to replace the juice that you and I drank up in the kitchen."
Arthur shrugged and sighed, closing his laptop with the unfinished term paper and indicating cursor blinking at him. "Cool, thanks Merlin," Arthur said, standing up and shrugging on his jacket. He picked up his bag and he and Merlin were out the door and in Merlin's beat up old pick-up truck in no time. It smelt oddly in the truck, and Arthur wrinkled his nose.
"What is that smell?" he asked, covering his nose with his sleeve.
"Will," Merlin stated simply.
Will was Merlin's best friend from childhood, and couldn't make up his mind over majors, either. This week's major-du-jour was aromatherapy, and Arthur supposed he should be getting used to the weird smells, since he used Merlin as his guinea pig more often than not.
"I'm sorry, he says he's working on a 'counter scent' that will get rid of this smell and make it smell like freshly baked biscuits," Merlin sighed, rolling his eyes, knowing that that was probably a far cry from the truth. "I don't think this is going to last that long, though. I think he's thinking of moving onto nursing."
Arthur's brows arched, "Nursing?"
"Oh yeah, he says that male nurses, or 'murses' as he calls them, get all the best tail," Merlin replied with mock seriousness. He and Arthur had a good laugh at that, then passed the rest of the drive in comfortable silence.
That's why Arthur liked Merlin so much. He was over Arthur's moods quicker than Arthur was. He supposed Merlin was used to him being a complete prat now. They'd been roommates since freshman year, when Arthur thought Merlin was an eccentric loony with extremely weird friends and taste in alcohol (really, sake? Who the heck drank sake willingly?). But eventually, after they passed that awkward new person phase, they got along swimmingly. They still teased each other mercilessly. Banter was the foundation of their relationship.
"We're here," Merlin repeated, he must've, because he was saying it slightly louder and as if he were annoyed. "Really, where have you been going today, Arthur?"
"I don't know, just got a lot on my mind, I guess. Thanks for the ride," he said, grabbing his bag from the floor and flinging it over his shoulder. "See you later, have fun with Lance," he winked, before turning and leaving a blushing Merlin in the truck. Pen and the other players waved to Merlin before he drove off.
Practice was just what Arthur needed to clear his mind. Just the mindlessness in kicking around a ball with his mates, getting his frustration out on the goalie and finishing with a hot shower filled with the babbling of his friends to distract him from his weird thoughts.
It all came crashing to an end, though, when the DHR showed up, much to Arthur's chagrin.
"Arthur!" Lance exclaimed, rushing up to the blonde with his dashing smile and twinkling brown eyes and devilishly handsome rouge-ish looks. "Just who I was looking for. Hi."
Arthur still had adrenaline pumping through him, and that made him snappish and angry, so he just grunted in Lance's direction.
"Can I give you a ride?" Lance asked suddenly, noticing his teammates leaving and Arthur was without a ride.
Arthur's only answer was, 'sure,' and then he was lead to…Oh god. No. This wasn't real. The DHR was leading him over to his metal death trap on two wheels and holding out a helmet to him. It was like the deformed beastly cousin of what had tried to kill poor Merlin earlier.
Arthur's eyes widened and he shook his head, "Uh…maybe I shouldn't…" Arthur glanced around and most of the team was already gone, most of them that would've given him a ride.
"Do not worry, I'm a master on this thing. I have been riding since I was just a young boy," Lance insisted, shoving the helmet into Arthur hands and mounting the deathtrap on two wheels. "Get on and hold on to my waist," Lance demanded, and Arthur did as he was told. It was awkward and uncomfortable, being this close to the DHR, the bane of his recent existence, but he didn't have much time to think about that as Lance took off at a breakneck speed, causing Arthur to let out a manly yelp.
The only good thing about riding with Lance on his motorcycle was that they weren't forced to make small talk. Arthur had one hand around Lance's waist in a death grip, and the other clinging to his athletics bag desperately.
They were arriving in the car park right as Merlin was removing groceries from the back of his truck. Lance, always aiming to over please, leapt off the bike and gallantly helped Arthur off, who glared at him, reminding him he wasn't a girl, but was secretly grateful, because his knees were in danger of knocking together.
He heard a snort of laughter from Merlin as he pulled his helmet off, and he must've looked close to death, that was how pale he was. He glared at Merlin and stormed off to the dorm, leaving Lance to help Merlin carry in the groceries.
Arthur was brooding on his bed when Merlin opened the door, but his back was to the room. "Thank you for helping, Lance, and for giving Arthur a ride home. I know he seems ungrateful, I think maybe he's threatened," Merlin chuckled, and Lance let out a flustered laugh. "I'll see you tonight," Merlin said almost sickeningly sweet.
"I can not wait," Lance replied, equally as sickeningly. Merlin shut the door.
"I can not wait," Arthur mocked in Lance's accent, rolling his head and flipping over to his side away from Merlin.
"Oh, quit your brooding. You're just jealous that Lance does something more manly than you," Merlin sniggered, dropping their bag of personal items down on his messy side of the room before pulling out numerous notebooks and text books to begin his daily routine of homework and studying.
"Yeah, right, if what you mean by 'more manly' is 'deadlier and stupider,' then I guess so," Arthur grunted, "I could've died, Merlin."
"Yeah, but you didn't. Lance is safe. He's pretty great like that," Merlin sighed, distractedly marking something in his notes.
"Oh sod off, I'd rather not hear about your girlish crush. Soon you'll be writing, 'L and M, together forever,' in all your note books, spelling 'forever' with the number 4 and adding hearts to all your exclamation points," Arthur grumbled.
"You've put some thought into this, haven't you? I didn't know you cared so much," Merlin teased, nibbling on the end of his pencil before marking something again.
"I don't," Arthur replied, "Now shut up and let me nap."
"Whatever, sweetie," Merlin mockingly purred, but didn't say anything else.
Arthur was awoken by the sound of a knock on the door, and Merlin scrambling off his bed to rush to get it. "Oh, Lance!" he said too loudly, too gushingly. "Come in!" he held the door open. Arthur turned and glared.
"Ah, Arthur does not look too happy, I should stay out here," Lance said quietly, glancing around Merlin's shoulder at his glaring roommate.
"Don't mind him, he's just being a grumpers," Merlin said, rolling his eyes and grabbing his jacket and keys.
'Grumpers?' Arthur thought, shaking his head. 'That's new.'
"Shall we go?" Merlin asked, and even though Arthur could only see the back of Merlin's head, he could almost hear him batting his eyelashes like a little girl and puckering his lips in a pout.
"Yes. Yours or mine?" the DHR asked. Arthur's heart stilled for a moment. Were they already discussing whose dorm they'd return to to have their after-date sex? He hadn't really pegged Merlin for such a fast mover. He could see the back of Merlin's neck blush, too.
"Uhm?" Merlin cleared his throat and ducked his head shyly, and Arthur could imagine his cute little blush and shy smile…and Merlin's blush was not cute and his shy smile was not cute either. Arthur hadn't just thought that at all.
"I'm sorry," Lance must've been flustered as well, "I meant, should we take your car or my bike?" he asked, and Arthur felt sick to his stomach at the polite sweetness.
"Oh! I've never ridden on a motorcycle before. That should be fun," Merlin said thoughtfully.
"Oh no you don't!" Arthur was suddenly sitting up and glaring at the pair, "If you're going to be drinking, I don't want you near that metal deathtrap on two wheels!" Arthur pointed his finger at Merlin.
"Oh, I will not be drinking, do not worry. I have an interview for an internship tomorrow," Lance insisted, "I'll be fine to drive Merlin home. I'll have him home by midnight."
"How chivalrous," Arthur commented dryly. Lance blushed, but Merlin just glared and slammed the door.
Arthur didn't know why he was being such an arse, but he obviously pissed Merlin off. He threw himself face down on his bed and screamed into his pillow and kicked his feet like a little kid throwing a temper tantrum. He eventually fell asleep thinking about how he could make it up to Merlin.
"Shh, shh, Merlin, you have got to be quiet," Arthur furrowed his brows and tried to shove his head further under the pillow to escape the noise. He stopped trying when he heard Merlin giggle.
"Do not you want to come in?" he asked breathily, and Arthur could tell it was Merlin's drunk voice, because for some reason, when Merlin was drunk, he couldn't handle contractions, and it made him sound ridiculous.
"I'll help you to bed," Lance whispered, and Arthur could tell he was eyeing Arthur's bed and the unmoving figure. Arthur watched the figures make their way across the room, the taller, slighter one of Merlin staggering slightly. He could see Lance strip off Merlin's pants, then peal his shirt up over his head, then pull his scarf off.
Arthur felt his cheeks blush brightly at the thought of what he might witness. It wouldn't be the first time either of them had brought home a conquest. Arthur more often than Merlin, but normally there was a heads up and the other had time to get out. Maybe Merlin had given him a heads up but he was being too thick-skulled to notice.
Lance didn't climb into the bed with Merlin, though. He tucked him in carefully, and ran his hand over Merlin's forehead, sighing with something akin to brotherly affection. Merlin didn't seem to notice though, and he reached a hand out towards Lance, "Say you will lay down with me, please," he breathed.
Lance shook his head fondly, "No, no, you should get some sleep. You've got to work tomorrow."
"Sc-screw work. It is stupid, kiss me at least?" Merlin asked, pleaded. Arthur's heart inexplicably broke a little.
Arthur could practically hear Lance roll his eyes as he bent down and pressed a sweet kiss to Merlin's forehead, and then his cheek. "That is not what I meant, Lance," Merlin pouted, and Lance laughed quietly.
"I don't want to do something you'll regret tomorrow," Lance sighed, and he sounded sad. Arthur was curious, but didn't ask anything to give away his alertness. "Goodnight, Merlin. Do try to remember what we talked about tonight," Lance said, pressing another kiss to Merlin's forehead before standing up.
Merlin didn't reply, but Arthur heard the little snort that meant that Merlin would soon be snoring and in a deep state of sleep. Lance began turning towards his bed and Arthur quickly shut his eyes.
"And you," Lance whispered, though Arthur was sure he thought he wasn't awake, "You be good to him, you oafish prat. And I'll have to take care of you both from afar."
And with that Lance was turning and heading out the door, leaving Arthur to puzzle over what Lance had said. It was confusing and he didn't think too hard before he heard Merlin groaning, groping around his bedside for a rubbish bin, "Arthur, Arthur," Merlin grumbled.
Arthur rolled out of his bed, grabbing the rubbish bin and crossing the room quietly. Merlin lost the contents of his stomach into the basket quickly and quietly, reached out and pat Arthur's cheek fondly, before rolling over and falling back asleep. Merlin never drank so much that he got sick. It was really unusual for him. He must've mixed his alcohol again, and Arthur knew he couldn't stomach that. And Lance, evidently, had not.
He stood there for a while, making sure Merlin was okay and wouldn't need him to hold his hair again as he threw up, and then made his way across to his bed and curled back into the covers, though sleep would be a long time coming for him.
"Ugh," Merlin groan, sitting up shakily in his bed and pressing his hands into his eyes, "Did I throw up last night?" he asked, smacking his lips.
"Stop smacking your lips, and yes, you were quite wasted," Arthur replied from his place at his desk, tapping away madly at the keyboard.
"I'm thirsty," Merlin stated, swinging his legs out of his bed and reaching for the mini fridge and pulling out a bottle of water. He chugged half of it down in one go, then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "Did you take care of me?" Merlin finally asked.
"No, Lance came and tucked you in. And then you proceeded to ask him to shag you silly," Arthur stated, not letting Merlin see his smirk.
He didn't need to turn around to see Merlin blush, "I did not!" his friend gasped.
"Nah, you didn't. You did request a kiss, but Lance is quite the gentleman and declined. He said, 'I don't want to do something you'll regret tomorrow.' Which I thought was weird, 'cause I thought you both fancied each other. That's how you acted anyways. And I certainly wouldn't have turned you down, you were practically throwing yourself at him."
He did turn around this time, and Merlin had his head ducked and he was blushing. He looked…sad almost. "He…he likes someone else," Merlin muttered, and Arthur frowned at the dejection in his tone.
"Well, he's a prick if he doesn't like you," Arthur stated simply, then returned to tapping away on his keyboard.
"Thanks," Merlin replied gratefully, then stood up and stretched. "What're you working on, love letters to your professors to get out of late term papers?"
"Term paper, actually," Arthur stated.
"Oh, oh! Did you feel that?" Merlin asked dramatically, grabbing onto the edge of his desk as if he were going to fall down.
"What? Feel what?" Arthur asked worriedly.
"I think a crack has just opened up in the earth and the demons of hell are ascending and dancing with the angels and making it snow in Jamaica. And I'm pretty certain I saw a comet heading this way, too," Merlin stated in all seriousness.
"Bugger off," Arthur replied, though there was no bitterness in his voice.
"Next you'll be telling me you chose a major and have bought a sensible pair of shoes and a minivan," Merlin said, pealing off his clothes and collecting his shower things and work clothes.
"I have been thinking of a major," Arthur replied thoughtfully.
"Oh be still my dying heart, I never thought I'd live to see the day," Merlin deadpanned.
"Blow me. Go take your shower, Gaius is going to be mad if you're late because your drunk arse couldn't wake up on time," Arthur said, shooting a playful glare at Merlin, who chuckled.
"When I get home babe, I'll take you up on the offer," Merlin replied cheekily, narrowly avoiding the empty soda can that was tossed at him, dancing out of the room and laughing.
Arthur really had been thinking of a major. He was thinking something in the medical field. He really hadn't thought much of it. He never thought he'd be a doctor or a nurse or something. But maybe a hospital publicist or something like that. Something business-y to please his father, and something where he could work in a hospital, with people. And Merlin.
Arthur wasn't sure when he started planning his life around what Merlin would be doing. He tried to convince himself that he wasn't, because that was illogical. Him and Merlin were just good friends. Whatever, right?
Merlin came back a few minutes later, dressed in his uniform of khakis and a black polo shirt, so unlike Merlin. He worked as an assistant to his Uncle Gaius at the University clinic. Merlin said it was good practice for when he went into the medical field. And Gaius really wasn't his uncle, just a close friend of Merlin's mother. He was the head honcho at the clinic, and Arthur knew him almost intimately, he had been in and out of the clinic so much because of football.
"I had to borrow your toothpaste, sorry. I forgot to pick some up yesterday. I'll do that today," Merlin apologized, running a comb through his hair before picking his keys up.
"You'll use mine away," Arthur sighed and rolled his eyes. No matter how many times Arthur insisted Merlin just get the same type of toothpaste as him so they could keep them separate, Merlin still got a different type each time to 'just try it out' and always went back to Arthur's when he was unsatisfied.
Merlin didn't reply to that, "Don't break your brain on your term paper. It's a Saturday, go out and have some fun."
"Yes, dear," Arthur replied sarcastically, rolling his eyes at Merlin.
Merlin snorted and left for work.
Arthur, after finishing up more than half his term paper in the next three hours, felt as if he deserved a reward in the form of some heavy practicing. He called Pen, to see if he and the other boys would mind an impromptu practice, if they weren't busy. Half the team showed up, and that was enough for a little fooling around.
About an hour and a half into the practice, Arthur heard the sound of a motorcycle, and dreaded the fact that he knew who it was. He turned to see Lance there, helmet tucked under his arm and dressed in fool football gear.
"Lance," Arthur greeted, after calling a halt to the practice and approaching the macho man himself.
"Hi, Arthur. I'm sorry to disturb you. I hadn't meant to, honestly," too polite, too polite, Arthur thought. "I was just wondering if there is any chance that I would be able to try out."
"For the team?" Arthur asked, eyeing Lance incredulously. The season started in two weeks, and try outs had been a month ago.
"Yes, please," Lance said eagerly. Arthur could hear Pen and Owain laughing behind him. He quickly snatched the ball from Owain and tossed it at Lance, who fumbled horribly for a second before catching it on the top of his foot.
"Sluggish reactions, if this were a game the ball would've been stolen already. Come back when you're ready," Arthur said, turning away from Lance.
"I'm ready now," Lance promised eagerly, bouncing form foot to foot and stretching out. Arthur turned to eye him up and down. He looked cocky, and Arthur would enjoy taking him down a peg or two.
The tryout went better than Arthur, and Lance, judging by the shocked look on Lance's face after Arthur announced that he'd made the team, had expected it to go.
"So, what do we put on the jersey?" Pen asked, flinging his arm around Lance's shoulder.
"Allott," Lance muttered, glancing to the side.
"So you're full name is…Lance…Allott," Pen asked disbelievingly. Owain and he started to crack up, shoving playfully at Lance's shoulder, "Your mum must've been cracked out when you were born."
"My sister's name is Gwen," Lance admitted.
"Oh dude! Even more messed up!" Val exclaimed, "Did they like, end up together after she cheated on King Arthur?"
"Shut up," Lance answered good naturedly. He was already a part of the team.
"Arthur!" Arthur glanced up to see Merlin waiting by his truck, his face split into a grin and waving madly. Arthur glanced back at his team before jogging over to meet him.
"What're you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be at work?" Arthur asked, though he was grateful, because now he wouldn't need to get a ride from Lance.
"Gaius let me off early. And Lance told me he was going to tryout today, so I came here. So, how did it go?" Merlin asked eagerly, eyeing the crowd over Arthur's shoulder. He smiled when he saw Lance and one of the Knights exchange a hearty man-punch to the chest.
"He made it," Arthur stated, "He's bloody good."
"Yesss!" Merlin chortled, then flung his arms around Arthur's neck, squeezing him tightly and not letting go, "Thank you thank you thank you," he chanted, before finally jumping back from Arthur, who was trying to conceal his blush.
"It's not like you made the team, what are you so happy about?" Arthur asked curiously.
"You gave him a chance, like I asked you to," Merlin said happily, "Do you need a ride home?"
"I'm actually kinda starved, are you up for something to eat?" Arthur asked. Merlin shrugged.
"Sure, I could really go for some pad thai right about now, you?" Merlin asked, hopping into the driver's seat and buckling his seat belt. "Do you want to go home and change first?"
"That sounds fine, and no. I don't smell awful, do I?" Arthur asked, discreetly raising his arm to sniff his pit.
"Naw. It's a welcome change from whatever Will did to the truck," Merlin conceded, then drove off to his favorite pasta restaurant, which he had dragged Arthur along to countless times.
As they were walking in Arthur caught sight of himself in the window, wincing at his flushed and disheveled and sweaty appearance. "I look like shite," he admitted.
Merlin shook his head, "I don't think so. You actually look quite dashing," he muttered, then flushed brightly red and pushed the door open. Arthur found himself thinking it was cute how the flush touched high on his cheekbones and extended all the way to his ears. He smiled as he followed Merlin in.
They ordered their meals at the counter, and then picked a seat for themselves. It wasn't too busy, and they didn't have to wait too long before Merlin was stuffing his face.
"Good lord, Merlin, where do you put it all?" Arthur asked, staring at his friend with wide, disbelieving eyes.
Merlin shoveled some pad thai into his mouth with his chopsticks. He sipped a noodle up and swallowed before replying. "You'd think I wouldn't be hungry after staring at horrendous injuries all day and disgustingly drunk students. But I'm starved."
"You're the only guy I know that could eat all that and still remain skinnier than a rod," Arthur said, rolling his eyes.
"I'm not so skinny. I'm getting a pudge, you know. I think it's like, belated Freshman 15, you know," Merlin admitted gravely, laying his hand on his stomach, which didn't stick out at all. Arthur laughed at Merlin's overreaction and turned back to his baked macaroni and cheese.
The rest of the meal was spent talking about their days, Arthur's term paper, Merlin's experience with a patient who though he was pregnant. They talked about what the team would be like now that Lance was on it and what position he would play. Arthur couldn't help but feel a little spike of jealousy when Merlin asked after Lance, even though Merlin had assured him this morning that Lance liked somebody else. But other than that it was a really enjoyable lunch. It almost felt like a date. Arthur had hoped it felt the same to Merlin.
He didn't know when he'd started thinking of Merlin as a prospect, really. Or when he'd even started liking Merlin. All of their years living together, he had known Merlin was gay and he was straight and that was the way it was. His father would kill him if he knew what he was thinking of Merlin now.
They rode the way back to their dorm in comfortable silence, Merlin every once in a while chiming up on something they'd need for the dorm soon, or how they'd have to do laundry, and the feeling of the "date" was over. Now it was back to just Arthur and Merlin.
When they got back to the room it was late afternoon, and neither of them had plans for the night. Arthur was supposed to have dinner with his dad and step-sister, but there was still some bad blood there, and he had cancelled. It was Mordred's father's weekend to have him, so Merlin had nothing to do.
"Let's get drunk," Merlin stated, going over to their fridge and pulling out their 'stash.' He tossed Arthur a beer, and popped the lid off his own, taking a long gulp before dropping onto his bed.
"Two nights in a row, Merlin? I'm shocked and slightly horrified," Arthur teased, taking a long swig of his own and dropping into the computer chair and kicking his feet up on the desk. "What ever happened, 'free time should be used for studying and bettering yourself?'" Arthur asked.
"I'm bettering myself right now," Merlin said, taking another long gulp of his beer. He winced, since he still didn't like the taste. Arthur found the way Merlin wrinkled his nose and pulled a face quite endearing and adorable. "Besides, I've got all my work done. The work load was light this week."
Arthur raised his drink in a toast, "To light work loads!" he cheered.
"Hear hear!" Merlin cried, finishing off his beer and grabbing a second one to immediately start on it. And so they drank. And drank. They talked about everything and nothing all at once. It was just one of those nights that Merlin liked to call 'male bonding nights.' Somehow they had switched places, and Arthur was sprawled out on his back, counting the glow and the dark stars that were stuck to the ceiling dizzily, as Merlin did something on the computer.
Suddenly music blared through the laptop speakers, and Arthur groaned. "What the hell, Merlin, seriously? Taylor Swift?"
Merlin blinked stupidly at Arthur, as if he were daft, "She is a very talented young singer. I happen to enjoy her very much," he said, as if he were truly offended. Then he began to hum along to the song. He set his drink aside and got up to start dancing. Arthur nearly snorted beer through his nose as Merlin's clumsy attempt.
"Why can't you see-ee-ee, you belong with mee-ee-ee!" Merlin sang out, only hiccupping twice, before be burst into a fit of giggles and fell back on his bed next to Arthur.
"You are so gay," Arthur laughed, pushing himself up on his elbow to stare down at Merlin.
"Mhm," Merlin agreed, bobbing his head along to the music. "I am gay and I am proud," he announced, staring up at Arthur. "You are gay, too," Merlin stated, tilting his head to the side as he observed Arthur.
Arthur's brows furrowed. "I…don't think I am," Arthur replied quietly, staring a spot just to the left of Merlin's head.
"I think you are," Merlin said matter-of-factly, "When I brought Lance into the room with me after he helped me, you acted jealous and rude and mean. And every time after that, you were rather mean. And when he brought me home drunk, you were awake. Oh yes, I knew. I can always tell by the way you breathe. And you listened to what he had said to me, and you heard what he said to you. And after that you were a lot nicer to Lance."
So Merlin was not only a talkative drunk, but an observant one as well. How had Merlin seen all this before Arthur had? Merlin was frowning now, his brows furrowed. He looked rather upset. "But…I guess that's okay. I mean, if you like Lance, he likes you back. You guys can bond over footie," Merlin sighed, rolling away from Arthur so he didn't have to look at him.
Arthur stared dumbly at the back of his friend's head. Wait? He thought Arthur like Lance? After he had been a prick to Lance? Merlin was talking again, "I used to think it was me you liked, you know. Since you were always a royal prat to me. And I know that is your own special way of showing affection. But then you were an even bigger prat to Lance, and I though, 'Wow, he must really like Lance. He must have been pining for Lance instead of me for a long time.' And when Lance would not kiss me because he liked you, I figured he was pining after you, too. And I was left…pine-less…"
"You have one twisted sense of logic, Merlin," Arthur sighed, reaching out to grab Merlin's shoulder and twist him back towards him. Merlin had tears prickling in the corners of his eyes, and a few were escaping. Arthur frowned and Merlin opened his mouth to reply.
"Shut up, you idiot," Arthur growled, before pushing forwards to claim Merlin's lips. Merlin stiffened for a moment, as if he were afraid, before becoming mushy putty in Arthur's hands. When Merlin began to kiss him back, Arthur balanced himself on his elbow, leaning over the slighter man and running his fingers through his hair.
It was exactly like how he'd imagine kissing Merlin. Merlin was flighty and almost frail feeling, like a bird. Arthur pressed his hand to Merlin's chest and could feel the heart beating quickly and hard against his palm. He moved his hand lower to feel Merlin's 'pudge' in his stomach, and Merlin moaned into the kiss.
Arthur broke the kiss to kiss down Merlin's jaw, then to his neck. Merlin gasped and finally put his hands in motion. They reached up to wrap around Arthur's shoulders and pull him down and closer, arching up into Arthur.
"Ar-Arthur…wanted this…so long," Merlin was gasping, running his hands up and down Arthur's back, up and under his shirt to explored well defined abs.
"God, Merlin. Me too," Arthur growled against Merlin's neck, nipping at the flesh before leaning back, tugging his jersey, and then his undershirt up and over his head. Merlin took the cue from Arthur and sat up as well, quickly divesting himself of the ugly black polo that Arthur hated.
Once shirtless they launched themselves at each other, once more connected in a passionate, sloppy kiss. Arthur was making a mental note that they'd definitely have to thank Lance tomorrow, because if it weren't for him, he probably would have never realized his feelings for Merlin, and they'd never had gotten together. Arthur only wished it had happened sooner.
But soon he was distracted from any thoughts of Lance as Merlin's lips drifted lower and lower, and closed over one rosy nipple, tongue flicking and teasing, making Arthur gasp and whimper, his fingers curling into Merlin hair. Merlin grinned against his chest, then slid off the bed, his lips pulling away from Arthur chest with an audible, wet sounding smack. He was kneeling between Arthur's legs, who sat on the edge of the bed, and eyeing his crotch rather hungrily.
He licked his lips almost comically, then reached up to pull off his football shorts, followed by his smalls, so that his rather obvious erection sprang forth. He let out a low groan when Merlin blew gently on the head. His fingers wound themselves in Merlin's hair once again as one of Merlin's hands snuck up to wrap around the base of his cock.
"Please, Merlin, please," Arthur pleaded as Merlin teased him with feathery light kisses to the underside of his prick. Merlin chuckled, the sound almost dark, before he finally closed his lips around the head, his tongue twirling and twining and tasting and probing and doing everything Arthur wanted it to do.
Merlin stared up at him from under his lashes, his cheeks flushed from arousal and the alcohol. He swallowed a little more of Arthur, letting out a breath moan around the hardness in his mouth. Arthur's moan echoed his, and he felt his head fall back and his eyes flutter. He wanted to watch but couldn't keep his eyes open.
Merlin began to shallowly bob his head up and down along Arthur's length, letting out breath moans and purrs and noises of approval. When Arthur glanced down he noticed that Merlin's other hand was down in his own pants, palming himself. Arthur though he had never seen something so erotic.
He gently prized Merlin's mouth of his prick, and brought the other boy up by his chin to capture him a fiery kiss. There was more they could do, that he wanted to do. While he still had some liquid courage coursing through his vein. Their first big hurdle. Merlin would have to guide him through it.
Merlin, sensing Arthur's trepidation, leaned back from the kiss and smiled sweetly at Arthur, pressing small reassuring kisses to Arthur's neck before standing up and shedding his pants, so they were both as starkers as the days they were born. Arthur sucked in a sharp breath as he took in Merlin, standing in the artificial light of the laptop screen and lamps from outside the window. The odd angles made his hips bones stick out more severely and his thin chest look even thinner. But he could see the telltale sign of a pudge and grinned, reaching out to drag Merlin closer. He pressed a kiss to Merlin's stomach, who giggled before pushing Arthur back on the bed.
Arthur lay back obediently, allowing Merlin to straddle his thighs, their erections just touching. When Merlin bent down to press a kiss to his lips, he rolled his hips forwards, and Arthur gasped at the sensation. Merlin grinned into the kiss and did it again, causing another similar reaction. Merlin kept repeating the action, until Arthur began to thrust up against him.
Merlin adjusted himself so he could wrap his hands around both their erections, and placed the other hand on Arthur's chest to steady himself. He stroked a couple of times experimentally, trying to see which felt best. He had his head thrown back and his lips parted in a pant wantonly, and Arthur's mouth went dry even as he moaned and licked his lips.
Merlin had finally found a steady rhythm that worked for both of them, and used his other hand to reach for Arthur's hand, guiding it to their joined cocks. Arthur began stroking with Merlin, who let out an appreciative groan. He began to rock his hips more wildly, and Arthur could feel his arse tightening against his thighs, and he knew what that meant.
Soon Merlin was shouting and coming all over their joined hands, and Arthur followed quickly, his hips jerking up against Merlin, and jostling him so he fell on top of Arthur, panting heavily against the blonde's neck.
"God, that was so good," Arthur breathed, his arms flopping to his sides and feeling like jelly. Merlin muttered a 'mhm' against his neck. They lay there and caught their breath.
Finally Arthur began chuckling, and Merlin pushed himself up a bit to stare down into Arthur's face, "What's so funny?"
"Who the hell uses words like 'pining' anymore?" Arthur asked, laughing outright now.
"Shut up, prat," Merlin grumbled, dropping back down, half on top of Arthur so he wasn't squishing him anymore.
Arthur just laughed harder at that, and he could feel Merlin smiling into his shoulder.
---Epilogue—Two Months Later---
Arthur and Merlin had taken Lance out as thanks for kick starting their relationship. Now that they were no longer stupidly in the dark, they were pretty much inseparable. They had bought a card for Lance, for lack of knowing what else better to do, and Arthur addressed it 'To: The DHR' and still hadn't told Merlin what it meant. The dinner was kind of awkward, but the awkwardness was broken when Lance's new boyfriend, an older doctor at the internship he had applied for and got rejected from, showed up.
Arthur had no hard feeling towards Lance anymore, and enjoyed having him on the football team. Lance was actually really good, and they were going to regionals soon. Merlin was at every single game to support his friend and boyfriend. Well, except for those days he had to work for Gaius. On those days, Arthur normally got "injured" during the end of the game and had to be taken to the campus clinic.
Their romance was a new thing, and still sort of fragile. They both still had a lot to learn, about relationships and each other. Luckily they were used to living together already, so that was a hurdle they didn't have to jump.
Their sex life was bloody fantastic. It turns out what they say about the quiet studious type is right, they are rather kinky and wild in bed. Arthur was very, very pleased to discover this. Unfortunately, Merlin's wild side extended out of the bedroom, too, and he sold his truck to buy a motorcycle, against Arthur's better judgment.
Luckily, Arthur was given a car for his 22nd birthday by his father and step-sister. And, also luckily, it was before the phone call that he was trying to place.
He lay with his head cradled in Merlin's lap, and Merlin was running his fingers through Arthur's hair, a book titled 'Vernon God Little' propped up in the other hand. There were the quiet, strained sounds of Taylor Swift playing in the background. Arthur was waiting impatiently for the other line to be picked up.
"Yes! Hello, Father," Arthur greeted abruptly, "I'm well, thank you. Yes, he's well…How's Morgana?...That's good…Yes, football is going smashingly, father…Ah, yeah. You see, that's why I called…Ah, no…I mean, 'no, I'm not going into advertising,' father…" Arthur winced and pulled the phone away from his ear. Merlin looked down at him sympathetically, his fingers stilling in Arthur's hair.
"…Well, actually, I was thinking something in the medical field…No, no, nothing like that…I don't think I have the patience to be a surgeon," Merlin snorted at his stupid pun and rolled his eyes, "…No, I was thinking something more like…like nursing…"
"WHAT!? ARTHUR PENDRAGON…" Merlin winced this time, hearing the overly loud reply of his boyfriend's father on the other end, and Arthur covered the speaker with his hand and mouthed 'help me' to Merlin, who just shrugged and replied 'you dug this hole on your own.'
The conversation went on for another half an hour, and of course Merlin was there for moral support. Lance had shown up for a few brief moments during the conversation and offered his condolences and asked when the funeral was. Merlin sniggered and Arthur glared.
When the conversation was over Arthur dropped his phone to the floor as if it bit him. "He's never going to talk to me again," Arthur bemoaned, and Merlin rolled his eyes.
"Quit being so melodramatic," he chastised.
"I don't know, Doc, I feel like I've suffered deeply," Arthur whinged playfully, and Merlin rolled his eyes again.
"And what do you want me to do? I'm going to be a pediatrician, you're a grown man, even though you act like a little prat sometimes," Merlin said, his fingers carding through Arthur's hair again.
"You could kiss it better," Arthur suggested.
Merlin sighed and bent down to press a brief kiss to Arthur's lips.
"It doesn't hurt there," Arthur complained.
"Pervert," Merlin replied.
"Oh, you have such a way with words, my love! No wonder I pine after you so hard!" Arthur swooned, pressing the back of his hand to his forehead.
"Shut up. Love you too."