AN: Hullo! Kat here, this is a little AU future oneshot linked in to my fic 'Coincidences', though I think it can be read independently- there are bits that anyone whose read Coincidences will find...significant. Anyhoo- lots of Arwen and Mergana here, and what happens when my two fave couples decide to try and chill out at a diner...
Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin, but I do own all my own original characters and ideas, so please don't steal. Cheers!
Ok, they're all about seventeen, all already couples, and the CLP is the 'Chinese Liberation Party', a fictional communist party I've constructed...And I think that's all you need to know.
This switches between Arthur and Gwen and Merlin and Morgana, just in case you're not sure.
"Are you absolutely certain I'm going to like this..surprise?" Arthur asked, half nervous, scowling to try and hide his terror as he looked at his all-too-innocent girlfriend.
Gwen tilted her head to one side, smiling in that half laughing, all loving way only she could, chocolate eyes wide with deceptive innocence. "Come on Arthur, don't you trust me?"
She sounded so earnest that he was momentarily caught off guard and answered without thinking. "Of course."
Beaming, Gwen took his hand, "that's that then, now come on, I'll make you some cookies."
A little confused, Arthur allowed himself to be tugged out of his bedroom, ignoring the sinking feeling in his stomach. After all, Gwen was making him cookies. Cookies fixed everything.
Or so he thought.
"And you're definitely not going to tell me what this surprise is?"
"To be honest, I'm surprised you've not already Seen it love." Merlin replied, a slight grin turning up the corners of his mouth.
Morgana raised her eyebrows, a smile making it's way onto her lips. "Really? Is this surprise…exciting?"
"Not sure that's the word you'll use," Merlin chuckled, then tilted his head to the side, "why, what have you Seen?"
Eyes flashing mischievously, Morgana tapped her nose. "Uh-uh, not telling, you'll have to try and figure it out."
Merlin stepped forward, gently resting a hand on her forearm and running it up to her shoulder, carefully cupping the back of her neck, moving his head towards hers and brushing her nose with his, glancing up to meet her eyes. "Can I hazard a guess?"
"You can try," she replied, a little breathless, eyes wide. Merlin's grin widened and he ran his hand through her hair, pressing a kiss to her jaw, then her cheek, then her nose, pausing for just a second to rest his forehead on hers, grinning into her eyes.
Dinah's diner was not exactly the classiest establishment Arthur had ever been to- with plastic coated seats and obnoxiously bright red and yellow checks all over the place. Bad American music was blaring from once white speakers now coated with grime. Girls with overtly gelled hair clumped around in pink military boots and white mini-skirts and the place was half empty. Strip lights glared down from above, far too bright for his liking, and the floor to ceiling windows along one wall gave a charming view of an empty road full of potholes. If he was honest, Arthur wouldn't have even believed he was still in Ryderton if he'd not had unequivocal proof. It was as if he'd just stepped into another, cheaper, tackier world.
"So, what do you think?" Gwen sounded so excited he couldn't bear to burst her bubble, so instead Arthur grit his teeth.
"It's…quaint. In a- ah- charming way, of course."
Gwen rolled her eyes, lightly punching his arm. "I know it's not exactly what you're used to, but it's quiet" (that was one word for it, there were about five customers) "and the food is pretty good."
Arthur nodded, trying hard to accept her words without comment. Gwen, seeing his struggle, gently laced her fingers through his and squeezed his hand, he looked down at her and for a moment she was sincere. "Come on, try, for me?"
Letting out a deep, heartfelt sigh, Arthur nodded. "Alright, I'm sorry…you're right, I guess it's just a bit…different."
At that Gwen beamed, revealing small, pearly white teeth and making her eyes gleam beautifully. Arthur was still a little concerned that all this girl had to do was smile to take his breath away, and as she gently towed him to a booth in the corner, he was a little dazed- and not just by the lights.
"Ok, I admit, when we first came in I was looking for the exit- but this shake is incredible, and I've never had chips this good."
Merlin laughed. "I knew you'd like it."
Morgana smiled back affectionately, offering him a chip which he took from her hand. "And you were right. You're just full of surprises, aren't you?"
"Would you like me any other way?" He shot back, softening it with a light hearted smile.
She pretended to consider, tilting her head to the side so that her hair fell down over her shoulder in ebony ringlets. "mmm, probably not, if I'm honest."
Merlin pretended to look affronted. "Well thanks, good to know our relationship is skin deep."
Morgana giggled, leaning over to kiss him on the cheek. "You know that's not true."
Smiling he moved so that his lips were barely a centimeter from hers, breath ghosting over her skin. "I hope so." She paused, gazing into his eyes, questioning, but he just smiled and pressed closer-"though physicality has its benefits…" Their skin met and she forgot everything except for the feel of him, and how she wasn't prepared to ever let it go.
When they got to the booth, Merlin and Morgana were all over each other. Quite literally- they were a mess of pale slender limbs, dark hair and flashes of blue eyes.
Abandoned stood two milkshakes- one strawberry and one chocolate, and a bowl of chips. Arthur felt a little sick, and was fairly sure he was going green. Gwen, on the other hand, was cooing. Cooing. What had the world come to?
Finally, Morgana pulled back for air and glanced up to see Gwen and Arthur- eyes going wide and flushing pink. "Ah-Mer, we have company…?"
Merlin, hair mussed and eyes a little glazed, turned to see the couple at the end of their table and waved at Gwen. "Hey, you're a little late."
At which Arthur and Morgana both turned to their respective partners in horrified shock. "You knew?"
Oblivious, Gwen and Merlin smiled as Gwen shuffled onto the red plastic couch next to Morgana after ushering Arthur next to his friend. "Well, I told you I had a surprise." Gwen chirped, utterly unperturbed by the Pendragon siblings' mounting terror.
"And this is it. Gwen thought you'd like it." Merlin added, looking a little guilty as he realized how utterly shocked Morgana was.
Gwen jumped in to help, turning to her best friend. "Come on, it's a double date! I mean, that's just so cool! And so-so normal!"
"And lets be honest, it's not often we get to act like normal couples." Merlin added, taking Morgana's hand and rubbing the back with his thumb. Slowly, Morgana began to relax, though Arthur's mouth was still hanging open in blatant horror.
Having sorted one sibling, Gwen raised her eyebrows and nodded not-so-subtly at Arthur. Merlin rolled his eyes and turned to the blonde, who slowly turned his head away from his girlfriend and his sister.
"Don't-call-me that." Arthur sounded choked and Merlin tried hard not to laugh. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Morgana shaking with silent amusement, having gotten over her initial shock.
"Fine, Arthur- we spend 95% of our time risking our lives, getting into dangerous situations, fighting political battles and trying to sneak some alone time in Gaius' house. It isn't healthy- Gwen suggested coming here, there's barely anyone around, and I for one would like to have just one afternoon where we acted like normal teenagers."
"But we're not normal teenagers!" Arthur half shouted, going red with suppressed emotion. The few people in the diner looked up and Gwen blushed, which made Arthur look at least a little guilty-as if that wasn't enough, Merlin and Morgana treated him to twin blue reproachful glares. Cowering under the magicians' gazes, Arthur protested in a hoarse whisper.
"But we're not! I mean, if Morgana's dreams weren't enough, Mer- you're not exactly normal are you? And you've seen Lance and I with a sword- and Gwaine for that matter-"
Gwen's soft hand on his mouth immediately shut him up and Merlin gave her an awkwardly grateful smile. "Wonderful as it is that now we all understand each other, the walls have ears."
As if to emphasise his point, suddenly Merlin glanced up and flashed from dark, serious, dangerous individual to goofy smiling teenager with oversize ears. "Hi there, could you get my friend a vanilla milkshake and a chocolate one for his girlfriend, and could we have another portion of fries to share? Cheers."
The girl who'd come to take their order had barely got her notebook out by the time he'd finished, and stood there for a few moments hastily scribbling it down until Morgana raised her eyebrows and said a very pointed, "thankyou," at which she jumped and hurried back to the safety of the kitchens.
"Look, I realize that this is…different for you Arthur, but it would mean a lot to Gwen and I, and I think to Morgana as well, if you'd just give this a chance, ok?"
"Since when did you become Mr. Emotional?" Arthur grumbled sulkily, which they all saw as his way of conceding defeat: for now at least.
Merlin beamed. "Lets be honest, I've always been less repressed than you."
"I am not repressed!"
"Sure you're not Arthur, sure you're not." Morgana said, smiling to gentle her sarcasm. Gwen giggled and Arthur raised his hands in the air.
"Will I ever get any peace from you two?"
There was a beat of silence, and then Merlin and Morgana answered simultaneously.
Two and a half hours, ten milkshakes and four bowls of chips later the diner was nearly empty (well, emptier) and all four of them were flushed and breathless with laughter.
Merlin, giggling uncontrollably, tried to end his story. "And-and then, he said, "S-so it's not Sue then?' and she…she…she shoved her icecream into his face."
Gwen, breathless, asked, eyes wide, "so what did he do next?"
"He licked it and said she could have bloody well bought chocolate."
Gwen and Morgana shrieked with laughter and Arthur laughed so hard his shoulders shook. After a few moments they fell silent, smiles lingering on their aching cheeks, the respective couples' hands linked. Pushing up the sleeve of his navy top, Merlin checked the time. "I think we're going to have to get going, you know how Butler gets…"
Morgana's shoulders sagged and Gwen whined mournfully, "do we have to?"
Seeing that Arthur was close to breaking point as Gwen turned her puppy dog eyes and pout duo on him, Merlin hastily stepped in. "Yes, also, this diner's getting round to closing- in fact the sign on the door says it shuts right now- I think they're just being polite."
"Either that or they're scared of Morgana," muttered Arthur, glancing at the girls slouched against the counter and on the barstools waiting for them to leave.
Morgana rolled her eyes. "Just because you are little brother."
"Little brother? Morgana, I'm 33 minutes younger than you!"
"And years behind in maturity." She responded coolly. Gwen gasped, though it was more in amusement than shock, and Arthur turned his red face to Merlin, who just shrugged.
"To be honest, you were asking for that one."
Arthur's face fell. "Some best friend you are."
Instantly Gwen was all sympathy. "Alright you two, leave him alone, Mer- Arthur can be just as much of a man as you can and both of you can act like five year olds, there's no need to tease him."
Raising an eyebrow, Arthur looked like he couldn't decide whether to be grateful or affronted, but when Gwen had that tone it wasn't worth contesting. With a sigh, Merlin clapped a hand on his shoulder- Arthur had had to get used to his use of physical contact- the warlock was hardly touchy-feely but sometimes they all needed to come back to Earth, and it was something Arthur still struggled to accept.
"Sorry Arthur, you know we all respect you- truly."
There was a second of honest silence as Arthur looked into his friend's light eyes, and then his sister's fiery blue-green, before finally turning to Guinevere, who just shrugged and smiled, radiant. "You're our once and future king."
Arthur paused for a moment, taking in the incredible loyalty of the three people around him and saving the memory in the back of his mind for whenever he needed strength. Then he coughed awkwardly and stood, letting Merlin shuffle out. Gwen did the same for Morgana before walking over and slipping her arm around his waist, leaning against him. Almost instinctively he draped his arm over her shoulders, pulling her small, warm body closer to his.
A quick glance back showed him Morgana and Merlin- Morgana in a pristine white blouse, dark jeans and black boots and Merlin in a dark jumper and scruffy jeans, their arms entwined, leaning against one another almost as if for support. He had to admit, right then, as Merlin murmured something and Morgana glanced up to meet his eyes, smiling affectionately, they were pretty damn adorable. And he was more than a little grateful that that particular errant thought was well hidden in the confusion of his mind.
Digging into his back pocket, he pulled out his wallet, flipping it open and glancing at the menu and detritus on the table before dropping forty pounds on it- it covered their expenses and left a bit of a tip for the wait- Merlin frowned at him, and Arthur was familiar enough with the expression to know he was annoyed that Arthur was paying for him again-that he could manage by himself. Arthur shrugged.
"I owe you for the decent company."
The raven-haired boy's black eyebrows leapt and a hint of a grin touched the corner of his mouth. "You mean that?"
Arthur snorted. Of course I do. "Don't be ridiculous Merlin. Oh, and if we're late, I'm telling Butler it was your fault."
Merlin's 'WHAT?' was accompanied by the girls' disapproving chorus of 'Arthur!' as they walked out of the diner and one of the pink booted, peroxide blonde girls flipped the sign to 'closed' behind them.
They turned onto the concrete path, skirting a few of the worse looking potholes, walking together, laughing as the sun sank lower in the sky, burning a gentle pink. Above them, from a window of one of the row of semi-detached houses, a left over 's cross with a chinese moon and stars emblazoned over it- the CLP's flag- hung forlornly in the wind. It was two weeks since they'd won the election.
They could pretend, but life would never be the same again. Except for moments like this- moments of sunlight, milkshakes and laughter. Dinah's diner. What was left to them of normalcy.
Awww gotta love them- they just keep going, friendship and love and loyalty and hope living on regardless, just being the way they are.
Hope you liked it, thankyou for reading, and please do take the time to leave a comment- your opinion is greatly appreaciated.