"Wow! Morgana, do you see him? He's so cute!"
"That guy over there," Arthur said while trying to discreetly point towards the guy in question.
"Wow, you're not kidding."
"I wonder if he's gay?"
"I'll go check!" Mordred yelled as he took off towards the guy.
"No Mordred, please get back here!" Arthur yelled but it was too late. Mordred was already halfway to the guy.
"Hey, are you gay, my uncle wants to know," he said as he pointed to where Arthur and Morgana were sitting.
The cute guy's face and ears turned adorably red as he looked in the direction Mordred had pointed.
A pretty girl with dark curly hair rushed over from the counter when she heard Mordred's question and said, "yes, he's gay."
Mordred went running back over to them, "he's gay Uncle Arthur."
"I can't believe you just did that," Arthur said as he looked at Mordred before he turned to Morgana and said, "I can't believe you let him do that."
Morgana laughed and leaned over to whisper something in her son's ear and then, all of a sudden, he took off running back towards the cute guy.
"Hey, my uncle wants to know if you're single," and he once again pointed to Arthur who was absolutely mortified.
"Yes, he most certainly is," the dark haired girl once again answered for him with a smile. The cute guy turned to the girl and gave her an 'I can't believe you just did that look' before he put his head down and shook it.
If Arthur thought he was mortified before, it didn't even compare to how he felt after Mordred turned and yelled, while still standing by the guy, "hey Uncle Arthur, he's single!"
"I hate you, I really do," Arthur said to Morgana as his face turned scarlet from embarrassment.
"Oh now, don't be like that. You know you would've never had the nerve to go over there and ask him yourself."
"That's not the point and you know it. Now, even if I wanted to, I couldn't go over there and talk to him. He probably thinks I'm a total loser for sending a kid over to ask him those questions."
"Mordred, come on honey, it's time to go," Morgana called to her son who was still on the other side of the nearly empty coffee shop. When he came over to her, she again bent down and whispered something in his ear which was followed by him dashing back over to the cute guy for the third time.
Arthur, upon seeing Mordred running over to the cute guy yet again, quickly stood up and rushed out the door before he heard Mordred tell his mum, "his name's Merlin."
Once they were back at Morgana's, she asked him, "so, do you want to know what his name is?"
"What, you know it?"
"That's what Mordred ran over for."
"Oh well, it doesn't really matter, I'll probably never see him again."
"I wouldn't be so sure of that," she said as she smiled back at him.
"What's with the smile? Do you know something and aren't telling me?"
"Well, dear little brother, I do recall seeing him at Camelot Coffee a few weeks ago when Leon and I were there. He was with a group of five or six others, I think."
"Well, there's no way I could ever face him after today," he said as he glared at her.
"Why not? I'm sure he was flattered." Then to try to get him to stop glaring, she added, "in case you're interested, his name is Merlin."
Arthur smiled then. "I think it suits him."
"Yeah, me too. Now am I forgiven?"
"Not by a long shot. I'll talk to you later. Bye Morgs, give Mordred a hug for me."
"Will do," and she shut the door as Arthur walked back to his car and headed to his own place.
The following week, Arthur stopped by the coffee shop every morning before work hoping he'd see Merlin, but he never did. So the week after that, he stopped by the coffee shop every evening after work but still had no luck in spotting him.
By that Friday, Arthur was really discouraged. He'd had a terrible day and no plans for the weekend and was hoping he'd see Merlin because he knew that would cheer him up.
As he walked in, he did what he had done every day for the past two weeks, he looked around at all the tables before he stepped up to order a coffee and bagel sandwich.
While he was waiting on his order, the bell above the door chimed and he instantly turned, in hopes of seeing Merlin walking through the door. No such luck.
As the girl who took his order, Freya, according to her name tag, handed him his coffee and sandwich she asked him, "are you looking for someone?"
"Um, yeah, I guess."
"Maybe I can help you. I know all the regulars," she said giving him a friendly smile.
"I'm looking for this guy named Merlin. I saw him in here a few weeks ago."
"I know Merlin. He's a real sweetie. You should come back tomorrow afternoon, he'll probably be here."
"Great, thank you so much."
"You're welcome. Have a nice evening."
"I will, you too." He then walked out into the chilly October evening feeling both excited and extremely nervous about the prospect of seeing Merlin tomorrow.
"Hey Morgs, want to grab a coffee with me tomorrow? I'll buy and even let you order a muffin," Arthur said into the phone.
"Let me guess, you're hoping to see Merlin, aren't you?"
"Maybe. There's just something about him. I haven't been able to get him off my mind."
"Baby brother, I think you may be suffering from love at first sight."
"Don't be ridiculous. I'm not in love with the guy, I just find him incredibly attractive."
"Okay, whatever you say. Leon and Mordred have a scout meeting tomorrow so, as luck would have it, I'm free. Just pick me up around 1:00."
"Alright, thanks Morgana, I'll see you tomorrow."
Arthur showed up at Morgana's just after noon. He would have been there earlier but he had a terrible time trying to decide what to wear. He even brought a few different shirts he could try if Morgana didn't like what he had on.
"Hey Uncle Arthur. I've got a scout meeting and Daddy's going to teach us how to tie different kinds of knots," Mordred rushed out.
"Hey there Arthur, how's it going?" Leon asked as he walked into the room.
"Great, how's everything with you?"
"I can't complain. So I hear there's a cute guy you're hoping to see today," Leon said with a grin on his face.
"Morgana!" Arthur yelled horrified that she had told Leon, even though he was her husband.
Morgana walked into the room, "oh settle down Arthur. It's not like Leon is going to tell anyone. You look really good. How long did it take you to figure out what to wear?"
"Not long," he said but he knew his flushed face gave him away.
"Well, we're off. See you both this evening and have fun," she said before giving Leon a kiss and squeezing Mordred tight.
"You too," Leon said.
As they were walking out the door, Arthur heard Mordred yell, "good luck Uncle Arthur."
Arthur turned to look at Morgana and just shook his head.
The coffee house was fairly busy when Arthur and Morgana arrived. Once they found a table, Arthur walked over to the counter to place their order. He tried to discreetly look around to see if Merlin was there but he didn't spot him.
Freya was once again there to take his order. She looked at him as she grinned and said, "he hasn't come in yet, but don't worry, he'll show up."
"Don't you ever get a day off," he asked her, trying to ignore what she'd said.
"Nope, I own the place so I'm always here."
"Yeah, I've noticed," he said and grinned back at her.
About thirty minutes later, after Arthur and Morgana had already finished their muffins and were each on their second cup of coffee, the bell over the door chimed. Morgana was seated facing the door and when she broke out in a smile, Arthur knew Merlin had arrived.
Arthur tried being coy as he snuck a peak over his shoulder to see Merlin. It just happened that at the same moment, Merlin had looked over and their eyes met. Arthur noticed how Merlin gave him a shy smile as his face and ears started to redden and he bowed his head.
He was just as adorable as Arthur remembered him being. When he'd seen him before, Merlin had been sitting down. Now, standing there, Arthur saw how tall and lean he was. He had a narrow waist and nice broad shoulders.
He was with the same girl as before but this time there was also a handsome bloke with them. Arthur's heart sank a little thinking maybe that bloke could be his boyfriend now. After all, it'd been over two weeks ago since Mordred yelled out that Merlin was single. Just thinking about that day still caused him to cringe.
It was like Morgana could read his mind because she said, "oh stop it, I'm sure they're just friends."
Arthur continued to watch as Merlin and the girl went and sat down while the guy placed their orders with Freya. It was obvious they were regulars because Freya greeted them all with a big smile and addressed them by name, Lance and Gwen.
About five minutes after they had arrived, the dark haired girl, Gwen, got up to go to the bathroom. A minute later Morgana got up without saying a word to Arthur. He had seen Gwen head towards the bathroom so when Morgana stood and headed in the same direction, he panicked. "Morgana, wait, what do you think you're doing? Get back here."
She ignored him, of course, and went into the restroom with Gwen. Once inside, Morgana introduced herself. Gwen smiled and said, "hi, I'm Gwen. I remember you from a few weeks ago. Was it your son that asked about Merlin?"
"Yes, that was Mordred."
"He's so cute."
"Thank you. Can I ask you something?"
"Sure, go ahead."
"Well, my brother, Arthur, is quite attracted to Merlin. Is he single?"
"Yeah, he is, but he's really shy."
"I guess I should tell you Merlin is mute." Morgana's surprise must have been obvious because Gwen told her, "it's okay, he has been since birth. Merlin has been hurt a lot by people turning their backs on him once they find out, so you can tell your brother. If he won't be able to handle that, it'd be best if he just not even bother."
"Actually, I'm pretty sure he'll be okay with that."
The two continued talking for a few more minutes. They really got along great, like they'd known each other for years. Before they left, they exchanged numbers and made plans to get together sometime next week.
Morgana returned to their table and told Arthur she was ready to leave so he stood up and followed her outside. "What was that all about?" he wanted to know.
"We'll talk about it once we get back to my place."
Morgana lived rather close by so they were there within minutes.
"Okay, what's going on?" Arthur demanded once they were seated in her living room.
"Well, I talked to Gwen, Merlin's friend. She is so nice, we're going to meet up sometime next week..."
"Morgana!" Arthur said harshly to get her back on track.
"Oh yes, sorry. I found out from her that Merlin is mute," she said with a sadness in her voice.
"Oh, what exactly does that mean?" He knew what it meant to be mute but he was just trying to figure out how to deal with this shocking news.
"Gwen said that Merlin uses sign language to communicate. Her and all his other friends can read sign."
"Well, okay, I didn't see that one coming, but that's okay, I can learn sign language too."
"Wow, you really have it bad for him don't you?" she said with a smile.
"Yeah Morgs, I do."
Arthur had to go out of town unexpectedly for work a few days later so he hadn't had a chance to figure out how he was going to go about getting a date with Merlin.
When he returned at the end of the week, Morgana walked into his office. "We need to talk about Merlin."
"What is it?" he asked her concerned.
"Look, Gwen and I went out to lunch a couple of times this week. Anyway, she said that Merlin is extremely shy and quite tentative about going out with anyone."
"So are you trying to tell me I should give up..."
"No, just listen to me. Merlin never had a boyfriend until his third year of uni. Gwen and him grew up together. She said people always avoided him because of him being mute. Then in uni, this guy Cendred, started paying attention to him and asked him out. They went out for a few weeks until," Morgana became very quiet and put her head down for a minute.
"What Morgana, until what?" He was afraid of what she might say.
"Cendred was only using Merlin. Merlin overheard him one day telling his friends that it was going to be so much fun making him cry and silently scream out in pain but not being able to yell out for help."
Arthur went instantly pale. The thought of someone wanting to do something like that to Merlin made him sick. Even though he didn't know Merlin, he knew that he wanted to protect him always and keep him safe.
Morgana saw the anger on Arthur's face and the tears that threatened to fall from his eyes and said, "listen Arthur, if you are really interested in Merlin," and here Arthur just gave her a look, "okay, sorry, I know you're really interested in him, but you're going to have to take it slow and be patient with him. He's never dated anyone else."
"I am more than willing to take it slow. I think he's going to be worth it."
"I can't believe it, my little brother is in love," she gushed.
"Oh just shut it. Now I have work to do so if you'll please leave my office..."
"Okay, but one more thing. Gwen and Lance are having a cook-out in the park tomorrow. It's not going to be very big but Leon and I are invited and she asked me to bring you along too so you and Merlin could actually meet, that is, if you're interested."
"Haha, very funny. What time?"
"She said around 2:00. Why don't you come over to our place and then you can go with Leon and me."
"What about Mordred?"
"He's going to be spending the day with Uther."
"Okay. Hey Morgana, thanks," he said sincerely.
"You are quite welcome. See you tomorrow. Now get back to work," she said as she walked out of his office.
Saturday, Arthur arrived at Morgana's just after 1:00 a nervous wreck.
"Take a deep breath and just relax Arthur. Everything's going to be fine," Morgana tried to reassure him.
"But how am I supposed to talk to him?"
"Just talk to him like you'd talk to anyone else. Remember, he's not deaf. Gwen told me that Merlin uses his phone to type out what he wants to say to people who don't read sign, so everything's going to be fine."
Less than an hour later, Morgana, Leon and Arthur were at the park walking towards Gwen, who rushed over and hugged Morgana.
"Gwen, I'd like to introduce you to Leon, my husband, and this is Arthur," she said.
After she greeted them both, she led them over to the rest of the people gathered there. She introduced them to Lance, her fiance, Percy and his girlfriend Mithian, Gwaine and his girlfriend Elena and last of all Merlin.
They were all very friendly and made them feel welcome. Before Arthur had a chance to go talk to Merlin, Gwaine put him in a neck hold and said, "come on Merlin, we're going to go play some frisbee." He then yelled for Lance and Percy to join them. Before they walked away, Gwaine turned to Leon and Arthur, "come on you two, want to join us?"
"Maybe in a little while," Arthur said.
Leon declined because he'd been having problems with his shoulder ever since he fell in a friendly game of rugby.
Arthur tried to watch as the four men threw the frisbee around but he couldn't tear his eyes away from Merlin. He looked so happy and carefree, smiling and laughing silently.
Arthur couldn't help but notice that Merlin's jeans slipped lower on his hips with every throw and catch he made until he'd finally pull them up a little. He also noticed the well defined muscles in his back and arms. He almost fell over when Merlin pulled the bottom of his shirt up to wipe the sweat off his face thus exposing his stomach. Arthur took a big gulp as he stared.
Merlin had a nice flat stomach that had fine dark hair leading from his navel downward. His jeans hung low on his hips exposing the waistband and the top part of his boxer briefs, which caused Arthur to laugh.
A few minutes later, Lance ran over to him and said, "I need a break plus I have to start the grill. Why don't you go play?"
Arthur said, "okay, thanks," and walked over to where the other three were. He had more fun than he'd had in a long time.
Finally, Gwen called everyone over when Lance was finished with grilling the hotdogs and hamburgers.
Arthur hung back with Merlin as they walked over to the others. He was in a panic trying to think of something to say so he finally spit out, "I like your boxers."
This caused Merlin to blush before he gave Arthur a questioning look.
"Your boxers, I saw them when you were playing frisbee."
Merlin pulled up his shirt so he could see what Arthur was referring too. As soon as he saw the smiley face boxers he was wearing, his face and ears turned even redder.
"They're really cute, like you," he added.
Merlin signed something Arthur assumed meant 'thank you.'
They got their food and drinks and Merlin went and sat down on one of the many blankets Gwen had spread out for the group. Arthur nervously walked over to him and said, "can I join you?" When Merlin nodded, Arthur thanked him and sat down.
Arthur talked to Merlin, making sure to ask him questions he could answer with a yes or no until they were both finished eating and Merlin had his hands free to type if he wanted to.
"what do you do?" Merlin typed into his phone and showed Arthur.
"I work for my father's real estate development company."
"do you like it?" Merlin again typed.
"Yeah, I do. I guess I always just grew up knowing that's what I'd do when I grew up. How about you, what do you do?"
Merlin typed, "i work as an editor at a publishing house."
"Do you like it?" Arthur grinned as he asked him.
"yeah i do. i always wanted to write a novel but i guess i settled for reading them instead."
"no one would be interested in what i have to say," he typed and showed it to arthur with downturned lips.
"I'd be interested," Arthur told him with such sincerity it made Merlin blush.
They continued talking this way while Gwen and Morgana watched them and just smiled knowing they were witnessing the start of something life changing for each boy.
Before the group broke up for the afternoon, Arthur asked Merlin for his number which he gave him without any hesitation at all.
As Merlin started to walk away, Arthur yelled for him to wait and ran up to him. "Will you go out to dinner with me sometime?"
Merlin blushed and nodded his head.
"Great! I'll text you. Bye Merlin, see you soon." He turned around and walked back over to Leon and Morgana, who were unable to hide the smiles on their faces.
"I do believe our Arthur is in love," Morgana said to Leon trying to tease Arthur.
Arthur just smiled at her and said, "yes, I think you're right."
Arthur texted Merlin that night and they continued texting throughout the week. They made plans to go to a movie and then dinner on Saturday.
Arthur offered to pick Merlin up but Merlin insisted he'd take the tube. Arthur already felt so protective of Merlin, he didn't like the idea but agreed nonetheless.
Arthur was worried sick when Merlin finally showed up twenty minutes late. As soon as he saw Merlin he instantly questioned him, "are you okay? Did something happen?"
Merlin just smiled and shook his head before he pulled out his phone and typed, "sorry i'm late. i was helping a lady catch her dog."
Arthur read it, looked at him and grinned. "Well, how could I be upset with you over that." He couldn't help himself as he reached out and grabbed Merlin's hand and held onto it as they went into the theatre to watch a movie.
After the movie, throughout which Arthur kept ahold of Merlin's hand, Arthur asked him if he had any preference about dinner. When Merlin shook his head no, Arthur asked if Chinese would be okay. Merlin nodded so Arthur once again took his hand and they walked the three blocks to the restaurant.
After they were done eating Arthur insisted he drive Merlin home which Merlin allowed.
Once they were standing outside Merlin's door, Arthur told him, "I had a really nice time. Can I see you again."
Merlin smiled at him and nodded his head.
Arthur looked him in the eyes as he asked, "can I kiss you now?"
Merlin's cheeks turned pink as he nodded again.
Arthur brought his hands up to cradle Merlin's face as he leaned in and gave him a sweet kiss. He pulled back a few short seconds later and as he gently brushed his thumbs over Merlin's cheekbones he said, "Merlin, I'm falling for you." He then leaned back into Merlin and gave him another kiss.
He wanted to keep kissing him but he remembered what Morgana told him about taking it slow with Merlin and the last thing he wanted to do was scare him away or make him feel pressured so he reluctantly pulled back. "I'd better get going. I'll see you soon."
When Merlin smiled and nodded Arthur just had to lean back in and kiss that gorgeous mouth one last time before he said, "I'll text you."
He waited until Merlin was safely in his flat before he turned and walked away feeling happier than he's ever felt in his life.
Arthur texted him once he got home. He asked him if he had plans for tomorrow. When Merlin texted back that he was going to visit his mum, Arthur's heart sank in disappointment. They made plans to go on another date next Saturday.
Things were going great with Arthur and Merlin. They'd been dating nearly two months. Arthur had secretly hired a tutor to teach him sign language so it was getting easier for them to carry on a conversation.
By learning to read signs, he hoped to show Merlin how much he meant to him and how serious he was about their relationship.
Arthur, Morgana and Leon along with Merlin and his friends Gwen, Lance, Gwaine, Elena, Percy and Mithian soon became one happy group. Merlin's friends were all thrilled to see that the three new additions to their group were all learning sign language.
"He deserves to be happy and you obviously make him happy so thank you," Elena told Arthur one evening while they were all gathered at the pub.
Merlin left to go use the loo when some guy stopped him by grabbing his arm. Merlin tried to pull away but the guy, who was much larger than Merlin, pulled him closer. All of a sudden the guy let go of Merlin and was looking at a very angry Arthur.
"Don't you ever touch him again," Arthur growled as he led Merlin into the loo. "Are you okay? Did he hurt you?"
Merlin shook his head and signed "thank you" to Arthur.
"You're welcome," he told him as he pulled him in for a hug and sweet kiss.
Unbeknownst to Arthur, everyone at their table had witnessed what he had done for Merlin and knew Merlin was safe and in good hands.
Arthur and Merlin had been dating for five months. They were at Arthur's flat where he was cooking them dinner. After they ate and cleaned up, they went into the living room to watch a movie. Arthur was sitting leaning against the arm of the sofa while Merlin was sitting between his legs with his back against Arthur's chest and his head resting on Arthur's shoulder.
Arthur thought Merlin had drifted off as he rubbed his nose in Merlin's hair giving him kisses and whispered, "I love you so much."
Merlin instantly tensed up,meaning he hadn't been asleep after all.
As Merlin leaned up off Arthur, he put his head down. "Merlin what is it?"
Merlin loved Arthur but he had trouble believing anyone, especially someone like Arthur, would or could ever love him. After all, he was just the mute guy that most people avoided so how could it be possible Arthur would love him.
"I just remembered there was something I had to do," he signed as he stood and rushed to the door. By now, Arthur was much better at reading Merlin's signs so he knew he was saying that as a way to make his escape.
Arthur was devastated but still managed to ask Merlin to please take a taxi home and not the tube.
Merlin nodded and walked out the door.
Arthur fell back on the sofa and let the tears fall. What had just happened? He told Merlin he loved him and Merlin took off. Maybe he had it wrong, maybe Merlin wasn't as serious about him as he was about Merlin or maybe Merlin wasn't interested in any kind of long term relationship.
He texted Merlin half an hour later to make sure he made it home safely.
"yes," was all he got back.
Arthur drug himself to bed feeling hurt, lost and confused. He finally fell into a restless sleep several hours later.
The next day, Arthur didn't text Merlin because he didn't want to feel like he was pressuring him. He thought it'd be best if he just gave Merlin some time to think about things before he texted him again.
Around 8:00 that evening, his doorbell rang. Arthur opened it to see Merlin standing there holding poster boards.
He looked directly at Arthur as he dropped the first poster board that was blank to reveal one with writing. It read:
"I'm sorry I ran away like that."
He then dropped that one to reveal the next:
"I guess I just got scared."
That was followed by:
"I don't think I love you."
Arthur put his head down and tried to fight the tears when he read that. He heard Merlin stomp his foot on the floor so he looked back up.
Merlin waved the sign in from of him again:
"I don't think I love you."
"Okay, I get it Merlin," Arthur said aggravated that Merlin wanted to point that out again.
Merlin just shook his head and dropped that sign to reveal the next which said:
"I KNOW I love you"
Arthur was shocked and looked him in the eyes and saw the love there but before he could say anything, Merlin dropped that sign and showed him the last one:
"You can kiss me now"
Merlin then dropped his sign and Arthur didn't hesitate as he stepped forward and wrapped Merlin in his arms before he kissed him passionately.
Arthur pulled away and led Merlin inside. He then told him, "Merlin, I love you so much. Please don't ever doubt that."
Merlin signed, "I'm so sorry. It's just hard for me to believe that someone like you could ever love me."
Arthur was able to read every word. "Well you better believe it cause that's never going to change." He then pulled Merlin back in and crushed their lips together and kissed him longingly.
Arthur and Merlin took it slow. When they finally spent their first night together it was magical. It was Merlin's first time and Arthur wished, more than anything, that he'd saved himself for Merlin. He couldn't change that now but he knew he'd never be with anyone else ever again because Merlin was it for him.
A year to the day since Arthur saw Merlin for the first time, he took him to the coffee shop where they met Gwen who was already sitting at the exact table they were at that fateful day.
Merlin didn't notice when Morgana and Mordred entered and went and sat at the same exact table they'd been at. Leon, Lance, Percy, Elena, Gwaine and Mithian were all in the back behind the counter peeking out every so often.
Arthur stood up and excused himself. He told Merlin he was going to the loo but Gwen already knew his plans.
Less than a minute after Arthur left, Mordred came over and said, "hey Merlin, will you marry him, my Uncle Arthur wants to know," and he pointed over towards Arthur.
Merlin was shocked. He looked at Mordred for a minute before he followed where he was pointing and saw Arthur sitting at a table across the coffee shop. When Merlin looked over at him, Arthur stood up and then got down on one knee and was holding a small box.
Merlin nodded and Gwen quickly added yes.
"Hey Uncle Arthur, he said yes," Mordred yelled across from where he was still standing by Merlin.
Arthur rushed over to Merlin as Morgana and Gwen got up from their tables and the rest of their friends came running out from behind the counter to congratulate the happy couple.
Arthur and Merlin were so lost in each other that it took them a while to notice that they'd been surrounded by their friends. Neither had ever been so happy and knew that as long as they had each other, they'd always be happy.