“Hello, Merlin,” Gwaine said, brushing past him and already making himself at home by opening his fridge.
“I thought you were going out with Lancelot today,” Merlin said as he shut the door of his flat.
“He told me he couldn’t he couldn’t make it because Gwen was sick and he was going to take care of her,” he said, rolling his eyes as he bit into an apple.
Merlin smiled. “Oh come on, it is sweet.”
“It is just a cold, Merlin. She doesn’t need babysitting. But you know how Lance is,” Gwaine said. “So, I guess I am stuck with you for the day.”
“Gwaine, I am really not in the mood-”
"I'm not going to have you sitting here wallowing in self-pity all day," Gwaine stated. "Get dressed. We are going out."
"I'm not wallowing in self-pity," Merlin protested but couldn’t stop from Gwaine from dragging him to the bedroom.
They had talked on the phone a few hours ago, and Merlin had said that Arthur, his new roommate and the one Merlin had the fortune to have a crush on, was going on a date. He was starting to regret ever mentioning it as he watched Gwaine rummaging through his wardrobe.
“Please don’t tell me you actually wear this, Merlin,” Gwaine said, holding one of his old red sweaters.
“What’s wrong with it? It was a Christmas gift.”
Gwaine sighed like he was in great pain, and put the sweater back in the wardrobe. “There has to be something here for you to wear,” he muttered as he continued to mess with Merlin’s perfectly ordered clothes.
“Remind me again, why are you here?” Merlin asked, groaning internally at how long it is going to take him to put everything back to its place.
“To cheer you up, my duty as your best friend.”
“I can’t believe you talked me into it,” Merlin slurred as he stumbled along.
“I can’t believe you drank so much,” Gwaine muttered, wrapping his arm around Merlin’s waist and steadying him. “Usually, you would be the one helping me walk, not the other way around.”
They went to a pub and after watching everyone having fun beside him, Merlin took it upon himself to get very, very drunk.
“I swear if you throw up on me,” Gwaine warned. “These clothes aren’t cheap, you know.”
Merlin waved his hand dismissively. “I’m not going to throw up,” he declared.
They finally reached Merlin’s flat and just as Merlin was juggling his keys, wondering which one he should use to put in the lock, the door swung open.
He looked up and saw Arthur standing there.
“You are early,” Merlin noted.
Arthur shrugged, his eyes travelling to where Gwaine stood. “Were you hoping to find the place empty?” His eyes lingered on Gwaine’s arm and he frowned slightly.
Gwaine tightened his grip around Merlin. “I am just dropping him off. I called him earlier to hang out because I missed him.”
Merlin whipped around and stared at Gwaine. His friend was grinning.
They entered the kitchen and Gwaine filled a glass with water and handed it to him. Merlin took it with a raised eyebrow and a smile.
“Well, I better get going,” Gwaine said, taking a couple of steps until he was centimetres away from Merlin, his back to Arthur.
“What are you doing?” Merlin whispered.
"You are slow, aren't you?" Gwaine murmured, putting his hand on Merlin’s shoulder. “You will thank me later."
Before Merlin could reply, Gwaine leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. “I will see you soon,” he said loudly. “Nice to finally meet you, Arthur.” Then, he was out of the door.
Merlin just shook his head. Arthur watched him leave, his face expressionless.
"So how was the date?" Merlin said as he settled on the couch.
"Awful," Arthur grumbled, sitting next to him. "The guy wouldn't stop talking about himself. I made an excuse and left. Never going on blind dates again."
Merlin drank from the water cup, hiding his grin behind it.
“Did you have a good evening?” Arthur asked.
“Your...uh, friend seemed nice.”
He snorted. “He is certainly interesting to be around.”
“Are you two…you know, together?” Arthur said, suddenly finding his hands very interesting to stare at.
“No, no we are friends,” He said, finally realising what Gwaine had been trying to do. He blamed not getting it earlier on how many drinks he had.
“It just seemed like you were because-” Arthur fumbled with words and waved his hand around as if that could explain everything. At any other moment, Merlin would be teasing Arthur relentlessly over this, but right then didn’t seem like the right time.
“No, no, he just likes to joke.” He raised his eyebrows and bit his bottom lip. “Jealous?”
He meant it as a joke and expected Arthur to roll his eyes or to say one of his comebacks. Instead, Arthur’s eyes snapped to his lips and lingered there.
The next thing he knew, Arthur had leaned in and closed the distance between them. Their breaths mingled, and Merlin’s heartbeat sped inside his chest. Arthur’s lips were warm and tasted of mint.
When they broke apart reluctantly for air, Merlin rested his forehead against his.
“Maybe,” Arthur murmured and kissed him again.