Arthur settled down into his seat, tapping his pen lightly against his notebook as students filed into the lecture hall. It was early in the semester, which meant that students were still coming to lecture and seats were filling up quickly.
Professor Kilgharrah was setting up his notes (one of the only professors, if not the only one, who didn’t use a laptop, let alone a projector during lecture). He was a stiff lecturer, who used vague examples for everything, making the course harder than it seemed. Arthur was just glad he understood Econ better than most students, otherwise he would be overwhelmed with Kilgharrah’s lectures.
Students were settled into their seats, a low hum of conversation filling the lecture hall. Just as the students began to quiet down, a student came tumbling into the hall. Everyone stared at his spectacular entrance.
In his arms he was carrying a couple books and several papers. He was wearing a red scarf which had flown up and slapped him across the face as he entered the hall. As everyone looked at him, his ears turned scarlet and he cast his eyes away from the hall. As he walked up the steps he tripped over his own boots, which had more belt straps than normal and looked like they belonged to an adventurer, not a clumsy university student. Most of the seats were taken which forced him to climb over several students until he reached the only available seat in the hall.
Arthur rolled his eyes as the idiot sat down next to him, dropping his satchel and with a sigh. He was decidedly cute, despite being a klutzy dork. The blush had spread to his cheeks, which accentuated his rather alarmingly sharp cheekbones.
He reached next to Arthur to pull up the desk, his fingers accidentally touching Arthur’s arm. “Sorry.” he said, giving a smile to Arthur.
“It’s alright.” Arthur said automatically.
“I overslept.” he said as he set down his papers and started organizing them.
“Studying too much? It’s only Week 3.” Arthur said speculatively.
The man laughed, “I oversleep every week, mate.”
Arthur had to smile at that, because Arthur was the same way. He had ten alarms on his phone to wake him up. Not to mention he had to put his phone across the room so he would have to physically get out of bed to turn it off.
“That explains the bedhead.” Arthur said, pointing with his pen to the thick black locks which stood up in every direction.
“Shit.” The man’s blush reappeared and he quickly ran his hands through his hair, making it somewhat presentable.
Arthur laughed this time.
“Oh, laugh all you want. My dorm’s on the other side of campus.” The man groaned.
“You poor thing.” Arthur mocked.
There was a beat of silence as the man studied Arthur. He stuck out his hand, ‘I’m Merlin.”
“Arthur” He said, as he shook Merlin’s hand.
“Did you understand the reading at all? Because I am totally lost.” Merlin asked.
“Really?” Arthur asked. “It wasn’t that hard. Just the news article.”
“Wait what?” Merlin said, a look of panic crossing his features.
He turned to the front of the classroom, where Kilgharrah had written some key terms.
“Shit.” Merlin breathed just as Kilgharrah’s voice boomed over the lecture hall. “Alright settle down! We’re starting with…”
“Shit.” Merlin repeated, sinking into his seat so that his head hit the back.
“What?” Arthur whispered. Kilgharrah had already started the lecture and the students had quieted down.
“What class is this?” Merlin asked.
“Econ 140. Why?”
Merlin, still low in his seat, covered his face with his hands. “I’m in the wrong lecture.” He whispered with a moan.
Arthur had to hold his breath and bite his lips to keep himself from laughing. He was pretty sure his face turned red, but Merlin’s horrified expression and scarlet blush was enough to make Arthur lose control. He snorted a little and Merlin had to hit him to keep from being too loud.
“Shut up.” Merlin whispered, “This isn’t funny.”
“It’s fucking hilarious, Merlin.” Arthur said after he composed himself.
Merlin groaned quietly and rubbed his fingers over his temples.
“How’d you manage to go into the wrong class?”
“They all look the bloody same.” Merlin complained.
“It says Econ140” Arthur pointed to the board.
“I was a little preoccupied with not falling on my ass, thank you.”
“Couse you were.” Arthur smiled at him, which earned him a glare.
Eventually Arthur started taking notes. With a grumpy pout on his lips, Merlin pulled out a notebook.
“What are you doing?” Arthur asked.
“Well I’m not leaving.” Merlin said exasperatedly. “I’d have to climb over the entire row again and make another scene.”
“Don’t you have another class to be in?”
Merlin’s nose scrunched up as he said, “Didn’t want to go anyway.”
Arthur chuckled to himself and went back to his notes, enjoying the annoyed expression on Merlin’s face. Instead of taking notes Merlin began to doodle in his notebook.
“Very productive.” Arthur commented.
“Shut up.” Merlin whispered back. He leaned into Arthur’s space and drew a little elephant in his notebook.
Arthur raised a brow, but didn’t say anything.
Merlin was very distracting during the lecture. Every once and a while Arthur would make a comment on Merlin’s drawing (“Is that a dragon? Really?”) and Merlin would respond with sticking out his tongue or something else completely ridiculous. Over the course of the lecture, he leaned over and drew a sun and a landscape for the elephant in Arthur’s notes and Arthur was forced to write his notes around the doodle.
“You’re ridiculous.” Arthur huffed as Merlin added a hat to the elephant. But Arthur had never protested to the invasion of his space. Arthur was treated to a close up view of Merlin when he leaned over his notebook. His eyelashes were wonderfully long and Arthur caught himself thinking that he would be able to feel them flutter over his skin if Merlin kissed his cheek or throat. Arthur mentally shook himself and fought down the blush when he realized he was staring at Merlin. He quickly turned back to his notes.
At the end of lecture Arthur had several drawings in his notebook, none of which belonged to him.
“How am I supposed to concentrate on my notes, Merlin?” Arthur said with mock-annoyance in his voice.
“Alfred will help you remember.” Merlin said, referring to the elephant with the hat on Arthur’s page. Arthur had a feeling he would remember nothing except for Merlin from that lecture.
Students started packing up, and Arthur had a sinking feeling that he wouldn’t see Merlin again.
Merlin was looking at Arthur’s notes. “I think you forgot something” Merlin said, grabbing the notebook from Arthur and writing something down. “Here” he said as he handed the notebook back. Arthur looked down to see Merlin’s name and number, next to a little wizard’s hat.
Merlin had already stood up with his bag on his shoulder. “See you later?” he asked in a shy voice.
Arthur could feel his blush, but he ignored it as he said, “Definitely.” he smiled, “Who else is going to draw ridiculous animals across my notes?”
Merlin gave him a blinding smile that made his eyes crinkle, and Arthur felt very accomplished to have received such a smile. Merlin made a little wave and exited out of the lecture hall, tripping down one of the steps. Arthur could see him cover his face in embarrassment, but he didn’t look back. Arthur thought it was adorable.