would you shout it from the rooftops?
For Day 1 of @arwenfest
Prompt: Of Sunlight and Violins | Kisses
Beta’d by the lovely @dinodina and title by @searching-for-arcadia!
ao3 link: here
word count: 1064
summary: Arthur and Gwen have been pining for each other forever. Then Arthur decides to serenade her. In public. With Merlin watching.
Gwen’s busy studying for her exam, head buried in her textbook, when she hears a faint thud. Too focused on the biological terms swimming before her, she dismisses the noise as one of her neighbors knocking something over in their room — their housing accommodations have very thin walls — except then there’s a second thud.
She turns just in time to watch a rock fall away from her window, and her eyebrows rise of their own accord. Who’s throwing rocks at the window of her hall of residence so late in the evening?
“Gwen! Gwen!” comes a familiar voice. “Guinevere Thomas!”
As it turns out, it’s Arthur Pendragon, except now he’s yelling up at her window as well. Gwen shoves the window open, wincing slightly when it screeches, the lock worn and stubborn, and pokes her head out, finding the tall footballer standing in the garden outside the hall. Just visible at the edge of the garden is a lanky, dark-haired boy who keeps anxiously looking over his shoulder. So it seems Arthur dragged Merlin along as well.
“What? What is it, Arthur?” she calls back, and at the sound of her voice, he glances up, eyes widening.
Then he beams, his smile bright and only amplifying his loveliness. He steps forward, catching the fading light of the sun just so, and his golden hair gleams, the crooked nose that Gwen won’t admit that she adores illuminated perfectly. Under the light, coupled with his smile, he looks something akin to a sun deity. Gwen’s heart goes up in flutters, still slightly stunned that this Arthur is the same boy who spilled his drink over the floor and Gwen’s textbooks when they first met and then refused to help clean them up.
The reverence lasts only a few beautiful brief moments because Arthur pulls his smartphone from the pocket of his tight jeans and presses something on it. Lovely violins and piano notes float up to Gwen’s window, and Arthur begins to sing.
As charming, attractive, smart, untraditionally kind and caring, and brave as Arthur Pendragon is, he is… clearly no singer. That is the kindest way Gwen can put it while she knots her fingers together tightly, hoping that her ears have not begun bleeding. And that her neighbors can’t hear him, although judging by the windows across her level that begin to slide open, bewildered heads poking out, this is unlikely.
Sounding low and dreadfully off-tune, Arthur sings of roses and kissing under bright sunlight in a meadow of flowers, his eyes wide and hopeful as they remain fixed on Gwen. It’s a love song by a semi-famous pop singer who Gwen suddenly remembers she once mentioned liking.
They were grabbing lunch in-between classes, and the small greasy spoon they were at was playing one of the singer’s songs. While dabbing dripping sauce from her burger, Gwen off-handedly recalled going to a concert by the singer. When she glanced up, Arthur’s eyes were bright and thoughtful, but then he asked her for the hot sauce.
She’d forgotten about the moment.
Clearly, Arthur hadn’t.
Gwen leans her head on her hand as she listens to Arthur continue to sing. Despite his lack of talent — and skill — she’s still flattered that he likes her enough to try and serenade her. She sighs, her gaze remaining focused on Arthur, although she notices Merlin waving frantically in her peripheral vision.
Finally, the soundtrack comes to an end with a grand flourish of violins. Arthur’s voice warbles, reaching a high pitch that makes him sound like a cat screeching, and Gwen has to duck her head to hide her wince. She thinks she can faintly hear racoons rattling in the garbage bins that line the corner of the building.
When he finally finishes, there’s a polite smattering of applause from the few on-lookers who remained as most of her neighbors retreated back inside their rooms, likely slipping on headphones and cranking their own music to drown out Arthur. Thankfully, no one has their phone out to record Arthur; he is an incredibly private person making a rare grand gesture, and it would be mean-spirited to have this plastered all over social media.
“Guinevere!” Arthur shouts, and she peers back out again, offering him a soft smile, “I like you! I really, really like you!”
“I like you as well, Arthur Pendragon!” Gwen shouts back.
His bright smile returns, and if possible, it grows wider. “Would you like to go on a date with me, Guinevere?”
“Of course!” she replies, her cheeks burning. “I would love—”
“Arthur!” calls Merlin loudly, cutting her off. “Arthur!”
Arthur’s face becomes blotchy and red with rage. “What is it, Merlin?” he snaps, glancing back at his best friend.
“Arthur, we need to go—”
“Just wait a minute. You cut Guinevere off.” He turns back to Gwen, glancing up at her hopefully. “You were saying?”
But Gwen is no longer at her window, and his expression becomes bewildered. (Gwen is frantically racing down the stairs, grateful she lives on the third floor instead of the seventh.) He whips on his heel, glaring at an approaching Merlin. He is smiling nervously.
“You got a parking ticket, Arthur,” Merlin says, and Arthur blinks, staring at him uncomprehendingly.
“You got a parking ticket,” Merlin repeats, his tone irritated.
“How?” demands Arthur, his grip tightening on his phone.
Merlin throws his hands in the air. “Maybe because you double-parked and left me, the one with no license, to watch over it, clotpole!”
“You had one job, Merlin! One job!”
“I’m not your servant, Pendragon!”
Gwen chooses that moment to burst out of her hall’s front door, her hair a disarray as curls escape from her ponytail, her feet hastily stuffed into bunny slippers. Arthur smiles at her.
“Yes!” she says, her eyes frantic.
“Yes?” echoes Arthur in bewilderment, and she smiles fondly, shaking her head, before she steps toward him. Her arms wind around his neck, and she has to stretch on her tiptoes, but then their lips meet, and although there are no violins and the sky has pretty much gone dark, it’s still a wonderful moment, a wonderful kiss.
When she steps back, tucking stray curls behind her ears, she glances up at Arthur’s wonderstruck face and tells him, “Yes, I’ll go on that date with you.”
Then she leans in and kisses him once more.