Rating: NC-17 (just to be on the safe side in future chapter, though nothing too big)
Pairing: Merthur, one-sided Lancelot/Arthur
Warning: Violence in future chapters, adult themes
Summary: Modern AU. When Merlin and his friends return to the institute after the holidays, a new boy has arrived. A shy, misterious blond guy with hidden issues and an easy smile that drives Merlin crazy. Soon Lancelot will show his interest for him, but can Merlin step aside and let his best friend go for who could be the love of Merlin's life? And can Merlin help this boy with whatever seems to be killing him inside? SLASH Merthur, one-sided Lancelot/Arthur
Disclaimer: I don't own any of this (except for the plot) and none of this has really happened (that I know off).
A/N: sorry! This chapter is even longer than the previous one, so again I had to divide it! :o
CHAPTER 15 (Part A)
Merlin happily whistled as he walked down the street on his way to pick Arthur up. Since Arthur had given him the key that now hung from his neck in a plain chain as a gift and had told him that he loved him, it was all Merlin could do not to spend the whole day with a stupid smile in his face. Just a few more months... and they would be able to put all those bad things behind them and start their new life together, depending only on themselves and each other. The only way to get the goofy grin off of his face was to think they still had to wait that long. God, how he missed him the second they were not together... And he couldn't forget Arthur was not in a good position until then.
He deeply sighed as he took his mobile out of his pocket to warn Arthur he was already at his building's door. Love, I'm here. Can't wait to see you, he wrote in a message and sent it. He had not completely put his phone on his pocket again when the door opened abruptly.
"Hi, sweetie" Merlin greeted him happily the second Arthur was out of the door, but the latter didn't lose any time with words and threw his arms around Merlin's neck to lock him in a strong embrace as he kissed him passionately. So he had missed him as much as Merlin had. Merlin was surprised at first, but he quickly recovered and returned the kiss, his arms enveloping Arthur's waist to bring him even closer.
"Hi to you too, love" Arthur answered, panting for breath, when the kiss finally broke, though he kept his arms around his boyfriend.
"And what was that about?" Merlin asked as he tenderly put Arthur's hair behind his ear.
"Nothing, just... that I love you. And loving you makes me very happy" Arthur answered honestly, blushing a little at his own exuberance.
"Well, it makes me happy too. You loving me, I mean" Merlin joked, and chuckled at Arthur's playful pouting.
"And you don't want to add anything to that?" Arthur pleaded teasingly.
"Let me think... no, I think that's all"
Merlin couldn't contain the laughter anymore and he squeezed Arthur to his chest in a rush of love.
"You don't need me to say it to know I love you too, right?"
"No" Arthur shook his head with a smile, and Merlin could tell he was telling the truth, "but it's nice to hear it all the same"
"Ok, then I love you too"
"How spontaneous of you... but thank you anyway"
"Shall we get going? We want to make the most of our day" Merlin suggested, as he finally broke the embrace but grabbed Arthur's hand instead to entwine their fingers together as they started walking. "So... everything okay?" Merlin asked, hesitantly.
"Yeah, great" Arthur answered with a wide smile, confused at the question.
"I mean... at home. Nothing happened?"
"Ok, honey, you really have to stop worrying about it" Arthur answered, understanding Merlin immediately.
"I can't help it! Every time I leave you at home I feel like I'm abandoning you or leaving you to your fate"
"Okay, first: you're not doing any of those things. And second: you can't be continually thinking something is going to happen. Hey, most of the time my father and I don't even talk. Believe me, nothing is going to happen. Stop worrying, please, or you'll end up crazy and there's enough with one of us being crazy" Arthur joked, aiming to get a smile from his boyfriend, but he didn't succeed.
"You're not crazy" Merlin told him, without a bit of humour in his voice.
"I was only joking, Merlin. I know what you think of me"
"Then stop saying those things, please. I don't like it when you underestimate yourself like that"
"I'm sorry. But come on, please, let's not start the afternoon in a bad mood. Today is supposed to be great, isn't it? I'm going to be a part of the band, finally!" Arthur changed subjects, excitedly looking forward to see and listen what the guys were able to do. Lancelot had organized a band meeting in his garage, and they would take the chance to show everything to its new member.
"Yes, it's going to be great" Merlin let himself be absorbed by Arthur's enthusiasm. "At last I'll be able to rest and let you do all the work"
"I still haven't seen what you lot are up to, though. Maybe I won't be interested in being a part of it"
"Oh, you will, believe me"
"You're that good, then?"
"Not really. But we have so much fun whenever we try to sound like music that you will definitely want to be a part of it"
"I would want to if only to spend more time with you"
"And I can't wait to hear your beautiful voice again. I have to say it turned me on quite a lot the other time"
"You pervert, I was only singing"
"It's obvious you haven't' seen yourself while doing it, if you don't know the effect you have when singing and dancing. Well, you have that effect mostly always, but especially when dancing"
"Maybe, but I think most of the people that were there that day would agree with me"
"If I look so good when dancing, and you clearly look so good when dancing, the two of us together must be a really good show!" Arthur joked.
"I can't wait to try" Merlin said seductively, pulling Arthur's hand to attract him to him and kissed his cheek.
"But not in front of the boys, though. We'll have to find a more private time and place to dance together" Arthur answered, playfully winking his eye at Merlin, who just stopped dead in his tracks.
"Do you mean what I think you mean?" Merlin started, but Arthur just laughed and interrupted him.
"Look, there are the boys!" he exclaimed, pulling Merlin's hand to rush him towards their friends.
"You bastard, this is not over!" Merlin whispered to him, making Arthur chuckle all over again.
"Hello, guys!" Arthur greeted the other three, already waiting for them.
"Hi, boys. So what, Arthur, ready to discover a whole new world?" Percival asked him, playfully.
"Yes, your world won't ever be the same again after you've listened to us" Gwaine added.
"Don't scare him!" Lancelot reprimanded them while opening the door to his garage. "We really need him, especially for the singing department. You know, there's a limit to listening to Merlin's singing out of tune without going crazy..."
"Hey!" Merlin protested, and the others just laughed at his indignant expression.
"So this is it" Lancelot introduced proudly his space to Arthur, once the door was open.
Arthur stood dumbfounded, rooted to the floor, as he visually analysed everything in that room. It was like a little recording studio, with its own modest mixing desk, a piano, some drums, a bass and a couple of guitars, plus a big open space where he supposed they rehearsed.
Merlin smiled at his boyfriend's amazement and gently pushed him in with a hand to the small of his back, glad to see that, even if he couldn't do anything about his problems, he could at least provide these little moments of happiness to his boyfriend's life.
"Surprised?" Merlin asked him fondly.
"Amazed" Arthur answered with a wide smile. "I have to confess that when you lot talked about the band I thought it would be something much more amateur. This is..."
"Amazing?" Lancelot asked him, with a grin. "I know, I am amazing"
"And modest" Merlin added, as he watched Arthur with a fond smile as the latter moved around the room lightly brushing his fingers along every single instrument, as if he wanted to keep a physical memory with his hands of everything in that room.
"Yes, that too" Lancelot joked. "So Arthur, you told me you could play guitar?"
"Yeah, a little" Arthur answered absentmindedly, as he carefully picked one of the guitars and his fingers brushed the strings, making them sound. "Though I've never played such a beautiful guitar"
"Well, it may be beautiful, but at the end you get to play it the same way as the ugliest of them" Lancelot told him, reassuring him that they trusted him and wanted him to be a part of it, and elicited a grateful smile from Arthur. "So do you want us to show you one of our songs?"
"Yes, please. I would love to hear it" Arthur almost pleaded, as he sat down on the little sofa to conveniently enjoy what he was going to hear.
"What about the last one I wrote, boys?" Lancelot suggested, already sitting in front of his piano.
"Well, seeing as you are already on the piano, I guess you didn't leave much room for us to decide" Gwaine protested good-naturally, and the four boys took seats around the piano too, ready to give their best.
When the first notes of the song filled the garage thanks to Lancelot's skilled fingers, Arthur had to fight to keep his mouth closed, such was the need to open it in surprise. He had never expected them to be this good, and his excitement about being a part of it couldn't get any bigger.
Then Lancelot accompanied the melody of the piano with his rough voice and beautiful lyrics and Arthur listened to it, transfixed by the beautiful sound. And when Merlin's voice joined Lancelot's with some harmonies, looking at Arthur intently while he sang as if he was pronouncing each word only for him, it was all he could do not to start crying of emotion right then and there.
Finally Gwaine and Percival joined in too for the chorus, and as Arthur sat there, listening to the beautiful music the four friends were making, he suddenly felt a powerful urge to participate in it, so his fingers moved on their own accord to the strings of the guitar he was still holding and he started softly strumming some chords. The other boys all turned their heads to him, surprised at the nice adding to their song, and Lancelot nodded at him as he appreciated Arthur's playing. He was clearly the best addition to the band they could have wished for.
"Oh my God!" Lancelot exclaimed happily the second the music was over, turning to Arthur. "Where have you been hiding all this time?"
"Me? How about you, guys?" Arthur asked back. "That was amazing!"
"Aren't we?" Gwaine intervened.
"How come you are not famous yet?"
"I guess it's just because we haven't been discovered yet" Gwaine answered cheekily.
"Well, I'm sure being this good, some will discover you sooner or later"
"Us" Lancelot corrected him, eliciting a big smile from both Merlin and Arthur.
"Us" Arthur repeated. "So guys, I'm sure you must have mentioned it before, but... what's the name of the band?"
"We probably didn't mention it" Percival answered.
"You know why? Because we don't have a name" Gwaine added.
"You don't?" Arthur asked in total surprise.
"No, every time we try to decide how to name ourselves we end up arguing over it and we have to leave it there" Merlin answered, and all of them chuckled, somewhat agreeing.
"Which are the options you have?" Arthur asked.
"Well, Gwaine thinks it would be great if we were called The Dragon Slayers" Merlin explained, making a face towards Gwaine as if he was out of his mind just for suggesting that name.
"It's the best name ever" Gwaine intervened, making Arthur chuckle.
"But the rest of us don't think it really goes with the kind of music we make" Lancelot said, gaining himself a dirty look from Gwaine.
"Well, at least it's way better than Percival's The Unicorns"
"Hey, it's cute!" Percival protested.
"That's the problem" Gwaine answered.
"So you see, we still haven't been able to find a proper name for ourselves. How do we want to become famous without even a name?" Lancelot lamented.
"What about Prince? For a while didn't have a name, it was just the symbol" Percival reminded the others.
"Yeah, and everybody knew him as the-artist-formerly-known-as-Prince. That's still a name, in a way" Lancelot corrected him.
"And what about Albion?" Arthur suggested, all of a sudden. "If you were the Knights of Camelot in your childhood, it surely makes some sense, doesn't it?"
"Albion? That's kind of... strange for a band, isn't it?" Gwaine wondered.
"Yeah, but that's the beauty of it. It's very catchy, everybody would remember about it" Arthur insisted.
"I think it's a good name" Lancelot added.
"It's a great name!" Percival exclaimed, happily.
"So we are... Albion!" Merlin playfully yelled, and Percival high-fived with him in agreement.
"So that's it? The Dragon Slayers is off the table just like that?" Gwaine protested, disappointed.
"Sorry, Gwaine, but it was never on the table in the first place" Merlin replied, making Gwaine pout in annoyance and the others chuckle.
So that day they spent a few hours just showing Arthur their more significant songs, as the latter tried to include his guitar in them. It turned out his guitar playing adapted perfectly well with the band music, and the five of them were feeling completely satisfied with the result.
"Hey, can you read music?" Lancelot asked, after a while.
"Yeah, more or less"
"Do you want to try singing this one? My voice surely doesn't match with it, I'm sure yours will sound so much better"
Arthur placed the paper sheet in front of him and prepared his fingers to start playing the first chords. The music flowed easily, and soon Gwaine accompanied him with the drums, giving it a soft beat. When Arthur's voice started singing the main melody of the song, Merlin forgot to accompany him with the harmonies in an instant, so transfixed he remained looking at his boyfriend completely lost in the song, voice and guitar sounding so perfect it didn't feel even real. What Merlin had done to deserve such a beautiful person at his side he didn't know, but he was surely grateful.
"Wow, that was great!" Lancelot, a real musician at heart, exclaimed at the end of the song.
"It's easy with such a beautiful song" Arthur replied, honestly.
"I think Merlin had an ictus, or something" Percival joked, and only then Merlin got out of his trance and smiled embarrassedly.
"I'm sorry, it's was... just... wow" Merlin found he couldn't articulate any coherent sentence.
Arthur smiled, blushing with satisfaction at his boyfriend's admiration.
"You seem to have a natural talent with music. You should try writing some songs too" Lancelot encouraged.
"I don't know, I don't think I can write anything like that" Arthur answered.
"Well, we can discuss this tomorrow night" Gwaine suggested.
"What's tomorrow night?" Arthur asked.
"We have this tradition..." Lancelot explained.
"That we've only made once before" Gwaine interrupted.
"It's still a tradition! As I was saying, we have this tradition to have dinner here at the garage and welcome the new year together"
"And then try and sneak into a party or a disco or somewhere funny" Gwaine added.
"Well, of course we can discuss that part" Lancelot contradicted him.
"Guys, I'm sorry about always being the spoilsport but I won't be able to go" Arthur said sadly, and Merlin's heart broke a little at his boyfriend's sadness and about the fact that he was not going to get to start the year with the person he loved the most in the world.
"Arthur, if this is about the money..." Lancelot intervened.
"No, no, it's not just that. It's because... my father won't let me" Arthur knew it was useless to try and deny it.
"Why?" Percival asked.
"He's just like that"
"But I'm sure you can convince him if you tell him you'll be going with a bunch of friends, that you won't be on your own" Lancelot insisted.
"He doesn't care. But please, guys, don't you worry about me, I'll be okay! Just go and have your fun, take a lot of pictures and then you explain everything to me"
"But Arthur, it will not be the same if we are not all together" Percival pouted.
"I'm sorry, guys, there's nothing I would like more, but I can do nothing about it" Arthur apologized.
"Merlin, tell him to try and convince his father" Lancelot intervened, turning to his best friend.
"No, if there was a way he could do it I know he would. So if he says it's not possible..." Of course there was nothing Merlin would wish more than to have Arthur at his side at New Year's Eve, but he knew there was nothing Arthur could do about it and he didn't want to put any pressure on him, especially if it was all going to be for nothing.
Lancelot stood speechless at that. So Merlin was not going to insist for Arthur to come with them? Didn't he want him to come? But then he saw him coming to stand behind Arthur, who was still sitting in the sofa's armrest, and resting his hand on the back of Arthur's neck, squeezing lovingly, and exchanging a tender gaze with him that could only be described as comforting.
Of course Merlin cared about Arthur's coming, a lot if you had to judge about the love obviously present in his eyes towards the other boy. So then it had to be that Arthur could really do nothing about it and Merlin knew it. Could it be...? Maybe Arthur had problems at home? Money problems? Well, that was for sure, as the poor bloke seemed to be permanently broken. But he had denied that was the reason for him not to come on New Year's Eve. It was because of his father, because "he was just like that". Could it be that Arthur didn't get along with his father? Maybe that was why he had those strange reactions sometimes? He didn't want to be a gossip, but he would have to ask Merlin about it. He wanted to know Arthur was alright.
"You don't always have to accompany me home, you know" Arthur told his boyfriend, as they made their way home after the wonderful afternoon they had spent together with the boys.
"I thought you liked that" Merlin answered, squeezing Arthur's hand in his as they walked.
"I love it. But it makes me feel guilty. I never accompany you"
"But that's because I live further away than you, so you would have to go back, and that's absurd. Besides, I love picking you up, it makes me feel like I'm taking care of you"
"But you are already taking care of me. Constantly"
"Same as you do for me. I already told you once, this works both ways"
"How can you be so perfect? I wish we could spend every moment together"
"I wish for that too. I can't believe we are not starting the year together" Merlin complained.
"I know. You're the most important person in my life, and I will be spending the new year with someone who hates me instead of you. I wish it could be different..."
"Me too. I don't even feel like going to Lancelot's if you're not coming" Merlin lamented, but Arthur was having none of that.
"No, don't do that. You staying home won't change the fact that we will not be together, so at least go and have some fun"
"I don't know..."
"For me?" Arthur pleaded, playfully pouting, and Merlin had to smile at such silliness.
"I spoil you"
"You love me"
"I do. Okay, I'll go. But I can't promise to have fun" Merlin joked.
"That's all I ask" Arthur answered with a smile.
"But you know what? Let's look at it this way: it's going to be the only New Year's Eve we'll spend apart, isn't it? I mean, we'll get to celebrate every new year after that, as we will always be together, won't we?"
"Yes, that's true" Arthur answered, as a big smile broke slowly in his lips at the image.
"'Cause I'm never letting you go" Merlin promised.
"You've got the key"
"I'm at your hands then"
"How great does that sound?" Merlin said lovingly as they stopped in front of Arthur's door and he embraced him around the waist to kiss him. "I'm going to miss you tomorrow"
"I'll be thinking of you the whole time. Does that help?"
"Maybe even some text message every now and then?"
"That would be great"
"Happy new year, Merlin"
"Happy new year, love" Merlin answered, kind of sadly, as Arthur let go of his hand and finally entered his building.**********
"Hello" Arthur said unenthusiastically to his father when he closed the door to his home.
"Who was that guy?" Uther asked him, without even saying anything else first.
"What guy?" Arthur asked, just trying to gain some time to find a proper answer. Had his father seen them holding hands? Had he seen them kissing?
"This guy you were talking to at the street"
"He's a friend" Arthur answered, trying not to look too relieved that his father had only seen them talking. God knows how he would react if he knew about their relationship.
"Where do you know him from?"
"And what was he doing here?"
"Nothing, he just... accompanied me" Arthur answered honestly, as there was no other possible answer.
"Why, can't you find your own home?"
"I met him and other guys today and he has to pass by on his way home..."
"I don't want him coming up to my home"
"He won't" Arthur assured him in a heartbeat.
"Make sure he doesn't" he answered, kind of threateningly. "I don't want my home full of stupid teenagers, is bad enough with one of them"
"I wanted to ask you something..." Arthur started, doing his best to ignore his father's comment, as he was pretty used to them. "Tomorrow night... could I...?"
"If you're asking for permission to go out on New Year's Eve, you've got another thing coming" Uther interrupted him, not even letting him finish.
"I don't see the need for someone your age being on the streets at that hour of the night"
"But my friends and I..."
"I couldn't care less about your friends. I said 'no' and that's the end of it" Uther abruptly put an end to the discussion as he put his jacket on and went to the door, ignoring Arthur's sad sigh.
"Are you going out?" Arthur asked.
"Since when do I have to explain my activities to you?"
"No, I meant... Do I make some dinner for you too?"
"Don't bother. Your cooking is rubbish anyway, I'll just grab a bite at the bar"
"Before or after getting blind drunk?" Arthur mumbled to himself as he started towards the kitchen to start making dinner.
"Did you say something?"
"Not a word" Arthur was quick to deny and without another word, his father was out the door.Read on FF.net
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