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).
“So here we are again” Gwaine lamented as the five friends made their way into the institute the first day after the Christmas Holidays. “Back to this torture”
“Someone’s in a bad mood today” Percival commented, amusedly.
“And how can I not be in a bad mood? Only yesterday at this time of the day I was sleeping! And I would still be for like another three hours!”
“Well, we can’t be permanently on holidays” Lancelot intervened, patting Gwaine’s shoulder.
“And why’s that again?”
“Well, because... Just shut up, okay?” Lancelot answered, as they found their way to their usual seats in the classroom. “It’s too early to be having those debates”
“So” Arthur said from his seat, turning to his boyfriend with a smile. “Ready for another term?”
“If it’s going to be as perfect as the last one, you bet I am” Merlin answered, reciprocating his smile.
“Well, if you keep up with the good work as you did, I’m sure it will be even better”
“I was not referring to that...” Merlin explained to Arthur with a smile and a gentle brush of his knuckles to Arthur’s cheek, making him blush.
“You silly” Arthur mumbled, a little embarrassed at Merlin’s easy affections.
“Boys, please, I’ve just had breakfast, don’t make me throw up with all this... romance” Gwaine protested, yawning exaggeratedly.
“Do you have anything against being sweet?” Merlin asked.
“Sweet? It’s cloying! I bet you have each other’s photograph on your nightstand and you kiss it good night” Gwaine joked, but the guilty gaze the lovers exchanged told him he was not entirely wrong. “Oh my God, you do!”
“Well, we did take a picture of us together and made a copy for each one...” Merlin explained.
“But it’s just to have it, we do not kiss it goodnight” Arthur protested.
“At least not every night...” Merlin mumbled embarrassedly and Gwaine could only groan.
“I think I just turned diabetic all of a sudden...”
“Forgive him, he’s really not a morning person” Gwaine jokingly apologized for him. “You can continue with your romance, ‘cause it’s so sweet...”
“Aw, thanks for your permission, Percie” Merlin responded good-naturally, and Arthur smiled at them.
“Sorry to interrupt such a beautiful and not soppy at all moment, boys” Lancelot intervened from his seat. “When do you think it would be a good time for a new band meeting? Now that our band is complete, we don’t want to lose our time, do we?”
“How about tomorrow?” Merlin suggested. “Arthur and I are working on a song. We could finish it today so we can show you tomorrow. Is that’s alright with you, sweetie?”
“Yeah, sure” Arthur nodded, enthusiastically.
“Then we can go to mine’s this afternoon and work some more on it” Merlin told his boyfriend, and Gwaine found he couldn’t miss the chance to mock them a little.
“On the song, Merlin. You have to work on the song. Just try to remember that when you two are alone in your room” Gwaine joked, already a little more alert and in a better mood.
“Just... shut up!” Merlin groaned, and seeing the blushing in Arthur’s cheeks, he guessed his cheeks might be looking quite alike.
“Are you sure your mum won’t mind about me coming over without her knowing first?” Arthur asked for the third time since they had left the institute at the end of the day, as they were standing in front of Merlin’s house, waiting for him to find his keys and open the door.
“Arthur, I’ve already told you” Merlin patiently answered, as he knew how insecure Arthur could get sometimes. “She never minds me bringing friends home, quite the contrary. And I’ve talked so much to her about you that she’s dying to meet you”
“Really? And what have you told her?”
“How beautiful and sexy and a good-kisser you are”
“What?” Arthur almost yelled, horrified.
“I’m kidding, you silly” Merlin laughed at Arthur’s petrified expression. “I’ve told her about how nice you are and how much you’ve helped me with my studies. So in fact, she already adores you, even if she hasn’t still met you”
“Ok then. But don’t you ever joke with something like that again” Arthur reprimanded him, though he couldn’t help a little smile making its way to his lips.
“I won’t” Merlin promised with a laugh. “She doesn’t know about us, though”
“Oh” Arthur exclaimed, more curious than really offended or worried about it.
“But it’s just... because I felt embarrassed to tell her. It’s not because I’m ashamed of you or anything”
“It’s okay, Merlin” Arthur told him, reassuringly.
“But I don’t want you to think that I’m trying to hide it or something, I will tell her as soon as...”
“Merlin, I know” Arthur interrupted him with a smile, bringing a finger to Merlin’s lips to make him stop talking. “It’s okay, really. I haven’t told my father either. And to be honest, I don’t think I will. And it’s not because of you either”
“Yeah, I know”
“It’s just... the least he knows about me, the least he has to hurt me with, you know? He could use it against me if he knew how important you are to me, and... well, I don’t want to risk it”
“I get it, Arthur. I think it’s for the best too”
“Thank you for understanding” Arthur said and kissed his boyfriend gratefully.
“No, thanks to you for explaining. And now, my beautiful guest, I’ve found the key. Ready?” Merlin asked, grabbing Arthur’s hand and squeezing it encouragingly.
“Ready” Arthur nodded, and both of them entered Merlin’s home, losing their joined hands immediately at finding his mother at the living room.
“Hi, Mum” Merlin greeted her with a kiss to her cheek, and Arthur felt a brief but sharp pain in his heart at the familiarity of the scene. God, how he missed his mother... But there had never been the tiniest place in his heart for resentment, so he immediately felt very happy that at least Merlin had what he had been deprived of.
“Hi, dear” his mother answered.
“Mum, this is Arthur, he’s the one who has been helping me study lately” Merlin introduced him, and Arthur was quick to offer one of his best smiles at Merlin’s mum, wanting to make a good impression.
“Hi, madam” Arthur said, as sweetly as he was able.
“Oh, please, dear, call me Hunith” she warmly answered as she turned to him, but was left speechless for a second when she got to see her son’s friend. Or more accurately, the jacket her son’s friends was wearing. Because that was the jacket that had once belonged to her son. The one he had claimed to have become stolen.
Merlin noticed his mother’s confusion and could have kicked his own shin for being such an idiot. How could he have forgotten about the jacket? Arthur wore it so much that he guessed he had become so used to seeing him with it that he had forgotten about it. And now his mother had seen it. And she was going to get angry for sure about two things: one, him giving it away in spite of how expensive it was; two, lying about it.
So he was very surprised when his mother, instead of getting angry, gave Arthur a wide smile and patted him on his shoulder. Merlin had told her about Arthur losing his mother just a few months before, and her maternal instincts had immediately kicked in.
“So it is you the one who has accomplished in a term what we couldn’t for years? For Merlin to study?” she joked, and Arthur felt himself immediately relaxing at her warmth.
“It’s not my merit, it was him who made all the effort. I just encouraged him” Arthur answered politely, and the loving look he threw at Merlin’s direction didn’t go unnoticed to the intuitive woman.
“You must be very special, then” she said, and he left the boys on his own, not before caressing her son’s cheek in understanding, to which Merlin could only smile. His mother seemed to always know everything. And to understand it.
Arthur and Merlin spent a whole two hours locked up in Merlin’s room, completely lost in their music, as they tried to put their feelings into lyrics, wanting it to be a special song for them. They even had moved the furniture a little to make some room for themselves and be able to move while they improvised words or chords on the guitar, and were having a great time with it.
“Boys” Merlin’s mother interrupted with a soft knock to the door. “Why don’t you have something to drink or a snack? You must be hungry”
“Thanks, mum, but I’m okay” Merlin answered, and then he turned to his boyfriend. “Arthur?”
“Oh, thank you so much, madam, but I’m okay” Arthur answered politely.
“What did I tell you about calling me ‘madam’?” Hunith reprimanded him with a laugh.
“I’m sorry” Arthur apologized with a shy smile.
“Well, I came to tell you I’m leaving now, Merlin. I’m meeting your father at work and we’ll go out for dinner, okay? We’ll not be late. Glad to meet you, Arthur. I hope I’ll be seeing you again”
“Of course, thanks, Hunith”
“Good boy” Hunith smiled at the boy. He was starting to like him... Not as much as his son liked him, though, judging by the way he was looking at him. Ah, young love! “Bye, honey”
“Bye, mum” Merlin answered just as she closed the door behind her and the two boys found themselves alone once again.
“Could we take a little rest? Gosh, my head feels about to explode!” Merlin exclaimed as he finally moved to sit down on the comfortable bed.
“Really? If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were like forty, always getting tired so easily” Arthur answered, teasingly, as he sat by his side.
“Excuse me, mister energy, but I think we haven’t sat down in hours. You seem pretty worn out too”
“I’m not tired”
“I’ve happened to notice you’re sitting too”
“But that’s just because I wanted to be near you” Arthur told him in a mockingly sweet voice.
“Aw, how sweet of you” Merlin answered sarcastically.
“So you think you have more stamina than me?”
“Absolutely. Should we try and see who can dance the longest?”
“You know what? I’m just willing to let you get away with it so I don’t have to put my feet on the floor again”
“That proves my theory, then” Arthur answered, satisfied.
“Ok, whatever you say” Merlin conceded without an argument.
“You always resolve arguments as easy as that?”
“Only when my opponent is as beautiful as you are”
“Oh, and do you happen to find a lot of opponents with those characteristics?”
“No, just you”
“Awww” Arthur answered honestly, moved by Merlin’s appreciation towards him, as he lifted his hand to caress the hair behind Merlin’s ear. “You know, if you’re up to just hear a little more music, there’s something I’ve been wanting to show you”
“What is it?” Merlin asked, his face shining with anticipation.
“Just a song my mother loved when I was just a kid and it’s always been very dear to me. Even more now, because... it’s like it speaks about you” Arthur explained with a shy smile. “Do you want to hear it?”
“Yes” Merlin answered, not finding any more words as his heart started beating like crazy with emotion and he moved so he was sitting directly looking at Arthur, who did the same and once again placed his guitar on his legs.
When Arthur’s fingers started strumming the strings, Merlin closed his eyes and breathed deeply, willing the music to fill his chest. But when Arthur’s voice flooded the room, his eyes fell open immediately, and would not move from Arthur’s face as much as he would try.
You are the sunshine of my life
That's why I'll always stay around
You are the apple of my eye
Forever you'll stay in my heart
You must have known that I was lonely
Because you came to my rescue
And I know that this must be Heaven
How could so much love be inside of you?
You are the sunshine of my life, yeah
That's why I'll always stay around
You are the apple of my eye
Forever you'll stay in my soul
When the last word was sung and the guitar finally fell in silence, Arthur lifted his gaze to look at his boyfriend, looking for approval as he nervously bit his bottom lip. And when he saw the emotion and the love that filled Merlin’s eyes, he knew his boyfriend had understood how much he loved him with his music, and he felt so happy his heart felt about to burst.
In a rush of love, Merlin leant over to kiss Arthur, slowly at first but getting more anxious by the minute, deepening their kiss until they could hardly breathe and had to separate their lips slightly to get some air, only to start again eagerly. Merlin grabbed the guitar from Arthur’s hands to put it out of their way and his hand moved to the back of Arthur’s head, holding it almost possessively, and it was not long before Merlin was pushing Arthur into the mattress without even realising it. Probably because he didn’t meet any resistance, he thought when he realised he was lying completely on top of Arthur, their lips not having parted for more than a second, Arthur’s arms holding him strongly across his shoulders.
Merlin’s hands began getting curious and they started wandering along Arthur’s torso, until they arrived to his waist and timidly lifted his hoodie a little to feel the skin on his stomach. Arthur hissed without even meaning to, and Merlin immediately stopped his ministrations, looking at his boyfriend with a guilty expression.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have...”
“No!” Arthur answered with a chuckle. “It’s not that, it’s just... your hands are cold”
Merlin reciprocated Arthur’s smile, relieved he hadn’t made him uncomfortable, but his lips were captured by Arthur again before he could say anything. Next time some hands became playful, they were Arthur’s, as they found their way to the skin on Merlin’s back, just underneath his T-shirt, as he embraced him strongly. When Merlin felt Arthur’s hands laying flat on his back, without anything getting in their way, he suddenly felt such a craving for the other boy that it was all he could not to tear off both their clothes.
Not too long after that, Merlin broke their kiss to move his lips all along Arthur’s jaw and to his neck, leaving a trail of kisses on his skin that made the blond shudder in desire. Merlin, though, felt he couldn’t wait any longer to feel more of Arthur’s skin against his own, so his hands wandered again around Arthur’s waist and grabbed the bottom of his hoodie to roll it up. But before he did, and even though Arthur hadn’t said anything or made a move that showed he didn’t want that, Merlin hesitated and lifted his upper body from Arthur’s to really look at him.
“Are you sure about this?” Merlin took a moment to ask Arthur, looking intently at his eyes to discover the emotions there. “We don’t have to...”
“Merlin, I want it” Arthur reassured him, playing with the hair behind Merlin’s ear once again, his face flushed with passion. “I want it as much as you do”
“I don’t think that’s possible” Merlin joked, trying to make light of the situation and Arthur chuckled.
“It is, believe me” Arthur answered, slowly lifting his upper body too and guiding Merlin’s hands towards him again so he would finally free him of his hoodie.
When he saw Arthur’s bare chest for the first time, Merlin couldn’t help but sigh, clearly appreciating the view. But it was not enough to just look, so he carefully brushed his fingers all along Arthur’s torso and it was not much later that Merlin’s lips followed the trail his hands had done, placing gentle kisses all along Arthur’s skin, as the latter arched his back in anticipation.
“Just so you know, I was not trying to seduce you with that song” Arthur joked, trying to break the tension of the moment.
“Well, you could have fooled me” Merlin joked back.
“I want to feel your body too” Arthur whispered huskily, as he helped Merlin lift his T-shirt to free him of it, and both of them moaned when their naked chests came into contact.
“I love you” Merlin mumbled, just before capturing Arthur’s lips in a kiss full of passion and desire, as their caresses became more urgent, their breathings going faster.
“I love you too” Arthur mumbled against Merlin’s lips, and he thought his heart was going to explode from desire and love when Merlin’s hand started fumbling with his belt.
When Arthur opened his eyes again, the lighting in the room had already changed to a dull light coming from the window at sunset. There was a peace in his heart like he had never felt at awakening since he had moved, and he realised that the gentle caresses being ministered to his head by a loving hand had a lot to do with it. He realised he was using Merlin’s chest as a pillow, lying on his side with his head nested close to the brunet’s neck, his boyfriend’s arm surrounding him and idly stroking his hair.
Arthur sighed tiredly as he lifted his head from Merlin and rested it on his own hand, resting his elbow on the mattress to hold his head, not moving an inch away from his boyfriend, who by now was looking at him with an adoring look in his gaze and a goofy smile on his lips.
“Why did you let me sleep like that?” Arthur asked him, without a hint of reproach in his voice.
“Cause you were looking so content and peaceful that I didn’t have the heart to wake you. It’s not often that I see you that relaxed. And you were so cute while sleeping...”
Arthur leant over slightly to join his lips with Merlin’s for a second, and then the arm he still had around Merlin moved to gently caress his chest as they talked.
“Is this real?” Arthur asked out of the blue, and Merlin wrinkled his forehead in confusion.
“This... happiness I’m feeling” Arthur confessed, slightly blushing at all the sentiment, and Merlin just nodded.
“It must be, because I’m feeling it too”
“I never thought I would be able to love somebody so much”
“Okay, you have to stop that if you don’t want me to start crying”
Arthur chuckled at his boyfriend’s nonsense and kissed him once more before he turned around and sat up at the edge of the bed to start dressing.
“Hey, where are you going?” Merlin pouted as he followed Arthur to the other end of the bed and encircled his waist strongly with his arms to keep him from moving.
“It’s very late, I have to get going. My father is going to kill me” Arthur answered as he tried to escape Merlin’s embrace, but the silence that followed his words made him realise how unfortunate his choice of words had been and what Merlin must be thinking. “Merlin, it’s only an expression. Nothing’s going to happen with my father”
Merlin sighed and rested his chin in Arthur’s shoulder, all the while squeezing him even more strongly around his middle.
“I wish I could be so sure”
“Only a few more months, love” Arthur reminded him with a caress to his face, as he finally extricated himself from his arms and started dressing.
“You keep saying that” Merlin observed, getting up and starting dressing too.
“Because it’s true. That’s the only thing that keeps me hanging on”
“When we live together I’m going to compensate all this you’ve had to go through and my main occupation in life will be to make you happy” Merlin told him, as honest as he had ever been before, and Arthur felt a knot forming in his throat at the gratitude and love he felt for that young man.
“I know you will” was the only thing he could say, so he preferred to embrace Merlin strongly to show him with his actions what he was not able to do with words.
Already dressed and holding hands, both of them moved to the front door, and Merlin waited patiently as Arthur put on his jacket before he cupped his cheeks and took his time to just admire his beauty, before leaning over to kiss him slowly, carefully, as if he was afraid Arthur was going to break.
“Merlin, I have to go” Arthur murmured against Merlin’s lips, chuckling.
“I don’t think I’m ready for you to go just yet” Merlin answered, capturing his lips again, this time enveloping Arthur’s waist with his arms.
“No, Merlin” Arthur gently pushed Merlin from him, and smiling widely at the pout appearing in Merlin’s lips. “I really have to go”
“Do you really?” Merlin moaned.
“Yes, I do. I’m sorry” Arthur told him, genuinely sad to leave him.
“I’m just kidding, you silly” Merlin reassured him, his fingers playing with Arthur’s fringe. “Well, not about not being ready to let you go, that’s true. Just about the part of making you feel guilty about it” Merlin told him with a cheeky grin, and Arthur embraced him strongly, full of emotion.
“I love you” he whispered in Merlin’s ear before depositing a soft kiss on his cheek, and then he turned around swiftly and walked away, embarrassed by his own rush of emotion, not even giving Merlin the chance to answer.
As Merlin closed the door, a good minute after Arthur had gone, he sighed and bit his lower lip in an attempt of controlling the goofy smile that threatened not to leave his face for days.
Arthur was having the same problem controlling his smile when he opened the door to his home. However, as he saw his father waiting for him in a bad mood and stinking of alcohol, the smile disappeared in an instant and he prepared himself for the worst.
“Where the hell have you been?” his father yelled at him.
“Just... out” Arthur answered, softly, trying not to make his father angrier.
“I know you’ve been out, do you take me for an idiot?”
“No, of course not”
“I asked you a question”
“I was... at a friend’s”
“At these hours?”
“Yes, we have an exam coming soon and...” Arthur started trying to excuse his lateness, but Uther slapped him in the face before he could say anything else.
“Don’t lie to me!” he yelled.
“I’m not lying! I was at my friend’s house!” Arthur tried to convince his father, his hand moving to his pounding cheek.
“Which friend? This one?” his father yelled at him, throwing to his face the picture of both him and Merlin kissing that the latter had given him, and that he kept on his nightstand, leaving Arthur speechless about having been discovered. He obviously hadn’t been that careful hiding it, but he had never thought his father would find it. “So now you don’t have anything to say?”
Arthur just lowered his face, unable to look at his father to his face. He knew he was not doing anything wrong, and he shouldn’t be ashamed of what he had with Merlin, but he was afraid of his father’s reaction.
“So you’re a poof, on top of everything?” his father reproached him in a disgusted loud voice.
“What?” Arthur asked, unable to believe his own father was insulting him like that.
“This is that guy who’s always around here, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it’s him” Arthur answered proudly. No one, not even his father, was going to make him feel ashamed of Merlin.
“This is over, you hear me?” Uther ordered him.
“What? No! We are not doing anything wrong!”
“Oh, you aren’t? This is disgusting, you fucking queer!”
“It’s not! I love him and he loves me, and I’m not going to stop seeing him just because you say so”
“You will do as I tell you!” the man yelled, and Arthur doubted he had ever seen him as angry.
“No, I won’t! He’s my boyfriend” Arthur yelled back before he could stop himself.
“Your boyfriend? Are you two shagging?”
“Yes!” Arthur yelled at his father, finally brought to his limit. “Yes, we just did! And it was great!”
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