Title: We Have To Win
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Ethan, Percy
Summary: Ethan sets Arthur straight.
Warnings: Angst. Modern!AU. Divorce!fic
Word Count: 1200
Prompt: Prompt 256 "What'd I Miss?" for camelot_drabble
Author's Notes: Totally unbetaed. Part 9 of the "divorce!fic"
1. All too familiar
2. Leaving the past in the past
3. That Familiar Feeling
4. We laugh and we cry (And we break)
5. Busy was always better.
6. The need to stop the hurt
7. Despite our estrangement
8. And you would smile, and that would be enough
"So, what did I miss?"
Arthur sat on the bar stool next to Ethan and grimaced up at Percy who poured them their drinks and then look at Arthur expectantly.
"Merlin was on a date," Ethan answered for Arthur.
"Oh, we already knew this, didn't we? I mean he'd told Arthur—"
"And the man was an arse," Ethan added.
"Emrys or the date?" Percy asked.
"Both, actually," Ethan said and started to drink his beer.
"Why did we have to leave though? I was having a good time. I mean, I got to know Gwen's husband and—"
"We had to leave because if you want Merlin back, you're going to have him work for it just a little bit."
Arthur scrutinised Ethan with a look. "Want him back?" Arthur shook his head. "Even if I wanted him back, I would be the one who'd have to work for it. It was my fault Merlin was hurt. It was my sister who said...something to him...that made him run away."
"It wasn't pretty," Percy said.
"Wait, what do you mean?" Arthur asked immediately turning his attention away from Ethan. "What do you know?" And more importantly, why did you never say anything?
How did Arthur manage to have it all, and then lose it all.
"I asked Gwaine about it," Percy said, shrugging.
"What do you mean—"
Percy held up his hand gesturing Arthur to wait and then walked away. "Be right back." He went to help some other patrons, poured them all shots, and then returned five minutes later. When Arthur looked over at Ethan, he was watching with great interest, as well.
"Okay, so after you told me about what Morgana said, and your conversation with Emrys over the phone, I went and asked Gwaine. Part of your divorce settlement—I suppose if that's the right word—was that Gwaine and I didn't discuss it. I didn't want to take sides and it cause a rift between us. But finally, I asked him. I asked he knew what Morgana had said to Emrys, so he told me. Well, basic of what he remembered as he'd spent plenty of nights getting drunk with Emrys, and doesn't recall all the details of the conversation."
"So what was it?" both Arthur and Ethan asked at the same time.
"More or less that after your fight, Arthur left, and Emrys was waiting for him to come home. Eventually what'd ended up happening was Morgana had showed up. She told him that Emrys deserved to live on the streets and had no claim over the flat that Arthur was paying for. He had told Morgana that he was waiting for Arthur to come home so they could reconcile, and she told him that he should have known better. That Arthur was never going to respect him unless he'd made something of himself. And that he was foolish to turn that internship in Italy down—because then Arthur'd be finally free of him. I think she said something along the lines that Uther had arranged for that internship, hoping the drive the two of you apart, but it didn't work."
"And Gwaine never told you all of this? Didn't think it was his right to tell Arthur that there were people working behind his back trying to ruin his life?" Ethan asked, sounding more and more upset with each word.
"Ethan, it's not Percy's fault."
"No, it's not. I know. But, honestly, if I'd known any of this, I would have been the first to tell Arth—"
"I know, I'm sorry. I can see my mistake now. I can see how I didn't help the matter by staying out of it. But now, it's been two years. Do you really think there's a chance to get back together?" Percy looked torn, and a second later, he had been pulled away again.
"Of course there's a chance," Ethan said.
"Don't, Arthur. Don't lie to me. Don't lie to yourself. If anything, you owe it to yourself to get revenge on your family."
"Revenge?" Arthur asked, confused.
"There's no better revenge than to getting back together with Merlin after they'd done so much to tear the two of you apart."
"Again." Arthur paused to let the words finally sink in for his friends. He looked at Percy and then back at Ethan. "Even if I wanted to try again—"
"Which you do," Ethan said, and Arthur scowled. "Okay, please. Sorry. Continue."
"Merlin's already told me he doesn't want to. He has willingly accepted my apology about Morgana's actions, but he's also said he doesn't want to try. I mean it's been two bloody years—"
"Yeah, and neither one of you have had sex with another bloke. I know you've gone out to a club to kiss or find a release, but tell me, have you even wanted to meet anyone since you and Emrys split?" Percy asked.
Arthur shrugged. "That's what the blind date was supposed to be about. About me finally moving on and—"
"And you ended up on a date with your ex-husband. Honestly? You don't see the irony in that? Destiny working to bring the two of you back together?" Ethan asked.
"Okay, first of all, I didn't realise you were so bloody invested in my relationships, Ethan. Second, I thought you didn't even like Merlin. And third, if you are so gung-ho about us getting back together, then why did you make me leave tonight?"
Ethan smiled and took a sip of his drink. "Because you two are your worst enemies. From the moment I'd walked in, Merlin's eyes had been on you. He may claim he doesn't want you back, but doesn't mean, he wanted that Charles bloke. And you two are always, always, going to fight. You have since the day you met. Except, at that time, it was endearing and led to some great sex. Now, if you're both jaded and fight, there's no make up sex in your future. Not until you two realise that you want to get back together. I mean, come on, Arthur! You're still in denial about wanting him."
Arthur sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I can't want him back. Because if this doesn't go anywhere, if I'm back to where I started, I can't—I don't know if I'd be able to survive that. I want to move on. I'm supposed to be heading to New York for work—"
"Fuck work," Ethan said. "Your father has dictated your life for far too long and your sister needs to mind her own fucking business. I know I've been away, but Arthur, I've seen how you've been for the past two years and you were in the same room with him for ten minutes and you'd changed. You can't let that go. Some of us can only hope to find what you have. And now you have another chance; a real chance. Don't tell me you're going to blow it up."
Arthur released a long, exasperated sigh. "What will you have me do?"
"What time does his show close?"
"Around nine thirty, I think."
"Well, you should show up at closing time."
"And then do what you do best." Ethan grinned at him, and winked.
read next chapter: calm before the storm