Title: Risking it all
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Arthur goes to see Merlin. Maybe they could be friends.
Word Count: 740
Prompt: "Idiot" for camelot_drabble
Author's Notes: Part 13 of the "divorce!fic". Unbetaed
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
9. We Have To Win
10. The Calm Before The Storm
11. A Glimpse
12. The First Time
Arthur arrived at Merlin's gallery ten minutes after it'd closed. If he knew Merlin still, he'd know Merlin often stayed a few minutes extra, alone in the dark with his artwork. He liked taking it all in, imagining his work in his head, and thinking of new projects.
He waited outside the glass doors peering in, wondering if he could see Merlin, but he couldn't. He hoped he wasn't wrong.
The wait wasn't long, and Arthur felt less like an idiot once Merlin came out of the gallery, and looked surprised to see Arthur.
"Sorry to scare you," Arthur said softly.
"It's fine. Just didn't expect to see anyone -- see you here -- is all." Merlin smiled at Arthur and then checked his watch.
"Are you going somewhere?"
"Yes. I had plans to meet with..." Merlin paused as if he were deciding whether or not he should be telling Arthur. "Some friends."
"Of course," Arthur said casually. "Can I walk with you? Or are you taking the tube, or taxi?"
"I was going to walk, it's only five minutes away. Thai Fever."
"Oh, you still go there?" Arthur threw his head back and laughed. "After they gave you food poisoning? Twice."
"It's under new management, thank you."
"And they didn't change the name?" Arthur asked, biting his lip, trying to stop himself from laughing more.
"I like the name, it has a bit of charm, I think. Don't you?" Merlin said turning, and as he started to walk, Arthur joined his pace. He figured that was as a good invitation as any.
"I don't know. If you're still eating there, and it hasn't killed you, I suppose it's all right." Arthur said, his hands in his pockets; suddenly he was feeling very nervous. "Who are you meeting there? I mean, you don't have to tell me. I was just--"
Oh, that bastard.
"I know what you're thinking, and it's just as friends. We decided...it wasn't going to work out."
"We? Or do you mean you?"
Merlin scowled at him, but Arthur could see no hatred in Merlin's eyes. "It was me. I don't think it would have been good. He was rather...possessive."
Yeah, that's one word for it, Arthur thought.
"I told him I didn't want to jeopardize our professional relationship, and our careers, and maybe we could revisit the idea later. Hopefully, given the way Charles works, he'd have moved on with several other people."
Merlin's tone was so casual, and Arthur was disconcerted by that. The Merlin he knew--the one he used to know--was never this casual about sex. He wouldn't even consider getting together with a man that was so open in his relationships. Perhaps, it was time to get to know Merlin all over again.
Even if it was as friends.
"I know what you're thinking," Merlin said.
"Probably," replied Arthur with a smile. "You always did know me best. Well, almost always."
"What does that mean?" Merlin asked, sounding amused.
"Nothing," Arthur said. He didn't want to bring this up now. This is not how he wanted to do this.
"No, tell me," Merlin said, as he'd stopped walking to stare at Arthur. "Clearly there's something you want to say. There's something you're here to tell me."
"It's fine, Merlin. I just wanted to say that we should try being friends. That's all. I'll just leave--"
"Arthur," Merlin reached out and grabbed Arthur's elbow, stopping him from walking away. "Please?"
"Fine," Arthur said through gritted teeth. "If you really knew me, you'd know that whatever Morgana said to you behind my back, would never be my words. If you really knew me, you'd know that going away, hiding, the way you did -- would kill me. It did kill me. I was a wreck for weeks, months, who knows how long. You'd know that no other man could make me forget you. That I could never touch anyone else, knowing it wasn't you. That after all these years, even if you hate me, being around you is a million times better than not being with you at all. If we never make love, if we never be anything more than just two people who sit across from each other and have coffee -- that that would be--"
Before Arthur could finish his rambling thought, not really realising what he was saying, because the words were simply tumbling out of him--Merlin kissed him.
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