Title: An honourable thing to do
Word Count: 1094 (hey, I’m getting better…)
Summary: Arthur is about to do something really stupid and Merlin doesn’t know how to tell him something
Notes: Sorry, once again not beta’d.
"It’s the honourable thing to do.“ Arthur insisted.
Merlin had known that Arthur wasn’t only interested in men and ever since they had become friends, Arthur had his share of men and women alike. He was well aware of the fact that Arthur had a couple of one-night-stands with Gwen. He liked Gwen, honestly, Gwen was great. But that Arthur wanted to marry her just because she accidentally had become pregnant…that was too big for Merlin to wrap his mind around.
He had always hoped that Arthur would turn around and finally notice his feelings for him. Feelings, he hadn’t even noticed himself in the beginning. They were friends. Buddies. Pals. Guys who went out for a beer on a Friday night or even on a Saturday night when they didn’t have better plans. They went to medieval fairs together and to concerts, to plays and to shoot some pool. All of a sudden, though, Merlin had noticed that this wasn’t enough. He didn’t want just the Fridays or be plan B for Saturday if plan A failed. He wanted to be plan A every day of the week.
Merlin couldn’t tell Arthur, though, they both were busy and if Arthur didn’t return his feelings, they would probably not see each other anymore as if would be too awkward and Merlin couldn’t picture a life without Arthur. He had waited for Arthur to notice that, too, but now things had changed.
“You know that you don’t have to get married to be a father.” Merlin said almost defiantly.
“How can I be there for the kid if I’m not living with the mother?” Arthur didn’t look too happy.
Merlin turned around. “Oh, come on, Arthur! You can acknowledge fatherhood and be there for the child if she lets you without chaining yourself to a woman you just find attractive.”
Arthur looked at him and Merlin feared, he had gone too far. Maybe Arthur had real feelings for Gwen and didn’t just do this out of a falsely understood urge to do the ‘right thing’.
Arthur turned towards the window and buried his hands deep in the pockets of his faded jeans. His shoulders slumped and he sighed. “I don’t know what to do, Merlin,” he whispered.
He wanted to go over and wrap his arms around Arthur so badly, tell him that he was there and that he loved him, but Merlin knew that this wasn’t the right time for something like this.
“It’s…I like her, I mean…look at her, she’s great, but…”
“You don’t love her.”
Merlin waited and after a moment, Arthur shook his head.
“It was fun, nothing more. And I don’t know how this could have happened anyways, we’ve used protection.”
That was another thing that made Merlin wary. He knew that Arthur was out having fun once in a while, but no matter what, he used protection, so for the life of him he couldn’t fathom what had happened – not that he wanted to imagine Arthur with a woman in the first place.
“You think she might be…”
“Well,” Arthur took a deep breath. “I mean…she pretty much just took me home from the club and the other time we met on the street and just decided to…you know.”
Merlin knew. He didn’t want to, but he knew.
“And…”Arthur’s voice turned to a whisper again. “…she told me about that great bloke she met lately, someone by the name of Lance or so.”
“Well,” Merlin’s mood lifted. “Maybe he’s the father and you don’t even have to take care of the kid?”
Arthur turned around again, leaned against the window sill and sighed. “Somehow the part of being a father doesn’t scare me at all. Imagine a little me running about, wouldn’t that be nice?” He threw Merlin a crooked smile.
“Oh, heaven forbid. One of you is more than enough.” Merlin teased, but the grin slid off his face when Arthur’s expression changed again.
“I can’t marry her.” Arthur whispered.
Stepping close enough to let Arthur decide if he needed a hug or a shoulder to lean on, Merlin shook his head. “You don’t have to. If the kid is yours, you’ll find a way to be part of its life. We can go to the park and to the zoo and go for an ice cream with it.”
Closing the space between them, Arthur leaned his forehead against Merlin’s shoulder. “You make it sound so easy.”
Merlin wrapped his arms around him and despite the situation enjoyed the closeness.
“It’s only complicated if you decide to make it complicated.” And this was the reason why he had never talked to Arthur. By trying to not make things complicated, things were complicated for Arthur now. “She might not even want to marry you.”
“Am I such a bad catch?” Arthur still hadn’t pulled back.
“Not at all, but she might have different plans for her life. Have you talked to her?”
“Merlin…” Arthur pulled back and glanced at Merlin, a little blush on his cheeks. “We’ve never really…well…talked.”
“Oh. Well…then you should probably do that. Tell her that you are not ready to marry her but that you want to be part of the kid’s life.”
“It’s not that I’m not ready…it’s…it’s so complicated. I’m…there’s someone.”
That took Merlin by surprise and he took a step back, feeling himself blush. He knew that Arthur was out with others but he had never mentioned anyone more than once, if at all. “Oh.” His heart was racing and Merlin was happy when he stumbled into the back of the couch so he had something to lean against.
“Someone who’s always been there, someone who doesn’t even know how I feel for him.”
Merlin swallowed hard. Arthur with a woman…that he could arrange himself with, but a man? What did this bloke have that he didn’t?
“Someone who is by my side even when I foolishly make plans to marry a woman and gives good advice and a shoulder to lean on…” Arthur went silent.
Blinking, Merlin just looked at Arthur and had never seen him so open and vulnerable. “You mean…?”
Swallowing hard, Arthur nodded. “I just want you to know. I know things are difficult at the moment and we might only be friends for you, but…yeah, I wanted you to know.”
In no time, Merlin crossed the distance between them and pulled Arthur’s close again. “I should have said something a lot earlier.” He leaned in, pressed a shy kiss on Arthur’s lips and then just held him.