Title: Road To Recovery
Character/s: Just the boys
Summary: Arthur admits to something pretty serious
Warnings: Menage a quatre, yet again... and references to torture
Word Count: 720
Author's Notes: I'm not sure I like this, but I like it more than the other thing I wrote which will not see the light of day I swear. Arthur worked in MI6, until he was waterboarded, now he works in MI5 in a mainly administrative role.
They say that the first step to recovery is realising that you have a problem.
Arthur does have a problem, but he knows he shouldn’t call it that, because that implies that there’s something wrong with him. It’s more of an inconvenient fact. One that’s particularly hard to admit to, even just to himself.
He’s in love.
It should be the easiest thing in the world to fall in love. And, in a way, it was. The relationship began to mean things to him that he couldn’t even quantify, in tiny increments that he hadn’t noticed. And here he is, in love.
The first part of what makes this problematic is that he’s gay. Now, his father is over the initial shock of this, has agreed that Arthur is allowed to be gay if he wants to. But the old arguments and tension will probably resurface if Uther has to get over the permanent proof of Arthur’s sexuality.
And then there’s the part that multiplies the problem by about infinity. See, Arthur wouldn’t be panicking were he just in love with Merlin, or Lance, or even Gwaine. Actually, maybe Gwaine, but anyway, that’s not the point.
The point actually is that even Arthur has a problem getting his head around polyamory. His father will have a fit when he finds out, and that’s just not fair because he’s always sworn Morgana would be the one to eventually kill Uther. And the employee security section at work will curse him for the rest of his life, because he hasn’t just fallen in love with one person and doubled the security risk he poses, he’s fallen for three and quadrupled it.
The worst thing is that Arthur can’t do without them. And sometimes he looks at his life, and he feels a little wrong, a little dirty, because at least weekly foursomes are not how respectable people are supposed to be living their lives. And all the while he knows that if he tried to back out of their life together, a part of him would die inside. It’s horrible, this terrible ambivalence. And he knows which side of the fence he should fall, the one with love, and with happiness, he just can’t seem to stop the disapproval tugging at him.
Arthur has to tell work. Not because of any benefits the boys would be afforded, but because of their safety. Arthur has been waterboarded in the past, and he still wakes up to nightmares of running water over his face and not being able to move, despite the fact that he no longer works in the field. He doubts that he could live with himself if one of them were harmed in any way, even something as small as being hit by a stray punch, because of Arthur. No matter how indirectly. And if work knows, Uther’s ever-present influence will ensure that he knows, too. And if Uther’s the last to know, he’ll be even angrier and less open to persuasion than usual. Which is saying something.
Arthur picks himself up from the bed, and walks into the living room of the flat he’s about to move out of.
“I don’t think I can do this.”
Lance, ever the mind reader, knows exactly what ‘this’ is. He stands up and wraps his arms around Arthur, encasing him the best he can, pressing them as close together as they can get.
“Oh course you can, Arthur,” he whispers, “You did so much in South America that you can’t legally mention Rio de Janeiro any more. You can move in with us, and you can shoot anyone who doesn’t like it. Well, not actually shoot them. But kill them inside with the power of your eyes. I know that stare, Arthur. It’s frightening.”
Arthur almost laughs, settling into Lance’s arms.
“Alright,” he says, “Alright.”
But really it’s more than that, when Merlin promises him that he’ll never be alone during his mini-panic attack in the hall of the new house, when Gwaine shows him that by dragging him upstairs and telling him to shut up and take his clothes off, so they can christen the first of the new beds. Really, it’s about everything that Arthur has.
He picks up the phone in the morning, and arranges to meet with his father.