Title: Full of Bad Ideas
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur.
Summary: It's always two steps forward, one step back.
Word Count: 765
Author's Notes: Part 23 of the "divorce!fic"
Catch up: [Catch Up]
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 13. Risking It All 14. Comfort 15. Decisions 16. More Than This 17. The Patience Game 18. Part of the truth 19. Dodging Calls, 20. What Arthur Wants, 21. Don't Run Away Again, 22. Insecurities
Merlin always had it. The potential to be something great. Of course, Arthur had always known it. Whether it was when they were young and at the skateboard park, or when they were in Uni, and he was studying art. He was going to make it big, and all Arthur had to do was just wait.
"I never thought you'd leave me behind though," Arthur mumbled, mostly to himself, as he looked at some of the art pieces scattered around in Merlin's flat.
After the pub, Arthur had given Merlin a lift home, and naturally, Arthur had walked in right after Merlin. Because when it came to Merlin, Arthur didn't know how to stop himself. Merlin was the magnet that always pulled Arthur.
Merlin handed Arthur a beer and stood next to him as they both stared at a painting; Arthur admiring it, and Merlin probably finding flaws in it.
"So what's this called?"
"The lovers," Merlin said. "Through time."
The entire thing was a dream-like state with a tree hovering over two bubbles that looked like they were moving. Arthur couldn't see the figures in the bubble clearly, but he reckoned, that'd been the point. Lovers through time, it reminded him of a dream he'd had. The dream he'd had quite a lot.
"I never thought you'd come back to me," Merlin said, leaning on Arthur lightfly. "To answer your comment about leaving you behind."
"Hmm…" was all Arthur said.
"This was the first painting I'd sold," Merlin said, "the one that'd made me feel like I was a big deal."
"So what is this? A replica or a print…or…?"
"The original," Merlin said, walking away, and then settling down on the mattress in the corner of the room.
Of course, he didn't have a real bed. Because Merlin didn't know how to buy furniture. He just slept on whatever was available.
"What'd you mean the original?"
"After I sold more pieces in big art galleries and made enough money to be able to get a studio, I hunted down the original buyer and made a deal with him. I wasn't sure if he simply wanted his money back, but I offered him three new artworks so he could give me Two Sides back."
"That's what I'd originally called it," Merlin said, taking a sip of his own beer, and this time, Arthur leaned into him. He gave Arthur a small smile, and continued. "I had this idea of how the lovers in the painting were so similar and so different — two sides of the same coin. But when it was sold, I'd re-named it before sending it away. That name was for me, and not for anyone else."
"I used to have dreams about that," Arthur said, trying to remember the details of that dream he'd had so long ago. "That you and I…we were two sides of…something."
Merlin grinned at him, and then turned his body to look at Arthur. Arthur missed his touch, but he also liked being able to look at Merlin. He was free to do it now, to stare at him for as long as he liked, and no one else was around.
"You were my inspiration for that painting, and I'd not planned on selling it. It was just part of the gallery where my work was displayed—and then—it was the first piece and I couldn't say no. It was a part of me, a part of us."
Arthur smiled and raked his fingers through Merlin's hair.
"Charles thought I was completely crazy for not wanting to sell it, and then wanting it back…"
"And this conversation is over," Arthur said, pulling his hand away.
"Don't. Please…" Merlin grabbed Arthur's wrist and kept his hand on his head. He leaned into Arthur's touch, and Arthur didn't have the willpower to pull away.
"This is probably a very bad idea."
"I want you to have it."
"Have what?" Arthur raised an eyebrow as his fingers massaged Merlin's scalp, and Merlin had closed his eyes. He was such a sucker for a massage—Arthur had nearly forgot that.
"The painting. Take it home with you tonight."
"Or tomorrow morning," Merlin said, opening his eyes, and grinning up at Arthur. "Stay the night, and in the morning, leave with the painting."
"You're just always full of bad ideas aren't you?" Arthur asked.
Merlin grinned, and Arthur pulled him closer, his lips hovering over Merlin's. "Not all my bad ideas are that bad. Especially not the ones that keep me close to you."
READ PART 24 HERE