Title: Go Away
Summary:Uther has been emotionally abusive, and Arthur just wants to disappear.
Prompt: For Camelot Drabble '500'
Author's Notes: This can stand alone, but is actually a continuation of Sanctuary, another drabble...which is part of my On Notice story, which is made up of several drabbles.
Sanctuary as a stand alone is here: https://archiveofourown.org/works/11408976
On Notice is here (Sanctuary is chapter 3, and this will become chapter 4...bumping 4 and 5 up one)
See end for more notes
“Go away.”Arthur whispered.
“Do you really want that?” Merlin asked gently.
“Yes…no…I don’t know,” Arthur’s voice was muffled. His knees were bent to his chest, forehead to knees, and arms wrapped around, so that he was balled up into the smallest bundle possible. He huddled in the darkest corner of the abandoned shed, whispering so quietly that Merlin could barely hear him.
“I can’t leave you like this, Arthur,” said Merlin. “If you want, I’ll just sit over there and wait. And if you don’t want me to wait here, then I’ll sit outside the door. But I’ll be here waiting. I can’t leave you alone like this. I won’t.”
Arthur wrapped in on himself even more tightly. It didn’t matter at that moment what Merlin did. He couldn’t even feel Merlin’s arm around him—couldn’t hear his words. I’m not here—I’m not here—I’m not here—was the mantra that ran through his head. He burrowed in even more tightly as he recalled his father’s sneer of contempt, his words, “Your mother sacrificed her life for the likes of you. She must be turning over in her grave.” I’m not here—I’m not here—I’m not here.
“I’m here for you. I’m right here. You’re not alone.” Arthur couldn’t make sense of Merlin’s words at first. I’m not here—I’m not here—I’m not here—running through his head. “I’m right here,” said Merlin, his arm around Arthur’s shoulders. “I’m right here.” Merlin slid his hand down and rested it between Arthur’s shoulder blades. Arthur gave a little gasp, and tears began to run down his face as he suddenly felt the warmth of Merlin’s touch—a lifeline, an anchor, home. “I’m right here,” Merlin repeated, “right here, love.”
Arthur let go of his knees and felt around for his handkerchief. He blew his nose, and turned into Merlin’s embrace. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. You shouldn’t see me like this.”
Merlin tightened his arms around Arthur, “Shhh. Thank you. Thank you for letting me be here with you. Thank you for letting me in. There is nowhere I’d rather be.”
Arthur snorted incredulously through his tears.
“I’m so sorry you were always left alone to deal with your pain. I’m so sorry. I wish I could have been there for you. I wish you had had somebody to be there for you when you were little, but I’m here now.”
At those words, Arthur started flat out bawling. Tears in his own eyes, Merlin held Arthur in his arms and murmured to him, again and again, “I’m so sorry you were so alone. I’m here now. I’m right here. You’re not alone anymore.”
Arthur cried for several minutes, and then, as his own hanky was quite saturated, he pawed at Merlin’s pocket for his. He blew his nose loudly into Merlin’s hanky, rested his head on Merlin’s shoulder and started giggling, “Some knight-in-shining-armor I am, huh?”
“You are perfect, rusty armor and all—Now,where’s that oilcan, Tinman?”
End Note: I had to stop here...500 words exactly! I was thinking about adding more giggling, because in my experience, after the harder feelings flow, we often end up laughing...and also how (in my experience also, in my relationship) emotional release/comfort sometimes leads to getting turned on, and the whole oil can spout being maybe a metaphor for...ahem...