Title: A Spanner In the Works
Pairing/s: Merlin/Arthur, Implied Arthur/Elena
Character/s: Merlin, Mordred, Arthur, mentions of Elena, Lancelot, Gwen and Gaius
Summary: Everything was going to well, and then Mordred shares some news that shatters Merlin’s world.
Warnings: Implied Cheating - A on M.
Word Count: 996
Prompt: #283 – Insomnia: Angst Month
Author's Notes: A continuation of my Rio Medals series. So, so sorry that this ends very abruptly in the middle of a scene. I simply ran out of words and cut as much as I could, but couldn’t cut enough to finish it and keep under the word limit. I will either add to it with next weeks prompt, if that suits. Or continue writing the scene before posting the final story to AO3.
PS. Are pictures cheating? ;) Sorry again for ending so abruptly!
Edited 29/12/2017 to add: Now available in full over on AO3, where it jumps from a G rated fic to R, oops.
Merlin sighed and leaned his head back on the sofa. He just couldn’t sleep. He was too amped up and pumped full of caffeine from all the coffee, Monster and Red Bull he’d been drinking in order to finish his essay, pulling an all-nighter to finally get it done. Now it was 3 in the morning the next day and he had nothing to do but wallow in his own self-pity that he was unable to sleep, as well as dread the bollocking he knew he’d get from Gaius in the morning when he would swim.
There was nothing on TV and he was about to grab his Netflix and start binge watching some Doctor Who, he checked his Facebook whilst waiting for it to load. There was a message from Mordred who was in his tutor group.
Merlin frowned. What the fuck was Mordred on about? What article? He typed back a reply to him.
Merlin opened a new tab and googled Arthur’s name and sure enough, there was an article in The Sun online about the world-famous all-round hunk, Arthur Pendragon, wining and dining a mystery blonde who had been identified as Elena Gawant, an “It” girl, whose claim to fame was spending her daddy’s money on racehorses.
Merlin scowled. Well, he didn’t like it, but he understood. All the time that they decided to stay in the closet, the media and world at large were going to assume that he and Arthur were straight. And the article didn’t look that bad. He scrolled down and came across a picture. Oh.
His heart sunk at that picture. It was definitely Arthur, even though his back was to the camera he’d know him anywhere. He’d spent enough time watching him. The girl – Elena – was holding his face in her hands as she kissed him full on the lips, Arthur’s arms wrapped around her in a loving embrace. There were further images that had been snapped through the restaurants’ windows from earlier in the evening.
He closed the laptop, tears burning in his eyes. He felt sick to his stomach. How could Arthur do that to him? Sure in the past, back when they were sworn enemies, he’d have absolutely have believed Arthur capable of cheating. But now that he knew him, he knew how kind and sweet Arthur could be. Or at least, he thought he had.
Biting his lip, he pushed the laptop under his bed and crawled under the covers, where he absolutely didn’t cry himself to sleep. Miserable and unhappy.
Merlin spent several days holed up in his room, eating whatever crappy food he could get delivered by the local takeaways; fuck his clean-eating, performance-enhancing diet Gaius had devised for him. He emerged every morning shrouded in an extra-large University of Cardiff hoodie and beanie for his swim training at the pool. He couldn’t throw everything away, after all. His phone laid uncharged on the floor of the room so that he didn’t have to hear his phone ring and beep at all hours with phone calls and messages from Arthur and Lance.
Lance tried to approach him at training, but he rebuked him, making it clear he wasn’t interested in speaking to him. Drawn and pale with dark circles under his eyes, Gaius had tried to send him to the doctor. Merlin had said he would go, but he had yet to make an appointment. Gwen had stopped by several times with notes from various lectures they shared and tubs of home-made vegetable soup. Thanks, Gwen. You’re wonderful. No, best not come in, don’t want you to catch it. At least he could fake being sick with her.
The article in the newspaper had been published over a week ago now and Merlin was still morose, determined to ignore everyone’s calls. He had however graduated from his bed and duvet, to the sofa and duvet. He’d even managed to complete another essay, immersing himself in it.
Currently, he had a few days free from work and training and he fully intended to spend it slobbed out on the sofa eating icecream and watching the most depressing movies he could find.
There was a knock on the door and Merlin hauled himself up. That would be the delivery guy. He grabbed his wallet from the cabinet by the door and opened the door whilst pulling out a £10 and £20 note to pay with.
Merlin looked up with the notes outstretched in his hand, straight into the face of Arthur.
In a moment of blind panic, Merlin withdrew and slammed the door shut. It bounced back at him with a hiss and a bitten-off curse. “Fffuuu-! Merlin,” Arthur levered the door open. “I came to see you and find out why you’ve been ignoring my calls. Can I come in?”
Merlin was still pushing at the door to close it. “G’way,” he mumbled.
“I won’t Merlin,” said Arthur insistently. “I’m not leaving until you speak to me.”
“We are talking,” muttered Merlin.
Arthur sighed and stopped pushing back against Merlin. “You know what I mean, Merlin! Now can I come in, or not?”
Merlin sighed and turned away from the door and flopped down on the sofa. He gestured sloppily to the nearby armchair in amongst the dirty dishes and wrappers. Arthur took a seat.
“Merlin,” he said softly, trying to get him to look him in the eye. “What is this all about? I’ve been so worried. So has Lance.”
Merlin’s eyes snapped to his. “Oh, been having a good time gossiping about me, have you?” he said, voice dripping with sarcasm.
Arthur threw up his hands in frustration. “For crying outloud, Merlin! We’re concerned with what’s wrong with you!” he said, his voice raising with exasperation.
“Concerned about me!? Why? I’m only a guy who’s boyfriend cheated on him with a gorgeous blonde girl! Why didn’t you just tell me you were fed up of us, Arthur!”