Title: Pursuing A Happily Ever After
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Gaius, Percival
Summary: Arthur goes after Merlin (continued from bunnysworld’s drabble from last week Promises, Promises).
Warnings: Angst, tiny bit of swearing
Word Count: 976
Prompt: #22 All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them -Walt Disney
Author's Notes: This is all bunnysworld’s fault! She asked the question.
Arthur knew he was in the wrong. That's why he had let Merlin leave. Or at least, that's what he kept telling himself. And he regretted every moment. It took him over an hour to realise he needed to go after Merlin and get him back because he knew they were meant to be together. He hadn't been with anyone that made him feel the same way that Merlin did and he knew he would never find another person to replace him.
First he tried to call, but that turned out to be pointless. It just went to message bank and Merlin either didn't check the messages he left or just ignored them.
The day after, he tried text messages, to no avail.
Finally, he went to an old friend of both his and Merlin's family. Gaius was like a father or close uncle to Merlin and he had approved of them getting together from the very beginning.
Merlin had told Gaius what Arthur had done and he was not impressed. He warned Arthur that this would be his last chance and if there were to be another indiscretion, he would not help him, for he hated to see Merlin hurt so badly. Arthur acknowledged Gaius' warning and went straight to the address he had given him.
A tall, burly man answered the door.
"I need to see Merlin."
"Who are you?"
"That doesn't matter. Where is Merlin?"
"Yes, it does matter. I don't let strangers into my house and Merlin has given me specific instructions."
"Oh, and what would those be?"
"I don't tell strangers personal details."
"Oh, for fuck sake! I'm not a stranger. Merlin is the love of my life and I want to see him! I need to see him." He said the last in an almost whisper and he sounded desperate.
A hand appeared on the man's large bicep. "It's okay Percival, I'll take it from here."
Percival moved aside to reveal Merlin standing just behind him. Now that the love of his life was standing in front of him, Arthur didn't know what to say, but Merlin did. "What do you want?" His tone was tried with a slight hint of anger.
Arthur still didn't know what to say. All he could do was stare at Merlin. He looked fine. He looked perfectly handsome. It occurred to Arthur that he might have moved on, that he might be too late and Merlin was now with that Percival bloke. Maybe he would never get another chance to hold Merlin in his arms or to run his hand through his black hair or kiss his forehead, his beautiful cheeks or the tip of his nose.
"I'm not going to stand here all day, Arthur. Go home." Merlin moved to grab the door and had it half closed before Arthur was finally able to react.
"No! Wait," he said, stepping forward, placing one hand on the door and one foot inside the house. He next words were soft. "Merlin, please. I've been a fool."
Merlin scoffed but Arthur continued. "I know I'll never be able to change what I have done. It was stupid and I know I should have come to you with my issues but I wasn’t thinking straight. I thought if I did it and got it out of my system, everything would be alright. You weren't supposed to find out."
"What made you think I wouldn't find out after the first time? What made think doing it again was okay? You promised the first time. How can I trust you now?" Merlin's calm persona was cracking and he was leaking anger and hurt.
It took all the courage he had for Arthur to say, "I don't know the answer to those questions. All I know is that I need help and I need you to help me." Arthur took a step back, to let Merlin know he could close the door on him if he wanted to. "I don't want to do it again. Not if it means losing you forever. I don't think I could bear it."
There was a moment of the men looking into each other’s eyes, both searching for the answer they needed. Arthur could see all the hurt in Merlin's bright blue eyes. It got to a point where Arthur couldn't look into it Merlin's eyes and see the hurt he had caused any longer. He was beginning to realise that maybe Merlin couldn't forgive him for what he had done. That maybe having Merlin welcome him back into his life with open arms was just a dream.
He slowly closed his eyes and let his chin fall at the same time. He took a couple of deep breaths, trying to hold himself together as much as possible, opened his eyes and turned to walk away.
This time, it was Merlin who said, "Wait."
Arthur stopped, but didn't turn back to face Merlin.
"You really want me to help you? To keep it in the past?"
"Yes." Arthur fought the urge to turn around.
"Then I will." Arthur had to turn at that. Merlin had been right at his back and now he was confronted with the others man's body only a small movement away. He wanted to close the gap between them, wrap his arm around Merlin's chest and kiss him with all the passion that was pounding in his heart. But he didn't. Instead, he said, "Thank you."
Those two words made Merlin smile, showing the tears in his eyes that were yet to fall down his cheeks. The smile broke Arthur's will power. He took a slight step forward and hugged Merlin himself. Merlin lent his chin on Arthur's shoulder and Arthur nuzzled into Merlin's neck.
It wasn't a happily ever after, but it was a start towards what could be one.