Title: Not worth the hassle
Word count: 806
Summary: Arthur is convinced he can’t pull his new boyfriend into the mess that is his life right now
Author’s notes: Not beta’d. Yay! What else is new?
Arthur took a deep breath. He hated what he had to do next, but he saw no other way. Work was killing him and one of the bosses seemed to have put a target on his back and blamed him any time he could. It was so exhausting to constantly watch his back, to always have an eye over his shoulder to see when the next back-stabbing might come and to guard himself so much to not give the man more chances to pick on him.
It wasn’t fair to pull his new boyfriend into the mess. They weren’t even in the ‘calling each other boyfriend’ stage, but Arthur had the feeling that they could be good together long-term, if only they had met at another point in their lives. He enjoyed his company, no matter if they were just talking over a glass of wine or if they watched a movie or if they were out in the park and…oh well, between the sheets he would miss him. He liked him too much to drag him into the cluster-fuck his life had become, with him constantly being tense and grumpy.
He had knocked right after Arthur had come home, so, taking another deep breath, Arthur opened.
“Hi.” A careful smile on the handsome face was all it took to make Arthur’s insides jelly.
“Come on in, Merlin, we need to talk.”
It hurt him physically to see Merlin’s face fall.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“Merlin, I…” He didn’t know how to say it.
Merlin waited. He hadn’t even taken his jacket off and the backpack that he usually just tossed in the entrance was still on his shoulder.
“Want to come in and sit down?” This was a mistake. Arthur knew it. Something made him want to selfishly spend more time with Merlin before he would probably never see him again.
“No? You look so serious. Tell me what’s wrong.” Merlin stood rooted to the spot.
It took Arthur a while before he had the strength to speak again. “My life is a mess right now. I…” He looked up. “I can’t pull you down with me.”
Merlin blinked. “You’re breaking up with me because someone at work is giving you shit?”
Of course they had talked about the work situation before, but when Merlin put it that way…
“How is it my fault that this guy is an ass?”
He had never seen Merlin look so disappointed. “It is not. But you’re suffering from it, I can’t give you my whole attention due to this.”
“You can’t give me your whole attention because you are a workaholic, we figured that out before and it’s fine as I do have a life, too, you know? We’ve been talking about this before.”
All his points that he had put together in his head to give Merlin the reasons why he would draw the short stick at the moment, started to wobble.
“Maybe…if we tried again at some later point…I know you will move on, but I can hope…” He stuttered.
“I will not. I’m not going anywhere.” Finally Merlin set the backpack down and shrugged out of his jacket. “My boyfriend needs me and I am here for him.” He looked at him for a long while. “For you.”
The entire conversation that Arthur had in his head just before he came home which had sounded so logical and which he had intended to tell Merlin without any emotions in his voice, tumbled and he just stood there, leaning against Merlin, feeling his arms around him and his soothing presence surround them. There were so many things swirling in his mind but he couldn’t utter a single one.
“I made the curry you like so much.” Merlin whispered into his hair. “Got a huge Tupperware container in my backpack. How does that sound? I know you haven’t eaten all day.”
At that, Arthur’s stomach started to grumble, the evil traitor telling Merlin exactly that he skipped lunch.
“And after that, we can do whatever you want. We can watch a movie or just sit and talk, or maybe we don’t even talk. And then…” Merlin pulled back and gave him a small smile. “We might move on to that comfortable bed of yours.”
“We might.” Just sitting and not talking would be good, too. “What would we do there?”
Merlin leaned in and put a quick peck on the tip of Arthur’s nose. “I would have to punish you for trying to break up with me because things got rough out there. Don’t ever do that again.”
Arthur leaned against Merlin for a while longer, breathed in his scent and nodded. How stupid of him to attempt that. It looked as if Merlin was here to stay and that alone made everything else not worth the hassle.