Title: What are Friends for? Part 3
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Uther, Morgana
Summary: Arthur confronts his father. It doesn’t go well.
Word Count: 1250
Camelot_drabble Prompt: pt 419:bingo-round 2- coming home
Author's Notes: none
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Arthur slept most of the morning. Merlin called Gaius to let him know what was going on, then did try and clean up a bit, just so Arthur could have some space in the lounge. He replaced the sheets in Gaius’s room, aired it out a bit. Then he popped down to the M&S, got some basic toiletries like toothbrush and Arthur’s favorite deodorant – he wasn’t a snoop but one day, he’d wandered into Arthur’s ensuite and was poking around, okay?, bought some food for the next few days, and then after coming back, settled down to study for his biochemistry class.
When Arthur finally came out, Merlin was pretty much done with studying. Looking up, he said, “hey, there, sleepyhead, you okay?”
“Head hurts,” Arthur said, rubbing at his eyes.
Merlin got up, gave him some paracetamol and water, and said, “Look, I’ve put a toothbrush and your deodorant in the bathroom, oh, and your shampoo, and I’ve restocked the pantry. I’m needed at the hospital in a few minutes. I won’t be back until midnight or so, depending on what’s going on there. It will be like that the rest of the week and I’ve classes, too, but the weekend is free so maybe we could start looking for flats for you. If you like?”
“Merlin, I’m a big boy. I’m sure I’ll be fine. You just get to work, and you can tell me all about it when you get home.” Arthur gave him a little smile, more like a grimace, and he still looked like he’d been run over by a lorry.
But Merlin couldn’t dawdle. The hospital was a good 20 minutes walk and Merlin did not want to be late. So he just said, “Okay, will do.”
Merlin just hoped that Arthur would rest and not do something rash, like confront his arsehole father. At least, not without backup.
Of course, Arthur did.
Merlin got home a little after midnight. In the lounge, there were clothes scattered everywhere and Arthur was yelling into the phone. “Morgs, he was impossible. You know how he is. Acting like he’s right all the time but this time, I thought he’d be….” Arthur saw Merlin, gestured him in, mouthed that he was talking with Morgana, then said into the phone, “Look, Morgs, I know you don’t get along with him all that well and I appreciate that you want go to battle for me, but I don’t want you pulled into my problems.”
Merlin could almost hear what she was saying but not enough to be sure. Arthur just nodded.
“Listen, listen. He was all apologetic when I got there, and then started talking about therapy, you know, the kind where they try and convert you back to not being gay.”
Merlin shuddered at that. He knew enough about those kinds of therapies. They never worked and often people self-harmed after or even tried to commit suicide. To think that Arthur’s father would try and force that on Arthur was just too awful to contemplate.
“Of course, I’m not going to.” Arthur was clearly upset. He kept rubbing his hand through his hair, his face scrunched up in a deep scowl. “I thought… at first I thought he’d come around, that he loved me enough to change his mind about things. But when he gave me a pamphlet about it and talked about arranging to see them right away, I knew he’d never accept me.”
Picking up the pamphlet, looking at it a moment, Arthur threw it across the room. It landed in the tray of Gauis’s potted herbs, caught between rosemary and thyme before wilting into a soggy mess.
Arthur started pacing again, well as much as he could with all the clothes on the floor. “But I wanted my clothes at least. I can’t expect Merlin to give me his. He’s tiny.”
Merlin sent him a glare, Arthur sent him a quick shrug back. “I told him I’d think about it and then I went up to my room and he followed me and I told him that I’d be going to the therapy session tomorrow, and if he could arrange it, that would be great.” Arthur stopped a moment, blinking down at the mess in the tiny lounge. “He bought it although it was a near thing.
But I yawned and said I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before because I’d been thinking about therapy and that it might be good for me to try. He said he’d arrange for them to pick me up tomorrow, that I could stay the night.”
Arthur flopped down onto the sofa. Merlin flopped next to him, brushing his hand across Arthur’s arm to give him a little bit of support. “Soon as the coast was clear, I stuffed everything I could into a suitcase and left.” Arthur listened a little more to his sister, then said, “He told me I was a good son, that as long as I remained unsullied, I would be welcome any time.”
Even from where Merlin was sitting, he could hear Morgana yelling into the phone, something about fucking arseholes and then it degenerated into unintelligible insults. There was a lot of fucks in there, though.
Arthur pulled the phone away from his ear, grimacing a little, then shaking his head. “Morgs, Morgs, I’m fine. It’s over. I’ve most of my things and I have money enough that I won’t be homeless.” He listened a moment longer, then turned the phone over to Merlin. “She wants to talk to you.”
Gingerly, Merlin said, “Hello?”
Morgana sounded like she had been shouting for hours. Perhaps she had. “Is he okay? Does he need anything? Will you tell me if he does?”
“Listen, Arthur’s going to be fine. He can stay here as long as he likes. He may have rethink uni after a bit, but whatever he does, he’ll have friends to support him. I certainly will. What are friends for, otherwise?” Merlin gave Arthur a little smile, then said, “Of course, as soon as we hang up, he’ll have to clean up the lounge because it looks like a bomb exploded right now.”
Morgana laughed, then said, “Merlin, I know he’ll be going through a rough patch but don’t let him get away with anything. Uther may be an arse, but Arthur can be one, too.”
“Don’t I know it. Did he tell you about the time…?” Arthur was gesturing for Merlin to give him the phone back. “Morgana, I’ll tell you next time I see you.”
Arthur said, “Morgs, I’ll call you when I figure out what I’ll be doing next. Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. I’ve got Merlin to keep me company. No, no, I will. You, too. Bye.” And then he put down his phone, staring at it a while.
Merlin said, “She’s a good sister. She’s worried about you.”
“Funny, I always thought of her as a pain in the arse.” Arthur glanced around. “I’ll clean up in the morning.”
Merlin just gave Arthur a look, then said, “Yes, you will. But right now, I’m knackered so I’ll see you tomorrow, yeah?”
Arthur nodded, then grabbing a t-shirt and underwear, he said, “Night, Merlin, and thank you.” When Merlin smiled, Arthur slumped off into Gaius’s room and shut the door.
For a moment, Merlin just stood there, hating Uther with everything in him. Who would do that to their own son? It boggled the mind.