Title: Long Live
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur,
Summary: When Merlin runs out into the rain, Arthur follows.
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: In the rain
Author's Notes: I don't know if I'll get as far as a bingo, but I'm having so much fun writing these dorks again. This one is a bit angsty.
Ignoring Arthur’s cry, he dashed down the steps, almost slipping. It was only then he realised it was raining; a fine drizzle that quickly soaked through his jacket. The courtyard was deserted as even the guards took shelter from the weather. He heard footsteps behind him and cursed.
The one time he wanted Arthur to be oblivious to his emotions and, of course, it was the one time the prince noticed. It was typical, another thing destiny threw at him.
Even thinking the word left a bitter taste in his mouth. Destiny, fate… why couldn’t the whole lot of them just leave him alone?
A hand grabbed his arm, spinning him around. The rain was getting harder: his hair was plastered to his forehead and he watched a drop run down Arthur’s face, resisting the urge to brush it away.
There was emotion in the prince’s eyes. A raw, deep emotion that he normally kept carefully hidden. He’d let his guard down in his room, let Merlin in the way he normally did, and Merlin had repaid him by running out into the rain.
“Leave me alone.”
“Not until you tell me what’s going on.”
He recognised that tone of voice. The more he argued, the more Arthur would refuse to move. He brushed his hair from his eyes.
“Please, Arthur. Go.”
“I’m not leaving you. Not like this.”
It was the worst thing he could have said. Merlin’s fingers gripped his hair and he gave a soft cry of anguish that made Arthur flinch.
“But you will.” His words were barely more than a whisper and he couldn’t hardly hear them over the pounding of his own heart. But Arthur stepped closer, reaching for him again, and Merlin knew he had heard.
“What is this about?”
“It’s about…about… you and your need to go and save everyone.”
It wasn’t fair. He could hardly blame Arthur for wanting to protect his people. But it was too soon, coming too close to another cryptic warning he wouldn’t be able to keep Arthur safe, and Merlin couldn’t take it.
“No, it’s not.” Arthur spoke softly. His hand was on Merlin’s arm again, this time drawing him in. Merlin stumbled forward a step, squinting through the rain. His hand scrunched into a fist and he softly hit Arthur on the chest.
“Yes, it -,”
“Merlin.” His name was a soft plea, a request to open up. Merlin couldn’t refuse him: he never could.
“You’ll go out and save the day,” he murmured, “and get yourself killed. I’ve lost so many people, Arthur. My father, Will, Morgana…” He trailed off. The latter was still raw and he couldn’t mention Freya, not in front of Arthur.
“I can’t lose you, too. I can’t, Arthur.”
He didn’t care about destiny. He didn’t care if he was meant to protect the Once and Future King. All he cared about was that the idea of failing, of losing Arthur, was more than he could fathom.
“You’re not going to lose me.”
“You’re not.” There was conviction in Arthur’s voice. The same type of conviction Merlin heard when he was inspiring his men into battle, or convincing a village to rise up and fight. The type of conviction that made Merlin feel there was hope.
He sniffed, suddenly realising there were tears mingling with the rain running down his face.
“You don’t know that.”
“Neither do you,” Arthur retorted. He took a small step back, a familiar easy grin on his face that made Merlin’s heart skip a beat. “Besides, do you really think you can get rid of me that easily? I haven’t given you a day off in five years, I’m not about to start now.”
He wasn’t ready for a return to levity, but he understood why Arthur did it.
“Promise?” he murmured. He didn’t care that it was childish, and that no man could change fate, regardless of their power. But he needed to hear Arthur say it.
An arm slid around his waist, drawing him closer. The rain was heavier now and Merlin knew it shielded them from anyone looking out the window. It offered a privacy they weren’t used to outside of Arthur’s chambers.
“I promise,” Arthur murmured, his gaze locked on Merlin’s lip. Involuntarily, Merlin swallowed, feeling the heat coming from the prince. He shivered, and it was nothing to do with his soaked shirt.
“You know me, Merlin,” Arthur continued, closing the gap between them. “I’m a man of my word.”
Merlin couldn’t argue with that. He met Arthur halfway, lips meeting, arms looping around Arthur’s neck, pulling him closer, stopping him from moving away. He could feel Arthur’s hand spread across his lower back, a warm, comforting and solid weight that reminded him that he was still here.
Merlin hadn’t lost him yet.
As the kiss deepened hungrily, he leant into his prince. They finally paused for air, and Merlin brushed his fingers through Arthur’s wet hair, brushing it from his eyes.
“We should get in out of the rain,” he murmured, content to lean against Arthur and stay in the protection his strong grip offered. He didn’t want to be the one always saving people.
And staying here, out in the rain, his body still tingling from the kiss, he felt like he could let go of that weight, even if it was just for a few heartbeats.
His eyes closed as Arthur drew back, but fingers linked with his, tugging him back towards the steps and, finally, into the shelter of the corridor, out of the weather.
“Can you wait for a sunny day next time you have a crisis?” Arthur said, trying to peel his damp shirt from his body. Merlin smirked, although it was still a shadow of his usual smile.
“I’ll bear that in mind.”
“Good.” But Arthur’s smile was soft and tender, and he didn’t let go of Merlin’s hand as he led them back to his chambers.