Title: Wrong Again!
Summary: Merlin did get it all wrong.
Word Count: ~730
Author's Note: bunnysworld wrote Wrong and when I expressed my dismay over it, she challenged me to "fix it". So I did.
When Merlin’s feet hit ground floor of Arthur’s posh flat he couldn’t make the door fast enough. The sound of Arthur’s laughter was ringing in his ears, reverberating in his head and getting louder by the second. He grabbed his coat and flung himself out into the street.
How could he be such a fool? Of course Arthur didn’t love him. Why would he? He was a golden god and Merlin was just a skinny nerd. He’d always known Arthur was out of his league, had always wondered why he bothered with Merlin at all when he had everything. He was rich, successful, famous, incredibly gorgeous…he could literally have anyone he wanted. Why the hell was he wasting his time with Merlin?
“Merlin! Merlin, wait!”
Arthur was shouting, tone urgent but Merlin couldn’t turn and face him, face more of his pitiless laughter, couldn’t face even more derision. He’d always known Arthur had a cruel streak but it had never been so glaringly obvious what a thorough-going bastard the man actually was. Never breaking stride, he tucked his chin deeper into the collar of his coat and didn’t dare raise his hands to his face to swipe at the tears that were pouring down his cheeks, wouldn’t give Arthur the satisfaction of knowing he’d made him cry.
The bus stop was just ahead and Merlin almost sobbed in relief when he saw the next bus rolling to a stop at the curb. He hurried his steps, just a little further…
“Merlin! Please, stop!”
Strong fingers curled around his upper arm and jerked him to a stop. Still refusing to look around, Merlin wrenched away from Arthur’s grasp and stubbornly tried made a break for the waiting bus. Arthur grabbed his wrist next and wrenched him around to face him.
“Wait, Merlin, please!”
Arthur’s desperate tone couldn’t penetrate Merlin’s panic.
“Get the fuck off me!”
Merlin practically shrieked the words, well beyond dignity, desperate to escape.
Instead of releasing him, Arthur wrapped his arms around Merlin, forcing him to stillness.
“Merlin, please, calm down.”
“Fuck you, Pendragon!”
“I didn’t mean it like that, Merlin. Honestly.”
“Right. Fine, just let me go.”
“No, Merlin, listen. I…I wasn’t expecting that, not from you…never from you.”
“You don’t have to elaborate on how pathetic I am, Arthur. I get it.”
Arthur loosened his hold on him, but didn’t let go. Instead he leaned away and held Merlin out at arm’s length. Merlin kept his eyes firmly on the ground between them, staring at Arthur’s bare feet in a kind of stupor.
“Merlin, don’t, please. I’m sorry. I’m an arse. I didn’t mean…I wasn’t laughing at you, I swear! I was just, well, I was fucking gobsmacked alright?”
Merlin shook his head and continued to evade Arthur’s gaze. He’d never felt more humiliated in his life than he did at this moment. He knew someone like Arthur could never love someone like him. Hell, no one could ever love Merlin, no one ever had. Why had he thought Arthur might be different?
“Merlin-Merlin, I-I’m not good at this. Oh, fuck, Merlin I am utter fucking bollocks at this but I swear I wasn’t making fun of you.”
“Coulda fucking fooled me! But then again, I am a fucking fool, aren’t I Arthur?”
“No! Please, Merlin. I-I never thought someone like you could love me. I wasn’t-I didn’t-I couldn’t believe you were saying that, not for real, not to me.”
His words were such an eerie echo of Merlin’s own thoughts that he finally jerked his eyes up to meet Arthur’s. Those beautiful too-blue eyes were wide and beseeching, pleading for Merlin’s belief. They gleamed with sincerity. He’d never seen Arthur so unguarded before; he was telling the truth. Relief had Merlin sagging in Arthur’s hold and he instantly found himself wrapped up in those strong arms again.
“I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry, Merlin. I’m such an arsehole. I’m always doing the wrong thing-always saying the wrong thing. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I don’t ever want to hurt you. Fuck, I wouldn’t-I-I love you.”
On hearing those words from Arthur, Merlin found himself laughing. He laughed long and loud, the noise reverberating off the buildings around them. Arthur didn't run from the sound, he only tightened his arms around Merlin and laughed along with him.