Pairing/s: Arthur/Merlin, past Arthur/Cendred
Summary: Even now, after everything, Arthur still finds himself hesitating.
Word Count: 967
Amnesty Post Prompt: Prompt 3 Scars
Author's Notes: AU. I've kind of been planning a longer story around this idea, so thought I would see what came out.
Arthur’s hands moved down to tangle in Merlin’s hair, pushing him back. Merlin pulled off with a soft “pop”, yet his hand didn’t stop from where he had been working Arthur’s shirt up his stomach. The blond was lying on his back, enough of his jeans open for Merlin to take his cock in his mouth, but that was all. Merlin, on the other hand, was completely naked.
“You don’t want to do this?”
“No, I do, I really do…” Arthur wasn’t sure how he was able to see straight from where he was so turned on, but let one hand drift from Merlin’s hair to his hand. “Just not this.”
Indicating where Merlin’s fingers were brushing across his stomach under his shirt as he continued to push it upright, Arthur gave Merlin an apologetic smile. They had been together for months, ever since Merlin had rescued him from Cendred. They had fucked in numerous different ways, Arthur being pleased to know that the creep hadn’t done any lasting damage to his desire to lie with other men. But for a reason that Arthur had never voiced, he flatly refused to be naked. He thought that he was ready when Merlin’s hand had snuck under his shirt, but when he thought about what he would find under there…
“Arthur? You still with me?”
“Yeah, I…” Arthur sighed, shaking his head and pushing Merlin off completely. Swinging his legs over the bed, he rested his elbows on his knees and bent forward. He was still with Merlin, but Merlin wouldn’t still want to be with him if he ever saw what lay under Arthur’s clothing. How could he, he was a constant reminder of a weak and pathetic person, someone that hadn’t even been able to fight back…
“Hey, it’s okay,” Merlin’s voice was murmuring softly in his ears as a hand rubbed up and down between his shoulder blades. “You know I’m always going to be here. We can take it slow.”
“It’s not that,” Arthur protested. He didn’t want Merlin to think it was about the sex, for it really wasn’t. That was the one thing that made Arthur feel like he was actually someone worth loving when Merlin made him see stars. Cendred had never done that. Sex with Cendred had always been about the other man’s pleasure… in all the perverse ways that had got the man off. That was where the problem lay.
“Then what? Don’t shut me out, Arthur. What is it that you don’t want me seeing?”
Arthur gave a half sob at the fact that Merlin clearly knew what had Arthur reacting. He knew that this somehow stemmed down to the fact that Arthur didn’t want to be naked. He shook his head and Merlin moved away.
“Wait…” Arthur flinched at how much his voice was shaking, but he knew that he had to tell Merlin. They would never move on if he didn’t. Very slowly, he pulled up his shirt, hearing Merlin’s sharp intake of breath.
Arthur was on his back, hands cuffed to the headboard as Cendred thrust violently between his legs, not caring that his partner hadn’t been prepared enough. All he cared about was claiming, making sure that Arthur knew to whom he belonged.
“Such a slut, Pendragon. A wanton filthy whore, always begging for me, aren’t you?” Arthur hadn’t answered, too busy trying to distract himself from the pain from where Cendred was slamming into him. He should have known, he had smelt the alcohol on the other man as soon as he had got in earlier that day.
“And whores deserve to be punished. You deserve to be punished, don’t you, my little pet?” Arthur let out something that could resemble a sob as Cendred drew a knife. His breathing was erratic and terrified as it came to stop in the centre of his navel, gleaming in the dim light.
“I’m only doing this to help you, love. You know that, know that I’ll look after you.”
Arthur had been able to do nothing but scream as the blade bit into his skin. Cendred forced in one more time and came, his cock pulsing as Arthur’s blood began to flow.
That had just been the first time.
“Oh, Arthur.” Arthur didn’t realise Merlin had moved until there was a thumb brushing away the tears trickling down his face. “You think that you couldn’t show me that, that I would…”
“Think less of me? Think that I don’t deserve someone like you? You would be right in thinking it, I don’t.”
“Stop it, Arthur, stop that right now. What Cendred did to you was cruel and sadistic, but it was no way your fault, we talked about this. I love you.”
“How can you…”
“I love every inch of you, Arthur Pendragon. Every single inch.” Keeping the eye contact, Merlin dipped his head and began kissing along one of the scars that littered Arthur’s torso. Arthur’s breath caught and he knew that the tears were flowing again.
“These make you who you are, and never feel like you have to hide yourself away from me. The only scar that I worry about is the one in here.” Merlin sat back up, pressing a kiss to Arthur’s forehead. His hand entangled itself into Arthur’s hair and their foreheads rested together.
“Don’t ever let him come between us, not again.”
Arthur found himself nodding, letting his head rest on Merlin’s shoulder as his love stroked his hair soothingly. Maybe Merlin was right, maybe he should stop hiding away?
But right now, he was content with Merlin hiding him away from the rest of the world, keeping him warm and safe. Those scars might never fade, but maybe the one in his mind would over time.