Title: Method Acting
Summary: Merlin waits for Arthur
Warnings: None, unless you count Merlin going a little unhinged
Word Count: 441
Author's Notes: Not sure how I wanted this to turn out... not sure if I like it either...
Merlin spends his time pretending to live.
He has qualifications, because he keeps going back to University as a ‘mature’ student, because after all, he has to have something distracting to do with his days. And if he puts on the right age, the students will drag him out with them and he’ll get to feel caught up with their energy, buoyed with it, hurtling between bars and clubs and the lips of tall, strong men…
In the morning he’ll almost regret it, if only because he’ll have to sneak out of the man’s bed, walk shamefully back to his flat. That’s how they say he should feel, anyway. What he feels, instead, is numb. With a dull ache, somewhere in the region of his stomach, where he’s always waiting, always wanting.
At weekends he exercises his magic. Works through old texts, keeping up his knowledge. But it’s not as if he finds the thrill in it any more. It’s like an old car, taking it out for a quick drive to keep it ticking over, to keep the engine going for when it might be needed.
There are nights in the pub with his colleagues, after he’s qualified. Money is never a problem for him; he works to immerse himself in something not waiting for Arthur, to keep his mind occupied and working. Sometimes he wishes for poverty, for that need to survive, that thrill he hasn’t felt for so many centuries. Sometimes he wishes for anything to vibrate within him, to lodge within him and keep its place there, even a mechanism if need be, something to shock him into engaging with the world fully, like he did in his first lifetime, or even his second, or third.
More than anything, he wants Arthur. So much that he forgets that’s what the feeling is, sometimes, forgets that other people don’t have a marrow-deep need just to keep going, to wait through the time that stands between them, as much a part of him as his magic.
He uses his façade; he hides behind it and the office gossip and pretending to try to find a guy to date, and he forgets that too, sometimes. Forgets it isn’t true; but that’s not really right, either, because he never feels it. Merlin isn’t a method actor. But sometimes he falls into the routine of it, the ebb and flow, back and forth, the heartbeat of the city, of the kingdom as was, and sometimes the time he’s waiting for, the time he’s waiting to continue, both seem so very far away. And Merlin isn’t really sure what he’s pretending any more.