Rating: PG-13 for language~
Character/s: old!Arthur and old!Merlin aww yiss
Summary: For a moment, Merlin saw the young Arthur again, passionate and reckless, asking him for a walk in the middle of the hall, in times when two men walking side by side at night was something to be suspicious, punished upon. He saw Arthur’s blue eyes burning like those times he talked about politics, and music, and life; he saw the man he fell completely in love with, the one he could never say no to, the one that only came when he wanted to.
Warnings: Language, but is not that atrocious--they're old people, gosh.
Word Count: 1428 (oops? D: abdfkkdbf)
Prompt: #62 -- Undeniable.
Author's Notes: As usual, I have no idea where this came from. I'm sorry for being late D: (and I'm also sorry for writing more than 1k D: ajbkbdf). I was going to babble a bit more, but I don't remember what I was going to say, so I might as well just let you read xD
It was nice to know that every effort in Merlin’s life was, by rule, enjoyed by someone else. He hadn’t really minded at first, since the things he did were mostly for pleasuring himself, and recognition wasn’t something he yearned for like the rest. Now, though, after living quite a lot of years and falling into the same pattern, Merlin reasoned he should do something about it.
He tried “speaking up” and demonstrating how his pieces were his, attempting on making others believe that he’d been robbed throughout the years, but to no avail. It was too late to speak up, to let everyone know who he was, and a small, tiny bit of himself already knew that.
It was ridiculous, but yet Merlin tried to reason with the cause of all his troubles—with the man that had been stealing his fame and claiming to be the author of the symphonies that had captured a lot of people’s hearts.
He is not going to care, Merlin muttered under his breath as the door flung open and a petite, young woman peered her head just enough to see the intruder. “Hello,” Merlin coughed, heart thumping in his chest. “I’m here to see Mr. Pendragon?”
The girl smiled. “Mr. Emrys, of course. Come in,” she stepped aside and took his coat, gesturing him in direction of the studio Merlin knew too well. It had been a long time ago, Merlin had been foolish enough back then to fall for the trap, and Arthur cunning enough to make him believe it was all Merlin’s plan. “He’s been waiting for you,” the woman—who Merlin reasoned should be an employee, for she was too young to fall for Arthur’s ploys—mentioned as he made his way there.
He knocked softly when he reached the door, heart still throbbing, and when a jagged “Come in” came from within, Merlin braced himself and walked inside.
It isn’t fair, was the first thing Merlin’s mind came up with as his eyes met the beautiful thief, who despite the years still had that sparkle in his eyes, the broad shoulders and the soft smile. He repressed the urge to groan, because Arthur had prepared himself, was already working his allurements to prevent what he very well knew Merlin would ask.
“Merlin!” he opened his arms, a welcoming gesture that would have young Merlin running at him and forgetting all his worries in a second. But this Merlin knew better, so he just nodded and settled for the chair, Arthur’s arms still open. Merlin didn’t miss the slight smirk that was playing in the other’s mouth. His eyebrows shot up for a slim second, accepting the challenge, and sat down in the closest chair.
“You know why I’m here,” Merlin grumbled before his strength faltered. Arthur’s little smirk widened as he rested his weight in the arm of the chair that was nearer to Merlin, eyes dancing.
“Do I?” he asked in a low voice, his fingers tapping lightly over Merlin’s knee.
“Yes, you do!” Merlin pulled him away, and Arthur laughed. “You silly old man, we’re not twenty anymore! This is important!”
“Oh, I’m sure it is,” Arthur was still laughing, his blue eyes shining like Merlin remembered. “But I’m afraid it’s a bit late for you to claim your prize. Really, Merlin? You think about gaining your reputation after thirty years? Only you can come up with something like that,” he said fondly, but Merlin didn’t allow himself to think it through.
“If you could just—“
“What? Said we wrote it together?” the smile had vanished from Arthur’s lips. “I’m not going to say I stole it,” Merlin’s eyes widened. “Oh, yes, you silly old man,” he remarked, snarling. “I might be old but I still have ears in this town. I’m no thief, and you know that.”
“How can you not be a thief while you’ve been claiming all of my work as your own?!”
“You gave it to me!”
Merlin gaped. “You can’t seriously pretend that that argument is true,” he growled. “You know better than I what you did so that I could handle it over!”
“So you’re admitting you gave it to me?” Arthur’s eyes were shining again.
“Oh, bugger off!” Merlin stood up, shaking. “I don’t even know why I came here, I knew this would happen, you stupid sodding tart, you always do this,” he was mumbling. He dragged his feet towards the door and fought back the urge to do something terrible to Arthur.
“Wait, Merlin. Merlin!” Arthur caught his arm, and Merlin summoned all his powers to not strike the man’s face. He glowered at him, and Arthur laughed again. “Please, don’t be mad at me.” Merlin was very mad at him. “It was a long time ago, and you always said—no, wait,” Merlin had tried to jerk his hand away. “You always said you didn’t care! How was I supposed to know that you were just saying that without meaning it?”
“Arthur, I was twenty three years old and you were the first person that had ever made cow eyes at me. I would have said anything.”
“I didn’t made cow eyes at you!” Arthur sputtered, his cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink. “I was just—you know,” he ran a hand through the air, as if that would explain it.
“Trying to steal my creations?”
“No!” he ran a hand through his hair. “I just—I really liked you, alright? Was that what you wanted me to say?” he didn’t wait for an answer. “Well, yes, I did. And you were an idiot, that you have to know. I knew it was wrong to steal your artwork like that, but I was young, and stupid, and selfish enough to do what I did, and you deserve an apology. But I meant it when I said that it’s too late to gain your reputation.” For a moment, Merlin saw the young Arthur again, passionate and reckless, asking him for a walk in the middle of the hall, in times when two men walking side by side at night was something to be suspicious, punished upon. He saw Arthur’s blue eyes burning like those times he talked about politics, and music, and life; he saw the man he fell completely in love with, the one he could never say no to, the one that only came when he wanted to.
They stared at the other for a short second, and then Merlin broke free. “Don’t think I’ll fall again, you idiot!” he waited for the laughter, or the smile, but neither came. Again, Merlin didn’t allow himself to think it over—it might be another trick, and he hated falling for them, hated giving in, unable to say no. Arthur looked sad, but let him go, mumbled “Think what you want,” and returned to his chair.
Merlin stood there for a couple of minutes, dumbfounded, watching as Arthur wrote something down on a piece of paper. When he gained enough anger again, he turned on his heels and started over the door.
“I always thought that my obstinacy would be a problem, with you being a stubborn prick as well,” he heard Arthur say. “I just—I thought we could’ve handle it well, sometime.” Merlin turned to look at him and found him staring at his lap. “I’m sorry.”
Merlin groaned and walked over to him. “You’re an asshole,” he said, and Arthur’s eyebrows shot up again. “You can’t just say something like that after thirty years and expect me to weep and come back and—and—“ his eyes were watering and he cursed himself, cursed Arthur and cursed the Universe for making him like that. He opened and closed his mouth several times and then had to wipe his eyes off with his sleeve. Arthur had stood up by then, and was now holding his hands softly.
“I’m not going to kiss you,” Merlin choked out, doing his best to glare at Arthur. “It was a long time ago and you’re probably doing this on purpose, you terrible—“
“You really are stubborn.” Arthur sighed and cupped Merlin’s face in his hands, drowning the man’s protests by pressing his mouth over his’ tenderly. Merlin gave in again, as he always did, but still glared when Arthur released him. “God, I missed you,” the formerly blonde said, stroking his thumb over Merlin’s cheek.
“Does this mean you’ll say we wrote it together?”
“God, no,” and before Merlin jolted away from him again, Arthur kissed him one more time.