Title: One Room For a Start
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Uther
Summary: Arthur and Merlin have been invited to the Pendragon estate for the weekend, with hopes that Arthur and his father can come to an understanding and begin to mend the rift between them.
Word Count: 554
Prompt: #72 Acceptance
Author's Notes: Thank you to inspired_being for beta'ing my stories. This drabble is a continuation of my 'Once in A Blue Moon' series which can be read on AO3 here. Sorry this is late. :(
"You might as well admit it, Arthur. You're nervous."
"Am not," Arthur responded as he drove towards the Pendragon family estate. He hadn't been to the imposing country home in seven months. His last visit was a disaster when he came out to his father. Much shouting ensued with Uther insisting he would be dis-inherited and Arthur screaming he didn't care since his father couldn't accept him for who he was. They had not spoken to each other since, except briefly the previous month when Arthur had been in an accident.
"I can tell you're agitated because you keep twisting your ring." Merlin knew Arthur well enough to know his moods, even though they had only been dating three weeks.
Arthur looked down at his hands on the steering wheel and immediately stopped playing with his ring. "Why did this have to be a weekend visit?" Arthur muttered.
"You know, we can turn around now and go back home. But all you would be doing is continuing to avoid the problem."
Arthur sighed. "I know. I really want to have a relationship with my father, but only if he can accept me for who I am."
"So we'll find out this weekend if he will."
"Are you sure you really want to do this, to share a bed?" Arthur asked Merlin. Their physical relationship hadn't advanced beyond some serious snogging sessions.
"Share the bed, but that's all," Merlin cautioned. "This situation is too emotionally charged to advance to anything more than that this weekend."
"You don't mind if everyone thinks we are lovers?" Arthur kept his eyes on the road, avoiding Merlin's gaze.
Merlin smiled. "No, I don't mind. I think it's just a matter of time, don't you?"
Arthur chanced a quick glance at his boyfriend, saw the smile and returned it. "Yeah, I do," he said softly.
The butler, Bertrand, showed Arthur and Merlin into the wood-paneled billiards room. Uther was at the billiards table, chalking up his cue. "Arthur," Uther acknowledged. "And your friend's name again?"
Arthur's nostrils flared at Uther's tone, but he kept his voice civil as he made introductions. "Father, this is Merlin Emrys. Merlin, my father, Uther Pendragon."
"Welcome to the Pendragon ancestral home, Merlin," Uther said with superiority.
"Thank you, sir. It was very gracious of you to invite me." Uther raised an eyebrow, because they both knew Merlin was only there because Arthur refused to come without him.
Arthur interceded before the stares became glares. "It was a tiring drive. I think we'd like to rest up before dinner. Could you have Bertrand take our bags up to my old room?" Now Uther turned his attention to Arthur and it was as if the temperature had dropped several degrees immediately.
"I'm sure you'd be more comfortable in a couple of the guest rooms."
"No, we'll be just fine in my old room," Arthur countered stubbornly.
Uther held his son's gaze for a long moment. Then he blinked and nodded his head slightly. "Very well. Bertrand, see to it."
Arthur slowly let out the breath he was holding. He'd settle for a grudging acknowledgement from his father, if that was all he could get. He knew the proud man didn't back down easily and this was his way of showing Arthur a start toward acceptance.