Title : Like A Moth To A Flame
Rating : G
Pairing/s: Arthur/Merlin (one-sided)
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Lancelot, Gwen, (Gwaine, Elyan, Percival, Leon)
Summary : Pride has never been one of Merlin’s sins.
Warnings : None.
Word Count : 854
Prompt : #81 TMoS: Pride.
Author's Notes : Okay, this is my second Merthur fanfic (third fanfic period). This is right after Merlin says Arthur might need to take control and become King (The Coming of Arthur: Part 2). Huge thanks to tin-d0g (tumblr), for talking to me through this and helping me with a few terms I was confused about.
Pride has never been one of Merlin’s sins. Sure, he has always wanted to be known for whom he is, and to get credit for what he’s done, but he isn’t consumed by it. He has never thought himself to be more important than other people and he’s certainly never thought himself to be more attractive than others (being Arthur’s manservant and spending a lot of time around the knights had ensured that). The point was, Merlin was not absorbed in himself.
Point could be made about his overflowing pride for Arthur, though. He was probably more proud of Arthur than Hunith was of Merlin.
Jealousy: he knows. Jealousy—to him—has eyes as blue as the ocean and hair more sun-kissed than he’s ever seen, Jealousy has golden skin and a smile that can light up a whole town. Or perhaps more accurately: Jealousy has dark curly hair and brown eyes.
Merlin’s still light-headed from the thought of Arthur being King in the near future when they enter the courtyard on horseback. He sees Gwen first, gracious and beautiful on her white horse, and then he sees Leon and Percival and Elyan and Lancelot and Gwaine (one by one as they make the turn); and a grin stretches his mouth. They’re knights now, he thinks with a heady rush. They represent all that is changed in Camelot, and all that will change in the future.
Gwaine looks at him; grins and winks, and Merlin grins back. Arthur stands up for some reason, probably to greet them, but Merlin’s too occupied with the sight that he only looks at Arthur after he’s taken a step forward. He looks back at Gwaine, but he’s looking away now. So Merlin looks at Lancelot. He grins harder. Lancelot’s dream has finally come true. There’s a rush of pleasure that goes through him when he realizes that all these men: Lancelot and Gwaine, and Elyan and Percival are going to serve Arthur. Not Uther. Arthur is their leader (their King). He knighted them.
Merlin absently notices Gwen dismounting and looks at her. Which is a big mistake because Arthur is there, helping her down and leaning down to kiss her and Merlin quickly looks away. He feels the fist around his heart clench. He instinctively looks at Lancelot, who watches them both for a second before looking away himself. His eyes fall on Merlin and he gives a curt nod, and Merlin is suddenly reminded of how much he has suffered before becoming a knight. Of how much they all have suffered. He is reminded of the fact that suffering still awaits. Lancelot is still looking at him in an odd way and Merlin feels nerves cut through his despair. Sometimes, Merlin thinks that Lancelot knows about what he feels for Arthur. Sometimes he thinks everyone knows. He wouldn't be surprised if they did.
He looks back at Arthur, who’s embracing Gwen now. Merlin feels the smile slip from his face but he doesn't look away. He knows he shouldn't feel the ache in his chest every time he looks at Arthur and Gwen together. Gwen is his friend, she has stood by him for so long and Arthur—Arthur is Merlin’s everything. Arthur is the sun and the moon and night and day. Arthur is every breath Merlin takes and every tear he sheds. Arthur is like a magnet. He makes people want, even if they shouldn't, even if they have no business wanting him. He makes people slowly drift toward himself with his magnetic beauty. He’s like a flame, burning bright and glorious and Merlin is like a moth—mindlessly attracted to its beauty even though he knows it will burn him.
Merlin shakes himself out of that line of thought (no use thinking about something that’ll only hurt him more). He should be happy for them, he knows. As they break apart from their embrace, he realizes that: in some odd way, he is happy for them. He’s happy that they found such unconditional love within each other, and that they make each other happy. It’s just that … sometimes (most of the times), Merlin wants. He wants so much that he feels it burn his soul. And in those moments when his world goes dull and grey, he’s jealous of her. In those moments, he wants to go to his small room and curl in bed and let all the tears flow. He doesn't want to pretend to be happy.
Merlin is still sitting with his elbows on his knees when they start walking up the stairs. Arthur doesn't pause when he passes Merlin, but he puts a hand on his shoulder and squeezes lightly. And just like that, Merlin’s world is flooded with color again. He stands up and follows Arthur inside—just like a moth to a flame. Arthur might not love him the way Merlin does, but Arthur does love him (even though he’d never admit it). And sometimes—sometimes when the sun is shining and Arthur is laughing brightly the way he never quiet does anymore—it’s quite good enough.