Character/s:Merlin, Arthur, Lance
Summary:It's the race of his life and it's gonna change Merlin's life more than he though.
Prompt: Song prompt 2
Author's Notes: Follows "You make me strong" by bunnysworld. Thanks for letting me write a sequel to your wonderful drabble! I hope you'll like it! Thanks to the lovely derenai for the beta!
Sotchi, Biathlon sprint
Merlin lay on the floor for the first prone shoot. He knew he couldn’t miss a target. It was a sprint, each mistake would own him a penalty loop and ruin his chances of achieving his goal.
He knew the podium was out of reach as much as he knew he deserved to finish in the top ten. But to make his Olympic dream true, he had to shoot perfectly. He wasn’t the best skier out there and he had to hope that some of his adversaries would make some mistakes.
He took a deep breath, checked the intensity and direction of the wind and looked through the sights.
A shoot… The click of the target shutting… A breath…
Another shoot, the target clicking… A breath…
Three more to go. Merlin was focused. Nothing else existed apart from these small black holes 50 meters away. He didn’t feel the cold, didn’t hear the crowd cheering, and didn’t see the other competitors.
When he hit the last target, Merlin let out a deeper breath. He had achieved his first objective of the race.
He stood up, put his rifle on his back, grabbed his sticks and skied away.
His trainer, Lance, was shouting on the side of the track.
« You’re P2! Keep going! Keep focused! »
Merlin knew his actual position meant nothing. Lots of contestants had still to start the race and the better were amongst them.
He just had to make the best race of his life and wait.
When Merlin crossed the line, exhaustion and relief mixed and he fell on his knees, trying to catch his breath.
Lance came running towards him, a big smile on his face.
« You’re P1, Merlin!!! P1! » he shouted as he helped Merlin get up.
They both knew it would not last but they wanted to enjoy the moment nonetheless. They hugged tightly.
As they went back to the waiting zone, Merlin looked in the stands, searching for Arthur. He spotted him easily and smiled when their eyes met. Arthur was still waving his little flag, looking proud and happy. It made Merlin feel warmer.
Time was passing by and contenders were arriving but none of them had been faster than Merlin. Slowly, he allowed himself to hope for a top ten finish… And then he was second. It wasn’t really a deception, more a logical outcome…
He stayed in P2 for a long time. Arthur was beaming with pride from the stands. Lance had a hard time hiding his stress.
Only two skiers left… The best but one of them had to do a penalty loop… Whatever would happen, Merlin would be at least fourth, exceeding his hopes.
Merlin couldn’t believe it… He walked to the podium like it was a dream. He was an Olympic medallist!
When the hostess put the bronze medal around his neck, he felt his stomach tighten. The weight of the medal was real, everything was real. He had won a medal for his country! All these years of training, of sacrifices, of ups and downs were finally worth it!
Of course, Merlin knew he wouldn’t have made it without Lance’s support and guidance. And there was Arthur. Arthur who had been by his side for five years now. Arthur who had never left him even when injuries had made Merlin angry and resentful. Arthur who had stayed even if Merlin couldn’t acknowledge him as his better half.
But now, on that podium, Merlin felt strong and fearless. If he had managed to win an Olympic medal, everything else should be possible.
Three weeks later, in London.
Light was sweeping though the blinds but Merlin didn’t want to move. Lie-ins were a rare treat in a sportsman’s life. Sharing it with Arthur only made it better.
Merlin closed his eyes again and nestled closer to his boyfriend. Arthur grunted in his sleep and his arms tightened around Merlin’s waist.
After his Olympic medal in the sprint, Merlin had taken part in the pursuit and the mass start. When he had finished at an honourable eighth place in the pursuit, he had missed out the mass start, tiredness getting the better of him. Then, Lance had given him two free weeks before getting back to training. Two weeks that Merlin intended to spend with Arthur, enjoying a simple life. He wanted to go out with him, watch films, go to the cinema, run in the park in the mornings…
“Merlin...” Arthur grumbled, “Stop thinking so much. It’s too early.”
Merlin smiled. Arthur really knew him best.
“I was thinking about all the things I wanted to do with you in the next two weeks,” Merlin confessed before kissing Arthur’s torso.
“I hope it involves lots of lie-ins, morning blowjobs and afternoon sex,” Arthur said, turning to face Merlin and kiss him on the lips.
“You know I’m supposed to rest?”
“I can do all the work if you want.”
They smiled. Merlin had missed moments like this in the past months.
“Arthur?” he asked, suddenly more serious.
There was this thing he wanted to ask Arthur since the Olympics and he thought that it could be the right moment.
“I… You know, when I was on the podium, I realised how much you’ve done for me in the past years. How you supported me even when I was awful to you. You never asked for anything…”
“Of course, I didn’t ask for anything! I’ve done all this because I love you, Merlin!”
“I know that but… I think you deserve some kind of recognition nonetheless.”
“I don’t understand.”
Arthur sat on the bed, drawing Merlin with him so they could lean against the headboard.
“I want to come out and tell everybody you’re my boyfriend,” Merlin said, his eyes fixed on the wall in front of him, his body slightly tenser.
“I… I want to come-out. If I was able to win that medal, I’m strong enough to face the consequences of this. And I want you to stop hiding who you really are for me. But-”
“No buts!” Arthur cut, “Of course I want it!”
And then Arthur kissed Merlin and it was like being on that podium again, feeling strong, invincible. A dream finally coming true.