Title: Ebony Wings
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: In which, Merlin realizes that out of everything going right, there's still something wrong.
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: #108 - Exquisite
Author's Notes: I live. Mostly. I saw this prompt and thought it'd be good for what I had in mind for this verse. I figured it's about time I moved this train along anyway. And thus: the plot thickens! Our main couple has also been established... :)
Anyways, enjoy. Read the rest of the series, Angels & Demons, if you haven't yet! Thanks to rottencreampuff for the beta!
It's been just under a month.
This, Merlin realizes, is a rather foreign experience to him. These feelings that he's been trying to sift through, trying to comprehend for just under a month, are just now known to him as foreign. Perhaps exotic is a better word, though.
He's lingered in the Human world for a little too long now. He needs to go back, back to his own realm, he knows this. But he can't seem to stray, not quite yet. His Angel has longer leave than he, and how can he leave him, now that they've become...what they are?
Merlin smiles to himself. His Angel. Yes, Arthur is all his now. There isn't a spark or flare of resistance within him any longer. Sure, there is uncertainty, there is hesitance, but Arthur denies him no longer. In fact, he offers himself willingly, and it gives Merlin a gruesome satisfaction to see the purity slowly slipping away from what once surrounded him.
He wishes that he could mark him. Stars, how wonderful it would be to mark him, to brand him as his and only his. He wants to mark him inside and out, make him eternally his, for no one else to touch. Nothing would make him happier than to do so, nothing would make him happier to know that Arthur would never be swayed by anyone else, never be enraptured by anyone else.
But he can't. It's too dangerous. And he won't risk it. He won't risk Arthur's life so carelessly now that Arthur has handed himself over.
So for now, Merlin finds solace in their little place. It isn't much, granted, but it's theirs, solely theirs, where no one will reach them, where no one will find them. They hardly ever even stay here, but at times, at fractions, at moments like these, well, they revel in it.
He wishes moments like these could go on forever, to last an infinite stretch of minutes, seconds, and hours. He wants to preserve this moment, to catch it in a bottle and keep it with him, always.
Merlin sighs quietly. Such is a fruitless dream.
Next to him, he feels a shift in the bed. Arthur stirs, opening his eyes, bleary and a tad bit confused, if Merlin were to say so. He can't help but smile, and he can't resist the urge to reach out, petting his hair.
Arthur tenses, as if on the alert, but as if remembering himself, remembering where he is and what's happened, he sobers. He shoulders drop and he calms, allowing Merlin to comb his fingers through soft blond hair.
He leans down and presses a kiss to his forehead. “How do you feel?”
Arthur shrugs slightly, and shifts again, before wincing. “Sore.”
“That tends to happen. I'm sorry, I tried to be gentle with you.”
Arthur rolls his eyes. “Fat lot of good that did.”
Merlin laughs, low in his throat. He runs the back of his hand along Arthur's cheek, and he relishes in the way that Arthur doesn't pull away, that he just lets him, that he even looks like he loves it.
To his benefit, Arthur gives him a tender smile, and Merlin can't help but feel his heart soar at that. This, again, is such a peculiar feeling, for this is an emotion he's never faced before. There's always been lust, hunger, desire, but never this, this pure, innocent feeling. He hadn't even known he was capable of feeling it.
Love. Love. He loves this Angel. He loves his body and his fierce, strong personality and his intelligent mind. He loves him, he loves him, and he can't bring himself to hate himself for it. No, Merlin can't hate himself for loving Arthur. Even if he thinks he should.
“You're staring,” Arthur quips, narrowing his gaze a bit. “It's kind of creepy.”
“Sorry,” Merlin replies, smiles. “You're just so beautiful. It's hard to keep my eyes off of you.”
Merlin takes great pleasure in the way that color rises on Arthur's cheeks, how he casts his eyes downwards, before rolling over, his back facing to him. He takes this moment to take a good look at Arthur's wings.
He'd never noticed before, since they were always hidden beneath the folds of his clothes, but they're so white, exquisite, like a work of art. It looks so fragile but yet, it's not, and he knows it. It contrasts so much to his own, which remind him of shadows, the darkness that he dwells in so often. His eyes trace how the wings are so well-kept and taken care of, and he follows the bone structure, enamored, until he notices something out of place.
Merlin narrows his gaze, slightly, briefly. He begins to reach out, but hesitates, and pulls his hand back. Instead, he just tilts his head, propping himself up on his elbow, scrutinizing.
One of the feathers is darker than the rest. Not just that, it's black. It's just there, out of place completely, out of order, out of context. But why is it there...?
Arthur peers over his shoulder, quirking a brow. Merlin wipes away his look of scrutiny, and instead replaces it with his usual one.
“Come here,” he says quietly, and is relieved when Arthur rolls over, as per his instruction. He pulls him into his arms, feeling the warm press of his skin. He presses their foreheads together. “Little angel, my little angel,” he whispers, before kissing him.
Arthur readily complies, letting him in, letting him take and take as if there's nothing he's ever wanted more, and Merlin aches with the need, the desire to have him again, and again. It fills him so much he thinks he'll burst with the intensity of it.
Even so, that black feather raises bells for him somewhere in the back of his mind. As Merlin rearranges their positions, gently shifting Arthur beneath him, he makes a mental note to look into Angels and darkening wings.