Title:Five time Arthur had to find an excuse to see Merlin and one time he didn’t
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Uther
Summary: What the title says!
Warnings: Mentions of homophobia and religious theme
Word Count 1546 (sorry, I got carried away)
Author's Notes: Thanks to derenai for the beta!
The first time, it wasn’t really to see Merlin that Arthur lied to his father.
“Father, can I go to Leon’s house on Saturday night?”
“Who’s that Leon, again?”
“My friend from the Bible study group. You’ve seen him two weeks ago. His dad works for Tintagel Inc.”
“I remember… And what are you planning to do?”
“We want to study for our History class and then watch a film and eat some pizza.”
That wasn’t totally true as Arthur didn’t mention the beer and knew the studying part wouldn’t last much longer that ten minutes.
“Ok then but be home by eleven!”
Arthur thanked his father and disappeared in his room to call Leon and let him knew he’d be there for the party on Saturday.
That Saturday, Arthur met Merlin and his world shattered at the same time as Merlin’s glass when he tripped and fell in Arthur’s arms.
Three weeks later, it was Percival’s turn to host their little party. That time, Arthur pretexted a video games night. His father wasn’t happy about his son wasting his time playing video games but as it was a rare occurrence, he agreed in the end. Arthur knew he could have told him he was going to study something or another but if he used that excuse too much, it would become suspicious as Arthur had never been a very hard-working boy.
Merlin was here again. Arthur had thought a lot about the gangly boy during the past weeks. During Leon’s party, they had talked a lot. Merlin was nothing like Arthur’s other friends. He was nerdy, loved spending hours reading, was working in a dog shelter during the week-end and hated football.
All this mixed with the bluest eyes Arthur had never seen and cheekbones from hell had kept Arthur intrigued.
Arthur had spotted Merlin immediately. He was talking to Gwen, Lancelot’s girlfriend. His arms were flailing around him as he explained something animatedly. He was cute.
Arthur shivered. He hadn’t really thought that that boy was cute, had he?
“Arthur?” he heard Merlin call from the other side of the road.
Arthur turned to face Merlin who waved before running to him. Of course he forgot to look right before doing so and nearly got hit by a passing cyclist. He promptly excused himself before resuming his path.
“Arthur! How are you? I haven’t seen you since Percy’s party. You didn’t come last week.”
Arthur didn’t know how to answer. He had knowingly tried to avoid Merlin in the past weeks. It was the only way to make his strange feelings for the boy disappear.
“I… I was sick,” he lied.
“Oh? You’re feeling better, now?” Merlin asked, worried.
“Yes… Just a cold.”
Arthur tried to ignore the butterflies that seemed to appear in his belly when Merlin smiled.
“So? You’re going home?”
“No! I’m going to the dog shelter.”
“Aren’t you working there only on Saturday?”
“One of the dog walkers is sick so I’m going to help. You should come, too, sometimes!”
Merlin enthusiasm was good to see.
“Why not,” Arthur answered noncommittally.
“Oh! What are your doing now? Because we could do with some more help! I’m not sure I can manage the five dogs by myself! Charlie is very excitable and Bouncy loves to jump around!”
Arthur had every reason to decline. The first one being the butterflies that were having a rave party in his belly. The second one, his father who was waiting for him for their weekly chess game.
Merlin’s enthusiastic smile reduced them to nothing.
“Ok! Let me just make a call!”
Merlin nodded and Arthur went away to phone his father.
“Dad! Yeah… I’m sorry but Lancelot’s dog is missing and I offered him to help with the searches… No… I’ll be there for dinner…Thanks”
It went quite smoothly in the end. His father had to like the “help your neighbor” bit.
Arthur spent the best time of his life! Of course, he ended with Charlie, the over excited Yorkshire and Bouncy, the small crossbred who would probably win a golden medal in high jump. Though, it was a little price to pay to see Merlin so relaxed and happy, playing with the dogs.
The small “goodbye” kiss had also been a great bonus.
Arthur had planned that little trip for weeks.
Merlin and he had been together for four months now and things had gone heated lately but it wasn’t easy to have some privacy between Merlin’s mother and the impossibility for them to meet at Arthur’s.
So Arthur had decided for a little trip to the countryside, in a small hotel lost in the meadows. It had spent days worrying about his Father and if he would let Arthur go. In the end, with Leon and Lancelot’s help, they had told his father they were going camping for a little retreat.
Sadly, his father hadn’t let him go, not wanting his son to be in the woods without the supervision of an adult.
Arthur had been truly disappointed but he hadn’t thrown in the towel. He had waited another two weeks, knowing that his father had a business trip planned. In these cases, his father always called a friend of his, Morgause, to keep company to Arthur.
Arthur managed to call Morgause, disguising himself as his father to cancel. Then, he told his father that Morgause had called saying she was sick. As his father was leaving the next day, they had to find a solution quickly. That’s when Arthur told his father about Morgana, Gwen’s older sister.
A few phone calls later, Morgana was enlisted as Arthur guardian for the week-end.
“It was perfect,” Merlin said, his head resting on Arthur’s naked chest. They were still covered in sweat and come but neither wanted to move yet.
“Yes… It was.”
“And this hotel is so beautiful! Can we go for a walk in the park in the morning?”
Arthur nodded. Everything if that made Merlin’s happy.
Arthur knew he was doomed – figuratively and literally – when he started skipping his Bible study group to spend some time with Merlin.
He never regretted it as he always felt utterly relaxed and happy after seeing his boyfriend.
The happiness was often short-lived, though. When he came back home and lied once again to his father, Arthur always felt bad.
He knew what his father thought about homosexuals and how he would react if Arthur were to tell him about Merlin. He knew what the vicar told them about sodomy, sin and hell… But how could something so fulfilling could be a sin? It was only love after all!
It took Arthur nearly a year to find the courage. A year of lies, of secret encounters, of nearly being caught. A year of fun, love, tenderness and happiness, too.
Of course, Arthur had told Merlin about his father and his beliefs early in their relationship. Merlin had been very understanding and had never pressured Arthur. Though, Arthur knew how hard it was for Merlin. So, he had decided that coming out to his father would be a perfect first year anniversary present (that and the puppy Arthur had chosen at the shelter with Merlin’s mother).
Arthur took a deep breath. He took his backpack and his suitcase before throwing a last glance at his room, now bare of all his souvenirs and memorabilia.
As he went down the stairs, he realized he wasn’t afraid. He was ready to hear his father’s insults and criticisms. He didn’t fear anything because he knew that Merlin and Hunith were waiting for him outside and would offer him a shelter and all the love he needed.
Arthur put his bags in the corridor before going to his father study. He found him at his desk, reading the newspaper, like every morning. Arthur looked at the Bible on the table and went on.
“Arthur! How are you today?”
“Fine… I… I just came to tell you that…”
Arthur hesitated. He had still a faint hope his father would not react badly.
“Tell me what? I’m listening, son.”
“I… I’m gay and I have a boyfriend,” Arthur blurted, his eyes fixed on his father’s face.
The insults did come. The criticisms, too. What Arthur hadn’t anticipated was the rage and the blows.
As soon as he could, Arthur fled not looking back. As expected, Hunith’s car was parked in front of the house. She gasped when she saw Arthur’s split lip but didn’t say anything as she helped him put his suitcase in the car.
Merlin was waiting for them at his house. He was pacing in the hall when they came back and immediately hugged Arthur.
“He… He hit you?” he asked, letting his fingers stroke Arthur’s lip gently.
Arthur nodded, still shocked.
“Arthur, come, we’ll look at this,” Hunith suggested, leading Arthur to the bathroom.
When Arthur went to sleep that night, Merlin in his arms, he was relieved. Even if he knew it would not go smoothly and that his father will not make it easy for him, he felt safe here with Merlin and Hunith and, mostly, he was happy not to have to lie anymore.