Pairing/s: Possibly pre Arthur/Merlin if you like.
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Sometimes it felt as if someone was watching him.
Word Count: 775
Prompt: 132 - Haunt
Author's Notes: This also fills my hc_bingo square 'stalking' - that's 14/25 done. Thanks to deinonychus_1 for the beta.
Sometimes it felt as if someone was watching him.
Arthur paused on the corner of the street. There was that man again, the dark-haired, pale one. Arthur kept seeing him out of the corner of his eye, and then when he turned to look the man would be gone. It had been going on for months.
He was gone again when Arthur turned this time.
It was an unnerving feeling, frightening almost. It wasn’t as if Arthur couldn’t take care of himself, he’d been the fly-half for the school team, and then again at university. He could hold his own even against men twice his size, and whilst he might not win in a fight as mismatched as that, he wouldn’t go down easily. He wasn’t weak, it wasn’t that. It was just the fear of the unknown, of what might happen.
This man wasn’t twice his size. From the glimpses Arthur got, the man was thin and wiry. A fast mover too, vanishing even when there was nowhere obvious to hide. It was creepy, in all sorts of ways. Whatever the man wanted, it couldn’t be good or surely he would have come up and spoken to Arthur instead of lurking around in the shadows, staring and staring and never coming near.
Lately Arthur was sure he’d seen him heading away from the block of flats where Arthur lived. Walking with an estate agent, though from behind and in the twilight Arthur couldn’t be sure it was him, although those ears were fairly distinctive. He feared the man might be thinking of renting the empty flat downstairs. Perhaps he already had? The thought of running into him at all hours of the day and night filled Arthur with dread.
There were any number of shops that the man could have vanished into and Arthur knew from past experience that going back and checking wouldn’t do any good, the man was too elusive. Trying to ignore it, Arthur walked faster so that he would get home and could lock the door behind him as quickly as possible. At least in his own flat he felt safe. For now. Until the new neighbour moved in.
Perhaps it was time to get a flatmate? Perhaps the man had noticed Arthur lived alone and was stalking him because of that? Perhaps it was the flat directly under Arthur’s that he was looking at, and there was a good chance that it was because there were only two vacant at the moment. Perhaps during the day, when Arthur was at work he would break in, perhaps drill up through the floor so that there was no sign of entry and Arthur wouldn’t know a thing about it until there was a knife at his throat? No, that was stupid. It was a modern block of flats, the floors were concrete. The noise of the drilling would be heard. Everything could be heard in those flats, the walls and doors were so thin… Oh.
It wouldn’t take much to break down one of those doors. Arthur kept meaning to get a burglar alarm fitted but hadn’t got around to it. He’d go through the phone book as soon as he got back, find someone who would install one quickly, maybe with motion sensors as well. And a panic button…
No, he was being ridiculous, no need to go that far. The alarm would do. And perhaps he’d call Leon, see if he wanted to come over for beer and pizza. It would be fine. He hurried up the path and keyed in the security code on the front door.
Some security. All the residents would have it.
Someone was coming down the path behind him. He glanced back, and yes, it was him. The man raised a hand in greeting, and gave a nervous half-smile. He was young, probably around Arthur’s age. Attractive even, but that made no difference to how Arthur felt. Looks could be deceptive. The man had grown bolder at last, and was closer than he’d ever been. Arthur darted inside and shut the front door, heading for the stairs. He didn’t wait to hear the tapping of the keys and the ping of the correct code being accepted, but when he heard the echo of the door shutting a second time before he was even at the first floor, he knew his sanctuary had been invaded.
He feared that it was only a matter of time before there would be footsteps on the stairs, and then there would be a tap on his door, and then...
He didn’t want to think about what might happen then.