Title: Too Good to Believe
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, others mentioned
Summary: Merlin changes his mind about Arthur.
Word Count: 936
Author's Notes: This is the conclusion to my drabble from last week, I Almost Saw the Light.
Will tracked me down last week and gave me your letter. I've asked him to deliver this response, and I sincerely hope he'll be able to find you. I described you, as well as Mordred and Morgause, and I told him of a few places he might find one of you.
I didn't believe—I never imagined the things you spoke of. I'm still not sure if I can imagine them, but I'm trying. I'm trying so hard, Arthur.
I know I haven't underestimated myself, but I definitely underestimated you. You have so much love to give.
You asked me about my dreams, but the truth is that I haven't dreamed of anything but comfort in many years. The comfort of your love kept me in London for far longer than I should have stayed.
I want warmth, feather pillows, soft blankets. I want a new pair of trousers, ones that don't have holes that show off my knobbly knees for the whole world to laugh at. I want a brand-new pair of shoes, and at least one pair of socks. I've been taking a shower almost every day now, but without socks, my feet get quite smelly. If you were here, I'd wave them in your face until you laughed and smacked them away.
I want more than a bakery's castoffs, for both of us. And I'm sorry to ruin a fond memory for you, but I don't even like apple turnovers.
I still know that I'm not the best choice for you, but I'm selfish, Arthur. I've never missed anyone the way I miss you. As awful as it is to be apart from you, though, keeping you in squalor just because you love me would be even worse.
But okay. I'm willing to try your mad plan, if you haven't yet come to your senses about me. I'm in Brighton, squatting in an empty rental cottage. There's a new mattress, on a real frame, and a working bathroom. I won't be able to stay here much longer, but if you come, maybe we can find a room to rent. I have a little extra money right now.
Or we can go to another city. It doesn't matter to me. I've never had a place to call home, except for the few short months I spent in your embrace.
You can find me outside the entrance to Brighton Pier, any afternoon. Most days, I perform magic tricks, rather than stealing from the tourists. Being able to wash up seems to earn me a bit more cash, and the haul is a little better than it is from pickpocketing. I know you said what I do to earn a living doesn't matter to you, but I am less miserable when I can do honest work.
I do hope you'll come, but please know that it won't be any easier for us here than it was in London.
I'm so sorry, Arthur. It was wrong of me to dismiss your situation as the result of a youthful rebellion. I didn't mean any of that; I was just trying to push you away. I'm so glad that I didn't succeed. I'll do my best never to hurt you again.
[one year and six months later]
I hope your shift tonight was uneventful. You know how much I like the muscles you've built up since you started the cargo-loading job, but I hope you can find different work soon. If your back is aching again when you get in, please wake me and I'll give you a massage. The gift shop got in some new lotion today. Nice to have an employee discount there. I don't think you'll mind the scent this time—sandalwood, not that awful floral stuff again.
Turn this note over and list any groceries you want me to pick up after my shift tomorrow. With the overtime you've picked up lately, we have enough money in our account for a real grocery run. We definitely won't have to do ramen all month again.
So, I know we need milk and a loaf of bread. Maybe some raisin bread would be good this time, yeah? Oh, and do you want any more of those cheese & onion crisps you like?
I'm going to plug in the electric blanket for you before I go to sleep, but please do try to keep it on your side of the bed tonight. I get so sweaty when you use it. Or better yet, wake me so that we can make love instead. We both know I'm far better at warming you up. I don't have to be at work until noon tomorrow, so unless you're completely fatigued yourself, don't worry about the time.
Arthur, my love,
I never, ever thought the day would come when we could buy not only everything we needed, but almost anything we wanted. I'm standing here in the kitchen, tired but happy, crying over the thought of cheese & onion crisps, of all things.
These days, the only dark thought that haunts me is the fear that I'll never be able to thank you as thoroughly as you deserve for all that you've done for me. I can only say that I love you with all that I am.
But words really aren't enough, are they? I'm hurrying to the bedroom now to attempt to show you my gratitude.
P.S. I've just noticed that my silly tears have smudged this note. Sorry. And yes, raisin bread sounds perfect.