Title: Forget to Remember
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Cendred
Summary: Arthur wanted to feel again.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: This is quite dark, sorry!
Arthur was impassive to the men who fucked him. He simply didn’t care. It wasn’t that he had given in. While there was breath in his body, he would fight to secure his release from Cendred’s brothels. But it was more complicated than just running and until he found a way out that wouldn’t endanger his whole kingdom, he had stopped focusing his anger on the men who came to visit him. There was no point.
Some knew who he was. He could always tell which Cendred had sent to pay him a visit, for there was a gloating look in their eye and they liked to remind him how he was serving Cendred’s kingdom rather than his own every time he gave one of them pleasure. But some were only passing through and he happened to be the whore free at the time. That was all he was now. No prince and certainly no leader.
But a hostage, one trapped and unable to leave. He knew the consequences if he did. Camelot would have to face a full siege if he stepped foot outside the four walls without permission. With the king weak and sick, Arthur knew his people wouldn’t survive that. He had tried it once. Cendred had forced him to accompany the soldiers as they marched towards Camelot. The soldiers had used him for the whole journey and Arthur had been weak by the time they reached the border. He had begged and pleaded with Cendred not to go any further. Cendred had agreed… and made it quite clear if Arthur tried to escape again, he wouldn’t be so lenient.
So here he was, not caring that he was sucking the cock of a man old enough to be his grandfather. He wasn’t putting any real effort into it. He couldn’t be bothered. The man was half-asleep anyway and Arthur wondered if he would actually survive an orgasm or whether his heart would give out. But before he got close enough to find out, the door banging open had Arthur whipping around. The soldiers sneered at his reaction, knowing it was going to take longer than a few months on his knees before Arthur stopped thinking as a knight. One flipped the old man a coin.
“Apologies, Sir. The king wants him.” The soldier glanced at Arthur. “Get dressed.”
Arthur obeyed. Not that it made much difference. The tunic was threadbare and barely covered him. He was aware of the men’s eyes on him as they shackled his hands and lead him from the room. Arthur didn’t care. This was hardly the first time Cendred had summoned him. He wondered what important guest the king had this time. Rather than letting those thoughts occupy him, Arthur breathed the fresh air deeply as he was led along. Before he knew it, he was on his knees in a chamber and Cendred’s fist was in his hair.
“You better please the Arch-Druid or I will have you whipped,” the man snarled. Arthur blinked. He hadn’t noticed a conversation had been taking place over his head. But Cendred left and Arthur realised his hands had been unchained. There was a man standing opposite him and Arthur blinked again. He was gorgeous. Then Arthur shook his head. It didn’t matter anymore. He didn’t care.
“I’m Merlin,” the stranger began. He moved forward, sticking out a hand. Rather than shaking it, however, Arthur grabbed it and moved it straight to his crotch, pressing the man’s palm against him.
“Let me serve you,” he muttered. He knew his part. It didn’t mean he was any good at playing it. Not that it usually made much difference – all of Cendred’s guests wanted the power over him. But Merlin pulled back, shaking his head.
“No. I don’t rape those brought it in chains."
“What?” Arthur stared at him. No one had ever refused him before. Merlin lifted an eyebrow.
“You think I don’t know who you are? Why Cendred has given you to me? I only sleep with those I know and care about.”
Arthur smiled. He couldn’t stop himself. It was the merest twitch of his lips, but it was more than he had done for months. Suddenly self-conscious, he tugged his tunic further down. Merlin waved his hand and Arthur found himself wrapped in a cloak. He sat on the floor, wrapping it around himself and stared up at the druid. The fabric was soft and comforting. This time, he let the thought of the man’s looks wash over him.
“What if I do want it?” He muttered. He wasn’t sure if he did. But the fact that he hadn’t been forced had caught his interest. For the first time in a while, Arthur actually felt like having a conversation with this man. He wanted to be interested and engaged. He wanted to care.
“Then you’ll have to prove it,” Merlin said. He smiled back at Arthur and the banished prince felt warmth washing over him for the first time in months. To his absolute horror, he felt tears pricking his eyes. He hadn’t cried. Not when Cendred had taken Camelot and negotiated the terms of Arthur’s imprisonment. Not when the enemy king had fucked him in front of his own father and not when the soldiers had lined up for a turn. But as Merlin moved closer and wrapped his arms around him – hesitantly at first and then firmer when Arthur didn’t pull away – he felt all those walls crashing down.
He hadn’t been indifferent this whole time. He had been feeling. But he had been so determined to stay strong that he had put up a wall and refused to acknowledge it.
“It’s alright, Arthur,” Merlin whispered. “I’m here to help you.”
“Please…” Arthur whispered, fisting a hand in Merlin’s tunic and not wanting the druid to ever let go. Arthur had forgotten what it felt like to be looked after and right now in Merlin’s arms, he wanted to remember.