Title: Arthur's Worst Experience
Characters/pairings: Merlin and Arthur
Summary:Arthur receives some bad news from Merlin.
Prompt 178: Experience
A/N: Part two of my reincarnation series that has not yet been named. The first installment was last week's entry.
"Can I go over to Merlin's, Mum?" Arthur asked as he sat down at the kitchen table and grabbed a biscuit from the tin.
"Not today, Arthur," was her reply, sadness infusing her voice as she closed the notebook she'd been writing in. "Merlin isn't feeling well; his mother called earlier and said he wasn't up to company today."
Wasn't up to company? Since when was Arthur company? He had always been welcome in Merlin's home, even when Merlin had been feeling unwell. He opened his mouth to ask what was going on, but before he could do so, his mother stood, pushed her chair under the table, and looked at Arthur, that same sadness he had heard now evident. Something was wrong. Arthur was getting scared. What was going on? Everyone had been acting strangely ever since the day after Merlin's birthday, and Arthur didn't understand. "What aren't you telling me, Mum? Is there something wrong with Merlin?" Arthur felt ill. Merlin had to be alright.
"Arthur, love, I've something to tell you, but I have no idea how to do so."
Arthur swallowed. It had to do with Merlin. He knew that much. "Merlin's not dangerously ill like he was two years ago, is he?" Two years earlier, Merlin had come down with a bad case of the flu and the doctors hadn't been sure he would recover. Arthur's parents had prepared him for the possibility that Merlin might not survive. But he had. Did he have the flu again? "Please tell me he's okay. I can't lose him, Mum," Arthur said, knowing his attachment to his best friend was perhaps somewhat unhealthy, at least his father thought so, but he couldn't help it. Merlin and he had been the best of friends since they were old enough to speak, and Arthur's world revolved around the boy with the large ears who told the most amazing stories. At any time, whenever Arthur was stressed because of his father's unrealistic expectations of his son, all Arthur need do was see Merlin and all was right with the world. If he lost that….
"Merlin and his family are moving, love."
Arthur stood on the front porch and waited patiently, hoping that Mrs. Emrys would allow him inside to see Merlin. If she said no, Arthur didn't know what he would do. He needed Merlin. Merlin couldn't leave. A new set of tears found their way down his face as he watched the door open and Merlin's mother invite him inside. Arthur nodded and began to walk towards Merlin's room, but stopped when he was pulled into a hug by Merlin's mother.
"I'm so sorry, Arthur. I wish it didn't have to be this way, love," she said, her voice shaking. "Now run along. Merlin's waiting for you," she said, clearing her throat.
Arthur neared his best friend's bedroom and frowned when he noticed the door was closed. Merlin never shut his door. Never. Arthur knocked and not even a second passed before the door flew open and Merlin threw himself at his best friend and hugged him for dear life. Arthur hugged him back. They couldn't take Merlin away from him. They just couldn't.
"I don't want to go, Arthur," Merlin said through his sobs as he dug his hands into the back of Arthur's shirt and held on as if someone were trying to pull the two of them apart.
"Why are you moving? I don't want you to move, Merlin." Arthur couldn't imagine a life without Merlin in it. Merlin made him smile. Who would make him smile if Merlin left?
Merlin pulled away and went to sit on his bed, but he pulled Arthur with him and smiled when Arthur joined him and wiped away the new batch of tears that were falling down Merlin's face. "I have a secret, Arthur. If anyone finds out, my family will be in trouble. My daddy says we have to leave for our safety."
"Can you tell me what your secret is?" Arthur asked, scared, but wanting to know. Merlin was his best friend. He would never tell anyone the secret.
"You won't like me anymore if I tell you," Merlin said, taking a breath and composing himself.
"How can you say that, Merlin? I love you. And you told me you love me. How could I ever not like you? There is nothing that you could tell me that would make me not like you. Please tell me."
"Er, I have magic. I always knew I was different, but it wasn't until I had that dream the other night that I discovered the truth."
Arthur couldn't help but giggle. Magic? Merlin had magic? Their games where Merlin had magic had always seemed so real. That was because his best friend could really do those things they had imagined? Arthur was amazed and perhaps just a little envious. "Merlin, you're such a clotpole! I thought you were going to tell me you were dying or something horrible like that."
"But your father is so against magic. He doesn't like it when we pretended I could do magic," Merlin said.
"I'm not my father, Merlin. And just so you know, I think you being able to do magic is the best thing ever. That means one day you can magic us back together," and the grin that Arthur had was only marred by the lingering tears that continued to fall from earlier.
Merlin smiled and let out a shaky breath. "Here I was thinking I was about to experience losing my best friend.
"Never. I still don't want you to go," and Arthur felt the tears as they returned.
"Me either, but I'll come find you when I'm old enough," Merlin said, "and when I find you no one will be able to ever take us away from one another again. Like you said, my magic will find you, There is nothing that will keep us apart, I promise. We'll be together forever.
"Together forever," Arthur repeated.