Title: To Have and to Hold
Characters/pairings: Merlin and Arthur
Summary: Arthur goes to see his friend, but discovers that a friend is not what he finds or wants.
Prompt 180: Snuggle
A/N: Part four of my reincarnation series Merlin and Arthur Live Again. I hadn't planned to move ahead quite so much in my timeline, but I'd been thinking about when to do so. When I saw the prompt for this week, I knew the time was right. I'm not saying that it will be all Arthur/Merlin from now on--it might not be--but I am moving the series along so that such an inevitability is closer.
As Arthur found a seat near the top of the stadium, he looked around and felt out of place. He had only been to one Rugby match, and that had been because a cousin of his had been playing. Arthur had hoped to never grace another match again, but, as luck would have it, Merlin's school's rugby team was playing a nearby village's school's team. When Arthur had seen the schedule, he'd thought Merlin might attend, because he had loved rugby as a child and had tried to convert Arthur. Unfortunately, for Merlin, that had been a passion the two hadn't shared.
Speaking of Merlin, there were so many people around him that Arthur doubted he'd be able to locate him, and he started thinking that this had been a bad idea. If Merlin had planned to be at the match, he'd known how close it was to Camelot. Had he wanted to see Arthur, he could have contacted him, and he hadn't.
Arthur stood to leave, deciding that his father had been right. It wouldn't be pleasant having to face him and admit such, but there was nothing for it. Arthur turned to walk down the aisle, and that was when he saw him.
Arthur's breath caught in his throat.
His best friend was standing near the bottom, surrounded by a group of friends, and he was beautiful, which was an odd descriptor. Arthur had never thought of another male in such a way, but there was no denying it: Merlin was the most beautiful person Arthur had ever seen. His ears were as big as ever, but the sharp cheekbones and the deep, penetrating blue eyes gave Merlin an ethereal quality that was mesmerizing.
Arthur swallowed. Why was he thinking of Merlin this way?
"Is this seat taken?" someone asked in a deep voice, interrupting Arthur's musings.
Arthur turned his head to face the peculiar looking man and sighed, thinking this person had the worst timing ever. "No," was his terse reply, but then he tried to smile. It wasn't this stranger's fault that Arthur's thoughts were distracted by Merlin.
"Two sides of the same coin," were the next words the stranger spoke.
"What?" Arthur asked, not sure why he bothered asing. He really should ignore the odd bloke who was about to get on his last nerve.
"That young man you are staring at? He and you have great things in store."
Arthur let out a derisive laugh. It was just his luck that he'd ended up seated next to a loony. "Do we, now? Tell me what great things we have to look forward to, O Great One," he then said, exasperated that this man was wasting precious time that Arthur could be spending with Merlin.
"Your futures have been foretold for centuries. That the two of you should once again join together is but the truth."
About to tell the man to mind his own business, that last statement stopped Arthur cold. How could this man have known? Then he shook his head. The bloke was completely mad and Arthur shouldn't be paying him any heed.
"I'll be going now. It has been an honor meeting you, young man. Perhaps we shall meet again. My name is Kilgharrah. If you or your friend are ever in need, you only need call."
Then the man was gone, leaving behind a shaken Arthur, but he quickly rid his mind of the unfortunate episode and returned his attention to Merlin, who still seemed to be holding court.
What should he do? Arthur knew he should probably leave, but if he did he would never know what might have happened. Taking another deep breath, he made his decision. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and if things didn't go well, then at least Arthur would have tried, and there wasn't anything wrong with trying, was there?
He began walking down the aisle, and with each step, he gained confidence. Six years he had wondered how Merlin was, had hoped the boy was happy, had wished they could be together again. Arthur grinned. He was happier than he had been in a very long time.
Then Merlin turned to the girl seated beside him, put an arm around her, and kissed her, and it wasn't one of those small pecks on the cheek. Arthur had kissed his fair share of girls the same way, and it wasn't the kiss of friends. It was the kiss of two people who loved each other. Arthur stopped mid-step, then opened his mouth as he slowly began to understand something about himself.
Why shouldn't Merlin have a girlfriend? He was sixteen and had needs, just as Arthur did. Shouldn't Arthur be happy for him? Yes, he should, but he wasn't, and there was only one explanation. Unfortunately, it wasn't one Arthur was particularly pleased about, but the more he thought about it, the clearer it all became.
Arthur Pendragon hadn't wanted to come to a rugby match to see his best friend. He had come to see the person he had loved since the age of three. It was as simple as that, even if nothing about this new realization was simple.
Unable to witness Merlin and the girl kissing any longer, Arthur turned and retraced his steps towards the top. He wanted to get away from this place. He couldn't breathe. Why had he come? Hadn't his father told him this would only end badly for him?
Arthur shook his head and continued walking, but when Merlin called out his name a second time, Arthur stopped and turned around. He wanted so very badly to run into those arms and hold Merlin to him and never let him go, but he wouldn't.
But he had little choice when he found himself with an armful of Merlin, and he held on to the other for dear life. He might never get another opportunity to be this close to this man he now knew he loved, and this might be the closest he would ever come to a snuggle with Merlin.