Title: All Is Not Well on the Homefront
Summary: Life has never been easy for Merlin and it’s about to get tougher.
Prompt 186: Domestic
A/N: Part eleven of my reincarnation series Merlin and Arthur Live Again.
“Yeah, well, I’ll give you that. Cricket’s possibly safer than rugby, but it’s boring as hell, Will,” Merlin said as he walked into his room, where his mother was seated on his bed, holding a picture in her hand. She was crying. He swallowed, not even wanting to think why. He turned to Will, who had stopped for some reason. “Er, Will, I need to talk to my mum, I’ll call you later, yeah?”
“Yeah, sure. Tell your mum thanks for the biscuits.”
Merlin nodded and then turned to look at his mother. She had been overly emotional recently because it was nearing the time for him to leave for University, so he hoped that was all it was, but with all the drama that had ruled their lives for so long, he never took anything for granted. “What’s wrong?” he asked as he sat beside her. He looked over her shoulder and saw that the picture was of him and his father. Merlin had probably been four or five when it was taken. “Is Father okay? Please tell me he’s okay, Mum.”
“He called today to tell me he isn’t coming home,” was her response, voice thick with emotion.
“Why?” Merlin thought he knew the answer, but he wanted there to be another explanation.
“You know why, Merlin.”
And he did. His father might have taken on a new job, but his magic was still there and he was still using it and it was still a danger to them. He shook his head. He should have known that things were too good to be true. Just when he thought things were calming down, this had to happen. “Has he just abandoned us then? Does he forget that we don’t care if we have to move again? Doesn’t he know that all that matters is that we are together?” Merlin was about to lose it, but he wouldn’t. “I can’t believe he would do this to us!”
“Don’t be angry, Merlin. He’s doing it to protect us.”
“No, Mum, he's doing this to protect me. I’m so tired of this family having to live under duress because of me. It’s not fair to you,” and then it was too much and Merlin roughly wiped away a tear. “I’m sorry,” then he stood and left his room, needing to get away. He had no idea where he would go, but he needed to think.
He walked to the park, sat on his usual bench, and watched the kids play. They all looked so innocent and as if they hadn’t a care in the world. They didn’t know how good they had it. What Merlin wouldn’t give for— Merlin’s thoughts were interrupted when he felt a familiar presence. He grinned, but then he sighed and took a deep breath. It was merely his mind playing tricks on him. He turned his head anyway, hoping just maybe he was really there.
And he was. Arthur. Walking towards him. Merlin ran a hand over his face and shook his head. His mother. Oh how he loved that lady. “Arthur,” he said and he stood and fell into his boyfriend’s arms. He breathed in that familiar smell and wanted to get lost in it.
“Your mother called this morning and told me you would need me so would I please come to Ealdor. I called father, told him I had an emergency, and left as soon as I could. What happened?” he asked, pulling away only enough to wipe away Merlin’s tears.
They began walking hand in hand and Merlin relayed what his mother had told him, as well as other history that he wasn’t sure Arthur knew about. It was difficult to talk about, but it helped and Merlin was so very grateful for Arthur, who didn’t utter a word for twenty minutes as Merlin spilled his heart and bared his soul. “For as long as I remember he’s been gone for long periods of time, but he’s always come back to us. I don’t know what to think now. I just don’t know, Arthur.”
“But, surely he will come home to talk to you. He can’t just call you and tell you that he’s suddenly decided life is too hard and he can’t come home. That’s rich.”
Merlin put a hand on Arthur’s shoulder and when he had his attention, he shook his head. “Don’t. He’s protecting me. I don’t like it, but he’s not doing this for him. He’s not, Arthur. I can’t. If you’re going to—“
“I’m sorry, Merlin, I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m sorry,” and Arthur took Merlin in his arms and hugged him. “I’m sorry.”
Merlin laughed through his tears. “I should probably hate him for what he’s doing, but I can’t,” he mumbled into Arthur’s shoulder. “All I keep thinking about are all the times we sat down at night to eat supper. Whenever he was home, my mother insisted we eat together. She said we had so little time to be a family and that she loved how domestic it felt. All my mother ever wanted was for us to be a normal family and we’ve never had that luxury. My father has been so concerned about protecting me, but he never has been able to get away from our secret. I guess that’s my fate as well. Are you sure you want to put up with me?”
Arthur stepped back and took Merlin’s hands in his. “You, Merlin are stuck with me for as long as you want to be. I love you. I love all of you. I haven’t longed for you for more than six years to just have a little fling with you and send you on your way. This, you and me, is, I hope, for keeps. Forever.”
Merlin nodded and grinned. “Forever. I like the sound of that. We should probably go home now. Mum’s probably worried sick.”
Arthur leaned in and kissed Merlin. “Let’s go home, Merlin.”