Title: The Letter
Summary After an emotional night at the theatre, Arthur is more thankful than ever for Merlin.
Words: a few words over 1000
Warnings: grief over the loss of a parent
Prompt 187: Locked Out
A/N: Part twelve of my reincarnation series Merlin and Arthur Live Again. Thanks so much to the mods for allowing me to post this late.
As the lights came up, Arthur felt chilled to the bone, literally and figuratively, but then he felt Merlin’s warm hand as it slid into his and he began to warm up. He closed his eyes and focused on that hand, and on Merlin, who gave him so much strength. If it wasn’t for him, Arthur knew his life would be so much less than it was.
“I did warn you,” Merlin said in little more than a whisper as he leaned into Arthur and squeezed his hand.
For several minutes, Arthur said nothing, not trusting his voice. He couldn’t even look at Merlin for fear that everything would go to hell if he did, but eventually, after most everyone in the theatre had already left, he turned towards Merlin, who had the most caring, loving look on his face. “Yes, you did,” was all he could say. He tried to grin, but he knew it hadn’t quite made it when Merlin reached out a hand and wiped away a tear that hadn’t yet begun to fall. "The boy was amazing and I loved his story, but I could’ve done without the letter, though,” he said, clearing his throat.
Merlin leaned in and placed a light kiss on Arthur’s forehead. “Now you understand why I told you I didn’t think we should see this. It was difficult enough for me to see two years ago because of my father being gone so much and because of my inability to be who I really am, but had my mother passed away within the last several months, there is no way in hell I could have made it through Billy Elliot,” Merlin said, looking about as miserable as Arthur felt. “I’m really sorry, Arthur. I should have insisted we see something else. The only reason I didn’t was because I know how your father has once again become closed off to you when it comes to talking about your mother. I’ll talk about it with you anytime and we have done, but I think I knew that this show was a way to get your feelings out without you having to put yourself out there where you are uncomfortable.”
Every word Merlin spoke was wrapped in truth and it warmed Arthur to hear and know that someone whom he loved so very much knew him so thoroughly. Arthur had always had a difficult time showing emotion in front of others and Merlin had, for as far back as Arthur could remember, been his shield; he'd been the buffer when things had become too much for him. Whenever his father had expected too much, Merlin had always had a funny story or some exotic plan to get his mind off his troubles.
Arthur grinned. Merlin really was his other half. He understood him when no one else ever had, did, or ever would. “I thought things were getting better,” he said, allowing a smile as he looked into Merlin’s eyes. “He began talking to me about her, but now he’s decided he’s done enough talking and it’s time to move forward. He’s locked me out, Merlin. We can talk about anything else, but when it comes to her, he can’t do it, and I understand. I see how much it hurts him. I get it. It hurts me, too, but I need to talk about it.”
Twenty minutes later, as they were on their way to the hotel. Arthur glanced over at Merlin and thought that he was so very lucky to have him in his life. “I don’t know what I would have done had you not come back into my life when you did, Merlin.”
Merlin squeezed Arthur’s hand and let out a small laugh, then shook his head. “Had you not come to that Rugby match, we’d probably still be spending our days wishing for one another. You should know that I very nearly decided not to go.”
The thought chilled Arthur. “But you did, and then you showed up for my mother’s funeral. I knew you’d be there, but to see you walking into my room that morning, you just don’t know what that did for me, Merlin.”
“I wouldn’t have been anywhere else, Arthur. When I heard that your mother passed, it hit me hard. I’d not ever lost anyone close to me before her. I can’t even begin to imagine what it was and is like for you, but I need you to know that your mother meant more to me than just about anyone other than my parents and you. I truly loved her and when I found out that she was sick, I really had a hard time.”
“She loved you, too, Merlin, It was so much worse because she went down so fast. I’m glad of it for her, but there wasn’t much time for goodbyes and reminiscing. I think that is what I long for the most. I just want her to tell me one more time about the time she was thirteen and she hooked her fifteen year old brother’s shirt with a fishing hook. I want all those stories one more time. Merlin, don’t ever let us ever forget these days and don’t let us ever stop talking about them,” Arthur said, tears trickling down his face as he looked at the road ahead.
When they got into their hotel room, Merlin went to have a shower and Arthur decided to call his father. He really didn’t want to, but he needed to. Unfortunately, his father didn’t answer and Arthur was asked to leave a message. He nearly pushed the end button, but he didn’t. “Father, Merlin and I made it safely. Busy day tomorrow. Agravain is meeting us for lunch. I’m not looking forward to it, but Merlin’s with me so it’ll be fine. Thank you for accepting him. I know it hasn’t been easy for you this year. It hasn’t been easy for me, either. Merlin is my rock, Father. I love him. Just as I love you. Okay, yeah, well, I’ll ring you when we leave.”