Title: Where It Might Lead
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: He either leaves Arthur behind or gets his dream job.
Word Count: 658
Prompt: #221: Decision
Author's Notes: None
The glow coming from the television screen bathes the small living room in soft light. Merlin is warm cuddled up in the sofa, up against Arthur his face practically smushed against his stomach. Arthur's fingers rubbing circles in his back. Minutes ago he lost track of what they are watching, he's sure it was some silly movie with robots in it but he can't be too sure. Arthur's right there and he doesn't even know what...
"Your thinking is too loud, Merlin. I'm trying to watch a movie," Arthur says with a fondness Merlin's learned to detect in his tone, and which causes him to smile. Usually.
Merlin tries to get closer to Arthur, too stubborn to even let the smallest space between them. "What do you mean? I'm trying to sleep."
"Sure you are. I know what goes on in your pretty little head. You can't lie. Not to me."
Merlin untangles himself from Arthur, half amused and half wondering how they manages to end up so intertwined. Maybe it was the tiny sofa, maybe it's the fact they always end up in each other's spaces like it's the only way to be.
Arthur looks earnest when Merlin stares at him, sleepy, handsome and just so Arthur, smiling at him and his hair all messy. Merlin wants to kiss him until they bruise. So he grabs him by the collar of his too-worn shirt, eliciting a chuckle from Arthur before he presses their lips together in a slow kiss, the glide of lips against lips. Merlin sighs into it, opening his mouth to let Arthur in, to taste him. Arthur wraps his arms around Merlin's middle, keeping him close.
When they break apart Merlin presses their foreheads together, closes his eyes, just feeling Arthur. Listening to his breathing.
"You should know that even if you do leave--"
"No, let me tell you this," Arthur whispers. And Merlin doesn't want to hear, but at the same time he needs to know.
"Okay. Just," Merlin says, sighs, "don't make it sad."
Arthur laughs and maneuvers them to lay down on the sofa, Merlin on top of him, it's a tight fit. It's perfect. "I'll try."
Arthur is silent for a while and Merlin almost falls asleep with the rise and fall of his chest. "I want you to be the best person you could be, even when you already are to me. And if it means you have to leave, then I want you to do what makes you happy. Not what you think I want. Because I'll always want the thing which put that stupidly goofy smile on your face."
Merlin bites Arthur's shoulder, just barely sinking his teeth in. His chest feels heavy and he needs to find the right words to answer to Arthur. He's confused. He's always wanted to travel, see the world and now that he has an opportunity to do it and capture the world through his lenses and get paid for it, he's sad. There is no other way to describe it.
The idea of leaving Arthur behind feels like a hole has been carved in his chest.
"I don't want to think about it. Not tonight. Please."
"But promise me you'll think about. About what you truly want."
"I promise--if you promise that if I leave you'll always be available on Skype for me."
"I swear. I mean, we can even get into sexting again like when you started dating."
Merlin laughs, enjoying Arthur's warmth and the way they seem to belong. To fit against each other in small spaces, in big rooms when they're surrounded by people, even if they happen to be apart, they'll always belong. Maybe if he does leave they can find a way to make it work from miles apart. At least they can try.
"We should definitely do that." Merlin makes himself comfortable, ready to go to sleep.