Title: Raise Me to Your Lips
Summary: They always fight, but this time it feels like the end.
Warnings: Vampires, a sprinkle of angst.
Word Count: 983
Prompt: #223: Imperfections
Author's Notes: None
A soft knock comes on the door around two in the morning, a low, low rap, focused and intent. It comes on again, and again, at times it's faint, barely the scrape of knuckles against the flat wooden surface. If it wasn't because Merlin's waited for the sound to come sooner rather than later, he might have missed it. As it is, he knows the pattern of the knocking, it's highs and lows, can picture the way Arthur is standing outside in the corridor looking from side to side, hanging his head when Merlin doesn't open. Fingers running through his blond hair. Almost desperate.
Merlin stares intently at the door, gets an odd satisfying feeling in the pit of his stomach. He's locked up in a hotel room but Arthur came. He found him. The knocks start up again, more demanding. Merlin's sort of forgotten what they are fighting about in the first place. They always fight. This one was different though, felt definitive.
"Merlin." Arthur's voice sounds strained, Merlin perks up, tries to read into his tone. Notice if he's he mad or sad. Or anything. "Please. Open the door. Let me in. You know I can't come in unless you let me, please."
Finally he jumps off the bed, dropping down on the floor the pillow he'd been hugging close to his chest. A bit of comfort. He lets out a breath before opening the door and facing Arthur after hours of ignoring his very existence—he didn't succeed in that regard, but he tried—and he looks...Normal.
The same Arthur he walked out on, same blue piercing eyes, same porcelain skin, same stupid black clothes.
Merlin almost expected him to be a wretch, to walk around like he's lost something of great value to him. Merlin's certainly behaved like it. Still, the knot in his chest untangles at the sight of Arthur.
"Can I?" Arthur asks, a tad unsure and he's yet to look at Merlin straight in the eye, his own are fixed on a point somewhere in the room behind Merlin.
Merlin nods. He wants to grab Arthur by his stupid coat and pull him in, close towards him. He resists the urge, barely. He steps aside, saying, "Yes. Come inside." Motions towards the room with his right hand, shuddering when Arthur's body brushes against his on the way in, he's not sure if it was intentional or not.
He wonders how much Arthur showing up is him wanting to feed and how much is because he actually wants Merlin as much as Merlin wants him. It's a petty, ridiculous thought but it's there taking space up in his head.
Arthur looks around him, an arrogant air about him that shouldn't be attractive, but in Arthur somehow it is. He spins around, settling his gaze on Merlin. Eyes heavy and dark, and Merlin can feel his earlier anger dissolve, turn into something more raw. A quiet ache, a pressing need.
He closes the door, nervous, expecting for Arthur to come over and wrap his arms around him and to make him forget. He doesn't and Merlin has to take shaky steps back to the middle of the room where Arthur is waiting for him patiently. Arthur always waits for him.
"Are you okay?" Arthur says at length, Merlin looks at him incredulously. "Fine, that was obviously the wrong thing to say. I know how you feel and --"
Merlin laughs, but it's sad and twisted. He shakes his head. "Do you? Do you really? Because you let me leave, and stood there in front of your family without correcting them. I mean, am I really just your pet? This century's boy toy?"
For a moment Arthur looks like Merlin's just stabbed him, and good, Merlin's been walking around with an open wound no one else can see, and it hurts. Arthur opens his mouth, clearly to defend himself and his stupid choices, but nothing comes out. Merlin is startled to notice how miserable Arthur looks, up close is noticeable, his eyes far too red, skin too white, almost transparent. And Merlin knows his strength, yet he worries, he chews on his bottom lip. The need to pull Arthur closer is near overwhelming by now.
"I'm sorry," Arthur mutters. "I realize bringing you along was practically serving you up on a platter for them to scrutinize us," he says, Merlin loves it when Arthur uses the word us, "But I've decided there is no need to hide. Not anymore. Centuries watching life go by, sleeping when it got to be too much, have taught me about the little things. The fragility of small moments. And you Merlin, for some odd reason I don't care to understand have become more. You mean more to me."
Merlin begins to smile, but doubt manages to squash everything else. "Are you -- is it true? What you just said."
"Fuck, what do you mean by that? Of course I mean what I say, it's not ideal, but here I am all cut up because I thought I lost you. Me, a three-hundred year old creature, sad because of you." Arthur chuckles, shakes his head stepping closer to Merlin. "I can understand if you never want to see them again. They even get on my nerves when they are around. The Pendragon Clan are proud individuals, and they're snobs. You're not a pet, you're just the ridiculous man I love."
Merlin laughs, letting Arthur's cold fingers curl around his wrist and pull him to his chest. Merlin breathes out, breathes Arthur in. Relishing in the fact Arthur also clings onto him, like they're both been scared of losing the other. Merlin thinks back to when he met Arthur, more than a year ago. He never expected this. One moment he was making a deal with a fucking vampire, agreeing to let him feed on him, and the next he's clinging to Arthur, kissing him fiercely, Arthur's tongue inside his mouth, devouring.
Arthur leads him to the bed, crawls on top of Merlin with grace, the way he kisses him is anything but sweet. It's bruising and needy. His fingers stop at the hem of Merlin's shirt before he's pushing the garment up and off, off, off. Merlin gasps when he feels teeth against him, offers up his neck like a gift Arthur accepts with gratitude. He sinks his fangs into the fragile skin, sucks. Takes Merlin as Merlin holds onto Arthur closing his eyes.
Afterwards Arthur soothes the skin with his tongue, breathes in the scent of Merlin's flushed skin. They tangle together until they're nothing but naked skin, and hands and lips. And Merlin has a hard time figuring out how they ever were separate entities.
Merlin can no longer conceive this mortal life he's got to live without Arthur.
Arthur's cold, but Merlin is perpetually warm and this isn't perfect, they aren't, their love isn't. But it's a good thing Merlin has never been after perfection.