awritinglilypea: (Merlin: Merlin)
[personal profile] awritinglilypea
Title: Broken Down
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Merlin/Valiant, Merlin/? eventual
Rating: NC-17 for domestic abuse overall.
Complete: No.
Genre: Angst, h/c
Prompt: Written for [livejournal.com profile] kinkme_merlin prompt here
Summary: Merlin comes into his own, slowly returning to himself and Arthur is left wondering where he stands.
Warnings: Contains domestic abuse, violence and possibly triggering materials



Prologue
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight



“You’re what?” Arthur couldn’t believe what he was hearing, as he stood in the kitchen of his flat with Merlin.

“I think I’m going to move into my own place,” Merlin repeated, tucking his hands in his back pockets he rocked on his heels lightly. He looked nervous, but at the same time more sure of himself than he had in quite some time.

It was probably the only thing that held Arthur back from protesting. But at the same time he couldn’t help but wonder if Merlin was doing this because he knew how Arthur felt about him.

He swallowed, rubbing his forehead as he tried to figure out what exactly his response should be, nibbling on his bottom lip.

“Do you need help?” He decided on, and smiled as Merlin did. He’d missed seeing the full force of that smile, and blinked a little bit in surprise.

“I’ll always take help from a friend,” Merlin told him, throwing his arms around Arthur in an exuberant hug, only hesitating after. “This is okay?”

Arthur laughed softly, wrapping his arms around Merlin he nodded his head. “This is more than okay.” He squeezed him a bit tight, rubbing his back in what he hoped was a soothing manner before he let him go. “You know, none of my friends hugged me before I met you,” he commented lightly as they pulled apart.

“Really?” Merlin asked him, hands sliding back into his pockets as though he didn’t quite know what to do with them.

Arthur chuckled, “I was Arthur Pendragon, I had certain…ideals to uphold,” he rolled his eyes at the thought now.

He still couldn’t help but wonder though, if this was his fault.

Merlin shook his head, clearly amused he nibbled on his bottom lip, clearly picking on what it was that Arthur was feeling at that moment.

“It’s not you, Arthur, I promise,” He told him, looking a little more amused when Arthur blushed.

He just couldn’t help himself, that was all. There was something about Merlin that made him feel vulnerable.

But he wasn’t going to push, he wasn’t going to ask Merlin to stay like he wanted to, even if the words were on the tip of his tongue because he knew that would be wrong.

He had to let his friend progress at the pace he needed in order to be healthy.

“You promise?” And since when had his voice ever sounded so hoarse. He cleared his throat quickly and flashed a quick smile Arthur’s way.

Merlin nodded his head and crowded into Arthur’s space once again, dropping a kiss on his cheek he smiled just a little bit.

“I promise that it’s not you, it’s just me learning how to be alone again, without someone there to chase away the monsters. I won’t even be living that far,” Merlin explained, dragging his fingers through his hair he looked at Arthur, expression earnest.

Arthur smiled back, unable to help himself.

This was his Merlin, he thought. Someone who was earnest and honest, and whose smile was bright like sunshine and made him think of summer days and picnics.

“Well then I’ll just have to help you find any flat in London you could ever want, I’ve got contacts, it’s time I used them for someone else’s benefit,” he told his friend, grasping his shoulder and squeezing just briefly as he did so.

Merlin smiled again, seeming unsurprised at Arthur’s helpfulness. “Thanks for your help,” he said softly, with no hesitance.

“Least I could do,” Arthur replied, grabbing his laptop as they headed into the living room to plan.

~

“God Merlin, this flat is even better than Arthur’s,” Morgana commented as she took a turn in the large kitchen.

Merlin beamed at her, hanging her coat up he shrugged his shoulders. “Arthur helped me find it.”

Morgana looked at her brother and Arthur pursed his lips, biting back any comment he might have.

“You picked it out,” Morgana said slowly, shaking her head she turned to Merlin and smiled at him. “Well I can see you in it, Merlin, it’s absolutely beautiful. I love the artwork.”

Merlin bobbed his head in a nod as he led her into the living room, which was pure Merlin. The walls warmly painted a light brown, the couch overstuffed and meant for lounging.

Arthur fought to keep himself from picturing what his life would be like if he lived somewhere like this with Merlin, even as his sister grabbed his wrist hard when Merlin left to answer the door.

“What do you think you’re doing?” She hissed, eyes bright and glaring.

“Ow,” Arthur said sharply, before he pulled himself away from her talons and rubbed. “I’m not doing anything.”

Morgana shook her head, hair sliding out of the loose knot she’d captured it in as she pinned him with a stare. “You found him this apartment,” she whispered, as loud as anyone could.

“Yes, and I don’t get what’s so wrong with that,” Arthur replied, hushing his voice.

“You bought him a place that you might want to live with him in one day,” Morgana responded, shaking her head. “You’re unbelievable you know that? You’re going to get yourself hurt, or him.”

Arthur sighed, rubbing a hand over his face he shook his head quickly. “He knows how I feel about him.”

Morgana turned again, whipping around so hard Arthur was almost shocked she didn’t injure herself. “You what?”

Arthur groaned crossing his arms over his chest. “I am not going into this with you right now but he knows how I feel, and he’s fine. I’m fine. We’re friends.”

Morgana gaped at him, “I didn’t think you had it in you, well done brother. And well done again for keeping your patience about you.”

Arthur rolled his eyes, wanting to tell her that it wasn’t necessarily patience. It was his understanding that kept him from pushing too hard with Merlin.

He understood perfectly that if he pushed too hard, Merlin wouldn’t stay in his life, as a friend or anything else. And that was unacceptable.

Gwen entered the room soon after and Arthur pasted a smile on his face as he watched his sister hug her lifelong friend and Merlin settle in on the couch next to him as the flat was flooded with their friends.

It had been so long since they had all been together. It had been even longer since he’d seen Merlin in a crowd, one where he flourished and smiled, laughed and told stories, teased and enjoyed the night.

He was healing, and Arthur couldn’t be more proud. But he hated himself, for just a moment, as he realized that Merlin might not need him at all.

And that left him wondering, about himself, about Merlin and what it would mean for his future. And how he could be so selfish.

After all this was Merlin at his most beautiful, and Arthur was certainly fine when it came to watching from afar.

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