Clotpole: Mn fkd u frind?
Clotpole: Pour nw nw 2 go
Clotpole: Nvr mind
Merlin’s phone went silent after that. Mostly not awake, he picked it up, looked at the drunk texts from Arthur, thought a moment about calling him back, then put the phone down again. It was the fourth or was it the fifth set of crap texts he’d had from Arthur this week and every other time, Arthur said it was nothing, that he was just playing around when Merlin confronted him about it. Merlin figured it was just more of the same and turned over and went back to sleep. He’d tell the arse off come morning. He was getting a little tired of worrying about the git, especially when Arthur was being stupid.
Arthur wasn’t being stupid.
As Merlin opened the door to his flat, thinking to go to the barista’s down the road for a mocha fiesta with extra whipped crème, he almost tripped over Arthur huddled in the doorway.
Arthur was always a fit bloke, gorgeous to look at, that mouth of his sinful in a way that Merlin would love to explore, but friends don’t do friends unless there were rules ahead of time and he didn’t think Arthur would go for it. Besides, he was as straight as they come, and Merlin didn’t do straight. It only led to heartache when the gay experiment was over, and the wanker decided to go back to their posh bird.
But now Arthur looked like hell. Hair, for once, looking more like a rat’s nest than his usual and very expensive cut, his hoodie half-ripped and not in a good way, trainers mud-soaked. It was very odd. At least there wasn’t a puddle of vomit next to him.
Sighing, Merlin gave Arthur’s thigh a little kick, trying to wake him up.
When Arthur’s eyes finally opened, they were blood-shot, as if he’d been at the alcohol again or else crying and Pendragons never cried or so Merlin had been told. But he didn’t smell like he’d been drinking so Merlin took that as a win.
For a moment, Arthur didn’t say anything, just sat there, his mouth opening and closing like some kind of beached fish, drowning in air. Finally, he said, “Can I come in? I won’t stay long.”
So much for mocha fiesta with extra crème.
Merlin just nodded, then went back inside, Arthur shuffling in behind him.
Merlin said, “So too out of it to go home? Who was it this time? Vivian being a bitch again or was it Gwaine pulling you into a drinking contest? You know how he is. He could drink anyone under the table, including the table, the chair and the floor.”
“I’ve not had any yet.” With that, Arthur wiped his hand across his face, then headed for the place where Merlin stashed his admittedly small liquor supply. Arthur didn’t even reach for a glass, just opened the vodka and took a couple of gulps. Merlin was surprised, to say the least. Usually, Arthur was more circumspect about it, taking sips rather than pouring it down his throat and mostly wine, not the harder stuff. Although he had been getting drunk a lot lately.
“If you get rat-arsed and barf all over my floor, I’m not cleaning it up,” Merlin said, watching him carefully. “Are you hungry? I’ve eggs and bacon if you like or I could make pancakes. I’m off today so it would be….”
Merlin didn’t know what to do. Arthur was crying. Shit.
Putting his arm around Arthur’s shoulder, guiding him to the sofa, then grabbing a box of tissues and pulling out several to hand over to Arthur, Merlin said, “Hey, it’s… it’s not Vivian, is it? Did she cheat on you or something?”
Arthur shook his head, then started laughing but not in a good way, more like he was trying to stop himself from crying. It did work, sort of.
Gulping down whatever grief was taking hold, Arthur finally said, “My father kicked me out. Not to come back. Said he wouldn’t have an abomination in his house.”
None of that made sense.
True, Uther Pendragon was a nasty piece of work and Arthur was living off him, staying at the house while he was going to uni, driving the company car, but still, Uther loved Arthur in his own perverse way. As long as Arthur followed the rules.
“Can I stay here a couple of days? I know that you’ve got work and uni is kicking your arse, but I’ll stay out of your way. Just until I figure something else out.” Arthur looked like he expected Merlin to say no.
As if Merlin would ever say no to Arthur.
Merlin gave Arthur another shoulder hug, then got up, handing Arthur the box of tissues, and said, “Of course. Gaius is away so you can have his room for now. Just ignore the weird smells and crystals hanging all over the place. I’ll get new sheets and you can tell me all about it after.”
But Arthur shook his head, grabbing Merlin’s hand a moment before letting him go. “I… you should know before you agree to anything. I know you… well, my father found out about Charlie.”
Who the hell was Charlie?
Merlin must have said that because Arthur flushed a deep red. “He’s the twink down at the Rising Sun. He’s been… I’ve been… we’re fuck buddies.”
What? Merlin was confused. “You didn’t say anything about a Charlie. I thought… I tell you everything.” Well, that wasn’t quite true. He didn’t tell Arthur how much he wanted to fuck him into the mattress and maybe never come out again. And he certainly didn’t tell Arthur how much he… well, loved him. And wait, what? Fuck buddies? As in fucking a guy? That kind of fuck buddy?
“I didn’t want you involved. I know what kind of man my father is. He’d come after you if he thought we were… close. You know, in a sexual way.” Arthur seemed almost shy about the idea but then his face closed up again. “I figured it would be safer for everyone if I just… Charlie was just in it for the sex anyway. Said I was useful for stuffing his bell-end up my arse and wiggling it around. And I… I was tired of hiding who I was.”
Merlin’s head was spinning. “So, you hid this Charlie person from everyone?”
“Yeah, not even Morgana knows, and she’s got connections to the Mafia, I swear, or MI5 or something.” Arthur gulped again. “I couldn’t go to him. He’s not really into anything but stuffing his cock into a convenient hole. So, can I stay?”
As if he’d ever say no. “I’ll make pancakes with chocolate chips and ice cream. Then you can tell me all about it.”
Arthur just nodded.
It looked like it was going to be a long, long day.