It's the end of the bloody world.
Merlin always imagined it to be… far more spectacular. Gravity turning off and sucking everyone, in twos or threes, back up into the cold, black chasm of space. Or maybe their would sun explode… but it's just waiting.
A gigantic meteor barreling for Earth, and no one knows where it's going to land.
(The Australian government and its military knows, he supposes. They just aren't going to tell anyone.)
Leon invites them to his pool party with the locals. It's going to be completely ruddy mad, he yells, boasting.
And he's not wrong. The grounds is overcrowded, visibly smoking and blasting with music. Everyone around him is either in swimwear or bare-arse naked, gyrating and dancing. Rainbow-bright, sparkling confetti rains down from cannons high above. There isn't a soul Merlin recognises.
Then again, he's not from Perth. This had been a mini-vacation with Arthur.
Two men in sunglasses stand high up on the balcony, tongues lolling out, wagging their erect penises. One of them grabs a nearby woman, taking her revolver from her limp grasp. He cackles and momentarily humps her front, cock furiously slapping her thigh. Her makeup runny and dark under her empty, red-rimmed eyes. She continues her slow-swaying as if uninterrupted, as if hypnotised — his enormous, tattooed hands inspect and squeeze her teats.
So many guns waving around.
Inside the two-story bungalow, just as loud and full of naked bodies, the smell of cannabis is unmistakable. There's more than just that. Merlin catches pale-faced, silent guests in the nearby study with needles and dirty brown berick.
Everyone needs to get fucked quick.
Merlin feels drowsy and hot all over, skin sticky, flushed, Exhausted and covered in his own semen.
Arthur stretches over him on Leon's bed, folding Merlin's legs in, grunting and breathing to his cheek and temple. Hips thumping hard and fast against Merlin's sore arse. Arthur's cock buried in so tightly against him Merlin can nearly feel the spasm of Arthur coming, dumping another warm load inside him. Bloody christ, he loves getting his cock.
It's 32.7 degrees outside.
"Better than the orgy downstairs," Merlin whispers, panting. He drags his fingers lazily across Arthur's muscular back.
"I thought you said you wanted to go."
Arthur's jaw tastes like the remnants of nicotine, on the surface of his teeth where Merlin greedily swipes his tongue. He hollows his mouth and lets Arthur inside him a second place. Arthur muffles a low-sounding chuckle to Merlin's lips.
They've discarded all their clothes, soaking in perspiration.
Merlin nips on Arthur's raw bottom lip, sucking lightly.
"If I'm going to die, right here is as good as any," he says, grinning big and clenching down his muscles until Arthur moans in protest, easing his cock out of him and frowning. "You hear Leon's been talking rubbish about his underground bunker? He wants to give us the tour."
"Don't be stupid. There's no escaping this," Arthur says, moodily.
Merlin huffs out a laugh, rolling his eyes. He sits up from the velvety blankets, legs spread wide open, rubbing at one cramping up. "Alright, tosspot," he says, idly. "Your words of wisdom are appreciated."
And then, Arthur's hands are on him, jerking Merlin's face up. His eyes a sickly, ghastly blue.
"You need to grow the hell up, Merlin," he growls out, directly to Merlin's grimacing expression. "If Australia is the one getting hit, we're dead in seconds. No man-made coffin forty bloody feet underneath a garage is going to change that one bit."
Merlin holds his infuriated gaze, eyes squinting and suspiciously gleaming.
"… You're a goddamn prick," he murmurs.
It takes one long shove to escapes Arthur's hands, and he climbs on his feet, rubbing his wet eyes. Merlin digs around wordlessly through a drawer, swallowing hard, locating a crumpled half-bag of angie.
"So that's it then?" Arthur speaks up, his cynicism undeniable. "You go on a bender until it's lights out?"
Merlin's fingertips smear in white, fine powder.
"I don't see many other options left," he replies, voice thick, just as sarcastic. "Do you?"
They yell at each other for a couple minutes after.
It's not astonishing — he and Arthur do fight on occasion. It's confusing to be friends and then not only friends. To be living with your best mate, and having romantic dinners, and shagging each other, and deciding to not tell anyone.
Merlin storms for the bathroom, still without his clothes or even trousers, searching for anything to cut lines with. If Arthur would calm down, they could at least get so jacked up that they'll forget everything else. Isn't that the point?
He meets up with Leon's new girlfriend wearing only the bottom of her bikini, stoned off her arse.
There's a full, clear bottle of vodka in her right hand. Elena is slurring a bit but she offers to suck Merlin's cock for a hit of whatever he's got. She presses her little breasts on him, reaching, fondling Merlin's exposed bollocks.
She's got a knot of honey-blonde hair, with dark golden, coarser hair between her legs. Merlin thinks the pearly-pink colour of her nipples is lovely and deserves to be kissed. Without a doubt, Elena would make a brilliant fuck on the edge of the tub, with her soft, chubby stomach and thighs.
Somewhere during his intoxicated, sluggish musing, she leads him there, peeling off her tangerine-orange bottoms and crawling on Merlin's lap. Elena's hand guides his damp cockhead, rubbing it against her vulva, pushing herself clumsily on him until Merlin feels himself finally enter her.
"Fuck, fuck me," she whines, throwing her head back and riding him, gasping and bouncing. "Oh, god, yes—"
Merlin's head is throbbing, and so are his nostrils. It's a flaming-deep pain.
The nosebleed trickles crimson down his chin, and Merlin sniffles, forcing her to stand. "S'rry, s'rry," he says, weakly. Elena stares, going wide-eyed and open-mouthed. She takes her time turning around and bending over the sink, vomiting.
He grabs towels, one for the blood, and the other for wiping Elena's face.
"Go lay down until you're better," Merlin says to her, encouragingly. "I'll tell someone you're here." She nods, moaning and clutching her middle. He leaves her alone in the bathroom with the vodka bottle, shutting the door behind him.
Arthur has vanished.
The meteor strikes approximately an hour later, wiping out most of Europe.
Television no longer broadcasts. Electricity is down. Only a handful of Leon's party scatters, a sobering Merlin being among them. He tugs on someone else's undershirt abandoned in the house, plain and black, buttoning up his jeans.
He swears aggravated, throwing his mobile over a gate. No service.
It's almost 40.3 degrees outside.
It's not his car, but there's a key in the ignition.
He remembers the way back to Uther's family beach house.
Arthur has to be there. There's nowhere else to go.
"I'm going to kill you," Merlin mutters, gripping the wheel hard enough to bruise his hands. "I'm going to fucking kill you, you sorry arse." The radio is already switched on, hosted by a mournful voice. They're calling it an apocalyptic firestorm. Global-wide disaster and heading towards Australia's coast, engulfing the Indian Ocean.
With a visibly trembling hand, Merlin switches off the radio, inhaling sharply.
There is a specific reason why he didn't want to this. London has apparently been wiped off the map. All his friends, his colleagues. His mum passed away a year ago, and even that had been hell — Merlin didn't want to be scared.
Across the road, there's painted messages on the sides of homes of TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT and VIVIAN BABY COME HOME PLEASE.
"There's three hours left," the radio informs the nothingness, with the same choked-emotion tone.
Merlin rolls all the car windows down, as the air simmers and boils.
Gunshots ring out through a neighborhood he drives down in pointed silence. Men beating each other with hammers and barbed-wire bats. A lone, naked person hangs from a self-made noose, dangling on a unusable streetlamp.
Plenty of automobiles have been deserted, wrecked beyond salvation.
He keeps his eyes on the pavement.
The beach house hasn't been torched or looted, as far as Merlin can see. Probably because it's nearest to the coast, where nobody wants to be, away from the shelter of the park reserve. And to his horror, Arthur's nowhere to be found.
Merlin runs up and down the corridors, hollering and banging on doors, until he's stumbling outside on the ivory sand. The skies grow steadily hotter and redder, erasing the freshwater blue, the temperature making it harder to breath.
It's the inevitability of death crashing into him, knocking the rest of the oxygen out of Merlin.
As much as he would have liked to… he doesn't make it inside to puke violently, until Merlin's throat goes hoarse.
A pack of cigarettes remains unopened in his hand.
Merlin considers lighting one, to get the edge off, to distract himself from his fucking head, his still-bleeding sinuses. To relax. He had too much of what Leon gave him. Guess there's no worrying about hospitalization.
This is where Arthur means to leave, isn't it?
They talked about it — splitting up. Hell, they've been fucking other people.
Vacationing meant to bring them clarity.
Merlin sets the cigarettes on the table, carefully, and runs his hands over his forehead. Tears slide out of his eyes. A shuddery, moaning cry emerges from Merlin's lips. He stubbornly rakes his fingernails down his pasty, sunburned face.
He can't do anything to stop this. Fucked up or not.
When he was young, Hunith used to play for him. She kept her beloved piano in his childhood home. Merlin often drifted off during his naptime while listening to her. He would ask for his favourite pieces.
Four months ago, the upright piano sold to a couple in Finsbury. He used it for rent and to pay Will back for cannabis.
Merlin saved all her recordings onto his MP3, and it came along with him in his luggage. He pulls out his taffy-pink headphones from the clutter on the floor, slinging it to his neck, but doesn't turn anything on.
The blazing of a car horn. Footsteps.
Arthur's shirt plasters to him in sweat, his hair weighting down to his skull. He's breathing noisily. Merlin smells him, scorching mineral in air and leather seats, unmoving as the other man rushes forward, embracing him.
"Merlin, oh god, I'm sorry," Arthur says, sounding like he's close to sobbing. Maybe he is. He rubs his nose against Merlin's overly warm cheek, "I didn't mean to leave you there. I needed to— but I saw you were gone when—"
"Get away from me," Merlin says, vacantly. He stares, teeth gritting at Arthur's wounded look.
The irises of Merlin's eyes flash bright golden, eclipsing away the dark blue. The wooden legs of the nearby chair shatter apart into jagged pieces. Arthur clasps his face, urging Merlin to focus on him, his mouth a determined line.
"I came back for you, do you understand?" he says, earnestly. "I came back."
"You shouldn't have gone."
It's more of a rumble.
"I know." Arthur strokes his thumb over Merlin's cheekbone, waiting until the other man's eyes return to the original colour before kissing his mouth devoutly and stepping back. "I know — I'm sorry. Everything is my fault."
According to the last radio station to air, there's less than a hour to go.
They end up back where they started, lying around in bed. Except fully-clothed. Merlin weaves his fingers together with Arthur's, humming and feeling his boyfriend wind an arm round him and nuzzle into his chest, laughing gleefully.
It's 45.8 degrees outside.
"You can't… do anything about this, can you?" Arthur murmurs, rubbing Merlin's hand in soothing circles. A lump builds within the confines Merlin's throat, and he says nothing for a good few moments.
"Magic comes from the earth." Merlin's smile quivers. "The earth is dying."
In a way, it looks like a thunderstorm roaring on the horizon. Dusty reds and shadowy dark, crackling and billowing. He and Arthur walk on the beach towards the ocean-water, shoulder-to-shoulder, eyeing the firestorm.
Merlin senses Arthur's resolve crumbling. He nudges him, grinning so suddenly and cheerfully.
It's 52.7 degrees.
"Here." The taffy-pink headphones slip over Arthur's ears. "Think of something you love, Arthur," Merlin says, fondly. "Hold that to your heart." Arthur fiddles with the object, adjusting it for comfort as the other man flips on his MP3.
Cinders and debris blow hot around them.
"Well, he's prattling on in front of me… what of it?"
Music swells inside Arthur's head, gentle and rhythmic. Not the howling of the apocalypse, or Merlin's weeping. He greets the darkness of his eyelids with the feeling of arms hugging him, and Merlin's dry, chapped lips pressing eagerly on his.
BBC Merlin is not mine. Loosely based on "These Final Hours" which is on Netflix and actually if you want a rlly good emotional story about an apocalyptic event, this is pretty good. The actual song I imagined at the end of this fic that Arthur listens to is "Gymnopédie No. 1, Lent et douloureux" by Erik Satie. It's actually really beautiful and I would definitely recommend it! Guys, I made this fic ages ago and I've been THINKING ABOUT PUTTING IT UP. AND NOW I FINALLY HAVE. I KNOW IT'S A HEARTBREAKER BUT ANGST IS GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL. I PROMISE. Any thoughts/comments/angry weeping is so so appreciated! -hearts-