A/N: Another kinkme_merlin fic: "Arthur/Merlin, modern!AU. Merlin is a drug addict and Arthur wants to help him to become clean."

Merlin stumbles into the club, and promptly heads over to a bloke who's looking between young men, almost boys, at the bar, all doing their best to display themselves while still wearing clothes. It reminds him of Arthur's last lifetime, the bloody hippie stage, and god, Merlin wanted to go back.

But, it was the twenty-first century, now. Things are different.

"E'lo," Merlin murmurs into the man's ear, doing his best to stand straight and look like he isn't high off his arse and on the verge of coming down. The man turns – he's about 40-ish, light eyes, pale skin, black hair with some shocks of grey – and leers at Merlin.

"Hand job's a tenner. Blow you for a twenty," Merlin murmurs.

"And to fuck you?"

"Fifty," Merlin breathes into the man's ear. "For each time I can make you come."

The man breathes in sharply, and Merlin takes the man's wrist and tugs towards the side-door, towards the closed off alley. He's on the brink of coming down hard, so he needs to get that money fast.

Once out in the alley, Merlin turns to face the man, who pushes on Merlin's shoulders – he gets the message. Dropping to his knees, Merlin undoes the man's fly while calloused fingers run through and clutch his hair. He swallows the man, slathering the cock as much as he can, knowing what's likely coming next.

A moment later, he's proven right. The man initially uses his grip in Merlin's hair to push down, thrusting his cock into Merlin's throat, who's simply too used to this to care much anymore. He had learned how to deep throat a thousand and a half years ago, and he hasn't forgotten yet.

The man then drags Merlin's head off his cock and pulls Merlin up by his hair.

"Drop your pants," the man says, and Merlin's hands fly almost automatically towards his jeans, undoing his own fly and shoving the black denim down, and spreads his legs as best as he can for the man.

As expected, the man is brutal, ruthless, and doesn't last long.

He shoves sixty into Merlin's hands after he's done tucking himself back in. Merlin just gets up and heads out of the club altogether.

Today is Arthur's birthday. Merlin felt his magic sing two decades back to the day, and he couldn't deal with the entire cycle again. He managed mostly just by avoiding Arthur – went in the opposite direction of where his magic told him to go – and only a few years back, discovered that his magic being practically suppressed by drugs was worth the high.

"Drake…" Merlin says, stumbling into the large room on the ground floor of the flophouse. The man looks up – just a few years older than Merlin supposedly was, and looking far too nice and well groomed to be a drug dealer.

"Hello, Merlin," he said, with a slight smirk as always. "What do you need, today?"

Merlin just sets the entire wad of bills on the table, and Drake counts it, with a nod.

Sitting in a duct-tape supported sofa chair, Merlin waits as Drake disappears to the back room, before he comes back, handing Merlin the rubber strip and the needle.

"Still need help?" Drake offers. Merlin had switched over to heroin only recently, just a few weeks ago.

His magic suffered for it. The rest of him was convinced it was worth it.

Shaking his head, Merlin mumbles his thanks before grabbing both needle and tourniquet and stumbling up the stairs, and to his 'room' on the third floor. He collapses on the pallet in the corner, and immediately flips out the blade on his pocket knife, before tying the rubber around his arm. He looks and feels carefully for a good vein, and sticks himself, injects, and promptly cuts the tourniquet.

And he's flooded with bliss, and melts away into euphoria.

"Oi, Merlin," Drake says, stopping in his door. "Rent. Now."

Blinking slowly up at the man, Merlin says, "No money."

Drake just cocks his head to the side and smirks. "Blow me and we'll consider it paid 'til the end of the week."

Nodding, Merlin pushes himself up and onto his knees as Drake walks over, undoing his fly, and with no preamble, grabs Merlin's hair and shoves his dick into the waiting mouth.

Merlin puts his usual amount of effort into it, and Drake is thrusting into Merlin's mouth, soon enough, and then shoving his dick down Merlin's throat, straight to the hilt, and trapping Merlin's head there as he came, Merlin grimacing and swallowing what he can.

Drake pulls out, and there's a thin string of leftover cum across the one-inch space between Merlin's lips and the man's prick. Drake smiles and, taking his cock, trails it across Merlin's lips and jaw, and a bit on his cheek, before practically throwing Merlin onto the pallet. He doesn't move from there, just continues to stare up at the ceiling as Drake leaves.

He hears thuds from next door. Someone was going at it like bunnies again. Loud music from above. Acid trip. A crash down stairs. Hopefully, someone was punching Drake again. The yelling confirmed it.

Smiling, he shut his eyes, and started humming in tune with the loud music.

"Merlin!" he hears, in an oddly familiar voice from way down the hall.

Whoever it is probably went by Drake, so it wasn't Merlin's problem yet, until they showed up at his door.


Thuds down the hall, and the creak of the doorway.

"Oh, god…Merlin!"

Merlin slowly turns his head. The man is blond, with blue eyes, and a stricken look on his face.

He frowns. The bloke reminds him of-

Oh. It is Arthur.

The frown deepens. "Huh?" he just asks, completely confused, pushing himself up to study Arthur.

Hm. Two decades spent avoiding the man, and he apparently skips out on his birthday to find a random druggie in a random flophouse.

Except the way he's looking at Merlin is anything but random.

"Merlin," the man says, this time his name coming out in almost a breath, as the horror gives way to grief, except for what, Merlin doesn't know.

And the look of horror returns when Merlin inches away upon Arthur's return, ignoring the sparks of magic, deep, deep, deep within him telling him otherwise.

"Go away," is the first thing he manages. First thing he says to the man in over a quarter century.

"Merlin," Arthur says, crouching by the pallet, and reaching out for Merlin, holding his hand back when Merlin flinches away. "Please, you know me."

"Exa'ly," Merlin slurs out. "So go away."

The look on Arthur's face hardens.

"I…we…you're high!"

Merlin nodded, laughing. "Yup!"

"And you're…" Arthur is staring at his cheek, where Drake's cum has dried into a crust. He was planning to clean that off tomorrow.

"Just go away," Merlin moaned. "I've had enough."

Now the prat looked as determined as he used to just before a tournament back in Camelot, and he reaches out and Merlin tries to push himself away, but Arthur grabs hold of Merlin's upper arm in a vice like grip.

Merlin gasps as what feels like electricity, like he's being tasered (again), passes between him and Arthur, and judging by the mirrored gasp and look of shock on Arthur's face, he feels the exchange of power, too.

But he doesn't let go.

Merlin feebly pulls at his arm, but Arthur's grip remains tight.

"You idiot," Arthur murmurs, not a drop of affection lost over the last fifteen hundred years, over the last twenty five years since Arthur's last death, or…or…

Merlin pulls at his arm again. "Please, Arthur…I don't…I can't do this again."

"Let's get you clean, first," Arthur said. "Then we'll worry about what we can and can't do."

Merlin moans. "Please, no, I can't watch you live and die again, watch you age again, without me, I can't…I can't…I c-can't…"


Merlin's dry sobbing, desperately trying to push Arthur away, but only succeeding in losing the support his arms provided, and landing on his back on the pallet again.

Arthur takes a look around the empty room, at Merlin, and sighs. He pulls out a set of keys from his pocket to have ready in his hands, before Merlin's arm is released, and he feels strong arms under his knee and shoulders. He tries again to push away, but they both know the attempts are half-hearted as Arthur carries Merlin out the door.

Merlin suspects he'll never see his room again.

"You're all skin and bones…even worse than that famine in…what was it, fifteenth century?"

Merlin just tiredly leans his head into Arthur's shoulder, and feels Arthur tense a little – the cum is still dried up on his face – but the man just cradles Merlin even closer to his strong chest, and Merlin wonders what sport Arthur got into, this time.

"Hey!" Oh, there's Drake. "Where are you taking him?"

"Somewhere safe, decent, and civilized," Arthur said. "And no, he's never coming back."

"Don't you dare-"

"What, you care? Or are you just sorry to lose a client?"

"You little-"

"You take another step, and I will run you through with a chair leg. I've been in rugby since I was five, so don't think I can't."

There's a pause, then, "Just get the fuck out of here."

Merlin turns tiredly towards Drake one last time, who stares at Merlin's cheek where he marked Merlin earlier, and shakes his head, before turning into his backroom.

All of a sudden, Merlin doesn't mind the rescue.

Arthur has a nice Lexus, red, very recent, and very expensive. It's a wonder someone hasn't tried to steal it, yet.

Merlin manages to stand long enough to let Arthur open the door, and then Arthur is buckling him in, gently, almost reverently, like Merlin is made of glass, while Merlin blinks sleepily at Arthur, squinting at him at times in the dim streetlight, and tracks him as he shuts the door, before moving in front of the car and into the driver's seat.

"It's okay, Merlin," Arthur murmurs. "Go to sleep. You're safe, now."

Merlin smiles, nods, and mumbles, "Bloody noble prat."

Starting the car and rolling his eyes, Arthur smiles and says, "I know."

The gentle movements of the car and the presence of Arthur next to him sways Merlin to sleep in no time.

A/N: Please be nice and review for the humble little author who now has to go off and memorize the first fifty elements of the periodic table while bashing self for signing up for freakin' Honors Chemistry.