Story Title: Hurt
Story Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Story Rating: PG-13
Length: 1018 Words
Summary or preview: "You let me hurt you."
"You've had enough for tonight, Arthur." Merlin tries to pry the goblet out of Arthur's hand, but Arthur just pulls the goblet back to his lips where he drains it all in one gulp before slamming it back down onto the table. "More."
"Arthur…" Merlin begins again, trying to get through to this prince that is mindless with grief and anger. So much bitter anger. Merlin didn't know how to get through to him, didn't know what he could do. He has never seen Arthur act this way before.
"Merlin! You will obey me!" Arthur snarls, slamming his fist into the wooden table. Merlin flinches, watching the splinters of wood drive into Arthur's battered hand. The crown prince of Camelot's face betrays no emotion as he removes his fist, his blood staining the table. Merlin watches his prince, his prince that would one day become the greatest king the world would ever know but he cannot help but wonder what the price will be in exchange.
It scares Merlin. He doesn't know this Arthur, he cannot help him with his idiotic comments and sarcastic replies. He doesn't know what to do, but he knows he must do something, because Arthur, his or not is hurting. It makes Merlin hurt too.
"No, Arthur. That is enough." Merlin says, unafraid, even as Arthur lifts his head, glaring furiously at his manservant, protector, friend; murderous. "What did you say?" He hisses, standing up slowly shoving his chair back roughly with his bleeding hand so hard, Merlin worries that he may never gain full use of it again.
"I said, that is enough for tonight, Sire." Merlin doesn't bow his head, his gaze meeting Arthur's head on which only seemed to infuriate him further. Arthur grabs his sword that Merlin had just finished polishing off his bed and shoves him against the wall, his breaths coming faster, his eyes wide; manic.
"When will you understand, Merlin? You cannot tell me what to do!" Arthur is breathing hard as the blade digs into Merlin's neck, the sharp point brings prickles of pain, and Arthur's eyes are wide and intrigued as he watches Merlin's blood well and bead to the surface as he presses harder, deeper into Merlin's skin.
Merlin's sad, so sad as he watches his Arthur slip further and further away from himself, and Merlin. "Arthur." Merlin whispers, tears pricking his eyes but he refuses to let himself cry, refuses to give this Arthur the satisfaction. He will never give this Arthur anything of his.
He has already taken his time, taken his Arthur away from him; driven him to turn to the vile drink that drove sane men wild as he makes Merlin pour him every drink and with every sip Arthur takes, Merlin feels like he is responsible for every crack and tear in Arthur's heart and soul.
Merlin sees a fracture, a fault in the walls in Arthur's eyes, and he's sure that if he just pushes, a little bit more, a little harder, his Arthur will come home. Merlin rests his cool palm on Arthur's warm, heated cheek. His prince sucks in a breath between split lips, and the walls come crumbling down.
Merlin doesn't mind the burning pain in his neck, because all that matters is that Arthur is home. His Arthur is home. The pressure on his neck increases, as Arthur lets out a ragged sob. "Merlin, she's gone. Morgana's gone!" And Arthur collapses on the ground, the sword clatters next to him but Arthur flings it away.
Merlin says nothing, kneeling down next to Arthur, collecting him in his arms, whispering sweet nothings into Arthur's ear as his king sobs into his chest. Merlin strokes Arthur's hair, and his lips long to mouth the edge of his broken king's chin but Merlin never crosses that line. He knows his place.
Arthur quietens, tremors still shaking his body, but Merlin just grips onto him tighter; not really wanting to let go. Eventually he does, as he hears muffled words;Merlin pulls back bringing his arms, pulling them back to hug himself. They feel so empty hugging his skinny, cold self, instead of Arthur's warm body.
Arthur moves further away from Merlin, and he can almost hear himself breaking.
"You let me hurt you."
Arthur whispers into the night, and it is so silent Merlin wonders if it wasn't just the crackling of the fire, but Arthur's eyes meet him now, the ruins of a fortress stare back at him, battered from years of pain and torture, too broken to ever be as strong or as complete as it once was.
"Everybody needs to hurt something sometimes, Arthur. Even princes." Merlin replies, but what he doesn't say is that Arthur hurts him enough that Merlin has no reason or need to self destruct. Just being this close to Arthur brings him so much pain, sometimes it paralyzes him.
Arthur's reply is quiet, his gaze burns Merlin and he has to look away into the burning embers. "You would let me hurt something beautiful?" Merlin blushes, though he tries to hide it by rubbing his neck. He feels the slick feel of his blood, and stares at the crimson red staining his fingers.
"No, Arthur. I would let you hurt me." Merlin lifts his eyes to Arthur, to find his gaze settled on his stained fingers. "Arthur." Merlin whispers, the walls are back up in his king's eyes. His king pulls himself over to Merlin, and he presses himself to Merlin, his bleeding fingers intertwined with Merlin's bloody hand, his heat stifling and burning Merlin.
"I need to hurt, Merlin. I need to hurt." Arthur gasps as he kisses Merlin's lips, and his blood stained fingers. Merlin sees the thin walls in Arthur's eyes, thin enough that he can hear his king's heartbeat and feel it under his fingertips. He can hear his thoughts, his wants, his desires; his king's fears.
Arthur trusts him; and that is all that matters to Merlin. He kisses Arthur back, and whispers. "Then hurt me." It is unspoken that Arthur already does.