A/N: Oh my dear God, you will not believe how much school + other personal things is killing me. My whole autumn was insane and I still don't know how I managed to pull myself through. Anyway, things have FINALLY started to get a bit more calmer and I decided to give you a little something something. This story is still one of my babies and I won't let this story go until it's finished. I'm sorry for the really long wait. I can only tell you that during all of that has been going on, the only thing I wanted was to write. Turns out it's not that easy when your head is already filled with all kinds of other stuff. Well, I wanna thank all devoted readers for their patience, and I wanna welcome all the new readers. I love you all.
Merlin shivers in the dark, and he can feel Will's hot breath on his cheek clearly. Merlin moans and arches his back, trying to get closer, and he clings onto Will like his life depends on it. He throws his head back and silently prays to any higher being that Will won't notice how fucked up he is, how desperate he is to sort his thoughts out, and to get this horrible feeling out of him. He digs his fingers into Will's back and feels him move inside of him, smooth and warm, sticky and quick. Merlin enjoys how the pleasure seems to blur his mind, but it isn't enough. He can still feel, and this feeling is tearing him up from the inside. It's making it hard to breathe and Merlin kisses Will roughly to keep himself from screaming out.
Merlin would've been stupid to deny that being honest with Arthur wouldn't have any emotional impact on him. Now, his walls have fallen and he feels naked and exposed. Vulnerable. And he hates it because he knows it's harder to recover emotionally while he's in this state. He hasn't felt like this in years. He had almost forgotten how it felt like. He has been feeling so safe with his walls up around him, and now they have fallen… Merlin bites down on Will's lips, earning him a loud groan. He pulls away and pants, louder and louder.
And it's all Arthur Pendragon's fault. It's his fault Merlin's feeling this way, it's his fault his walls have fallen. Why couldn't Arthur stay away? Why couldn't he take no for an answer? Why did he have to be so persistent to find out the big secret about Merlin?
There were four people in this world who knew everything about Merlin, and he hates them all. Now, when Arthur knows as well, does that mean he hates Arthur too? In some sense Merlin does believe he hates Arthur, maybe not fully, but it's enough. He loathes Arthur just like he loathes his parents and the doctors, but for an entirely different reason. He loathes Arthur for his arrogance and selfishness, for his complete inability to leave things alone. He hates Arthur for making him feel defenceless.
Will sucks on Merlin's neck until it burns, until Merlin's eyes roll backwards in their sockets and make everything go even darker – completely black. Merlin searches his mind for anything to go by, for anything he can use against Arthur. He needs to get back at him. It's the only clear thing that comes through his mind. To make everything better he has to get the upper hand. Of course. That's the only thing they've been doing so far. Trying to be on top, trying to control everything and outsmart the other. It's only been a fucking game so far and the only one who seems to have everything to lose is Merlin.
Merlin has to admit he's beginning to think Arthur is a whole lot smarter than he thinks he is. Arthur is making him feel insecure, and no one has ever made Merlin feel insecure before. Merlin wonders why he ever agreed to a friendship and why he ever let things get this far. This seems to only be causing him pain and what exactly does he have to gain from all this? He knows he owes Arthur this though, knows Arthur has deserved the friendship Merlin has promised. But that doesn't mean this all has to be on Arthur's terms. Merlin can still be in charge of that.
Will thrusts a few times more and Merlin hits his release. He doesn't even feel guilty for using Will this way. At least he admits to being selfish when he needs to be. He can deal with Will another time.
Will rolls off him and goes fast asleep, leaving Merlin awake alone in the dark and wondering what time it really is. He barely remembers anything he has done today, it has all been dark and blurry.
Merlin figures he may as well go get a shower and get to bed early. He had promised Edwin he'd be in for work tonight, but he called in sick as soon as he woke up this morning. Perhaps work would've been a good distraction, but Merlin just couldn't be arsed to get out of bed. He was too tired to, really. He had been awake all night and run through the night before in his head again and again, like some evil obsession.
Merlin tiptoes out of Will's room, completely naked, and heads for the bathroom, but for some reason he doesn't walk in. He stands outside the bathroom and stares over at the door to his own room. He shivers a bit in the cold and quiet apartment – Will doesn't snore like Arthur does – and then he slowly makes his way to his room instead. He pushes the door open, and it squeaks just like in a predictable horror movie, and Merlin walks in. He looks at his bedside table, but doesn't find the item he needs. He searches his messy bed, even under it, and inside the sheets. Then he searches in the pockets of his clothes, and that's when he finally finds his phone – the thing he wanted. He stares at it and sees no missed calls and no texts, and Merlin doesn't understand why it makes him feel so empty inside. He glares at the phone and throws it on his bed, not caring at all when it hits the wall first in a loud bang.
He marches out of his room and heads directly for the bathroom. He immediately steps inside the shower and doesn't care that the water is ice cold during the first few minutes.
Merlin closes his eyes, letting the water pour over his head, and then he feels his right hand start to twitch a little. He thinks back of yesterday by the lake, and he wonders why he had to take Arthur to such an intimate and private place of his like the lake. He takes deep breaths and his hand twitches even more as he thinks of how they stood there outside Arthur's car and watched Merlin's personal spot by the lake where he had built his sculptures. The hand twitches and twitches, and then he throws it into the wall. Hard. Merlin opens his eyes.
He stares at his hand, feeling it throb with the pain, and he shakes his head. He turns and slowly sinks to the floor of the shower. He sits there for twenty minutes under the water, staring at his aching hand. This is stupid. This is all so fucking stupid.
"We need to talk", Will spits when he comes home from work the next day during lunchtime, and judging by the loud smash of the keys thrown on the kitchen table, he's mad.
Merlin frowns and lowers the TV. He knows what kind of stereotypical talk that follows the line 'we need to talk', but seeing as him and Will aren't dating then that can't be it.
"What's wrong?" Merlin asks softly, concerned and gets up from the couch.
"You fucking know what's wrong!" Will growls with his head red and breathing heavy.
Merlin shrugs and shakes his head, unaware of what Will is talking about exactly. It's better to keep your mouth shut until you're completely sure of what the problem is.
"Oh, come on! You know perfectly well-", Will says and then he groans loudly and holds his head while he paces the room and tries to calm himself down. Merlin waits patiently for a few minutes, studying every step Will takes closely.
"Will?" Merlin then asks calmly and Will stops and stands still.
"I had a doctor's appointment now during the lunch for, you know, the regular check-ups and all that", Will starts and tries really hard to keep a steady voice, "And… And he did the normal tests and, um, checked for STDs and…"
Will stops talking and laughs dryly, almost hysterically, and Merlin starts to get a bit worried that something really serious is wrong with Will. His best friend shakes his head and looks up at him. His eyes are hard and sad, and don't at all match the strange grin on his lips.
"And it turns out I've got chlamydia", Will says with a small shrug. He says it with such calm, like it's no big deal, but his eyes shows just exactly how angry he is.
"Chlamydia?" Merlin repeats stupidly.
"Yeah, you know that disease you can get when you fuck someone without using a condom? Turns out I've got it. And the strange thing is that you're the only one I've been fucking lately, so the only possible way I could've gotten this disease is through you", Will says and his eyes narrows slightly, "You've slept with someone and didn't tell me?"
"I don't have to tell you who I sleep with", Merlin says and the words just slip out, and he wants so badly to pull them back in because he realizes his mistake immediately.
"Is that so?" Will snorts, "Because, if I recall correctly, it wasn't that long ago that you said you'd tell me if you slept with someone because you and I are just friends and you're not doing anything wrong. You wouldn't keep that from me."
Merlin doesn't say anything.
"Who is it then?" Will continues, "Is it him? That lawyer? Pendragon, right? Is it him? Nothing but a free meal, huh?"
Merlin doesn't understand how this could've happened. He's always very careful to use protection. He always makes sure. Then he thinks of that very first time in Arthur's kitchen when they didn't even use lube, and it was a simple 'in the heat of the moment' kind of thing and Merlin can't remember if Arthur used a condom or not. He should've felt it, but he just can't remember.
"Are you sure-?"
"Yes, I'm fucking sure", Will snaps, "The doctor checked twice. I'm absolutely sure."
And this is all the more worse because Will is sober right now, but he's still this angry, and that means that Merlin really fucked up this time. He gets it, he really does, because he has given him chlamydia and Merlin really should've told him about Arthur from the beginning.
"Yes", Merlin forces out between gritted teeth, "I slept with him after that dinner. It just happened. I thought we used protection, but I guess we didn't…"
Merlin can't tell him the truth, not right now when Will is already this mad. It'll end in a big and messy fight and Merlin really hasn't got the time or the effort. His mind is already working on overload and he's afraid he'll go too far and say something really hurtful to Will.
"Why didn't you just tell me?" Will wonders and his features are a bit softer, "I felt so stupid standing there at the doctor's with the results and realizing you've been lying to me."
"I didn't lie. I just didn't tell you", Merlin says, because there is a very big difference.
"Whatever", Will says and seems tired after his outburst, "Just tell me next time, okay? I don't like not knowing things, especially when it comes to serious stuff like this."
"Sure", Merlin says, but isn't sure that is a promise he can keep. He got away fairly easy this time, but he knows this can all blow back as soon as Will has gotten some alcohol in him. He hopes Will will be over it by then.
"You should probably contact him and tell him he's infected", Will says before he passes Merlin and slumps down in the couch. He turns the volume back up on the TV and Merlin glances at him. Will's absolutely right.
"Yeah, Lance, I'll be there by six. Or I'll try", Arthur promises and his eyes catch Gwen as he enters his firm, "Gwen says hi, by the way."
"Tell her hi right back and that I hope she's coping with you as her boss. We all know what an ass you can be", Lancelot says and laughs.
"Hey, I'm the perfect gentleman. Always", Arthur says and gets a bunch of papers from a co-worker approaching him. He gives him a silent thanks.
"Apparently not considering there's no one who wants to be your date to the H.P.H.O event", Lancelot says and continues to laugh.
"Ow, that one really hurt", Arthur protests.
"You'll get over it. Just be here by six, alright?"
"Yeah, I promise", Arthur says and hangs up, then approaches Gwen and her desk with a wide smile.
"You had a great lunch, I take it?" Gwen asks and seems amused by Arthur's great mood.
"Yeah, I had a few great meetings", Arthur says and continues towards his office, "Going to make some calls right away. And by the way, Lance sends his love."
"R-really?" Gwen stutters and Arthur notices her slight blush, "I mean, tell him thanks. Or something."
Arthur chuckles and disappears inside his office. He puts the stack of papers on his desk and then pulls his coat of and is about to go sit down in his chair, when the chair suddenly turns around and-
"Merlin?" Arthur exclaims and is both startled and confused.
"I think those calls will have to wait a short bit", Merlin says and nods at the door. Arthur frowns, but still immediately closes it.
"He's certainly not the only one she's got a crush on", Merlin mumbles and stares at something out the glass walls when Arthur turns back to him.
"Your secretary", Merlin says and nods vaguely towards her where she can be seen by her desk, picking among papers, "She likes you as well, but I guess you already know that."
Arthur glances at Gwen shortly where she's sat by her desk, completely oblivious to the fact that she's being watched.
"What are you doing here, Merlin?" Arthur asks and looks back at Merlin, sitting comfortably in his chair, "How did you even get in here?"
"I snuck in while your secretary was busy checking pictures of that Lancelot on Facebook. Why, don't you want me to be here?"
Arthur and Merlin just stare at each other, and Merlin smirks – obviously playing with Arthur. Merlin's eyes even twinkle. They drag the stare out until Arthur opens his mouth.
"Of course I do. What owes me the pleasure?"
"Chlamydia owes you the pleasure. Literally", Merlin says.
Arthur stops in the middle of hanging his coat over the visitor's chair and he looks up, thinking he must've heard that wrong. "What did you say?"
"I think you heard me", Merlin says seriously, "Fucking chlamydia, Arthur. And I thought I was going to be the irresponsible one between the two of us."
"What are you talking about?" Arthur asks and frowns. Merlin rolls his eyes.
"You, me, chlamydia. And Will. I guess you couldn't keep that diseased dick of yours to yourself", Merlin mutters.
"You're telling me I gave you chlamydia?" Arthur wonders and can't help but grin, because this is just too good to be true.
Arthur shakes his head. "I haven't given you chlamydia."
"You're the only one who could've given it to me", Merlin says and holds his hands out to highlight his point.
Arthur puts his hands on the back rest of the chair in front of him and leans on it heavily, a small sigh escaping him. "What about Will? Or any of the other people you've been sleeping with?"
"Will has only been sleeping with me and I've only been sleeping with you and Will. And I got myself tested right before I met you", Merlin says matter-of-factly and leans forward in the chair, "And we both know who the player in this room is."
"I haven't got chlamydia", Arthur states.
"You sure about that?" Merlin says and arches an eyebrow, "Have you even gotten yourself tested lately?"
Arthur thinks back and realizes he hasn't.
"Exactly", Merlin says and doesn't need Arthur's answer to get it, "Remember that first time? In your kitchen? Did you even bother to use a condom?"
Arthur thinks back of those events and closes his eyes. "Fuck", he breathes.
Everything was a bit of a blurry that night. Arthur had been pissed off that Merlin was putting up some cliché charade and was trying to act nice, and they were both just kind of provoking each other. None of them had been thinking straight.
"Yeah", Merlin says and gets up from the chair. He walks over to Arthur, who's still leaning against the chair in front of him, and stops. Arthur imagines he sees something in Merlin's eyes on a closer distance like this, some kind of emotion – a tell – but Merlin only needs to blink once to make it disappear.
"Next time you might want to try and remember the condom."
"Like you're so perfect?" Arthur objects, "Why aren't you using one with Will then?"
"Because we trust each other", Merlin shrugs.
Merlin is only about half a metre away from him and, due to the leaning position Arthur's in, his face is in the perfect level with Merlin's.
"Yeah… Right", Arthur says and stares deeply into the perfect blue that is Merlin's eyes, but instead of getting lost in them he feels his head getting clearer, "Just one thing though, you must've felt that I didn't use any protection during that time, but yet you didn't say anything."
"I didn't. I didn't feel it."
Arthur smirks and his face gets a bit closer to Merlin's, without him even noticing it himself. "You're lying. You did feel it, but you didn't stop me. There's no way you wouldn't have noticed there was no rubber between my dick and your insides", Arthur murmurs and inches a bit closer, "Now, does that make me special in any way? Did you already trust me enough to let me fuck you with no protection?"
He watches as Merlin's eyes move and probably searches Arthur's face for anything that he can use against him. Merlin smiles sweetly and also he makes the effort to lean in a bit closer, with his eyes shifting down to Arthur's lips and back up to his eyes. They've been in this position before, with only tiny centimetres between their lips. Merlin licks his lips slowly and Arthur is about to finally lean in the last inch when Merlin interrupts.
"Careful, your secretary is watching", he says and he's watching something behind Arthur again. Arthur follows his gaze and he indeed finds Gwen watching them both from her spot. She immediately looks down at her laptop as soon as she realizes she's been caught.
Merlin snorts softly and leans away. "I think I should leave and I guess we're pretty done here", he says and heads for the door, "Just remember: use a condom. And you should probably get a doctor's appointment", he opens the door and takes a last look around the room, "And nice office by the way, very impressive."
"Wait", Arthur says before Merlin can take a step outside, "Does this mean Will knows about us?"
Merlin slowly turns back around and Arthur notices how tense he immediately gets. His eyes are suddenly darker.
"I told him I slept with you during our last meet. So, no, he doesn't know."
Merlin stands rigid by the door, holding the handle in a vice grip, as Arthur walks over and casually leans against the glass wall.
"Why don't you just tell him?" he wonders softly and crosses his arms over his chest.
Merlin smiles, and it's almost painful to watch, and his gaze shifts down to the floor. "You should've seen how angry he got over this, just imagine how angry he'll be when he finds out about everything."
"Imagine that, you actually care about someone's feelings", Arthur says with a smirk.
Merlin glares and opens the door fully, but Arthur grabs his wrist before he manages to leave. "Accompany me to the homeless people charity event on Saturday."
"Why?" Merlin asks dryly.
"Because those events are always a snooze fest and you'd be fun to have around."
Merlin scoffs and pulls his wrist free. "You want me to mingle with your friends and family? I don't think so. Besides, I have no clothes that'll live up to your upper-class standards."
"I can always buy you a suit", Arthur suggests, "I think that's the least I owe you after giving you chlamydia."
Yeah, that one stung and will be hard to swallow. Arthur makes a clear note in his mind to book a doctor's appointment as soon as possible. Merlin still doesn't look at all convinced.
"Come on, Merlin. Don't make me blackmail you into coming with. Isn't this what we're supposed to do? We're friends, let's hang out as friends."
Merlin stares at Gwen's desk, which is now empty, and he seems to be thinking it through. Arthur will never stop wondering what exactly goes through that brilliant mind of Merlin's every time he gets this quiet. Then he blinks a few times and looks back up at Arthur.
"Fine. But you'll still owe me… Art", Merlin says with a smirk and then leaves before Arthur has any chance to stop him again.