Title: Like a Long Learning Curve [1/1]
Summary: Only two names stood out on the list, but even then, he understood what it meant. He had seen it before, plenty of times actually; lists of names, addresses, days, events, descriptions, phrases of 'things I should say when I see her.' (I love you, We could have worked it out, I thought you said we could still be friends, You felt so happy that you could die—me too . . .) His boyfriend was getting careless in his absence.

Rating: T
Pairing/Characters: Arthur/Merlin; Arthur/Gwen
Warning: Angst; not a happy ending
Total Word Count: ~773 words

Disclaimer: 'Merlin' and its characters are owned by BBC and Shine. And the lyrics used from 'Somebody that I Used to Know' are Gotye's.


1. Morgana x

2. Elyan x

3. Leon x

4. Owain x

5. Galahad x

6. Isolde x

7. Tristan

8. Tom

Only two names stood out on the list, but even then, he understood what it meant. He had seen it before, plenty of times actually; lists of names, addresses, days, events, descriptions, phrases of 'things I should say when I see her.' (I love you, We could have worked it out, I thought you said we could still be friends, You felt so happy that you could die—me too . . .) His boyfriend was getting careless in his absence.

Merlin looked away, walking around the desk and into the hall. He was tired of it all: the arguments that arose after he confronted Arthur time and time again, the knowledge that he would always be second best, the fact that he would be stood up on any date because Arthur thought he saw curly brown hair across the street, and worst of all, the way he no longer was Merlin; a fragmented mockery of his previous self. And the man who was supposed to love him drove him to this new low of paranoia, of self-hate, of anger. anger anger anger.

As he was gathering his belongings into a suitcase, he imagined the scenario if he were to confront Arthur again in his fury.

Arthur would breath deeply—but dared not sigh because the Pendragon knew that it would only incense Merlin further—and tried not to look exasperated at the recurrent conversation. And his face would remain blank until Merlin waved the latest list in his hands with fingers gripped so tight that Arthur's eyes would snap and follow each movement with a creeping terror and apprehension. In that moment, like any other, Merlin would feel so much hate for this man and this person that he used to know that he wanted to rip the flimsy paper into pieces and throw it into his face. But he wouldn't because he would not stoop so low to hurt his lover, and just—just uncurl his fingers to let it drift to the ground as he left the apartment. Over the blood pounding in his ears, he would tell himself that he could not hear Arthur snatch up the list quick, and fold it slowly—reverently.

And Merlin would be so stupid as to pretend it never happened when Arthur sends him a text message a week later saying, 'I am sorry. Please come home,' along with a picture of the list ripped with a note beside it that read, 'I promise.' It wouldn't escape his notice that the list would be completely crossed out and have additional notes on the sides as if Arthur had to go through all his options at the time before returning his affection to him. And be so stupid as to ignore that too.

Merlin wasn't stupid now. He didn't accost Arthur as he passed the closed door of the guest room, only pausing mid-step to hear the end tail of his conversation. (No Tristan, I'm not seeing anyone. He's a friend. Are you absurd? He uses the salad fork instead of the—no, this doesn't have to do with Guinevere. Speaking of her, have you seen…) There was no anger this time, only resignation and acute vindictiveness. He liked to think that he was gathering himself from the fractured pieces that he lost to this draining relationship, once again reclaiming his happy, go-lucky, wholly loving identity.

But perhaps, the clean up would take some time seeing that he might stoop so low this time to hurt his ex-boyfriend; carelessly ripping the cherished photo of the two of them wrapped around each other in half, and taking his half while returning Arthur's half to its place in the frame. It was bitter to look at the white space occupying the spot beside Arthur, as if Merlin never existed. His throat felt tight. It was time to leave. The apartment key laid on the table stand next to the picture.

And the door clicked shut with a liberating finality as another creaked open inside.

Merlin supposed, as he turned off his phone when it rang Pendragon's ringtone for the second time, that he shouldn't have left the man so completely, abruptly, and with no explanation. ("Merlin, your key—and our photo—what's going on?" "Hello, this is Merlin speaking, I'm afraid I don't know who you are, stranger. Perhaps you got the wrong Merlin.")

However, if there was one thing he learned from Pendragon, it was this:

You should never be hung up on somebody that you used to know.


Note: I don't really know where this came from. The only thing I can say about this is that it's based off of Kimbra's part in Gotye's [Somebody that I Used to Know] I love the body language between the two of them, and the whole artistic concept that is the whole music video. There was so much to say with each of Gotye's flinches, and the way he sings over Kimbra to accent the point that his relationship with the other is more important than the relationship that is now. AND the fact that he stares at the camera instead of at her really makes it feel like there's a third person involved although we only see two. Okay. Yeah. I'll expound on it later, on my own time.