cyus: (Merlin)
[personal profile] cyus
Title: The whole once and future deal
Pairing/Characters: Merlin/Gwaine, Arthur/Merlin, mention of Arthur/Gwen
Rating: R
Length: 3000 words
Summary: Everything's set up, destiny is sparkling over there and Merlin's here and Arthur's there and now it's like waiting for the big bang of things shifting just right. You’d think it'd be all automatic and instant. Yeah, not so much.
Notes: Modern AU/Reincarnation. Beta'd by [livejournal.com profile] misswinterhill

He didn't fold paper airplanes for fun. He liked to think there was some great significance of world peace and the next mindmeld to create a big bang or a baby elephant behind it, but for the most part the quiet scratch of his fingernail along the crease, folding pinks and blues into something that could actually fly, was enough.

"I've been trying to figure that one out though," Merlin said into his mobile squashed between shoulder and neck as he stood at the Thames, bag on the balustrade in front of him. He folded on the rounded stone. "I told him I wouldn't come in for that and he replied that it was, what, he put it like 'It's essential for...' no I don't know, but something like that. You know him."

Merlin straightened and took the phone in his hand, thumbing across the plane's nose once before he unfolded the wings and balanced it out. The crude drawing of an erect dick stood out on one wing, then a heart and an I Love You on the other one, a few maths formulas in-between like one explained the other.

"It's just school though, isn't it?" he said, feeling philosophical in the grand sense, and he pitched the plane out across the water. It made it a few yards before nosediving and splashing. "We're meant for greater things, Arthur," he added as he pushed off the wall, eyerolling at the shuffle of papers and keyboard tapping that came through the line. "What's not intuitive isn't meant to be."

Merlin slung the bag over his shoulder, fumbled the phone around and hit the loudspeaker on accident. You been smoking pot? sounded from the phone before Merlin got it under control.

"Nah," he replied easily and jogged off down south heading for the nearest tube station. "Been thinking." And shagging Gwaine who was more the free your mind sort. "Been taking my meds and drinking my juice," he added with an eyeroll. "Go back to making money or whatever it is you're doing."

Merlin shoved the mobile back into his pocket and trudged down the road to look for some transport back to the flat.

***

"Fancy seeing you," Gwaine said first thing, first thing after the snog and the grope and the low thump Merlin's head made against the doorframe when he was squashed against it, hips aligned, crotch thrust to Gwaine's.

"Been around," Merlin replied against Gwaine's lips and reached between them to curl his fingers around Gwaine's crotch. "Arthur's been boring and... boring." He laughed as he pushed at Gwaine to get his bag off his shoulders and brush past into the kitchen, settling on one of the chairs, eyeing one of the beer bottles but then leaving it in favour of some ham and bread that he set squarely on some of Gwaine's uni crap.

"He's in love." Merlin cocked his head at Gwaine. "Not sure what he thinks it means."

"Serious?"

Merlin nodded. "Some woman he met when he was doing business in, I don't know. He told me this spiel about how she was waitressing and he was, I don't know, consuming and it sounded like all the shit movies that birds watch. I keep phoning him about destiny and dragons and swords, and keep telling him he's pretty ace with one, sword not dragon, but he still thinks I'm bonkers."

Gwaine reached past Merlin for the beer and carded his fingers through Merlin's hair on the way. "Idiot."

Merlin stuffed most of the bread in his mouth. "Do some magic then," he imitated Arthur and rolled his eyes. "He's happy enough, I think. I hope. I don't know. He's talking settling down."

"With the girl?" Gwaine straddled the chair backwards, leaned on the backrest to look at Merlin.

"With things." Merlin gestured randomly. "Shagging his business, and me sometimes if he feels it, and the bird if she lets him. I don't know if she lets him. Probably has it off with her in the loos at his work."

Merlin pulled a piece of paper from his back pocket, a bit crumpled but it'd do and he drew a cave and sparkling crystals, as much as you could with black marker and harsh outlines. The cave managed to outgay the pink of the paper fairly easily though.

"Sounds a bit bonkers though, doesn't it?" Merlin stopped mid-stroke and glanced at Gwaine. He shoved the marker to the side and started folding. "Maybe my head's broken."

Gwaine sipped from his beer and rescued some of his texts and print-outs from under Merlin's fingers before he settled on the chair, legs splayed, watching.

Merlin left the paper on the side, plane half folded with the nose getting better acquainted with Merlin's ham sandwich, and went to kiss Gwaine instead. He settled on his lap. "Destiny's crap," he mumbled against Gwaine's jaw. "And he won't fuck me anymore now that I'm, I don't know, 19 and could sell the shit to the papers about how he's corrupted the barely-legal with sex."

"Smart man."

"I wouldn't." Merlin tipped his head back when Gwaine nibbled at his throat, grinned. "Well, depends how much they'd offer but-"

Gwaine laughed, and it slunk through Merlin's stomach and up, reverberated along his chest. Gwaine was halfhard under Merlin's arse, and Merlin ground down against him.

"I wouldn't though," Merlin said quietly as he leaned in and nosed along Gwaine's jaw, rough with beard, to his nose and splayed his hand over Gwaine's chest, fingertips scratching through his chesthair inside the long v of the shirt. "He's... Arthur. Supposed to carry him off dead eventually and all. Can't do that if I piss with him too much."

Gwaine knocked against his head. "You're nutters."

"Also dying to have you suck me. Wanna?" Merlin lifted off Gwaine's lap and leaned back against the kitchen table, legs splayed.

Gwaine gave one of his lazy grins, the kind that were all loose and like he was high on pot or sex-sleepy. He slipped off his chair and knelt before Merlin, thumbing open his jeans and drawing down his zipper and stroking him a little.

"I got the job at Tesco's," Merlin said as Gwaine closed his lips around him and sucked. Merlin craned his head back, stared at the stained ceiling and thrust his hips forward in an easy rhythm, his fingers carding through Gwaine's hair.

Then he didn't say much else, thought about the intro to self-check outs and the CCTV system and how he'd fucked off thirty minutes early with one of the other lads, pretending at a smoke to have something to do.

Merlin tugged at Gwaine's hair and did himself up when Gwaine leaned over the sink to spit out Merlin's come and rinse his mouth.

"Told him he's going to save the world," Merlin said, leaning on his elbows on the kitchen table, folding paper into airplane shape. He glanced sideways at Gwaine sinking into a chair, beer balanced on his knee. "He told me he'd call me."

***

"You never call anymore." Merlin stopped in front of the bench, looked at Arthur, then plunked himself down next to him. He drew some paper from his jacket pocket, a marker, and began drawing the sword, the stone.

"I'm busy." Arthur laughed. "You should be busy. What about your job?"

"I quit."

"School?"

"Thinking about quitting. And it's uni." Merlin added a few drama lines, as he called them, just to make the sword stand out more on the pink paper. Then he glanced at Arthur. "You used to fuck me when I was in college. Don't anymore."

Arthur groaned and rubbed at his eyes. "We've had this conversation. Education's-"

"-bollocks." Merlin scraped his nails over the creases in the paper, folding the sword up. "Told me to let it go. Tried to let it go. Easy for you, you can just go up to Manchester and-"

"-it's my job-"

"-and piss off and leave me with a few thousand like someone you picked up on Clapham Common but-"

"-pretty sure they do it for free."

Merlin dragged his fingers over the paper hard enough that it ripped and he glared at it. "Don't give a toss anymore anyway." He stood up, paper plane crumpling in his grip.

"Merlin-"

"It's not a joke." Merlin pressed the plane to Arthur's chest, marker smudging black over Arthur's deep red shirt, making him set his jaw and look like a total plonker with the sunglasses in near-rain Manchester.

"Merlin-"

Merlin leaned closer, close enough he could kiss the arse if he wanted to, close enough he did. "It's not some stupid joke to me."

Arthur pushed at Merlin's shoulder until he'd forced him back. "Not here."

Merlin stepped back. The paper plane fell to the gravel between Arthur's shoes. "She doesn't know, does she?" Merlin glanced back at Arthur's office building at the other end of the plaza. The Beeb hadn't spared in expenses. All glass, all the time and no sign of soul.

"No," Arthur said, giving his 'I'm so tired of your funny little stories' sigh.

Merlin kicked at the paper plane, then turned and began to walk away. He'd paid ten quid for the bus up and he had another two hours for the one down but he wouldn't waste it on this.

"Destiny's not a joke," he called over his shoulder. "At least to me it's not." He muttered, 'I hope it hurts when the sword splits you in two' under his breath and tried not to feel like an idiot when Arthur didn't come running after him.

***

Come on, Merlin, least you can do is pick up. Third? Fourth time I've- call me back.

***

"How long do you have?" Merlin asked against Arthur's collarbone before he sunk his teeth in, fingers scrabbling at Arthur's trousers.

"Twenty minutes before the car-"

"Get that-"

"-can, yeah." Merlin was on his knees with his face buried in Arthur's crotch in under ten seconds. Arthur leaned back against the disability friendly toilet framing. Merlin glanced up -- the harsh neon light made Arthur's face look ridiculous --, then closed his eyes and his lips around Arthur's cock. Arthur's fingers were buried in Merlin's hair, pulling him closer.

Merlin went easily, wet, clicking sounds in his throat with every press of the cock over his tongue.

He pulled off, coughing, before Arthur came, just jerked him and caught most of it over his fingers. Arthur's throat was bobbing. Merlin leaned forward, Arthur's soft cock pressing to his t-shirt as he turned on the faucet and let the water wash away the spunk on his fingers before he tucked Arthur back in, all wet hands and dripping into Arthur's pubic hair and the front of his trousers, making him look like he'd wet himself.

"Fuck." Arthur said, eyeing the dryer and Merlin petted him again for good measure before straightening, carding the same damp fingers through his hair, rubbing his mouth on his shoulder.

"You never replied to the email," Merlin said as he rinsed his mouth. "About the dream."

"Merlin-"

Merlin drew a paper plane from his back pocket and dropped it in the toilet, flushing. "You know I'm right. That this is not just- I'm not some mad little freak kid."

"Right-" Arthur's eyes were darting about. "We've got a date set."

"You're in love."

Arthur shrugged. "I'm in love."

"Doesn't mean that it isn't real." Merlin knocked on his head. "Doesn't mean that shit inside here means nothing."

Arthur cocked his head and turned around to the sink to wash his hands. Merlin took it as dismissal. The toilet clogged up with paper showing at the bottom. Served it bloody well right.

***

"I want to run him through with a sword myself." Merlin plucked at Gwaine's pubic hair, rubbed thumb and index finger over his soft cock, warm and sticky with come.

Gwaine was angling for a fag on the window sill, sweaty sides brushing along Merlin's hair. "You used to-" Gwaine fumbled the cigarette and lighter as he spread his fingers in something vague that had become their agreed-upon signal for magic.

Merlin let himself fall back. The mattress creaked. He held his hand up straight, arm outstretched and spread all fingers, narrowing his eyes. With all the shit his brain was throwing about you'd think it'd come up with something fancy.

Gwaine watched him, interested, until Merlin reached across and stole his cigarette. "Doesn't make me a lunatic."

"Sounds pretty loony."

Merlin shrugged. "I know what it is. He knows what it is."

"He's hooking up for life." Gwaine shuddered and Merlin laughed and laughed until it wasn't funny anymore and Gwaine looked at him like he'd forgot some of the cheap pills.

"Doesn't matter," Merlin said.

***

I- well- yeah- um- congrats, yeah? Yeah.

***

"What if it's Libya?" Merlin said into the mobile squashed between shoulder and cheek. "Yeah, I'm busy, too, just listen, what if it's Libya? It feels like it could be Libya. If we could- fuck." The paper plane dropped into the Thames half finished, floating away with scribbles only half done and not making sense to anyone.

Merlin stared after it, glanced at Gwaine in the distance and back at the waves.

"I know there's something," Merlin said into the phone and pulled out another piece of colored paper, set the marker to it and waited for his brain to spit something out.

Arthur was silent on the other end of the line.

"Two sides of a coin," Merlin said. Then, "Arthur?"

"I'm happy, Merlin."

"I'm-" Merlin laughed. "That's good, that's- I want you to be happy-" That went down a little uneasy only because it was too much of a lie around the edges but true at heart. "-but, it's you're happy. That's great really."

They ended the conversation in monosyllables and grunts and in the sunshine. The tip of the marker had soaked a black spot onto the paper but nothing else and Merlin stared at it and stared at it and waited for meaning, baby elephants and a saved world.

Nothing happened.

***

Haven't talked in a while, I was wondering if you were free? I'm up in Manchester with a mate, Gwaine, with- with- anyway, I thought maybe I could drop by?

***

"It's right there under my skin." Merlin opened his fist, splayed his fingers and the faintest orange glow reflected in the windows and all the glass in Arthur's office. "I told you," Merlin added because he had, he had told Arthur so many times he'd lost count along the line. He took out the paper and the marker and pushed them across Arthur's desk, past the photo of Gwen and yeah, fuck all that, they looked happy.

Arthur had his arms crossed in front of his chest, pillock that he was, and he had a small figurine of a knight on his desk, idiot that he was.

"I can see it."

"You're high."

Merlin leaned forward, got up in Arthur's face, close enough to taste his breath and count his eyelashes. "I know it's crawling under your skin."

"What about uni?" Arthur asked as he picked up the marker. Merlin harrumphed. "What about a job?" he asked and Merlin pushed off the desk.

"This-" Merlin gestured to the paper and the marker and the fucking universe at large. "It's that. All of it, is that. It's-"

"Are you happy?"

Merlin stared at him, fingertips tingling with magic and mouth tasting of Gwaine's come and thighs still sore from riding Gwaine's cock and he shrugged. "I'm still waiting, that's all."

***

Merlin pushed back on the chair, toes curled on the seat of Gwaine's, balancing on two chair legs.

"I keep dreaming shit."

"I know."

"I want to run myself through with a sword sometimes because he should be here."

Gwaine said nothing just nodded and held him when Merlin crawled onto his lap and made himself small and buried his face in the crook of Gwaine's neck.

His markers had dried up, the square paper pieces had disappeared under the rubble somewhere, and he was swearing up and down he'd lost Arthur's number but no one was buying that lie and Gwaine had made a post-it with it on and taped it to the fridge and put it there every night even when Merlin balled it up and tossed it every morning.

***

Meet me.

***

The paper was white, the marker black, and Arthur had drawn a dragon, fire, a body, swords, horses, a single square of white marked up in crisscrossed lines, incomprehensible gibberish.

"I've got to get back after lunch," Arthur said. "We're closing a deal today. And I'm only in London for a few hours-"

Arthur felt right, and they slotted into shoulder to shoulder and Arthur stealing one of the fags Merlin had nicked from Gwaine with a chuckle, gold ring glinting on his finger, laugh lines around his eyes. He held the paper to the stone balustrade with all five fingertips until Merlin's fingers closed over his. The sun was beating down on them as they stood looking out at the river.

"I'm not sure it's destiny. I think I'm too old for destiny." Arthur laughed, gruff and a bit uneasy. "It's funny in here though," he said and gestured to his head, cigarette glimmering.

"I'm not," Merlin said easily, and to be fair, he'd never been. He folded the plane with practiced movements.

He thought it'd feel significant, born baby elephants or some such, the big bang of something important, when it flew off and landed in the waves a few yards in but it only felt like another beginning. Funny, apparently the snapping of two halves into one whole wasn't quite deserving of anything that amazing.

Merlin called Gwaine over and Arthur talked about Gwen, and in-between, when they looked at each other, memories were flitting between them like the planes coming in to land.
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cyus

November 2012

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