A life half lived by dark angel
Summary: A.U- In their latest rencarnation, Merlin is a famous magician and Arthur a waiter in a bar. The trouble is that only Arthur remembers; can he make Merlin remember too?
Categories: FPF Slash Characters: Arthur, Merlin
Genre: AU
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: Yes Word count: 4408 Read: 6558 Published: Nov 28, 2009 Updated: Dec 20, 2009

1. A life half lived by dark angel

2. A life complete by dark angel

A life half lived by dark angel
A life half lived


Arthur glanced up at the TV in the corner of the bar and reached for the remote control to up the volume.

‘World famous illusionist Merlin has announced that he will be performing two special shows in the UK next month. They will be in London on the 27th and in Sheffield on the 30th. Anyone interested in purchasing tickets for these shows should call the number on the bottom of the screen now or visit our website…’

Arthur looked at the man on the video clip that they where showing. Merlin was just the same as he remembered, except for the designer suit he was wearing in the footage they showed, and the tinted glasses he always wore on stage. Arthur couldn’t wait to see him again. The trouble was that Merlin didn’t know him. This happened every time, every reincarnation; Merlin always had his magic whilst Arthur retained knowledge of them. He was never sure whether this was a blessing or a curse. Arthur could remember every kiss, every touch that his lover had ever given him. The problem was that whilst he could remember, he could miss not having it now. Usually, Merlin remembered eventually but this time something had gone wrong.

He just needed to talk to Merlin- once he did, his lover would remember- and it looked as though this was his chance. Merlin, or at least the Merlin of this incarnation, was a hard man to get near. He was a celebrity, having made a name for himself as one of the youngest and best illusionists. Of course, no one but Arthur knew that Merlin’s magic was not merely an illusion, a trick that he had spent years perfecting, but the real thing. It was also why Merlin wore those shades on stage- his eyes flashed gold for a second each time he used his magic. Arthur suspected he was the only one who knew that, also.

“Are you going to get tickets?” a voice asked.

Arthur turned to see Jenny, one of the waitresses. He smiled, shrugging his shoulders.

“You know, I reckon you’ve got a crush on that Merlin bloke,” she continued, grinning. “Every time he’s on the TV you’re practically glued to the screen- it’s the same look I see on Lucy’s face when she’s watching a Brad Pitt movie.”

Arthur laughed; she was right about Lucy. She was one of the weekend bar staff and was, to say the least, obsessed with Brad Pitt.

“It’s not the same,” he protested. It wasn’t; Brad Pitt was unattainable but he’d spent centuries with Merlin. Not that he could explain it to Jenny.

He noticed a customer come up to the bar and went to serve him. This was usually Merlin’s role, only this time their roles had been reversed. Arthur was now the servant, tending bar here and working a day job in order to pay his rent, after things with his father had become so strained he could no longer bear to stay at home.

----------

Three weeks later, Arthur had the night booked off work and a ticket to Merlin’s show in his pocket, and he was getting nervous. He had thought a million times about writing to Merlin, or phoning him, to explain it all to him but he had quickly vetoed that idea. There were some things that you just couldn’t explain over the phone.

Such as, ‘Hi, Merlin- you don’t know me but I’m a prince and you’re a sorcerer, oh, and we’re lovers as well, who have been reincarnated countless times. So, let’s go for a drink.’

Maybe not.

Instead, he went to the magic show, sitting restlessly in his seat as Merlin performed, playing up to the audience as he made them gasp in wonder. His final ‘trick’ was to make a member of the audience disappear. He selected a woman from the front row, a motherly-looking woman who looked delighted to be asked to join in. Had this been any other magician, Arthur would have suspected her of being a plant, a member of the crew who had been placed in the audience and selected to ensure that the trick went correctly. Since, this was Merlin, however, he had no such suspicions.

Merlin instructed the woman to stand in the centre of the wide stage. There was nothing around them, no box in which to hide her, and have possible trap-doors for her to escape through, nothing that could cast doubt on what was about to happen. Merlin simply took a silk cloth, large enough to conceal him and the woman as he swept around her once, holding it high and letting it billow out behind him as he walked, and then dropped it to the stage with a flourish.

The crowd were silent for a moment, staring, and then they were on their feet, Arthur with them, cheering and applauding. The stage around him was empty; there was no where for the woman to be hidden, that was clear. She had vanished. Merlin took a bow and accepted the applause with a slightly embarrassed look on his face, one which Arthur remembered well from the times he had known Merlin.

On stage, Merlin held up his hands for silence and the crowd quietened as he addressed them again. Suddenly, the lights went out, plunging the entire venue into pitch darkness. A few people let out sounds of alarm but it only lasted a second.

When the lights came back on, people at the front began to chatter excitedly and clap their hands again. The woman, now back in her own seat, next to her husband, stood up at Merlin’s request. She had a huge smile on her face, looking absolutely thrilled to have been able to participate, and waved rather shyly to the audience.

----------

Arthur waited until everyone began to file out, after the show was over. He had to time this right or he wouldn’t get close, he thought, checking to see if anyone was watching before making a dash for the backstage door.

He actually made it further than he expected, getting almost to Merlin’s dressing room- information garnered by way of a twenty pound note and a trainee stage hand- before he was caught. Two huge men in ‘Security’ jackets appeared beside him, grabbing him by each arm as he tried to talk his way out of this.

“Look, I know I don’t have a security pass but I just need to talk to Merlin for a moment,” he told them, almost begging. “I’ll leave on my own then, I promise.”

The security guards gave him a look that told him he wasn’t the first to try that line and he wouldn’t be the last.

“What’s going on?”

Both guards and Arthur turned to the sound of the voice, one that Arthur knew well.

“He doesn’t have a security pass, Sir,” one of the guards told Merlin. “We’re removing him; nothing to worry about.”

Merlin looked at him and, as their eyes met, Arthur imagined that he had seen a flicker of recognition in Merlin’s eyes. Then it was gone. No, he thought determinedly. He was too close for this to be the end.

“Merlin, please listen to me. I need five minutes of your time, that’s all, and then I’ll leave,” he said, ignoring the guards and looking directly at Merlin. “It’s important. I know why you wear the glasses on stage!” he blurted out desperately, seeing that he was losing Merlin’s interest.

That got the young man’s attention. He looked worried now, but at least he was listening.

“What?”

“I know,” Arthur told him again, then added, “Gold.”

Merlin nodded faintly and the guards let go of Arthur’s arms. “It’s fine,” he told them. “Let him through.”

Arthur followed Merlin into the dressing room and sat down in a chair opposite the couch where Merlin was now seated.

“First of all, since I can almost see you thinking it,” Arthur said. “I’m not some total nutcase who’s stalking you or anything. Though, when I think about it, it probably did look a bit like that out there.” He sighed. “This is not quite what I pictured; I had imagined a somewhat more graceful entrance.”

He saw the look on Merlin’s face and felt his cheeks flush. “Sorry, I know I’m rambling a bit.”

“You said you knew,” Merlin reminded him. “What do you know, and how?”

Arthur forced himself to sit back in his seat instead of going forward to take Merlin in a tight embrace like he really wanted to. It had been too long since he had been able to hold Merlin, or even to be near him.

“Your eyes. When you use your magic, and that is how you do your tricks- real magic and not illusions,” he said, “your eyes turn gold. As for how I know, that is going to take a little longer to answer.”

“I have time,” Merlin told him.

----------

Ten minutes later, Arthur sighed. Merlin didn’t believe him; hell, he wouldn’t believe it if he was the one being told this story.

“I swear to you that I am telling the truth, Merlin. Think about it; I have no reason to try and con you.”

Merlin eyed him warily. “I should have security throw you out, right now,” he said.

Arthur waited, but Merlin never called for them. He had to make Merlin understand that he was genuine, but there was only one option left and after seeing the look on Merlin’s face, he was afraid of the reaction he’d get. Still, this would be his only chance. If he messed this up, there would likely be a restraining order against him by tomorrow morning.

“I’m sorry, but you leave me no other choice.”

Merlin frowned. “No choice but what?”

Arthur got out of his chair and quickly moved to the couch, catching the now-worried looking young man in his arms and kissing him. Sometimes this was the only thing that worked but he didn’t use it very often, not after the time he had tried it and Merlin punched him in the nose for it. Then again, walking up to a complete stranger in the middle of a tavern in 1762 and kissing him probably hadn’t been the best idea he’d ever had. Of course, Merlin had apologised five minutes later once the shock had worn off and his memory had returned but it had still hurt.

Luckily, this time his nose remained unbroken. Merlin’s body was tense under Arthur’s hands for a few seconds, but then he calmed down. Arthur felt a wave of relief as he felt Merlin’s arms go around his neck and he began to return the kiss. He eventually drew back to look into Arthur’s face.

“Arthur?”

“You remember?” Merlin nodded, his grin widening as Arthur pulled him close once more. “I’ve missed you, Merlin.”

Merlin stood up, holding a hand out to Arthur and pulling him to his feet. “I think we should get out of here,” he said, his eyes shining mischievously. “After all, we have a lot of catching up to do.”

Arthur followed Merlin out of the dressing room, agreeing completely; the dressing room was not the place for the kind of catching up that he had in mind. He tugged Merlin close for another kiss as they got outside, jumping away as a flash went off in their faces. The paparazzi were snapping shots of them, asking questions, but Merlin handled them like, well, like a sorcerer. A few whispered words and they all stopped in mid picture or question, turning to living statues.

“That’ll only hold them for a few minutes,” he told Arthur as they got into the car that was waiting to take Merlin back to his hotel. “Long enough for us to leave. I can’t do anything about the pictures, though. By tomorrow morning, we’re going to be splashed across every tabloid newspaper in the country.”

This was not as big a deal for Arthur as it was for Merlin. Arthur was used to being the one who was watched and talked about so it wouldn’t matter but Merlin might not fare too well. He had more to lose this time.

“Will it be a problem for you?”

Merlin smiled. “Well, they know I’m gay now. Damn tabloids have been debating that one for a while. You know what, though? I don’t care. They’re going to have to get used to you being with me because I’m not letting you go ever again.”

Arthur smiled at those words. Everything was right again. It was just like it had always been and always would be; him and Merlin. Together.

It didn’t get better than that.


------
End.
A life complete by dark angel
A life complete


Arthur went into the bar to start his shift at noon feeling as though he were on top of the world. He had spent the previous night at Merlin’s hotel, making up for lost time. Arthur had to smile as he thought of that; he might be tired this morning, but he had definitely enjoyed himself.

“You’re looking happy this morning,” Jenny commented.

He turned to see the blonde waitress watching him with a huge smirk on her face.

“I’m allowed to be in a good mood, aren’t I?”

Jenny nodded and then held something out to him. “It wouldn’t have anything to do with this, would it?”

Arthur looked at the tabloid newspaper she showed him. On the front, under a bold, black headline that read ‘Merlin’s Magic Man?’ was picture of him and Merlin kissing. He sighed; he had hoped it would take them longer to latch onto that story.

“Well?” Jenny asked impatiently, practically bouncing up and down in anticipation of a good story. “Arthur, is this real? What the hell happened last night?”

“It’s real,” he told her, unable to keep the grin from his face as he teased, “As for what happened last night, well, I’m not sure that’s a conversation we should be having in the middle of a crowded bar.”

Jenny squealed happily and hugged him, making those customers nearby turn and stare at them.

At eight o’clock that night, Arthur sat in the staff room with Jenny, having a coffee before they both went home. He liked his job, usually, but right now he couldn’t keep his mind on what he was doing. He heard the door open glanced up as one of the other staff came in.

“Arthur, there’s someone here to see you.”

He didn’t even need look to see who it was; he could sense Merlin’s presence after all these years. That, and the star-struck look on Jenny’s face as she got to the door before him.

“Oh. My. God!” Jenny pushed past him and he watched as she went out, hesitantly approaching the dark haired man who stood leaning against the bar. “You’re Merlin.”

Merlin caught Arthur’s eye and saw the barely concealed amusement. “Last time I looked in the mirror I was,” he told Jenny.

Jenny smiled at him and then turned to Arthur and slapped his arm, hard, her eyes flicking to Merlin in a not-too-subtle hint.

“Sorry. Merlin, this is Jenny,” he said. “Jenny, meet Merlin.”

Her cheeks flushed deep crimson as Merlin gave her a hug. “I can’t believe you’re here; I am such a fan!”

Merlin waited patiently until Jenny had an autograph, along with a number of other customers in the bar, and then went to Arthur.

“I just saw the newspapers,” he began, but Arthur stopped him.

“It’s OK, Merlin; I’ve already seen it.” Arthur glanced around at the other people in the bar, all still staring like they were some kind of stage show and led Merlin back to the staff room. There was no one else in there and, as soon as the door was closed, Arthur backed Merlin into it.

“Arthur, you’re at work,” Merlin pointed out half-heartedly, not really wanting to stop Arthur when he had that look in his eyes.

Arthur pressed closer, pinning Merlin against the wooden door with every inch of his body. “I don’t care and besides, my shift ended five minutes ago,” he replied, covering Merlin’s lips with his own and stopping any further protests.

Arthur kissed him again, ridding Merlin of his jacket at the same time. Merlin whimpered softly as Arthur’s hands traced down his chest before slipping underneath his t-shirt. Threading his fingers through the dark blonde strands of Arthur’s hair, he pulled his lover closer and deepened the kiss. Arthur grinned, easing out of his grasp, and dropped down to his knees. As deft fingers began unfastening jeans, Merlin thought he heard a noise outside.

He murmured something under his breath and his eyes flashed gold for a brief second.

Arthur frowned when he heard the words. “What did you do?”

“Made sure we wouldn’t be disturbed- holy fuck!”

Merlin leaned his head back against the door as a warm, wet mouth closed around his cock, sucking him in. Damn, but Arthur was good at this. He always had been. Clenching one hand around the door handle, his other sought out Arthur, fingers lacing in that blonde hair.

They really shouldn’t be doing this here but he just didn’t care, not so long as Arthur kept doing what he was doing.

----------

Ten minutes later, clothing straightened, Arthur and Merlin emerged from the staff room to knowingly amused stares from the other staff. Merlin felt his face heat up. There was no way they wouldn’t know what had happened in there; Arthur might have straightened his clothes and neatened himself up but with his hair rumpled and that just-fucked look on his face, he might as well have a neon sign above his head.

“A little help here?” Arthur whispered.

Merlin uttered the spell, relieved that Arthur had suggested it first.

Arthur looked around, feeling a little disorientated when he saw that they were no longer in the bar but in a plush hotel suite.

“You’ve been practicing,” he said. “If I remember correctly, your transit spells were never particularly accurate in the past.”

Merlin grinned. “Well, this time, I haven’t had you sidetracking me whilst I was learning, have I?”

“Are you trying to tell me that I’m pushing you into this too fast?” Arthur asked, looking dismayed.

“No, that’s not what I meant! Now that I’ve got you back, I’m keeping you.” Merlin pulled him closer and brushed a kiss over his lips. He smiled. “Now, how about I show you what other tricks I’ve learned?”

Merlin stepped back to sit on the arm of the couch, never taking his attention from Arthur as his eyes glittered gold. Arthur felt an involuntary shiver run down his spine as a warm tingling sensation washed over him and his jacket, then shirt, began to disappear slowly.

“Merlin, what are you doing?”

Merlin just smiled, ogling openly as the spell moved downwards, causing Arthur’s jeans and underwear to vanish also until he stood, glaring at him. Merlin had to laugh. The expression on his face reminded Merlin of a similar one that Prince Arthur had worn often, back in Camelot. No matter how that glare had affected him in the past, Merlin found it hard to heed when it came from a naked man, standing before him with his hands on his hips.

“Tell me, Merlin, are you able to conjure clothes as well?” Arthur asked. “I don’t exactly have any spare things with me.”

Merlin’s smile widened. “I kind of like you like that,” he said, standing to approach Arthur. “Oh, don’t get huffy.”

“I do not get ‘huffy’.”

“You do, and you always did.” Merlin grabbed his hand and gave it a tug, leading him toward the bedroom. “Now get your arse in here.”

Arthur did as he was told, strutting past Merlin and putting an extra swagger into his steps, all the better to taunt Merlin with said arse. Crawling up onto the huge bed on all fours, Arthur glanced back over his shoulder.

“What’s the matter, Merlin?” he asked innocently, dropping down to stretch out across the bed on his back.

Merlin swallowed, hard, and tried to get his brain to form a coherent sentence in order to reply but he couldn’t. The sight of Arthur laid out before him, waiting, had scrambled his thoughts.

Arthur shifted on the bed, posing as Merlin continued to stare. “You could join me,” he said, “but you’re a little overdressed for what I had in mind.”

He had never seen Merlin move so fast, his clothes vanishing and the short distance to the bed covered in just a few seconds. Arthur found himself with an armful of excited, happy Merlin and pulled him down for a kiss before rolling them so that Merlin was pinned beneath him.

“That’s better.”

Merlin grinned. “You’re still bossy.”

Arthur smiled. “You used to like it when I bossed you around.” From the look on Merlin’s face, he still did. Well, that was fine; they had the eternity together.

“Still do.” Merlin’s grin faded a little. “Arthur, there’s something I need to tell you…”

“What, now?”

Merlin nodded. Arthur was in a good mood at the moment, so the timing was perfect. He had meant to say something earlier but then they’d got distracted.

“My agent has agreed for me to go on Michael Brooke’s show.”

Arthur looked confused. “The chat show? What’s so bad about that? Geez, Merlin, I thought you were going to tell me something really awful.”

“Well, Brooke can be a bit… personal at times. He’s going to ask all about you and me- that’s all those stupid reporters keep asking at the moment,” Merlin told him. “I don’t know if I should refuse to do the interview.”

“Merlin, I don’t want you to refuse because of me,” Arthur told him. He saw the protest coming and stopped him. “Look at it this way, they’re only going to keep asking, right? Surely it’s better to have your say rather than have the tabloids making up stuff about you.”

Merlin stared at him for a moment, then smiled. “When did you get to be so clever?”

“Years of living in the public eye has taught me a few things,” Arthur replied.

In almost every other one of their lives together, Arthur had been the one in the limelight, beginning with being Prince, then King, of Camelot. He was used to living his life under public scrutiny, unlike Merlin.

----------------------
(Three days later)

Merlin sat in the padded armchair, set at an angle to the other chair, where Michael Brooke sat. The host had asked about his latest tour and some of his TV appearances, before finally getting around to the questions that Merlin had been dreading.

“So, Merlin, I just have to ask,” Brooke began, leaning over to reach down next to his chair, “About those recent stories in the newspapers.” He took a copy from the table next to him and held it up.

Merlin sighed inwardly but kept his face in a pleasant smile. “What would you like to know?”

“Now there has been some talk that this is all a publicity stunt,” Brooke said. “After all, your name has been linked with several actresses and models…”

“OK,” Merlin told him. Arthur was right; if he got this over with now, then they’d stop asking and making up their own version. “I guess you get the exclusive. None of this is a publicity stunt, Mr Brooke. I’m gay; I know the tabloids have been debating that question for a while, but I can tell you that I am. In fact, my boyfriend, Arthur, is sitting right over there.”

As the camera panned around to Arthur, sitting in the front row of the audience, the host looked delighted.

“Why don’t you come up and join us, Arthur?”

An assistant came hurrying on with another chair, placing it next to Merlin’s as Arthur reluctantly came onto the slightly raised stage area. He might be used to being seen by the public, but this was the first time he’d ever had to discuss his love life on national TV.

“So, how long have you two been together?” Brooke asked.

“Not long,” Arthur said, as the same time as Merlin replied, “Ages.”

Brooke laughed. “It seems we have a differing opinion.”

“Not really,” Merlin explained. “We met a long time ago but we lost touch. It’s only recently that we were reacquainted.”

Arthur answered the questions put to him, about what he did for a living and such, then the questions turned back to Merlin.

“So, Merlin, what’s next for you?”

Merlin shrugged his shoulders. “I’m not sure. I’ve been asked to do a series of shows in the ‘States but it depends on Arthur.” He glanced at the blonde sitting next to him and smiled. “I won’t leave Arthur behind again, so I’ll be wherever he is and we’ll go from there.”

----------

In the car, being driven back to the hotel, Arthur had to ask.

“You’d really give it all up for me?”

Merlin nodded. “Yes.”

“Well, I would never ask you to,” Arthur told him. “This time it’s your turn to lead. I’ll quite happily follow.” He leaned over to press a kiss to Merlin’s lips. “I love you.”

Merlin grinned widely. “’Love you too.” He kissed him back. “So, want to come to New York with me?”

Arthur laughed. “I thought you’d never ask.”


------
End.
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