As aelora needs to finish this Heroes fic that I am kind of drugged by, and what do you know, Zachary Quinto was enough to totally make me watch the show. Who saw that coming?
Title: Just Wait For It
Codes: Merlin, Arthur, Clark Kent, Lex Luthor, Arthur/Lex Luthor, Merlin/Athur
Spoilers: None specific
Summary: What the fuck, Merlin thought in utter shock, staring at Uther--Uther--across a rich mahogany desk in rural Suffolk, fate was like a bad Hollywood remake, then?
Author Notes: To svmadelyn, winterlive and shinetheway who were heckling me while I was writing this. And possibly transtempts? Though she might have just been laughing. The original title was "I am so ashamed of myself". You see why I was sitting on this one in horror.
Warnings: Drug use
aelora THIS IS TO SHOW MY LOVE AND WORSHIP PLZ GIVE ME MORE HOLLOW HEROES PLZ.
Shame is for those not suffering from withdrawal.
Merlin pulls his collar up against the slow, inevitable grey drizzle of rain that seems to make its appearance at exactly the moment he walks outside. Staring up at the sky, Merlin thinks fate is a sick, sick bitch.
It's the third club he's searched tonight, a mess of noise and bewildering lights and underdressed bodies that no matter how far Merlin's come from floor length skirts and flowing cloaks, never cease to make him blush. Reaching up, Merlin wipes away the sticky imprint of lipstick from a girl that was his junior by an order of magnitude, golden-blonde hair and cheekbones like razors beneath tanned skin that froze him for endless seconds before he managed to pull himself away.
Stepping off the sidewalk, Merlin's wet to the ankle as his sneaker sinks into a puddle, and this, this is the fucking limit . "Kent, get your pansy arse down here!" Merlin yells in the general direction of LuthorCorp, where the bastard subtly perches with the transparent excuse that the view is so much better , like Merlin doesn't know he's warm and dry beneath an overhang of roof while Merlin gets molested by someone who could be his more-greats-than-he-can-count granddaughter.
After a while, there's a small shape just visible against the sky, lazing down toward the ground. In horror, Merlin realizes he has an umbrella . Eyes narrowing, Merlin watches the clouds, waiting for the build of static to be…just…right….
"Merlin !" Kent shouts, and Merlin take a second to enjoy the bright outline of Clark Kent glowing in the sky like a particularly obnoxious omen before he tumbles head first toward the asphalt, burning umbrella trailing behind him like the tail of a particularly unfortunate comet. Shoving his hands in his pockets, Merlin follows the smoke trail three streets to a pleasingly disgusting alley and finds Kent climbing out of a dumpster, sooty and a great deal less dry, with banana peels clinging to his hair.
"What the hell was that?" Kent hisses. Merlin's pleased to see that his jeans are smoking. "I thought I saw them!"
Merlin's eyes narrow. "That's what you said before you sent me into that opium den of a nightclub three hours ago."
Kent lifts his chin. "Just stop, okay? I want to find them as much as you do."
"Oh, really? Is your king being molested by a pedophilic bald sociopath--"
"Lex isn't a sociopath!" Clark's face turns bright red. "And your Arthur's hardly a blushing virgin, or did you miss your charge's lack of underwear--"
"God," Merlin wails. "Americans. You're--you're debauched that's what you are, and Arthur would never do such a thing if that filthy tosser hadn't plied him with drink and--"
"Oh what the fuck ever, who was the one throwing himself at Lex like a five dollar hoo--"
"I will strike you dead, I swear by every god that ever existed and some that I've just made upif you finish that sentence."
Clark stares him down with narrowed eyes. "Bring. It. On."
They stare at each other across a filthy alley, and Merlin thinks, yes, yes, the fates did in fact have a fucked upsense of humor.
A few centuries (try fucking seventeen of them), there'd been a great king, a powerful sorcerer, and a kingdom that fell at their feet. And often, Merlin had thought of the first time he'd met Arthur, a bully with a sword and a smile like the rising of the sun, and he'd wondered if there was ever so inauspicious a beginning for fate.
Well, he'd been wrong. God, so very, very wrong.
"So my son needs a tutor," Uther Penfuckingdragon said (what the fuck, Merlin thought in utter shock, staring at Uther--Uther--across a rich mahogany desk in rural Suffolk, fate was like a bad Hollywood remake, then? Really?). "He has been--remiss in his studies, and Oxford is only a year away."
"Right," Merlin answered in fascination, trying to look serious and not completely freaked out by the fact he thought this conversation sounded rather familiar--
"You saved my son's life," Uther said decisively. Oh God, no. No. "I wouldn't normally trust someone so young, but your references are excellent, and obviously, you think quickly."
Merlin nodded, feeling something very much like hell wrapping around him as Uther continued, "My son is going to America to visit some relatives. Perhaps you could be persuaded to accompany him and continue to--assure his safety?"
Merlin didn’t hear manservant, but it was a very close thing.
Which is why he's here now, in this blighted American city with its loose women and its clubs and its disgustingly oversexed Arthur-corrupting billionaires and its irritating, irritating people, and most irritating of all this Clark Kent, some sort of journalist by day and brightly colored idiot come nightfall.
"Don't you think that man is too old for this sort of thing?" Merlin says bitterly, dragging his coat closer over his jumper and staring hatefully at the sky as the rain pounds merrily down. "Up all hours, drinking to excess, corrupting innocent youths--"
Clark makes a disparaging sound.
"--innocent youthswith very little experience--"
"Not from what I've heard," Clark mutters, and Merlin stares into the sky for a second, checking the state of electricity in the air. "Merlin--"
"He runs a global company . I'd think someone with those sorts of responsibilities would have more productive things to do with their time than--than--"
"Teach Arthur the Latin terms for filthy gay sex?"
Merlin stops short, staring at Clark. "I am older than your country. Do not fuck with me."
Clark smiles smugly. "Kryptonian."
"Do you think I care, you pedantic little alien? Your boyfriend--"
"Hey," Clark says defensively, like Merlin had said something that wasn't blindingly obvious , "not my boyfriend--"
"Archenemy, whatever the fuck you people call it these days, he has Arthur , and we have to find them before that tosser does something--"
"There's something Lex hasn't done to him?" Clark looks down at Merlin with bitterly resentful eyes, like it's all Merlin's fault that they're stuck in this untenable position.
"He'd best hope he's done nothing at all."
"God," Arthur says, stretching as they stepped off the Pendragon One (so very Uther, a fleet of private jets emblazoned with dragons, might as well call it the biggest fleet of penis extensions ever; Merlin took to sixties psychology in a very embarrassing way), "we're finally here."
Merlin, struggling under three suitcases and two carry-ons, glares until one of the random group of people that Merlin's finally classified as Arthur's professional friends comes running. Merlin was a servant and years of exposure to Arthur (before this holy hell of a redo; Christ, what the hell?) had taught him exactly the right look to bring lesser mortals to heel. Handing everything off, Merlin holds onto his own satchel and Arthur's bag, following Arthur into the cool airport, swarming with unpleasant people and far, far too much talking.
"Merlin," Arthur says as he opens the crowd like he's parting the ocean, artfully messy blond hair and dark sunglasses, so startlingly beautiful that he takes this sort of thing for granted, the people that stop to stare at him in too-tight shirts that slide up the lean expanse of his stomach and low ride of his jeans on narrow hips, "I'm going to--"
"No, you are not," Merlin says, trying to sound authoritative and not about to cry from sheer exhaustion. The accumulated twenty-two hours on three planes with Arthur and his entourage is a darkness no one should have to face. "We are going to your father's flat and resting."
Arthur turns to look at him, pink lips pursed in an utterly devastating pout. Merlin's immunity is his utter desperation. "Merlin," he starts.
"No. We are going to unpack, you will call your father and assure him that we arrived safely, and then we are resting ," Merlin says, fixing Arthur with a glare he learned from him a hundred lifetimes ago. Arthur doesn't seem particularly impressed, but perhaps it helps to have a sword pointed at someone's throat when you do it. "Arthur--" he starts, and Arthur pauses, pushing down his sunglasses to study Merlin thoughtfully.
"All right," he says, and smiles, white teeth and drop dead gorgeous, fingers sliding across Merlin's hand in a filthy tease as he takes his bag. "I could use some sleep before I go out tonight. I've heard interesting things about Metropolis nightlife."
In the month they've been in the city, Merlin's gotten to know every questionable back-alley and a surprising number of extremely charming ladies who ply their trade on particularly disreputable corners, as well as somehow acquired a small herd of cats who follow him around hopefully, like he has time for a familiar, and good God, he's a wizardand they don't havefamiliars; Merlin blames the American education system for this shocking development.
"Bloody hell," Merlin says, staring at the rotting door stuck in broken stone at the end of such an alley, helpfully pointed at by no less than three young women in very little clothing who don't seem to notice that it's cold and wet and they should really cover up a bit more, all of whom remembered the pretty boy wrapped around the unmistakable Lex Luthor, cooing at his beautiful face and the fact he'd apparently had his shirt viciously stolen from him and appeared to be covered in glitter. "Kent--"
"I know," Kent says, and for once, Merlin sympathizes with him. "So we just--we tell the bouncer--"
Merlin looks at him for a second, and Kent sighs, turning away with a put-upon expression. With a murmured word, the overly large and rather disreputable man finds a budding fascination with his shoelaces, and Merlin and Kent walk by him. The door opens wide with a look, and Merlin stares into the smoky bowels of what could very well be hell. Taking the last breath of fresh air he'll be getting for a while, Merlin forces himself to walk down the claustrophobically narrow hall to the rainbow of insufficient light ahead, music pounding against the soles of his feet and compounding the headache that's been his constant companion since they stepped foot in this horrible country.
The crowd of bodies is almost impossible to separate, moving in rhythm to something drum-heavy and nothing like anything called music shouldbe. The air is thick with smoke and hormones and far, far too much perfume and sweat, and Merlin thinks he may be getting a contact high just standing here.
"You see them?" Kent shouts subtly, like this entire horrifying situationis just too familiar for words to express. Merlin sneezes, trying to search the crowd, then gives up, murmuring a location spell. The pure pale glow is almost overshadowed by the garish lights, but Merlin finds it with a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. "That door," he says, squinting to see where it goes. "The men's bathroom? Why would--"
"Dammit," Kent mutters, grabbing his arm and pulling him into the crowd. Merlin starts to fight, but once inside, he clings to Kent as hands touch him in places that usually require at least a meal and perhaps a name before he permits. "Merlin, maybe you should wait here--"
"Have you gone mad?" Merlin shouts, barely audible over the music. "I'm not leaving him to you." Jerking away has no effect (bloody alien strength), but a spell does the trick, pulling away to stride the few steps separating him from the door and pushing it open, looking around the dim bathroom for--
Oh for the love of Christ, Arthur sprawled casually on a rickety, grey-white sink, head tilted back, hands braced behind him while Luthor finishes unbuttoning his jeans and mouthing one bare shoulder.
"You bloody pervert ," Merlin breathes.
Luthor jerks around, looking past Merlin to stare at Kent, currently in a position of solidarity behind him, not so much as as removing his hand from Arthur's fly. Arthur, however, plants a foot on Luthor's hip and pushes him away, sliding to the floor, staggering slightly, glassy blue eyes looking at Merlin with an expression somewhere between horrified and ecstatic.
"Merlin!" he says, and Merlin watches in fascination as his jeans start to slide down his hips. Darting forward, he grabs for the loose waist, pulling them back up, and Arthur grins, slinging an arm around his neck. "Found me. Want to play again, yeah?"
"Arthur," Merlin starts, trying to think through the feel of Arthur's hips beneath his hands, smooth skin and soft denim. Arthur's cheek brushes his, rough with two days of stubble, mouth red and swollen, arm tightening as he murmurs, "You win," and kisses him, wet and filthy, tasting of alcohol and smoke and Lex fucking Luthor.
Frozen, Merlin's hands tighten on Arthur's jeans, and later he'll blame the bloody contact high for the way he opens his mouth for Arthur's tongue, sucking on it desperately while Arthur pushes his other hand down the back of Merlin's pants, palm hard and hot against his skin.
God, it's been so long, so long, and he's been waiting all his life (all of time and space), for this, for this man, for Arthur…..
When his back hits the wall, however, Merlin forces himself to pull away, almost braining himself on the bare brick. "Arthur, no, you can't--"
Arthur smiles sweetly and ducks his head, mouthing Merlin's throat and murmuring, "Been thinking about this--"
"Arthur ," Merlin says, letting go of one side of Arthur's jeans and locking a hand on his jaw. Glazed blue eyes look into his, and Merlin feels something familiar like homicide rise up inside him. "What did he give you?"
"Nothing," Arthur says, swollen mouth pouting. "Come on, Merlin--"
"What did you--"
"He was like this when I found him," Luthor says from somewhere close enough to kill quick and dirty. Merlin stares at him over Arthur's shoulder, the smug grin and the outline of Arthur's teeth in the pale skin of his throat. "You should take better care of your charge, Merlin. Anything could have happened--"
Clark steps between Merlin and Luthor, arms slightly spread, like the fucker deserves to be defended. "Shut up, Lex."
Luthor rolls his eyes. "Please. What will a math tutor --"
"You have no idea," Merlin says softly, thinking Arthur's jeans buttoned and sliding an arm around his waist. Luthor will have to wait, but he won't wait long, not long at all. "If you come near him again, you won't like the consequences, I promise you that."
"Merlin," Arthur says, frowning against his neck, "don't be such a--"
"Be quiet," Merlin says softly, never looking away from Luthor's mocking smile. "We're leaving."
Luthor grins. "Never did find where he left his car. Not sure cabs come to this part of town. Good luck with that."
Merlin eases Arthur toward the door. "Keep him on a leash, Kent, or I won't be held responsible for the consequences." As they reach the door, Arthur frowns, apparently under the impression there's any room for argument right now. Tightening the arm around him, Merlin locks his other hand around Arthur's jaw, catching the blue eyes. "No. You will come with me now. Do you understand?"
Arthur's head tilts, rebellion dissipating into something that could be called surrender, as if Arthur had ever known the meaning of the word. "All right."
Merlin marches them through the club, noticing the people scurrying desperately from his path. He should worry about that, what he's showing them, but he can't bring himself to care.
Arthur had never been particularly inhibited before, but in this electric world, the careful reserve he'd had as prince and man had been peeled away like cheap varnish. It was sometimes almost impossible to see the man Merlin had known in the glossy teenager who drives far too fast and spends his nights trying his best to drive his father to stroke or murder.
Maybe it's something in living life again, the restrictions that Arthur had been raised to live within finally stripped away, like this second time around has to make up for all the strictness of the first time, for all the pain of how badly it had ended.
When Uther had asked him to watch out for Arthur, there had never been a question of refusal, even if he'd known he'd be the one to pick up Arthur mussed and satiated from London stews and Brussels' bars, stumbling out of hash bars in Amsterdam still tucking himself back into his jeans when Merlin arrived, exhausted and angry and wondering how Uther could have a second chance to be a good father and fuck it up so spectacularly all over again.
Arthur passes out in his lap in the cab, and Merlin runs his hands over him, finding alcohol and a bit of pot but nothing more terrifying. He'll have a bitch of a hangover, which Merlin will let him suffer through, but otherwise, he's unharmed other than the mouth shaped bruises on his shoulder and chest. The flicker of magic that follows he doesn't try to control, washing over the golden skin and erasing the purpling smears as if they'd never been there at all.
Stroking a hand through Arthur's hair, fingers slowly accumulating glitter, Merlin watches Arthur's eyes blink open drowsily. "You're angry."
As perceptive as always. Merlin tightens his hand briefly, enjoying the flash of discomfort that crosses Arthur's face, but Arthur doesn't pull away.
"We'll talk tomorrow about this," Merlin says, trying to temper the anger into something productive; it would be so easy to force the memories that Merlin can sometimes see floating to the surface. The things he shouldn't know, the skills he could not possibly have learned.
Easy, and wrong; right now, though, he's not sure he cares.
"I'm sorry," Arthur says, sincere as if he didn't say this every time, and he may even believe it. Merlin softens his grip, staring out the window, pushing the temptation down once again and wondering how long this can go on.
Arthur closes his eyes beneath the next slow stroke, and Merlin watches his face relax at the touch. "I know."