“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched-they must be felt with the heart.” –Helen Keller
“Where are we going now?” asked Arthur as he glanced at his strange companion. Throughout the course of the day, he had lost the tie and waist and the suit jacket. His golden hair was mussed and the first few buttons of his red shirt was undone.
Emerson had taken Arthur all over London today, it seemed. Well at least the parts that only Emerson seemed to know about. Emerson showed him a beautiful congregation of butterflies in the botanical gardens. They went and saw several cheap shows (including a transvestite interpretation of Macbeth) with actors that knew the strange man. They ate some of the best fish and chips for lunch and Arthur laughed when Emerson drew silly faces on the paper with his vinegar. They went window shopping at stores that Emerson couldn’t afford to shop in, but Arthur could buy out easily. They exchanged jokes and snarked at each other.
It was the most fun that Arthur had had in a long time.
He hadn’t laughed as hard or smiled as much in so long. Emerson snickered when Arthur did the cheesy ‘yawn and put your arm around your date’s shoulder move’. Arthur grinned whenever Emerson would tangle their hands together as he dragged the man to their next destination.
“Just shush and come on,” said Emerson as they walked up to a set of apartments.
“Your apartment, Emerson? I must say that I’m shocked.”
“Oh shush,” demanded Emerson with a roll of his eyes.
Arthur smirked as they went into Emerson’s and Lawrence’s shared apartment. It was tiny with a small combination living room and kitchen and a tiny offshoot hallway that probably led to the bedrooms and bath.
“Lawrence should be gone,” whispered Emerson with a wink.
“I think we’re moving too fast,” blurted out Arthur thinking Emerson wanted to have sex with him.
“Why is it that people’s minds always go to sex? I do not want to sleep with you, Arthur,” Emerson paused and eyed him appreciatively, “Well not yet anyway, handsome.”
“You’re enjoying this,” accused Arthur. It wasn’t often that he was romantically teased.
“Why yes,” said Emerson with a grin full of warmth and mischief, “Yes I am. Now shush. When was the last time you left the city?”
“Erm,” said Arthur unsure. He was fairly certain that it was sometime in the fifties.
Emerson laughed brightly and Arthur shuddered as the sound surrounded him. It reminded him of the sunshine of Camelot and stolen kisses in his chambers.
“When I was a child,” began Emerson as he took something from a shelf in the living room, “I was little bit of an astronomy nerd. But, of course, you can’t see the stars in London. It always used to frustrate me. So Lawrence, being Lawrence, bought me this for my birthday.”
Emerson gave a shy smile to Arthur before saying, “I want to show you it.”
He sat Arthur down on the couch and put the device on the coffee table. Arthur looked at the old and weathered toy. While he was distracted, Emerson waved his hand and his eyes flashed gold turning off all the nights. Arthur was surprised by the sudden darkness. He looked around for Emerson.
“Ready?” asked Emerson as his warm breath tickled Arthur’s ear. It made the hairs on his neck stand on end.
“Yeah,” whispered Arthur.
Emerson turned on the toy and suddenly the apartment was filled with dim light as thousands upon millions of tiny pinpricks filled the apartment, lighting it with a dim glow.
Arthur looked around feeling giddy and young and unexplainably vulnerable. He leaned back into the couch.
“It’s cool right?” asked Emerson brightly, “I modified it when I was older to make it look more accurate, rather than drawings of what people wanted the night sky to show them.”
“Very cool,” agreed Arthur with a small smile on his face.
Emerson quietly stole a glance of Arthur. His heart pounded in his chest as he took in the handsome man next to him. Arthur reminded Emerson of the old stories of gods and goddesses. What he would picture at night as he read the ancient stories underneath his threadbare blanket with a flashlight of the god Apollo or Dionysus.
His blonde hair was ruffled, sticking up on ends. His nice shirt and pants were a little bit skewed. Emerson swallowed thickly as he took in the dimmed light on Arthur’s features, softening them. He glanced down at his lap.
“Thank you, Emerson,” whispered Arthur as he gently took Emerson’s hand in his.
Emerson glanced up at Arthur from under his lashes and squeezed his hand.
They both sat there under the soft canopy of the fake stars with their fingers entangled, exchanging secret glances and shy half-smiles on their faces.
“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull or boring they are on the outside, inside them they’ve got an unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.” –Neil Gaiman
Emerson stared at Merlin with a pouty look on his face and hands shoved deep into his hoodie’s pockets.
Merlin glanced at Emerson with casually crossed arms and a smirk on his lips.
“I hate you,” said Emerson.
“No you don’t,” placated Merlin.
“Yes I do,” decided Emerson with a nod of his head, “Because you made me call Arthur and then forced me to wake up early to go have breakfast with him. And you know I can’t resist getting those straight laced guys to loosen up. You. Know. It. So I spend the day with him; seeing how funny and sweet and kind and bloody amazing he was.”
“Interesting conspiracy theory you’ve got going on there,” said Merlin blandly.
Emerson untucked his hands from his deep pockets and buried his face in them.
“It’s okay,” said Merlin kindly.
“God,” whispered Emerson, “He’s perfect. Just so bloody perfect….”
Merlin quirked an eyebrow, “Really?”
“Of course!” exclaimed Emerson jumping to his feet, “He’s socially awkward. He’s nice in his own twisted way. He’s smart. And dammit you know that I like smart. He’s fucking perfect.”
“And you weren’t expecting him to be,” said Merlin.
“Of course not! I was expecting an ass. I was expecting him to walk in, hold his arms open, and want me to run into them. He waited,” said Emerson with a sulky look.
“Can’t fight Destiny,” placated Merlin gently.
“Destiny’s a bitch.”
“Don’t I know it. At least you didn’t have a cryptic, homicidal dragon talk to you about coins and giving you vague advice over dire issues.”
“You’re still sore over that?” asked Emerson incredulously, “In the name of everything good and fluffy, Merlin, let it die. It’s been fifteen centuries.”
“Wait until you’re immortal,” said Merlin dryly, “Then you’ll understand.”
“You hold one hell of a grudge.”
Merlin laughed at that.
“Are you still mad at me?”
“…A little,” said Emerson after a moment.
“Why is Emerson mad at you?” asked Lawrence walking into the apartment.
Emerson grumbled as he took out his iPod placing the buds firmly in his ears. Merlin smiled at this incarnation fondly before looking at Lawrence.
“Because he’s falling just a little bit in love with Arthur.”
Feeny: You can’t tell Cory and Topanga what to do. I’ve been trying to do that since first grade. I remember when I tried to separate their desk. She kicked me. He bit me. And some little punk kept yelling, “Leave ‘em alone! They should get married!”
Shawn: I was cute back then huh?
Feeny: (sarcastically) Precious. –Boy Meets World
Arthur stared moodily at his scotch. It has been two weeks since he and Emerson’s hooky-date. He tried to call him, but every time he backed out. This was due to the fact that Arthur was terrified.
Emerson was unlike any of the others that came before him. He knew his own inner power and wasn’t scared of it. He embraced fully and wholeheartedly. All of Merlin’s past incarnations were so calm and cautious. They had to protect their powers and had to tread carefully around their relationship with Arthur.
But Emerson…he was someone who had to see life and see it know. He didn’t just want to be contained in his own little glass box. He wanted to smash through it and actually be a part of the world, rather than keep himself separate. And if someone wanted to follow him, then that was even better.
Arthur wanted to follow him. He wanted to take Emerson’s hand and see the world as he saw it.
“You alright mate?” asked Percival as he flopped down on the couch, startling Arthur from his thoughts.
“Yeah,” said Arthur with a shrug, “I was just thinking.”
“Thinking about Emerson?” sang Galahad as he waltzed through the room with Gawain.
Arthur’s face colored slight, “Maybe.”
“You are such a girl,” laughed Percival who winced when Arthur punched him in the arm.
“I can still make you my bitch when we fight, Perce,” said the former King with a wicked grin.
“Sooooo much sexual innuendo!” cackled Galahad with glee, “I love it!!!”
“Oh shove it,” grumbled Percival as he bite into a biscuit.
“I do plan on shoving something.”
“Galahad,” warned Gawain with a light flush to his face.
“Yes, my love?” asked Galahad as he pressed a kiss to Gawain’s lip. The other man sighed.
“Never mind. Just try to tone it down alright?”
“They’re so cute it’s disgusting,” said Percival with a decisive nod.
“I’ve been saying that for the best three hundred years,” answered Arthur back dryly. Blue eyes searched the room, “Where’s Leon?”
“The office,” said Percival, “Had to get some last minute work done.”
Arthur nodded before draining the rest of his scotch. Percival patted Arthur’s shoulder.
“Sooo,” said Percival nonchalantly, “You and Emerson huh?”
“We’re nothing yet. But I keep thinking that something’s there. I feel like a fawning pre-teen over a celebrity. It’s stupid.”
“It’s a little bit of love and a little bit of lust,” said Percival with a grin, “Welcome to dating, mate.”
“I’m dating him?”
“Well you went on a date with him. So now you have to call or wait another couple thousand years. It’s totally up to you, my friend.”
“You’re enjoying seeing me like this.”
“It’s interesting to watch you twist in the wind.”
“We’ve been friends for how long?”
Arthur nodded in a resigned manner, “This is true.”
“Just go and talk to him. It’s been three weeks, Arthur. He’s not going to wait around forever.”
Arthur watched Percival get up and go to his room. Sighing he poured himself another glass of scotch, he hated it when people were absolutely right.
“Friends are the people who give you the much needed kick in the ass.” –Anonymous
“So Emerson’s admitted he has feelings for Arthur,” stated Leon with a grin. They were in the penthouse flat for once. Arthur was working late.
“Thank you gods,” muttered Percival.
Galahad grinned, “And I have just the perfect plan. Now how soon can we get some kick ass goggles?”
Leon, Gawain, and Percival sighed at the other man.
“Galahad, I love you. But sometimes I just don’t understand you.”
“Someone needs to keep the relationship fresh. Don’t want you getting too complacent after fifteen centuries.”
Percival groaned and covered his ears, “I am SO not old enough for this conversation.”
Leon looked like he wanted to be anywhere else but in that room at the moment.
Galahad grinned wickedly as he pulled his partner close to him, “Then you better go to your rooms. It’s time for the adults to play.”
Gawain laughed and picked up Galahad, tossing him over his shoulder. The soft, breathy laughter followed the pair to their room where the door shut rather loudly.
Percival sat alone and shut his eyes tight.
“Therapy. I need so much fucking therapy.”
Leon sighed and nodded, “You and me both, mate. You and me both.”
“I’ve been thinking a lot about taking chances, and how it’s about overcoming your fears. Because the truth is, every time you take a big risk in your life, no matter how it ends up, you’re always glad you took it.” –J.D. ‘Scrubs’
(in which Emerson hijacks the story for the last time)
Relationships are jumping off a cliff.
But see you’re blindfolded and your legs are tied together, and you have no fucking clue how to swim when you jump off the cliff because a pack of wolves is chasing you.
Shut up. It’s an awesome metaphor.
See, reader, the reason why the majority of us are terrified neurotics when it comes to romance is the simple reason that we are too afraid to take that leap. Because you don’t know how to swim and the binding is digging into your legs and you want to see where you are going to land.
You’re scared that you are going to drown or hit the rocks or just lose yourself in the fall.
I think it’s okay to be scared. Hell I was terrified of this thing between Arthur and I. This giant destined relationship that was going to take hold.
I was fucking terrified.
This whole delay between Arthur and I wasn’t about destiny’s control or about me being Merlin’s reincarnation or anything else. (Well okay they were valid reasons that played into it.)
The main reason, the head honcho, the big enchilada was simple.
I was scared to jump with bound legs, blindfolded, and not knowing how to swim.
I didn’t trust that there was going to be someone there to catch me.
And maybe this fucked up metaphor shows how terribly scared I was. I don’t believe in soul mates or star-crossed lovers. Love at first sight was something that should have remained in fairytales in my opinion.
However, there was Arthur. Beautiful, strange, immortal, and amazing Arthur was the one that laughed at my corny jokes and sat under the manmade stars of an ancient toy. His hand felt so right in mine: strong, calloused, and there.
I never felt like that in my entire life. It was like I was flying but my feet were on the ground. I felt like all my breath was knocked out my body and stuck in my throat all once.
Maybe it was love. Maybe I had gas. I have no clue, but it was literally a perfect moment.
I still don’t believe in this whole destined love thing.
But I could see myself falling head over heels for Arthur.
…And for once in my life, I was perfectly okay with that.
Officer Allen: Will he be okay doc?
Psychologist: The years spent in isolation have not equipped him with the tools necessary to judge right from wrong. He’s had no context. He’s been completely without guidance. Furthermore, his work-the garden sculptures, the hairstyles, and so forth-indicate that he’s a highly imaginative uh…character. It seems clear that his awareness of what we call reality is radically underdeveloped.
Officer Allen: But will he be alright out there?
Psychologist: Oh, yeah. He’ll be fine. –Edward Scissorhands
“How did you get so much blue makeup?” asked Emerson as he took in Morgan’s Corpse Bride costume. It was Monday Movie Madness in That Shop and, as usual, everyone had pulled out the stops.
“Been saving it since last year,” said the girl with a grin, “I think I look good.”
“You do,” said Emerson as he twirled her around, “An undead bride surely was never as fair as you.”
“Ah so says the Dread Pirate Roberts,” laughed Morgan.
“What can I say?” said Emerson with a shrug in his all black ensemble, “I’m a fan of the classics.”
“No need to be all ‘aw shucks’. I love Princess Bride. Book and movie.”
Emerson chuckled as he hopped up on the counter in his usual spot with some of his work in front of him.
“Why do you never use your office? I know it exists.”
“But then I can’t see everyone. I can’t interact. A social Emerson is a happy Emerson. And a happy Emerson allows his employees free coffee.”
“Don’t send him into his office,” cried Liam, dressed as Will Turner, from behind the counter of the café. One of the other barista’s broke out into laughter at the sound of Liam’s anguished voice.
“You’re going mad with power again?” asked Lawrence, dressed as Inigo Montoya, with a bored expression on his face.
“Just the free coffee thing,” said Emerson brightly, “You said I was still allowed that.”
“Oh,” said Lawrence with a shrug, “Continue.”
“You two scare me,” declared Morgan before using her skeletal hand to pick up her dress and walking off to do inventory.
“Hey Emerson?” asked Lawrence.
“Can you do me a favor? I need to go and talk to our coffee supplier. Can you go and grab those used books that Mister Sullivan wants to give to us?”
“Oh sure!” said Emerson with a grin, “No problem at all.”
Lawrence grinned as he watched Emerson strolled out of the shop. He flipped open his cellphone and hit speed dial.
“Leon? Lawrence. The Hawk has left The Nest. Repeat. The Hawk has left The Nest.”
“No true fiasco ever began as a quest for mere adequacy. A motto of the British Special Air Force is: 'Those who risk, win.' A single green vine shoot is able to grow through cement. The Pacific Northwestern salmon beats itself bloody on it's quest to travel hundreds of miles upstream against the current, with a single purpose, sex of course, but also... life.” –Drew Baylor ‘Elizabethtown’
People stared at Emerson as he walked down the street in full costume, whistling. The young man didn’t mind the attention. It was actually kind of fun getting pictures taken with a few brave fan girls, who came up to him, and waving to the little children who stared at him in wide eyed amazement.
As he stood in front of Mister Sullivan’s house, he blinked seeing the note on the door.
Gone until the nineteenth. I’ll give you the books then.
“Well that was a wasted walk,” said Emerson to himself.
“Possibly,” agreed Merlin from the window, “But maybe it was a set-up.”
“What do you mean?”
Slowly, Emerson turned around and stared at the sight before him.
Across the street stood a man dressed up as Doctor Horrible. It wasn’t any man however, it was Arthur standing there smiling shyly at him. A sign was in his grip.
Emerson stared at the sign and felt a stupid feeling wash over him. It made him feel like he was flying and drowning all at once. But it was a good kind of sensation like he could do anything. It felt like he drank too much wine as he stared at the man before him.
All he could do was grin.
Slowly, Emerson walked across the street. Arthur nervously put down the sign and smiled when the other man walked up to him.
A gloved finger was pressed against his lips. Emerson’s intense blue-gold eyes stared at from behind the cloth mask. Arthur swallowed thickly and gave a nervous smile.
Emerson pounced…well kind of. Their lips crashed together, teeth clanked, and noses bumped. It wasn’t a calm, sweet first kiss. This was the type that was messy and full of fireworks and passionate. It was the first kiss someone has when they’re with the person that they like so much that the excitement bubbles up inside them like champagne bubbles in a flute glass.
Merlin watched the scene with a sad sort of smile on his face, “Destiny begins again. Good luck you two.”
He disappeared from the mirror.
And so in the middle of the street in London, the Dread Pirate Roberts kissed Doctor Horrible (neither realized that they were floating a couple centimeters from the ground). They pulled apart and smiled at each other.
“So…” said Arthur with a smile.
“So…” murmured Emerson with a wicked grin on his face.
“What’s the M stand for?”
Emerson looked into Arthur’s curious blue eyes, threw his head back, and laugh.
“Mister Penbrook,” began Emerson with a grin, “I don’t reveal my name until at least the third date.”
And then Emerson kissed Arthur again.