merlin: merthur

“A kingfisher. There!” Merlin pointed with his free hand. “See him?”

Obligingly, the kingfisher dived off his perch, swooping low across the water, a vivid streak of iridescence, stark against the green-black water.

“Oh, my God!” Arthur whispered. “He’s so beautiful.”

“Yes,” said Merlin, throat constricting, his eyes drawn to the noble set of Arthur’s brow, the dark red of his lips. “He really is.”

that feeling when you’ve been reading all those gentle soft happy fanfics where everyone is gay and in love and it’s not a big deal and their friends all support them.

and your favourite superhero couples and detectives and kings and warlocks are just domestic and happy.

and then you emerge into the real world and it’s just not like that.

you walk into your job in the morning and know that if anyone knew, you’d be out the door. kids use the word ‘gay’ as a slur and it might be silly but it makes something hurt inside your chest. you look at your mother and think of the words she’d use to cut you with if you told her. the disgust on her face. you have your family around you and you know it could all be shattered in a minute and it would be you who’d done it.

everyone assumes your straightness. people look at you strangely when you use ‘they/them’ pronouns when asking what their fiancé’s name is, bcs you don’t want to make the same mistake that others make with you. you file forms with spaces for the mother’s name and father’s name and wonder how you’d fill them out if you had a partner and a child. you work with children and wonder what they have to hide about themselves.

and then, sometimes, you go home and read some more fanfic. maybe you write some, or draw fanart if that’s your thing. that’s the best thing, that we’re dreaming about a better world. maybe we’re not famous or published or earning money for what we do. but writing and reading fanworks like this helps a heck of a lot of people, including me, feel happy and comforted and like it’s possible that they might belong one day. that it gets better.

thank you, everyone who creates fanworks where being gay is simply treated as normal. your work is healing and wholesome and full of heart and goodness. and much as i may love the canon, it’s not the canon - it’s the fanworks that are a safe haven to retreat to and recover and heal.