Title: Not Any Less
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Lanky Merlin has always been self-conscious about his body.
Word Count: 400
Prompt: #251 – Perfectly Imperfect
Author’s Notes: Unbeta'd
When Arthur comes home, it’s to find Merlin stood in front of their bedroom mirror, his shirt discarded on the floor.
His breath catches in his throat for a moment, captivated by the slim lines of Merlin’s body. He has to swallow heavily, giving his head a quick shake to bring his thoughts back on track.
A snarky comment forms on his lips, but he stops as he catches sight of Merlin’s expression. His eyes flicker back down, no longer admiring, but searching.
He takes in fingers splayed over the top of a sharp hipbone as it pokes out, just above a loose elastic waist band. Merlin’s other hand is resting on the opposite shoulder, fingers following the prominent line of his collar bone.
“Merlin.” He keeps his tone light, trying to keep as much emotion out of it as possible.
The aftermention man tenses, jerking his body around to meet Arthur’s eyes.
“I didn’t hear you come in.” Merlin drops his arms across his chest, almost protective.
“What are you doing?” Arthur closes the distance between them, dropping his jacket onto their bed as he passes it.
Merlin’s cheek is cool when he presses a kiss to it.
“You’re obsessing over your weight again, aren’t you?” He tries to hold Merlin’s gaze even as the other studiously tries to stop him.
“You know you can’t lie to me to save your life.” He reaches out, brushing his palms against Merlin’s arms before a take a gentle hold.
Warm air tickles Arthur’s ear as Merlin sighs.
“It’s just- sometimes, I can’t help but thinking.”
“We both know that never goes well.”
“Cabbage head.” Merlin shakes his head, the tense from earlier returning to his body. Arthur almost expects him to pull away, but instead he continues.
“I’m not as muscled or as strong as you are.” Arthur tightens his told on Merlin’s forearms, dismayed at the tone of self-deprecation he can hear.
He wants to find whoever it was that put such doubt into Merlin, and show them how much damage they had done.
Arthur rubs his thumbs against Merlin’s skin, marvelling not for the first time at the smooth, pale expanse, marred only by the thin scar that sat, silver just below his left shoulder.
“And I wouldn’t want you to be, you’re my Merlin, and you’re perfectly imperfect just the way you are.”