Title: Working Day
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin,
Summary: Arthur had a nice balance to his day now.
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: Artist Appreciation - Work
Author's Notes: Hope you enjoy!
Arthur fastened his jacket and pulled on his shoes before throwing the messenger bag over his shoulder, fiddling until it sat in a comfortable position on his hip. Snatching up his keys, he darted for the front door.
Before he reached it, however, he paused, drawn by his own reflection in the large mirror that hung in his hallway. It had been a gift from Morgana and Leon had it up before Arthur decided if he liked it or not.
Staring at his reflection, Arthur smiled. He was not the vain boy he had been as a teenager, but he didn’t avoid mirrors now either.
He certainly looked a lot better than he had a year ago. It was only after his father’s death that Morgana had made him see the truth; Uther’s expectations and pressure had bordered on abuse. Arthur hadn’t been eating, he hadn’t slept, he had been stiff and cold…
Now he had lost the tie and the briefcase that made him look ten years older, according to his sister. He was back to a healthy weight and the bags under his eyes had vanished. He looked like a man in control of his life and Arthur smiled in relief.
He didn’t have time to dwell on the changes that had taken place over the last year though. Not now – he had an office to run and clients to meet, after all.
Hurrying out of the door, Arthur ignored his posh car and, for the third time that week, walked to work. His father would turn in his grave if he knew his son shared the pavement with the `commoners`.
He arrived early, filling up the coffee machine and booting up his laptop before the door opened again.
Merlin did a double-take when he saw Arthur, making his boss suppress a grin.
“Or you’re late,” Arthur said, smiling. He beckoned Merlin closer and as soon as he could reach, caught the man’s wrist.
“Arthur,” Merlin laughed, trying to extract himself from Arthur’s grip. It didn’t escape Arthur’s notice, however, that he wasn’t trying that hard.
“I’ve missed you this week,” Arthur protested, pouting in a way he knew made Merlin give in.
“You know we decided it was for the best while things are so hectic.”
Arthur sighed and let go. After he had reached breaking point shortly after his father’s death, he knew things needed to change.
Unfortunately, that now meant Merlin wouldn’t stay over during the week, insisting that Arthur needed to regulate his sleep patterns first. That didn’t stop them catching dinner and a movie, or a drink after work, several times but the weekends came around too rarely for Arthur’s liking.
It had an added bonus though. Weekends were the only time Merlin stayed over – meaning Arthur never thought about coming into work during those few days.
“Me too,” Merlin said quietly, his hand resting against Arthur’s cheek. Arthur tilted his head into Merlin’s touch and was being kissed before he realised that Merlin had lent forward. He sighed, running his hands up Merlin’s arms, drawing him closer.
The sound of the office door drew them apart again. Merlin skipped out of reach and grabbed Arthur’s favourite mug before heading towards the coffee machine.
Arthur watched him go, then turned back to his laptop. He checked his emails and consulted his schedule for the day while the rest of the staff filtered in. They all collected their respective drinks – but it didn’t escape Arthur’s notice that Merlin lingered by the coffee machine, chatting away rather than bringing Arthur his coffee.
Arthur was aware that his entire team were grinning as his PA looked over, nonplussed. Arthur had to mime drinking before Merlin got the hint and finally brought his drink over.
“Team meeting, ten minutes. Pass the word. We need to go over those reports from last week.”
“Do you want the run-down on the eco-campaign as well?”
Arthur nodded. Merlin had been terrible when he had first started work, but now he could practically read Arthur’s mind when it came to knowing what he wanted. Both in the office and in bed.
Merlin picked up Arthur’s mug and wandered off, taking the hot coffee with him. Arthur watched in disbelief as he started drinking it as he passed on the message. But when he looked back and winked, Arthur grinned and shook his head.
He knew as soon as the meeting began, there would be a steaming cup in front of him.
The rest of the day passed uneventfully. They were busy, but that was because the business was thriving and even though revenue was picking up, Arthur wasn’t as stressed as he had been a while ago.
When the office was empty and the lights were off, Arthur headed outside to find Merlin waiting for him.
“That bag suits you,” Merlin said, eyeing him appreciatively. Arthur glanced at the backpack slung off one of Merlin’s shoulders and knew that he meant it. Merlin preferred practicality over looks, meaning he had had a few insults to throw Arthur’s way when they had first met.
Arthur merely grinned though and finally, after all day of watching him, got to pull Merlin close.
Merlin sighed and wrapped his arms around Arthur’s neck, responding to his kiss happily.
“The weekend really is too far away,” Arthur murmured when they parted and headed down the street, aiming for one of their favourite restaurants. Wednesday nights were date nights, after all.
“You wouldn’t have said that a few months ago,” Merlin said cautiously. They knew Arthur still walked on eggshells when it came to talking about his break down. Arthur shrugged.
“I learnt not everything is about work.”
“Can you stop being a slave driver then?”
“Never. I wouldn’t be me.”
“In that case, don't change.”
Arthur grinned happily as he walked along with his partner. Right now, he had everything he had ever wanted. Why would he want to change any of that?