Title: Magical Ride
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin,
Summary: All Arthur was doing was working.
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: Sleigh Ride
Author's Notes: And this time I'm ill, so still hoping it's okay.
Hurt coiled in Merlin’s stomach and he stopped, still framed in the doorway. He knew this was a business trip, knew that Arthur had to work. But he hadn’t expected the man to work every second, refusing to relax and make the most of the beautiful scenery. They were in Iceland – photographs didn’t do any justice to a glance out of the window.
Slamming the door behind him, Merlin picked up his own laptop, stalked to the other side of the room and loaded it up. When he stared hitting the keys with far more force than necessary, Arthur finally looked up.
“What are you doing?”
Merlin shot him a scathing look. It was even worse that Arthur didn’t realise what he was doing.
“I didn’t realise you had only brought me to be your PA,” Merlin said. “As you don’t want me here as your boyfriend, then I better do my work. Sir.”
Arthur flinched. Merlin felt bad: the bags under Arthur’s eyes and the strain in his expression showed the pressure he was under. Merlin knew how important this was – he had orchestrated and sat in on numerous meetings, after all. But the main reason they all agreed that Arthur had to do this trip in person was because, with Merlin there, he might actually catch a break for a few hours.
The rest of the office had clearly underestimated Merlin. Arthur hadn’t looked away from reports and statistics the entire time they had been here. Merlin wasn’t certain he had left the hotel room.
“Don’t tell me this is important, Arthur,” Merlin sighed. “I know that. I know why you’re doing it. It’s been weeks since we last did anything together other than work though and I…”
He trailed off. He had been Arthur’s PA long before they had got together. He knew better than anyone how much the company meant to Arthur and had always vowed that he wouldn’t get in the way. But right now, he missed his lover.
“I’m sorry,” Arthur said. He sounded it as well. “Just… give me tonight?”
Merlin nodded. He didn’t want this to turn into an argument. He wanted to salvage their holiday and save Arthur’s sanity. Pulling up a few spreadsheets, Merlin decided the best thing he could do was get on with his own work in the hope that it would make things easier.
Arthur was still working when Merlin went to bed. The other side of the bed was still cold when Merlin woke up and he sighed, about to berate Arthur on not getting enough sleep.
But as he sat up, he realised that his partner wasn’t in the room. Merlin clutched the sheets to him and stared around. Arthur didn’t know his way around the hotel and for a wild moment, Merlin wondered if he should try and find the man.
Just as he made it out of bed, however, the door opened. Arthur was dressed, but not in the clothes he had been wearing to work in. He was dressed for the outside cold and the flush to his cheeks revealed he had already been out.
“Are you alright?” Merlin asked carefully. Unless he was mistaken, Arthur’s eyes were glinting. He still looked tired, but also looked more animated than Merlin had seen him for a few weeks.
“I’m an idiot,” Arthur said, “and I’ll make it up to you. Right now, you need to get up.”
He lunged for the blankets. It backfired: a tug of war later and Arthur ended up on top of Merlin in the bed and Merlin realised he wasn’t the only one who had missed his partner.
But finally, they were both ready and Arthur took Merlin by the hand, tugging him out of the room.
“Who are you and what have you done with Arthur Pendragon?”
Arthur stopped. His gaze dropped and he flushed. “I lost track of time,” he admitted. “And I’m sorry. I should have realised why you brought me here.”
“I’m worried about you,” Merlin said. His hand lifted and cupped Arthur’s cheek. “We all are.”
“I’ll listen to you more,” he promised. “But right now we need to move or they will go without us.”
“Who will? Arthur!”
Merlin couldn’t get an answer out of the man though, and instead let himself be pulled down the hallways and out into the foyer. When he saw what was waiting for them outside, however, he stopped.
“I saw you eyeing them up when we arrived,” Arthur said. When Merlin stared at him, he shrugged. “I’m not that oblivious.”
Merlin chose not to answer. He moved forward, waiting for permission before stroking the closest reindeer on the nose. A beautiful sledge was hitched to four reindeer, a warm blanket spread over it.
“Want to go for a ride?” Arthur said softly, moving behind him with one hand on his waist. Not caring that the driver was watching them with an amused expression, Merlin turned and kissed him.
“What do you think?”
They climbed aboard, Merlin unable to keep the grin off his face even as the driver gave them a brief history on the sledge, the animals and everything around them. Finally, however, he called to his reindeer and they set off.
They moved smoothly over the snow and Merlin stared around, entranced. It really was a beautiful landscape and he thought he had lost the chance to see it when Arthur had first booted up his laptop and not looked up.
Under the blanket, Arthur took his hand. When Merlin looked at him, he smiled shyly.
“I know you have to work, Arthur. Just…give yourself time as well. Give us time.”
“Deal,” Arthur said. He sat back and Merlin followed suit, resting his head on Arthur’s shoulder and watching the world flash by. It was magical.
Smiling, Merlin saw the same look of wonder on Arthur’s face and sighed, finally content. The trip wasn’t a waste after all.