Summary:Merlin and Arthur story through seven Christmases
Author's Notes:Thanks to pelydryn77 for the fast and well done betareading!
safarialuna, I hope you'll like what I did even if I took some liberties with your prompt!
Disclaimer:Merlin is owned by the BBC and Shine. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. Don't send us to the dungeons.
1. The first one
They met at a pre-Christmas dinner at Gwen’s. She had organised a party with all her and Lancelot’s closest friends as a way to inaugurate their shared flat.
They were around twenty, and Merlin had hesitated to come. Apart from Gwen, who he had met a few months before as he had joined the library where she worked, and Lancelot, he didn’t know anybody.
Gwen had insisted, though and Merlin hadn’t regretted having accepted. He had met wonderful people, especially Lancelot’s best friend, a hot blond named Arthur.
They had exchanged glances during all the evening. Arthur was exactly Merlin’s type: blond, blue eyes, tall and fit, but not excessively muscled. The bubbly ass had been an added bonus.
Merlin hadn’t really done more than watching from afar, though. He couldn’t even fathom what a man like that could see in a man like him, so he stayed with Mordred, the strange cousin of Lancelot.
It was after dinner, when everyone went back to the lounge to share some drinks, that Arthur came to sit next to Merlin and started to talk to him. Merlin couldn’t stop laughing and smiling when Arthur clearly enjoyed himself, too. The conversation flowed so naturally between them that they didn’t realise everyone had noticed their flirtation. Only the laughter of Gwaine managed to bring them back to reality, and they spotted the mistletoe that Percival was holding above their head. Everyone started to ask them to kiss, and to Merlin’s biggest surprise, Arthur complied.
2. At Hunith’s
Arthur looked at the tree in the middle of the living room. It wasn’t as big as the one he was used to, but it was beautiful with its mismatched decorations and so many colorful lights. It felt homely in a way none of the trees at Arthur's home had ever felt.
The tree was just one thing amongst many others contributing to the amazing feeling that reigned in Hunith’s house.
There was, of course, the warm smile of Merlin’s mum and the way she had immediately hugged Arthur, asking him to call her Hunith. There was also the home-baked cookies and the hot chocolate with just enough cinnamon and marshmallows that she offered them. There was the smell of the roasting turkey and the way everyone gathered in the kitchen to help. There was the pile of artistically wrapped presents around the tree. There was Merlin, of course, and the way he seemed so happy to be there and made Arthur felt like he belonged here, too.
It was everything Arthur had never known before. Merlin knew it, and that was why he had insisted so much for Arthur to accompany him home for Christmas.
3. At Uther’s
It had been Uther’s idea. He said it was what had to be done after Arthur had been invited to Hunith’s the year before. Arthur had tried to dissuade him but it didn’t work.
That’s how he found himself in the backseat of a chauffeur-driven car with Merlin en route to his father’s mansion in Wales.
“Arthur, calm down! It will be okay.”
Merlin’s calm smile wasn’t enough to reassure Arthur this time. He knew his family all too well, and if he had managed to postpone the first meeting with Merlin, it wasn’t for nothing.
He knew Merlin loved him, but how would he react when he’d met Uther… and Catrina, his step-mother… and Morgana, his sister?
Of course, it hadn’t been okay. Uther had been obnoxious with Merlin, treating him like he was nothing more than a servant. A man without any lineage hadn’t put a foot in the Pendragon Mansion in ages, and Uther was adamant that Merlin knew that and the fact that Arthur was not meant to share the rest of his life with a low born.
Merlin had managed to stay calm and had even charmed Catrina and Morgana, though.
As they were driven back to London, Merlin falling asleep against him, Arthur promised himself that they would always have wonderful Christmases!
4. Not together
Arthur looked at his phone for the hundredth time since they sat at the large table in the diner room. He wasn’t listening to the conversations around him, but he had caught Uther’s disapproving glance more than once.
He didn’t care. He wasn’t going to miss Merlin’s FaceTime for anything in the world.
Since they got together four years ago at Gwen’s, it was the first time they couldn’t be together at Christmas. Arthur knew that the project was important for Merlin. Going to Namibia to teach English to children was a wonderful thing to do, and Arthur had never thought about asking Merlin not to go. That didn’t make not being with him for Christmas easier, though.
Finally, the call came in and Arthur hastily excused himself before going to his room upstairs.
5. At Merlin and Arthur’s
Merlin was so excited. He checked everything one last time. It would be the first time they organized the Christmas dinner in their new home. The flat they had rented before was way too small to accommodate everyone, but this year they finally could welcome their families and friends.
“Merlin!” Hunith called from the kitchen. “Come here.” She had come the day before in order to help with the cooking.
Merlin joined her and helped with the filling of the turkey. Arthur had gone to do some last minute shopping.
In just a few hours, they would be surrounded by all the people they loved, in their home. It was the perfect way to spend Christmas day!
Another sneeze came from the living room. Arthur winced but kept his eyes on the kettle. When the water started boiling, he put it in the mug where the teabag was waiting. He let it infuse for a moment, hearing other sneezes and sniffling. Then he added a generous spoon of honey.
When Arthur came into the living room, Merlin was where he had left him a few minutes before: nestled under three plaid covers on the couch. Used tissues were littering the floor next to him, and half of the coffee table was occupied by pill boxes, cough syrup bottles and more tissues.
It wasn’t how they had planned to spend Christmas Eve, but Arthur hadn’t even thought for one second not to care for his husband.
He put the tea on the table and sat on the floor next to Merlin.
“How are you feeling?”
“Horrible,” Merlin answered with a hoarse voice.
Arthur took the mug and held it for Merlin, helping him to drink.
“I’m sorry,” Merlin murmured in between two swallows.
“Hey, don’t be! I know you didn’t plan to be sick on Christmas. And at least we will remember our first Christmas as husbands!”
Merlin tried to smile but was stopped by a bout of coughing.
Arthur, having put down the mug, slowly stroked Merlin’s hair.
“What do you think about watching some Disney movies?”
The light in Merlin’s eyes at that moment was worth any foie gras canapé, stuffed turkey or glass of champagne.
And if he fell asleep even before Anna had met Kristoff, Arthur was more than happy to watch him sleep and just be there if he needed anything.
7. First Christmas
The little pink bauble was reflecting the lights and shining. It was the only new decoration on their tree that year, but it was the most special. It had been a gift from Hunith, and Merlin had cried when he had opened it.
“Baby’s first Christmas - 2017”
Under the tree there were gifts. Way more than the past years as everyone had wanted to spoil the baby.
Everybody was sitting around the burning fire and, amongst the laughter and conversation, there was cooing and baby talk.
Merlin was holding their daughter in his arms while Morgana played peek-a-boo with little Liana. Arthur realised their Christmases would never be as they had been before.That thought made him content and hopeful for a happy future.