Title: More Than I Should [Part 2]
Rating: Teen and Up
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Head injuries and long denied feelings are tricky things.
Warnings: Aftermath of car accident, symptoms of head injury, blood, Merlin is a stubborn idiot
Word Count: 1,050
Prompt: #297: Longing
Author's Notes: Going over word count is quickly becoming a standard for me. I just can't stop....
Part 1 / AO3
In the end, Merlin narrowly misses throwing up all over Arthur’s well-polished oxfords.
He tries to apologize, because that really is quite unprofessional not to mention downright foul. No member of the royal family should have to dodge their security officer’s vomit, least of all Arthur.
Merlin’s supposed to be protecting him from life-threatening projectiles, not creating them.
Arthur for his part, has the audacity to look even more concerned about Merlin’s well being which, isn’t entirely unfounded seeing as he really can’t see straight and he’s falling more than walking as they stumble over and sit on the pavement. As if he wasn’t humiliated enough, now he is the one that needs to be looked after when it should be the other way around.
Though he would take a million head injuries if it meant Arthur always walks away unscathed.
The smell of blood and petrol is just starting to make Merlin’s stomach roll again when the backup security team arrives followed quickly by the paramedics. Someone must have called 999 for their driver Frank. Merlin hadn’t gotten a good look at him but he knows the driver’s side of the car took the brunt of the impact so the chances of him walking away from this unharmed are slim.
Guilt washes over him at the thought of Frank sitting beside him in the motor car, bleeding out or worse. And Merlin ignored him in favor of checking on Arthur. The man could be worse off because of his negligence. Arthur is his top priority, everyone knows that, but Merlin still can’t help but feel guilty at doing nothing for their driver. He just hopes Frank is okay.
Merlin must have spaced out for a minute for the next thing he knows is there’s a bright light being shined in his eyes and he flinches, unprepared for the spike of pain it causes his head. There’s a red-haired paramedic kneeling in front of him, gloved fingers gently pushing bloodied dark locks away from Merlin’s hairline so he can reach the gash beneath. And god does that hurt. Merlin hisses at the touch and instinctively tries to draw away but Arthur’s arm around his back keeps him steady.
And when exactly Arthur got so close, Merlin isn’t sure. But there are people around and this is entirely inappropriate. No matter how close their friendship is behind closed doors, when in the public eye, they have to keep up a strictly professional appearance. Arthur knows that.
But it seems he doesn’t care much at the moment and Merlin is too preoccupied with not losing the rest of his stomach contents to do anything about it.
Not that he wants to. Arthur is a warm and comforting presence right now and exactly what Merlin needs. What he wants.
“He’s got a moderate concussion,” the paramedic concludes. He extracts a bundle of cotton bandages and carefully applies it to Merlin’s head. Merlin gasps at the sharp stab of pain, but otherwise tries very hard to stay silent as it’s taped in place. “We’ll take him and have him looked at just to be sure.”
Merlin nearly shakes his head but manages to stop himself before making that horrible mistake. “No, I’m not going to the hospital.”
“Sir, you’ve sustained a traumatic head injury, you need medical attention.”
“I’ll have the royal physician check me over,” Merlin assures him. Arthur’s arm tightens almost imperceptibly around Merlin and Merlin can’t help but lean a little further into him. Fuck propriety, he’s going to soak this up while he can. “Thank you, though.”
The paramedic leaves them be then though Merlin can tell he wants to insist some more. Merlin commends him for it, truly he does. The man is just doing his job.
But so is Merlin.
He’s not in any condition to be on duty, he knows that. But he’s unwilling to let Arthur out of his sight. Just the thought causes a pang of fear to shoot through him. He tells himself it’s just residual adrenaline from the accident, but deep down, he knows it’s more than that.
Damnit, how the bloody hell could he have let this happen?
“Merlin.” Arthur says, voice soft and Merlin can hear the chastising to come.
He sighs, reluctantly shrugging out of Arthur’s hold and stumbling to his feet. “Arthur, I’ll be fine.”
“You swear?” There’s skepticism in Arthur’s voice but thankfully he doesn’t push it.
“Yes, I swear,” Merlin reassures. Then because he is desperate to regain some semblance of normalcy in their relationship, he tries for a smirk and adds, “On my life.”
The joke fails spectacularly as Arthur winces.
Before anything more is said, both Merlin and Arthur are ushered away by security officers into the waiting vehicles, Arthur in one, and Merlin, temporarily out of commission, into the other. He wants to argue and insist on riding with Arthur, still reluctant to let him out of his sight. But he knows the other security officers have him covered. He just has to take comfort in the fact that the car he’s in will be right behind Arthur’s the entire way back.
After being checked over and reprimanded by Gaius and promising to remain awake for at least two more hours, Merlin is sent to his quarters with a handful of paracetamol and relieved of his post for at least a week with strict orders use the time to rest and recover. He nearly argues with the good doctor but his body is starting ache something fierce and he swears his head might explode with all the pressure building up. Rest, yes, that sounds heavenly.
Merlin makes it to his quarters somehow, downing a few paracetamol and barely remembering to shuck his uniform before he falls onto the bed. Never has his mattress felt so soft and inviting. Merlin can feel himself falling asleep before he can remember Gaius specifically ordered him not to.
A soft knock rouses Merlin from the brink of unconsciousness. “Enter,” he bids, voice only slightly hoarse. With a herculean effort, he forces himself to sit up into a more decent position, his head only giving an annoyed throb at the movement. It’s only once the door is opening that he realizes he’s not exactly decent anyway in nothing but his pants.
And of course it’s Arthur who enters his room.