Title: That Darn Cat!
Summary: Merlin and his cat adventures do not amuse Arthur.
Warnings: Canon-era AU, nothing else really, but Arthur is not too happy with a cat so he might have serious ill-will towards it, but I assure you that no harm came to any cats during the writing of this fic.
Prompt 304: Saviour by ObsidianSerpent
A/N: I intended to write something quite angsty but decided to go in the opposite direction with this one.
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Arthur was making his way outdoors to go to the training grounds when Sir Leon ran up to him, out of breath.
“Sire, there is commotion at the stables.”
When they arrived, it was to see Percival and Gwaine kneeling beside someone lying on the ground. Percival looked up at Arthur, his expression worried.
“I don’t think he’s hurt too badly. The cat was on the roof,” were his only words. He looked as if he wanted to say more, but Arthur put up a hand and shook his head. He’d talk to Percival more in-depth later, but he’d heard all he needed at the moment. He had more important things to worry about.
He didn’t need to look down to see who it was on the ground. Percival wouldn’t have given him that look unless it was Merlin.
Arthur pushed the others out of his way and carefully picked up Merlin, only worrying afterwards that perhaps he should have left him on the ground until he could be checked out for injuries, but as Merlin was trying to talk, Arthur took that as a positive sign. He visibly relaxed once he saw that the damage didn’t seem too bad, and he briefly wondered whether he wanted to throttle Merlin or kiss him more. He opened his mouth to ask what had happened when he heard a familiar meow. Arthur sighed. Damned cat! If Arthur had told Merlin once he’d told him a hundred times to not play with that cat!
Hadn’t Arthur told him to be careful, that the cat didn’t like to be cuddled? It was a cat after all, even if it was small and perhaps a smidgeon cute and adorable. Arthur would have to have words with Percival, but first he had to take care of Merlin.
Careful not to jostle him too much, Arthur continued to glare at the cat. He had half a mind to put his sword through it, but he knew that if he did, Merlin would never forgive him, and Percival wouldn’t be happy either. “You are a menace to society, cat,” he said instead, glaring at it, but the look the feline gave him had Arthur thinking that he was the one being reprimanded, not the cat. “I don’t know who is more the idiot here, you or Merlin.” Arthur made a shooing motion with his hand, but the cat refused to move. Arthur was about to kick it when Merlin opened an eye and cleared his throat.
Arthur had been caught. Damn, Merlin and his sixth sense!
“You leave that cat alone, Arthur. He didn’t do anything to you.”
Arthur let out a laugh. Merlin was amazing… an amazing idiot. The amazing idiot that Arthur just so happened to love. “No, but he nearly killed you. Am I not allowed to be upset about that?”
Merlin tried to laugh, but grimaced, probably in pain. “If you want to be angry with someone, be angry with me. I was the one who decided to go up there to get the cat. That cat didn’t coax me onto the roof. I am a big boy, Arthur, and I can make my own decisions, believe it or not,” he finished, with more than a little condescension in his voice.
All the fight went out of Arthur. As angry as he was with Merlin, and he was plenty angry, he was more thankful. Merlin could have easily been killed in the fall.
Silly boy. Hadn’t he been told to stay in bed until he was over the sweating sickness? Gaius had lectured him about how important it was to get his strength back, and he had forbade Merlin to go back to work for a fortnight.
The recovery period had seemed excessive to Arthur, but who was he to tell the Court Physician what was right and what was wrong when it came to medical conditions? Yes, he was King of Camelot, but if that qualified him to make diagnoses of the medical persuasion, he hadn’t been informed, thus, until that day arrived he would leave that business to more educated people than himself.
“You idiot,” he spat out. “Did you honestly think it a good idea to climb atop the stables and play the hero? What were you doing out of bed anyway? I thought you were on strict bedrest.”
Merlin opened his mouth to answer Arthur, but Gaius’s voice rent the air as he called after Arthur and Merlin.
“He’ll live, Gaius,” said Arthur, swallowing the words he wanted to say next. “A few bumps and scratches, but I don’t think he was hurt too badly.”
Once Merlin was safely back in his bed, Arthur began the inquisition.
One question after another, not stopping to take a breath.
Merlin understood, really, he did—he had frightened Arthur—but he was fine. Gaius had examined him and said, other than some nasty abrasions on his face, he was fine.
“Arthur,” Merlin interrupted, rolling his eyes, “Percival’s cat came into my room. I have no idea how he got here, but he did. I decided to take him back. I knew neither you nor Gaius would be happy with me, but I thought I could get there and back before you’d notice I was gone. How was I to know the cat would get away from me and jump up on the roof of the stables?”
“So, being the hero you are,” said Arthur, shaking his head in exasperation, “you just had to follow him, didn’t you?”
“Yep,” said Merlin, matter-of-factly, obviously quite proud of himself.
“What am I going to do with you, Merlin?”
Merlin smirked. “If you want to keep a closer eye on me, Arthur, you could always ask me to stay with you so you can play mother hen.”
Such insolence could not be tolerated so Arthur did the only thing he could. He leant over to kiss Merlin. Yes, he would be moving Merlin into his chambers immediately.