Title: So Close That I Might See (5)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: After an accident Arthur goes to limbo, but gets one opportunity to go back and set things right.
Warnings: talk of injuries, probably medical inaccuracies .
Word Count: 879
Prompt: #322: Pity, cope, bleed.
Author's Notes: One | Two | Three | Four
Arthur doesn't know who's winning the staring contest, but he's already tired of being the sole focus of her disapproving gaze. He tries to disappear into the chair, blend with it in vain. His sister is a tenacious woman and she will tell him how wrong and reckless he was by not listening to her until she is pleased. Merlin, the blundering idiot, dragged him to his sister's office after the A&E doctor ran a few tests—a CT scan and a neurological one to asses his motor skills— and let him go once it was clear he was in no mortal danger—Arthur never again wants to spend his day at a hospital—only to leave him alone with her on the pretense of searching for food.
To make matters worse, Elena is permanently stuck to his side. It's disconcerting to have her around when he's the only one who can see her.
Morgana shrugs. "Lolly?" She asks, twirling the sweet in front of him. He scowls and snatches it anyway, making her laugh. She leans back in her seat, studying him as if he's one of her patients, assessing what might be wrong. "You're a piece of work."
Arthur scoffs, tearing the wrapping apart. "Just because I'm a bit poorly—"
"You're more than just a bit poorly as you so eloquently put it, I talked with Morgeuse and you have a mild concussion. You need rest. "
"I can't rest, Morgana. Dad personally asked me to oversee the merger of Helen's company with Olaf. Once false move and everything we've worked for can go to hell," he says, sticking the sweet in his mouth, ignoring Elena shaking her head in disappointment.
"It's you who will end up in hell if you don't take care of yourself," Morgana chastises, her words are a slap. If she knew how close he was. "Stress will worsen your symptoms, the headaches, nausea. I should have known better and brought you in last night."
The lolly is crushed under Arthur's teeth. "If I were to take a break— if, I said if... How long do you think it would take for me to recuperate?"
"A week. Two tops."
"What? I can't be away from work for that long." Arthur is appalled, he can already see Cenred claiming the glory of the case for himself. The bastard.
"Yes, you can, you ninny." Morgana walks over to him and swats him on the arm when she's close enough. "Do you think it was fun for me to see my baby brother bleed?"
"Oh, but you can hit me," he retorts, suspecting the queasiness he feels is actually guilt. He never meant for her or anyone else to worry.
"I barely hit you."
"And I'm barely your baby brother anymore."
Morgana smiles at him, soft and glowy, reminding him of their mother. "You'll always be. I still remember you chasing me around on chubby little legs, stumbling, falling. You were such a cute toddler, aw."
Arthur narrows his eyes, his mortification grows when Elena leans over to basically coo in his ear, "You really were adorable."
A knock on the door saves Arthur from further embarrassment. "Come in," Morgana calls, smirking.
Because he has clearly perfected the art of either appearing at the most fortunate and unfortunate times, Merlin steps in, carrying two cups. "Tea." His eyes go from Morgana to Arthur and turn to slits. "Were you scolding him?"
Morgana throws her head back in laughter. "What makes you say that?"
"He has that sourpuss look about him," Merlin says, easily.
"Actually, I was telling him—"
"She said I need to take a week off from work," Arthur pipes up before Morgana has a chance to tell Merlin about their most humiliating childhood memories.
Merlin hadn't yet forgotten about the Chrismas card his mother accidentally Ccd to everyone in the firm, where Morgana and he were dressed as Christmas elves. He doesn't need more ammunition.
Merlin throws him an unimpressed look. "Ugh, pity, how will you ever cope with no work? Such torture."
Arthur's lips twitch trying to fight off a smile but ultimately fails because Merlin has the audacity to stick his tongue out at him. "Why don't you go get the car. I need to get out of here."
"Of course, my lord. Anything you ask, I shall do. Now I'll go fetch your royal carriage." Merlin leaves the cups on the desk before he goes out the door again, making an exaggerated reverence.
Arthur grabs the cup with his name written in Merlin's messy scrawls, it was made just the way he likes it. Morgana has gone back to analyze him. "Now what? You didn't want tea?"
"I was thinking you should be nicer to Merlin. He's your personal assistant, not your personal slave."
"I am nice to him." Arthur knows he can be a bit harsh sometimes, especially when he's stressed out and buried up to his elbows in work, but he's always been nice to Merlin, he has a good salary, they joke around, and Merlin has never said anything.
Elena startles him out of his thoughts. "She's right. You can be more considerate of him, after all, he's always taken care of you."
Arthur can't say anything else.