Title: In Need
Character/s: Merlin & Arthur
Summary: Merlin hated getting cold
Word Count: 600
Author's Notes: Yeah...
Despite being Welsh, Merlin hated getting cold.
He despised having to waddle around under layers of jumpers and jackets, his toes and fingers constantly tingling and his nose always numb.
At the first chance he got, he escaped the land of snow and three week summers for the eternal summer that was anywhere else but the UK.
He explored Brazil, but could never quite get his tongue around the portuguese they spoke there. He moved through Africa, from the dusty salt flats in Botswana to the humid heights of Malawi to the long summer nights of the South African eastern coast - which he really liked until he was mugged for the fifth time in Durban. Merlin was going to miss the bunny chow, but the crime just wasn’t worth sticking around.
It was in a tiny town on the Andaman coast in the south of Thailand that Merlin found that he was looking for - the eternal summer.
It never went under 25 degrees celsius, even when it stormed during monsoon season. He spent a year getting his diving licences and began working as a dive guide off the Similan Islands.
By now, Merlin had not experienced winter for close to seven years and life was good.
Obviously life likes to fuck with us and even a good streak has to end. Merlin’s ending was the phone call from his mother. His uncle had passed away in his sleep and he was required to go back home for the funeral and the reading of the will.
Within minutes of landing in Cardiff, on a cold November morning, Merlin was ready to leave. Everything ached from the cold and he didn’t even have a thick jacket anymore, only the thin hoodie that rarely saw any use.
He was waiting for his mum to pick him up when a stranger walked past and dropped a couple pound coins into his coffee cup, which was still half full of coffee.
“The fuck?” Merlin spluttered.
The man froze for a moment before turning around, his eyes wide in surprise.
“I was drinking that,” Merlin held up his cup.
“Sorry. I thought you were in need.”
“I am, of this coffee. Which is now ruined.”
“Look, I am sorry." The stranger stepped closer to him. “It’s just - you’re standing in the cold, outside the airport without a jacket in winter. I was just trying to help.”
At that moment, Merlin’s mum pulled up and honked the hooter of the old Land Rover she had driven since Merlin was a baby.
Merlin waved to her and started towards the car when the man stepped in front of him, blocking his way.
The stranger handed him a card. “Call me? I owe you a coffee.”
“I’m not a charity case.”
“I didn't say that. I’m just… Look, I feel bad about making assumptions, and my sister says I need to practice being a better person. So please. Call me.”
Merlin took the card, really looking at the man for the first time. His suit was rumpled but expensive and it looked to be hiding a really fit body beneath. Blonde hair and blue eyes; a deadly combination for Merlin in general.
“Okay,” Merlin sighed. “Maybe.” He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to be the guinea pig for someone practicing at being a better person. It was like agreeing to go to lunch with a former cannibal.
The man smiled and turned away.
It wasn’t until Merlin was in the car that he realised he hadn’t felt cold at all during the exchange.