Title: Hurt/Comfort Food
Pairing: Possible Arthur/Merlin
Character/s: Merlin, Gaius
Summary: Merlin wants to create the perfect version of Arthur's favourite food
Word Count: 300
Prompt: 386 Comfort
Author's Notes: A bit of fluff, a dollop of meta...
Entering his chambers one afternoon, Gaius looked in surprise at the egg baskets, the steaming pot on the stove, and the glass jars stacked everywhere. Several large jugs of indeterminable liquids took up space on his work bench. The room smelled strongly of vinegar.
"Merlin! What on earth are you doing?"
Green around the gills, Merlin turned towards him, a half-peeled boiled egg suspended in the air between them. "I'm making pickled eggs."
"Do you intend to feed all of Camelot?"
Merlin sighed. "I'm experimenting. I plan to make the perfect pickled eggs, in the best savoury brine. I've been sampling mixes for hours. My stomach is acting up. I feel sick."
"You do look unwell. Why pickled eggs?"
"They're Arthur's favourite food whenever he's anxious or sad. And with his father's decline, he's worried all the time."
"I'm sure cook's pickled eggs are satisfactory, Merlin. The ones sold at the market, too. You shouldn't have to make yourself ill to please the prince."
Merlin grinned weakly. "What's some passing hurt for me, if it provides Arthur with his favourite comfort food?"
"You have misunderstood the hurt/comfort concept, my boy. It's not meant to be one-sided. If you are harmed or in pain, Arthur should comfort you."
"And he will, Gaius." Merlin's face lit up. "Arthur will always be there for me. I know it."
"He's fortunate you're so devoted to him, for all that he will be a great king one day."
"And I am lucky to have him." Merlin frowned and glanced at his egg project, prudently deciding to qualify his statement. "Well, most of the time, that is."
"Help me with the eggs?"
"Of course. I'd rather not Arthur have to comfort you through severe vinegar poisoning any time soon."