Summary: Merlin is sick and it seems Arthur is cross with him. So his magic does all kinds of weird things
Author's Notes: Finem, I hope this is what you had in mind. I had so much fun playing with the prompt. Happy holidays to you!
Disclaimer:Merlin is owned by the BBC and Shine. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. Don't send us to the dungeons.
Merlin felt miserable. There was a bug going around and Merlin had been out in the woods to prepare for winter solstice when it had started to rain. He had been drenched when he came back to the apartment. Arthur hadn't been very happy about this, especially since he'd dripped puddles everywhere and his dirty boots had left marks on the light carpets which made Merlin feel even worse. He sneezed.
"Oh, you caught a cold, haven't you?" Arthur's voice dripped with sarcasm.
"Looks like it."
"Don't you dare infect me with whatever you have. I have some Christmas parties to go to."
"Sorry." Merlin sneezed again and that was when he couldn't control his magic and it somehow conjured one of Arthur's ugly Christmas sweaters on the back of the couch.
"Hey, I've been looking for this one. Where does it come from all of a sudden?" Arthur's face lit up.
"Dunno." Merlin croaked out, his voice on the verge of being gone completely. Maybe an evening without Arthur would give him enough time to sleep this off and he would be back to normal the next day.
It wasn't the first evening that he had the place to himself, but it still felt a bit weird. For some odd reason, he would have preferred if Arthur would have taken care of him. But Arthur wasn't the motherly type, it was difficult imagining him bringing in tea and asking if he had everything.
The next morning, Merlin woke up and his cold wasn't any better. If at all, it had gotten worse. His voice was gone and even breathing made his throat hurt, he was either freezing or sweating, there was nothing in between.
He almost didn't hear the knock on the door.
"Hey," Arthur poked his head in. "You missed the best party ever."
"Sorry," Merlin tried to say, but he wasn't sure if anything came out at all.
"And you room stinks. Let me open a window." Arthur marched in and did as he said.
Cold! It was cold outside! How could Arthur let the evil cold into his room!
"By the way, have you seen my mobile? I forgot to take it along when I left last night and now I can't find it anywhere."
Merlin tried to swallow and closed his eyes. His magic felt weird inside, but it always did when he was sick.
Arthur closed the window. "I...I think I'm going to leave you to it." He left and a little while later, Merlin heard a small cry of triumph. It seemed that Arthur had found his phone.
Merlin didn't like it. He hated being sick. What he hated most this time was the feeling that Arthur was somehow mad at him for being sick. It wasn't his fault! Oh well, maybe he should have worn a different jacket and taken an umbrella or at least a hat, but that couldn't be helped now.
He sniffed and reached for the nasal spray again.
"I'm hungry. I think I'm going to have the left-overs from yesterday"
For the first time in days, Merlin had felt a bit peckish by the afternoon and had taken Arthur's Chinese take-out left-overs from the fridge. "I..." He watched Arthur opening the door of the fridge and blinked. He had tossed out the empty container, he knew he had. But Arthur was taking it out, then rummaging around for a fork and then brought it back to eat it like that, cold and out of the box.
"I don't remember getting spring rolls with this." Arthur looked into the crate, shrugged and started to eat.
Merlin didn't know what to make of it.
"Are you finally done with your cold?" Arthur threw him a look.
"I'm feeling a lot better, thank you for asking." Merlin was still camped out on the couch where he had been for the most of the day, wrapped up in blankets, tissues - used and unused - around him, nasal spray and cough medicine on the coffee table.
It wasn't fair. Why was Arthur so pissed off that he was sick? He had managed not to infect him, so what was it to Arthur? Alright, admittedly, his camp probably wasn't a pretty sight, but being in bed all day was so boring.
Closing his eyes, Merlin leaned back. His magic felt off these days. Usually, it was humming underneath his skin, a constant background noise, as much as you could call a feeling a noise. At the moment, it felt jumpy and somehow shy. Merlin had no idea what that was about. He had never felt like this before.
"Oh, wow, look at this." Arthur stood by the window and looked at one of the plants in wonder. Neither of them paid much attention to the plants friends had brought over when they went on holidays and never taken back. One of them was in full bloom and Merlin had to admit that it was wonderful.
He also saw a little golden shimmer around it. So that was what his magic was doing. Weird things that he couldn't influence. But as long as Arthur liked it, it was fine by him.
Arthur handed him a mug of hot chocolate. "Here, drink."
"What is it?"
"Rat poison, so I'll finally get rid of you. You can't get well again any time soon? This is getting old."
Merlin eyed the mug.
"It's just hot chocolate, you moron." Arthur sat down in the armchair with his own mug.
"Arthur?" Merlin asked when they didn't speak for a while.
"Why are you so angry with me?"
Arthur looked up and frowned. "I'm not angry with you."
"You've been acting as if I had committed a crime or insulted your entire clan." Merlin slowly sipped his hot chocolate.
"Well, you have insulted my entire family..."
Merlin remembered and blushed. "That was ages ago. Why are you still mad at me?"
"Merlin, I am not mad at you. What makes you think that?"
"You grumble, you snarl at me, you.. I don't know." Merlin sighed.
Arthur didn't say anything for a full minute. Then he opened his mouth. "Maybe I just don't like it when you're sick, okay? It makes me feel useless."
"You weren't useless."
"I couldn't do much more than open the windows to get you some fresh air, run to the pharmacy to get you medicine and provide an endless supply of tissues. That's not much."
Merlin smiled. "That's a lot."
"And I want you to get well again, so we can finally start decorating the Christmas tree I got yesterday."
"You could have..."
"No. I wanted to do this with you."
Merlin felt his magic jump a little and there were marshmallows on Arthur's drink.
Arthur grinned. "I don't know how you do it, but I like how your magic always seems to know what I would really like at that moment."
"Of course. My jumper, my phone, the food, the blossom...it all wasn't there before and...I don't know, it felt like a little surge through me always right before all these things happened. So I thought it could only be your magic doing that."
"Do you...do you mind?"
Arthur grinned. "Not at all. It's kind of neat when things appear, surprising, but neat."
"I don't know why it does it. It kind of...I don't know...reaches out for you. And thinking you were angry with me probably made it...." Merlin coughed again.
"As I said, I'm not angry. It feels...nice. And you didn't do it on purpose?"
Merlin shook his head. "It's...sometimes my magic has a mind of it's own." He shrugged.
"And it likes me..." There was a small smile on Arthur's face and he peeked over at Merlin.
"It..." Merlin's heart was beating faster. Not only his magic liked Arthur. "Yes."
"And since you are magic..."
Merlin worried his chapped lower lip with his teeth and nodded slowly.
Arthur laughed. "I'd kiss you now if it weren't for..." He pointed at the tissues. "You better get well soon, so we can..."
Sneezing again, Merlin tried to grin. That was the best reason to try to speed his recovery up.
"In the meantime...can you magic up some Christmas cookies?"
Arthur looked so hopeful that Merlin laughed.