Title: Social distancing
Word count: 619
Prompt: Holding hands
Summary: Merlin and Arthur perfect social distancing.
Author’s notes: Not beta’d. Sorry for being late, again. And sorry for once again involving the stupid virus in a story. Seems the situation affects me more than I'm willing to admit.
Alright, so they had this social distancing thing down to a T. Which wasn't easy when you were sharing a place, but they were avoiding each other in the hallway, staying in their rooms when they heard the other walking there, stayed out of the kitchen while the other one was in it and luckily, Merlin admitted, Arthur had insisted on buying that huge-ass couch, so they could watch TV together, each in his corner, at least 6 feet apart. The only communication they had was via text messages or chats and sometimes they left little sticky notes on each others' doors. They had even skyped that one time.
Merlin didn't mind all the social distancing and lockdown. He had spent a lot of time alone as a kid and knew how to keep himself busy. It had turned out that he could work from home, so the bigger part of the day was used up with that anyway.
It seemed as if Arthur was like that, too, but sometimes he heard him on the phone with Leon or Percy, pacing his room and most of the time, he didn't sound happy. So he had started to send him funny memes or gifs that he found, pointed him to creative outbursts of their favorite celebrities and that one day they had fun singing Matt Lucas' Baked Potato song at each other through the wall and giggling a lot.
Merlin was in the living room, in his corner of the couch and tried to decide what he wanted to watch on Netflix when Arthur came in and sat right next to him.
Arthur threw him a look. „You know this is ridiculous, don't you?“
Oh no, did Arthur turn into one of those lockdown protestors who thought that because the lockdown flattened the curve the lockdown wasn't even necessary? „What exactly?“ He asked carefully.
„We are sharing this apartment for a year now.“
„We are on total quarantine for almost two months already.“
„True.“ They even ordered their groceries online and had them delivered to the doorstep. Something Arthur had insisted on and Merlin had argued against in the beginning, but it had turned out to be a good thing.
„We haven't seen anyone else, haven't left the house.“
„Tell me again, why we are avoiding each other?“
„Err...“ Merlin frowned. In the beginning it was that if one of them caught the virus, he wouldn't infect the other, but the incubation time was long over and neither of them had shown the slightest symptoms.
„Doesn't make much sense anymore, if you ask me.“ Arthur looked over. „And even though this is still scary...what can happen if we spend time together here? We're using the same kitchen, we're using the same bathroom anyway.“
That much was true.
„Maybe we're just getting paranoid? I mean...it's still out there and it will be for a while...“
„Which means we'll be safe in here for a while. So we could...I don't know...at least be safe together?“
Merlin pondered. It was weird that neither of them had this thought before. They had gotten so used to avoiding each other that the thought had never occured to him. „Okay.“
A wide smile showed on Arthur's face. „If you liked our skype session so much, we can still do that once in a while.“ He grinned. „And keep the memes and gifs coming.“
Laughing, Merlin nudged his arm. „Clotpole.“
Merlin hadn't even known how deprived of touches he had been until Arthur simply took his hand („Freshly washed and sanitized!“) and just held it.
„So...what's new on Netflix?“