Title: Reunion - part 8
Pairing/s: past Merlin/Arthur
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Merlin and Arthur finally get some food up in this dungeon!
Word Count: 840
Prompt: 423 Merlin by moonlight
Author's Notes: The fill I originally planned for this prompt! Nimueh absolutely insisted on the other one. (Sorry I'm a bit past the posting deadline!)
"Arthur," Merlin says.
From his relaxed pose leaning against the stone walls, Arthur straightens up to standing. He pushes the hood of his cloak off his head, and his chain mail jingles softly, only mostly muffled by the many layers of cloth underneath it.
As he crosses the cell to Merlin's makeshift sickbed, he passes through the light coming in from the high window. His hair catches the moonlight and briefly glows against the darkness of their dimly lit cell before he moves out of the beam again.
He reaches the bench and crouches down next to it. He gently rests his hand on the shoulder of Merlin's uninjured arm. His face is toward Merlin's, but his eyes are missing their mark by several inches.
"How are you feeling?" he asks.
"Your hair looks nice in the moonlight," Merlin whispers.
Arthur breathes out a laugh. His hand squeezes Merlin's shoulder briefly. "If I remember correctly," he whispers back, "your whole face looks nice in moonlight."
Merlin's heart clenches. "Arthur, what happened to you?" he asks. He needs to know, needs to understand what is going on. Maybe then he might know if he can do something about it.
"Your injuries are more urgent. Tell me," Arthur presses. "Any pain? Dizziness? Nausea? I'll need to give Gaius a full report when he comes back in the morning."
"The morning? How long was I asleep for?" Merlin asks.
"Only a few hours," Arthur tells him. "Come on, Merlin," he says, and Merlin can hear a hint of suppressed concern in his tone.
"Head feels fine. No dizziness. Arm and leg are throbbing, but I can manage." He takes stock again for a moment. "I'd probably be weak if I stood up, but I'm not planning on moving for a while. Satisfied?"
"Thank you," Arthur says. He smiles. "How does food sound?"
"What did they bring?" Merlin asks eagerly.
Arthur reaches for the far end of the bench past Merlin's feet. "Bread, though you should look it over for mold, and what smells like a few slices of pheasant." He lifts a sparsely filled plate up over Merlin's body, then rests the plate on his own knee. "No fruit or cheese. Our cook has always liked me, so I suspect the guards are eating the bulk of the plate before it gets this far."
"Let's see the bread, then," Merlin says.
Arthur holds a hunk of what was probably half a loaf when it left the kitchens above Merlin's head for him to inspect. From what Merlin can see, there are no visible spots, and the crust looks crunchy.
"Looks good," Merlin says.
Arthur breaks off a bite-sized piece and finds Merlin's mouth.
Something occurs to Merlin. "Hang on."
Arthur pulls his hand away slightly.
"How long have you been in this cell?" Merlin asks.
"Merlin, now's not the time," Arthur protests.
"Arthur, how long?" Merlin demands.
"I have only been here four days, Merlin," Arthur answers, somewhat exasperated.
"Were Alastor and his friend in here when you got here?" Merlin presses.
"No. They were brought in almost three days ago," Arthur says.
"Have you eaten anything since then?" Merlin asks.
Arthur keeps his mouth shut.
"I can tell you had some water while I was asleep, because your voice doesn't sound so scratchy anymore. You didn't eat any of this pheasant. Did you get any food while those two brutes were here?" Merlin asks again.
"They weren't very friendly or accommodating, as you saw," Arthur replies.
"Arthur!" Merlin chides. "Put that piece of bread in your mouth right now," he commands.
"You can't give me orders, Merlin," Arthur protests lightly. "Besides, this food is for you."
"Either you eat right now, or you're going to have a much less cooperative patient on your hands," Merlin threatens.
"Fine! How about this. I eat, then you eat," Arthur offers. "Back and forth. That way, we both get what we want."
"What, I get to make sure you don't lose consciousness, and you get to feed me?" Merlin asks.
"You get your way, and I get to shut you up," Arthur prods.
Merlin laughs. "You know, once upon a time I thought you liked me for my mind."
"Whatever gave you that idea?" Arthur replies, but he's also smiling. He balances the first piece of bread on Merlin's forehead, then tears another small piece off the loaf for himself.
Merlin crosses his eyes trying to look at the bread on his forehead. "You are so annoying," he says as he hears Arthur munch the hard crust.
Arthur tears a shred off one of the slices of pheasant and holds it up for Merlin to inspect.
"Edible," Merlin judges, and finds himself with meat in his mouth.
As soon as Arthur hears Merlin swallow, and before Merlin can protest, he also shoves the piece of bread in. Merlin makes a face he knows Arthur can't see, but chews anyway.
Together, they slowly finish off the food.
When they're done, first light has chased away the moon.