Rating: R (because I got paranoid)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin,
Summary: Arthur had had a really bad day.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes:Hate this time of year with the craziness of deadlines!
The door burst open as Arthur strode in, his tie already half undone and a deep frown on his face. His head was pounding and it had been such a crazy day that all he wanted to do was sit down with a tub of ice-cream and lose himself in it for a while. Merlin was supposed to be coming around later, but Arthur didn’t think he would be very good company. He had already texted his boyfriend to see if they could postpone 24 hours until the drummer in his head decided to take a break for a while.
Arthur took a shower and threw on some pyjama trousers and a large hoody. Already it was beginning to make him feel better and he just knew that being away from work for the day was all it took. He had barely been home in the last week and that made him feel even worse for cancelling on Merlin. But there was no way he deserved to have an evening of Arthur ranting about work and his father. The two were entwined so much that Arthur wasn’t even sure where one began and the other ended. What he was aware of, however, was that today wouldn’t have been so bad if Uther hadn’t been giving him that look all day. The look where Arthur just wanted to crawl under a rock and die because nothing he could do was good enough. Maybe that was true considering the deal hadn’t gone through after all?
Just as he was letting his mind spiral into thoughts that he really shouldn’t be thinking, the doorbell rang. Utterly perplexed – Merlin was the only one who ever came around and that had been postponed – Arthur rose and moved to the door. Pushing down on the handle, he could only gape as it swung open and revealed his boyfriend standing on the other side.
“I brought ice-cream,” Merlin declared as a greeting, pecking Arthur on the cheek as he moved in and headed automatically through to the kitchen.
“What are you doing here? Not that I’m not glad to see you but…”
“You’ll wallow in self-pity all evening if you’re on your own, Arthur,” Merlin said. Arthur could only gape at him. He didn’t mean it in a harsh way, just stating the facts. Considering where his mind had already been going, Arthur knew that he was right. He followed Merlin into the kitchen, almost as if in a daze. Merlin had dumped a bag on the counter, already having pulled out two tubs of ice-cream, some pain relief and a packet of coffee – Arthur’s favourite. As Arthur watched, he flicked the kettle on, poured out some water and handed that and the tablets to Arthur.
“Go and sit down, love, you look ready to drop.” Arthur could only do as he was told, downing both tablets with a swig of water and heading back through to the lounge. He crashed down on the sofa, feeling more exhausted than in pain now and found there was a fond smile on his face at the fact that Merlin had come over. Craning his head around, he tried to peer back to see into the kitchen, but Merlin didn’t leave him waiting for long. Not much time had passed before Merlin was pushing a steaming mug of coffee into his hands.
“You can have ice-cream later. I know you, Arthur. Have you eaten anything today?” Arthur made to nod, then found that he had to think about it. He didn’t need to say no before Merlin had sighed and disappeared back into the kitchen, returning a few moments later with a sandwich. Arthur didn’t need telling twice and by the time it was gone and the mug half drained, he was feeling a lot better.
“You can’t let him get to you like this, Arthur. He’s your father as well as your boss, talk to him.”
“He’s more likely to fire me than listen.”
“Is that such a bad thing?” Arthur stared at Merlin, who offered him a sheepish shrug. “You hate the job, you have several evenings a week where you are exhausted and ill, mainly because you forgot to eat during the day. One day a coffee and ice-cream won’t be enough, Arthur, and I…” Merlin broke off, leaving Arthur staring at him as his voice cracked.
“What is it?” He murmured gently, placing his mug down and reaching out so that he could run his fingers through Merlin’s thick, black hair. Just like always, Merlin lent into the touch with a satisfied grin on his face before he remembered that he was getting upset.
“I hate to see you like this and know that it is your own father who made it happen,” he whispered, closing his eyes as Arthur cupped his cheek. Before Merlin could say anything, Arthur drew him in for a deep kiss.
“I’ll be fine.”
“I’ve got you, of course I’ll be fine.”
“You calmed down easier than I thought you would.”
“Why do you sound disappointed by that?” Arthur asked suspiciously although a grin was already tugging at his lips. He knew what that glint in Merlin’s eye meant and judging by the way his body was reacting, his senses knew what was coming as well. Merlin smirked as he ran his eyes up and down him.
“Thought you might need some proper stress relief other than just ice-cream.”
“Oh, I’m still stressed,” Arthur murmured, leaning in close and beginning to kiss Merlin’s neck. “Very stressed.”
“In that case, I better do something about that.” Merlin slipped from the sofa after stealing another kiss and dropped to his knees. Arthur could only watch through hooded eyes as Merlin encouraged him to lift his hips so that he could slide his trousers over his hips, grinning when he realised Arthur wasn’t wearing any underwear. With a wicked grin on his face, he set to work bringing his boyfriend some relief.