Summary:The demands on both their time have increased and these small moments in bed before the day starts are everything when days are filled with duties that keep them apart.
Word Count: ~900
Author's Notes: My first thought when reading the promt PM was: Oh my God, this person is just like me! ...only coherent and able to put thoughts into words! I really hope you will like this.
Thank you to Mrs Figg, Petty Tyrant and Norc for correcting my mistakes and restoring some dearly needed confidence to a nervous secret santa.
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.
The alarm on Arthur's phone blares out a far too loud techno tune. Merlin frowns and turns around under the covers. The clock radio with it's pop music and morning chit chat was far more pleasant to listen too. Which of course was the reason they needed the extra alarm. Merlin gives Arthur a push with his foot. After the third time Arthur lets out a discontent grunt and reaches for the snooze button with the speed and elegance of a sloth before he flops back down on his back. They should have gotten up when the radio turned on.
Merlin wiggles closer and lets his hand glide over Arthur's chest. Snuggling close to bask in the feeling of skin against skin. The world does not exist yet, all is on hold for ten more minutes as they lie there close and sleepy and together.
Arthur's arm raises from the bed and covers Merlin's arm before the effort is too much and the elbow needs to rest against the mattress. His fingers hover in the air, twitching now and then trying to find something to touch. Merlin lifts his hand to fold his fingers with Arthur's. The twitching stops and Arthur's thumb lazily caresses Merlin's.
Smiling, Merlin felt mushy and happy all down to his tippy toes. He is not sure what it is, but sleepy Arthur is the loveliest thing ever. When he is not grumpy like a little goblin, of course.
Arthur grunts again to test his voice. Bravely trying to accept the fact that it is morning and that his eyes need to open.
Pause. The radio talks of weather and traffic. Merlin's head moves against Arthur's chest.
- When did you get back?
- Uh.. Two-ish.
Merlin had registered that Arthur had come to bed, but not when. He usually slept light until he knew Arthur had come to bed. Staying up to wait for him only left them both tired and sour. And though Arthur tried to tip-toe in and felt bad for waking him, he did love the dozy eyes squinting at him and the sleepy smile of recognition. After all these years and Merlin still smiles at him like he is looking at something wonderful, instead of the half dead man Arthur saw in the mirror minutes before.
Arthur tangles his feet with Merlin's and wraps his arms around him. Nosing at his temple. Marveling at the happy sigh he receives. These are holy minutes. The time before they get up and start running around grumpy and stressed, looking for keys and phones and socks and bickering about who gets to use the bathroom first and who spends too long time in there. Sometimes they don't even kiss or say “have a nice day “or “I love you” before they leave. Their minds already half way to work, thinking of deadlines and meetings or distracted by those damned smart phones with e-mail you can check wherever you are. Oh, they are the devil's instrument for sure. On such days a quick typed conversation on skype makes them feel a little bit better. Sometimes they forget that too. But the mornings are theirs. Mornings aren't forgotten when there's a radio and a telephone to remind you.
Arthur is more awake now, and remembering why he woke up feeling guilty. He came home to a walkway cleared of snow and a lit snow lantern on the perch. Arthur knew Merlin had chosen a candle which would stay lit for many hours so Arthur would get to see it when he came home. Inside their home he found Christmas presents standing by the door. All nicely wrapped and ready to be delivered to friends and family. A perfect tree - not too big and not too small – was leaned against the wall waiting to be put in place and decorated. All these things they should have done together. All these things which Merlin had stopped asking about around mid December and resolved to update Arthur instead.
This year Christmas was all Merlin's doing. It wasn't fair, Merlin worked full days too. Arthur was beginning to see why it was his father's PA who did the shopping for Uther. He had swore that he wouldn't become like that, but he was getting dangerously close. They needed new contracts and he was required to schmooze and show visiting investors and possible new clients a good time. Of course, this came in addition to his regular workload which meant long days. Merlin understood, but he didn't like it. Arthur hoped to surprise him though. He had managed to postpone a delivery date and had worked like a madman to finish early with the rest. He had already written the automatic reply for his e-mail and looked forward to activate it. “Out of office until Jan. 2nd 2014.” He was on schedule, if nothing unexpected happened. He didn't want to get Merlin's hopes up before he was sure.
His thoughts stray dangerously close to work, but then he feels Merlin's hand drifts downwards. Arthur smiles ruefully and meets Merlin's eyes and they make love, morning breath and all. Rushed and slow at the same time. Soft and sleep warm bodies moving together.
The alarm blares again reminding them that this is stolen time. It is quickly thwarted. Stolen time must be used well, or else you will spend the whole day regretting it.