Title: Make It Up
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur is mad at Merlin, but hates it when Merlin is sad
Word Count: 450
Author's Notes: Part of the series "A Good Fever". The boys are 10-11 years old.
How I wish I could write angst like the rest of you guys -_- Everything I write has a tendency to turn fluffy.
Arthur perked up immediately. It was a side effect of hearing Merlin calling out his name; it never failed to cheer him up. Merlin hadn't reached his room yet, but Arthur was already looking forward to it.
"Oh. Hey," Merlin opened the door to his room and stuck his head in, looking tentative. "Are you still mad?"
Arthur froze halfway through turning his head away from his screen and smiling up at Merlin. That's right, he remembered. He was mad at Merlin. He tried to recall why.
"I meant to come over yesterday, I swear I did," Merlin continued. Arthur thanked the Gods for his friend's babbling tendencies.
"No Merlin," Arthur said, pretending to still be mad and not looking at Merlin. "If you wanted to spend playtime with Gwaine rather than me, that's fine. You don't have to--"
"What?" Merlin interrupted him. "I wasn't with Gwaine, I was with my mum. She's—she got sick."
Arthur finally looked up at Merlin, alarmed. He saw the unshed tears in his eyes that were firmly trained on the ground, the droop of his shoulders and immediately felt like a pillock. He threw his console on the ground and got up.
"Merlin!" he said, going up to him. He pulled Merlin into the room by his arm and shut the door. "Why didn't you call me? How is she now?"
"She's asleep and Gaius is with her today," Merlin replied. "But yesterday… God I was so scared! She wouldn't stop coughing, and she could hardly make it from the couch to the bed."
"Merlin! You should have called me, you idiot!"
Merlin nodded, still looking at the ground. Arthur didn't know what to say to make him feel better. A sad Merlin was an unthinkable concept in Arthur's world.
"Hey," he said, squeezing the arm he was still holding. "She'll be fine! I'll ask Morgana to phone all the good doctors, okay? She'll get better, I promise!"
Merlin nodded again, giving Arthur a grateful smile before looking back down again. It eased some of his initial worry.
"I-- I'm sorry for not coming over yesterday," he said. "I'll make it up to you."
Arthur looked at him with a fond smile. Why had he ever questioned his friendship? Arthur really was an idiot sometimes.
"Okay. I know how you can make it up to me."
A moment later, Merlin was blinking in confusion while finding himself with an armful of Arthur. Arthur squeezed him around his middle and whispered in his ear, "This is how."
Another second went by before Merlin understood, and he squeezed back, burying his face into Arthur's shoulders, clutching Arthur's shirt tightly in both fists, finally shedding the tears.