Character/s: Art Read more... hur, Merlin,
Summary: Arthur felt he had to apologise for making Merlin wait.
Word Count: 999
Author's Notes: Sorry I've been so hit and miss lately.
Merlin was curled up on the sofa, dozing slightly. He had a smile on his face though. How could he not when his destiny had finally returned to him? Arthur’s time away had allowed him to understand the magic and come to accept it in a way that he was never given the chance before. More than that, his feelings – just like Merlin’s – had only increased with their time apart and now it was like they couldn’t get enough of each other.
That was why Merlin was in such a daze even though it was the middle of the afternoon. Arthur had been back for nearly six months now and had become accustomed to the real world. But their love had no signs of slowing down and as soon as Merlin had walked through the door after lunch, everything had turned into a jumble and he finally regained his senses when he was in a panting heap over the side of the bed. Arthur had gone to get cleaned up – now that he could handle the shower on his own – and Merlin had simply collapsed on the sofa.
It was good having Arthur back. It was more than good. It was as if there had been a hole inside of him for all of this time and only now was it starting to heal. He had had to start his life again the second his king returned, for the call of destiny stripped the years away from him and returned him to the youth that Arthur had known. It felt good to be young again, for Merlin had lost the will to turn himself back every fifty years or so a while back. What was the point of being young when it just reminded him of everything that he had had and lost?
He still had bad days. Still had days where he was wracked with guilt that he hadn’t been able to save Arthur. Even the very much alive king holding him and whispering reassurances in his ear wasn’t usually enough to bring Merlin back, but Arthur seemed to have discovered a knack for it now that he had learnt how to make tea. But generally, both men were adapting to being alive once more, and being able to belong together like they should have always been.
Merlin felt a dopey smile spreading over his face at where his chain of thought was taking him. He never thought Arthur could be such a romantic, but he had certainly been proven wrong. Thinking about Arthur made him sit up, suddenly realising that he couldn’t hear the shower. Climbing to his feet, Merlin padded through, hoping to catch his love in nothing more than a towel. But the bathroom was empty, so was the bedroom. It was only a small flat; their need to be with one another was obsessive, meaning they didn’t see the point of going for anything bigger.
But that meant there were only a couple of places Arthur could be, and it only took a trickle of magic on Merlin’s behalf to discover that he wasn’t in any of them. Feeling his heart skip a beat, Merlin forced himself to stay calm. This wasn’t like the nightmares from when Arthur had first returned. He wasn’t going to wake up and find it had been some dream. Arthur was real and he was here.
It was just a matter of finding him.
Merlin had made it back through to the lounge and had one shoe on when he heard the front door softly open. Hopping, he made his way to it and stared at the walking bouquet that greeted him, Arthur’s blond head poking out from behind it.
“What?” It was the only thing that Merlin was capable of asking. It was rare Arthur went out without Merlin – he would never admit to still being unsure, especially about cars – but more than that, Merlin didn’t understand how he had got out of the door without the warlock hearing him. Arthur thrust the flowers at Merlin, who found that he was taking them automatically.
They were beautiful.
“Because,” Arthur said bluntly, blushing now that Merlin could see him. Merlin arched an eyebrow.
“Because of what?”
“Isn’t that what people do when they hurt the ones they love? They buy them flowers. They did in that film last night.” Merlin hid his grin in the roses. Arthur often used what he had seen as a way of interpreting real life, regardless of how far-fetched. It made Merlin reluctant to introduce him to Star Trek.
“But what have you done to hurt me?” Merlin asked, confused as he watched Arthur’s face fall. He waved a hand awkwardly, telling his love to go and sit down while he put the flowers in the sink and gave them some water. Moving through, he gently took Arthur’s hand.
“What is this about?”
“I made you wait. All alone for so long, and I made you wait.”
Merlin could only stare at him. Arthur truly thought that it was his fault that he had died and hadn’t returned immediately to the land of the living? He thought that he needed to apologise because he hadn’t been there by Merlin’s side for all of these years? Overcome with emotion, Merlin leant forward and kissed him tenderly.
“That wasn’t your fault, you prat.”
“So I didn’t hurt you?” Merlin mutely shook his head, his eyes shining.
“Does that mean I have to take them back?” Arthur looked so worried that Merlin just had to kiss him again.
“No, Arthur. They can stay with me. They’re beautiful, thank you.” Watching the relieved smile on Arthur’s face made Merlin simply melt and he tenderly ran a hand down Arthur’s cheek.
“Would you like me to thank you properly now?” As Arthur closed the gap between them eagerly, Merlin felt his heart sing.
All was right in the world and he wouldn’t have it any other way.