Title: Posted Home
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur,
Summary: Letters just didn't touch upon the real thing.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: No more deadlines so I am back!
Arthur sighed, staring down at the piece of paper in front of him.
He knew he should be grateful the letters were getting through. At this time of year, the post was crazy as it was and there was every chance that Merlin wouldn’t be able to write. He might not have the time, he might be out on a patrol, he might be…
He had to think positively. That was what he had been telling himself the last few months and this letter in his hand proved things were fine. He hated Merlin had been posted abroad, but there was nothing he could do about it. Merlin had already enlisted and was serving in the army before they met and Arthur would never ask him to give up something that he loved.
That didn’t stop him hating the fact the main correspondence he had with his partner were a few hastily penned letters. Arthur knew he was lying in his; he was working too hard, he wasn’t eating right, he certainly wasn’t sleeping. But Merlin’s were also full of false cheer, he knew he was not the only one.
He had never thought of doing a long-distance relationship before. Merlin’s name was on the deeds to the house just as much as Arthur’s was, so he didn’t consider this to be one.
But he wanted to be able to hold his lover in his arms and never let go. He knew whatever he wrote – or typed as the case may be - was never going to touch on that.
For a second, his hand made to scrunch in frustration. What was the point in Merlin telling him everything was fine? Arthur knew that wasn’t the case: Merlin hated the food out there, he couldn’t handle heat so there was absolutely no way he was coping.
But Arthur stopped himself. He couldn’t screw it up. For if he did that, he would be losing the last thing he had of Merlin. And at the back of his mind, he was acutely aware that each thing might be last and that meant he would treasure it. Gently stroking the pages back out again to make sure there wasn’t so much as a crease upon them, Arthur stood up from his desk and reached up to the shelf above his head. It was only a small box, unadorned and seemingly insignificant. But it was one of the most precious things that Arthur owned, for in it rested every single thing that Merlin had sent him.
Opening it, he allowed a small smile to cross his face as his hand brushed over the letters before he carefully lifted the clip and slid the latest in. His heart felt heavy as he closed the lid and he let his hand linger, hoping to find some connection to the man, something that told him he could do this.
But the time came for him to put it back.
After that, Arthur’s evening passed in a blur. Snow had started to fall so he drew all the curtains and switched on the lights. His friends had invited him out, but knowing today would potentially be letter day meant Arthur had refused; he knew he wasn’t best company when he had heard from Merlin. He managed to get by most of the time, but on the days where he could read his lover’s writing and see straight through the lies made him miss the man more than ever. What would he give to be able to take him in his arms and soothe away all of those worries?
He had just made himself a coffee, refusing to touch the crate of beer he had been given at work. He had an important meeting the next morning, he knew he would regret it. But when the doorbell rang just as he curled himself into his chair, Arthur ignored it. He was not in the mood to be sociable and if it was someone trying to sell him something, he was more likely to punch them.
But when it continued to ring consistently for the next fifteen minutes, Arthur knew it would drive him mad. Setting his drink and his book aside, he stood and made sure he looked suitable annoyed, he moved to the front door and threw it open, preparing a tirade as he did so.
Only not a word crossed his lips.
He could only stare.
“If I didn’t think you would let me in, I would have dug out my key from the bottom of this very heavy bag that I really need to put down so please move?” Merlin didn’t seem to draw a breath as he spoke and Arthur found himself stepping aside without truly realising he was doing it.
Merlin stepped into the hallway, dumping the bag downbefore turning to face Arthur. There was uncertainty in his eyes and Arthur realised he had yet to say anything.
“But you only just wrote,” was the only thing he managed to get out. If he was honest, he wasn’t even sure it formed into proper words, for his brain was just trying to register Merlin standing in front of him. His attempt at speech was somehow enough to break the tension and Merlin laughed, reaching forward to cup his face.
“I’m sorry, love. The post plane had already left before me.”
Arthur found his hand cupping Merlin’s as he just stared at him, convinced this wasn’t happening.
“Am I dreaming?” he blurted out, suddenly terrified that he had dozed off in the chair and none of this was really happening. But a pair of lips pressed against his and a body was leaning against his in a familiar way even after so long.
“If you want to be,” Merlin murmured, sliding his hands under Arthur’s jumper to warm them up.
This time, Arthur could do nothing but kiss him back, deciding he wasn’t ever waking up if that was indeed the case.