Title: Hold you Close
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur,
Summary: He had sworn that nothing would take Arthur from him again.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: This is a bit odd, not my best. Bit of fluff really.
Merlin had never moved as fast as he did in the instant when he heard Arthur swearing.
Within seconds, he had gone from being sprawled out on the sofa, happily tired out after an afternoon of lazy sex, to being in the kitchen, instantly pulling Arthur back from the sink and looking at him in concern.
“What is it? Are you okay?”
Arthur stared at him for a moment, looking completely nonplussed. Eventually, understanding dawned on him and he rolled his eyes.
“I’m fine, you idiot, I just banged my hand on the tap.”
“That was it?” Merlin stared at him, incredulous. Judging by the noises that had been escaping the newly risen king, he thought something dramatic had happened. But as his heart began to calm down from its crazy race, he realised this was Arthur he was thinking about. The man might have a phobia of the dishwasher and refuse to leave the house without Merlin. But he had picked up modern day swearing as if he had been saying it all of his life and didn’t have a problem with spouting the first things that came into his head, no matter how bad something truly was.
“That was it,” Arthur confirmed, turning on a charming smile that made Merlin forget that he had ever been worried. When Arthur looked like that, it was impossible for him not to smile back. It was his reassurance that after all these years of walking alone, he once again had his soul-mate back in his arms and that all was well.
“Sorry.” He wasn’t though. And he knew that Arthur knew it. While the king was back in his life, that didn’t stop Merlin from feeling utterly paranoid that he was going to lose him again. He couldn’t help it. Arthur didn’t know what it was like, all these years of not being sure if he was ever going to rise again, watching everyone he cared about succumb to old age while he roamed alone and waited for his destiny to return to him.
“Why don’t you go and take a nap?” Arthur said gently, moving forward and resting his hands on Merlin’s hips. Merlin smiled and leant in, breathing in Arthur’s scent as he pressed his face to the crook of his neck.
“I’m not tired though.”
“You didn’t get much sleep,” Arthur muttered and Merlin hid his face further when he felt himself blushing. He didn’t mean to wake Arthur in the night, but sometimes the nightmares were too much. He could still remember details of their past as if it had just happened yesterday, meaning the terror and overwhelming guilt and failure of losing Arthur still pressed on him. Even now, with Arthur back and there to reassure him, Merlin awoke screaming a few times a week.
“For me?” Arthur continued and Merlin felt his knees weaken.
“Prat,” he muttered, but pulled away and lightly traced his fingers over Arthur’s cheek as he moved towards their bedroom. Arthur knew that Merlin would never be able to refuse him anything when he said those words, even if it was turning the argument back on Merlin himself.
But still, he couldn’t deny that he was tired, and not just from what they had been up to for most of the day. Sundays had never meant anything different in Camelot and this was one new thing that Merlin had welcomed; a day of nothing but lazing around and enjoying each other’s company.
He crashed onto the bed fully clothed, only just tugging the blankets up over him in order to stay warm. His magic didn’t work the same way anymore. Sleep claimed him before Merlin could really think of how tired he was.
Merlin couldn’t say how long he slept peacefully for. All he knew was when the dream started to change and he could feel the cold weight of both armour and an unconscious body in his arms as he tried to get Arthur as far away from the battlefield as he could. The dreams changed from time to time, but the end result was always the same: Arthur dying in his arms and there being nothing Merlin could do to stop it.
Merlin’s eyes flew open and he grasped wildly for Arthur, burying his face back in the man’s neck and letting his strong arms encompass him, a reassurance without words that Arthur was here and alive.
“It’s okay, sweetheart,” Arthur murmured gently and despite his fear and calming heart, Merlin had to smile. Arthur seemed to have come back a romantic and Merlin knew he would never tire of hearing the words of endearment coming from his partner.
“I’m here. I’ve got you. I’m not going anywhere.”
“I swore,” Merlin muttered, his voice lost in Arthur’s skin. “I made a resolution the day I got you back that I was never going to let you go again.”
“And you won’t. You won’t need to, nothing is going to happen.”
“Then why do I keep having the dreams?” Merlin knew it wasn’t fair to ask Arthur this, it wasn’t as if he knew any more than Merlin did. But he had to voice what was going through his head, he had promised no more lies. This time, Arthur was ready for him. He pulled back and kissed Merlin lightly on the nose.
“Because you are a clotpole.” Arthur stated, his voice teasing yet his tone matter of fact. Despite himself, Merlin found himself snorting with amusement and Arthur climbed back off the bed, holding out his hand to help Merlin up. As he threw back the covers and allowed Arthur to pull him along, Merlin shook the dream from his mind.
Arthur was right. Nothing was going to happen. And if it did… Merlin knew he was not one to ever break a resolution. Nothing would be able to take Arthur from him again, no matter what he had to do to ensure that.