Title: He’s lost!
Summary: Mercury, their little cat, is gone
Word Count: 1051, oops
Author's Notes: This is the latest chapter of Christmas Eve Emergency which is a bunch of fluff and mostly a collection of longer and shorter drabbles all set in the universe of Dr. Merlin Emrys, vet and Arthur Pendragon, writer.
None of the chapters are beta’d, so why should this one be? *grins*
Merlin rushed home after hearing Arthur’s voice on his voicemail. Something was wrong but the way Arthur had sobbed and babbled, he didn’t really know what. Had something happened to Gwenny? But then Luc would have called since their little girl spent the weekend over at Du Lac’s and with her friend Lance.
Pushing the door open, Merlin called out for Arthur. “Arthur? What’s wrong? Where are you?” He heard rummaging and some heavy parts falling up on the second floor and ran up the stairs. “Arthur?”
He found him in the guest room, in the pieces and parts that had been Catalot and stared for a moment. Arthur had been so proud to build the too-large and mostly unused cat house/playground but now it lay around him, taken apart. “What’s wrong?” He made his way over to where Arthur sat, tears in his eyes.
“Mercury. He’s gone. I can’t find him anywhere!”
Merlin wrapped his arms around Arthur and the moment he felt Arthur’s head touch his shoulder, he knew the tears were falling. “He must be somewhere around the house, he’s not an outdoors cat. We will find him.”
“But…but what if…” Arthur was digging his fingers into Merlin’s shirt “…he ran out…or is somewhere, hurt?”
“Calm down, love, we will find him. Where have you checked already?”
Slowly, Merlin got all the places out of Arthur that he had checked for the little cat and nodded. “We will check again together. All his favourite places.”
And hour later, they still hadn’t made any progress and Arthur became more and more distraught. Merlin knew if he didn’t try to stay rational, Arthur would fall apart and that wouldn’t help them finding their little cat. “Okay, let’s try the logical approach.”
Arthur looked at him and new tears welled up.
“Which places did he like when he was little? When I first brought him home?”
Merlin nodded. They had taken that apart and removed all the blankets and toys twice. No Mercury. “Where else?”
Even now, that Mercury had grown quite a bit, he still liked to curl up next to Arthur’s laptop and watched him type away. If the noise annoyed him or he wanted skritches, he just put a paw on Arthur’s hand and threw him a look. But they would have found Mercury if he was sleeping in such an exposed place.
Arthur’s face lit up. “The bathroom! That tiny space behind the shelf, next to the heating! We haven’t checked there!” Before he had finished the sentence, he was already halfway up the stairs.
Merlin followed, a little worried. Mercury had loved this place as a kitten but now he was too big to squeeze himself into it. If he really had crawled in there... He heard a loud banging from the bathroom before he could open the door. “Arthur?”
“He’s here! Merlin, he can’t get out! Do something!”
Some utensils had fallen out of the shelf as Arthur had tried to move it out of the way and Merlin carefully stepped over them to see where Mercury was and especially how he was. He frowned when he saw that the cat had tried to squeeze himself into the tiny space and was stuck now. He had struggled so much that he was exhausted and only meowed weakly when Arthur talked to him.
“Let’s get the shelf out of the way, so we can get to him.”
Reluctantly, Arthur got up and helped, the noises they made spooking Mercury even more.
Merlin knew they’d never get him out of his trap as long as Mercury was so scared, so he blocked Arthur’s way and knelt down. He didn’t even talk to the cat, just let his magic flow and it didn’t take long and Mercury was totally relaxed and calm. It was still a bit difficult to get him out of his confinement, but finally he was out.
Arthur immediately reached for him but Merlin shook his head. “Let me check him first.”
He knew it was no use asking Arthur to put the shelf back and pick up the things that had fallen to the ground, Arthur hovered close and watched his every move as he carried Mercury down the stairs and into the living room.
Arthur did as told and happily accepted the calmly breathing Mercury into his arms. “Is he okay?”
“He might have some bruises from struggling against the pipes so hard and we need to watch his bad leg closely over the next few days. He’s exhausted and needs to sleep. Other than that, he should be fine in no time.” Merlin leaned in and pressed a kiss on Arthur’s hair but Arthur was too busy gently stroking Mercury’s head and babbling nonsense to him.
When Merlin came back with tea for them both, Arthur was still in the same place and hadn’t let go of their cat. He sat down next to him and wrapped an arm around him. “You rescued him, I’m proud of you.”
“It was you. You got him out of there and made sure he’s okay.”
“But you remembered the place. And he will hopefully have learned that he’s grown and doesn’t fit everywhere any longer.”
Arthur leaned his head against Merlin and Merlin turned to kiss him softly.
“How about,” he whispered, “you’ll go to bed, I’ll put Mercury in his and when he sleeps, I’ll come upstairs and give you a nice massage so you can unwind.”
Drawing a shaky breath, Arthur looked at Merlin and then back at Mercury. “I know I’m silly, but I can’t let go of him just now.”
Merlin smiled and pulled Arthur closer, so he could nuzzle into his hair. “You’re not silly. You love him.”
Slowly nodding, Arthur gently stroked the little cat. “And I love you.”
“That is a given.” Merlin smiled.
They sat quietly and slowly Merlin felt the tension leaving Arthur’s shoulders as he relaxed. For a moment he thought that not only the cat but Arthur, too, had fallen asleep, exhausted now that the adrenaline had left. All of a sudden, Arthur chuckled. “I know what I’ll do tomorrow.”
“And that is?”
“Making the place cat-proof and rebuilding Catalot!”
Merlin chuckled and rewarded Arthur with a soft kiss.