Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 24
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur's got a plan to stay in the United States. That plan is Merlin.
Warnings: Fluff and a scare and more fluff
Word Count: 801
Prompt: 193 Remembrance
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom which starts here.
Merlin has read through the script twice and is leaning back into the sofa, eyes shut when there’s the sound of keys in the front door. His heart speeds up but he keeps his eyes closed, unsure. When he’s with Arthur affection comes easily but doubt about Arthur’s feelings creeps in when they’re apart.
He listens to Arthur’s approach: keys on the reception table, briefcase settled by the chair, jacket in the closet. Merlin feels like a rabbit hiding in plain sight, pinned in place by his own nerves.
“Merlin, are you awake?” Arthur murmurs.
“Yeah,” Merlin answers without opening his eyes and he feels the sofa shift as Arthur sits close.
“You’ve had a long day,” Arthur says. He pulls Merlin near, whispering in his ear, “I missed you this morning.”
Merlin’s “You missed my coffee” comes out a bit shaky.
“That, too,” Arthur murmurs, tip of his nose slowly skating over an ear before his hot mouth settles on Merlin’s neck.
Merlin’s heart starts to race as he shifts, snaking an arm around Arthur’s shoulders. He’s just about to move in for a kiss when the mingled aromas of beer, beef and bacon hit him.
“Ugh, gross.” Merlin gently pushes Arthur off, leaning away with a laugh, “It’s a tribute to how much I like you that I didn’t notice the smell right away.”
Arthur grimaces and moves back, too. “Sorry, I wasn’t thinking. Gwaine and I had burgers.”
“Yeah, I noticed,” Merlin says. “No more kissing until you brush your teeth.” He grins as Arthur immediately jumps up to hurry down the hallway.
A moment later Merlin’s telephone buzzes. He’s surprised to see Morgana’s name on the screen.
“Merlin, is Arthur with you?” Morgana says without preamble.
“Yeah, he just got in. What’s up?”
“Good. Arthur’s phone kept going to voicemail. Uther’s had an accident. I’m at the Emergency Room at Cedars Sinai.”
Merlin is already half way down the hall when Arthur emerges from the bathroom. He holds out his phone. “It’s Morgana. Uther’s had an accident. We need to go to Cedars Sinai, do you know where that is?” Arthur shakes his head, looking a bit dazed. “Are you okay to drive or should I call a taxi?”
“I can drive, I’m just not sure where the hospital is,” Arthur answers, taking the phone from Merlin.
Morgana is speaking with a doctor when they find her. She’s a bit pale but looks calm and collected. Merlin hangs back as Arthur hugs his sister then joins in the conversation. When Arthur shakes the woman’s hand, relief is written all over his face.
“Dad’s got a concussion and a broken arm. They want to keep him in over night because he was disoriented when they brought him in but other than that and some minor bruising, he’s doing well,” Arthur tells Merlin.
“This evening he was walking in Beverly Hills Park when Brad Pitt hit him with his bike,” Arthur says with a laugh.
Merlin gapes. “Seriously? The Brad Pitt?”
“No, another Brad Pitt, Merlin. Of course, the Brad Pitt,” Arthur says.
“The officers on the scene said he was really apologetic. He was on a family bike ride and got distracted by one of his kids. He didn’t see Uther at all. Brad came here and signed Uther’s cast, though the doctor thinks dad was just being polite about it. One of the children made Brad loan Uther her stuffed bear to keep him company in hospital.” Morgana gleefully holds up a slip of paper, “I’ve got Brad and Angelina’s address so I can send it back when he doesn’t need the company any more!”
Arthur looks at her and narrows his eyes. “Tell me you didn’t take a selfie with the poor movie star.”
Morgana grins, “I’d tell you that but it would be a filthy lie.” She holds up her phone. “Don’t we make a stunning couple?”
“Well, one of you certainly looks stunned,” Arthur answers.
Merlin looks down at the scuffed linoleum for a second before rolling up the left sleeve of his shirt to reveal a four inch long scar. “Will knocked me over with his bike once and all I got was eighteen stitches and a tetanus shot,” he laments.
“Stop whining. That’s what happens when kids have accidents,” Arthur says with soft slap to the back of Merlin’s head.
“This was two years ago and the arse didn’t even buy me a pint in apology,” Merlin says.
“Poor baby,” Morgana coos, “I’ll ask Uther to share the bear with you when we check him out.”
Merlin grins at her, “I’m totally selling that bear on Ebay.”
They’re all laughing quietly as they approach the nurse’s station to see about visiting Uther before going home for the night.