A/N: Written for the second anniversary of mine and Arithilim's friendship. Two years of awesomeness and insanity, w00t! Said Anniversary was actually back on June 10, but after I posted this on LJ, I had some beef with FFN, and then once it was fixed, I forgot about it, sooo...here it is now!
Arthur trudged up the apartment stairs tiredly, pulling out the keys and stepping inside. He locked the door and kicked off his shoes and shrugged off his jacket in exhausted numbness, before slumping onto the sofa.
Arthur looked up to see Merlin standing nervously in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. Merlin looked at his face and seemed crestfallen, but strode forward and draped himself over Arthur on the sofa, who wrapped his arms loosely around Merlin's waist in muscle memory. Exhaustion bade him to press his face into Merlin's neck, and murmur, "Hey."
Merlin laughed, tickled by Arthur's breath like always, and cradled Arthur's head and shoulders in his arms.
"Do you know what today is?" Merlin asked.
Arthur wracked his brain. "Er...Thursday?"
"Go back by about two years," Merlin said softly, pressing his mouth against the shell of Arthur's ear.
Arthur thought back. Two years ago, they were still in England, before they'd even entered into this doctor exchange program, let alone actually come to America, and, come to think of it, were they even dating by then? No, wait, right around this time was...
His eyes widened.
"Our first date," he muttered, looking at Merlin in surprise. "You remember that?"
"Er...sort of. I was looking back on old blog posts," Merlin said sheepishly. "For the exact date...but yeah, right around now, but two years ago."
Arthur smiled and pressed a firm kiss to the corner of Merlin's mouth.
"So," he said after a moment, laying his head back gently. "What should we do to celebrate?" he asked, slyly, as he started rubbing small circles in Merlin's back with his thumbs, sliding his hand under his shirt to have direct access to the skin.
Merlin rolled his eyes as he wiggled down Arthur's body, somewhat, to rest his chin on Arthur's chest, so Arthur could only see his nose and eyes.
"I don't think you're up for anything like that," Merlin said. "But I did get you a gift."
Arthur raised an eyebrow, and didn't stop his hands' motions.
"Well...I heard that there were some traditional gifts couples give each other on anniversaries based on number of years together. The first anniversary is paper, and the second one..."
"Cotton," Merlin said, blushing slightly. Arthur absorbed it into memory before Merlin pressed his face into Arthur's shoulder to hide it.
"I got you something," Merlin reiterated in his muffled voice. "D'you think you can get enough energy to walk to the kitchen?"
"Yes," Arthur said.
Merlin pushed himself off Arthur, helped him up, then wrapped his hands around Arthur's eyes just before the kitchen doorway, pressing himself against Arthur to guide him.
"Is this necessary?" Arthur asked as Merlin led him through the doorway, blind. "And just what could be made of cotton that you would give someone as a gift that would be kept in the kitchen?"
"Shush," Merlin said.
"...shush? Merlin, it's hush! That's it, you've been in America for far too long for your own good!" Arthur declared.
"Hush!" Merlin said, biting at Arthur's neck to make a point.
Arthur could feel that Merlin was standing them in front of the counter, and Merlin pressed soft lips to Arthur's neck before bringing his hand down to reveal...
...a home-kitchen sized cotton candy machine.
Arthur stared, stunned, especially at the sight of two sticks of big, fluffy pink cotton in two holders on the side of the small machine. Merlin picked them both up, handed one to Arthur, before plucking off some of the sugary confection from his own stick, and reaching up to hold it in front of Arthur's face. With the barest of looks, Arthur opened his mouth, and Merlin popped it in.
His eyes fluttered shut as it melted in his mouth, from soft clouds of fluffy sugar to a coating of dulcet sweetness on his tongue. When he felt Merlin's hand by his cheek, he leaned his face into the touch, before opening his eyes, and doing the same with his cotton candy for Merlin. Merlin actually moaned in delight as he tasted it.
"Merlin..." Arthur said, his breath ghosted across Merlin's cheek. Merlin's eyes fluttered shut, and he leaned into Arthur's hand.
For a moment, they stood there, leaning into each other's free hands, their alternate hands holding steadily drooping cotton candy sticks, before Merlin opened his eyes, and leaned forward, and pulled another strand of cotton candy from Arthur's stick, and used his tongue to pull it into his mouth, before he leaned forward and kissed Arthur, tasting of confectionary sugar.
"...mmm..." Arthur hummed into Merlin's mouth, wrapping his arms around Merlin, who did the same to Arthur, and both of them were pulling each other close.
Merlin broke off with a mischievous smile, and brought the end of his cotton candy over Arthur's shoulder, and tongued off another strand, before angling it so Arthur could do the same. Merlin pressed a sticky kiss to Arthur's cheek, before pulling away and gesturing to the small machine on the counter.
"So...do you like it?" Merlin asked.
Arthur grinned and pulled Merlin in for a brief, heated, sticky kiss, before pulling away and pressing his forehead to Merlin's.
"I love it."
Arthur laughed. "Happy anniversary, Merlin."
A/N: They actually do have home-sized cotton candy machines. I had one, but then my parents had to go and become health nuts. :(