A/N: Found this fic in my stories folder and realised I'd finished it without realising so figured I'd better post this.

Description: A little fic about when Arthur met Merlin for the first time. Friendship!fic. Was aiming at pre-slash but you can pretend it's not if you want

Rating: K

Word Count: 819


(Or How It all Began)

Arthur frowned at the bundle cradled in Gaius' arms. It was making horrible squawking noises and none of Gaius' cooing, rocking or gentle jiggling seemed to be soothing the creature. In fact, if Arthur was any judge, it seemed to be shrieking louder.

"Make it shut up," he pouted, crossing his arms and attempting to look commanding.

"I am trying, Arthur. And he's not an it. This is Merlin. He's a baby. He doesn't understand that he's not supposed to cry."

"A baby?" Arthur questioned "Let me see it."

"Him, Arthur," Gaius gently chided "Not it."

"Fine. Him. I want to see him!"

Gaius hmmed for a moment, looking between the bundle in his arms and Arthur before lowering himself onto a stool and turning the screaming child in his arms so Arthur could see him better. Arthur's first impression was that this Merlin thing had very large ears. His face was bright red and his eyes were screwed tight shut as he howled.

"Why's it all red?" he asked, reaching out to poke the things cheek.

"His name is Merlin, Arthur. You wouldn't like it if people called you it."

"Why is Merlin all red?" Arthur huffed, grumpy that Gaius was telling him what to do.

"Because he's been crying for a very long time."

"Why doesn't he just stop crying then?"

"He wants his mummy to hold him, so he won't stop crying until she comes back."

Arthur considered this for a moment before holding out his arms.

"I think he just doesn't like you. I'll hold him."

"I don't think that's a good idea, Arthur. He's very delicate. And I think he's a bit heavy for you."

Arthur pouted again and stomped his foot.

"He's tiny. And I'll sit down and sit very still. I won't drop him."

"No, Arthur. That's not a good idea," Gaius stood back up and began pacing round the room, redoubling his efforts to sooth Merlin.

"Please? I want to hold him. I'll be very good," Arthur looked genuinely sad, bottom lip wobbling and eyes shining.

Gaius caved as he always did when Arthur played his I'm-super-cute-and-you-want-to-make-me-happy card.

"Sit on the floor. Don't move."

Arthur scrambled to obey, plopping himself down at Gaius' feet and holding his arms out to take the baby. The bundle was lowered into his arms and he grinned in triumph as Merlin instantly quieted. He peered down at the thing -baby- in his arms and grinned even wider when he found Merlin watching him intensely, one hand moving to grip Arthur's shirt and the other trying to grab his nose. Gaius watched carefully, half expecting Arthur to get angry when Merlin's chubby fingers explored his face but instead the young prince just laughed.

"See, he likes me better than you," he told the physician proudly.

"I can take him back now if you like," Gaius offered, knowing how easily the prince became bored of new things.

"No," Arthur said, arms tightening around Merlin, as though afraid Gaius would try to take him away "He's my friend."

"Ok. Then I have some work to do. Are you okay to hold him while I do it?"

Arthur nodded, his attention switching back to Merlin, wiggling his fingers at the child and blowing kisses, which made Merlin giggle and flail his arms. Gaius began working and soon forgot about the two children until Arthur whispers broke his concentration.

"He's asleep. What should I do?"

"I'll take him and put him in his bed."

Arthur followed the physician as he carried the sleeping Merlin into the next room and settled him down in his crib.

"Can I stay in here? In case he wakes up and needs me."

"You have to be very quiet so he doesn't wake up," Gaius warned, "Wouldn't you rather go play outside with Leon?"

"No. I want to stay with Merlin. I'll be very very quiet."

"Alright," Gaius said "Here, you can sit on this chair. Don't wake him up."

Arthur nodded eagerly and shuffled up onto the chair, peering over the edge of the crib to watch Merlin sleep.

"Strange child," Gaius said, shutting the door behind him.

He went back to his work and once more forgot about Merlin and Arthur, lost in a world of sleeping draughts and hair tonics. A cry from the adjacent room had him hurrying from his work. He had the door halfway open when he was stopped by the sight of Arthur gently rocking Merlin's crib, urging him to sleep with soft murmurings. Merlin's fussing quieted and Gaius assumed he must have gone back to sleep but Arthur's gentle tones continued.

"One day I'm going to be the king and we're going to get married and you can be my queen and we can be together forever."

Gaius shut the door as quietly as he could, chortling to himself. Hunith would find this hilarious when she returned.


A/N: Hope you liked. Bit of feedback would be nice.