November 2010

Arthur let himself into the house early. He had made sure he could have this time, since he and Merlin had hardly had a moment to themselves. Since all the fostering application and dealing with that and Merlin's exams coming up meaning he had to do nothing but study. Arthur had handed over management of the club to Morgana, and she was on her own tonight. She had assured Arthur there would be nothing to worry about. Arthur had planned a meal out, perhaps some romantic walking, he had the flowers tucked on his left arm and Merlin would be…

Running down the stairs looking frantic.

"Oh god, I'm so sorry, I think I killed your spreadsheet. I didn't mean to but the computer said it had shut down without being shut down! No wait, that was wrong, it was turned off without being shut down and then it brought up your figures and I tried to save it but I think I did the wrong thing. I'm so sorry!"

Arthur blinked because he didn't care about spreadsheets, the only use they appeared to have was turning Merlin into such a dishevelled state that he was utterly shagable. But Arthur probably couldn't spread Merlin until he had sorted the sheets. Arthur tried not to grin at the thought. Merlin looked angry and nervous and over-adrenalised all in the same breath.

"Okay, hang on," Arthur said, putting his briefcase, and the red roses, down to one side and he took Merlin's hand and drew him back upstairs.

"Arthur, I'm really sorry, you were hours on it this morning."

"I know but it's fine and my own fault if I was in a rush and didn't turn the computer off properly. Come here."

Arthur sat down on the chair and faced Merlin's enemy. He was rubbish at computers. If he could give in hand-written assignments he would, but the tutors didn't like it and Merlin's handwriting was erratic at best, but he did minimize the amount of time he spent on the machine. Arthur sat on the chair and tugged Merlin to bring him down onto his lap.

"Arthur, that chair will not take us."

"Yes, it will," Arthur said, yanking Merlin down. The chair in response gave an ominous crack, but since they stayed where they were Arthur decided to ignore it. Instead he trapped Merlin with his arms and started to type. Merlin wrapped his arms around Arthur's shoulders, holding on for dear life, as if it was the one thing keeping him sane and if Arthur flipped out over the spreadsheet then he had some control of him.

On the top of the filing cabinet Winnie slowly raised her head to look at them before reassuming her curled up position, the two men in her life doing nothing more than what she expected. She sniffed and assessed the pheromones in the room and knew she wasn't getting any attention until Merlin and Arthur were done with each other.

"Okay so, there we are, open this file and click that."

"Oh God!" Merlin groaned as he realised he had in fact vanquished the evil spreadsheet.

"But in that case we go the desktop and click this little thing here, which does this and presto," Arthur said, clicking away to open the recovery programme.

"OH! Oh, thank God!" Merlin relaxed against him.

"Which I then save, and open your work file here, before taking you off and ravishing you."

"We haven't got time. I need to do that and get ready and get out in time for the reservation."

"Bollocks to the reservation!" Arthur announced, standing up and lifting Merlin with him. "I want to shag you now, then we can shower, you can work and I'll hunt for food."

"But there's a fee if you don't show and…" Merlin shut up as he was thrown on the bed. Arthur picked up the phone on the bedside cabinet and pressed one of the memory buttons.

"Hi Lancelot, it's Arthur. Look, I'm not taking Merlin to the restaurant tonight, something has come up," Arthur paused and listened. "What usually comes up with me," he said, laughing at Lancelot's response. "Use the reservation, tell them I'll cover the cost, they've got my details. Take Gwen out for the night!"

Arthur put the phone down.

"That's the third time you've done that."

"I know, at least it's going to a good cause," Arthur said, tugging at Merlin's clothes. "We're spending time together be it here or in a restaurant, so no spreadsheets, no essays and no complaining. Now shut up!"

"We can't eat in bed."

"Yes, we can, if we get pizza."


"You're an evil man!" Merlin said.

"No, I'm not," Arthur said, gently stroking Merlin's thigh as he held him. "I'm a knight who is gallantly de-stressing his damsel."

"I need to do my preparation, I'm doing the tutorial tomorrow."

"And you will be fine. You know what you are talking about, you have been preparing for like ever!"

"And this counts towards my grade."

"Again I cite my reasoning. You are prepared, you have half an hour to type your notes up while I am showering and ordering pizza then you are not thinking about it again until you get in the room."

"That won't help."

"Yes it will, because imagining what you will say, beyond the facts, will not help. Go in there and be yourself and not someone hours of anxiety will produce."

"Why are you so good at this?"

"I did my first board meeting when I was sixteen, and my father just left me to it. Which I realised made everyone glad, and they were very prepared to indulge me. Then they listened to what I was saying, and actually were quite impressed and it had nothing to do with my secretary who had threatened to spank them."

"Ah, the ever faithful secretary."

"She had an assistant who did the writing for her and she looked after me."

"I don't have one of those."

"You don't need one. You'll be fine."

"It's still nerve-wracking," Merlin said.

"Probably, but a lot of things are," Arthur reasoned. "Especially the first time you do it."

"It's hard to imagine you being nerve-wracked."

"I have been trust me."

Merlin lifted his head. "Name one time, Arthur Pendragon, you have been wracked with nerves."

"Seducing you," Arthur said. Merlin blinked. Arthur took hold of Merlin's hips and shifted him so Merlin was straddling his hips.


"The most nerve-wracking thing I ever did. I never really though I could be that scared, I didn't want to get it wrong. It was you. You still do it now, I get frightened because I don't want to lose you, ever. Merlin, you are my nerve-wracking moment. Anything else I can handle, as long as I have you."

Merlin smiled and kissed Arthur. Pulling back he said.

"You do, you'll always have me."


It was a perfect evening without the going out. They were curled up on the sofa, not watching the television as they snogged. Merlin liked that, just sitting and kissing. You couldn't really argue if there were someone's lips against yours.

Then the phone rang. Arthur growled.

"Oh, for… Mrs Bartle, how are you?"

Merlin tensed.

"Yes, you told us we might be on standby."

Merlin sat up.

"Okay, yes, we can be ready for him. We'll see you then. Thank you."

Arthur cut the phone connection and looked at Merlin.

"Mrs Bartle?" Merlin asked.

"Yep, she's dropping one off to us. Not a difficult case but he bothers people."

"What do you mean bothers?" Merlin asked.

"Don't know, but she seems to think we can handle it."

"Okay, we can," Merlin said.

"We've just become foster parents," Arthur said.