What we really are - Arthur/Merlin One shot

Summary: Merlin has lost count of the amount of times he and Arthur have been compared to an old married couple. Modern AU A/M Complete.

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Merlin had lost count of the amount of times he and Arthur had been compared to an old married couple, but he thought it must be in the high thousands by now. The very high thousands.

But the thing was, they weren't old, they weren't married, they weren't even a couple.

Sure sometimes they would snuggle down on the sofa to watch a movie and Merlin would bury his head in Arthur's shoulder on a particularly scary part and sometimes they would wear matching colours on a night out. Sometimes Arthur would make the journey to the nearest 24 hour store to buy Merlin his favourite juice drink that he craved, You crave this shit like a pregnant woman Merlin. and Merlin would sit up all night feeding Arthur some disgusting smelling cold medicine when the prat stayed out playing football in the rain without taking the waterproof jacket Merlin had bought him for his birthday. And sure they would steal each others socks and buy each other dinner for no particular reason, I just felt like it is all, and sometimes they borrowed each others clothes despite the vast differences in build and size, and one would stay up to the early hours in the morning with the drunk other and still nurse them through their hangover that day. But that didn't mean they were a couple. And they definitely were not old. Or married, though there was that one time in Las Vegas when they had both awoken wearing matching rings and had been convinced they were married for all of about four hours before Morgana and Gwen could no longer stand it and proceeded to spend the rest of the trip calling all their friends with tales of how the idiots had believed the whole thing.

And just because they sometimes, well pretty much always finished each others sentences without realising it, So, Ill see you-


Ill be home before-

Midnight because we have a-

Math test tomorrow. Which I will probably-

Fail. Me too. Have-

Fun. Yeah, see you later then. and sometimes they would speak to only each other at parties, and that one time Arthur punched that bloke in the club who couldn't seem to take no for an answer, and so they may sometimes opt out of dates and parties to just sit and watch old Star Trek re-runs together.

And sure Arthur always nagged at Merlin that he didn't eat enough and he would snap in a strong enough wind and Merlin always lectured Arthur on his prattish ways. Of course they both knew how the other took their coffee without asking and they both knew when the other needed silent comfort, to be left alone, or a friendly punch on the arm which would more often than not lead to a play fight anyway. Sometimes they would answer questions in unison and just know what the other was thinking and they bickered constantly. But that didn't mean anything. Just that they were friends, best friends since Merlin was three years old and Arthur five. Which automatically made him superior and the boss in all their games because, I'm older Merlin so you have to do as I say!

And because they had known each other so long meant that it was okay that Arthur would walk down the street with his arm slung over Merlin's shoulder. It was okay that they called each other every night, sometimes twice if one or the other was away, it was okay that Arthur called Hunith mum and visited her every single time Merlin did, it was okay that Hunith called him son in the same way she did Merlin. It was okay that they had lived together ever since they had both decided to move away from home- together. And it didn't mean anything more than friendship when Merlin brought home stray cats and dogs and all he had to do was look at Arthur once before the blond conceded, Only for a little while until we find its home or find it a shelter. It was just friendship when Arthur stroked his fingers through Merlin's hair where his head lay in his lap, when Merlin traced the lines of Arthur's face when he slept beside him, it was just friendship when Arthur proudly held Merlin's hand in front of a group of girls who had been checking Arthur out, No Merlin, they were looking at you, that's why I need to protect you, you see.

It was just friendship when Arthur had him backed against the wall as they discussed their plans, or their imaginary futures where, we'll live together 'til we're old and can no longer move, we'll pillage and plunder towns and live on the money we earn from selling our stolen goods, we'll move to Hawaii and live on the beach, hands braced against the wall, one each side of his head.

It was just friendship when Merlin broke up with his girlfriend because she had shouted at Arthur for monopolizing all of Merlin's time. It was only friendship when Arthur woke Merlin at unnatural hours of the morning to tell him, It's snowing! Because Merlin loves the snow and would be heartbroken if he wasn't able to stand, tongue out, beneath the drifts as they fell. It was simply friendship when they both smiled proudly when people cooed at them and squealed about how cute they were, as it was when nobody dared to ask for Arthur or Merlin, no, it was Arthur and Merlin, they came as one, you could not know one without the other and as such you could not like one without liking the other, they were practically the same person anyway.

It was only friendship when Merlin accompanied Arthur to posh Pendragon events and get-togethers which quite simply terrified him and then comforted Arthur through the night after a particularly loud argument with his father.

It was only friendship when they kissed, because one or the other was lonely, when they touched because it had been so long for both of them, when they held each other, kissed exposed skin, wanted, wanted. It was just friendship when Arthur whispered into Merlins ear, Forever, forever as they moved together, in sweat soaked harmony.

It was just friendship when Merlin walked into a room and saw nothing but Arthur, when Arthur just seemed to know when Merlin arrived and nothing else seemed important after that moment.

It was just friendship when Arthur told his father that he just might feel something for another man, something more than friendship. Even Uther Pendragon knew he spoke of Merlin.

Neither knew when they stopped saying it was just friendship, nor did they know when things changed from friendship to so much more. You were never just friends, Morgana would say, you were always this way. Nothings changed just because you admit to a relationship now. Old married couple you are.

Merlin concedes first, after all how many friends really knew absolutely everything about each other? How many friends really were each others complete opposites in every way and yet so much the same? How many friends really were complete soul mates? Arthur concedes soon after, after some intense convincing from his friend, his boyfriend. From his Merlin.

I've never much liked labels anyway, Merlin says as they move his things into Arthur's bedroom, the bigger one he had taken when they had first moved in, we are who we are.

How about husband? Arthur asks one day, as they lounge on the sofa, hair damp from their shared shower, skin clean and the TV blaring some rubbish reality show they aren't really watching.

I think I could live with that label.

That would make them two thirds of the way to 'Old married couple' as they had frequently been called, and two thirds was just enough, they had their whole lives before they made it to the old part.


Hope you enjoyed, please let me know.