When Arthur and Merlin initially became friends, Arthur didn't think much of it when Merlin would just disappear for a day or possibly three. But as the two became closer and began spending more time with one another, his disappearances became more noticeable.
Arthur had questioned Merlin before, but he never really received a straight answer to his questions.
They were supposed to have met at the movies today. Merlin was never late, so after Arthur had been waiting twenty minutes he finally decided to call his friend. There was no response, which was also odd.
Deciding Gwen would be the one who would most likely know where Merlin was, he tried her next.
"Oh, Arthur he told me to call you a while ago but I forgot, I'm sorry!" Gwen exclaimed, instead of answering the phone with a more typical greeting.
"Why couldn't he call me himself?" Arthur asked, rather annoyed.
Gwen paused before answering carefully, "He's sick, Arthur."
Immediately any annoyance Arthur felt was gone. "Is he okay? What's wrong?"
"Yes, yes, he's fine. He just gets really terrible migraines once in a while that medicines can't help with. He just has to hole himself up in his apartment wait for the migraine to go away."
"Does he need anything?"
"Arthur, are you going to try to be his knight in shining armor?" He could hear the smirk in her voice. All of their friends always mocked the way Arthur patronized Merlin when he wasn't in tip top shape.
Instead of responding rudely like he normally would he said, "Of course I'm going to see him. At least I finally know why he disappears."
"Well, I wouldn't recommend you bring him food, he won't be able to stomach anything until tomorrow at the earliest. And he can't deal with noise or light, so be careful when you enter his apartment. I think you being there will help him better than anything else will."
Arthur would have questioned her about that statement but hastily bid him goodbye and hung up.
It took him ten minutes to get from the movie theater to Merlin's apartment, and then to let himself in.
He made his way to the bedroom and his heart clenched as he reached the doorframe. Merlin was laying in the middle of his bed, curled up in a ball. Arthur could make out the tear tracks on his face even in the dim light coming through the windows.
Though Merlin looked like hell, with his hair sticking up everywhere, his face wet with tears and scrunched up in pain, he was still the most beautiful person Arthur had ever seen.
"Arthur," Merlin whispered, so quietly that if Merlin hadn't stretched out his hand to beckon Arthur to him, he would have thought he had imagined it.
The blond male made his way towards the bed, and put his hand in Merlin's, who gave a weak tug, as if telling him to lie down.
Who was Arthur to refuse his friend anything? He slowly and carefully slid into the bed next to Merlin. Within seconds Merlin had latched onto Arthur.
Arthur smiled, and began lightly running his hands through Merlin's hair. His mother had done that for him when he was sick, and it always seemed to make him feel better. It apparently worked on Merlin as well, because after a few moments Merlin began to relax and there were no longer tears running down his face.
"I'm sorry I missed the movie," Merlin whispered into his chest.
Arthur stopped stroking Merlin's hair, and moved his hand down to cup his chin tilting Merlin's face up so they were looking into each others' eyes "Don't worry about it. Just relax and try to feel better."
"I already do feel better. Thank you for coming."
"I will always be here for you, Merlin." With that, Arthur pressed a soft kiss to Merlin's forehead, before wrapping his arms around his friend. "Now, try to sleep."
Merlin snuggled closer to him, and Arthur listened as his breathing evened out, and he finally fell asleep. Arthur too began to fall asleep, with a small smile on his face because the man he loved was finally in his arms.
Arthur woke up an indeterminate amount of time later to Merlin squirming against him. "Are you feeling better?"
That stopped his movement, and Merlin slowly looked up, "Yes, loads actually. Which isn't normally, because usually these migraines last two to three days."
"It's because I'm here." Arthur told him, smiling cheekily.
Merlin gave him a genuine smile, "I agree."
Arthur's heart beat faster as he stared into Merlin's eyes. "Merlin, I…"
"Arthur, thank you. For being here, I mean. It really does mean a lot."
"I love you." The statement, especially the conviction behind it, surprised both Merlin and Arthur. "I really do, and I think I just realized it, but it's true."
Merlin didn't respond, instead he stretched his neck up and pressed his lips to Arthur's. Finally they broke away, due to their need for oxygen.
The two stayed in that position, holding each other, foreheads pressed together for quite a while. It was nice, being able to just relax and take in each other's presence.
Arthur let out a sigh, "I'm sorry, I kind of just sprung that little confession on you. I don't want you to feel pressured or anything."
The raven haired man started laughing at that, "Arthur, you prat, I have loved you from the beginning. Ask anyone. Gwen, Morgana and Lance have all been trying to force me to tell you for weeks now."
"Really?" Arthur sounded disbelieving, and a bit insecure.
"Of course. What's not to love? Well, excluding your enormous ego, and lack of book smarts, and below average looks."
Before Arthur could respond Merlin kissed him again, "I do love you, Arthur."
"Well, that's convenient."
They spent the rest of the day curled around each other, occasionally kissing, but mostly they were just enjoying being around one another.