Ohhhhh my goodness. I wasn't going to write any more, I really really wasn't, since I actually have some other fics in progress, but then Don'tDrinkColdCoffee gave me the idea for a Christmas special and I wasn't going to do it, but then the Merlin finale left me all emotional and wanting for fluff and it just kinda… happened. BUT I SWEAR TO THE POWERS THAT BE THAT THIS IS THE LAST TIME I WRITE FOR THIS FICVERSE. I MEAN IT THIS TIME.

Merlinsbeard asked onceandfutureking:

What are your plans for Christmas?

Onceandfutureking replied:

Sorry, love. I was hoping to come visit you, but my father made plans without asking, which is just typical.

Merlinsbeard asked:

:( I understand. Christmas is a time for family and all.

Onceandfutureking replied:

You're my family too.

Merlinsbeard asked:

We'll just celebrate together after Christmas. Nbd.

Onceandfutureking replied:

I'll make it up to you. ;)

Merlin didn't bother to send another ask. He wasn't too disappointed, since he'd expected that it would be hard for them to get together over the holidays. They still lived a few hours apart and Arthur's family was quite posh, and would probably be having fancy parties or going on fancy trips to log cabins or ski resorts or wherever people with money liked to go over the holidays, Merlin didn't really know. But if his next post was a Grumpy Cat holiday picture, he would admit that maybe he had wanted to be a little selfish and keep Arthur all too himself.

However, if someone asked him about it, he would just say that it had been in his queue and in no way did it have anything to do with the fact that he would be spending his Christmas apart from his boyfriend.

Arthur had been dragged off to do some Christmas shopping with Morgana, which was both a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because he could never pick out gifts for people on his own without inevitably settling for giftcards, and it was a curse because the actual experience of shopping with Morgana was a harrowing one.

"Come on, Arthur. Pick up the pace, we've only hit three stores so far."

"Only three stores…"

"Yes, we still haven't picked out anything for Uther, plus I have a few friends I want to find gifts for, and I know you haven't gotten anything for Merlin yet."

He grimaced but nodded. He would not brave further torture for anyone other than Merlin. He already felt bad enough, not being able to see him for Christmas. If he was being honest, he missed him a great deal. Since they both had schoolwork and other obligations, he hadn't been able to actually see his boyfriend for over two weeks now.

"Do you think Father will notice if I'm not at Uncle Agravaine's on Christmas Eve?" he blurted out.

Morgana rolled her eyes. "I think he would definitely notice, especially since he can't stand Agravaine and would never put up with the man if he weren't our uncle."

"If he doesn't want to go, and I don't want to go, then why can't we just not go?"

"Because that wouldn't be polite," answered Morgana matter-of-factly. "Is this about Merlin?"

"I miss him," he admitted. Arthur shifted a bunch of shopping bags from one hand to the other so that he wouldn't lose the circulation in his hand. He looked up at Morgana, who had stopped walking. "I just want to spend a bit of time with him for the holidays. He's just as much, if not more, a part of our family than Uncle Agravaine."

His sister smiled one of her secretive smiles that at once gave him hope and made him slightly afraid. "I'll see if I can't work a little magic. But until then, we're shopping!"

She resumed her fast pace and Arthur groaned before trudging after her, laden down with their purchases.

Merlin stared blankly at his tumblr. He had refreshed it again, and there seemed to be a few bloggers about, but it was a slow night; there were only two new posts since he last refreshed. Apparently, most people actually had places to be and things to do on Christmas. Including Arthur.

He glanced at his phone again, as if there was a chance a text message had magically appeared while he wasn't looking, and he just hadn't noticed. Nothing. He'd already sent two texts himself, but he didn't want to seem like he was being clingy or needy.

He wasn't. Not really. Was it too much to ask to be able to spend Christmas with his boyfriend?

A new post appeared by onceandfutureking. A gif of a red panda pouncing on and snuggling with another red panda. What I wish I was doing right now with my boyfriend, read the caption.

Merlin smiled. He reblogged it immediately, not caring that people would see how fast it was reblogged and realize he was spending his Christmas sitting at his computer. Tumblr was slow tonight anyway.

He heard the door downstairs and assumed his mother would be back after her visit to the neighbors.

Merlin made a new text post:

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope Santa brought you all lots of presents and DVD box sets.

He got up and went downstairs so that he could do Christmas properly with the only bit of family he had left. They could watch a Christmas movie together and drink cocoa or something. And the Doctor Who special would be on soon. It wasn't as if he was doing anything worthwhile in his room by himself.

He went down into the kitchen. "Mum?" There was no one there. He wandered out and what he saw took his breath away.

The lights in the room had all gone dim except for the twinkling of their modest Christmas tree, beside which a certain young man was kneeling and placing presents, the soft glow lighting his face as he turned to look up at Merlin.

He smiled and reached up to dangle a piece of mistletoe over his head. "Merry Christmas?"

Merlin launched himself at his boyfriend and kissed him messily on the mouth.

"What are you doing here?" he asked incredulously. "I just saw you post on tumblr!"

"It's called a queue, Merlin. And I somehow got Morgana on my side and she got me out of spending Christmas at Uncle Agravaine's this year, don't ask me how, because I really don't know." He leaned down to kiss Merlin again. "I missed you."

"I missed you too." He stopped and realized something. "Where's my mum?"

"Oh, still enjoying a cup of tea next door, I imagine. She agreed to dawdle as long as she could," Arthur said with a wink.

Merlin smiled and started backing towards the kitchen again, his hands grasping Arthur's. "I was about to make myself a cup of hot chocolate. Would you like some?"

"Yes, please."

Arthur followed his boyfriend into the small kitchen and wrapped his arms around his waist and leaned his head on Merlin's shoulder as he watched him prepare two steaming mugs of cocoa.

"How long are you staying?" Merlin whispered. There was no need to whisper, but it was such a quiet moment, with only the two of them alone in the house, that it felt as though the smallest thing could shatter it.

"As long as you'll let me," Arthur said right against his ear.


Arthur laughed, a quick, joyful sound. "Maybe a few days. As long as Hunith doesn't mind."

"Good. She won't." Merlin turned in his arms to kiss him again. The holiday season was wonderful and Merlin loved it, he really did, but the cold weather made him miss the warmth of Arthur's smile and kisses and his everything.

"Would you like to open your presents now or later?"

"You got me presents?" Merlin grinned.

"Well, I mean all I really did was wrap the coal so it would look pretty…"

Merlin shoved him and then dashed towards the stairs. "Wait here. I have something for you too."

Arthur went to sit on the couch, an old but comfy piece of furniture, while he waited. The front door opened and Hunith came in, unwrapping her scarf. She saw Arthur settled on the couch and smiled.

"Merlin's just gone upstairs to get something."

She nodded. "I'll just be in the kitchen for a bit. I'll be out in time for Doctor Who," she said with a wink.

Not even a minute later, he heard the thudding footfalls of Merlin's sock-clad feet as he tumbled back down the stairs. He walked towards Arthur shyly, keeping something tucked behind him, out of sight.

"Did I hear my mum get back?"

"You did. She's in the kitchen."

Merlin disappeared for another moment, presumably to speak with his mother, and then reappeared, still hiding something behind his back.

"I didn't know you were coming, so I didn't have time to wrap it, I'm afraid…" He held it out. "I hope you haven't bought it already. I know you have the Firefly series, but I didn't see this at your place."

"Serenity!" exclaimed Arthur. "A must-have for any Firefly fan. And no, I don't have it, so it's perfect."

Merlin beamed. "So. What did you get me?"

"I already told you. Coal."

Merlin glared and sat down on the floor by the three presents Arthur had left there earlier.

"The big one is for Hunith, so hands off."

Merlin picked up the other two, a suspiciously DVD-shaped wrapped box and another rectangular one.

The first one did, indeed, prove to be DVDs, but the second one…

Merlin gasped. "Oh, this…"

"Gwaine's an ass, but he's a forgetful ass. He never did put it on facebook."

It was a picture of the two of them, standing in the street outside of Gwen's place. It was the photo Gwaine had captured of their first kiss. Arthur had printed it and gotten it framed.

"All things considered, I think it came out pretty well," Arthur said quietly.

Merlin smiled and crawled up to join Arthur on the couch so they could look at it together. "Yeah. It's kind of a shame about that blonde prat being in the way, but…"

Arthur tackled Merlin and started tickling him. "How dare you! You completely ruined the moment!"

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" Merlin shouted. "It's a beautiful picture with a beautiful prat!"

"Damn right it is." Arthur stopped tickling Merlin, but now he was leaning over him on the couch and they were both breathing heavily, and he leaned in to claim his mouth in a romantic Christmas kiss, when…

"Sorry to interrupt boys, but the Doctor Who Christmas special is almost on, and I still plan on watching it even if you're otherwise occupied," Hunith said with an amused smile.

"No, we wouldn't want to miss that," Arthur said belatedly after a moment, looking up from where he was leaning over her son.

Merlin giggled and pushed at him until they were both sitting upright again and snuggling on the couch, settling in to watch the latest of the Doctor's adventures.

Merlinsbeard posted:

Okay, so I watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special with the boyfriend. And the new companion: TOTALLY AWESOME. Can we keep her?

Onceandfutureking reblogged merlinsbeard and said:

I'm still waiting to give my verdict.

Merlinsbeard reblogged onceandfutureking and said:

You're just mad cuz she kissed the Doctor.

Onceandfutureking reglogged merlinsbeard and said:

It just seems to me like all of the companions fall in love with him. It's old. We need more like Donna, who want to see the universe for the adventure, not the romance. True love isn't so common or convenient or willy nilly.

Merlinsbeard reblogged onceandfutureking and said:

And you're an expert on love, are you?

Onceandfutureking reblogged merlinsbeard and said:

Well, I've only fallen in love once, but I think I can speak from experience when I say it's a very special thing and I don't think I will ever feel so strongly about anyone else ever again.

Merlinsbeard reblogged onceandfutureking and said:

Get over here and kiss me you prat.

The Kinglin fangirls had a very good Christmas, indeed.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Etc. (I realize for a lot of people it's not Christmas anymore, but in my timezone it is still. So shush.)