This was taking forever and Arthur was ready to throw the stupid piece of cloth out the window.

He did not sign up for this okay. It had taken too damn long to come up with a gift, let alone make one and now it was Christmas day and Merlin was going to walk into the royal chambers at any moment now and see him working on this.. this… stupid excuse for a gift.

Arthur snarled and tossed down the needle and thread. Why did he have to sew the edges? It's not like it wouldn't fall apart anyway. And more importantly why didn't he hire someone to make Merlin a stupid neckerchief anyway. Did he seriously have to make it himself.

He sucked at one of the various pinpricks on his thumb and knew that, yes, he did. It would mean more to Merlin, even if it did have a few bloodstains.

He sighed and picked up the butter soft purple fabric and bit his lip in concentration, looping the needle and thread in and out meditatively while humming quietly and trying to remain calm.

And then Merlin bumbled in and he stabbed his thumb again and cursed loudly.

"Good morning to you too, your kingly-ness." Merlin chirruped as he placed breakfast on the table, "What are you working on?"

"Nothing!" Arthur yelped as he shoved it under his desk quickly. He wasn't done yet, Merlin couldn't see it until it was done. Absolutely not. No excuses.

So of course Merlin bugged and teased and poked and prodded all day (probably in retaliation for not getting Christmas off, but that was fine with Arthur as long as he got to see him) until Arthur finally finished and tossed the poorly hemmed scrap of high quality fabric at Merlin, wishing he could stuff it in the chatterboxes mouth to shut him up a while.

Merlin looked down at the neckerchief for a moment, turning it over in his hands, feeling the texture, adsorbing it. He glanced up and met Arthur's worried look with bright eyes and brighter ears.

"You.. made this?"

"Well I couldn't have someone who works for me wasting their time on it, could I?"

Before he knew it Merlin was in his arms and hugging him tightly, whispering thank you. And Arthur didn't even feel the pricks in his fingers as he held Merlin close.