A/N: So, this is basically going to be five one shots, none of which will be very long. I don't need to explain what they will be about – the title says it all!
"Merlin, where's my dinner?" Arthur snapped, hungry and tired. "Have you forgotten that I haven't eaten yet?"
Merlin rolled his eyes. "I don't see how I could have – you've been ranting about it for the last hour."
"Exactly!" Arthur exclaimed. "Hurry up and get it!"
"Are you sure you want it, though?" said Merlin, a smile beginning to spread across his face. "I mean, it won't hurt to go without it for one night…"
"Merlin, if this is another reference to my weight, I don't want to hear about it," said Arthur in the most threatening voice he could muster.
Merlin gave an exaggerated sigh and left the room, muttering words under his breath that made Arthur rather thankful that he couldn't hear him. Or at least, thankful for Merlin's sake.
As his manservant entered the chambers once more, this time carrying a bowl of soup, Arthur threw down his pen from where he had been writing a long, dull report and made his way over to the dinner table, walking as fast as he could without looking too eager. He wasn't in the mood for any more jokes about him being 'fat.'
He heard Merlin snigger as he sat down and shot him a glare. "Sorry, sorry!" Merlin protested. "I've just never seen someone so eager to have something to eat."
"Well, seeing as someone kept me waiting-" Arthur began, reminding himself to brush up on his acting skills.
"Oh?" said Merlin politely. "Who was this rude person?"
"You really are pathetic," Arthur muttered as Merlin handed him the bowl of soup. As Arthur took it from him, a long, red scratch on Merlin's wrist caught his eye.
"Where did you get that from?" he asked in surprise.
Merlin's cheeks coloured slightly as he shook his sleeve down to try and hide the mark.
"Last night, I accidently cut myself when I was helping Gaius with something," he said. "It's fine, Gaius said it will heal soon."
Arthur nodded, however, he found it hard to take his eyes off Merlin's wrist now that he was looking at it properly. It was so bony. Probably about half the size of his, Arthur reflected, and it looked as though it could snap at any time. Swallowing hard, he tried to suppress the feeling of horror as his eyes travelled over Merlin's wrist, recalling the time that Merlin's shoulder had been injured during a hunting trip and Arthur had seen him take his shirt off to tend to it. The image of how thin and bony Merlin had looked then flashed before Arthur's eyes, making him feel slightly nauseous.
It was only when Merlin coughed that Arthur realised how ridiculous he must look, sitting completely still and staring fixedly at Merlin's wrist. With a huge effort, he tore his gaze down to his soup, although his appetite seemed to have vanished as the image of Merlin, half starved, rushed through Arthur's mind. He swallowed hard and put the spoon down.
Merlin glanced round, a weary expression on his face. "What now?"
"I'm not very hungry," said Arthur, beckoning him over. "Would, err, would you like to have some of the soup?"
Merlin laughed. "Nice one Arthur."
"No," said Arthur in bewilderment. "I wasn't joking. I'm not hungry anymore, so you might as well have my dinner – who else will eat it if you don't?"
Merlin shook his head. "You're really starting to worry me, Arthur. You were starving a few minutes ago – now you've suddenly lost your appetite? I know how much you like your food-"
"Look, Merlin," Arthur interrupted, "I'm not hungry. I am offering this soup to you because I don't want it." He glared at his manservant, a fierce glint in his eyes.
"Calm down," said Merlin in alarm. He took a hesitant step towards Arthur, eyeing him suspiciously. "I'll…have it if you really don't want it." Arthur felt himself smile.
"Brilliant – you can have this and I'll go and continue with that report." He headed back over to his desk, but couldn't get rid of the smile as he heard the spoon clinking against the bowl, occasionally glancing behind him to where Merlin was gulping the soup down as fast as he could, as though he hadn't eaten in ages.
He probably hadn't, Arthur reminded himself with a hint of sadness.
By the time Merlin had left Arthur's chambers, he was already running through his mind all the possible ways to make sure Merlin ate more. After all, he didn't want his manservant, or more importantly best friend, to end up ill.
It will work, Arthur decided. I'll just have to be discreet.
After all, he didn't want Merlin to know that he cared about him!