Sunday’s are Merlin’s favorite day of the week. It’s the only day that there’s a break in their busy schedule; the only day that he and Arthur are allowed to be themselves.
They take a break from running the kingdom for one day -- twenty-four hours. On Sunday’s, Arthur is just Arthur -- not Arthur Pendragon, the King of Camelot -- and Merlin is just Merlin -- not Emrys, the Court Sorcerer.
On Sunday’s, Merlin is allowed to wake up to the sound of birds singing outside as opposed to the usual bustling sounds of a busy city. He’s allowed to lie in bed and feel the beams of sunlight hit his face and not panic because he’s late and there’s too much to be done.
On Sunday’s, Merlin gets to roll over in the arms of his husband and not move. He’s allowed to gently brush the hair off his forehead, to caress his cheeks, to press a kiss to his jaw. He’s allowed to hold him close and listen to the soft sounds of his snores and know that he’s safe and alive and Merlin’s .
His eyes trace Arthur’s features as his thumb gently strokes the soft skin on Arthur’s cheeks and he feels his lips form a smile as a familiar burst of warmth blooms in his chest and spreads throughout his body.
Arthur has crooked teeth when he smiles. His plump lips are always chapped. There’s small, barely-there pimples burrowed under the skin on his cheeks. His hair is golden, long enough to fall into his eyes and curl around his ears and the back of his neck. He has the bluest, most expressive eyes. He has the most radiant smile Merlin’s ever seen and the loudest, most obnoxious laugh Merlin’s ever heard.
He’s brave and noble; he’s annoying and brazen. He’s flawed and imperfect and he’s the most gorgeous person Merlin’s ever known - body, mind and soul. Merlin can’t believe that despite everything they’ve been through - all the lies and deceit, the anger and the betrayal - they get to have this.
All those years ago, when his magic was first revealed, Merlin would have never dreamed of this.
Arthur has always been his life. His magic -- his entire being -- all of who he was and who he is belongs to Arthur. It always has and it always will. But even so, he knew that he was betraying him. By hiding who he was, by concealing his magic, he was lying to his king, to his destiny -- to the other half of his soul.
Merlin has stood by Arthur’s side for as long as he’s known him. He’s seen everyone close to Arthur - everyone Arthur’s ever cared for, ever loved, ever trusted - betray him.
He knew his betrayal would hurt the most; would cut the deepest. And it did.
Back then, he didn’t know that he and Arthur could ever recover from the weight of his lies. He didn’t know that they could ever move forward.
Back then, when Arthur looked at him, all he saw was the sorcerer that had betrayed him. He looked at Merlin as though he was nothing more than the dirt on the bottom of his boots -- a filthy criminal. He looked at Merlin as though he was scum. He looked at Merlin and Merlin could see how much he had hurt him; could see the pain and distrust clear in his eyes.
Merlin didn’t know if that would ever change; if that look would ever go away.
But it had. Arthur had forgiven him and they had managed to move forward and now, it’s as though it never happened.
Now, Arthur looks at Merlin as though he’s hung the moon and the stars. He sees him as something important; as someone to cherish. He looks at Merlin and sometimes, Merlin feels as though he could come apart from that one look -- filled with all the love Arthur has for him. Arthur looks at him as though his entire world not only revolves around Merlin but is Merlin.
Sometimes, Merlin still can’t believe that he’s lucky enough to call Arthur his. He can’t believe that he gets to love this man; that he gets to be loved by this man.
Merlin doesn’t know if he deserves that kind of devotion from Arthur but he does know that he’ll forever be grateful that Arthur thinks he does. Sometimes, Arthur’s love is the only thing that keeps him standing; the only thing that holds him together.
He used to think it was impossible to feel for Arthur any more than he does but somehow, every time he looks at him, he feels himself fall deeper and deeper in love.
He shoots forward, pressing another kiss on the curve of Arthur’s jaw then another on the corner of his mouth. He’s mildly surprised when Arthur turns, his lips catching Merlin’s for a sweet kiss.
“Good morning,” He mumbles against Merlin’s lips, his voice low and gruff. He smiles softly, eyes sparkling as his arms tighten around Merlin.
Merlin grins, blue orbs shining through crescent-shaped slits, “It is.”