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At home

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It still hadn’t gotten through to Arthur, everything had happened too fast. He’d just barely gotten comfortable in his life as prince with all his duties of representing and doing things for charity, giving monarchy a friendly new face without the burden of actually having to reign.

He still couldn’t fully grasp that the accident had happened and his father had been killed at the other end of the Commonwealth. He had just been enjoying his breakfast when the news arrived and what happened since then was a bit blurry in his mind. Immediately, he had travelled there, there had been things to do – most of them done by his people – and now he was back in the country, on his way to the palace.

The king is dead, long live the king.

Only that the king was him now. It felt too unreal.

He didn’t want to imagine setting foot into the palace now that everything had changed. He couldn’t bear the thought of the faces all turned to him as the people he grew up around would welcome him home.

“Stop here.” Arthur told the driver when a familiar little house came in sight.

He got out of the car and the door opened before he even rang the bell.

Immediately, he was being let in and then pulled into a tight hug. And there, for the first time since he’d gotten the news, Arthur allowed himself to fall apart.

He didn’t remember how Merlin managed to get them into the living room, he didn’t remember that he took off his jacket, he didn’t remember when it had gotten dark. All he knew were Merlin’s arms around him, holding him tight, Merlin’s soothing scent, Merlin rubbing circles on his back and letting him cry on his shoulder until he ran out of tears.

It was a while before Leon appeared in the door and cleared his throat discretely. “It’s time to go home, Sir,” his bodyguard reminded him softly.

Arthur wrapped his arms tighter around Merlin’s middle. Without moving, he whispered. “I am home.”