I don't own Merlin. This is purely Fiction.

Arthur was miserable. He, for the entire world seemed to have it all, wealth, power and he was certainly handsome. Every girl or man in his building wanted him, but he wanted only one who he had thrown away in his youth. Too stupid to realise what he was losing and too arrogant to see what his father wanted wasn't what he really needed. Listening to his father's demands for the happy family image which wasn't his, he left Merlin and gone with Gwen. This had suited the whole Penn image which Uther courted. Sweet Gwen, who in the end left him high and dry at the altar for his friend Lancelot. She had had enough, knowing that he loved her but not enough, never enough, not like Merlin.

Tonight was Morgana's birthday. Arthur had organised a party for her in one of his clubs in Camelot city. Leon and Morgana had been married for 5 years now and Arthur wished he had even part of their happiness.

Arthur walks into the room, the music is blaring, lights strobe different colours and Morgana in a barely their dress is clinging to Leon who is laughing merrily. He walked over to the bar asked for a pint and stood watching the crowd of Morgana's many friends. It was a lovely summer night and with the heat outside and in here he was glad he wore only a light shirt and light trousers.

As his eyes scanned the crowd, his heart stopped and his breath caught. Just coming through the door, stood Merlin. He was tanned, no longer pale, wearing a black shirt and tight black jeans and looking thoroughly edible. Morgana screeched, leaving Leon on the dance floor, flinging herself at Merlin, who hugged her tightly as he swung her round, setting her down gently.

Arthur didn't notice Leon come to his side. He had been Arthur's friend since they met on their first day at school, all those years ago. "He's just come back from California Arthur, he's a script writer now you know", said Leon in Arthur's ear. Arthur jumped almost spilling his pint, which he sat down quickly at the bar.

"How did you know he was here, is Morgana still in contact with him? She never said," replied Arthur not taking his hungry eyes off Merlin. Leon laughed, "Off course she kept in contact with him. Just because you where the prat that listened to your farther and ruined your life doesn't mean she had to lose her best friend".

Arthur had forgotten. Morgana had been friends with Merlin and Gwen before him. It was through her he had met and fallen in love with Merlin. She had been furious with him and Uther over his treatment of Merlin. But blood is thicker than water and was there for Arthur after the wedding debacle.

He sighed and turned away, afraid that Merlin might see the want in his eyes, and the misery in his face. Leon left him and went to see Merlin, probably knowing he wanted to wallow in his own grief, before he could slip away unnoticed from Morgana's wrath, again.

Morgana was constantly worried about his isolation, his increased working hours and no social life. He practically lived breathed and ate Dragon Industries, which he had inherited from his father. It was already a thriving business, but Arthur had turned it from a million pound concern into some serious money. Dragon Industries had been run by John Drake and Uther. John was retired now and left everything in Arthur's capable hands.

"Hi Arthur", said a quiet voice as a hand reached for his shoulder and turned him around. It was Merlin. He couldn't breathe. "This isn't like you Arthur, stuck for words. Aren't you going to say hello at least"

"Yes," he stumbled, "Yes of course I am. Your look good Merlin. Leon says you're in California now. It must say, it agrees with you".

"Oh yes, but I'm coming home for good now. Leaving script writing behind to concentrate on my other writing; books, novels, you know, for a change", shouted Merlin as the music of James Blunt's 'I'll be your man' wandered loudly over the two men. "Do you want to go somewhere to talk Arthur as I can't hear myself think? Morgana always did go for these types of parties."

"Yes, that would be good. The side bars are much quieter here and Morgana won't be royally pissed at us for deserting her party before the cake arrives," said Arthur. Merlin nodded and they went off up the stairs to the upper bar which was quieter and the music only a distant hum in the background.

The waiter came, Merlin and Arthur ordered drinks and they sat down at one of the tables at the far wall. There searching eyes and ears couldn't hear their conversation.

"How are you Arthur? Morgana says you're working too hard and not looking after yourself", said Merlin.

Arthur looked at him, "You never were one to beat about the bush. I'm fine she just worries too much. Especially after, well that doesn't matter. How have you been Merlin? Life looks like it has been good for you. I see you finally managed to get a tan, not so white now, "replied Arthur trying to get the subject away from himself.

"Oh you mean Gwen leaving you at the altar, "countered Merlin. "I was sorry to hear about that Arthur".

"But not surprised, hey Merlin", responded Arthur.

"No not really. You loved her, not in the way and man should love his wife. It was wrong to pretend that you could be a husband to her Arthur. She contacted me you know", said Merlin. Arthur looked at him surprised. "After she and Lance ran away. She wanted to apologize for breaking us up. She apologizes for that when it wasn't her. Was it Arthur!" was his reply.

"I'm sorry Merlin. I really am. If I could do a Doctor Who I would take the Tardis, and tell myself not to be such a prat. Tell my father to go fuck himself. But I can't and I have to live with the consequences, OK."

Arthur was sweating now, his chest was feeling tight. He was feeling light headed and his vision was blurring and he could feel the blood rushing to his ears. He rubbed at his chest and called the waiter over for a glass of water.

"Arthur, are you alright. You've gone a funny colour. I'm going to get Leon, hold on," shouted a worried Merlin as Arthur slumped against the seat. Merlin ran down the stairs and grabbed Leon who in turn grabbed Morgana and they both hurtled up the stairs, to see a visibly pale Arthur looking like he was ready to pass out.

"Leon call an ambulance. If I had known you would have had this affect on him Merlin I might have warned him you where coming", said an increasing panicked Morgana.

"What do you mean he didn't know I was coming", shouted Merlin. "You told me he was working too hard. That he was showing visual signs of stress but you didn't put two and two together to see that this might affect him. Jesus Morgana and you call yourself a psychologist. "

"Shut up Merlin", said Morgana. "Arthur, come on take a sip of this water. The ambulance will be here shortly. "

It seemed to take forever. Arthur knew the voices around him were concerned and irate. But he was too close to going under to care. The last thing he remembered was Merlin, his eyes full of concern as he was being lifted onto a stretcher.

When Arthur awoke, he was in hospital with Morgana, Leon and Merlin talking in hushed tones. He wasn't in casualty, it looked like a private ward and he was all wired up with monitors and a mask on his face.

As he moved Merlin noticed it first. His eyes were red and he looked like he had been crying.

"Arthur, thank god you're awake. Jesus don't you ever do that to me again, you hear" he blurted out.

"I'll try" Arthur replied as he lowered the mask.

"Put that back you idiot", said Morgana, which he did and she too looked that she had been crying.

"I'll get the doctor, now he's awake," said Leon who went outside and brought in a young doctor.

"Well Mr Penn. I'm Doctor Martin. That was the worst Panic attack ever seen. Do you know you've been unconscious for over 2 hours? Your blood pressure is sky high. That combined with the panic attack caused the black out. You my friend need rest. I've already talked to your sister and you will be released into her care, but no work for you for the time being".

"I will recommend you see someone about this as I suspect you might need help with it. Alright," he said, "you will remain in here until your blood pressure drops a bit, probably tomorrow if all goes well. Then you will see your doctor about medication and when he thinks you can go back to work."

"Thanks doctor. At least it wasn't a heart attack", replied a relieved Arthur.

"Keep this up Mr Penn and you will have one. You are only 35 year old Mr Penn, in extreme physical health, but your body can only take so much stress? I'll leave you now. See you tomorrow" and breezed out the door.

Leon looked at Morgana and gave her a hug. Merlin grabbed Arthur's hand squeezing it gently. This didn't go unnoticed by both Morgana and Leon.

"Listen Arthur," said Morgana as she sat beside him in the other chair. "I'm contacting Gaius tomorrow and tell him what has happened. I have to leave as Leon wants to check everything is ok at the club. Love you big brother. I'll see you tomorrow." She bent kissing him on the forehead.

"Love you too Morgs. See you tomorrow", whispered Arthur as Morgana and Leon waved out the door.

"Well that leaves just us now. Very convenient of them to have so much to do and leave us alone for a chat," said Merlin.

Arthur lifted his mask off, and Merlin was about to make him put it back on, but he shook his head and grabbed Merlin's hand. "We need to finish what we started and was so rudely interrupted by me in the club Merlin," sighed Arthur.

"Did you mean what you said about travelling back in time to stop yourself from leaving me? I can just imagine you as Captain Jack or David Tennant, " laughed Merlin.

"Yes. I did", said a serious Arthur, "but more the Captain Jack if you please", chuckled Arthur.

"I've missed you every day. No one could compare to you Merlin. Did you know that! After Gwen left I didn't date, buried my head in my work as I couldn't cope with the thoughts of what I had done to you and her. Will you ever be able to forgive me?"

"Arthur. To say I was angry and hurt would be an understatement, but that faded a long time ago. I finally got up the courage to ask Morgana about you a few years ago. We had been in touch but she never talked about you because it hurt too much. She then started to tell me little tit bits you know. That you never dated, never went out. Was buried in your work and that she was afraid you would work yourself into the grave like Uther did. I never stopped loving you, you know. I looked you up on the web from time to time to see how you were doing before bunching up the courage to ask Morgs. When it was her birthday I decide that I should come home and face the music. See if we had any chance. Then you nearly kill yourself on my first night back. Great way of giving me a heart attack Arthur!"

Arthur clutched his hand and brought it up to his dry lips and kissed it. This startled Merlin but it made him smile.

"Do you want to start again Merlin? Are you willing to give me another chance? I will do anything you want, just name it, OK!," said Arthur. He was getting agitated now and Merlin could see this. He stood up, bent over and kissed him gently on the lips.

"Does that answer your questions, Arthur" replied Merlin.

Arthur nodded eyes wet with tears and to emotional to speak. Merlin held him and patted his head, telling him to hush that they had a life time to deal with the past and make a new future. Murmuring that he loved him and Arthur settled down after a few moments.

"Go back to sleep Arthur. I'm not leaving. You'll find me here in the morning and we can talk then, alright", said Merlin. Arthur nodded and drifted off.

When Arthur awoke, he was unsure of where he was but a hand that was clasping his made him remember it hadn't been a dream and that Merlin was there. He looked down and saw a dark mop of hair lying on his bed and he let go of Merlin's hand and petted the hair. Merlin woke with a start, smiled and kissed him.

It wasn't long after that the doctor came in and did some more check saying he could go home. Merlin rang Morgana and she came with clean clothes for Arthur to take him to her place. "I don't want to go to your house Morgs, " protested Arthur. "I'd rather be at my own house".

"No Arthur. You heard what the doctor said. You are in my care and you need rest", replied an adamant Morgana.

Merlin new were this would end up so he said," How about I look after Arthur at his place if he doesn't mind".

Both siblings looked at him. Arthur so happy he looked like he might cry again, (stupid emotions he said to himself). Morgana looked form one to the other, but she too smiled and said, "I see something has been worked out. About time too."

"OK," she said, "but only if we aren't putting you out Merlin".,

"No problem Morgana. I'm only staying in a hotel and Arthur would not relax at your place and you know it. Anyway as Gaius is my Uncle, he can give me direct orders on what to do and I'll make sure Arthur obeys".

Arthur moaned," Oh god, I will have all 3 of you harping on at me now".

"You bet your sweet life you will," said a figure from the door. It was Gaius.

"Well young Arthur, what have you done to yourself this time. Morgana has given me the low down and I think Merlin taking care of you is a better plan than Morgana. Your blood pressure would be up again after a few days at her place".

"Hump", said Morgana, but the other two laughed.

"Now we will leave you whilst you get dressed. Then Morgana can take Merlin to get his stuff from the hotel and I can take you home. Once there, I give you a check up and settle you in, alright then."

Merlin kissed him again and left with Morgana who hugged him again, saying cheerio to Gaius. Arthur couldn't believe it; in just 24 hours so much had change in his life. Merlin was back. His health was now and issue, but he didn't care. With Merlin there that could be fixed and work didn't seem that important any more.

Arthur really didn't realise how tired he was, because once he sat in Gaius' BMW M5, he fell asleep only to wake up in the underground garage of his building. Arthur naturally lived on the top floor, the penthouse.

"Up you get Arthur", said Gaius. "We'll get you settled then I'll really see how you are doing. I talked to Dr Martin. Gave him quite a shock you know. I taught him at St Bart's, nice lad, quite bright. So I expect he did a thorough job".

"OK Gaius."

They entered the lift and the door opened up on the top floor. Gaius had Arthur's keys, Morgana had given him them. They entered into a bright apartment. Windows showed the streets of the city as the afternoon sun came reflecting of the soft coloured walls giving a warm glow. Gaius dropped the keys in a dish by the door and took Arthur to his bedroom. Arthur had a two bed roomed apartment which Morgana thought was unnecessary as he lived by himself, but now with Merlin staying would be perfect.

It wasn't long before a knock came to the door and Gaius got up from Arthur's bed to open the door. Arthur wanted to do it himself but Gaius put a stop to that with one hand.

"Well is he in bed, "asked Morgana as she and Merlin, bags and all came through the door.

"Yes ", replied Gaius, "no fuss what so ever. He's exhausted the poor lamb". This brought a smile to both Merlin and Morgana's faces.

To Gaius, Arthur, his godson would always seem a child. No matter that the man was extremely rich, brilliant at what he did and had over 5000 people working for him.

"Well I'll just go say good bye now. Leon is going to look after things for him at work. What's the use of being Arthur's number 2 without taking on some of the responsibility? Arthur seems to think that only he is capable of running things. Always has to be on top. Now look where it's got him, the idiot," rushed out Morgana's words as she walked to the bedroom.

Gaius and Merlin looked at each other, smiled knowingly and followed.

By the time they got there she was on the bed teary eyed and hugging him. Telling him not to do that again or she would kill him. That Leon was looking after the business and he was to look after himself.

"Merlin, if he gives you any bother, call me and I'll be right over to box his ears. He maybe my big brother, but not too old for me to do that", she grinned. Arthur laughed and she left, blowing kisses to them all.

"Quite a thunder storm is Morgana," said Gaius. "You don't want to make her angry now do you Arthur."

"No, but I know she loves me and means well", was his reply as he talked to Gaius but looking only at Merlin.

"He-hum, Listen," interrupted Gaius with a clear of his throat. "I'll show Merlin the other room where he can put his things. You get some sleep and I will let him in on what you he has to do and what you aren't allowed to do. Alright Arthur. Then I'll be on my way".

"Thanks Gaius, for everything. I...", Arthur stopped, looked at him but couldn't continue.

"No thanks needed Arthur, that's what godfathers are for", and he slipped out of the room.

"I'll only be a minute or two. Sleep Arthur, I'll be here when you awake", Merlin said softly.

With that he left and before Arthur knew it, he was drifting off to sleep, feeling happier than he had in years; sleeping better than he had in years.

"Listen Merlin," Gaius said seriously . "Arthur isn't well. He will need lots of rest and I will be round tomorrow with the medication for his blood pressure. I don't think he will want tablets for the stress, but I know another psychologist other than Morgana, named Alice. Lovely lady and I think she will do Arthur some good. You being here will be more than half the battle. He's been retched these last few years. I suppose Morgana has told you some, but I saw him after Gwen left , and then Uther died. He buried himself in work and would let no one in. "

"It's alright Gaius," soothed Merlin, touching the old man's shoulder. "I know a lot. Morgana kept me up to date these last few years. It has only been my stubbornness that has kept me away. I'm not going anywhere if Arthur wants me and I think he does. I never stopped loving him you know. Couldn't move on, seems I wasn't the only fool, hey Gaius".

Gaius, chuckled and said, "Yes but two fools together can make quite a team".

He showed Merlin the room, next door to Arthurs, much similar in style but completely bare.

Merlin dumped his stuff, and looked in on Arthur who was sleeping.

He sat down on the bed and held his hand whilst stroking his hair with the other. "I'm going nowhere this time Arthur, you are going to have to use a crow bar to get rid of me."

After a while Merlin got up, went to his lap top and ordered Pizza, all this had taken it out off him and he was still hadn't changed clothes.

Once he had eaten, washed and changed he went back to Arthur's room. Who woke up as he entered the door.

"Hey beautiful", said Arthur.

"Hey yourself" replied Merlin, bending over to kiss him. He couldn't and wouldn't take this for granted again.

"I can't believe you are here, in my bedroom and it isn't a dream," said Arthur.

"Yes, I'm here just next door and I'm going nowhere", replied Merlin. "We have a life time to catch up on and we are going to take it slow Arthur, for your sake and mine. I love you but your health comes first. No ifs buts or maybes. It has to be this way, Dr Gaius's orders or my uncle and your godfather will have both our guts for garters."

Arthur laughed, a good hearty laugh he hadn't felt like doing in years. He knew everything would be alright then. Merlin moved across the floor, sat on the bed and they kissed, gently like it had been in the early days, with everything washed away.

Epilogue – Six months later.

"Alright Arthur, where are you taking me", said an exasperated Merlin.

"Not telling and don't remove that blindfold," replied Arthur as he sped along the country lanes towards the coast.

An hour earlier he had taken then bags, put them in his extremely posh but totally useless sports car and blind folded Merlin before taking off. He wanted it to be perfect. The last six months had been hard on both, with Arthur's therapy but he was almost better. Leon , was taking most of the strain off him and they were both happier.

Arthur now had a loving partner and a life to boot.

Finally he stopped the car and came round to Merlin's side took him out and walked him through a gate.

"Remove the blind fold now Merlin".

Merlin did so, blinked his eyes and saw a house. It was a quaint country cottage. Absolutely beautiful. He looked at Arthur and said, "What's this for?"

"Just go inside and see," replied Arthur.

He handed Merlin the keys. He opened the door, to a spacious hall, and when he looked around it was sunny, beautifully decorated and a sign over one door said Merlin's study keep out.

Merlin looked round tears in his eyes and laughing at the same time.

"You bought this didn't you. For us, a getaway were you could rest and I could write. Oh Arthur, it's wonderful."

He flung his arms around Arthur, kissing him fiercely. Arthur swung him around and said, "Yes I did".

"But that's not all, come with me Merlin."

In through a door to the left was a rather large kitchen, with a small box on the table. "Open it Merlin".

Inside was another smaller box which had a simple platinum ring inside. Merlin turned to see Arthur on one knee.

"I should have done this years ago," said Arthur simply. "If the law had allowed and I hadn't been fool enough to let you out of my life. I'm not that man anymore Merlin. I love you and won't let you go. Will you marry me, be my partner, and have the civil union ceremony. I'll even let Morgana organise the do, if you want. Just say yes please".

Merlin stared at him in shock. He new Arthur had planned a surprise, but this was beyond his wildest dreams.

"Yes Arthur", he said barely able to get a whisper out. "I'll marry you".

Arthur was off the floor and kissing him as if his life depended on it.

"Thank you, thank you Merlin for everything. Being my rock this last 6 months; listening to me moan and getting my head together. You are my world. "

They walked to the back door of the cottage into sun room to look at the sun set. Arthur had put champagne on ice on a table in the hope that Merlin would say yes.

"Sure of yourself where you?" asked Merlin.

"No, but I had a lot of hope", replied Arthur.

The two men kissed and Arthur opened the Champagne whilst Merlin texted Morgana, Leon and Gaius with the news, before turning off his phone and Arthur's.

Arthur handed Merlin a glass they clinked and he said, "To us".

"Yes", replied Merlin, "to us and forever".

They turned to the sun, sat on the seat, Merlin's head resting on Arthurs shoulder knowing that their future was together.