Word Count: 627 words
Notes: Written for the lovely magi, because she was having an awful time with exam stress and the like and asked for fluff and kissing. I did my best to deliver. Title is from this quote: Learning is acquired by reading books, but the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading men, and studying all the various facets of them - Lord Chesterfield. Thanks to peasnbeanstalks for giving this a once-over to make sure there aren't any glaring errors.
Note 2: I haven't seen anything of season four yet :( Please, please don't spoil me in comments ♥
Summary: Merlin has been holed up in the library all day, since seven this morning and it’s beginning to get dark out now. He's starting to look a little insane around the eyes.
Also found at: Ao3
"Since when is there snow?" Arthur asks, taking his hat off and brushing at the stray snowflakes. In actuality, they've melted and just left the wool a little damp, but it's the gesture that counts. Snowflakes are people too. Stupid, unique people.
He throws himself into the chair beside Merlin, and then he stares.
Merlin has been holed up in the library all day, since seven this morning and it’s beginning to get dark out now. When Arthur left him to go to his psychology seminar an hour and a bit ago, Merlin was in the exact same position he is in right now. He's starting to look slightly crazy around the eyes, and one side of his hair is tufted ridiculously, like he was tugging at it in frustration.
"I feel obligated to tell you that no matter how hard you stare at that textbook, Merlin, it will not implode from eye contact alone," Arthur says, frowning.
"Did you know that the heart is like almost technically two hearts smooshed together?" Merlin asks suddenly, turning the page with such ferocity that the side of the page rips a bit. Arthur's pretty sure that that's the library's reserve copy. "None of the blood from the left side ever comes in contact with the right side - well, there are exceptions, like when you're a baby, but just ignore that - and they go to different systems so it's like two of them!"
He's staring at Arthur like he's expecting some great insight on this. Arthur's a psych major; he doesn't know what to tell him.
Very slowly, because he doesn't want to startle Merlin, he slides the text out of his hands and closes it. "We're going home."
"But - physiology," Merlin says.
"Can wait." Arthur stands, holding the text hostage, and piles Merlin's papers for him. "Your exam is next week, for God's sake, not tomorrow."
"I have like three hundred pages to read!" Merlin protests.
Arthur rolls his eyes, "Aren't you a science student?" he asks. "Don't you know that you need to eat and sleep to live?"
"Pfft, humans can go like a month without food, and at least two days without sleep," Merlin says seriously.
"Get up," Arthur says, tugging on his shirt. "We're going home, and you are going to eat something, and then you can study for another hour, and then we're going to have sex, and then you're going to go to bed and sleep for at least eight hours."
Arthur thinks they might be attracting minute attention, so it’s a good thing they’re on the group study floor, where silence is not necessary.
Merlin looks like he might argue, but Arthur knows that, secretly, Merlin likes it when he's like this. Weirdo. Arthur does not like it when Merlin is like this.
"Fine," Merlin says, surly. He shoves himself into his jacket and pulls his hat on and his little mittens, and sighs. "I'm going to fail."
Arthur takes Merlin's mitt in his hand, and places the other on his jaw. "You're not."
Arthur firmly presses their lips together, and Merlin melts into him a little. Arthur feels this actually does nothing for his ego. His lips are a little chapped, but Arthur doesn’t particularly care. Merlin smells like library - old pages and ink and graphite. He has blue and red smudged on his cheekbone. Arthur rubs his thumb over it, and does it again a little harder.
A few moments later, he pulls away with a click. Merlin keeps his eyes closed for a second, his eyelashes fanned against his cheek.
"All right," he says, "all right. Let's go."
Arthur smiles at him and tucks Merlin's mitted hand in his own pocket with his, where it belongs.