Arthur didn’t learn to use a toaster until he was in college, and even then there was a period of time during which toaster-experimentation was a fairly frequent occurrence. Fortunately for Arthur, that time-span coincided with the period of time during which he woke up most mornings in either Merlin’s room or his own with a numb arm and the other man on top of him, snuffling in his sleep.
One morning Arthur shifted Merlin off of him, smirking as the other man rolled over, mumbling something incoherent and probably rude into the pillow. He padded into the communal kitchen, too early on a Saturday for any of the others in the house to even consider rising. He’d mastered the coffee machine out of necessity before his first exam, and he set it to boiling before looking around the filthy kitchen, scratching his head as he tried to sort out what exactly he could do.
He sighed, wiping crumbs from the counter onto the floor in what was quickly blossoming from mild irritation into impotent rage. “Breakfast.” He groaned. “Breakfast.”
The toaster. Oh, he was saved. He took two pieces of bread from the loaf and setting them on the counter. So far so good. Next step… did he butter the bread before or after putting it in the toaster? Arthur wiped at his face with his hands. “I… okay, just—” Cramming the pieces of bread into the toaster, he pushed the handle down. “That went… better than expected. Alright.” He ran his fingers through his hair.
Grabbing two plates from the sink and running water, scrubbing with a sponge until they were something resembling clean. Tossing them on the dining room table, he turned to the toaster. “Couldn’t this go any faster?”
He heard Merlin’s yawn from the bedroom, imagined him stretching, long and lean on the bed. “Great. That’s— that’s great. Super. Fantastic.” He pawed at his face again before an idea struck him. He grabbed a fork from the sink, rinsing it before examining the toaster. He could hear Merlin coming towards the kitchen. “Fuck.” He held the fork to the edge of the toaster.
“Arthur? What are you—” Merlin blinked, rubbing his eyes with the heel of his palm. His eyes widened, taking in the scene in front of him. “Arthur, don’t!” He rushed forward, smacking the fork from Arthur’s hand. “You idiot!” He said, somewhere between fond and furious. They stared at each other for a moment. Neither was sure who laughed first, but suddenly they were clutching their bellies and laughing.
“Hush, we’ll wake the others.” Merlin murmured after they settled a bit. He put his hand on top of others, grimacing at the state of the counter. “No one ever cleans here. And clearly I’m the only one who knows how to cook!” He raised his voice again. “Really, you idiot. What were you doing?”
“Making you breakfast.” Arthur replied, interested in a stain on the sink. “Hm, I thought that sink was stainless steel—”
“Clearly, the culinary endeavors of this household have stretched the boundaries of its kitchen.” Merlin smiled, suddenly very close. “I just saved your life, you know.”
Arthur cleared his throat. “And I suppose some thanks are in order for that.”
“You tried to cook me breakfast.”
“And failed miserably, apparently—” But Merlin hushed him, pressing his nose against Arthur’s.
“Good morning.” He grinned, wrapping his arms around Arthur’s waist. They stayed like that for a moment, sun streaming through the window, fork discarded on the counter.