Title: A Minor Detour, Part 10
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine
Summary: “You have a life here. A future, a career, smegging dynasty waiting for you. You’re the captain of the Albion, you have responsibilities.”
Word Count: 712
Prompt: #242: Responsible
Author's Notes: Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 || All Parts on AO3
Merlin hadn’t had any contact with the outside world since being tossed in the confinement unit, not even with the security officers assigned to guard him. He was sure there must be some stationed outside his door, and equally sure they’d been ordered not to let Arthur in. Maybe they would allow the other Knights, maybe not, but Uther wasn’t likely to want Arthur anywhere near him.
Piloting had been Merlin’s dream since the first time he’d caught a glimpse outside Ealdor Station’s triply reinforced walls, a wide-eyed kid seeing the stars he lived among for the first time. He’d known, staring out into the field of countless stars, that he needed to be out there, as close to the untouchable infinite as he could. He’d found a position on a Camelot ship the day he turned sixteen and worked his way from there to being the youngest First Navigation Officer ever to serve on the Albion. He was a smegging prodigy. He loved his job, he loved his ship, he loved his crew. It was everything he’d ever wanted.
The thought of losing all that filled him with a terrible, cold ache of terror that felt like an airlock opening in his chest. It made him need to scream, to fight, to cry. He wanted to melt into the unfeeling metal containment of his cell and float down into the heart of the ship just so he could stay.
The thought of never seeing Arthur again cracked a hole in him so large that it eclipsed all those other feelings.
They’d been at each other’s sides since the start, meeting on Merlin’s very first trip outside of Ealdor’s orbit. But there was more to it than that, even if Merlin’s joke on Gwaine’s ship was the closest either of them had ever gotten to admitting it. Even if nothing could ever come of it. Arthur was his commanding officer, the son of Admiral Pendragon, the darling scion of Camelot—there were complications, to say the least.
A series of beeps on the outer door indicated life for the first time in hours. Merlin scrambled to his feet, nearly tripping over the jumpsuit he was still swimming in, and waited. Maybe they were finally bringing him some food.
“What—Arthur, what the endless void do you think you’re doing?”
His captain was there in the doorway, just a forcefield away from him now, and so was the rest of the Knights squad. And Gwaine. Gwaine with a blaster, which he was currently pointing at one of the two disarmed security officers being restrained by Leon and Percival.
It was pretty obvious what Arthur thought he was doing, even before he grinned and said, “I’m saving you, Merlin. Obviously.”
“We’re saving you,” Gwaine said pointedly.
Arthur sputtered indignantly at having his perfect line ruined and turned to glare at Gwaine. “I initiated the saving. I planned and facilitated the saving. I would be saving with or without you, which makes you unnecessary to the saving and means that I am saving Merlin.”
In any other circumstance, it would have come off as petulant—well, no, it did come off as petulant. But it was also kind of sweet, in a childish and possessive sort of way.
Additionally, it was the stupidest thing Arthur had ever done. Arthur had done a lot of stupid things.
“No, you aren’t.” Arthur looked at Merlin, his expression betrayed, but Merlin didn’t let him speak. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, really, I do. But Arthur, you can’t. You just—you can’t, none of you can. Not for me.”
Arthur and Merlin both glared at Gwaine for that interruption, but it didn’t deter his cheeky flash of a smile. Merlin decided to ignore him, and returned his attention to Arthur.
“You have a life here. A future, a career, smegging dynasty waiting for you. You’re the captain of the Albion, you have responsibilities—”
“Damn my responsibilities, if they mean leaving you to this.” Arthur’s voice was low and solemn. His eyes locked on Merlin’s with an intensity that stole his breath, made him forget that they weren’t the only two in the room. “And damn you if you think I would.”