Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Gwaine
Summary: This was Merlin's chance to make a difference.
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: My Shot
Author's Notes: Hope you enjoy!
Merlin knew he was staring but he didn’t care. The blond was gorgeous and it wasn’t as if he would notice Merlin sitting under the shade of the huge oak tree. It had been a bad day and Merlin felt he was entitled to a little eye candy.
There were many who said that he wasn’t entitled to anything because of the magic running through his veins. Merlin shook off the thought and went back to staring. But the spell had been broken, for when his gaze returned to the young man, a look of anger flitted across his handsome face.
It was so fast that Merlin thought he had imagined it. But then he looked in the same direction and instantly rose to his feet. A girl was being cornered by four older boys and Merlin knew it was because she had magic and they were going to make her pay for that.
He was halfway across the courtyard when his arm was suddenly seized and he was pulled to a stop.
“What the hell, Gwaine?”
“Leave it,” Gwaine muttered in an undertone. Merlin couldn’t match his friend’s strength and there was nothing he could do but let Gwaine drag him back to the tree. He used magic as soon as they were out of sight and Gwaine had no choice but to let him go.
“I could have helped her.”
“See that kid over there?” Gwaine jerked his head in the direction that Merlin had previously been looking. Merlin nodded – he had indeed noticed the young man. Noticed him a little too much, in fact.
“That’s Uther Pendragon’s kid,” Gwaine said. “Rumours are he is on the look-out for Daddy, seeing who comes to the rescue to get them arrested as troublemakers.”
Merlin knew Gwaine was being serious – his friend wouldn’t joke about this. Merlin had spent his entire time at university petitioning for the rights of magic-users, determined to make his mark before he left. But it was dangerous and Merlin knew that if he wanted to complete his education on his scholarship, he had to keep out of trouble.
That didn’t mean it sat right with him though. Using the tree as cover, he “accidentally” made the thugs trip into one another. The girl slipped away, unharmed, while the bullies argued it out between themselves. Gwaine rolled his eyes but grinned.
“You just can’t leave it alone, can you?”
“I don’t see why I should,” Merlin retorted. He picked up his bag from where he had dropped it before. “We should head to class.”
Gwaine slung a friendly arm around his shoulder and punched him lightly in the arm.
“What do you need to go to class for, you’re a genius.”
“No,” Merlin said flatly with a teasing grin. “I’m not taking notes for you so you can slip away.”
“Spoil-sport,” Gwaine said with a laugh.
Merlin grinned and shook his head. He never would have guessed that he would make a friend like Gwaine. Someone who supported him, who encouraged him to stand up for magic-users.
Someone who had his back.
“What are you doing here?” Gwaine said, his voice cold. Merlin looked up and saw the same kid as before. If Gwaine was to believed, Arthur Pendragon was standing at the classroom door.
“It’s alright,” Merlin said carefully, “let him in.”
Gwaine looked at him and Merlin nodded. They both held their breath as Arthur walked in.
Merlin had spelled the door. Only those who didn’t mean to harm their infiltration could enter. It was a complicated piece of magic and Gwaine had been sent to sleep with no memory of what happened several times before Merlin had completed it. But Merlin knew the spell was correct. Arthur wouldn’t have been able to enter and remain conscious if he meant them harm.
“What do you want?” Merlin asked, more bluntly than he intended. Arthur looked taken aback and Gwaine slapped him on the shoulder. The test of the door was clearly good enough for Gwaine.
“Don’t mind him,” Gwaine said, “he’s got a lot of brains, but no polish.”
Merlin glared, but then rolled his eyes and shook his head fondly. He gestured Arthur towards a seat.
“It’s Arthur, right?” He knew the answer, but Arthur looked ready to bolt and he wanted to put the man at his ease. Arthur nodded.
Merlin was stunned – he didn’t realise that anyone knew his name. But Arthur wasn’t done.
“Leader of the resistance here?”
Merlin balked this time, stepping back. But Arthur held out a hand.
“I don’t mean you any harm,” he said, having no idea of the spell he had walked through to confirm that. “I need your help.”
“My help? Why does the son of Uther Pendragon need my help?”
Merlin regretted his blunt tone as soon as he saw the stricken look on Arthur’s face. But Arthur took a deep breath, pulled himself together and looked Merlin straight in the eye.
“I think my sister has magic,” he said. “I want to join your group. I want to find out more. And I want to stop my father.”
Merlin has asked for an answer. He just hadn’t expected that. Gwaine looked as surprised as he felt but Merlin suddenly realised this was what he had been waiting for. Arthur was respected, a somebody in this place. People would listen to him in a way they would never listen to Merlin.
This was his chance to make a difference rather than hidden leaflets and secret meetings.
He was not going to throw away this shot. No matter what.
Stretching out his hand, he shook Arthur’s.