Title: Harts and Hounds
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Uther
Summary: Arthur triest to pretend it's an ordinary hunt, but it isn't.
Warnings: Highlight for spoilers. Implied violence, implied character death, implied animal death.
Word Count: 150 words
Prompt: #279 Word Limit (150)
Author's Note: Prequel to Hearts and Homes. It's good to be back! \o/
Arthur tries to pretend it’s an ordinary hunt, but it isn’t.
Merlin is still innocent; unaware. Trailing Arthur, he trips over nothing, twice, deliberately trying to scare away the game.
He thinks Arthur doesn’t notice, but he does.
He thinks Arthur doesn’t know him. But oh, Arthur does.
They track a young buck into a clearing, the creature oblivious to the danger. Arthur readies his crossbow.
Merlin stumbles forward, and, predictably, the hart bounds away.
When Merlin turns back, Arthur has another heart dead in his sights.
“I know what you are.”
To his credit, Merlin doesn’t beg or try to dissemble.
“I only ever used it for you,” he says.
“I know,” Arthur says. “I watched you do it.”
“Now you’ll have your reward.”
Back in Camelot, Arthur lays his heart at his father’s feet.
“It’s done, sire.” It’s not entirely a lie. “The sorcerer is gone.”