Title: More Than I Should
Rating: Teen and Up
Pairing/s: pre Merlin/Arthur
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Modern royalty AU. The prince's motor car is hit by a lorry and Merlin realizes his worry for Arthur might be more than just professional. Prince!Arthur Bodyguard!Merlin
Warnings: car crash, injuries, blood
Word Count: 1100
Prompt: #296: Revelation
Author's Notes: First time participating in one of the weekly drabble prompts! Wahooo! Sorry it's a bit longer than 1k. Whoops. Anyway this is a prequel and companion piece to my 2017 gift exchange fic All I Want Is All I Need. I just could not get this scene out of my head after writing that other fic and well, this happened.
The lorry comes out of nowhere.
Merlin blinks, trying to clear his vision. The smell of burnt rubber and petrol surrounds him, the blaring of the motor car’s bashed horn filling the background. He can hear shouting far off, but he pays them no heed.
Arthur. He needs to get to the prince.
His heart seizes just at the simple thought, the blood pounding through him and setting a painful rhythm that ricochets through his head. It may be nothing more than a simple accident, Merlin knows that. But he’s been trained to anticipate and not discard any options until proven otherwise. This could very well be the first stage of a ploy to get at the prince and Merlin is not willing to gamble with Arthur’s life.
Either way, he needs to get to Arthur and he needs to get to him now.
He fumbles for the door latch and manages to find it on the third pass, throwing his door open to the street. The world shifts, twisting around him. Sharp pricks race up his palms a second later and it isn’t until he tries to take a step that he realizes he’s on the ground, on his hands and knees just outside his door.
Oh, that can’t be good.
His head is pounding harder now and he can feel a warm tickle running down the right side of his face. Probably hit his head in the collison. Would explain the distorted equilibrium. Can’t worry about that now.
He pushes himself to his feet, stumbles a bit but manages to stay upright. Someone off to his left shouts and he looks up sharply, his hand immediately going for his weapon. But it’s just a small woman looking at him with concern, hand over her mouth, mobile device up to her ear.
Right, he should contact the other security immediately. He needs backup.
As he stumbles toward the back door of the motor car, Merlin presses the call button on his surveillance, patching him through to the other members of the royal security.
“Emrys to basecamp, motor car four has been hit. Threats, unknown. Requesting backup.”
The calm professional voice of Henry comes through his earpiece not a second later. “Copy Emrys. Dragon status?”
“Unknown,” Merlin responds to hearing Arthur’s codename. He examines the motor car for any other threats along its chassis. There doesn’t seem to be any but he’s on the opposite side of where the collision happened. Arthur is his priority. “Assessing now.”
Merlin ignores the halos in his vision, the way everything seems to tilt and move without his permission. He glances around the motor car, taking in what he can make out and willing his eyes to just focus for a brief moment so he can make sure they are not under any sort of attack. The lorry driver stumbling out of the driver’s seat seems just as shocked and distraught as the people slowly lining the street. A few rush forward to the driver’s side of the motor car, where the lorry made contact but none seem overly threatening. No one seems to be interested in who is in the cabin of the motor car and that makes Merlin relax a fraction.
But not much. He has no idea what state Arthur may be in and the thought makes his heart race all over again.
God, if Arthur is hurt in any way, he doesn’t know how he’ll cope.
The thought catches Merlin off guard as he realizes it came from an intimate place rather than a professional one. But he pushes that realization aside to mull over later and pulls the back door open.
“Arthur?” Merlin calls, trying to keep the worry from his voice. He fails that, and he knows it. He was never really good at keeping his emotions in check.
The cabin lights come on as Merlin opens the door and the destruction inside becomes visible. Glass shards litter the floor and the side cushions across from the small bar. The platter of meats and cheeses Arthur’s valet had laid out for him is scattered across the entire cabin.
But it’s the hunched form of Arthur on the other side of the cabin that Merlin focuses on. He sees two of him, blurred and weaving to and fro. But he also sees him look up, four blue eyes melding into two as they meet his gaze.
“M-Merlin?” Arthur’s voice is trembling slightly, making Merlin’s heart seize in panic all over again.
“Are you hurt?” Merlin asks with as much calm as he can muster. His eyes are roving over all the visible parts of Arthur, looking for any hint of blood or injuries of any kind. He can’t see anything from where he stands outside the motor car but his vision still isn’t at its best and he still can’t see Arthur’s other side.
“I don’t...I don’t think so.”
Merlin reaches toward Arthur. “Can you move?”
Arthur reaches out a hand, and Merlin can’t help but notice how much it’s shaking. His worry comes back tenfold.
“Merlin, you’re bleeding,” Arthur says, his eyes locked onto Merlin’s hairline above his right eye.
Merlin ignores him. “Can you move?” he asks again. Now he knows the worry is evident in his tone but he can’t help it. Arthur isn’t answering him and he’s shaking and he is decisively. Not. Moving.
Arthur tears his eyes away from Merlin’s hairline and meets his pleading gaze again. “Ye-yes,” he says with a nod. Then he looks up to Merlin’s hairline again. “Merlin, your head.”
“I’m fine,” Merlin brushes off his concern even as his head gives a particularly painful throb and his vision blurs. Arthur can worry and fuss and complain all he wants once he is no longer in the metal death trap of a motor car and within Merlin’s reach. Preferably in his arms where he can protect him better.
And there it is again.
He has no idea where these unprofessional thoughts are stemming from. He and Arthur are merely friends, nothing more, and even that much is stepping outside of protocol. He shouldn’t think about his charge in any sort of intimate context. His eighteen year old charge. And a member of the royal family to boot.
No, he can’t think of this now. Later, once he makes sure Arthur is safe and cared for, then he can dissect it and ensure any intimate feelings he may have for Arthur are banished from his mind.
He has a job to do and he can’t let any emotional attachment he may think he feels to get in the way of that.