Title: The change you find
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur Pendragon, Aithusa
Summary: Merlin had just wanted Arthur to meet Aithusa
Word Count: 786
Prompt: Galavant’s ‘My Dragon pal and me’Author's Notes: Oh boy, so this was totally not what I had in mind when I signed up for this week’s prompt. I have no idea where this came from, but I greatly enjoyed every single second of writing it. Much thanks to emrys_mk for the beta!
“Arthur, stop!” Merlin cried as he ran to catch up with Arthur.
Arthur paid him no heed as he strode purposefully towards where they’d left the horses.
“Arthur, please listen to me!” Merlin pleaded.
Arthur simply unbuckled his scabbard from his belt and attached it to the saddle of his horse.
“You can’t do this!” Merlin said with determination, trying to catch his breath as he came to a stop behind Arthur.
At that Arthur turned slightly towards Merlin. “Oh, can’t I?” He asked sardonically.
“She’s just a baby!” Merlin tried.
Arthur looked at him as though he was being particularly stupid. “Yes, Merlin, I know. And terribly malnourished at that. So we are going to take her back and care for her.”
“Ca-” Merlin blinked.
The tiny white dragon who had been perched on Arthur’s shoulders curved her neck around his head and laid her own head down on the bed of golden hair and looked at Merlin with gormless eyes.
Merlin’s misplaced fear (confusion? Indignation?) turned into a pout as he watched Arthur try and fail not to look smug at her gesture. Now that he looked properly, Aithusa’s pallor did seem duller than when Merlin had seen her last.
“And yet you accuse me of trying to save every small thing that I come across,” he grumbled anyway.
Arthur didn’t rise to the bait. Instead he put his hands on his hips and raised his eyebrows in a commendable impression of Gaius, and said, “Yes, and that is why I am extremely disappointed in you, Merlin. Especially considering that you are a dragonlord. How could you leave her to fend for herself?”
Aithusa chirped as if in agreement.
“I asked Kilgarrah to look after her,” Merlin spluttered indignantly.
“That duplicitous lizard?” Arthur scoffed. “No wonder this little one is starved half to death. I would like a strong word with him. No, we’ll send Morgana to yell at the ‘great’ dragon. She’ll want to do so anyway once she sees the state of this poor thing!”
Merlin felt like he was quickly losing control of the situation, if he even had any to begin with. What was happening?
“What is her name anyway?” Arthur’s voice broke into Merlin’s thoughts.
“Aithusa,” he replied weakly.
“Aithusa,” Arthur echoed, looking up at the dragon with such a fond look on his face that Merlin distractedly filed it away in his mind to make fun of Arthur at a later date. Aithusa nuzzled at Arthur’s cheek in what might have been a kiss, and Arthur’s smile got even sweeter. Merlin knew he had lost this battle. What had he been fighting for anyway?
“She is a dragon!” Merlin tried as a last resort.
“Why, thank you for pointing that out, Merlin. I hadn’t noticed,” Arthur said, rolling his eyes as he effortlessly mounted his horse, Aithusa not wobbling the least bit on his shoulder.
“You can’t just take her back into Camelot! People will be scared of her!” Merlin explained.
“She is just a baby!” Arthur retorted, echoing Merlin from earlier, hand automatically going up to soothe the dragon as though Merlin’s words would have upset her. Aithusa let out a sound that sounded suspicious like a giggle.
“But she’ll grow,” Merlin tried to reason. “She’ll be bigger than a house in no time.”
“She will have the entire kingdom to fly around when she is old enough. Until then we’ll find her suitable accommodations,” Arthur replied. “After the feast, of course,” he added distractedly.
“What feast?” Merlin asked confused.
“A feast in honour of the new princess,” Arthur said, shaking his head at Merlin.
“What princess?” Merlin asked even more confused than before.
Arthur sighed. “When Aithusa becomes my ward,” he told Merlin patiently (which wasn’t patient at all,) “of course she gets a title.”
Merlin felt completely thrown. Even more than when he had confessed his magic to Arthur and Arthur had exclaimed ‘finally,’ and promptly kissed him.
Merlin looked at his friend (and more), his dragon and even the horses who were all looking at him as though he was being especially dumb.
As he watched, Aithusa raised her head and chirped once more, which caused Arthur to look up at her and smile again. Merlin felt his heart clench, the sight filling him with endless love and fondness. He let out a great gust of breath. He could no longer remember why he had been arguing so much anyway, he might as well give in.
That didn’t stop him from throwing a triumphant look at Arthur’s betrayed face when Aithusa flew over to sit in front of Merlin on his saddle when he climbed his horse so that they could all go home.