Warnings: a bit of angst?
Word count: 804
Prompt: 346: no exit
Summary: Arthur can't find the way out
Author’s notes: Not beta’d. And sorry, not very creative with the title, I know.
Arthur was running. Where was he? This place was creepy and dark and he was breathing hard from all the running. His hair was plastered to his forehead and more than once he slipped on the wet ground and fell, so his hands were scraped and his knees wet and muddy.
Maybe there was an exit over there? Where was over there? No matter how far he ran, the other side of the room didn't seem to come closer. First, he had tried feeling his way along the wall, but it was endless. There was just no way of knowing how big or high this place was, so he kept running. He would bump into another wall eventually.
The atmosphere in here was very strange. There was enough air, but Arthur felt he couldn't breathe. Was it some kind of spell? Or something in the air trying to poison him? He needed to get out.
Frantically, he searched for an exit and got more panicked with each step he took.
Finally, he just stopped. There was no use, this would suffocate him, he could as well just stay where he was and wait for his end. Slowly, he sank to the ground, desperately trying to gulp in some air.
This was it, this was the end. He heard the well-known voice just in his head, calling out to him.
But then, he heard a door being opened and there he stood. Arthur could only make out his silhouette as the next room was brightly lit. This couldn't be.
"Arthur, wake up."
He came over, knelt down and touched his hand to Arthur's shoulder to shake it lightly.
When Arthur blinked awake, he saw Merlin's concerned face lit by the little lamp on their nightstand. His heartbeat and breath slowed down a bit.
"Another bad dream?" Merlin reached over to brush some of the wet strands of hair off of Arthur's forehead.
"I was...I was trapped...I was running, but there was no exit. I couldn't get out." When he felt Merlin's look on him, Arthur stopped and swallowed. "It was nothing, I'll just go to the bathroom and then come back. Sleep."
Merlin reached for his wrist when Arthur tried to get up. "Is it because of the wedding? We don't have to do this. We can't do it if you're not into it." Now Merlin swallowed hard. "I can't marry you if you feel it's a trap you can't get out of."
The sad look on Merlin's face broke his heart. They had had their difficulties and planning such a huge wedding slowly took its toll on both of them, but he never wanted to hurt Merlin. Arthur shook his head. "That's...you didn't hear the end of my dream."
Merlin just looked at him.
"A door opened when I was about to give up. Someone came over and showed me the way out. That person was you." He smiled carefully.
"You make this up to make me feel better."
"I don't. That was the end of my dream. You got me out of there."
Merlin shook his head. "We shouldn't go through with this if it makes you feel trapped," he repeated.
Arthur shook his head. "The whole planning thing is a bit too much. Everybody constantly has good advice and wants us to do this or that. It feels like we didn't have a moment to ourselves for weeks. I would be lying if I said it doesn't irritate me."
"No 'but', Merlin. Just two more days and you save me. It'll be just you and me from then on. Two more days and this whole pompous thing will be over and you will finally be Mr. Pendragon." Arthur meant every word he said. He hated that their families meddled and that everyone knew it better and that the whole ceremony and reception got so out of hand. Once that was done and over with, it would be Merlin and him and that was all he wanted.
"Excuse me?" Merlin's eyebrow shot up much like Gaius' did when he didn't approve of something and Arthur chuckled.
He knew that the mentioning of the last name was a topic they didn't agree on. Or rather one that he had compromised on as Merlin wasn't willing to give his last name up and he was too much of a Pendragon to give up that name, so they would just keep their own names, but it was always fun to tease Merlin with it.
After a while they settled in again and Arthur leaned over to switch off the lamp. Merlin was nestled against him and calmly breathed into his neck. As suffocating the preparations were, they were worth it and Merlin would always be there to save him if it got too much.