Title: In your arms I will live
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin.
Summary: Merlin makes a choking sound that is lost in the din, and his sword falls from his hand.
Warnings: Near character-death.
Word Count: 450
Prompt: #21 Promise
Author's Notes: The spell is the one Taliesin used in "The Crystal Cave".
Fighting in a war is not like fighting parties of bandits or raiders in the forests of Camelot. There are men everywhere, steel and blood everywhere, all obscured by the dust kicked up by hundreds of feet, and the noise is deafening. It provides good cover for a young warlock trying to keep his magic secret, but right now, he's back to back with the King, and so he must defend himself as best he can with his sword.
Merlin fells one man, and doesn't see the next one coming until the Saxon's spear stabs deeply into his abdomen. Merlin makes a choking sound that is lost in the din, and his sword falls from his hand. The Saxon falls with it a second later, his skull split by Excalibur.
“To me!” Arthur shouts. “To me!” In moments they are joined by a dozen knights in red that create a protective circle around them.
Arthur catches Merlin when his knees give, but the King buckles under the weight and has to sit down, ending with Merlin lying half on top of him.
Merlin presses both hands to the bleeding wound in his stomach. “Oh,” he says as he realises how much blood there is, pumping up between his fingers and staining his chainmail. He waits for Arthur to make a joke, call him a girl and say he's seen worse wounds on the training field, but he waits in vain.
“Oh Merlin,” Arthur says instead, and somehow that makes Merlin terrified. He's dying. And that leaves him precious little choice.
“I don't often ask you for things, do I?” he says, voice strained.
A huff of desperate laughter fans, warm, against Merlin's ear.
“Surprisingly, you don't.”
“Then-” Merlin has to break off to breathe through his nose, fighting pain and darkness and the cold. The dust seems to grow thicker before his eyes. “Can I ask you for something now?”
Arthur bends his head against Merlin's neck. “Anything.”
Merlin smiles tightly.
“No matter what happens next, please, don't let go of me.”
Arthur's arms tighten around him immediately. “Of course not.”
Arthur is beginning to wonder. “I promise.”
Merlin closes his eyes for a moment, preparing himself.
“Wel cene hole.”
It feels like a wave of heat, chasing off the cold and the pain. He can almost feel how the blood slows and then stops, and the flesh knits itself back together.
“It worked,” he exclaims weakly, lifting his shaking hand to confirm that there is no more blood coming, surprised that he was for once able to cast a healing spell.
Behind him, Arthur has gone very still, but his arms are still around Merlin, like he promised.