Title: Darkness in the dungeons
Word count: 615
Prompt: In winter the dark creeps up on you
Summary: Merlin was caught doing magic
Author’s notes: Not beta’d. Yay! What else is new? First drabble after the pause. Hmm…might need a bit more practice.
How many days he was in here already? Merlin had lost count. He knew that it was only Arthur’s doing that he was still alive after the king had caught him doing magic. He hadn’t thought but instinctively cast a spell when the bandits threw daggers at Arthur. That this had happened in the courtyard and Uther had stood up on one of the many balconies was most unfortunate, but Merlin would do it again. If he ever got the chance.
Each time they built a pyre right outside the little window his cell had, he thought his time had come, but somehow it was always someone else. So many innocent souls who got killed by the angry king.
Once in a while, someone came to see him, trying to whisper crazy plans of escape, but Merlin was stubborn. He knew he could open the cell doors easily and if he used the full power of his magic, he could not only escape, but free the land of the oppression of Uther Pendragon.
He didn’t, though. Merlin waited. He knew that change was close, hoped that Arthur would turn out to be the man he hoped he was.
Arthur…who had refused to pay him a single visit, who was probably still cross that he had hidden his magic for so long. And the only man who should truly know that he only ever used his magic for him.
Casting a little heating spell, Merlin managed to keep warm, but fall turned into winter and his cell lay in utter darkness most days. It became more and more difficult to not let the darkness creep into himself. What took Arthur so long? Had the dragon been wrong and they both had misjudged the prince?
Merlin could barley muster the energy to lift his head when he heard hectic steps in the courtyard and the bell was ringing constantly. Something had happened, but he didn’t care what.
Then, an eerie silence fell over the castle and Merlin couldn’t place it nor did he care. He had failed his destiny, he would burn on the pyre. If he wouldn’t get eaten by the rats in the dungeons first. The sun hadn’t been out in days.
Slowly, he lifted his head when he heard the door to his cell being opened. He almost laughed as his mind produced the image of Arthur standing there. Why would Arthur come to see him now?
The whisper was clearly Arthur’s and when the man stepped closer, Merlin could see it was indeed the prince in the light the torch gave off.
Arthur slid down into the hay next to him, his back against the cold stone wall just like Merlin’s and for a while, neither of them spoke a word.
“He’s gone.” Arthur finally said.
It took a while for Merlin to realize what he meant by that. The king was gone. Arthur was king now. Merlin just nodded. Good, he wanted to say, but the land hadn’t only lost it’s tyrant, Arthur had also lost his father. And it wasn’t clear if Arthur would rule in favour of magic yet.
So they sat in silence for long minutes, before Arthur took a deep breath and scrambled up. He held out a hand to Merlin to pull him up.
Merlin just looked at him.
“It took me a while to weigh the pros against the cons, but…it looks like I’m in need of a court sorcerer.” He pushed the torch into the hand of a waiting guard and pulled Merlin’s arm around his shoulder. “But first, you need to take a bath. You stink. I can hardly introduce you like that.”