Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: It's not what it looks like.
Word Count: 253
Prompt: #29 - Misunderstanding
His breath is a mad thing, hammering through his chest and bursting into the open air, where it dies over and over. With each urgent exhalation, he is closer to exhaustion. It does not matter. Mailed boots slide precipitously on the glassy steps. His pace increases despite the danger.
He reaches the limit of the twisting staircase and emerges onto a windswept battlement. The north wind presses down like a giant's hand, snapping his cloak behind him. But it's the scene playing out on the parapets that brings him to a halt: Merlin somehow towering over a beast ten times his size. Arthur watches with mingled horror and awe as the massive, horned head lowers submissively.
He's not sure when he draws his blade. He doesn't feel the steel sliding from the sheath, just the weight of it like judgment in his hand. Startled blue eyes meet his in a crash of agonizing realizations. He has never felt so powerless, or less like a king. He's walking forward, but it is the past he sees: a thousand double-edged glances, words that meant more than they said. Blue is burning away to gold, and he should be terrified.
Instead, it is Merlin who flees, power spilling about him like discarded armor. He follows the great beast into the open air, leaving the stones of the dark castle shivering with whispers of sorcery. Arthur's mouth is open, in plea or prayer, but he's so suddenly alone that the words never make it to his lips.