Title: Perfectly Flawed
Pairing/s: Arthur/Merlin pre-slash
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Merlin thought his destiny must be flawed. He couldn't really be expected to help this conceited, spoilt prince become the greatest of kings, could he?
Word Count: 526
Prompt: 65 Flaws
Author's Notes: Barely finished this in time for the deadline, so it hasn't been betaed. Apologies for any flaws as a result, no pun intended...
At first Merlin had thought the dragon must be wrong. His destiny could never be to stand with this arrogant, conceited, spoilt prince and help him become the greatest of kings. The concept had one gigantic flaw, and that flaw was currently yelling at him as he ran up the steps to the prince's chambers.
Merlin tended to lose track of what he was being yelled at for because it happened so often. He gathered it was partly to do with the mess which had appeared suspiciously quickly in Arthur's rooms but largely because the king was going to make Arthur sit through some particularly boring petitions that afternoon. Merlin started clearing up after Arthur's breakfast, picking up clothes from the floor, occasionally responding to Arthur's complaints and grumbles with a couple of words of agreement. Destiny was a funny thing, and perhaps not entirely fair.
In the beginning, Merlin had thought he might have liked to serve someone more noble, someone who didn't deliberately spill things on the table and floor just to so that he had an excuse to yell at his servant. Someone who didn't think it was funny to use him as target practice. Someone who cared just a little bit about their servant's feelings. Someone who could at least manage to dress themselves in the morning, because really who couldn't do that? Someone who didn't have a lifetime's loathing and fear of magic. Someone who wouldn't eventually throw Merlin in the dungeons then have him executed for disobeying the king's laws on sorcery. Someone who wasn't Arthur.
It hadn't been Merlin who ended up in the dungeons for disobeying the king as it turned out, it was Arthur, trying to save Merlin's life. It was Arthur who followed him to Ealdor and helped him save his home. It was Arthur at the Labyrinth of Gedref who chose to sacrifice himself rather than let his servant die for him. It was Arthur who showed with each of those acts just how much he did care for Merlin really, even if he could never, ever say so.
It was a rare master who would do any of those things. Someone who had the makings of a truly noble king.
So Merlin carried on with his tasks and sniped back because there were only the two of them there. If Uther heard him he'd have been in the stocks or worse long ago. He had a suspicion that Arthur liked him more for his attitude, because nobody else talked back to the prince or treated him as if he were just a regular guy. Only Merlin did that, Merlin who ironically knew better than anyone that Arthur was unique and loved him for it a little bit more every day.
Arthur still deliberately dropped things on the floor and did whatever he could to annoy Merlin. He still used him as target practice. Worst of all, there was no getting away from his mistrust of magic, his deepest flaw. But his nobler deeds gave Merlin hope that one day this would change too.
He just hoped that he wouldn't have to wait too long.