Title: Watching Over Him
Character/s: Percival, Merlin
Summary: Merlin watches out over everyone. It's time someone watched out over him.
Word Count: 428
Prompt: #74, warm
Author's Notes: Not part of the Merlin/Morgana 'verse I've been drabbling in, but this one wouldn't shake me.
He watched as Merlin moved from tent to tent, shoulders hunched, his burden clutched tightly against his chest, each visit stripping him of another blanket that helped shield him from the bitter winds. No complaint ever fell from Merlin's lips, not even when he heard Arthur teasing Merlin about taking so long. Arthur didn't mean it, of course. He'd given the specific order to first distribute the blankets to those knights who'd been out in the storm longest looking for Morgana.
But still, Percival was annoyed on Merlin's behalf when he emerged with the last of the blankets, cheeks red from both the brisk air and Arthur's ribbing.
"Last but not least," Merlin announced cheerfully as he approached Percival. Now that he was so close, his teeth clicked audibly from the cold.
Percival gave one last tug at the knots to test the horse wouldn't bolt in the night. "Keep it."
The bright smile faltered. "It's yours."
"And I don't need it. My cloak'll do." It was true, after all. The older and stronger he'd got, the less the cold bothered him.
Though he looked doubtful of Percival's denial, Merlin glanced back at Arthur's tent. "Well, I suppose that's one way to keep Arthur from complaining--"
"No." He caught Merlin's elbow before he could leave. As frigid as it was, he wasn't quite prepared for just how icy Merlin felt within his grasp. His resolve firmed. Merlin spent too many hours seeing to the well-being of others. It was more than time someone did the same for him. Percival had longed for an opportunity such as this for too many months. "Arthur has plenty. I want you to use it tonight."
Wide blue eyes searched his, but for all Percival knew Merlin could see, he would find no other meanings but Percival's good intentions. "I have a blanket," he said.
"So now you have two." He slid his hand up to Merlin's shoulder and squeezed. "It'll make it easier to get a good night's rest. After the day you've had, I'm sure you can use it."
Merlin wanted to protest. It was written all over his face. Sometimes Percival wondered how it was Arthur could be so blind to Merlin's feelings when he wore them for the world to see. He knew the instant Merlin made up his mind to accept, seconds before he broke out into that lovely smile and uttered the words.
And as Percival watched him trudge over the frozen ground with his new prize wrapped around his shoulders, an echoing warmth suffused Percival's chest.