Title: The Ride
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Uther, Morgana
Summary: Arthur and Merlin continue their visit at the Pendragon estate with a morning ride.
Word Count: 616
Prompt: #75 Foolish
Author's Notes: This drabble is a continuation of my "Once In A Blue Moon" series which can be read on AO3 here.
Morgana entered the dining room chirping, "Good morning everyone! It's a beautiful day today, isn't it?"
Uther grunted as he looked up from his newspaper. "Good morning, Morgana."
Arthur, his mouth full with poached egg, merely nodded in acknowledgement. Merlin responded brightly, "Yes, it looks to be warm and sunny today."
"I think a ride to tour the property would be in order, Merlin, since you haven't been here before. Do you ride?" Morgana asked.
Merlin shook his head regretfully. "I'd love to, but I've never ridden a horse before."
"Not a problem, you can ride Dusty--he's perfect for beginners. I can show you Arthur's favourite hideouts from childhood."
Merlin's face broke out into a wide grin. "I'd like to see those and hear more about Arthur as a boy."
"Whoa," Arthur interjected. "If you're going to be talking about me, then I'd better come along to defend myself."
Morgana smiled. "Of course you're welcome to come along, Arthur. How about you, Father? Will you join us?"
"I have some business to attend to, but you young people enjoy yourselves." Uther returned to his newspaper reading.
Morgana pulled her horse up until she was beside Merlin. "How are you doing Merlin?"
"Alright so far." Merlin continued to concentrate on his balance as he spoke. "What was Arthur like as a boy?"
"Willful and stubborn."
Merlin laughed. "So just the same as now!"
"Oi, I heard that," Arthur protested as he pulled up beside the other two. "I wasn't that bad."
Morgana continued, "Even the most disciplinary of nannies couldn't control him. I don't know how many times he was sent to bed early with no supper. From about the age of--what, Arthur, ten?--he began sneaking out the bedroom window and climbing down the trellis to escape out to the woods."
"The woods were my kingdom, where I was in charge--not the nannies, not the tutors, not my older sister, not my father." Arthur explained. "I always came back before sunrise."
"Yes, and then you nearly fell asleep during lessons the next day. Here's the tree Arthur fell out of when he was eleven and broke his arm."
"I didn't fall. I merely landed ackwardly and bent my arm back."
"R-i-i-ght. What did I say before? Stubborn," Morgana retorted.
The warm sunshine beat down on the riding party as they crossed the meadows single file. Merlin was getting hot so he removed his neckerchief and wet it with water from the canteen Morgana offered him. The cooling effect lasted a little while. The rhythm of the horse's rocking walk and the heat combined to make Merlin sleepy. It didn't help that he'd gotten little sleep the night before sharing Arthur's bed. The temptation of having Arthur so close all night was too much for restful sleep.
It started with just his head drooping. He jerked himself awake the first and second times, but the third time, his head stayed down, and the rest of his body relaxed. It only took a mis-step by the horse for Merlin to slide off and hit the ground.
Arthur immediately closed the gap, and jumped off his horse. Merlin was still on the ground, but he was blearily looking about. "Wha' happened?" Merlin exclaimed. Then, as he tried to roll over, he cried out in pain, "Owww!"
"Where does it hurt?" Arthur asked anxiously.
"My wrist. I think I sprained it." Merlin answered as he slowly tried to flex his wrist.
With relief, Arthur helped Merlin sit up. "You fell off your horse, you foolish idiot," Arthur admonished with affection.
With a wink and a grin, Merlin replied, "I didn't fall. I just landed awkwardly."