Title: Five Days on Patrol
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Random Knights
Summary: The patrol had gone pear shaped
Warnings: Terrible weather
Word Count: 496
Prompt: Prompt 82, Storm
Author's Notes: I really wish it was winter already.
Five days on patrol in peace time should have been almost restful. Five days and four nights surrounded by men he trusts, men he would call friends if he wasn’t in command.
Granted there was a job to be done: bandits and beasts and some times an assassination attempt. This time there had been all three and then the would be assassin had conjured a blizzard to escape capture. When their water skins froze at least two days ride from Camelot Arthur knew they were in trouble.
They had dismounted when visibility shortened to just beyond the horses’ muzzles. The harsh wind and snow had gotten increasingly driving, biting through thick cloaks and gloves. Merlin hadn’t said a word in hours and that worried Arthur more than it should.
Arthur came to a stop and turned to face his men, blue-grey shadows mere feet away. “We need to find shelter,” he yelled. “There was a small cabin along this road and I believe we haven’t passed it yet. Visibility is going to be a problem, but keep your eyes open. It should be on our left, about fifteen feet from the road.” He turned back into the wind and recommenced the hazardous journey.
Their pace was slow and getting slower. Arthur had nearly given up, wondering if they had passed the cabin before they had started looking for it. Wondering if they were going to be forced to continue the treacherous journey into the night.
“There,” Arthur suddenly heard Merlin yell. “Through the trees, I think I see a building!” He straightened, eyes trying to see beyond the swirling snow. All he saw was blinding white all around.
No, wait, there were darker shadows to their left. He could barely make out trees and the more uniform shape of a small building. Hope flared in his breast as he pulled his horse toward it. Merlin was at his side in an instant, taking the reins of Arthur’s horse and following him into the wood.
The cabin door yielded under his hand and Arthur was happy to find the small room seemingly abandoned but soundly built and welcoming after the hours spent hiking in the abysmal weather.
The knights quickly joined them, tying horses up out of the wind and unpacking their sleeping rolls and provisions. The cabin was soon filled with damp, relieved men stretching tired muscles and staking out floor space for sleep.
Merlin hazarded the storm a few times to gather wood and somehow had gotten the snow damp kindling to light. He was slowly feeding the fire with larger and larger pieces of wood and the cabin was warming up nicely.
The Prince was absent mindedly staring at the long line of Merlin’s back when his manservant seemed to sense his gaze and turned his head to grin at Arthur.
All the tension still coiled in Arthur’s chest bled away at the open look of affection on Merlin’s face and he couldn’t help but smile back.