Title: Salty as the sea
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Anhora
Summary: If Merlin was crying, he could always blame it on the sea
Word Count: 620
Prompt: #104 Salty
Author's Notes: From series 1, Labyrinth of Gedref. I do like writing canon. :D
In another life, he'd have delighted to see the waves roaring against the shore, to laugh at the sea birds dancing just out of his reach, breathing in the clean salt, feeling the cold exhilaration of ocean spray against his cheek.
But watching Arthur fall, lying there still against the rocks, he couldn't help but shout his fury at the brilliant sky and cheerful sea. If his world had died, it was almost too much to see the bright sunshine or hear a gull's laughter in the wind.
It should have been stormy somehow, rain and cold and lightning flashing death into the air.
Worse, the man who had poisoned Arthur was standing there, smiling and smug, looking around at the layers of beauty in the cliffs, the blue ocean flashing white as the waves reached the rocks, the happy cries of birds wheeling overhead. Anhora waiting patiently for Merlin to take his dead prince and leave.
Merlin rose up. If Arthur was gone, destiny unfulfilled and more importantly, his dearest friend no more, there was nothing left for him. He shouted at Anhora, begged him to fix it somehow.
The man just shook his head and said, calmly, patiently, "He's not dead."
After the shock of it all, Merlin was unable to process what he'd just heard. "What?"
Anhora smiled. "He's not dead. He merely drank a sleeping draught. He'll awake soon enough."
Merlin looked down, seeing for the first time the flush on his prat's face, the brilliant sunlight glinting off the gold of his hair and the fine sweep of lashes against his cheek. Saw the chainmail move as Arthur took a breath and then another.
He wasn't dead. Wasn't dead. Just sleeping. If it had been a fairytale's end, he'd be awakened by a prince's kiss but Arthur was no princess and Merlin no prince. But it didn't matter. Arthur was alive.
Staggering back a moment, Merlin couldn't think of what to do next. Then he was falling forward, crawling toward Arthur and hugging him hard, knowing that Arthur would call him a girl if he were awake but Merlin didn't care. Kissing him and gathering him close, feeling him live again when a moment before Merlin had mourned him.
He didn't notice when Anhora left, didn't notice the sun's light glinting bright or sea songs ebbing across the sand. He only watched his prince breathe and waited.
When Arthur finally woke, Merlin was still cradling him in his arms and for a moment, he just lay there. Then he reached up and touched Merlin's wet cheek.
"Were you crying?" Affection and wonder and a hint of mockery and then he whispered, "I always knew you were a girl."
Merlin's heart swelled to hear it. "No, 'course not. Certainly wouldn't cry over such a prat." And then he smiled, wiping at his face, tasting the salt. "It's just the ocean."
"Idiot." Shaking his head, Arthur stood and reached down and yanked Merlin up and pulled him into a tight hug that seemed to last an eternity before he let go. Clearing his throat – because Arthur was never one for display, he said, "Let's get you out of here before you get any more salt in your eyes. Morgana would never stop nattering at me if she thought I made you cry."
"Of course. We can't have Morgana thinking you are a clotpole." He shot Arthur a grin. "Even if you are."
When Arthur just huffed and started off toward the horses in the distance, Merlin knew it was going to be alright after all. And if his eyes watered a bit more, from relief and a kind of giddy happiness, he'd just blame it on the sea.