Pairing/s: Merlin/Arthur (If you want)
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur,
Summary: This man was their prisoner, why was he so drawn to him?
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: Written while half asleep so probably not very good.
Merlin stared at the sleeping figure. He couldn’t help it; he couldn’t keep his eyes off the man. Everyone told him this was the enemy. Indeed, the restraints around his wrists and ankles ensured that he wouldn’t be leaving their camp without permission from the High Priestess. Merlin knew Nimueh; she would never let such a valuable hostage go.
Despite his arms being bound around a sturdy pole, their prisoner had somehow fallen asleep. Merlin wasn’t entirely sure it was natural, Mordred had had a smirk on his face when Merlin had last seen him. That was why he had come here. For a reason he couldn’t explain, he thought he needed to protect this man. Sending someone to sleep and making sure they couldn’t fight back was exactly the sort of thing that Mordred would do.
Merlin sighed, shifting position. He was sitting cross-legged on the ground, his elbow propped on his knee and his chin resting in his cupped hand as he stared. He knew the power of his magic gave him more leeway than most when it came to bending the rules. While he had never desired to rule, Nimueh knew he had the power to take it from her by force if he so desired, so she generally let him do what he wanted. Even so, Merlin knew he was walking a thin line spending so long with the prisoner.
“Why are you watching me?” The voice was hoarse from talking but still managed to make Merlin jump. He stared at the man, only to find the man was looking back. He didn’t seem angry that he had awoken to find an enemy watching him intently. Instead, he seemed more curious.
“Don’t know,” Merlin responded with a shrug. He made to stand up, but at the last minute forced himself to just stretch his legs out instead. He was glad he did, for pins and needles instantly shot down each limb. He managed not to let the discomfort show, but knew had he made to stand he would have collapsed. There was an amused tilt to the man’s mouth and Merlin had a feeling he knew precisely what had just been avoided.
They sat in silence for a while. Merlin had expected the man to start talking again. He had certainly been speaking non-stop when they had dragged him into the camp, bound and half out of his mind with a concussion from where his horse had thrown him. Still, he had demanded to speak to Nimueh. The meeting was private, but Merlin had made sure he heard enough.
This was none other than the Prince of Camelot.
Merlin knew the man was lucky to still be alive – many of the Druids here had a hatred so deep for the Pendragons they wouldn’t care whether they killed the father or the son. But Nimueh had forbidden it, placing protective wards around the man. He had come here to warn them, she claimed. Merlin had heard enough to know it was true; the man had been appalled by what his father had planned and so had turned traitor, despite knowing he wouldn’t have been allowed to leave the camp. His horse had thrown him though, spooked by the magic in the air around the camp, and so his entrance hadn’t been as spectacular as he no doubt wanted.
Merlin blinked at him. “What?”
“Well, if you’re just going to stare at me, I thought you might like to know who you were staring at.”
“I thought you were the Crown Prince of Camelot?” The man – Arthur – looked at him in something that could resemble sympathy.
“That’s what I am, not who. Don’t judge me on something that I can’t control.”
Merlin opened his mouth, a retort ready. This man was responsible for so many deaths just based on hearing someone was a sorcerer rather than who they were as an individual. But then he stopped. If that was the case, why had he ridden here to warn them?
“Merlin. And I’m not staring at you, I’m just…”
“I don’t know,” Merlin admitted. He tried to glance away, but found that his eyes were drawn back to Arthur again. “There’s just something about you, I can’t quite put my finger on it. I was going to walk past after just a look, I swear it. But as soon as I saw you, I was intrigued.”
“I intrigue you?”
“Something like that,” this time, Merlin did look away. He knew he was blushing.
“Hey,” Arthur called softly, drawing his attention back again. “I’m glad you’re intrigued. I can’t explain it, but there is something about you as well. I met another, about our age, just a few hours ago. I couldn’t stop shivering while he was in here, fear greater than anything I had ever experienced was lurking at the back of my mind, almost as if trying to warn me about him. But you… I feel safe with you.”
“How am I supposed to know, I’m the one tied to the post. You tell me; do you mean to hurt me?”
“No!” Merlin was quick to protest, realising that he must have been right about Mordred all along. “I just… I feel like I know you. Or I’m supposed to know you. Or… oh don’t ask me, I’ve never understood what the crystals reveal to me.”
“Then maybe I can help,” Arthur said. His eyes were imploring Merlin to believe whatever it was he said next and Merlin found himself swallowing. He tried to remind himself that this was the enemy, but he couldn’t. It was as if the thought just fizzled and died before he had the chance to say anything.
“I feel like we’re destined for something, the two of us.” Arthur said bluntly and Merlin just stared at him. He wanted to deny it, but he couldn’t pretend he hadn’t been drawn to the man.
It sounded right.