Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: It wasn’t the very best afternoon Arthur had ever had.
Word Count: 1455 - sorry
Prompt: 129 - Blood
Author's Notes: This also fills my hc_bingo square 'plane crash' - that's 10/25 done. Thanks to deinonychus_1 for the beta.
It wasn’t the very best afternoon Arthur had ever had.
He was a great pilot, trained with the RAF and everything, and had thousands of flying hours under his belt. He could handle a stupid flock of geese unexpectedly in his flight path. And even if he couldn’t, they still should have been perfectly safe, given the particular skills of his passenger. They should, in fact, still be flying back towards London.
They were both down and safe at least, and Arthur hadn’t suffered so much as a scratch. He glared at Merlin accusingly, wanting to get the complaints in first. “What kind of magic user are you anyway? Couldn’t you keep the plane in the air?”
“Hey, I wasn’t the one driving!”
“Piloting, Merlin! I’m a qualified pilot.”
“A qualified prat,” he heard Merlin mutter under his breath.
“What was that?”
“I said I stopped it from crashing and killing us. That’s helpful enough, surely?”
Arthur gazed at the wreckage of his beloved Cessna. “I’d call that crashed.”
“I’d call it being not killed, given the fact you’re still able to argue with me.”
They were out in the middle of Wales and there was no mobile reception. Arthur couldn’t see the road that he was sure had been nearby on the way down, and they’d been spun around on hitting the ground so he couldn’t even be sure which direction it had been in.
“I’ll always be able to argue with you, Merlin. If I ever stop then you can start worrying.”
“Can I start worrying that we don’t know where we are?”
“Shouldn’t your great magical skills be able to tell us that?”
“I was relying on your qualified piloting skills.”
“I was too busy trying to get us down in one piece to worry about the scenery!”
“It was me that got us down in one piece! If it hadn’t been for me, we’d be the headline on tomorrow’s papers!”
“Yes.” For a moment Arthur thought that Merlin was actually agreeing with him. “You would be the headline. I would just be and his servant, if mentioned at all.”
“Personal assistant. The modern monarchy doesn’t have servants.”
Merlin gave a decidedly disrespectful snort, then gave a little wince. Arthur had noticed him doing that a couple of times since they came down. “Slave is more like it.”
“Very well-paid personal assistant, with all-inclusive holidays thrown in.”
“Holidays with you, where I’m working all the time!”
“Not at night.”
Merlin smirked at him, the mock sulking fading fast. “I’d say I work harder then.”
“Sleeping on the job.”
“Sleeping with the job!”
“Another bonus. Haven’t you seen the best sort of magazines, Merlin? They all have me listed as the world’s most eligible bachelor. Sexiest man, Best Dressed, Rear of the Year… stop laughing.”
Merlin did stop laughing, and there was that little wince of pain again. “We should start walking,” he advised. “North’s this way.”
“Is that your magical compass telling you that?” Arthur grumbled, slightly irritated but starting to walk that way anyway. “Obviously I can tell that’s north from the sun’s position. Qualified pilot, you know?”
“Yes, all the best sort of magazines go on about it almost as much as you do. The road is that way. Perhaps someone will stop. They can have the Arse of the Year sitting on their car seat. They could take the seat out afterwards and sell it on eBay!”
That wasn’t entirely a joke and they both knew it.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Arthur asked. Merlin had sworn there was nothing wrong, that he was fine when Arthur had pulled him out of the wreckage, but he was definitely favouring his left side now, and sweating hard.
“Bit bruised thanks to your rubbish piloting skills. I’m going to ask your father for a raise.”
“Good luck with that.” Arthur tried his phone again, trying to concentrate on that rather than his growing concern that Merlin had probably protected him on landing at the expense of his own safety. He wasn’t entirely happy about the idea of flagging down a random car that could have any kind of idiot in it, but there was still no signal.
“Nothing?” Merlin checked.
“Stupid geese,” Arthur muttered. He kept trying his phone, just in case.
“There’s the road,” Merlin pointed out. A lone car was racing along it, too far off to flag down though Arthur made a run for it.
Merlin didn’t run after him, and Arthur jogged back, starting to get concerned. Merlin looked even paler than usual and was holding his side, breathing fast.
“You’re not just bruised, are you?”
Merlin tried to shrug, but that obviously hurt him.
“Maybe.” Merlin sounded a little less confident than usual. “I don’t feel too good.”
Arthur grabbed him as Merlin crumpled, barely catching him before he hit the ground.
Arthur carefully lowered his lover to the ground and rolled him gently onto his good side so that he could look at the injury. Merlin’s dark jacket and trousers had been hiding it, but the shirt beneath was completely soaked in blood.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” he hissed. But Merlin was out cold and Arthur knew the answer anyway. The idiot had probably done something foolish with his magic to ease the wound and thought he’d get back to civilisation before it got too bad. But then, Merlin wouldn’t have been able to see the bleeding hole in his back where some small part of the plane had obviously speared him during the crash. He was bleeding heavily, and Arthur’s hands were already covered in his blood.
There was another car coming.
Arthur hated to leave Merlin even for a moment, but it was probably his only chance. He ran to the roadside, waving his arms, trying to flag the car down. The couple in the car stared at him in horror, and sped past.
Well, he probably wouldn’t slow down if someone was standing by the roadside shouting and covered in blood either, but that didn’t make it any better.
Merlin was still unconscious. Arthur could only kneel beside him, applying pressure to the wound, waiting, hoping that the couple would come back, or call the police, or that there would be another car, or that they were already being searched for by the palace.
“Hang on, Merlin,” he whispered. “Don’t you dare leave me.”
The silence, the lack of response, that was the worst thing.
And then, finally, he heard the whirr of helicopter blades, the sound of an engine overhead. He prayed it wasn’t going to be too late.
Merlin was, of course, completely ungrateful.
Arthur sat on the end of the bed (private room, and Merlin didn’t seem to be appreciating that either) while the nurse ran the various checks that seemed to regularly need doing.
There were newspapers lying on the hospital table. They all had stories about the crash, mostly focusing on Arthur’s bravery in bringing the plane down safely and saving the life of his injured PA. Merlin’s picture was in some of the papers, but only a tiny shot. There was of course no mention of the real reason they’d survived. Arthur was emblazoned across them all, and apparently his approval rating was up in the high 80s. He was probably a sure thing for Rear of the Year again as well, though his father’s advisor hadn’t passed that piece of information on.
Merlin pouted at him when the nurse left. “You’re a hero. Look at this one!” He picked up a red top which had the whole of the front page devoted to a single picture of Arthur going into the hospital with Merlin, his hands and shirt covered in Merlin’s blood. “Bloody Marvellous… honestly, you could probably come out right now and they wouldn’t love you any less.”
Arthur didn’t care about any of that. He snatched the paper and threw it aside, taking Merlin’s hand in his own and squeezing gently. He didn’t dare do more, not with the injury. “I nearly lost you, you idiot. Never take risks like that again. If you’d told me…”
“I didn’t know it was that bad. I couldn’t see.”
“I want to know even if you just think it’s a scratch.”
Arthur didn’t think there’d ever been a time when he’d felt less like laughing and that must have shown in his face because Merlin actually looked repentant.
“Sorry. I was making sure you got down safely. You’re important.”
Arthur did shuffle closer then, and hold him awkwardly, trying to avoid the tubes and the wound. “So are you, Merlin,” he breathed against his lover’s neck. “Don’t ever forget it.”