Title: The Greatest Truth
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur reflects on secrets and truths
Word Count: 300 (triple drabble)
Prompt: 164 - Truth
Author's Notes: None
Arthur dispatched the last bandit with a precise sword-thrust. Vanquishing the armed attackers had been easy, since they kept stumbling over nothing and were repeatedly knocked off their feet by flying cooking pots.
Turning to Merlin with a victorious grin, Arthur met eyes where a golden glow had yet to fade.
Annoyed, he looked away. “Stop quaking in your girlie boots, Merlin. No need to beg for mercy. I can handle such poor fighters in my sleep.” His voice came out more surly than he'd intended.
“Blah blah, trained to kill from birth,” Merlin muttered. When he rolled his eyes at Arthur, they had regained their usual blue colour.
The two of them rode on at once, eager to avoid further surprise skirmishes.
As the intense battle-rush faded, Arthur found himself in a bad mood. He glanced at Merlin, riding by his side, looking guileless.
After all this time, after Merlin's increasingly conspicuous use of magic, how stupid did he believe Arthur to be? After all they'd gone through together, why didn't Merlin trust him enough to come clean? The questions kept nagging at Arthur and made him grouchy.
In their night camp, Merlin chattered pleasantly. He brought Arthur food, tended their horses and cleaned the weapons. Then he rolled himself in a tatty blanket and went to sleep on the ground without complaint.
Arthur felt confidence returning. Happiness once more filled his heart. Merlin's magic remained a secret, but the greatest truth of all – how much he cared for Arthur – Merlin told him every day, loud and clear. Every thoughtful gesture and helping hand, every tender look and glorious smile, every silly joke and impertinent quip assured Arthur of Merlin's unconditional loyalty and spoke more eloquently of love than plain words could ever do.