Title: Meeting Point
Pairing/s: Merlin/Arthur (If you want)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin,
Summary: Arthur was taking the prisoner to the rendezvous point. At least, he thought he was.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: Missed a week, now back to business.
“You still haven’t told me where you are taking me. Where is it we are going? What’s waiting when we get there? Why haven’t you just killed me already?”
“I’m thinking about it,” Arthur said, his teeth gritted. One hand was on his sword and one holding the rope. The other end of the rope was bound around the boy’s wrists, pulling him along. It was the fifth sorcerer Arthur had found this month and he knew his father would be pleased.
“I don’t think you could. You’re all for show, you don’t have the stomach to actually do anything.”
“No. I like talking. If we’re travelling together, we really should talk…”
“We’re not travelling together,” Arthur said. He stopped, winding the rope around his hand as he stalked closer. “You’re my prisoner and you will be silent.”
The boy spluttered indignantly as Arthur shoved his neckerchief in his mouth, gagging him. Then he continued walking, keeping the rope taut there wasn’t enough slack for the boy to pull the gag out again.
Finally, Arthur had some peace and quiet. He sighed in relief and took in the sights of the forest. It was beautiful. But the boy’s words nagged at him and Arthur couldn’t distract himself for long. Was he right? Did he bring people back to Camelot – and certain death – because he didn’t have the stomach to do it himself?
He glanced back at his shoulder at the lad. He was younger than Arthur. Lanky limbs, a mop of dark hair and bright blue eyes that shone with righteous indignation. Arthur smirked at that defiance, secretly respecting it. Even older sorcerers shamed themselves by begging. This boy hadn’t even tried to deny his magic, he had let Arthur bind him without a complaint.
Embarrassed to be caught staring, Arthur turned his attention back to the path ahead. He was making good time, he didn’t have to rush.
“What happens if you don’t make it back to your men?”
Arthur jumped. He looked over his shoulder to see the scarf was once again around the youth’s neck. The boy shrugged.
“Magic, remember? Do you really think you could silence me?”
“I could cut out your tongue.”
“You could. But we both know you won’t.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“You’re Arthur Pendragon.”
In Arthur’s mind, that answer should have made the boy tremble in fear, not shrug in a non-committal manner as if it was no big deal. Arthur would have re-gagged him, but he knew it wasn’t worth the effort.
“So go on, tell me. What happens if you don’t make the rendezvous point with your men?”
“Why wouldn’t I? We’re making good time.”
“Just humour me.”
“Fine. They’ll send out scouts to see where I am. They’ll kill or torture anyone for information on my whereabouts if I vanish, then they’ll send word to Camelot for reinforcements. Eventually, they’ll tell the king.”
“They won’t tell him first? He is your father.”
“He’s the king first and foremost. A missing knight is no concern of his.”
“But you’re his son…”
“You don’t say,” Arthur muttered. “Now be quiet.”
He didn’t want to admit the boy had touched a nerve. His father wouldn’t care. He would only care if Arthur was being used against the kingdom. Then he would throw all his resources into getting his heir back and punish Arthur severely for being so careless that he had been taken in the first place. The thought made Arthur feel lonely and sad.
“My mother will already be worrying about me,” the boy said.
Arthur flinched. He had had curses, insults and spells thrown at him. Nothing hurt as much as the boy’s words.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “But you’re the one who practices magic.”
“Yes, I suppose I am, aren’t I? And I’m sorry too. For the way your father will react.”
The hairs on the back of Arthur’s neck stood up. He reached for his sword and made to pull the boy closer. But the rope was slack and when Arthur stared along it, it was to find the boy’s hands were untied. He shrugged.
“You forgot the magic part,” he said apologetically. Then he put two fingers to his mouth and whistled sharply. The air was filled with the sounds of running feet and Arthur drew his sword. He tightened his grip, levelling it at the boy. But the boy’s eyes flashed and Arthur found himself defenceless and on his knees. The rope came alive, this time snaking around Arthur’s own wrists.
“I’m sorry,” the boy repeated. He walked forward and knelt down next to Arthur. “But the only reason I let you take me this far was because it’s not your rendezvous point we were aiming for. It’s mine. We can’t let you keep killing us like this.”
“Who are you?” Arthur spat, struggling against the ropes. Whether it was the magic or the fear, he didn’t know. But he couldn’t get a grip to free his hands and it was beginning to make him panic. The boy put a hand on his arm, but Arthur shrugged it off.
“They call me Emrys. My mother calls me Merlin. But you…” The boy trailed off, looking thoughtful. Arthur tried not to notice as the area surrounding them filled with men wearing strange robes. At the back of his mind, Arthur knew they were druids. That should have made him relax; they were a peaceful people. But he was on his knees and bound – relaxing was not a possibility.
“To you, I’m your destiny,” Merlin finished. Arthur stared at him in surprise and his lip curled. Before he could speak, a wad of material was shoved into his mouth. He recognised it as the boy’s scarf.
“You’ll thank me for it later,” Merlin muttered.
Hands grabbed his arms and Arthur was pulled to his feet.
“Don’t worry,” Merlin called. “You won’t be hurt, you have my word.”
As he was pulled away, Arthur wasn’t reassured.