Title: Line of Duty
Pairing/s: Merlin/Arthur (if you want)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot
Summary: Merlin gets injured out on patrol.
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: Amnesty 200 (red and gold)
Author's Notes: It was for either red or gold that I wrote a really weird one, so this sort of works with both prompts.
The king was already moving before Merlin’s cry had left his lips. The warlock sprung down from his horse, magic racing through him as he prepared to defend not only his destiny, but his friends from the ambush. He knew he had had a bad feeling about riding out, but no one had paid attention.
As the first of the bandits reached them, Merlin knew now was not the time to consider who was right (him) and who was wrong (Arthur, as per usual). Although he knew all of the knights could defend themselves, Merlin was acutely aware that they were outnumbered. He caught Lancelot’s eye through the chaos and nodded softly. He would protect them, no matter what.
His gesture gave Lancelot courage and the knight charged into the fray with the sort of recklessness that only Gwaine displayed. His actions urged Percival to follow and it only took a matter of seconds before Merlin could barely even see the knights, let alone do something to assist them. Cursing, Merlin charged into the middle of the fight himself, letting magic roll off him as he did so. Now was not the time to be cautious; no one would notice the staggering bandits as Merlin’s magic did its work.
But – as per usual – Merlin forgot about defending himself. He had just thrown a huge man back from Arthur when he felt a sharp pain split through his side. Glancing down, Merlin blinked and swayed at seeing the metal sticking into his stomach.
It was the only thing he could say before his legs gave way and he felt himself hit the floor. He didn’t have time for this, he needed to get to Arthur. But the world was dimming, the noises sounding far away and muted. Merlin was vaguely aware of a scream escaping him as the sword was drawn out, but no one came to finish him off.
Pain clouded his vision, a red haze settling over everything as Merlin tried to force himself up again. It was no good though, his strength was leaking away with the blood oozing from the wound. Merlin pressed his hand to it, the red intensified by the blood staining it.
Something grabbed his arm and Merlin tried to pull free. It was no good though, he was barely gripping onto consciousness and there was nothing he could do as he was slowly pulled from the right. The movement was agonising and Merlin tried to stay awake. He wasn’t sure if it was the sun or the magic flooding his eyes, but there seemed to be a golden tinge through the red mist. Merlin tried to reach for the gold, to cling to alertness. But it was no good. The red haze descended again and Merlin let himself drift into unconsciousness.
He wasn’t even aware that he had stopped moving and Arthur was staring down at him with a terrified expression on his face as the red turned into black and he passed out.
He was also pretty sure that Arthur’s voice would not be the first thing that he heard. Unless the prat had got himself killed as well… The thought sent a surge of alarm and energy through Merlin and he wrenched his eyes open properly. The red didn’t go away though and as Merlin frowned, he realised he could still see gold as well. He knew his magic had calmed down and the coolness of the air suggested that the sun wasn’t even still up. So what was it?
“Merlin, can you hear me?”
Merlin blinked and Arthur’s face swam into view. The king looked relieved when Merlin focused on him and Merlin wondered how long he had been out for.
“My side,” he whispered, his hand going to the wound. He felt strips of material bound around it and was thankful not to feel any blood seeping through when he pulled his hand away again.
“You’re lucky. Just a scratch.” The look in Arthur’s eyes told him otherwise, but Merlin figured as he was awake and talking, he wasn’t about to die. Instead, he tried to focus on the colours.
He seemed to be swamped in them and Merlin wondered if his eyes were playing tricks on him. He shifted slightly and the colours shifted with him. It was only then that Merlin realised despite the setting sun, he was warm.
Merlin suddenly realised. A soft gasp escaped him as he gently fingered the material. He was covered in Arthur’s cloak, the Pendragon crest taunting him with golden glints. He looked up at Arthur, only for the king to turn away. Merlin knew his realisation must have shown in his face and Arthur didn’t know how to deal with it.
“We’ll rest here for the night,” the king declared. “And make for Camelot in the morning.”
Merlin knew it was dangerous staying out with the bandits around. But he also knew that he was in no fit state to move. A hand rested gently on his shoulder and he looked up to see Lancelot gazing at him in concern.
“This time it’s our turn to protect you,” he murmured. His voice was soft and quiet and Merlin knew none of the others had heard him. He smiled and tried to say something, but his strength had ebbed and Merlin was falling asleep before he was able to respond. The grip on his shoulder tightened and he knew Lancelot had guessed what he wanted to say.
Merlin dozed, aware of his surroundings but not able to move. The only thing he was truly aware of was the warmth of Arthur’s cloak and that no one took it away from him.