Title: Destiny Calling
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin,
Summary: Merlin has to go and see what Arthur wants.
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: The Dragon's Call
Author's Notes: Not that I didn't already have this vaguely in my head...
“Your destiny is calling, better go and see what he wants.”
Merlin sighed, reluctantly placing his book down and moving from his new home. He didn’t want to have to deal with that prat on the best of days, the last thing he wanted was for Arthur to summon him now. His head was full of magic and spells and destines and Merlin only realised ten minutes later that he had no idea where Arthur’s room were. After spinning on the spot, he came to the conclusion that he had no idea where he was either.
It took Merlin almost half an hour to finally push open the right door. Considering the guard had said that Arthur wanted him right away, it came as no surprise that the prince was standing there, staring at him with a scowl on his face.
“What time do you call this?”
“I got lost,” Merlin said with a shrug. He decided to try and make things easier for them both. “Look, I know this isn’t ideal-,”
“Ideal?” Arthur snapped. He turned away and flung himself dramatically over an unmade bed. “It’s a nightmare! Who is going to help me train? Organise things? Help me dress!”
“You can’t dress yourself?”
“Of course I can, but it’s hardly the point.”
Merlin rolled his eyes, shutting the door behind him as he edged into Arthur’s room. He had never seen living chambers so big and it took all his control not to gape. He was in over his head and Arthur would be more likely to stand there and watch him drown than lend a hand.
“So what do you want?”
“The guard said that you wanted me right away. I came as fast as I could, so what do you want?”
“It hardly matters anymore.”
“Right.” Merlin tried to control his temper and reached for the door again. “I’ll just be going then.”
“Don’t you dare take a step outside of this room.” Arthur’s voice was a sharp command and Merlin instinctively froze. He could feel his magic rising, wanting to react to the danger in Arthur’s tone. He shoved it down. His magic was made to protect Arthur… Merlin wondered what the dragon would say if he used it to turn the prat into a frog. Then again… Merlin tilted his head on one side. It might be an improvement.
“What are you smirking about?”
“How the prince of Camelot is a sulking child having a tantrum.” The words slipped out before Merlin could stop them. He clenched his lips together as Arthur slowly rose from the bed, half-expecting the prince to reach for his sword. Merlin told himself it was the dim candlelight that made him see the flicker of respect across Arthur’s face. By the time the man reached the table, he was scowling again.
“I’m going to have to beat some respect into you, aren’t I?”
“Wow,” Merlin drawled. He walked across the room and before he knew what he was doing, had taken the opposite seat. Arthur didn’t say anything; he didn’t even seem to have noticed. “You really have a way with people, don’t you? Ever consider that respect might have to be earnt?”
“You mean the thrashing I gave you in the market didn’t earn it?”
“Seriously?” Merlin stared at him. “You think threatening and bullying someone will make them respect you? Besides, I had you on the floor, another few moments and you would have been begging for my mercy.”
Merlin knew Gaius was going to kill him, providing he ever left this room alive. He stared at the table, wondering if he could make it back to Ealdor before Arthur tried to have him executed for speaking his mind. But when he dared to look up, there was the faintest trace of a smile on Arthur’s face. This time, Merlin knew it was no trick of the light and he stared.
Arthur reached out and poured a goblet of wine for himself. There was a second cup there, but Merlin knew that would be overstepping the mark. He was still trying to figure Arthur out. It was obvious the man was a prat, anyone with eyes or ears could see that. But unless Merlin was mistaken, Arthur was genuinely enjoying that Merlin was saying precisely what he thought and not holding back because he was the prince. Knowing that it would never happen outside of these chambers, Merlin sat back and made himself more comfortable.
“So what do you have to train for?” He asked, trying to get on neutral ground so he could test if his theory was right or not. Arthur glanced at him, looking startled.
“You don’t know?”
“I know the whole world apparently revolves around you, but no, I don’t. I only got here three days ago and spent half of that time in either the stocks or the cells.”
This time, there was no denying Arthur’s grin but Merlin only rolled his eyes rather than reacting verbally. He regretted his question a few moments later though when Arthur launched into a lengthy description of tournaments and knights, feasts and honour. It had been a long day and the topic was hardly interesting. Merlin felt his eyes drooping.
When his chair slid from under him and he hit the floor, Merlin woke with a jerk. Arthur raised an eyebrow, his foot still outstretched from kicking it.
“Glad to know you pay attention,” he said, sounding faintly annoyed. Merlin picked himself up, rubbing his elbow.
“I’ve had a busy day, saving your life and everything,” he mumbled. Arthur didn’t say anything and Merlin wondered if he realised he shouldn’t insult the man who had saved his life.
“Go back to Gaius,” he said. “And try not to be late in the morning.”
Merlin moved towards the door, then looked back. “Any pointers on how to get back?”
Somehow, it came as no surprise when Merlin ended up the wrong end of the castle.