aoifene: (merlin oh shit)
[personal profile] aoifene
Title: Risk
Author: [ profile] aoifene
Pairings: Gen (with hints of pre-slash Merlin/Arthur)
Series: Merlin
Rating: PG
Disclaimers: New fandom, same deal. They're still not mine.
Beta: My lovely [ profile] jamie2109
Warnings: AU. OOC, Takes place sometime at the end of Episode 4: The Poisoned Chalice
Summary: It's not that Arthur doesn't know risk comes with a price, it's just that he has always been willing to pay it.

The wind rushes through the space between them. Father and son standing side by side. Arthur's face is still lit up with Uther's unexpected praise.

"I am still curious as to why you felt the need to save a servant," Uther says slowly, breaking the companionable silence. His eyes are steady on his only son. "Defying even me in this task."

"But you said you were proud of me," Arthur protests, indignation rushing hotly through his veins, followed quickly by anger. "And that I did the right thing!"

"And that has not changed." Uther once again clasps his shoulder. "However, you did it for the wrong reason."

"A man's life was at stake! A death sentence he was handed because of me. What other reason is there?" Arthur shoots back.

"Men have died in battle in your stead and undoubtedly countless others have suffered due to one of your actions as Prince. It is a fact of royal life. Something which you know and yet you've never managed to lose your head about it before now. Until this boy." Uther shakes his head. "I am merely wondering why he would matter so."

"There is nothing I can do for the dead. Merlin had a chance and I took it for him. He is a subject of the Crown and in my service. He is entitled to the protection that entails," Arthur replies stiffly.

"True enough but that still does not explain why you had to personally see to it. You could have sent one of your Knights." Uther narrows his eyes. "I think if it was of lesser import, you would have." He steps closer, making the air between them all the more tense and stifling. "The question still remains as to why this is so."

Arthur avoids that searching gaze, his eyes settling on the crest sewn on his father's cape. "He is important because my people are important. Isn't compassion for one's people the mark of a good king? You have taught me as much."

"I have taught you many things, my son, but not this." He shakes his head. "Never have I taught you to place another's life before your own, before even your kingdom or your Crown." Uther walks a slow circle around him, his eyes never leaving Arthur's face. "I think you learned that all on your own."

Silence meets this assessment as brown bears down on blue. The tension rises as the minutes tick by, Arthur unsure of what to make of his father's words and Uther equally wary of the dawning realisation settling in the pit of his stomach.

"Or perhaps it is something that this boy has taught you."

"What exactly are you saying, Father?" His voice is sharp and his look even more so. He struggles to keep the defiance from showing on his face but one glance at Uther's scowling countenance has him certain he is failing quite spectacularly.

"I stand by what I've said before. I have only one son, Camelot, one prince. The castle is full of servants. If this is something you have forgotten, you must re-learn it." Uther says. "I am proud of you for escaping the evilness of that sorceress but do not attempt it again." His lips twist in distaste.

"Especially not for him."

Arthur merely bows his head mutely as his king's footsteps echo against stone. He keeps his place until the chink of metal against rock fades. Only then does he straighten, his eyes staring sightlessly towards the horizon. But for once the restless figure of Arthur Pendragon is still, not pensieve nor impatient.

For once, he is at peace.

His father's command slips from his mind for Uther need not worry. He hasn't raised a fool for a son. Of course, Arthur knows what his life is worth and that he shouldn’t be careless with it. He is reminded at all times by the guards stationed in every corner and the heavy weight of his crown. He is, after all, a prince. He has a destiny. A life ahead of him that will be in service of his people. He is sure of it. It is a knowledge buried deep in his bones right along with the certainty that Merlin is the only one he'd ever risk it for.

Simply for the fact that he is the only one Arthur knows would be worth it.

The end.

AN: Hope you enjoyed it! Just had to get this out of my system.*scurries back to the h/d fandom*
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