Chapter 2: Arthur

A point of view brought to my attention by the fabulous xXMistressMadHatterXx

This chapter's a little abstract, apologies.

Arthur admires his armor...

Arthur really had beautiful armor.

No one noticed, of course; Arthur didn't think he would have been able to handle it if they did. There was a moment where, once, he thought Gwen was getting wise to that fact, but he quickly corrected the problem.

So now, no one but Arthur noticed.

And that was how he liked it.

Oh, it wasn't classically beautiful: its ears stuck out and it laughed at the most inopportune times. But it did its job well. Damn well. In fact, Arthur had never felt safer than when he had it around.

And yes, it could be insolent, and yes, it could sulk, but it was always there for him.

Arthur wouldn't have it any other way.

He needed his armor, and, sometimes (in moments of quiet thought), he thought his armor needed him.

He hoped it did. Because his armor was his, and always his. And, somehow, he couldn't bear the thought of his armor unhappy. Arthur wanted it to be happy, almost as much as he wanted himself happy, sometimes.

He told himself it was because the armor protected him so well, but it all went back to the beauty.

The not-so-secret beauty of his armor. That beauty kept him awake at night, hovered underneath his eyelids when he blinked.

Oh, who was he kidding? Arthur groaned. Certainly not himself.

The truth was, Arthur hated his armor. It was clunky and heavy and stiff (though not as stiff as it used to be), and it reminded him of all that awaited him, all his father's pressure.

The affection he felt was for Merlin, for the boy who was always there when Arthur needed him, for the friend who would always protect him.

Out of some sense of loyalty, perhaps, maybe affection.

Not out of love.

Never, not once, had Merlin given a sign that he returned Arthur's feelings, though, to be fair, Arthur hadn't exactly made his feelings known.

And he never would.

For now, he was content with admiring Merlin, his human armor.

For now, it was enough that Arthur, and Arthur alone, could see his beauty.