Arthur liked to tell Merlin that he – Merlin, that is, not Arthur – was an idiot.
Merlin was starting to believe it. After all, he might be the only person in history to lose his destiny. As in literally lose him. Because Merlin couldn't find Arthur anywhere, and this was a really bad time for him to disappear.
They were currently in the middle of infiltrating a hostile Camelot.
Because Arthur had decided it was a good idea for he, Merlin, and Tristan (because he wasn't recognizable) to look around Camelot and decide where Morgana was weakest before they gathered their forces and attacked. That was three of them. Against Morgana's entire base.
So maybe Arthur was the real idiot here.
Either way, the point remained the same: the king was missing, and Merlin had lost him.
It had been going fine until Arthur let the hood slip off his head and several guards recognized that stupid, handsome face. They'd pointed and shouted for backup, drawing their swords.
Arthur yanked out his own, as did Tristan (Merlin, as usual, had not been given a sword), and they ran. Skipping through the square, they'd ducked under and around obstacles, splitting up as they led the guards on a merry chase. Their advantage was that Arthur and Merlin knew Camelot well, and their disadvantage was that there were only three of them.
Merlin had seen Arthur across the street as he nearly took out an entire wagon of hay. He'd only looked away for a few seconds to grab Tristan's arm when the smuggler tried to head down an alley that led to a dead end.
"Not that way!" he warned, and they kept running.
But when he looked back, Arthur was no longer in his sight. Merlin didn't have much of a choice—he kept going, figuring they would meet up later.
Merlin found a place to hide eventually; the same way he got Mordred away from the guards, he escaped. He pulled Tristan along with him.
They waited in the dark, catching their breath, for several minutes. At last Merlin felt that they were safe enough to peek open the door and step outside.
Which was when he was forced to conclude that he had somehow managed to lose the king.
Merlin cursed as he turned full circle. "Do you think they got him?"
"Maybe," Tristan said. He'd always been a realist. It was very annoying.
Merlin started back where'd they come from, looking around as he went, hoping to catch sight of a blond head on top of an irritated king. He could just hear Arthur now: "Where did you get off to? I thought you'd both been killed! This isn't a game, Merlin!"
They didn't hear that, though.
Merlin was beginning to get truly worried, and he was just about to head to the castle and look there, when he heard a whisper.
Merlin's head whipped around to face the quiet old woman who sat outside her house. She was looking at him, but her head was ducked. He recognized her vaguely.
"They brought the king to the castle," she said, still in a whisper. "They're going to take him to the Lady… Queen Morgana."
Merlin turned to look at Tristan. Then back at the woman. "Thank you," he said. "Thank you very much for telling me."
She nodded and slumped back.
Merlin started walking again and turned back to look at Tristan, dread blooming like a poisonous flower in his stomach. Not only had he lost his destiny; he'd let him get captured by their mortal enemy.
Well, wonderful. Maybe he really was an idiot.
But he'd better start being an idiot on a rescue mission.
A/N: Okay, I didn't really like this. But hopefully it'll get better. I wanted it to be longer, like a one or two shot… Looks like it'll be a bunch of little chapters! Oh, well. I really wrote it to avoid having to write Vault. But please review, because I want to know if I should actually try for the story idea I have planned (you know, the summary).