I'd like to thank Phoenixfire513 for her awesomely sweet review/message! Which actually was written on my birthday and was an awesome present!
Gwaine, really, really, really, truly hates flying.
It is not exhilarating, it is sickening, and he doesn't understand how Merlin is so comfortable amongst the clouds. He hypothesizes that perhaps it is because he is a dragonlord, but he has no way of knowing if this was something that was in his blood, or, if this was just another hidden nuance to the dark haired man.
Still, as disorientating as he still found flight, he was becoming slightly more used to it. He wasn't nearly as comfortable as Merlin who let go and threw his arms into the air when there was a particularly strong upper current, but he was comfortable enough to begin to actually enjoy the sights he was seeing.
None the less once he realized he was probably not going to fall to his death, he could actually notice his surroundings for the first time. It was – certainly beautiful, traveling over lakes, and marshes, and forests. He could certainly see the draw of it if he was slightly more comfortable with having his feet off of the ground.
The bugs in the teeth could wear on you fast, though.
They were flying over a marsh at the moment, the ground below patchy with faint green and the murky green-blue of algae infested waters. They'd surely left even the outskirts of Camelot by know and were in areas that bandits and mercenaries probably wouldn't even enter.
They were uncharted and wild and something beautiful.
Merlin was farther up conversing with the creature in the deep and guttural language that was the dragon tongue, ever so often he'd catch a random snatch of conversation that seemed to be in a tongue he could understand, but it wasn't nearly often enough for him to grasp what they were speaking about.
He shifted his hands from where they were gripping rough and warm scales; at least he needn't worry about freezing his hands off, although that was probably the least of their concerns at the moment.
Problem number one, they were on a journey to who knows where on the back of a dragon. The dragon, Gwaine supposed, wasn't truly the problem, the problem was how people seeing said creature would react, because, you know, they were supposed to have been wiped from the face of the earth, or at least the continent, which for many people might as well have been the world, many years ago.
Problem number two, the king was currently incapacitated and a queen that the council still did not trust was ruling in his place. Guinevere was an amazing woman, and the first few years of her reign had hardened her to the ploys of old men way past their usefulness, but it was still a concern of how long she could rule before something had to give.
He hoped they returned before something had to.
Problem number three, even when they returned home with the person who cast the spell that incapacitated the king, there was no guarantee that Merlin would survive longer than it would take to build a fire to burn him on.
Gwaine wouldn't let that happen.
Not only because Merlin was his friend, one of his truest and first, but the dragons words from two nights before still caused him endless amounts of puzzlement. Merlin had prophecies written about him. Ok. He could deal with that. That was probably – well he couldn't say it wasn't a shock, because it had been a shock.
But it was easier to believe when he was conversing with dragons.
But the dragon had said he was everything. Which could be a large exaggeration or it could be truth. What were the implications of killing something that drastically important? Gwaine pretty much figured that it couldn't be anything good.
Truly, he thinks, even if he didn't want to save him for personal reasons, he would save him because that sounded ominous as all hell.
"Gwaine," he looked up. "Yes?"
"Brace yourself, we're going to descend."
Well, he didn't need any more prompting than that. He held on for dear life, and closed his eyes tight. Around him the world spiraled down and forwards and upwards all at once. The wind intensified tenfold and he clenched his teeth tightly and –
They landed with a solid and resounding thud inside a clearing, it was a tight fit, the great beast taking up most of the available room, nearly taking out several tall trees when it swiped it's large tale up around its legs hind quarters and laid it's great head on the ground.
There was enough room for a fire at least, which was a blessing, unless they wished to have to sleep up against the reptilian creature, which, while Gwaine was sure it would generate enough heat to keep them plenty warm, Gwaine wasn't sure he was comfortable with such a feat.
"How much of that meat do we have left, Merlin?"
There was the sound of miscellaneous items clunking and clinking together and then, "enough. For tonight at least, but I'm not sure about tomorrow." Gwaine nodded and set to gathering wood, however he frowned when he found no actual dry wood.
Venturing into the trees, he set about a more thorough search, but found that even the wood on the trees was soaked, despite the heavy leaf covering of the upper branches that he'd hoped would stop the lower branches that were at more – manageable heights from getting wet.
They might just have to sleep up against the dragon, this forest was simply too wet to make for good wood. He sighed and gathered the least wet pieces he could find and headed back, the whole venture taking him perhaps about half an hour.
It was better than nothing. Perhaps Merlin could do something about the wood.
Entering the clearing, he frowned when he found Merlin stroking the scales along the creatures back, in this light and at this distance the creature looked – somewhat diminished, less of the mighty beast he looked like up close – and more tired.
He wondered how much of a burden carrying them was, the creature had indicated two nights before that he was old, older than Gwaine could perceive, and for the first time he could see something human in the way he slumped.
At the core of every creature on this earth, he supposed, there is something searching for companionship. How lonely it must be, to know, that when you die – so does your species.
It was frightening how much he could sympathize with this creature that wasn't so far away from Gwaine himself.
"Merlin," he said finally even though he was fairly sure both man and dragon already knew he was there. "The wood is two wet, I gathered what I could, but I doubt it'll light."
Merlin frowned, crossing the clearing in a few, determined, bounds. Before taking a armful of the wood and placing it in the center of the area not dominated by the dragon, "place it here, please" Gwaine raises an eyebrow but complied and watched as Merlin knelt next to the pile, eyes flaring gold as a marry flame engulfed the wood and a small, but reasonably good fire came to life.
"Mate, did you do that every time?"
"Not every time, that would have looked a little to fishy, especially when it was outright raining, but, yeah, this is easy."
He frowns, and thinks of how useful such a skill would be to have in ones arsenal, and sits down upon the ground, Merlin following moments later.
"Could you teach me?"
Merlin looked at him for a moment, almost like he was sizing up his chances of avoiding the question, but upon realizing how serious Gwaine was, licked his lips and nodded once, the motion slightly jerky and uncontrolled.
"Yeah, I think. I've never taught anyone, but I think I could. Fire isn't too hard, though it is the hardest of the elementals, but it's not the worst spell to learn, especially when you use words to focus the magic, I imagine I could. Maybe."
But Merlin looked incredibly hesitant, and Gwaine remembered him saying he'd never had to learn the way normal people did, and Gwaine was in no way like Merlin. So, okay, maybe this wasn't one of his most thought out plans.
But what a useful skill being able to create fire would be, people had accused Gwaine of being greedy before and while he was hard-pressed to agree with them, because he was in no way about the material – what a skill making fire would be, to keep you warm, to cook food upon, but more importantly it could be a weapon that could save lives.
Moral absolutism and all that, it wasn't his thing, greed wasn't always a bad thing. He thought that he could afford to be greedy about this.
"Look, Mate. I don't want to make you do something you don't want to do – but if you can teach me, I want to learn."
Merlin nodded but frowned.
"I can't teach you how to focus you aura, or how to manipulate it."
Gwaine nodded and Merlin looked sheepish in the orange glint of the fire.
"I never had to learn this, it was something I could always do, Gwaine, I don't – I don't know how to teach you how to."
"So, I'll figure it out on my own."
Merlin huffed a laugh.
"It's not quite that simple."
"I know, but if you can see it, you can believe it, and all that."
"What does it feel like?"
Merlin frowned in concentration, before smiling slightly.
"Warm, it feels warm. But that's all magic – fire, it feels powerful, you can't tame it, you have to work with it instead. But you can't be afraid of it–when I was little I – " he flicked his wrist and a flame burst into life in his hand as his eyes faded back to blue – "I nearly burnt down me and my Mum's hut and burnt myself because I was scared of it."
Gwaine really wanted to pretend that helped him, but it really didn't. Still, it was probably the best description he was going to get. Merlin, he thought with a grin, was still slightly bumbling, just a more powerful version.
"What do I have to do?"
"Clear you head, and focus, you have to feel it, feel the heat and the power, think of the color, blue in the center and yellow and gold and orange as you go away. Concentrate on creating a small ball of power in the center of your palm. Feel it build and when you release say 'æledfýr'."
Gwaine tried, long into night, long after Merlin himself retired. His palm stayed bare.
So, ah, I'm back. i Really don't have an excuse any different than i stated in my author's not back in December except that i have been so tired lately that unless it was school related i haven't wanted to write, and really i don't even want to do it for school, i have too.
I've also got into Supernatural, which is one an awesome show. And yes, I ship Destiel. I turned seventeen on the 5th too and we actually had a snow day which was awesome in it's self but i could stay under my warm blankets on my birthday which was nice.
I assure you there is a reason that i have Gwaine learning magic. He'll get it eventually i promise. But he's going to need more help than Merlin can give. Is that a spoiler, i don't think so?
I also think that i have closed down on my creature that for later in the story. It's all very historical. (Spoiler again?)
Originally this chapter was going to be with Arthur but I've been struggling with the current episode he'd be in, because it's honestly one of my least favorite and I'm having a hard time getting Arthur's reactions to seem realistic.
Question of the chapter: Are any of you into the Supernatural fandom? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the current season, theories on what Snookie is doing in the next one, and who your favorite character is!
Does that count as more than one?
Bonus question of the chapter: if you've taken your SAT then how did you prepare? Cause the math section is really daunting for me.