Merlin shielded his face as he always did from the whirlwind of debris stirred up by Kilgarrah's wings. The dragon landed, lightly for his size, in the clearing that was their usual meeting spot.
"You are looking well, young warlock," Kilgarrah greeted.
"After nearly two weeks of rest I should hope so," Merlin said. Two weeks wasn't near enough to completely heal a body – that wouldn't happen until months down the road – but it was enough to give Merlin enough strength for a leisurely ride near the clearing and to walk the rest of the way. Horses weren't too fond of being uncomfortably close to where a dragon had landed.
"The Druids?" Merlin asked, too anxious for preliminaries.
"Scattered and alone. Their brethren have rejected them completely. I have spoken with many from the Druid camps, and they continue to refuse refuge to those suspected of having taken part in the plan to use you against Camelot. You have nothing more to fear from these renegades."
Merlin exhaled in relief, and smiled. "Good to hear."
"And concerning other matters?" Kilgarrah said, waving a claw at Merlin.
Merlin rubbed his chest. "Asleep," he said. He squinted up at Kilgarrah. "Will I ever be able to call on it again? It might have been a pain most of the time but it came through in the end."
"When the need is most dire, and you feel its presence necessary, you will be able to call upon it. It won't be simple, but it will be a far cry from what was done to awaken it."
Merlin nodded, not that he intended to call on the dragon again, not unless he absolutely, positively had to – that is, because he had no choice. He still dreamed of burning, of people small as insects scurrying to safety and turning to ash. He would stick with his magic, thank you very much. A dragon was too much power, even for Emrys. Especially for Merlin.
"Thank you," Merlin said, looking back up at the dragon. "Not for the answer, I mean. For everything."
Kilgarrah bowed his head. "You are my dragonlord, Merlin. I merely did-"
"What you had to," Merlin said with a grin. "Believe me, I know. Thank you, anyway."
"You are welcome, my young warlock," Kilgarrah said. Then, with a mighty flap of his wings, he was back in the air, rising into the sky.
Merlin watched him glide away, thinking of the wind and the air, and in that moment, for the first time, remembering with fondness what it was like to fly.
A/N: I want to thank everyone for reading this story and all your wonderful reviews. It makes me happy like you wouldn't believe knowing when a story I write is enjoyed. So thank you so much for not only reading but letting me know that you enjoyed it. It does my writerly heart good :D
I'll be posting two more stories fairly soon - one a fun little steampunk AU, another a reincarnation fic - so keep an eye out ;)