Remix: Trust Falls (the Down to My Ankles Remix) [Arthur, Merlin, 369 words, rated G, no warnings], by iambickilometer
Arthur doesn't know magic. He's not like Merlin, born with it as strong as the idiocy he used to display so often. And he's not his father either, seeing it everywhere he looks. Arthur knows dangerous and useful and (he hopes) wrong and right, and so far magic has been every one of those things, so he knows that he can't be close to understanding it. And that's why he doesn't trust magic.
This sword, the one Merlin's holding up to him, this is magic. It's almost humming, pulling at his hand, and Arthur accepts it almost without thinking. Touching it sends a jolt like touching metal before a storm though his arm, and his fingers sting with it. He sucks in a breath. It's fire, lightning, coiled in the metal in his hand. It's almost alive. This sword could topple kingdoms or destroy magicians for good or kill a dragon in a single blow. As much as he knows he will wield this sword, he knows he can't trust it, either.
Merlin knows magic. Merlin knows this sword, too, by the way he handled it and the way he watches it now, frowning, wary. Merlin knows these things like Arthur knows duty and command, having grown into them the same way. There are still flashes of gold in his blue eyes, as there have been since the day he shed his disguise, and there's maturity there, too. The manservant Arthur pushed around and expected messes when it didn't matter and relied on when it did is gone. Merlin's powerful, now, not quite a subject, but loyal in a way that sometimes shakes Arthur to the core and sometimes has him fearing for the day when that loyalty will end. Not that Merlin will harm him -- but that Merlin will leave.
Arthur holds up the sword, feeling the energy buzzing along its length, following Merlin's eyes as they look slowly up. Then Merlin looks back down and their eyes meet, and Arthur's breath catches. The same energy in the sword is in the air between them. Right now, if Merlin wanted to, he could probably do anything.
But Arthur trusts Merlin, so he doesn't step back. He smiles.