Spoilers: For early Season 1.
A/N: For libra_traveller, prompt “Merlin's relationship with the Dragon ”. Came out a little off the prompt and a little long, but hopefully fulfills it fine. :)
Merlin wonders on quiet nights, as he stares up at the imperfect plastering, if he doesn't already know the answers he's meant to.
The dragon bellows cryptic mystic messages back at him on each visit to the cavern, but they are simply clues, breadcrumb trails towards the right answer. It is, however, always he himself who in the end figures out what he must do, when the crisis comes to a head – he is the only one there who understands.
It's usually not perfect, his solution, and this often catches the dragon's scorn. Even when it's right though, there's much further to go, no praise. All stick and no carrot.
The dragon whispers words, warnings, and Merlin feels his gut twist as he tries to work out what it is he's supposed to do this time. If it's destiny, why isn't it simple? Why is he constantly tested? Whatever he is destined to do he doesn't seem to have proved himself worthy just yet.
He's still a confused boy cowering below a great beast, not even a man. Maybe that's what he's meant to be, he thinks, and how it will always be. It was men who defied the old ways, who stood tall and did evil in the name of good – banishing everything they could. It makes Merlin think he can't live up to his destiny when his destiny is to become a man, become greater than all this – he has no faith that life will ever change. He has the word of a dragon, who may or may not be simply dreaming of freedom and better days.
Some nights he thinks he must be insane to put any stock in that.
And other nights he drifts off to sleep imagining constellations of stars made from the flaking holes of the ceiling, dragons coming alive and speaking to him of the future, the fall that awaits.