Merlin stared at Arthur. As their gazes locked, Arthur’s hand shook on the handle of his sword. Arthur’s blue eyes were not meeting blue, but instead molten gold. Burning and staring and most definitely not tearing up.
Merlin swallowed heavily, his throat bobbing underneath the sword point.
Merlin wanted to laugh but it came out more like a sob. After all he had done to protect Arthur, he was going to die for trying to save him. Looking at Arthur he could already feel the scorching fire consuming his body and hear the screams tearing from his lips.
The sword point moved down to his heart. Maybe if Merlin was lucky Arthur would just kill him here. Less mess. Less pain. Not that Arthur would care about that, of course. It would just be rid of the evil and dangerous sorcerer all the faster.
Except Merlin wasn’t a sorcerer. He was a Warlock, and the strongest one to ever walk the Earth.
And Merlin wanted to tell Arthur. He wanted to tell him the whole story. To open his mouth and explain everything, from the moment he almost burned down the house at three months old to what he was doing. But when he opened his mouth, Arthur dug the sword into his skin. Merlin gasped as a trickle of blood flowed into the blue cloth of his tunic.
“Do you seriously think I would give you a chance to bewitch me?”
Merlin was trembling slightly. Arthur could tell he was trying to hide it, but the shaking transferred from his body down the sword that was still being held where a single movement forward from either party would send it plunging into Merlin’s body.
Merlin chanced speaking again. They locked eyes. “Arthur please.”
Neither could quite tell if he meant “please don’t kill me” or “please listen.” But if Merlin had every really been sincere and Arthur knew him at all, if was the latter.
Arthur cleared his throat. It was not a hot day out, but his throat seemed dry and painful. “Get out.”
Merlin crinkled his eyebrows. “What…”
“Get out Merlin. Out of this room. Out of this castle. Out of Camelot!" Arthur was seething with rage, the sword dangerously close to slitting Merlin’s throat. “Don’t let me hear your name ever again. If I have to I will hunt you down Merlin.”
The tears no longer threatened to fall but instead dripped like blood as Merlin nodded his head. As Arthur turned on his heel he said his final parting to Merlin.
“There is no place for magic in Camelot.”
And the Once and Future King left Emrys stock still in a room with orders to leave and never come back. Merlin shoved his self loathing inward and reminded himself that this didn’t change anything. Well, it had changed everything. But he was still going to protect Arthur. He just had to hide himself.
Because no matter what Arthur said, there was a place for magic if Merlin was by his side.