"Why does everything go wrong when you're around?!" Arthur shouts, moving closer and closer till he's in Merlin's face. "What is wrong with you?!"
"Sire, please, this isn't just Merlin's fault-" Leon steps forward, but Arthur quickly turns to him with equal anger.
"This is entirely Merlin's fault!" he shouts. "If I hadn't been stupid enough to bring him along then none of this would've happened! I thought I learned my lesson with the Dragonlord but I couldn't be any more wrong!"
Merlin immediately hardens his features at the name and quickly wipes his tears with the back of his hand before they have the chance to be seen.
"The Dragonlord... I thought bandits had taken his life." Leon carefully questions.
"They did. They took his life when he gave it up to protect Merlin." Arthur growls, rounding back to face Merlin again. "You're as incompetent now as you were then. Death follows you like a curse, Merlin. You're cursed, you are nothing but bad luck and I will never stop regretting the day I let you stay." he growled.
Merlin's entire body is trembling violently now. With hurt or rage, he can't tell, but all he knows is his vision is blurred by tears, his heart is heavy and Arthur is right. He'd lost so many people simply by being close to them.
Will was his best friend... his only friend, and he died protecting Merlin and his secret.
Freya was the closest thing to a lover he would ever get, and because he couldn't protect her, she died at the hands of Arthur.
Lancelot had too good of a heart to have been affiliated with Merlin. He embraced Merlin with honesty, loyalty and friendship and in return Merlin indulged him into a life of lies, heartbreak and death.
Balinor... his father... Merlin had made all sorts of promises to him, to take him to Ealdor and reunite him with his mother, to bring their family back together so they could be happy.. only to die protecting him.
Merlin could've done something. Each time he could've done something and he didn't.
He wanted nothing more than to disappear.
"Will, Freya, Balinor, Lancelot..." he whispers their names, letting his tears fall and raising a careful hand to messily wipe them away. "You couldn't be anymore right, sire." he whispers, lowering his head. "I hate myself more and more each time I think about them. I'll never forgive myself."
Arthur stands dumbstruck for a moment, looking at his friend with conflicting confusion, his anger slowly deplenishing into uncertainty and cautious guilt.
"Merlin." he says, his voice flattened by the anger having left and replaced with firm sternness. "Look at me."
Merlin slowly lifts his head, tears spilling past his cheeks and a miserable look on his face. "I'm sorry." he whispered. "I'm sorry."