This fic is dedicated to the lovely ModernFemMerlinSpy!
Merlin had nothing against Wednesdays. Of course, today could not be a typical Wednesday—even for Camelot. His day that was supposed to be filled with cleaning a certain prat's room and polishing his armor was now occupied by yet another sorcerer. Why did all deadly magic have to target Arthur?
"Emrys," greeted a dramatically hooded sorcerer as Merlin skidded into the throne room, "already in mama bear mode? I'm almost touched."
Merlin bristled. "What do you even gain from this enchantment? You're a disowned duke."
"I was disowned because Uther saw fit to murder my father," the sorcerer hissed, his eyes narrowing. "I'm simply giving the man a taste of his own medicine. Arthur's death will serve as
an apt lesson. My compulsion on the Camelot knights is for them to kill Arthur. Even the princeling's prowess with a sword cannot save him."
Merlin's yellow eyes deflected an array of axes the sorcerer sent his way. "I don't know," Merlin drawled. "Arthur might have to kill you himself for that one."
"Your faith in your liege, who would immediately burn you for your magic, is adorable. Perhaps I'll have the knights kill him in front of you," the sorcerer laughed, only faltering when Merlin deflected his magical assault with ease.
Merlin drew to his full height, keeping his eyes yellow. "Don't make threats you cannot keep. Canem mortuum paulatim mori et succendetur!"
The sorcerer's arrogant expression slid to horror. "No!" he shouted, clutching his head. "This shouldn't be possible! You're just a boy!" He gasped for breath as yellow sparks flashed throughout the throne room. The floor below him began to crumble as the pressure increased above him. Blood streamed down his face and his screams ricocheted around the room. The sorcerer opened his mouth, either to curse Merlin or to let out a dying scream, as his eyes rolled to the back of his head. He swayed a moment before his lifeless corpse toppled to the ground.
Merlin stared sickly at his spell's aftermath. He swallowed down his nausea. He had no idea that reversing the sorcerer's own compulsion spell would have this effect.
"Merlin! What do you think you're doing?"
Merlin immediately stiffened. He glanced at the bloody corpse. No physical weapon could cause such a thing. "Ar-Arthur, it's not what it looks like."
Arthur yanked Merlin away from the corpse, his glare becoming more heated. "Oh? Then what were you doing, Merlin?" Arthur asked sardonically.
"I'm was…well…you see…"
"I just saw the sorcerer in here and he started convulsing. I wasn't sure how I um should handle this situation," Merlin stammered. Arthur sheathed his sword, not that he'd need a weapon to subdue Merlin. His only realistic option for escape was either magic—not that Merlin could use it against Arthur—or hope that Arthur conveniently arrived in the throne room without witnessing any of Merlin's spell.
"Shut up," Arthur snapped. "The guards are coming and your incessant babbling will make even them aware of your magic."
Merlin twirled and gapped at the blond. "My magic?"
"Yes, you twat, do you need me to spell it out? Now, shut your trap."
Merlin tried to cover his shock as the guards burst through the doors.
"The sorcerer is subdued," Arthur said as the guards approached the gory corpse. "His spell reversed itself and the sorcerer's body couldn't handle the magical overload. Clean up the mess before your king arrives tomorrow."
The guards saluted, none thinking to question Arthur's authoritative tone.
Arthur gestured shortly for Merlin to follow him. As soon as the doors to Arthur's royal chamber were shut, Merlin turned on Arthur. "My magic?"
Arthur rolled his eyes. "Are we still on this? Did that sorcerer fuddle with your brain or something?"
"What? No!" Merlin snapped, ignoring Arthur's raised eyebrow.
"Then what's the problem?"
"Why are you so calm about this?"
"Honestly, you'd think you'd be relieved by my reaction."
"It's illegal," Merlin said insistently, absently cursing his curiosity that would not let sleeping dogs lie.
"I know, Merlin. It's also considered admirable to save people from certain death."
"But—what? Oh yeah that…was nothing."
"A bit more than nothing. You killed a man, Merlin," Arthur said. He punched Merlin companionably on the shoulder when he saw Merlin's face slip into a frown. "Thank you, Merlin."
"Can't have you die on me," Merlin mumbled, a pleasant warm feeling growing in his stomach.
"Aww, Merlin, it's like you care."
"Shut it, you dodderhead," Merlin grinned before frowning. "You were remarkable accepting when you saw my magic today."
Arthur's eye roll made another appearance. "Hate to break it to you, Merlin, but this isn't the first time I saw your magic."
"You're incredibly obvious," Arthur continued.
"I'm not obvious!" Merlin protested. "No one else knows about my magic!"
"Due to good luck among other things," Arthur argued. "Do you even try to hide it?"
"Really," Arthur said, a patronizing tone creeping into his voice.
"Do you have any idea how close the Witchfinder was to catching you?"
"He didn't truly suspect—wait, you knew about my magic then?"
"Yes, Merlin. And it was only my complete lack of faith in the accusation that you had magic that convinced my father you weren't worth pursuing after Gaius was arrested."
"But…I had no idea," Merlin said, gaping at Arthur.
"So I've gathered."
"When did you first find out?"
"Around the time that wanker replaced you as my manservant for a while."
"You hired him."
Arthur waved a hand dismissively. "I didn't even see you do anything spectacular with magic. You were just cleaning my clothes. You're incredibly lazy, by the way."
"Oh, that's rich coming from you."
"Your door was cracked open. Your self-preservation skills leave much to be desired. You weren't even trying to hide."
Merlin flushed. "Where was Gaius?"
"Tending to Morgana," Arthur said. "Before you ask, I did not react how I did today when I saw your magic."
"Why didn't you turn me in?" Merlin asked quietly.
Arthur pursed his lips. His silence stretched so long that Merlin was about to assume he had quietly been dismissed. "I was shocked, rightly so. I—I actually left the room instead of confronting you. I stewed in my room before I decided that I'd keep an eye on you. At the time I assumed you were a spy. I was going to turn you in to father when I had more evidence."
Merlin could not stand the silence. "What stopped you?"
Arthur shifted in his chair, glancing up at Merlin almost shyly under his eyelashes. "You were very dedicated to keeping me safe," the prince said quietly. "Against threats I was not aware of or was ill-equipped to handle. I owe you my life. I will not condemn yours."
Merlin hummed, feeling blood rush to his face.
"I don't know why you chose to remain my manservant, but I'm glad to have you."
Merlin grinned. "Why you almost sound like you care."
"Dammit, Merlin, I was allowing that moment."
"And I appreciate the moment, sire, I was simply trying to extend it."
"Don't try to be clever. It doesn't suit you."
"So I suppose I can magick more openly now?"
Arthur choked on air. "More openly? Is that even possible, you daft git?"
"You're almost as bad with magic as I am with my swords."
"Please," Merlin protested, "you flaunt you skill with weaponry."
"Exactly my point."
"I do not flaunt my magic."
"A bit louder. I don't think the prisoners in the dungeons heard you. Honestly, I don't know how you ever thought you were secretive."
"I'm very sneaky."
"Right," Arthur said, "and I have donkey ears."
"Everyone was born different."
A bowl flew past Merlin's head. "Go muck out the stables, manservant. Normally. And do try not to mention anything about magic to the other stablehands, will you? I know that's asking a lot."
"Yes, your royalness," Merlin mocked bowed. He could not quite contain his grin. Arthur finding out about his magic was one of Merlin's worst fears. Having Arthur not only know about his magic, but help and support him…It gave Merlin hope for Camelot's future.
Now how to tell Gaius…