Arthur Pendragon was no simpleton. He knew the secret. And if that meant lying to king and country to keep the secret, he'd do it. Merlin was worth it.
Arthur Pendragon was no simpleton. He wasn't as dense as a lot of people thought he was. He was a knight with fast reflexes, control over his emotions, great strength, and a quick mind.
So when he saw the book in Merlin's room when the water was poisoned, he knew what Merlin was.
He ignored the book and pretended he'd never seen it. So Merlin studied magic, so what? He would follow every other hint of magic to prove Merlin's innocence before he confronted him about it. He lied to the King himself to keep Merlin safe; to keep the secret hidden. It was shocking how much he would risk.
Arthur found that, without hesitation, he would even risk his own life for Merlin's. Somehow, he knew Merlin would do the same for him. He probably already had on several occasions. Even if there was no magic, Merlin was constantly sticking his neck out for Arthur.
And Arthur would never ask Merlin to use his magic. Besides the fact that it could get Merlin killed, Arthur never asked because then he would have to admit he knew the secret. And revealing that meant he was openly defying the King, his father. If the secret got out, then Merlin would either die or be forced to flee Camelot. Arthur never wanted that.
There were times when Arthur was certain Merlin had used magic in his general area, or on his things, but he had never felt that Merlin had used magic on him personally. It was both comforting and disconcerting to know that. His father had always said magicians were evil and wanted to kill, but Arthur had seen nothing but kindness from Merlin.
Merlin claimed he was a bad liar constantly, but Arthur thought he did very well with keeping the secret. The only time he'd ever been nearly certain Merlin was lying to him was in Ealdor with his friend Will. But he could never be sure if it really was just a lie to protect Merlin or if, just maybe, Will really was another wizard. But he can never ask, because then Merlin would know he knew.
Arthur never wanted to lose Merlin: Merlin the manservant; Merlin the physician's ward; Merlin the magician; Merlin the friend and confidant. Arthur wouldn't trade Merlin for anything. He knew Merlin was lying to him, but Arthur trusted him more than he trusted himself. It was shocking how close Merlin had become to him.
There were some moments where Arthur thought Merlin had done something extraordinary but couldn't place it. There were moments he thought Merlin had used big magic but hadn't seen it. And there were moments where Arthur felt like Merlin was trying to tell him something that he couldn't quite put his finger on.
At one point, Arthur feared Merlin was saying goodbye forever. It had taken him too much time to realize the possible meaning in the message and by then Merlin was already gone. But it wasn't for forever. Arthur was happy when he saw Merlin come back unharmed and unchanged.
Arthur never wanted to lose Merlin. He wanted Merlin beside him when he became king, as an equal and not a servant. Arthur had no magic, but he had strength and stamina and the loyalty of a kingdom. Merlin had no skill with a sword, but he had knowledge and magic on his side. They were two sides of the same coin and Arthur would have it no other way.
And if that means keeping the secret until the day he dies, he'll do it. If that means lying to King and country to keep the secret, he'll do it. If that means risking his life a hundred times over, he'll do it. Because Merlin is worth it, and Arthur knows that without a shadow of a doubt.
Merlin is worth it.
A short free-thought writing stemming from the fact that Arthur totally knows about Merlin. I think it's a pretty probable set up.
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