How to Save a Life

Summary: After Camelot finally settles down from weeks of chaos, Arthur finally notices something wrong with Merlin. But is it too late?

Could this be? Has...has this story ACTUALLY been updated.

Yes I'm sorry guys for being so long. Blame the stupid plot bunnies they drive me mad. Anyway I've completled now. That's one Merlin story down. Gee you guys must really be angry at me.

Okay this chapter may not be as good as it's been awhile but I think it came out alright. Hope you enjoy.

4. How to save a life

Arthur wasn't sure how long he had followed Merlin through the woods. They had walked for some time now that Arthur, a hunter, was already getting tired of walking. He half wished to jump out from his hiding place and confront Merlin but decided it would be best to see what Merlin was up to. Besides, Arthur hadn't a clue what he should say anyway.

Usually to check the time all Arthur had to do was check the sky and the stars. But Merlin skirted through the trees not only quietly – which built up more concern from Arthur as when has Merlin ever walked through a forest quietly – but quickly too. Any momentarily distractions and Arthur almost lost Merlin through the trees. He had to keep focus on his target, till at least Merlin at last slowed either from reaching his destination or exhaustion.

Suddenly Merlin slowed. Arthur quickly ducked silently behind a log, breathing as quietly as possible. He listened, wondering if Merlin had caught onto him following.

Instead he heard heart wrenching sobs breaking the silent atmosphere of the dark forest.

Merlin couldn't take it anymore.

He literally couldn't take it.

He had tried to go through the day with all the chores Gaius had given to him. When Merlin had returned still early in the morning with a glare across his face, his fist shaking and his eyes red, Gaius had immediately forgot about asking why Merlin had left without breakfast. The old man tried to ask what was wrong but Merlin had interrupted his tone icy to show he wasn't in the mood. So instead, Gaius had double his chores so he would be too busy to plunge into his thoughts.

Merlin had to admit he was thankful for the distraction and wished he hadn't snapped at Gaius. But it hadn't work. Arthur had been trying to get him all day, Gwen was asking about it twenty four-seven. Through Merlin managed to not make any eye contact with him, the memory of the morning still ran through his head like a plague, making him angrier and angrier.

Plus more and more of the unforgiving deeds he had done still echoed in his mind, making it almost impossible to stop the tears flowing.

And all through this one thought stayed in his head that entire day right until he decided enough was enough and he snuck out of Gaius' bedchambers and to the forest.

The Hemlock.

He brought it out now, the bottle still in his pocket as it had been through the whole day. His tears stopped through he didn't try to wipe them away. Holding it out in front of him, he took time to squint in the dark and read what it said.


Use for antidotes for other poisons and cure for a bite of a mad dog.

WARING! POISON! Use with caution.

Huh. So that was why Gaius stocked it.

Biting his lip, Merlin forced the memories of losing Morgana, his father, Freya and Will as he pull out the cork. Not caring about the cork, he let it drop to the ground as he focused on the vial. Knowing that it held his life and death in its contents.

Good. Should have done it sooner, he thought.

Merlin brought it up to his lips.

Suddenly something or someone tackled him, knocking the Hemlock to the floor and pulling his arms into an arm lock to stop him reaching for it.

"What the hell were you trying to do Merlin?" Arthur yelled as his hold on the boy tightened. Merlin was struggling to break his hold, trying to reach the Hemlock.

Yes, Arthur knew what it was. Not only did that big skull help Arthur to suss out even from the distance he had been that it was dangerous but he had seen that bottle many a time when visiting Gaius. When he was younger he had even questioned Gaius on it, confused how such a deadly poison would have it uses in the medicine world. The fact that it had been in his friend's hand just moments before...and his friend had been about to drink it, had Arthur's face even chalkier white than Merlin's pale skin.

"Let go of me!" Merlin cried in desperation as he continued to struggle. He managed to break an arm free and tried to reach the vial before Arthur grabbed his arm.

"No," Arthur growled, "I won't."

And the dam snapped. Merlin's struggles fell limp and he fell to his knees, sobbing. Arthur kept hold of his arms. Unable to watch his friend in so much anguish, he glanced away, keeping his face blank as Merlin wept.

Once Arthur had felt it was safe to let Merlin go, Merlin too busy in his tears to notice, Arthur took the Hemlock and went to dump the contents in the nearest possible place. When he came back, Merlin had stopped crying, staring sullenly to the ground.

Arthur set up a fire, collecting wood from the area around them. Merlin watched him while he worked silently, glancing away whenever Arthur looked over at him. For a moment there was a tense silence between them.

Arthur threw the last stick into the fire and walked over to the log that Merlin had sat upon. Taking the bottle out from his pocket, he sat down besides Arthur.


Being a different question from what Arthur had asked over the past few days, Merlin head snapped up.

"Why what?" He murmured, deciding to play it innocent, not knowing what to say.

Arthur shot him a glare before he held up the bottle, "Why this, Merlin?"

Merlin looked down to the floor again, not responding.

Arthur sighed.

"Why suicide? Why in the hell did you just try to poison yourself with Hemlock? For Christ sake Merlin, hemlock?" Arthur yelled, throwing his arms up in the air, "Why would you even think of doing something like this?

"Because," Merlin whispered, "I deserve to die."

Suddenly Merlin felt a slap hit his face. Arthur glared at him, darkly.

"Don't. Ever. Say that." He growled, pointing a finger at Merlin.

Merlin stared back, rubbing his red cheek subconsciously.

"I may not know what's going in that head of yours Merlin." Arthur said, lowering his hand and glancing away for a moment before looking back up, "But whatever's going on, never ever think that. Even if I haven't been the best friend and master to you at most time, I would never want you to ever try and kill yourself."

Merlin furrowed his eyebrows, "Arthur, this isn't your fault..."

"Then why did you do it?" Arthur asked. "Merlin, I care about you. So do Gwen and Gaius. How do you think they would feel if you killed yourself, eh? How do you think I would feel?"

Merlin stayed silent but he watched Arthur thoughtfully.

"Merlin, talk to me. Tell me what's going on."

"I can't." Merlin said, standing up.

"Why not?" Arthur asked.

"Because you wouldn't understand!" Merlin cried.

"Then if I can't understand, then talk to someone Merlin! Talk to Gwen, talk to to those godforsaken stocks you're so obsessed with getting into!" The mentions of the stocks made Merlin snort and Arthur to crack a smile at Merlin's laughter before he turned serious, "You need to talk to someone Merlin. I would have never forgiven myself if I hadn't stopped you in time."

Merlin frowned, sitting back down besides Arthur again.

"Arthur, I said, this wasn't your fault." He whispered

"I certainly helped it, didn't I?" Arthur growled. "Every single time I almost got you to talk during these past few days I would mess it up by shouting at you again."

"Well perhaps a bit." Merlin joked. When Arthur remained frowning, Merlin turned serious, "But Arthur, really, I don't blame you for any of this."

"Then what would you blame?" Arthur asked.

Merlin sighed. He hesitated before deciding, "This."

And then, holding out his hand over the flames, he whispered some words.

Suddenly the flames turned into the shape of a baby dragon. Arthur leaped back in surprise. Merlin groaned as he let the flames turn back to normal, withdrawing his hand.

"You're going to take me to your father now aren't you?" He said sighing.

Arthur remained quiet.

"Explain." He eventually hissed his voice cold.

Merlin sighed again but did as he told. He told Arthur everything that he was born with it and had it for his entire life. He told him about when he arrived in Camelot, what the dragon had told him and how he had saved his life by slowing down time to pull him out the way.

When Arthur gestured for him to go on, he continued, explaining about all the times he had saved his life. He told Arthur that Nimueh had meant to poison and for a spilt second, Merlin saw Arthur freeze up. When it went back to the expressionless mask he continued.

It got harder and harder as he got to more recent events. He stopped short when he reached the bit about Morgana and the druids.

"...Morgana's magic too." He whispered, "At first she was a seer. But then her powers grew and that night of the was her, she had caused the flames to rise. She wasn't kidnapped, I had suggested to her to go to the druids to help her. I couldn't tell her about my magic...I just couldn't."

Arthur's eyes widened at what Merlin said. Merlin hesitated before he went on.

He cried when he told him about Freya how it hadn't been her fault that she had attacked the villagers and that was the real reason he had stolen Arthur's food and was sad a few days later. Even through Arthur's face was back to being a mask, he squeezed Merlin's shoulder gently, which Merlin was thankful.

He shrugged it off as he reached more recent events.

Explaining Morgana's betrayal with Morgause was hard enough. To tell Arthur that the dragon had told Merlin he had to poison her with Hemlock and he did and not only that but he had release the dragon too was even harder. Merlin kept breaking off, trying to keep his sobs and breathing in check. Arthur had freeze up then, his hands shaking.

Then Merlin told him about Balinor. He told him what Gaius had told him, how at first Balinor didn't realise he was his son until he told him in the woods. He told him how his death meant that he was a Dragonlord now and it was he who had stopped the dragon.

"I couldn't kill him..." Merlin said, "Not after all the things I've done. I've caused so many deaths that killing him would have been too much. So I got him to leave."

Arthur was quiet.

"So...that was why I tried to kill myself today." Merlin whispered, "After all that I deserve it right?"


Merlin's eyes shot up to Arthur, "What?"

"You don't deserve it." Arthur said as he lifted his head up, his mask gone. As Merlin still looked confused, he sighed.

" might have caused deaths...but think about all the lives you have saved. If it weren't for you I would have died many times over."

"It's my destiny to protect you," Merlin murmured.

"It's not just me though. You've saved Gwen, you saved've saved my father. Even despite his hatred of magic."

"You've saved many people of Camelot. Yes, many had died. But if you hadn't stopped the dragon everyone would have died. You saved Ealdor too, even through Will died. And that was because I was distracted and didn't check to see if that guy was dead. Not because of you."

"What about Morgana?" Merlin murmured.

Arthur looked away, into the flames, "I...I think she had already condemned herself. By going to Morgause she had not only betrayed us but signed her death wish. And even with that you didn't kill her. You got Morgause to save her, remember?"

"We don't know that." Merlin whispered.

"She's alive." Arthur said. "Probably now evil and probably will be set on killing me but she's alive. I just know it."

Merlin nodded slowly. Still that didn't mean-

"Merlin. Without you Morgana would have died along time ago." Arthur commented, "You've saved her life as well, you know. She might forget that now but don't you ever forget that."

Merlin bit his lip. Arthur sighed.

"Merlin, everyone does the wrong thing sometimes. And quite a few people have killed people, some not deserving to die."

Merlin looked up, remembering that he was talking to a knight. As he remembered the tournament he realised that Arthur knew what he was talking about.

"We do blame ourselves." Arthur continued softly, "But we have to focus on the good we've done."

"I can't forget this," Merlin whispered.

Arthur shook his head, "No. You don't forget Merlin. You learn. That's what you do. But killing yourself will stop you learning from your mistakes. And will be a mistake itself."

Merlin looked down. Arthur was right. If he had killed himself he would have cause more pain; through Gaius, Gwen and Arthur. His mother too and Lancelot.

"Are you going to turn me in?" Merlin asked as he looked up, "Or ask me to leave?"

Arthur frowned.

"I...think...I think it will be best if we pretend that the magic part never happens. Not this but just the magic. I'll pretend that I still am unaware that you are saving my back all the time and you pretend that you're still hiding a big secret. That way you won't slip up."

Merlin nodded.

"But...I wouldn't mind seeing a few tricks. Through no using your magic on your chores."

"Well for starters I already do that," Merlin said seriously, "And second I quit remember?"

"Merlin, you don't really meant..." Arthur then noticed the smirk.

"Hrm, well if the job's still open I may consider coming back. As long as I get days off. Every month."


Merlin laughed and ran for it as Arthur chased him. As Arthur laughed too he felt noticed that Merlin's eyes were back to being the brilliant blue they once were.

He was glad too. Perhaps he didn't know exactly how to save a life. But he was glad that he done so.

Step one you say we need to talk
He walks you say sit down it's just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
And you begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Let him know that you know best
Cause after all you do know best
Try to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you've told him all along
And pray to God, he hears you
And pray to God, he hears you

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you've followed
He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything
Or he'll say he's just not the same
And you begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

How to save a life

How to save a life

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
How to save a life

How to save a life

How to save a life

Despite the fact that Arthur's shouting in previous chapter HAD sort of tipped Merlin over the edge, even with Merlin being suicidal I don't think Merlin would have blamed him. And yes according to a webiste Hemlock is an anidote for other poisons and in those they they did believe it cured the bite of a mad dog.

Please review. Through if its to tell me 'it's about time' please add if you like the chapter as well :3