Title: Where the Day Ends
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters of Merlin, sadly enough!
Spoilers: No spoilers in this post
Summary: When Arthur's dreams appear to happen in reality, Merlin is certain magic is being used. To make sure Arthur doesn't hurt anyone, he must stay awake. That proves to be more difficult than anticipated.
Arthur couldn't believe what he was seeing. He knew Merlin wasn't the brightest, but this was simply stupid.
"Andreas," Merlin spoke loud, making sure the warlock would be agitated by him and would be guided away from the Pendragons. Before Arthur even realized what was happening, he saw Merlin go down, his hands clutching his throat as his lips were slowly turning blue.
Arthur could only watch how Andreas used his magic in order to control Merlin, to kill him. His eyes had flashed a bright green and before the Prince could begin to guess what would happen next, he saw his servant being knocked against the floor, gasping for breath. Arthur felt every muscle in his body tense, not knowing whether he should fight or flight. Seeing Merlin in pain and without air, however, made him aware that he had to make the decision quickly.
Taking hold of the hilt of his sword more firmly, he took those two final steps forward and reached Andreas. Without hesitation, he lifted his sword, planting the sharp edge deep into the sorcerer's side.
Andreas' eyes widened as he spun around on his heels. A red color was already starting to cover part of his cloak and before the warlock could do anything, before he could use any magic, he slumped towards the ground. There was only shock visible in his eyes, disbelief.
Arthur stepped back again, slightly out of breath and he glanced at his father to make sure that he was alright. The King only stared at the lifeless body of Andreas, not seeming to be aware that his son or a servant were still present.
"Father," Arthur asked gently, "are you okay?"
Uther only nodded while swallowing heavily. His gaze did not unlock with Andreas' body, however. Arthur kneeled down next to the sorcerer and checked if there was still a pulse present, but he found nothing. Andreas was dead and Arthur found it strangely sad. He had never liked the man, but for some reason, he had understood him.
All that Andreas had wanted was to revenge his mother and the young Prince remembered a time where he had been blinded by hatred. He had tried to kill his own father hadn't it been for Merlin.
Arthur quickly turned around and walked over towards the young servant. He felt a heavy burden fall down his shoulders to find that he was still breathing.
"Merlin?" he asked, gently shaking his shoulders as he try and awake him. "Come on, wake up."
As if on cue, Merlin's eyes fluttered open. He quickly squeezed them shut, however, when the sunlight appeared to be too strong for his eyes.
"You okay?" Arthur simply asked. He helped Merlin sit up straight, but he didn't force him into standing. It would probably only lead to his servant falling down again.
"I'll be fine," Merlin sighed, rubbing his hand over his face as if to waken himself up more, "Where is Andreas?" His eyes slowly searched the room for any sign of the warlock.
"He's no longer a threat," Arthur explained. Again, he glanced towards his father and the sorcerer and worry filled his mind. Uther seemed...mesmerized by everything that was happening around him and he didn't seem able to take his eyes off of Andreas. A strange gaze of sadness was visible in his eyes.
"It worked then?" Merlin asked. He reached for Arthur's hand as he stood up onto his feet again. The young servant leaned back against the wall as he felt that he would not be able to stand up alone.
"What worked?" Arthur asked, suddenly feeling anger rise up inside his chest. "And what were you thinking?"
"Andreas needed to be distracted," Merlin explained himself, rolling his eyes as he couldn't believe Arthur was actually mad with him for having saved them.
"So you would just go up against a sorcerer," Arthur said, throwing his arms in the air, "a sorcerer! You could have died! Magic isn't something-"
"I know," Merlin quickly said. He truly did not want Arthur to finish that sentence. Merlin knew he didn't want to know what Arthur truly thought about magic. "It worked, though," he added silently.
Arthur eyed him dangerously, but he said nothing. Turning back to his father, he swallowed heavily. "Father?" He took a step closer towards him. "He is dead."
"I know," Uther spoke, his voice filled with authority, "it is very strange. I do not remember him."
"It has been years since you've seen him and he was only a little boy back then," Arthur said. He stood rather awkwardly as he had never seen doubt in his father's eyes.
Uther pressed his lips together after swallowing heavily.
"I will take care of this," Arthur said, "why don't you go and rest?"
Uther nodded and quickly left the room, not even granting Merlin a glance. Not that the young servant minded.
"He was broken," Merlin said, not knowing why exactly those words escaped his lips.
"What?" Arthur turned around to look at him, not having a clue what Merlin was talking about.
"Andreas," Merlin explained himself, "he was a broken man. All that he wanted...it was to see his mother revenged."
Arthur said nothing.
"He wasn't evil," Merlin sighed, knowing that his words could cause him trouble. He was kind of defending the actions of a sorcerer here and he didn't know if Arthur could appreciate that. "He was simply filled with grief."
"What he did was wrong," Arthur said, his voice hard.
"Of course," Merlin quickly said. He agreed with the Prince, but he couldn't help but understand Andreas. "He kill people, he tried to kill you and the King, but what I am saying is that this could have been prevented."
"You are talking dangerous words, Merlin," Arthur said.
Merlin didn't say anything else, he only looked the Prince in the eyes. For a moment, a heavy silence filled the chamber and Merlin felt a sense of relief fill him when it was Arthur that broke it.
"You should go to Gaius," he spoke, "you still look rather pale."
M M M
Merlin was sitting at the table in Gaius' chambers. He had been sitting there for quiet some time now, but he didn't have a sense of time. He was too occupied with his thoughts, with Andreas. He couldn't come to understand what was bothering him to much.
Was it the King who had appeared so strange after the warlock had died? Merlin had not seen Uther so troubled after a sorcerer had died. Was it that Uther truly felt guilty? That he somehow felt responsible for Andreas? Merlin could hardly believe it.
Arthur had listened to him, he had not thrown him in the dungeons for having spoken those dangerous words and yet, he had appeared shocked. Had he been shocked to find that Merlin had sympathy for the warlock? Because he understood what the young servant had been talking about?
Merlin didn't know and he couldn't find the right answers. As he took in a deep breath, he heard a loud knock on the door behind him. Turning to see who entered, he felt himself frowning.
Arthur was standing in the doorway.
M M M
Gaius was about to leave the King alone when Uther called out his name again. Gaius had been summoned to examine the King for any wounds, but all that he had come to understand was that the King needed rest. It had been a action filled day after all.
"Yes, my Lord?" Gaius turned fully to look the King in the eyes.
"You remembered Andreas," he spoke, his voice soft.
Gaius knew that there were only a few times when he had seen the King vulnerable and this was one of those occasions.
"Yes," he simply answered, not knowing where the King was going with this.
"I don't," Uther sighed. He walked over to his bed and sat down on the edge of it. He glanced outside the window as he spoke. "I have been trying," he took in a deep breath, "I have been trying to remember his face, to remember his mother's face, but it is all blank."
"It has been a long time ago, Sire," Gaius spoke softly, "and Andreas has changed a lot. He was only just a boy when he left Camelot."
"But you remember," Uther said, looking at the Court's physician now, "you immediately knew it was Andreas, that he was behind this all."
Gaius remained silent.
"It makes me wonder," Uther spoke, still looking at Gaius, "if my decision for executing his mother had been a right one."
Gaius pressed his lips together. He did not know what to answer to that. Occasions where the King was vulnerable were rare, occasions where he was doubting himself were non-existing.
"That's all, Gaius," Uther quickly spoke, "thank you."
Gaius only nodded his head and left the King's chambers. Closing the wooden doors carefully behind him, the old man closed his eyes. He remembered Andreas perfectly. He remembered Eve, his mother, perfectly. They had been wonderful people, sweet and kind and loving.
They had been destroyed, nothing more. Uther had destroyed them like he had destroyed so many lives before and after. Gaius opened his eyes again, not allowing himself to think more about it. He wasn't in any position to questions the King.
He couldn't help but think, however, that so many lives could have been saved.
M M M
Merlin looked questioningly towards the Prince.
"Merlin," Arthur spoke as he entered the chamber fully.
"Is something wrong?" the young servant asked. His thoughts immediately went to Gaius even though there was no reason for him to be hurt or in trouble.
"Magic," Arthur sighed, "I do not know what think of it."
Merlin swallowed heavily. Was he truly supposed to have this conversation with the Prince? What was he supposed to say? I am a sorcerer as well so I know not all magic is evil?
"What if his mother never died," Arthur said, his voice soft as he came to sit opposite of his servant, "what if Eve was never killed by my father?"
"It's a question that will never be answered," Merlin simply said.
"Gaius told us what happened all those years ago," Arthur sighed, "he told us Eve was harmless, that she only wanted to help her son. Is that evil?"
Merlin slowly shook his head.
"Did my father make a wrong decision?" Arthur asked then.
"I can't answer these questions for you," Merlin told the Prince, hoping that his words were helpful in some way. "Uther has made these choices as a King and some day, you will have to make these kind of decisions."
Arthur remained silent.
"I don't want to destroy lives," he eventually whispered, "I believe Andreas' and Eve's life could have been saved many years ago."
Merlin only nodded his head.
"I have a lot of thinking to do," Arthur stood up again, "about everything that has happened."
Merlin would have stood up as well if only he was certain that he wouldn't fall down again. Andreas' magic had taken a lot of his energy and Gaius had warned Merlin that he needed sleep.
"Don't be late for work tomorrow," Arthur smiled rather sad and with those words, the Prince left.
Merlin wasn't sure what to think, however. Should he be pleased that Arthur was starting to form his own opinion of magic in stead of simply taking over his father's? Should he feel saddened that a life had been lost today? Perhaps he should feel both and a small smile filled Merlin's face.
There was hope, he now knew. Arthur was destined to become the greatest King this land would have ever known and this right here was the beginning of that journey.
One day, Arthur would allow magic to return. One day, many lives will be saved.
AN: That was it, this story has ended (like every story must). It feels rather strange. I remember having this idea a long time ago and now that I have finalized it, I have come to understand that this ending wasn't quiet what I had in mind. I like it however and I hope that this ending is satisfying.
Thanks for having read this story, for having stayed with this until the very ending!