so this hit me suddenly and I had to write it down. This is supposed to be my first non-oneshot. At least two chapters, depending how much you guys like it and where I will take this. I have a plan for it, but for now, let me know if I should continue publishing. And as always, I'm not a native speaker so excuse me my spelling and grammar mistakes. But most importantly: enjoy!
Story: Friendship called treason
EDIT: This story is now being beta'd by the lovely Auua Ytjoml. The first chapter is done, and the others will follow. The chapters will stay up normally, but they will be updated with the grammar/tense/spelling corrections. (9/2013)
"Gaius? Is this really necessary?" Merlin said, a lump forming to his throat.
The old physician closed his eyes briefly, as if reassuring himself that there wasn't any other choice. "Yes, I'm afraid it is, Merlin." he said quietly.
Merlin sat silently in the dungeon, brushing an iron bar gently. The guards hadn't beaten him like they usually did with other sorcerers soon getting burnt. It was because they knew him and liked him. Well, had liked him. Once. When things had still been normal.
He pressed his forehead against the cold bars. "It's not right, Gaius. What will Arthur do when he..." but he couldn't finish his sentence. Finds me dead.
Gaius swallowed with sorrow, and his grip tightened around the potion bottle. "He will get through it. And he would have let you die, Merlin. Remember that. He didn't stop the guards taking you here and Uther sentencing you to death. He hasn't even visited you. He has done nothing. " But as Gaius realized his emotions were taking over and his voice started to rise, he cut himself off, and just sighed sadly.
Merlin stared him now, eyes glittering with tears. "Why didn't he? At least come down here and see me before I would have been..." He shook his head, and continued eyes closed:
"-I always knew it would come to this...but I always imagined that somehow he would have...I don't know. Not saved me, but even cared. Just cared...I mean, it's been four years. Four years together with him, and he didn't even come here to see me before it all ended." Merlin whispered, voice breaking.
Gaius struggled against his own emotions. "Don't think about that right now. We have to get this done."
Merlin looked up, eyes glistering on the faint light. Gaius slipped the potion bottle swiftly to his ward's hands, and then backed away as the guard got few steps closer as a warning. But the potion had slipped successfully to the other side of the bars without anyone seeing. Merlin squeezed the bottle hard, and swallowed. He had to look down.
"If something was to happen...Just tell him that it was me all along. That I never pretended to be someone else, even if I didn't tell him about the magic...And that I would have never betrayed him or done anything to hurt him or Camelot."
Gaius nodded. "I will tell him if it comes to that."
Merlin nodded and smiled through the unshed tears. "Well this is it then."
Gaius lifted his chin and took a deep breath. "I guess it is."
For a moment they just shared a long glance together, in a complete silence.
But then the old man rose up, and slowly walked to the dungeon door.
No words were needed.
Merlin turned around and leant his back on the bars, so that the guards couldn't see him.
There he stared the bottle. Gaius had ripped the etiquette off, just in case he was caught, but he knew that the bottle had had that dangerous sign of a fatal draught.
It felt like it should have weighed much more than it did, and Merlin closed his eyes to remember the last time he had held something as fatal as this at his hands; just before he had given it to Morgana...
He would have never thought that one day, he would be drinking a potion like that himself. He swallowed. Outside it was getting lighter, and it will be dawn soon. And then it would be too late. But he wouldn't break out with his magic. That he had promised. Nor would he risk Gaius' life by drinking the potion with the physician there with him. Even though everyone would guess how he had gotten the potion, this way there would be no proof.
His slow thoughts wandered over the past days. On those messy days in the dungeon, after the whole incident his magic had been revealed to the half Camelot. And Arthur's face, Arthur's broken and hurt face when he had stared him like he would be a complete stranger...that was the thing that hurt the most.
The worst part was that Arthur hadn't said anything to him. It would have been better if he had screamed, shouted, cried, even struck out, if he had just done something. But the prince had just stared him as he was dragged to the dungeons, with an unreadable expression on his face. And he hadn't come down to see him.
For four days he had lain there, awake and aware, waiting. But Arthur hadn't come.
They haven't shared a word after the incident. Merlin had had several discussions with Arthur in his head, and prayed that the prince could somehow hear him, but he knew it was impossible.
Wasn't he worth even one discussion?
Being a sorcerer was a death sentence in the worst way. All of your friends turned their backs. Not even death could be worse than losing your life before your actual last breath.
A silent tear rolled down his cheek as he remembered Gwen's sobbing words: "How could you, Merlin? Why?" as she had briefly seen her on the corridor as the guards dragged him roughly. She had cried openly, and all Merlin could have gave her was a shook of his head and a glance she couldn't understand.
The ghost of Arthur's shaken form had haunted him ever since. He had always known it would probably come to this if he didn't tell the prince himself, but somehow he had hoped that he would be wrong. That somehow the prince would have seen through the hate that was his father's but he carried as his own. That Arthur would have just known who Merlin was. That, the closeness they had built through those years, was something like real friendship, not built on titles and rules; just two people who liked each other despite how different their worlds were or how different their minds worked.
To Merlin, Arthur had just been Arthur. Of course he was the crown prince, but that was a part of Arthur, like the magic was part of himself. It didn't condemn them to anything. Those traits were just a drop in the ocean that gave direction to their lives. And their lives had been bound together by destiny. Destiny. The Great Dragon had made him believe in to that fairytale. It gave him a stupid reason to follow the prince and risk his life everyday he walked through the streets of Camelot. But still, he could never deny that it had been exactly what he had wanted to do. Maybe it had been hard from time to time, but it had never felt like a burden. Despite the people he had lost or the things he had missed because of it, he had never slipped into despair. Hope dies last, and only when it goes is there nothing left.
But as Merlin stared the bottle in front of him and twisted it open, he knew he still had hope. That's why he was doing this. It would have been easy to escape the dungeon, but he had no reason to do it. His life and home was here. And he could easily wait until the dawn caught him and the king he had protected with his life, burned him alive.
But he did none of those. He looked up once, towards the only window and silently said: -I'm sorry, Arthur."
Then he took a deep breathe and gulped the potion down. When the last drops poured down his tongue, he let the bottle drop from his hands. It broke to million pieces as it hit the ground, alerting the guards. Within moments someone is running for the Prince.
But Merlin couldn't hear them, as he leant his head back to the bars and felt his fingers start to numb. It felt odd, but it didn't hurt. As he shifted slightly, he distantly heard the guards running and screaming orders.-Someone call for the king or the prince! Quick! Make sure the sorcerer doesn't try to escape."
But their voices faded as he slowly lost feeling in his legs and the numbness crept higher. His mind started to go hazel and his breathing became shorter and lighter.
He lost the track of the time, but even as his body flowed away from him, fading from his awareness, he wasn't afraid.
As his lungs, the last things to co-operate, whimpered weakly he heard something loud.
Suddenly his dim vision swayed and it was not because of the poison. He was being moved. Somehow he forced himself to open his eyes. Where was he?
He heard someone shouting something, and though he could barely feel anything he realized that someone was holding him. Whether it was a guard dragging him somewhere or someone who cared, he didn't know.
A faint warm breeze made his eyelids flutter, and he realized hazily that it was someone's breath. His slow eyes wandered upwards where it had came from and he saw something looming there. Something golden, something blue.
Why would the guards wear blue? It made no sense. Even in his messy mind.
Then some sense of familiarity caught him. He didn't know if it was the scent surrounding him or the way that face above him moved, but he knew he recognized the person holding him, even if he had no clue how or why they were here.
Then a name rose in his mind. Arthur. A wave of panic washed over the remains of his mind. He is here. He is with me.
There was so many things to say, but Merlin could barely remember how breathing worked anymore, so his hope of saying something died fast. But the hope in his heart did not.
Merlin! The prince shouted, as it slurred to his awareness. A voice full of panic. Full of fear. Did Arthur still care?
Something hit his face, something warm and small, and it reminded him of the touch of water. His eyesight started to blacken and he just couldn't form relevant thoughts anymore. He couldn't name what the feeling meant, what the touch meant.
As his lungs drew their last, small breathe, his eyes wandered stubbornly upwards to where he knew Arthur's eyes to be.
And for just a heartbeat he didn't have anymore, he could clearly and his glance stole over one last sight of Arthur's blue eyes, full of that friendship he used to know and not the ghost of the betrayed prince, before his eyes met black and the night took him in.