title: or the moment of truth in your lies
summary: Arthur's wrong and Merlin's tired.
notes: for the prompt: Arguments are the time you inadvertently speak truths you'd never say if you had the time to think. "Name me one sorcerer who hasn't tried to destroy Camelot!" So Merlin does. and additional unrelated note! I am taking requests and offering Merlin fic for charity as part of the help_japan fandom auction project which closes in a week. If you are interested and would like me to write you something, see my author profile for the link and/or message me for details.
It's how things get in the heat of the moment, when you don't think, just speak, just lash out and spit words for the sake of saying them, never mind what they mean because you have to make him see he's wrong.
He's wrong so often that you're tired. And far too often, he's been wrong and you've let it slide.
So when Arthur goes on another one of his tirades, blowing steam at you because Uther did the same to him mere minutes ago, it gets ugly. There's shouting and barking and temper and it's worse than it was yesterday and the day before that and not the Arthur you've known.
(And you're tired, so tired, what with the magic in your blood resenting his words and taking its toll.)
You wonder where he goes in times like these, the real Arthur, the one you know and loathe with far too much affection, because this, this is someone else, and you don't quite feel like hearing him out tonight.
He says, "There's no hope for this kingdom."
And you shoot back, "That's not true." Your life and your destiny cannot possibly amount to this.
He says, "Nimueh then Morgause. Sigan and Alvarr. We've nearly lost each and every time, had to rebuild ourselves all over again after Morgause." He's not wrong, you know it and you know it, and it hurts because it's true. "What makes you think it will be any different with Morgana? Morgana who grew up in these walls, knows every crack and corner of the place!"
He says, "Damn it, Merlin! Name me one sorcerer who hasn't tried to destroy Camelot!"
And when you cry out, "Me, you imbecile," you don't think because there is nothing to think of when all you want is to silence him, knock some sense back into that hollowed head of his.
He looks at you, lips parted and eyes narrowed, about to speak but the words seem to die on his tongue.
You pause and are actually foolish enough to think it's the imbecile part that bites, just for a second, and then you think of what you have said and look him in the eye and swallow hard. You can't take it back.
(Or maybe you can.)
You won't take it back.