Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin.
A/N: Magic!reveal fic. Cannon AU. Set when Arthur is still prince. Beta'd by a great friend of mine. This has been hanging out in my google docs for longer than it should've. Figured I should post it. Enjoy!
He knew that one day, Arthur would find out. He would find out about all of it.
"Merlin," Merlin could hear the frown in his voice. "why do your eyes resemble those of Blind Jim?"
Merlin sighed and buried his face in his hands. If only he had gotten up when he should've. Then Arthur wouldn't have stormed into Merlin's room and woke him. It always took a few minutes before Merlin's magic became his eyes. "Give me a second." Arthur clearly noticed the way his eyes seemed to be blank and unseeing.
"No, you answer me Merlin. Answer me right now." Arthur bent down in front of Merlin, so that they were face to face. "Did something happen? Can you not see at the moment?"
Merlin sighed and lifted his head, blinking, his magic took over. The world was still black, but he knew where things were now. He could tell how they looked easily. The shapes the colors, the different textures. He could see it all in his head now. Shoving a smile on his face, Merlin said, "It was nothing, Arthur. I can see fine." He made sure that his eyes were on Arthur. Tracking him as if he wasn't blind.
Only Hunith knew that Merlin couldn't see. Though he thought that Will and Gaius had both suspected at one point or another. And now Arthur could be added to that list. He smiled at the prince, "I just had some sleep in my eye. It's all clear now."
Arthur's eyebrows narrowed, "Are you sure that was it? How many fingers am I holding up?"
Merlin crossed his arms, "That question only works if you're holding up fingers to begin with." With that, he got up and walked around Arthur, grabbing a fresh pair of socks.
Arthur watched him do it, "There is something about you Merlin." He was frowning slightly.
Merlin looked up, socks now on, "Is it the fact that my socks don't exactly match? Because that was an accident where I had lost a sock and it was out in the sun too long and got faded."
Arthur glanced at Merlin's feet as Merlin wiggled his toes. "No, that's not it."
Merlin shrugged, "So, sire. You clearly had something important for me to do otherwise you wouldn't have burst into my room like you did."
Shaking his head, Arthur agreed, "Yes. I'm going on a hunt soon, so I need you to get everything ready and fetch me a quick breakfast."
"Of course, sire." With that Merlin put on his boots and rushed out of the room, glad that Arthur hadn't found out any of Merlin's secrets.
But the trouble with Arthur, Merlin decided, is that once he gets and idea in his head, nothing can get rid of it.
It was a few days later when Merlin was cleaning Arthur's chambers, lost in his thoughts while Arthur was doing some sort of paperwork when something hit him on the back of the head.
Hand rubbing the area, he turned and glared at Arthur. Arthur, was peering at him pensively, "You didn't see that coming, did you?"
Merlin deepened his glare, "No, Arthur. I didn't. Because I don't have eyes in the back of my head." With that he turned and muttered angrily, making sure the words 'Arthur', 'prat', and 'abuse' were heard while going about his work.
Merlin had been expecting an event similar to that happen soon. He'd honestly expected it to happen sooner than it did. Like the day that Arthur got it in his head that Merlin's eyes didn't work correct. He hoped that after a few more attempts at uncovering the truth Arthur would give up.
Merlin would just have to spend some time being prepared for what was to come.
He didn't look forward to it.
So Merlin stood fast, managing to withstand Arthur's investigation. The hardest times were when Arthur would storm into Merlin's room and wake him suddenly. Merlin had to get some inventive tactics to why he couldn't see. His favorite was when he put the pillow over his head and groaned painfully, letting Arthur know that he didn't approve of what was going on. In that instance, he didn't have to worry about looking at Arthur or having to comment about whatever Arthur had devised that morning.
Other mornings, he would will his magic to work right away so that he could tell Arthur about his silly outfit or face that he was making. He would describe to Arthur how dirty he was and how did he get that dirty this early because Merlin knew that he had just washed that shirt.
After a length of time, Merlin thought that Arthur had given up on trying to find out what was wrong. Nothing had happened for awhile and it appeared as if it was back to normal.
But then it all fell apart.
It had been a typical day. And Arthur had informed him that they were going on a hunt, which Merlin had been expecting. It had been a while since their last one and he figured Arthur was starting to feel that need to kill a defenseless animal again. Unless they were going to kill a boar, most of the boars weren't defenseless.
They traveled for a while and Merlin was fairly certain they were some place that he'd never been before. Surely he would've remembered that overly large tree with all the knots?
Groaning, Merlin rode so that he was up next to Arthur, "You know, I don't mean to complain-" he ignored Arthur's confused look, "but can't we stop soon? My bum is getting sore."
Arthur turned to him, "Your bum is getting sore? For God's sake, Merlin. I didn't need to know that." He sighed, "Let's tie our horses to that tree," he nodded his head to a random one, "and search from some game on foot, eh?"
Once they were on the ground, Merlin tried to keep up with Arthur while still being quiet, but it was in vain. It didn't take long for Merlin to be utterly and completely lost. Muttering to himself, he tried to get back to the horses.
He thought he was going the right way when he suddenly couldn't see anymore. Freezing in stop, he let out a gasp. He couldn't tell where objects where anymore, couldn't see their colors. It was as if his magic decided to stop being his eyes.
Why wasn't his magic working anymore? Reaching for his power, he hoped that he could convince it to do as it had his whole life. He may have been blind since a babe, but he didn't know how to function when he had no sight. Stepping forward, he had his arms out and he ignored the shaking of his hands. After two steps, he fell to the rough ground.
Deciding that it might hurt less, he started crawling on the forest floor. If he could find a good resting spot, Arthur would find him. He had to believe that.
Arthur would find him or his magic would work again.
Slipping a handful of times in the mud, he knew he looked a mess but he could care less. He cared about getting somewhere safe. Stopping, he wondered if he should even move that far. He had no idea where he was going and he didn't know the terrain. Shaking his head, he stopped crawling and just sat. Knees up to his chest and arms around his legs, he waited for Arthur to find him.
It seemed like hours had passed when he heard Arthur's voice call out for him.
"Arthur! I'm here!" Slowly, he lead Arthur to him.
"Merlin, are you okay?" Arthur asked. Merlin suspected he was looking Merlin over and didn't see any apparent injuries. He jumped when Arthur put a hand on his shoulder.
"I can't see." Merlin mumbled.
"What do you mean?" Arthur said.
"It means that I can't see, you prat! What did you think it meant?" Merlin replied. He swallowed his hysterics. It wouldn't help any.
"Look at me." Arthur said, voice soft.
"How can I look at you when I can't see?" He said bitterly.
From experience Merlin knew Arthur was rolling his eyes, "Look towards my voice. I want to see if the problem is apparent." Merlin did as he was told even though he knew the problem was his magic. "Did you get dirt in your eyes? It's clear you fell and got it over the rest of you-"
"I fell after I couldn't see." Merlin responded.
There was silence for a bit, and Merlin was worried about what Arthur was doing, when he heard, "I would say this was some sort of magical attack, except I know better."
"What do you mean?" Merlin asked. "Are you saying that sorcerers wouldn't go after me? Because they would."
"I know," Arthur patted Merlin on the shoulder, "They would go after you to get to me. But we're in an area where magic has no power."
"Wh-What?" Merlin froze. "What do you mean?"
"I forget how the legend goes, but something happened here. A witch's daughter was killed by magic so she put a spell on the area so that no magic would work or a sorcerer stole all the magic in the area so that he could be more powerful and take on the king over some land being stolen. Something along those lines." He paused, "But magic has no power here."
He added, conversationally, "Father probably wishes Camelot was located in this wood or that whatever happened here happened at Camelot. Then again, he probably wouldn't trust people anyway because it's the magic that corrupts and they've used magic. Just because they can't use their powers at that time doesn't mean they weren't already corrupted. And if it was a murder attempt on me or my father, they could use a sword or a knife to get the job done."
"Do you really believe that?" Merlin asked. "That magic corrupts?"
There was silence and Merlin imagined Arthur was shrugging, "I'm not sure. I know that there have been a lot of magic users after me but I think that it depends on the man. Much like whoever holds a sword. We can do great things with swords, or horrible things." He paused, "But that's not the issue, Merlin. The issue is the fact that you can't see."
"Actually," Merlin said, getting the courage to come clean. It may have been the fact that he knew no one would over hear them, or maybe the fact that he wouldn't be able to see Arthur's reaction. He would have no idea if or when Arthur's sword would come down and kill him. "It kind of is the issue."
"Explain your self." Arthur's tone was sharp.
"I'm blind, Arthur."
"I know that." Arthur said, "At the moment you are and that's what we're trying to fix. Gaius should know some remedy-"
"No. I am blind. I always have been." Merlin held his knees tighter.
"But, you can usually see." Arthur protested.
"Not only have I always been blind, but I've always had magic." Ducking his head, he could feel the silence. "It took mum a while to realize that I actually couldn't see because my magic acts as my eyes. I can usually tell you where everything is and their color, but I don't actually know what the colors look like."
"You're a sorcerer?" Arthur's voice shook.
Merlin nodded, "I always have been. But I don't use my power for selfish gain - except for when you give me a ton of chores and no time to do them but I don't know if that really counts."
Arthur cleared his throat, "What do you use your power for?"
"To help you." Merlin turned his head. He knew that he couldn't see Arthur's reaction, but he didn't even want to face it.
"You've had magic your whole life, so you came to Camelot? I would ask why you thought that was a good idea, except I already know that you're an idiot." His voice shook slightly yet held some affection. After a quiet sigh, he said, "I've had a blind sorcerer saving my life."
Merlin nodded. "A talented and very powerful blind sorcerer."
"Thank the gods for that." His response was dry. "Well you were a right idiot. You entered the area where magic doesn't work and instead of backing out to where you'd be able to see again, you crawled quite a ways in mud."
"It seemed like a good idea at the time." Merlin shrugged, feeling a little better. Arthur seemed to be taking the truth well.
"I'm sure it did." Arthur said, sarcasm dripping from his voice. "Come on, I'll help you out of this area and then you're going to tell me everything when we get home."
Arthur helped Merlin stand up. "You've got to tell me when I'm about to step onto a log or something."
"I know, Merlin."
"Or if I'm about to step on an animal."
"I know, Merlin."
"Or if I'm-"
"I know, Merlin." Arthur said, "Shut up."
"Yes, sire." Merlin started walking, not sure on where he was treading but he trusted Arthur.
Arthur leaned close and whispered in Merlin's ear, "I knew that there was something about you. After all, your clothes are odd. It's a bit endearing but only a blind man would choose to dress like you do."