A/N: Some credit for this goes to Kitty O. I don't own Merlin.

"How DARE you!" Arthur yelled, once he and Merlin were alone in Arthur's chambers.

"Arthur…" Merlin said, dodging a scabbard that was being thrown at him.

"Don't you 'Arthur' me. That was uncalled for. Agravaine is perfectly loyal to me, and he's proved it time and time again. You had no right to accuse him in front of the whole court."

"I had a right to be heard, as does anyone else!"

Arthur pinned Merlin against a wall.

"You will not accuse my uncle of anything. Anything, hear me?"

"You're shouting." Merlin muttered.

Arthur struck Merlin across the face, hard. Only after the blow was over did Merlin register that there was a knife in Arthur's hand. And that Merlin had just been hit with said knife.

"Now get out of my sight," Arthur yelled, "And stay there."

"That's it." Merlin said, walking in the door to Gaius's chambers.

"That's what you've said about every day for years." Gaius said passively.

"No, but really. This is it. I'm leaving."

"What is it this time?" Gaius asked.

"Look at my face." Merlin said.

Gaius looked up from his work and gasped.

"Arthur did that to you?" he asked.

Merlin nodded.

"He just takes his aggression out on me, day after day. It's been getting worse and worse…Soon he's just going to kill me. I can't stay here." he said.

"Suit yourself." Gaius said.

"I will." Merlin said, going into his room, then leaving.

"Where's Merlin?" Arthur asked Gaius, the next day.

"He left."

"To go where?"

"I don't know, Sire."

"Wait…is this because of what I did to him?"

"Yes, Sire."

Arthur sighed, leaning against a wall.

He went into his chambers, fell face first onto his bed, and cursed himself.

Merlin would be back, he always was. Always.

All it took was waiting.

But Merlin didn't come back.

After weeks, months, even years…

And Arthur Pendragon hated himself.

A/N: Please review!