A/N: I have been waiting for Merlin to reveal his magic to Arthur and trying to imagine Arthur's reaction to finding out that his manservant has magic. This is my attempt at Arthur's reaction. I was originally considering just doing a one shot, but now I am considering doing a series of one shots with different situations involved. There will be spoilers for season four within these stories.
Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin. I am just a fan who likes to write.
Chapter 1: Return of Dragoon the Great
King Uther was on his deathbed and it looked like there was nothing that could be done to save him. Arthur was even considering magic as an option to save his father. Gaius had told him of a warlock that could be convinced to save the king. Arthur couldn't understand why any sorcerer would want to save the man who had banned magic, but he couldn't even begin to understand the ways of a magic user's mind.
So it came to be that Arthur was standing over his father's bed with Dragoon who had previously tried to enchant him and Gwen to bring shame to Camelot. Arthur's hands kept itching to draw his sword and run the sorcerer through and find another way to save his father. He had given his word to the sorcerer before him and Arthur was a man of his word.
Dragoon was standing beside the bed of the king and saw just how bad the injury was. Dragoon or Merlin as he is more commonly known as was not sure if he could even save the king. Healing had never been one of Merlin's strong points. He had researched the best method to use and was as prepared as he could be. He only hoped that this would work and that he and his kind would finally be free from persecution and that Arthur would one day accept him for who he really was.
Merlin wished that he could be himself as he attempted the healing spell. He wanted to be there for Arthur in his time of need, but knew that to do so would mean revealing his magic to his best friend. If the healing spell didn't work then Arthur would never look at him the same way again for starters. The most likely scenario would be Merlin being executed in the morning if the spell didn't work. Even if it did he knew Arthur would feel betrayed despite the fact that everything Merlin did was to help and protect Arthur.
Something that Merlin should remember for the future is to never make wishes while under a heavy magical disguise. Merlin was so concentrated on performing the healing spell perfectly that he did not notice his hair getting shorter and darker and his wrinkles starting to smooth out. Of course Arthur didn't notice these changes either as his eyes were on his father and nothing else.
No words had been spoken during the entire time that Arthur and Dragoon were in the room with King Uther except for words from the old religion that were meant to heal the king. Arthur did not even glance at the sorcerer until it was clear the spell had failed and the king was now dead. Arthur could not even begin to process what had just happened and looked up into the face of the sorcerer to demand what he had done. Arthur was shocked to see that the sorcerer had been replaced by his idiot manservant, Merlin.
"What the hell are you doing here, Merlin?" Arthur demanded. "Where is Dragoon? Why are you dressed so funny?" By this point Arthur had begun to realize the inevitable truth that Merlin and Dragoon were on in the same.
"Sire?" Merlin questioned not understanding why Arthur was calling him Merlin when he was clearly disguised as Dragoon? Maybe his grief was getting to him. Merlin didn't want to face the facts o the situation. He had just killed the king in front of Arthur and apparently he had done it as himself and not as Dragoon.
"You were Dragoon all this time!" Arthur screamed at his servant while drawing his sword and holding it up to the chest of his former friend. "My father is now dead because of you, sorcerer! I thought we were friends, but all you have done is lie, disguise yourself, and kill my father the king right in front of my eyes. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you where you stand?"
"Arthur, you have to believe me, I never meant to kill your father," said Merlin with tears running down his face. "I tried my best to save him. You have to believe that. I have never been very good at healing but I had to try for your sake."
"Don't stand there and continue to lie to my face, sorcerer," said Arthur in a calm and deadly voice.
Merlin was mentally cursing himself for being so stupid. He knew this would never work and Gaius had always said that aging spells were unpredictable. Why couldn't he had just stayed away or just been at Arthur's side as a friend as his father passed on? Merlin couldn't see any way out of his predicament and there was now nothing that could be done for the king.
"Arthur, please believe me," begged Merlin. "I am your friend. Everything I have ever done was to help you and protect you. I have been your servant and friend for years now."
"You only pretended to be my friend so that you could finally achieve your ultimate goal of bringing magic back to Camelot and overthrowing my father," said Arthur who was sure that what he said was true. He could no longer see Merlin in front of him. All he saw was the sorcerer who killed his father and had betrayed his trust.
"I wanted to tell you that I had magic but I feared being executed just because I was born with a gift. I had no say in this. I could do magic before I could even talk. If you could stop being such a prat for a moment you would understand why I had to lie to you," sobbed Merlin who had not even tried to move back from the sword that was still at chest level.
"Even though you are caught, you still continue to lie," Arthur observed. "Is that all sorcerers know how to do?"
"I'm finally trying to tell you the truth but you are refusing to listen to a word I say," yelled Merlin through his sobs. "Just let me explain, please. That is all I am asking for."
"You will wait in the dungeons and I will come to you when I am ready. I need to pay my respects to my father. If you even try to escape then I will know that you never cared even a little," said Arthur. "Guards!" Arthur suddenly cried out and a second later two guards entered the king's chambers.
"Yes, Sire?" One guard asked.
"My father is dead," said Arthur calmly. "I want you to take my servant to the dungeons and have someone watch him at all times. I will be by sometime tomorrow to deal with him myself."
"Of course," said the second guard as he and the first guard each grabbed one of Merlin's arms and dragged him from the room. Thankfully the halls were relatively empty throughout the castle since it was getting to be late at night. Merlin really didn't want anyone to see him being dragged down to the dungeons even though this wasn't his first time being locked up.
Merlin could easily have escaped from the dungeons, but he did even try. He needed to prove to Arthur that he was trustworthy and this was a start. Merlin would know his fate soon. He hoped that Arthur would listen to him, but if he was sentenced to death, than he would have to escape. He wouldn't be able to protect Arthur if he was executed. No matter the outcome, Merlin would always be there to protect Arthur even if it was from the shadows.
Merlin had barely slept during the night. Daylight was now streaming through the solitary window in the small cell. This alerted Merlin to the fact that his fate would soon be known. He could already hear footsteps in the dungeon and Arthur's voice commanding the guards to leave him with the prisoner.
"Merlin, I see you didn't try to escape during the night," said Arthur to gain the attention of the sorcerer. It was still hard to associate the sorcerer who killed his father with his goofy manservant. He thought he knew all there was to know about his friend.
"Sire," replied Merlin since he wasn't sure how to respond.
"I am going to give you one chance to explain yourself. You can consider this your trial. I think this is more than fair considering I was present when you used magic to kill my father," said Arthur. "I am giving you this chance since I at least considered you a friend even if you never considered me one and merely a way to get at the kingdom. I want to know why you came to Camelot, when and why you started practicing magic, and why it has taken you so long to make your move."
"I never meant any harm," Merlin began. "I tried my best to heal him and it was not just because I wanted you to accept magic and stop hunting my kind. I tried my best because he was important to you. I don't know what went wrong." After this, Merlin stayed silent or a few minutes to gather his thoughts.
"Merlin, this is your only chance to explain. I need more than apologies. I need the truth," demanded Arthur.
"Sorry," said Merlin. "I am just having trouble finding the right place to begin. You asked me a few questions and I want to answer them. I have wanted to tell you for years about myself and now that I have the chance, I don't know where to begin."
"Start from the beginning," Arthur suggested.
"I came to Camelot because I didn't fit in at home in Ealdor," Merlin began. "My mother sent me to Gaius since she knew he would look after me and Camelot was a big place. Only my mother and Will knew I had magic back in Ealdor. My mother thought that because of my lack of control I would mess up and the whole village would know about my magic."
"So your mother sent you to a place where you could be executed?" Arthur asked.
"Yeah," said Merlin with a small sad chuckle.
"So you began studying magic in Ealdor and not Camelot?" Arthur asked his manservant.
"No," said Merlin. "I had never studied magic before coming to Camelot and I am not even a sorcerer. I am a warlock and I was born with magic. I guess you could say I am a creature of the old religion. I only started studying magic in Camelot because I needed a way to control what I could do. I often wondered whether I was a monster. I couldn't stop using magic since it came as easily to me as breathing does. Magic is too much a part of who I am. I never knew why I was so different from everyone else and then I learned of our destiny. You are meant to be the greatest king this land has ever known. It is my destiny to protect you and help you. Together we will unite all of Albion and bring magic back to the land."
This was a lot for Arthur to take in. He had never heard of someone being born with magic before. He had always been taught that magic was evil and that sorcerers made a conscious decision to study magic. Was his manservant not even human? Was he a monster? What was this destiny he spoke of? Why would Arthur bring magic back to the land when it had taken both his parents from him and tried to claim his life many times? Why would he have a sorc…warlock by his side? How had he managed to escape magical attacks? He knew he had gotten lucky many times and was only now starting to wonder if it was more than luck that he was still alive.
Merlin sat quietly watching the struggle on Arthur's face. He could tell that Arthur was absorbing all that had been said. All Merlin could do now was sit and wait for Arthur to finish with his internal struggle
"Have you ever used magic against me or Camelot before last night?" Arthur asked while glancing down into Merlin's eyes.
"I have only ever used my magic for good and doing chores," said Merlin with a small smile. "I used the gifts I was given to save your life countless times and to save Camelot. This place is more of a home to me than Ealdor ever was. I could never seek to destroy my home. I could never destroy one side of a coin for we are both one side of the same coin, Arthur. You have my word," said Merlin who was now standing up near the bars staring right back into Arthur's eyes, willing him to see the truth.
"What about the first time you posed as Dragoon?" Arthur asked.
"You know there wasn't any enchantment and that what you and Gwen felt for each other was real. Gwen is a friend of mine and I couldn't just let her die. I knew Morgana had set Gwen up but there was no way I could reveal Morgana at that time. I risked my life to save Gwen," said Merlin.
Arthur was slightly taken back by how long ago Morgana had begun her betrayal. This made Arthur even more firm in his belief that magic was evil, but if that was the case than why did Merlin risk his life? "I want to believe you, Merlin, but how can I?" Arthur asked sadly. "My father is dead because of you and I know all magic to be evil."
"Magic is neither evil nor good. Magic is only as evil or good as the person who uses it," said Merlin. "Your father was dying and would have died anyways even if I hadn't done anything. Please believe that I tried my best to save his life." Merlin thought that maybe he had finally gotten through to his friend. He could see a change in his friend's eyes for a moment before doubt clouded them one more.
"Even if that is true, you still betrayed me, Merlin," said Arthur. "You still chose to use magic in Camelot when you knew it was illegal. Worst of all is that fact that you lied to me. You pretended to be my friend while you were lying to my face. "
"I never pretended to be your friend," said Merlin angrily. "At the beginning I thought you were a prat and a clot pole. I then began to see the real you. Even once I learned of our entwined destinies, I still didn't like you. It took time and at some point I began to consider you my closest friend. Now you are just back to being a royal prat if you think I was just pretending for years. You should also have realized there was no way I could tell you the truth. You would have had be executed in a second back at the beginning. You always were telling me how evil magic was and how you despised magic users. How could I possibly tell you? Even though I feared what your reaction would be and hated the fact that you persecuted my kind, I could never hate you. The half can never truly hate that which makes it whole."
Arthur began to feel a change in his heart at these words. He had believed Merlin right away deep down and knew that his goofy, lazy, idiot manservant could never be evil. It is hard to overcome something you have been taught all your life and believed with all your heart. "I believe you, Merlin."
Merlin felt tears spring to his eyes at Arthur's words. He knew he had to reach Arthur somehow since their destiny depended on this moment. "Does that mean you are not going to have me executed?"
"Once I got down here this morning, executing you never even crossed my mind," said Arthur as he took out the key for the cell door and began unlocking it. "I don't think I could have brought myself to kill you no matter what you had said here." The door was now unlocked and Arthur was gesturing or Merlin to follow him. "Now I hope you realize that I can't change the magic ban law. You may be good but there are still others out there who would want to see me dead."
"If you stopped persecuting magic users, than many of them would not try to kill you," said Merlin. "Personally I never understood why they tried to kill you with magic. If they wanted the ban lifted, killing you would only make sure that the ban was never removed. You are about to be crowned king of Camelot. I know it would send the wrong message to the people of Camelot to lift the ban right away. Show through your actions that you are a good and fair king and then lift the ban when the time is right."
"Merlin, you are such an idiot," exclaimed Arthur.
"What did I do now?" Merlin asked.
"I have to find a new manservant now because of you," said Arthur exasperated.
"So you are firing me?" Merlin asked Arthur as they ascended the dungeon steps and were heading back to Arthur's chambers.
"I am promoting you to royal adviser to the king unless you want to continue to polish my armor, muck out the stables, clean my clothes, and sharpen my sword," said Arthur with a genuine laugh despite the tragedy of the night before.
"I accept your offer, your highness," said Merlin with a small sarcastic bow.
So it was that Arthur became king of Camelot with his closest friend by his side. No one ever knew why Merlin had spent the night in the dungeons and was then promptly promoted to royal adviser to the king. It wouldn't be until almost a year later than the whole of Camelot learned of Merlin's powers that only select few had known about for the past year including Guinevere who was now queen of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table. There were big changes coming to the land and Arthur and Merlin were prepared to face anything that came their way.
A/N: Here ends the first story in my series of different ways Merlin reveals his magic to Arthur. Hope you all enjoyed it and don't forget about that nifty little review button at the bottom of the page. Until next time.