I apologize in advance if my story contains elements of anyone else's. I've read so many reveal fics on this site, some of the ideas stick in my head without me realising.
Set after 4X05
Disclaimer: (to borrow one from CaptainOzone) IDOM
Merlin always followed Arthur. And one time Arthur followed him.
Arthur had lost count of the amount of times he'd explicitly ordered Merlin to leave or stay behind; and the idiot had followed him anyway. It never seemed to stop. Even in times when everyone knew he was heading into potential mortal peril he followed. It was like having an extremely annoying, talking golden retriever.
It was time for him to repay the 'favour'. If acting as a talking dog counted as a favour.
Merlin was hopeless at stealth, most of the time (mainly when they were hunting). However, whenever he followed Arthur; Arthur never detected him until it was too late. This was, Arthur decided, proof that Merlin was purposely making the noise to scare off the fluffy bunnies or whatever furry creature he'd recently taken a fancy to.
Now, on the other hand, Merlin was being ridiculously silent. 'Why couldn't he do this on hunting trips?' Arthur silently despaired as he weaved through the bushes. As an afterthought he added 'And I really need to improve Camelot's security if Merlin can get through fine.'
Merlin paused in a clearing, seemingly waiting for something. His head twitched a fraction of a second before the bushes rustled in the direction he was now facing. Out of the shadows came a man, no, not a man – a druid. 'What on earth was Merlin doing?'
The druid – hadn't Arthur seen him somewhere before? – smiled and bowed his head (respectfully) towards Merlin. His servant. Who despite being the 'best friend' of a King was still just a poor peasant. What on earth was going on?
The druid was wearing leafy, green robes that almost blended in with his background. Perhaps that was why Arthur hadn't seen him. But how had Merlin?
"Thank you for seeing me Emrys." Why was this druid calling Merlin Emrys? Who was Emrys? The name sounded faintly familiar, almost as though it was from a dream. A twinge of panic stirred and he squashed it before it could take hold.
"What was it you wanted?" Arthur wondered why Merlin was replying.
"I bring news of the witch, my lord." Now Arthur really was worried. The witch, he guessed, was Morgana but why was the druid calling Merlin both Emrys and my lord? And why was he telling him about Morgana? With a start, Arthur realised where he recognised the druid from. He had given Arthur the Cup of Life and Arthur had returned the druid boy – Mordred? – to him.
"She has been seen in the North of Camelot, hoping to gather allies in some of the druid camps. Many have refused due to you."
"They are waiting for me." It was a statement not a question.
"Yes, my lord. They now know of your existence."
The trees bristled in the wind and Arthur froze in a combination of shock and fear of being discovered. "What do they know of me?" Merlin asked apprehensively.
"Merely that you are Lord Merlin Emrys Ambrosius Aurelianus, King of the Druids, High King of the Old Religion, Lover of the Lady of the Lake and Slayer of Nimueh. They know nothing more than that – apart from the rumours. However they all know the great power you wield."
Arthur was in shock. At each title he gradually grew paler and paler until he could have passed for a ghost, or maybe a Dorocha. What on earth did this mean? Was Merlin a druid? Was he a sorcerer? Yes, he realised, working through the speech the druid had just given, yes he was. Slayer of Nimueh? Merlin had killed the witch he'd met so long ago. The one who'd tried to kill Arthur. A small section of Arthur's brain concluded that this was why she hadn't troubled Camelot in years – she was dead – but the rest of his brain told that section to shut up and think about it later.
Merlin was a lord – one with a lot of names. And a lot of power. Arthur knew he'd caught the title King in there twice. If he was King, as well as political power, wouldn't he have strong magic as well? Lover of the Lady of the Lake. He'd puzzle that one out later – it was slightly unnerving. Great power – clumsy fragile Merlin? And the druid had implied that there was more than this. A lot more. Did anyone in Camelot know about any of this?
Merlin spoke again. "Anything else?"
"There are rumours of her planning an attack on Camelot. And that she's hunting for Emrys. From Mordred has she heard of your great power and the fact you are currently undefeated. He didn't tell her your birth name."
Merlin visibly sighed in relief. "Very well. Thank you Iseldir."
The druid bowed low and silently backed away out towards the trees. He quickly vanished from sight. Merlin stood for a moment, deep in thought, before striding deeper into the forest.
Arthur's head was spinning. Thoughts flew across his mind the speed of a meteorite – where was Merlin going? Did he really know him at all? What had Merlin been doing? How powerful was he? Was he truly Arthur's friend?
At the moment the most prominent thought was what should he do now?