Thank you so much to CharlieCats for having stuck with me and BETA'd this! ^^
Also, I forgot to mention that this idea of "true or false" did come from the Hunger Games, which are very good books I recommend!
:: 5 ::
"Merlin, you have magic. True or false?"
Merlin freezes. Somewhere, an owl lets out his cry.
Suddenly, it seems like everything around him is in a hurry to scurry, however, he is dead like stone. There are no words to describe this feeling. The shock, the fear and the anticipation of the next turn of events. The information is still dawning on him, and it feels like his brain is being drained. His heart has stopped. He is hot, and shaking.
"Wha-what?" Merlin takes a deep breath, mumbling as he does, "Pardon me?" He corrects himself, trying to sound as polite as possible. He blinks a few times, gulping. Oh god. He feels nauseous. His stomach is turning.
Arthur laughs, almost sadly. "Now, now. I can tell you're hiding something from the way you're being so nice to me..."
Merlin chuckles nervously. "I'm not being polite you... cabbage...arm." He blurs out, and he curses himself for not thinking of anything appropriately good to insult Arthur.
The prince laughs nonchalantly. "Come on Merlin, my grandma could have done better then that!"
"Your grandma is um... I mean..." He stutters over each word, and he begins to groan in disdain. He blinks again; his vision is becoming blurry.
"What is it Merlin? Why won't you answer my simple question? I thought you promised." Arthur pushes him with his words, and Merlin realizes he's on the edge of a wall, where he's got no place to escape. He needs to think of a solution, but he sees none. There isn't time.
His heartbeat is increasing, and he feels like every ounce of him is on fire.
"I- no, of course not-"
"Don't lie to me!" Arthur snaps coldly, his blue eyes piercing through the wall, making it collapse and breaking the warlock's protective side.
"Okay, okay! It's true!" He yells out, closing his eyes and looking away. He dare not say anything at all because he's so scared. Scared of losing it all. Merlin freezes again, and he literally stops to breathe for the next dozen of seconds. All he hears is the rustling of the leaves and the horses exalting air and waiting.
Even the owl has stopped making noise.
"Why? Why did you never tell me?" Arthur gets completely off his horse now, and lets his stallion free. The mount, noticing the lack of response on the reins trots a few meters away, and begins to eat to its heart content and feasts on the fresh, minty grass.
Merlin sighs and gets off his horse, who gladly follows his friend. He stares at the floor, not daring to look at the blonde prince.
"Did you honestly think I could just tell you? What, with all the strict laws against the magic?" Merlin says, laughing nervously. He wants to cry. "You would have made me dead, or if not, you would have been defying your father-"
"Oh, like it makes it better now!" Arthur yells out, frustrated, as he glares at Merlin. He turns around, kicking a few rocks. "What am I supposed to do now?"
"I- It's not like it changes much..." Merlin tries to explain, but it seems that the prince is stubbornly refusing to hear anything from him.
"Just- shut up! Alright? I don't understand it. How? How do I trust you now?" He hisses, looking angrily at the sky.
"Come on, don't be silly... you know me better-" He begins.
"Do I? Do I really Merlin?" Arthur hisses, leaving a thoughtful Merlin perplexed by this. "Our friendship is based on a lie, and a friendship based on weeds does not bloom beautiful, but dies pitifully. Maybe it never really existed. All I've ever heard from my father about magic is bad."
This has more of an impact than Arthur could have imagined. Merlin stands there, his shoulder finally giving in. His expression is completely crushed and he looks like he's going to cry. The wounds in his heard are stinging, and he realizes the choice that Arthur has made.
It's his own fault.
"Is that it, then?" He asks, hurt echoing with every word.
Arthur turns around, his blue eyes suspicious and condescending. "I..." His tone changes to something a little more sorry. "I don't know what I think anymore."
Merlin nods nonchalantly. "I'm sorry I never told you." The sentence is a whisper that is barely audible.
He realizes by now that a few tears are rolling down his cheeks. He quickly erases them with the tip of his fingers.
"Look at me," Arthur says, grabbing Merlin by the left shoulder. "Be a man."
He does as he is told, as Arthur stands in front of him in a imposing manner.
"So? All those times when you saved me, you were using magic. Did you use magic to get into my father's good books and become my manservant? Was it a scheme of yours?"
Merlin takes in a nervous breath and stutters on his words. He takes a deep breath.
"No." This much is firm, and stable, "I... came here because I never belonged in my village. It was not in my plans to become your manservant," He laughs now, which helps him focus on his speech. "I mean, it's not very grand, is it? Working for the arrogant prince? I hated you in the beginning."
This seems to lighten up the tension, and Arthur almost smiles. "I know you did. Loathed my guts more like."
"And I became Merlin the idiot. The fool," Merlin says, grinning.
Arthur smiles for a breath moment, but he sighs to ask another question. "And what about all those times when I won out of sheer luck and- by God, am I even worth all the accomplishments I've earned? Or was it simply the use of your magic that provided these accommodations? Am I, in fact, just a failure as a knight?" Arthur seems angry again, because he now has to question everything he has ever worked for. However he seems more mad at himself than at Merlin.
"No, no!" Merlin quickly replies. "You are... a great prince. I meant what I said yesterday. You've become this phenomenal person with a kind heart. And you'll be a great King. I know that... Camelot is a great place... it's the home I'd always dreamed to have. It was by accident that I... saved you. But somehow, I found a home here like no other place. Camelot opened its walls to me... and I felt wanted. And then, I learned that you were my destiny... through the dragon."
"The dragon." Arthur almost sneers, as if this were a whole dream. The whole process of Merlin being a warlock, and the interaction with the dragon shakes him and gave a whole unrealistic side to the situation.
"Um... his name is Kilgharrah." Merlin whispers, looking away. Another thing he needs to confess; his interactions with the dragon.
Arthur just shrugs. "Warlock, Dragonlord... I'm learning so many things today..." He falls to the ground, sitting down. It's very much like a child, whose feet are sore from a long day ride. Arthur just gazes at the grass, as he grabs a chunk and rips it out of the ground.
Merlin joins him and sighs. "I'm sorry."
Arthur shakes his head, ignoring his apology. "I'm guessing you're also responsible for releasing the dragon... Kilgharrah was it?"
Merlin slowly nods. He sits next to Arthur.
"Do you realize all the lives you put in dangers? All the loss that families had to endure? Do you? I lost my memory because of you!" Arthur yells again.
"I know that I shouldn't have but... I had no other choice." Merlin nervously stutters. Arthur cools down for a moment, listening. "I made a promise to Kilgharrah... in exchange of the spell that would destroy the gargoyles that were attacking Camelot because of Cornelius Sigan at that time... and I would not be a man if I did not respect my oaths..."
"Then you should have come to me, Merlin... damn it!" Arthur groans, frustrated as he massages his temples. "All this... mess you've created is getting worse and worse... and the more you wait, the worse it'll get." Arthur sighs.
There's a long moment of nothingness.
"I'm sorry." Arthur suddenly adds. Merlin blinks, looking up. "I know you had to go through a great deal to protect me and Camelot... and you've never gotten any recognition." Merlin gulps as Arthur seems to hesitate on his words. "I'm not saying I forgive you... forgiving isn't what's in question. It's personal. But I'm a prince, and I also need to keep moving. There's too much information at once right now. I also know that a great man is forged through the experiences he deals with, and you've had your share of losses..."
Merlin frowns, wondering what Arthur is referring to.
The Prince sighs. "Balinor... he was your father right? I'm sorry."
Merlin says nothing at this point.
Arthur, noticing the lack of response, looks up at the sky and murmurs. "Magic is bad. All my life, that one sentence has been repeated and repeated over and over again. Can it be true?" He looks at Merlin, "When I look at you, and Balinor... All those druid children never deserved to die... I don't believe you're bad."
"Thanks." Merlin smiles for the first time, and relaxes just a bit. He suddenly feels this beating inside his brain, and he realizes that something has grown inside of him.
"Even if you are the biggest idiot I know." Arthur laughs silently, making Merlin snap out of the sound in his brain. The beating continues wildly inside Merlin's mind, and he suddenly acquires something new inside of him… a sudden strength that had been there all along, hiding. He gets up.
"Arthur, I want to make everything right. I want… things to go back to the way they were. I know it's a lot to ask, but I'll continue to be me, and you can-"
"That would be lovely." Arthur cuts in, "But do you honestly think this can work? My father is already after the both of us by now, and it won't be long till he catches us. Then he'll have your head for letting me go wild like this, and especially that I haven't even gotten my full memory back."
"Exactly." Merlin nods, grinning. "That's the thing!"
Merlin sighs. "Arthur... I didn't know it before... but I've realized. The spell required for you to remember your memories." He blurts it out, and Arthur looks up, almost dazzled by this new piece of information. He sits right up, and waits, almost smiling like a child.
"Really? How?" Arthur asks, bewildered.
"That's the thing—before, I was weak and unsure. I feel a whole lot stronger now that I've told you."
"You realize I haven't forgiven you, right?" Arthur groans suspiciously.
"Right… but you will." He winks. Arthur rolls his eyes and mumbles something under his breath, "Ready?" Arthur nods slowly.
The two get up, and stare at each other. The air is thick, and but Merlin feels secure in this environment.
Merlin grins as he puts his hand over Arthur's blond head, whispering the incantation.
His eyes shine with their golden color and the magic streams through him to Arthur.
The environment seems to stop. For a moment, Merlin feels like one with Arthur. He thinks he now is starting to understand this idea of a coin. Two sides.
Arthur's pupils widen for an instant and he almost faints for a moment. The Prince blinks furiously and shakes his head. He groans. "Ugh, I have such a head ache." He massages his temples while Merlin gets up.
Arthur is frozen for the next five minutes, as if he were struck by something evident. Merlin waits patiently while he gets ready to surrender. He's still scared by the outcome of the future events.
At last, Arthur gets up, his knees weak. As he rises, Merlin sees in him this great king that Kilgharrah has foreseen.
"Are you alright?" Merlin asks, patting him on the shoulders.
"Do I look alright, Merlin? God, even with magic you really are an idiot." Arthur groans.
"Nice to see you're still the same. Shame, I was hoping this whole 'rediscovering my past' would have given you a… kind streak." Merlin teases him, looking dolefully at the road.
Arthur grimaces, and fakes a laugh. "Very funny. Now, shut up, and fetch the horses." He rubs his eyes, as if he were trying to get used to the light outside. Merlin blinks.
"Yes, have you become deaf as well as stupid?" Arthur yells out, his eyes glaring. "Just because you have some petty magic now does not mean you are relieved from your duties as my manservant!" Merlin nods quickly, running quietly after the horses. Arthur shakes his head in frustration, but smiles when he's sure Merlin isn't watching. He waits another ten minutes for Merlin to catch the horses, which are not very happy to be fetched back.
"Here—you- are…" Merlin pants, finally giving Arthur the reins of his stallion.
"Took you long enough." Arthur says sternly as he gets up on his horse. Merlin tries to regain his composure by taking deep breaths, which only annoys Arthur more. "Come on, Lady Merlin! I don't want to wait around all day for your girly body to recover."
Merlin scrutinizes the prince as he gets up on his horse. "Some knight you are. Wherever did the gallantry go?"
"Oh I'm sorry, what was that? Do you actually want to be treated like a girl?" Arthur says, exasperated. He gives a light kick to his horse, who breaks into a light trot. Merlin follows clumsily behind.
"Um, wait! Where are we… well, going?" The warlock asks.
"Oh um, home?" Arthur grits, giving him an obvious tone. Merlin smiles foolishly. These words are life changing for him.
"Really? So you've forgiven me?" Merlin asks. Wrong question.
"You know, I had almost forgotten that! See the irony in all this? Me remembering my memories nearly alleviated the most crucial fact.. and no, I have not forgiven you."
"Expect to work five times… no, ten times as hard as before! Everything, and I mean everything has to be spotless. And don't think of using magic, because I won't hesitate to tell father if that's the case. One more thing, if you ever, and I mean ever, dare tell anyone about this, I will have your head on a spike. Do these terms seem convenient to you?"
"Clear as crystal." Merlin groans, suddenly not so thrilled anymore about the idea of going back to Camelot.
And yet, both men secretly smile, joyful that the turns of event have come to this. Everything, in the end, will be all right.
And somewhere out there, a set of eyes watch carefully, content with this situation. Kilgharrah bows his head respectfully and flies away in the sky, thinking to himself "Good job, little man. You have done well."
So... here. At first, my initial thought was that Arthur would ask Kilgharrah to make him forget it all, which would have been a bit bitter and tragic, but I chose a more 'happy' ending if you may call it... hope you liked it. Thank you so much to EVERYBODY who has taken the time to review, put this in their alerts and favorites. You guyz rule and thank you very much.