Disclaimer: Story is based on the creative work of others. (The BBC, Shine, and a bunch of writers and bards who've been dead for centuries.)
To Arthur Pendragon, sovereign of the Kingdom of Camelot
From Merlin of Ealdor
You pompous bloody hypocrite! You have one hell of a lot of goddamned nerve saying I don't trust you, you unmitigated thick-witted dollop-head! I have always trusted you. I have always had faith. I've shown more trust and faith in you than any other subject in your entire sodding Kingdom!
You don't believe me? Think on this then: you never listened to a single word I said, no matter how many times I was right in the past, and yet I had faith in you.
I found out how you slaughtered those Druids, even the children, and again, I was furious. And yet I had faith in you.
You turned on Gaius, a man I look to as a father, a man you've known all your life and who practically helped raise you, and yet I still trusted you. I was furious, and I argued with you that you were wrong, and yet I had faith in you.
Arthur Pendragon - you killed the woman I loved and yet still I had faith in you.
All these years, I have worked for you, fought for you, sacrificed for you, offered my life for you, and - the Gods save me - even killed for you. I have come very near to destroying my own soul more than once. Why? Because I had faith in you, Arthur! Because I trusted you. Because I trusted you were a good man and that one day you would become a fair and just King.
So I ask you Arthur, how can you possibly stand there and have the sheer and utter stupidity to say I didn't trust you?
You think trust is all about secrets? Is that how it is, Arthur? I have to show faith at every turn, but you can only trust me if I've bared my soul to the very bone? You can't stand by me any other way? You can't even stop and listen to my reasons?
That doesn't sound like a friend to me. That doesn't sound like trust.
Don't stand there and say I lied to you, Arthur. My having magic doesn't change who I am. You're the one who made assumptions, who never looked deeper, and now you've found out that you're not as smart as you thought. You're not mad at me because I didn't tell you what I was, you're mad at me because you think I've made you look a fool!
Well, pay attention you cabbage-head! I am, and have always been, the same Merlin who has always stood by you. Yes, I kept a secret. So what? I'm entitled to keep my secrets just like everyone else. And I'm also entitled to hope that maybe, just maybe, my friends would have stuck by me anyway. That even without knowing absolutely everything, they'd still trust I was a good person. That they would have a little faith in me.
But apparently you don't, Arthur. You learn one thing you didn't know before and it's 'Out the gate, Merlin and be grateful I didn't have your head, you traitorous bastard.'
You actually called me a traitor. I've picked you up and kept you going more times than I can count and you call me a traitor.
You damned coward. You can't bring yourself to look any deeper, can you?
Yes, I kept my magic a secret, Arthur. And you know damn well why I did because you aren't a fool. But if you are, or if you are simply too bloody lazy to think, then I can give you a list of well over a dozen reasons why I didn't tell you. Reasons that have nothing to do with trust or its lack. As far as that goes, the list itself should show you how much I trusted you - I put my secret down on paper for all the world to find, just so that someday, in the event I died before I could talk to you, you'd know the real reasons for what I did and not feel betrayed.
In any case, Gaius knows where it is and he can give it to you, if for once in your whole cursed life you're willing to listen, that is.
But one reason should be plain even to you. Obviously I kept my magic secret to protect myself (which, I might add, is a more than a valid enough reason on its own, and hardly one that should be held against me), but I also did it to protect others. To protect my mother and Gaius, for a start. And even to protect those who didn't know, like Gwen. (For let's be perfectly honest Arthur, if your father could let the witch-finder persecute Gaius and threaten his own daughter, it's highly unlikely he would have had any compunctions at all about putting the serving-maid his son was oh-so-inconveniently in love with to the pyre for her so-called suspicious associations.)
And you, Arthur. I held my tongue time and time again, even when my heart was breaking, to protect you. I protected you not just with my magic, but by keeping it a secret. I protected you from having to lie to your father. I protected you from being a criminal and perhaps even risking your throne. I protected you from having to order one more execution. I even protected you by maligning magic and hurting my own hopes for happiness in order that you would not have your father's death on your conscience. And I protected you by not revealing you to be the King of prophecy, for if I was revealed to be Emrys, then those who would harm young King Arthur would fight even harder to kill the Once and Future King of legend.
I will admit here that not all of my reasons were so selfless, as you'll find out if you talk to Gaius. However, while I understand why you felt hurt and am truly sorry for it, I am done apologizing. A month of grovelling is enough. My secret was just that - mine. Friend or not, you had no automatic claim to it, and therefore I could argue that you have no true right to be angry. Meanwhile, telling you took more courage than you could have ever imagined, and - to my mind - a friend would have trusted that it was something I had to do in my own time. In fact, a friend would have been honoured that I told him at all, instead castigating me for how long it took and rejecting me when I needed him most.
So if you are disappointed in our friendship, Arthur, then know that you are not the only one.
One more thing: I would have told you even if circumstances hadn't forced my hand. I know that is easy to say, but I assure you it's true, because I knew the exact moment when it would have happened. It would have been when you lifted the ban on magic. That's what I was waiting for. Because, Arthur, this is who I am, and it is in no way fair that I should have to tell you as if I were confessing to a crime.
So that's how it stands. Where we go from here is down to you now, Arthur. Will you listen or do we call an end to everything that's been between us?
To Merlin of Ealdor,
From Arthur Pendragon, sovereign of the Kingdom of Camelot,
I will listen.
Quite frankly, I was unsure as to whether or not I should post this. I wrote it mainly because I've had a lousy week (and it's only Wednesday!) and I needed Merlin to scream and rant for a bit. I was also a little put off by the rumours that Merlin won't reveal his powers in the next season AND that supposedly Mordred will show up and be made a Knight. How unfair is that? The secret magic I guess I can live with (especially since it's my belief that that is how they will finally end the show and it would be anti-climactic to have it any earlier), but really - Mordred a Knight? While Merlin gets no reward? My muse is frothing at the mouth and sparks are spitting from his ears.
Anyway, I've always pictured writing a much bigger reveal fic, with actual face-to-face confrontations, using some of these points. So if I do, I may eventually take this story down. However, even if I do, it won't be for a very long time, so please enjoy it!