Characters: Merlin, Arthur
Word Count: 794
Warnings/Spoilers: post-S4ish, magic reveal, first attempt at new fandom, written by me, the usual blah blah blah :P
Summary: Fill for my H/C Bingo Card at LiveJournal's HC_Bingo community, Confession in a Desperate Situation
Of all the ways (both terrible and wonderful) it could have gone, he has never once imagined this one.
Installing the Once and Future King of all Albion was not as easy nor as noble as it sounded; it had to be done through arduous battle and grueling negotiation, and one year after the coronation of King Arthur the land of Camelot was still deep in unrest. While Arthur had won the respect of the immediately neighbouring kingdoms and their monarchs, either by force or by character, there were yet many across the lands whose sole desire seemed to be to prove him unworthy of his father's throne.
In consequence, between challengers of Camelot's young king and the ever-present threat of malevolent magic, the kingdom was in a state of perpetual vigilance and nearly-perpetual war.
With Agravaine gone at last and Gwen re-installed as water to Arthur's fire, Merlin really had intended to reveal his secret at some point after things calmed down a bit.
The trouble was, that they never had calmed down.
And now he finds himself in the middle of yet another battle, trying to surreptitiously protect an idiot monarch with no sense of self-preservation and a habit of getting his fat head in the way of any airborne object within twenty feet. Secrecy has its handicaps, and Merlin can only make so many Mercian soldiers knock themselves out on their own shields before even Gwaine starts to suspect.
It's just his ever-present bad luck that he decides to break up the monotony and use a discarded spear to dispatch the hulking Mercian about to bash Arthur's head in - only to have the King turn the wrong direction at the exact wrong moment and see the whole thing.
He lowers his hand a moment too late, to find Arthur staring at him wide-eyed.
Well, that's not good.
"...I can explain?" he tries weakly, rubbing the back of his neck - a habit born from years of watching beheadings.
The King of Camelot's look changes from I-should-kill-you-where-you-stand to I-want-to-kill-you-where-you-stand, before he whirls to parry a blow from an eager (stupid) young enemy soldier. Steel flashes as they scuffle briefly, the Mercian soon collapsing as Arthur runs him through.
Merlin wisely takes a step backward as the sword is yanked free of the man's body. At this point he has put all he is to the words he has always said, and he truly does trust Arthur with his life - but that doesn't mean that the young monarch won't be royally furious with him and decide to teach him a severe lesson before banishing him, at least until he cools down.
"You can explain," Arthur repeats slowly, as if he can't quite believe Merlin just said that.
"Yes, I - Arthur!"
The King wheels instinctively and deflects an axe-blow with a resounding clang.
"Merlin," he shouts over the crash of blade and shield. "We are -" CRASH! "losing," swipe to the enemy's unprotected legs, "a very important -" CLANG! "battle for the - rrargh! - kingdom!" He finishes the man with a yell, and glares at Merlin, who is fidgeting with his tunic. "Whatever you've got, use it, you idiot!"
"But it's magic!" Merlin hollers in shocked protest, his mind reeling at the reaction he's just received from the man who has the power to destroy him for what he's just done.
Arthur trips an approaching soldier and wallops his unprotected ear with a gauntleted fist. He dodges another Mercian and rolls, coming up behind the man and neatly stabbing him through the heart from the back. Four more soldiers, one wearing the standard of a high-ranking general, are converging on him. "Merlin, I don't care if it's necromancy, if it will turn this in our favour!"
Merlin blinks. "Are you serious?" he shouts incredulously, hands on hips.
A blinding flash, and Arthur stares around him, jaw dropped, at the four scorch marks that were his combatants a moment before.
"Ah..." Merlin gulps, glances to his left like a trapped rabbit. "I'll just go and...help Sir Leon, yeah?"
The King scuffs a toe warily through the charred grass. "Merlin."
Arthur gives him a look that clearly says they will be having words later, but there is no condemnation in it, only exasperation. "Don't obliterate the Mercian prince; we need him for the unification treaty."
Merlin's face creases in a slow grin, and he darts off at a run - only to trip over a fallen soldier and go sprawling in the muddy field with a yelp.
The King whirls to introduce Excalibur to another Mercian soldier, and grins inwardly at the idea that any type of sorcery in the hands of such a lovable idiot could be considered evil.