It was raining. Their britches were both muddy, but neither of them truly cared. The grass in the Pendragon graveyard was wet and itchy, but they sat there anyway.
"Sometimes I think I must be cursed," Arthur said, staring blankly at the tombstones in front of him.
"How do you mean?"
"Everyone lies to me." The king let his eyes scan over the three gravestones immediately in front of them. One old, one aging, and one fresh. "Even you've lied to me," he said. Merlin turned to him with a look of hurt, and Arthur sighed. "I'm sorry, that wasn't fair. You did lie, but for a reason. For both our sakes." He looked down between his feet. "No one else has ever shown that consideration."
Merlin didn't reply, and took a moment to look at the graves. Ygraine. Uther. Morgana. "Your mother never lied to you," He said.
"Yes well she was never here to tell me otherwise," Arthur said. He sounded angry, but Merlin knew that it was only enough anger to hide his heartache.
"Your father loved you, Arthur."
"Then he had no right," Arthur grit his teeth. "No right to lie to me like that, about everything."
It was Merlin's turn to downcast his eyes. "No."
It was quiet for a long time after that. Both soaked beyond the point of caring, neither considered that they should be inside.
"Or maybe it is my fault," Arthur said. "Maybe I was born like this. A freak of nature, just begging people to lie to me."
Merlin laughed aloud into the rain. "Yes, that's you, alright. And me too." He turned his face up into the downpour. "Just look at us. A couple of freaks wrapped in lies and curses." He looked back down and spat out the water that had fallen into his mouth. "Destiny must either love or hate us, what with all the meddling she does in our lives."
"You're different," Arthur said. Merlin looked at him. "You didn't ask for magic."
"And you didn't ask to be lied to."
"No," Arthur said, and continued quickly, "No, but where magic has hurt you, you'll be able to justify it. To put it off yourself. Me?" He looked over at the graves. "I've been lied to all my life by a man people now regard as a monster, a menace. I allowed him to shape my life, my beliefs, everything."
"You are not your father, Arthur."
"No, but that's just it. My father, Merlin. He was a liar. A warlord. A paranoid, violent, misguided king who hurt you, me, and everyone I've ever held dear. And he was my father." Arthur shook his head. "I hate him so much. But I can't describe to you the pain I feel knowing that despite what he did to this kingdom, despite how much it hurt to be his son, I still care." Arthur's voice wavered. "I shouldn't care. I shouldn't have to care, after what he did to me." He put his head in his hands and tried to hide his shame. "But I do. And damn it, it hurts."
Merlin was silent for a while before he said, barely audible above the lightly falling rain, "You care for your father, Arthur. A man, although misguided, who sought to protect his kingdom and his family. He failed, yes. But he loved you, and you love him back. That's nothing to be ashamed of."
The king didn't move, but sat there miserably in front of his silent mother, his lying father, his fallen sister. The only one of them still able to draw breath, Arthur Pendragon could only begin to weep.
Silently, Merlin put a hand on the king's shoulder, and then another, and then drew him into a hug. For once in his life, Arthur didn't resist.
It was nothing to be ashamed of. But that didn't mean it didn't hurt.