A/N: Came home from school, got (attacked by) a plot bunny, then sat and wrote this because it wouldn't leave me alone!
Kinda an angsty look at a possible future scenario because with Season 5 beginning and all, I just really want Arthur to find out about Merlin's magic and have there be sadness and hugging it out and bromance and adventure time with Merlin being able to use his, but I highly doubt that'll happen. The author's are probably going to have Arthur be all angry (because where's the drama if Arthur says he's known for the past three years?) and Merlin's going to be sad and I DON'T WANT MERLIN TO BE SAD.
It was the end of the world.
Flame and smoke and ash choked the air as Morgana's sorcerers struck down his men so quickly that it looked like the battalions were rippling on the battlefield as soldier after soldier fell to the ground, slain. The great fortress, once a haven for the people, held only a lucky living few hiding within its walls and had chunks of stone gouged out of its side, and was losing more with every instant, huge blocks of marble that tumbled down to the ground in an explosion of dust.
Camelot was dying.
Arthur closed his eyes from his position on the high tower and let himself, for a brief instant, mourn for what was lost. His people? Slaughtered. His lands? Stolen. His soldiers? Slain. There was no redemption, no salvation, and no deliverance.
Camelot was lost.
His knights gasped behind him and Arthur wanted to whip them into silence, because his kingdom was moments away from being destroyed and he needed no reminders of the pain of this loss. But the knights began to murmur, and Arthur opened his eyes when he realized that they were whispers of hope.
Two dragons circled the clearing, with unfurling wings of ancient leather and scales of burnished red and white, breathing their flame upon the enemy and screaming terror into the hearts of his foes. A radiant light had begun to fill the plain, clearing away the smoke and ash and leaving the air clean and sweet, and this light emanated from a rocky ledge overlooking the battlefield.
And as the mist faded away and the sun came to shine, Arthur could see that the light was coming from the very palm of a slim man with dark hair that stood with his arms towards the heavens and lips moving in some silent prayer.
The knights behind him shouted with joy and Arthur could see the looks of deliverance on the faces of his soldiers, far, far below, but he pushed that aside and surveyed the battlefield. His enemies were fleeing the field, and he could have sworn that he saw Morgana's black hair fluttering in the distance like a broken war banner. The tides were being turned.
But Arthur's lips tightened and his fists clenched because he did need a traitor as a savior. No, he ruled alone. He turned and glared at the knights, who were so drunk with laughter and relief that they did not notice his look.
When Gwaine finally saw him though, the rugged man strode forward and clapped him on the shoulder, finally turning the attention of the knights towards their king. "Always knew that he'd come back, didn't I say he'd always come back?" he grinned, shouting the last part to his fellow soldiers, who raised their voices in rowdy agreement. Arthur shrugged out from his grasp and turned away. "We'll have to take him out drinking after this, although Mer – "
"You." The smile of the archer disappeared at his command, and Arthur gestured towards the sorcerer standing on the cliff. "Shoot that man." He turned back to watch the battle, but heard no movement behind him. "Did I not make myself clear?" He looked back and glared at the boy. "Shoot him down."
"S-sire?" The stutter of the boy seemed to break the stunned silence, and a roar of noise rose up from the crowd of people in front of him.
Gwaine finally seemed to regain his voice, and immediately pushed Elyan aside to look at Arthur. Eyes of rage bored into him, all traces of fondness burned away, but Arthur met the knight's anger with a cool indifference. He needed no affection to rule.
"This is madness." Arthur smirked, ever so slightly, at the man's words, and infuriated, Gwaine shoved him. "This is madness Arthur, and I won't let you do it." The knight's hand flew to his scabbard, but Arthur had already drawn his sword and slammed it across Gwaine's helm. He fell with a sickening crunch against the stone tiles. The crowd fell silent once more.
Arthur cleanly slid his sword back into its sheath and once again turned to the archer. "I want that man – " he pointed directly towards the sorcerer, as there be no confusion. " – dead."
The boy looked at him, gaping, and Arthur was just about to pull out his sword again when Percival stepped in front of him, shaking his head. Yet another betrayal.
Arthur looked around the crowd to see shock and fear and anger and resolution, but not a single friendly face. Well. But he was the Once and Future King, and he needed no knights and he needed no love, all he needed was a cage for his heart and steel for his blood and strength that would never let him be weak.
He snatched the bow away from the white-faced archer and pulled an arrow taut against the string, reveling in the feel of the smooth wood against his fingers. This would be the arrow that would split Merlin's chest in half and gouge a hole in his heart and all Arthur would have to do was release the string. He sighted along the length of the shaft and aligned his aim to fix on the small figure in the distance.
His narrowed world expanded when a hand wrenched the bow from him and tried to pull it away. Arthur however, clung to his salvation with fingers like claws and met Leon's gaze with steely eyes. "Release me."
"Sire, he is saving us – " Arthur ignored Leon's shouts, but others rose to take their place, rushing upon his ears like violent tides, washing up words like broken shells that he had no use or no care for.
"Think of Guinevere – "
"I know not of magic, but he is the farthest thing from ev – "
"Gaius, my lord, Gaius, your trusted advisor! Who loves Mer – "
"He has saved us Arthur, saved us, surely that repays any debt he might owe – "
As the babble of sound grew louder and louder, Arthur looked across the plain to the slight figure twisting his fingers in the air and saw, once again, the telltale flash of gold that had begun this all. Fury flashed through his veins and he grappled for the bow even harder, because they did not understand, they would never understand, that this was the sorceror's punishment for lying and betraying and deceiving and leaving and that –
"He deserves to die," Arthur screamed. The voices of the knights rose in fervor and desperation but Arthur blocked out everything except the sight of Merlin's golden eyes and let his shout ring fiercely and joyfully against the cold, cold stone, again and again and again.
And the knights shouted and tried to pull the bow away from him but he thrust out his sword and grabbed the silken wood with all his might and blood screamed in his ears and the wind blew a thousand daggers and he wanted someone to pay for the years spent alone, he wanted someone to pay for the knife that jerked deeper into his chest with every breath ever since that fateful day six years ago, and the only person that he saw to blame was the dark haired man that roared out in a language that he would never understand and still wore a red neckerchief and that had golden eyes of evil and that was his brother and who broke his heart –
The arrow flew.
Arthur ruled alone.
A/N: So did it make sense? Sorry for the rushedness of it, I still have homework to do so I was just trying to get it done :) Basically Merlin's reveal left Arthur so angry that he turned heartless (to sum it up roughly)
I'm feeling a bit down today (college apps and essays and all) so please, if you take the time to alert or favorite this, please take a moment to review. It really, truly, makes my day :)