All That We Break
The worst thing about the truth is that it can't be denied.
It was the only thing that Merlin could think off, as he looked at Mordred's serious face.
"You fear me, Emrys, don't you?" he had asked.
And it wasn't that he feared Mordred for himself – it was for Arthur; for he could no longer care about his own secrets, his own future. It hardly mattered, what was really important was that he kept Arthur safe.
"Your secret is safe with me" Mordred said, smirking. "I didn't tell Morgana. I won't tell himeither."
Merlin didn't answer – he honestly didn't care what Mordred would say, he cared about what he would do.
He had been told, so many years ago, that Mordred would be Arthur's doom; and he had saved the boy.
He had hoped he could change it – and maybe he could have, then, if he hadn't tried to handle him to the guards when Mordred tried to escape while Camelot's patrol raided Alvarr's camp.
It was too late now – it had been too late then.
All he could do was wait.
"Is this really what you wanted, Morgana?"
His voice was hoarse, and she cried for help. He should have helped, ages ago, in the very beginning. He should have been there for her, and told her. He left her alone.
This was his fault as much as it was hers.
"Help me, Emrys" she pleaded.
"I never did" he said, turning his back at her and leaving.
It was too late now – it had been too late from the moment he didn't tell her the truth.
All he could do was trying to avoid the worst.
He saw when Mordred picked up his sword. He saw when he turned to go for Arthur – his beloved Arthur – and when he moved towards his king.
Merlin's body could barely move.
"You don't have to do this" he said, almost in the end of his strength.
Mordred looked at him, and there was pain in his face.
"You chose him."
Merlin couldn't speak, his body hurt too much.
"You could have had me, the whole of me, but you chose to have parts and bits of him. You could have fixed me, Emrys., and you could have held Morgana whole, but you decided to stay by his side."
"It was… my destiny" he offered, sadly. "I couldn't leave him."
Mordred nodded, somehow understanding.
"And this is my destiny. I have to kill him. That's what I was born to do."
Merlin tried to offer something – anything – to stop Mordred, but he had nothing to give him, not even his life, that was leaving him fast.
"We are the same, Emrys" said Mordred, with a soft smile that hardly ever showed in his face. "We have been driven here against our wishes, bond by loyalties that couldn't be shattered, to be the beginning and the end of all that. We didn't choose it. You couldn't change it, and neither could I."
Merlin opened his mouth, but Mordred interrupted him.
"I'll tell him you loved him" he said, still soft. "Before he dies."
"I loved you too" said Merlin, knowing this would be his last words. "And Gwen, and Morgana, and all of you."
"Yeah" Mordred agreed, raising his sword. "But not enough to save us all."
Merlin didn't even see the sword coming down to him, ending his life. It had been over when he couldn't keep them together, anyway.
Arthur's voice was firm, and just a bit hurt. They had had a bond, once.
Mordred moved his sword, and Arthur held it easily – or so he thought, until he felt the blade sliding slowly and coming inside his chest in an impossible movement.
His head moved. He fell on his knees. Mordred got closer, but didn't attack him again.
"He loved you too much" said the man, and there was no need to explain who. "And I him. I had no choice, Arthur. Neither of us can win. We were trapped from the start."
"You killed him?" Arthur asked, his voice failing.
"Yes" the answer was simple, easy. "Of course."
Mordred never saw Arthur's arm moving for the last time, faster than it could have been expected, as he pulled his last strength into a blow that broke Mordred's body, making him fall in front of the king he betrayed.
"We lose" said Arthur, before closing his eyes. "Together."
And through the whole world silence fell, as Albion's destiny faded in a blur of magical blood.
No one, no matter how great, can know their fate. They walk through without knowing the marks their steps will leave. No one can escape it, and no one can choose it. It repeats itself, over and over, dominating them completely.
From the first time one opens his eyes, his path is set, and cannot be changed. One will not know, but live and learn, and play his part in the stage of destiny, for better or for worse. Such burden cannot be claimed, and it cannot be renounced, or changed by one's will.
And so was to the young warlock that once came through the gates of Camelot, ready to father a legend, that he was destined to break himself.