A\N: Sorry for taking so long to get this out. Things kept getting in the way. But thank you all for your continued awesome response! 27 reviews for last chapter! 27! There are 37 people who have this on their favorites list. As well as there are 95 of you following this now! Phenomenal responce that I have never seen the equal to. Somehow, because of all of you, I had one review away from 50 for only two chapters. That is just astonishing. Hopefully, this chapter is a satisfying conclusion. Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin. If I did... It sure wouldn't have ended I assure you.
Arthur saw Merlin freeze yet again. The servant/warlock was searching for words. Arthur gritted his teeth. That wasn't any good at all. Merlin's hesitation meant that he didn't think Arthur would like the truth. Whether Merlin would come up with a positive spin or a blatant lie was anyone's guess at this point.
Arthur really didn't want another lie.
The king glared at his manservant, blue eyes narrowing into a dark dare. Merlin jumped slightly. Good, Arthur thought at the back of his mind, no lie then.
"It's hard to explain." Merlin was clearly stalling.
Merlin fidgeted in a way that Arthur's long-ago tutors would have disciplined him severely.
"You have an... enemy that would have profited. I couldn't let that happen."
"Who? Morgana?" Arthur could feel his face scrunch up in it's customary confused expression. Too bad, his grimace had been actually getting answers. Very vague answers, but Merlin wasn't telling a lie.
"No." Merlin looked down, "He is prophesized to kill you. I thought that if you didn't free magic then you would be safe."
Arthur didn't understand it but maybe he could ask Gwen later if Merlin didn't start answering properly.
"Then who is this enemy?"
Merlin was hesitating again. Why was he so reluctant to tell Arthur this identity. Then Arthur thought about it and almost gasped. He forced a smile and tried to pass it off as a joke.
"It's not like you're destined to kill me or anything, are you, Merlin?" The king gave a weak chuckle as his eyes couldn't betray the 'oh please no!' emotion going through him.
Merlin's response was immediate.
"NO!" He said and Arthur was grateful, reassured by the sheer instantaneity of the answer. This was something he was actually sure of. "I would never harm you, Arthur. I swear it. My destiny is to protect you and I would gladly give my life for you."
Arthur tried to hide his uncomfortableness from his friend. As happy as he was to have such a loyal ser- frien- warlo- Merlin, he was still used to thinking of him as practically defenseless and someone to be protected. Although Arthur wouldn't usually admit it, he would die for Merlin. He had always know it was reciprocal but it had always worried him. He knew that he could never trust Merlin to save himself. In fact, he was worried that if he ever died, Merlin wouldn't get past it.
However, Arthur put those thoughts away and moved on to solving the mystery of the tears.
"Just tell me his name. Do I know him?" Arthur asked,
"Yes..." Merlin agreed reluctantly, looking like he'd rather be anywhere but here.
Arthur braced himself for a betrayal, because that it what it would have to be. He looked at Merlin.
"Mordred." Merlin cringed, watching the king for his reaction.
"Oh." Arthur felt like the wind had been knocked out of him. That made sense on why Merlin didn't try to free magic at that particular time...
"Arthur?" Merlin was trying to get his attention and he was sounding very worried.
Arthur himself was trying to wrap his head around the young man being destined to kill him. If so, he was going about it entirely the wrong way. You shouldn't jump in front of weapons or save the target from evil sister witches. Mordred was the newest knight though, so his betrayal was more expected then, say, Leon's. If Leon was destined to kill him then that would be practically impossible. That would be like Gwen turning evil or Gaius beating him in a sword fight. Leon would be like Uther deciding that magic was happy rainbows and riding a unicorn. So in that respect he was glad it was Mordred. So it couldn't be Leon. Gwaine was saved to. Arthur would die of embarrassment if it had been Gwaine. Elyan was his brother-in-law so that would have been very awkward if destiny had decided it was him. Percival was too quiet and Lancelot was too dead. So really, it was better this way. Really. Wasn't it?
"Arthur!" Merlin was talking again. Maybe he should answer him? He sounded kind of worried.
"I'm fine." The king managed.
Arthur still didn't know what to do with Mordred. Even after Merlin had told him that he'd seen no evidence that Mordred was even evil yet. He didn't want to do nothing but he didn't believe in punishing the kid for his destiny. Merlin wasn't even sure what to do.
It was so severe that even Gwaine and Guinevere, the first who had been eavesdropping and the second who had been trying to 'stop' him but hadn't succeeded so she may have heard a few things 'accidentally', came in for a council of the dinner table. They didn't take the identity of the, possibly future, traitor well. Gwaine was silent and grave while Guinevere looked like she would cry, even if Arthur knew she wouldn't.
What could you do with a boy that was destined to kill you? It wasn't as if Mordred could be held at fault for his destiny. No man could choose it.
"Does Mordred know?" Guinevere asked,
"I don't know." Merlin admitted,
"Then I have a plan." She said, "Arthur, Merlin," the queen hesitated, "Arthur you should make magic legal."
"How would that deal with Mordred?" Arthur asked his wife,
"Merlin, you said that he and Morgana were destined in having an alliance in evil, right? Morgana gets most of her followers by exploiting their desire to practice magic freely or through intimidation. If we free magic then her followers won't have any reason to truly hate Camelot. Also, then Merlin can reveal his identity as Emrys and other followers would think twice before attacking us. We continue to treat Mordred well and he won't have any reason to join Morgana, short of some enchantment."
Arthur watched Merlin's reaction. He thought about Guinevere's proposal and agreed. It wouldn't to any harm and he had known for a long time that his wife was more intelligent than him. If he, and she, didn't see any flaws then it was a good idea. Plus, after seriously thinking of removing the ban earlier, he had come to the conclusion that it wouldn't be that bad. His main concern had been the corrupting force of magic, something that Merlin clearly demonstrated was false.
"Yes, I'll issue the proclamation in the morning." The king declared, still watching Merlin.
Merlin's eyes looked glassy, as if they were about ready to tear up. But they were happy this time. You could just feel the joy radiating off of him, even as his expression switched to cautious, unbelieving, sober frown. Arthur now knew that his friend would like nothing more than to stop hiding and lying but Merlin still considered Arthur's safety over him dreams. Too bad. Arthur decided that no matter how weird it was that Merlin had magic, despite any lingering anger or feeling of betrayal, Arthur was willing to potentially go through danger to make his friend free. It was what Merlin deserved.
Even though as soon as this whole mess was over, Arthur was going to grill him over everything Merlin knew that he didn't. Also, he'd probably yell at the idiot for trying to kill someone with the death of his own dream. There were much easier ways to commit murder after all. Even if he knew that Merlin didn't like to outright kill people, there were still options. Like determining if Mordred was even evil first... But that was for a later date.
"Are you sure it will work?" Merlin questioned hesitantly,
"No," Arthur answered truthfully, "But I don't see what harm it would do."
"In fact we may actually get attacked less if we didn't keep angering the sorcerers." Guinevere suggested,
"But what if-" Merlin started but Arthur interrupted him,
"Then we deal with it then. Magic is going to be legal tomorrow."
Merlin looked at him. It took a while for the man to say anything. Then the warlock smiled, a tear of happiness escaping each eye.
"Thank you." He didn't have to explain what for.
Then Gwaine had to ruin the moment by asking Merlin if he could conjure ale. Everyone started laughing, unable to help themselves. Merlin had magic, Mordred was destined to kill Arthur and they were legalizing magic. It was so crazy. But it was real and they would deal with it.
The tears dropped.
A\N: And so Tears ends. Is it a little sad that I wish that some of this should have happened, especially when I look at the finale? *Sigh* I'm not even going to talk about that now, because I know that I probably wouldn't stop for hours. However, I am planning on doing a series of 5 different endings somewhat later-ish, as well as the coverage in Filling the Hollow Moments if anyone's interested.
Also, before I go on, I have a question- Does anyone have any suggestions for writing activities or games? I'm going to be leading a series of writing workshops for a competition (it's complicated) and am currently doing so research over what to cover and do. I have some ideas but would really appreciate some recommendations. Is there anything that ever helped you improve your writing? Anything fun?
Ok, thanks for that. Now I'm going to try something new and respond to all you reviewers with PMs. I figure that since it's going to take me a while to write all the responses, I could post this now and have people enjoying the chapter a few hours sooner! Plus, it'd look kind of ridiculous if the list of responses is longer than the chapter. So THANK YOU EVERYONE! I will, however, respond to the guests down here.
sword- You're welcome. We all need a good rant sometimes. Thanks for reading and reviewing this story! I hope you like the end!
A- I'm glad you like it. On of my biggest problems with this season was it's isolation of Merlin. They didn't really put in all the bromance scenes that all of us love. Even Arthur and Merlin barely interacted! It just didn't seem right that after all this emphasis on friendship and how close the characters were, that no one noticed Merlin's mood- ever! So, of course I had to include some actual moments of people remembering that they were Merlin's friend. Evil!Gwen... Egh! I really didn't like that they spent so many episodes on it. It was that last season and basically every episode was an evil!Gwen or Mordred's evil. Completely filled with filler! It's painful, really, and sad. But it's done so it looks like I'll just have this site to fill my Merlin fix. Elyan's death wasn't the only that I didn't like... I'm happy that you enjoyed Arthur's conflicted reaction and I hope you like this chapter. Thanks for reviewing!