Merlin stood, frozen and vulnerable in the middle of the field, feeling all eyes and faces turned towards him.
This wasn't how it was supposed to happen…No, not like this…
Shock and fear swept over him as he stood there, the silence filling the field thickly and strongly. No one seemed willing or even able to break it. Finally, he broke eye contact with the ground and sought out the eyes and face he needed to see most. Arthurs.
It was like a magnet. He didn't even scan the field, he just looked up and saw the shock in Arthurs face. Shock, then fear. Then betrayal. Merlin hoped that his own fear and desperation didn't show through as much as he felt it. He might as well finish what he's started here though, to get rid of the army.
Taking a deep breath, he roared out the next incantation to dispel the opposing army- Morgana had attacked with an army of mercenaries and bandits that vastly outnumbered Camelot's knights; there was no way Arthur could possibly win.
A storm cloud began to form rapidly in the just previously clear sky. Lightning and thunder struck, wind whipped around them and everyone stood in awe of what was happening. Merlin had his hand held out in front of him, and lightning seemed to be striking him, but instead was being concentrated into a large pulsing ball of energy. Those who still stood in the field took off at a run. Anyone who stayed behind would have been struck with the lightning Merlin now seemed to control. The flashing in his eyes and face was terrible, and sent shivers down even the King's back.
This is not the Merlin I know. Who the hell is this? What the hell is this?
After the field had been cleared of Morgana's army, Merlin lowered his hand down to his side. He looked back at Arthur and saw the King looking at him with a look he had never seen. Fear? Hatred? Anger? Confusion? Probably a mixture of all of those, and more.
Arthur now was walking up to him, the knights joining his ranks. Merlin's heart was pounding, and it took every bit of concentration to keep himself from turning and running away into the forest himself, or even from just passing out.
Arthur now stood directly in front of Merlin, not three feet away. Merlin turned his eyes downward, and fell to his knees in submission and shame.
"Sire, I have been lying to you and keeping secrets from you," he tried to keep his voice as steady as possible, but it cracked with the next part. "I place myself at your mercy."
The moments drew on. What must have been no more than five seconds to an outside observer seemed to those in the field hours.
Merlin flinched visibly at his master's voice, which was full of restrained and contained anger and hurt.
Merlin looked up at him, and opened his mouth, no sound coming out. He closed it again.
Once again, Merlin tried, but his voice seemed to have abandoned him. Suddenly he felt a blade at his throat.
"Explain why I shouldn't just kill you right now for treason against the crown," Arthur demanded.
Merlin had let out a small whimper at feeling the blade already sticky with blood from the battle come into contact with his skin. Clearing his throat, he tried once more.
"I'm so sorry," he started. And suddenly the rest followed; why he came to Camelot, their first encounter, conjuring the blue orb for Arthur to follow in the cave, the convenient success they've always had against the odds. The dragon.
He faltered slightly when he started to talk about freeing Kilgharrah, but figured that he best tell the whole truth. He talked about Balinor, lying to Arthur about killing the Great Dragon, and Aithusa. Aithusa…
He had almost forgotten about the original intent of that mission, and when he looked up to see Arthur's reaction at the news of a second dragon, all he saw was a stone cold face of practiced hatred and horror. This was the face of Uther looking upon any sorcerer or someone accused of magic. This face finally made Merlin's voice stop in shock and horror.
He realized that he had also talked about Uther's death. Oh God, no, no.
"You're that old man."
It wasn't a question. It was a statement of realization.
"Yes, but no, wait, Arthur, hear me out, please—"
"You killed my father. I can see it in your eyes, you… you…" he searched for the right word. "You murderer. You traitor. You sorcerer," he spat out the last word like it caused his mouth to taste foul.
"No, please, listen! Morgana was working against me that night, I swear! I tried to heal Uther, you were there, you saw the spell work!" he cried in desperation.
The sword at his throat, which had not moved, pushed further into his neck; he felt his own blood trickle down his Addams apple.
"Who else have you killed Merlin? Who else has died at your hand? Nimueh you said. You showed no emotion at having to poison Morgana, who was still a friend. Who have you hurt with your curse?"
Merlin looked up at him in disbelief. This couldn't be happening. No, this wasn't how it was supposed to go, no. This man, Arthur, with all the hatred and betrayal in his face as he looked down upon his servant. This man was supposed to help bring back magic. Merlin was supposed to help him. This was not how this was supposed to happen.
Arthur looked at him expectantly, no, demandingly.
Taking another breath, Merlin was barely able to croak out the next word.
The rest of the group stirred at this. Agravaine had had a personal relationship with all of them, whether professional or familiar. They knew him to be a traitor, but how could this small, clumsy servant ever take out someone like that? But then, they remembered, look what Merlin had singlehandedly done to this army of sorcerers.
Arthur finally took down his sword. Merlin breathed a bit easier, but was still tense and terrified. His master stuck his sword into the ground and started pacing in the area of about ten feet. He suddenly stopped and looked at Merlin directly in the eye.