A Week In Camelot
So, we all know Merlin can be clumsy…
But when he drops a pack of incriminating latters between him and several magic users, Arthur finds them. How will he react to the contents? Seeing as it mentions magic, dragons and Morgana…
Oh, and a dog statue running around beneath Camelot?
Just a usual Monday…
"Yes Sire… I'll add it to the list."
"Aww, come on Merlin, cheer up…"
"You're joking right? Washing, polishing, cleaning, writing speeches, clearing out the horses, walking the dogs and then getting your damn lunch? Of course I'm cheerful… Why on earth would I not be cheerful?"
With that, Merlin gave an exasperated sigh and stormed from the chambers, carrying a huge washing basket and grumbling about prats and kings.
Which is how Arthur knew he was joking. And why he simply grinned before turning to go and deal with the piles of parchment on his desk.
Then he noticed a small bundle of parchment on the floor and stooped to pick it up, seeing Merlin's name scrawled on the front.
Arthur sighed. He must have dropped it when he was picking up the washing…
As he picked it up, several separate pieces of parchment fell from the pack and a small line caught Arthur's attention.
With all respect and good wishes,
Alator of the Catha
Catha? They were magic users…
Arthur hastily scooped them up and head to his desk, unfolding the letter as he went.
It gladdens me to hear such tidings from Camelot. To hear that the threat to Arthur Pendragon has been neutralised gives me hope that we here are not so useless in this war of secrets.
As for your worries, do not fear. In time, Arthur will come to know what you have done. How many times you have saved his life.
He will accept you, I have faith in that.
But I should warn you, Morgana is moving again. We have heard but a whisper, but we know she is plotting against Camelot. You must keep your senses sharp, Merlin. You may not be able to inform the king of this threat, but I have no doubt you will be more than a match for it as you have been to so many others.
Keep your spirits high, for without them, you will begin to fall and the hopes for Albion will all with them.
It pains me to be of so little use to you, but we are ready for your call. You need but summon us and we are there.
With all respect and good wishes,
Alator of the Catha
Arthur sat back, completely confused. Thee Catha, the most dangerous force of magic users in the five kingdoms, were in contact with Merlin?
Then there was that other bit… Merlin had saved his life? When? How?
And what had he done to demand the loyalty of these sorcerers?
Why hadn't he told him?
All these thoughts and more flooded though his head, and he unfurled another piece of parchment, hoping to find some answers.
We apologise, but we have heard nothing of any movements made by Morgana. If the information proves correct, and we have no doubt that it is so, then we have no qualms about your ability to deal with it.
And you have but to call, and we shall be at your aid.
If we do get any information about the witch, we shall let you know immediately.
Our hopes and wishes are with you,
Aglain… A druid elder?
This letter had left Arthur with more question than answers.
What could inspire such loyalty from sorcerers and magic users?
Just who was Merlin? Someone who consorted with sorcerers? That was against the law… punishable by death… What was the idiot thinking?
Arthur decided to shove his question to the back of his mind and picked up another letter.
This one written by Merlin.
Thanks for the reassurance, but I can't. I can't tell him. Not yet.
I have had word of another threat to Camelot from the Catha. Their knowledge has yet to be proved wrong by the druids. Even Kilgarrah has heard nothing of it, aside from whispers from the land.
She is moving, I know it.
So I can't tell him yet. I can't. I can't protect him if I'm dead. And I have to protect him and Camelot. You know, destiny and all that, but he's my friend too, even if he's too stubborn to admit it.
I can't risk it.
And yes, I'll be careful. I'm always careful… And I know what you are going to say, about sacrificing myself for him and risking my life every other week not being your idea of careful, but I'll be fine.
I'm sorry I couldn't make it home last week, had some trouble with a sprite… Not that Arthur noticed of course. He just thought I was being my 'usual, idiotic self'.
Anyway, I will try to visit soon.
Obviously not having been sent yet, Arthur mused over the words.
Sprite? And what was all this abut him risking his life every other week?
And what couldn't he tell Arthur? What was this about not being able to protect him if he was dead?
Arthur felt a headache coming on and reached for another of the letters, this one looking new. And in Merlin's hand again.
Damn it, why can't the prat just act less prattish for once in his life?
I've saved the prats life more times than I can bloody remember, and he treats me like crap. Damn it, I wonder why I even bother.
Destiny can go screw itself for all I care…
Heck, maybe they were all right. Why am I protecting the life of a man who would probably see me dead if he knew the truth?
And here comes the little voice. He's your friend, he's a good man, he's the once and future king, it's your destiny…
What if I don't care anymore…?
He did it again. Magic is evil, magic users are all evil, they should all be wiped from the face of the earth, yada yada… It hurts. It hurts like hell and I can't tell him why…
I can't tell him for his own sake. Because I can't risk it. Can't take the risk of leaving him unprotected.
Even if he is a prejudiced asshole.
I mean, I was born like this for god's sake. I never had a choice… But would he listen? No, he wouldn't. And why would he? I've lied to him for over eight years… Even if it was for his own sake, but still, I lied to him.
And after Morgana and Agravaine betraying him, I just feel too guilty that I'm doing the same.
Maybe not trying to kill him but still, it's a betrayal. And I don't know whether he will ever forgive me for it.
Oh, look there's another problem. That I'm afraid he won't forgive me. Won't trust me. Actually, I guess that's kinda selfish of me, right?
I don't know…
I just… Hang on, why am I writing this? I'm never going to end it to anyone… Am I writing this to myself? Gods, I'm an idiot… Why am I still writing?
Why am I still lying?
Why am I such an IDIOT?
Arthur blinked a few times. What the hell…?
He shook his head, taking it all in, then sifted through it all.
It took a while. It took a long while.
But he narrowed it down to several things.
One, Merlin had a secret.
Two, He thought Arthur would kill him for it.
Three, Merlin was in contact, and seemed to have the control over, some of the most dangerous people in the land.
Four, Said people seemed to think Merlin was capable of dealing with Morgana.
Five, He appeared to have saved Arthurs life quite a lot.
Six, He was clearly one of the most selfless idiots Arthur had ever met
Seven, He would not rest until he had found out what the hell Merlin was keeping from him. It couldn't be that bad… Could it?
Arthur went to scoop up the parchment when another, smaller piece fell to the floor.
On closer inspection, Arthur realised it as an envelope, and opened it, spilling several scraps of parchment from it.
Some were in Merlin's hand writing and some in another.
Arthur scanned the first piece.
Merlin, you have to tell Arthur…
I can't Freya. You know why I can't… It's risky enough using this spell to contact you as it is…
But if this threat is as big as you think it is?
I dealt with an immortal army, didn't I? Dealt with plagues and creatures and old powers and whatever Morgana sees fit to throw at us… I can deal with this…
But at what cost? It's obviously painful to you that you have to keep this from Arthur?
Yes… I want to tell him. I hate to keep it a secret form him But I have no choice. He hates it. He'll hate me. It will just make my job harder…
He won't. You've said it yourself, Merlin, he is not his father…
But I… I can't. What if he doesn't trust me? What if he hates me?
Is that what you're afraid of, Merlin? Not what he could do to you, but that he might not trust you?
We both know that he couldn't ask for a more loyal friend Merlin. He knows that. He'll come around. I'm sure of it… You have to tell him…
And say what? Hey Arthur, I'm the most powerful sorcerer in the history of forever, oh, and I can call up an army of sorcerers with a word. Oh, and wait, I'm also a Dragonlord.
Yes I've lied to you for almost a decade, but it was for the best.
Right. Because that will work…
I have to go Freya… I'm sorry.
Arthur read and reread the last scrap of parchment, willing it to mean something else.
Merlin couldn't be a sorcerer…
Arthur threw himself out of his chair and to the window, resting his head against the cool glass.
And he thought.
About everything he had read.
Everything Merlin was supposed to have done.
He let pieces fall into place.
And he let himself smile.
Apparently, his father had been wrong. Merlin couldn't be evil. He just… wasn't. Magic or not, the idiot didn't have an evil bone in his body.
Heck, if he had wanted to destroy Camelot, he obviously had the power to do so.
If he had wanted Arthur dead, he had no doubt that he would be.
He had no doubts that he was friends with the most selfless, loyal, trustworthy person he had ever had the fortune to meet. Even if it hurt that he kept it from him, no matter how good the reasons.
And had Merlin really thought he would execute him?
Sure, he had ranted a bit about magic, but Merlin hadn't really thought…
Arthur sat back into his chair, and was just about to start piling the letters back together when a familiar, clumsy raven haired idiot burst through the doors, obviously panicked.
"Arthur? I think I might have left-"
"These? Very interesting to read through."
Arthur held up the pile of letters and Merlin paled.
"Arthur… I-I can…"
"You're a sorcerer?"
"And a Dragonlord and the leader of god knows how many dangerous sorcerers?"
"I- Arthur I can…"
"Explain? No need. I have everything I need right here."
"Arthur, please… Just let me-"
"What I there to explain Merlin? You've lied to me for over eight years. The fact that you have been saving my life and the lives of everyone in the city that entire time is beside the point. I very much dislike being made redundant…"
"I-What do you?-What?"
"Merlin, sit down."
Merlin, looking guilty, confused and more than a little afraid slowly followed the instruction, sitting in the chair opposite Arthur. Before he could speak however, Arthur spoke up.
"Okay, I am going to speak, and I want no interruptions. Is that clear Merlin?"
The younger man nodded, and Arthur sighed before speaking.
"First, I suppose I had better thank you. From what I've read and figured out, I owe you my life countless times over. Second, I want to hear everything. Especially how you managed to gain the loyalty of some of the most dangerous people in the land. Then you are going to explain just what the hell prompted you to come to Camelot, and what on earth possessed you to become manservant to the Kings Son when you had magic. And you are going to do all of that right now. Understood?"
Merlin looked completely bewildered.
"I-I don't know whether- It's a long story…"
"And we have all day."
"But I- Damn it, I can't just… It's hard to…" Merlin ran a hand through his hair and rubbed his neck. He looked completely lost. "I mean… I had always wanted to tell you… But I…"
"I know. I read that letter… to yourself wasn't it?"
Merlin gave a shaky laugh,
"Stupid, I know… I just sat down and it all came pouring out onto the parchment…"
"Which you dropped on the floor. Seriously? You manage to hide something this big for over eight years, then drop a bundle of the most incriminating evidence I have ever seen onto the floor of the King's chambers." Arthur suddenly took that in and laughed, causing Merlin to raise an eyebrow.
"Well, yes. I can see why that may be amusing to you, sire…"
"But… gods Merlin, you really are an idiot…"
Then Arthur remembered he was face to face with a very powerful sorcerer and he smile faded slightly as he looked Merlin up and down. The young man was obviously tense, but the bemusement on his face was clearly not faked. He was Merlin.
But not Merlin.
No, he was Merlin. He was just a little more… unlike Merlin than Arthur realised.
Arthur also realised that his head hurt.
"Anyway, stop changing the subject," he said, rubbing his temples, "and tell me what's happened since you came to Camelot. Apparently there is a whole other story I haven't heard yet…"
Merlin took a deep breath, gathering his thoughts and launched into the story.
As Arthur heard about the dragon, the creatures, the curses, the enchantments, the dangers, the deals, Morgana, the Catha, the Druids, other magic users, the alter ego of Dragoon and the secret life that Merlin led in Camelot, he felt himself coming to the conclusion that Merlin was, by far, the most ridiculously brave person he had ever met.
Eventually, Merlin finally seemed to run out of words, and sank back into his chair taking a deep breath.
Arthur was silent for some time, absorbing all he'd heard and eventually let out a sigh.
"You know, Merlin, I always thought there was something about you… I never thought it would be… this much. I guess I should thank you…"
"Does this mean you're not going to have me executed... or banished or whatever?"
"What? I-No! Gods Merlin, of course not… I would never…"
Merlin seemed to visibly relax at that,
"You mean you don't hate me for lying to you?"
"No. No, I don't hate you. I get why you lied, I do, it just hurts that you didn't trust me…"
"I'm sorry… I wanted to tell you, but…"
"Does this mean you still trust me…?"
Arthur almost laughed at the tentative way he said it,
At that, Merlin visibly sank back into his chair, the tension leaving him as he grinned. Then he frowned, and raised an eyebrow.
"So… What now?"
Arthur was quiet for a few moments, before he smiled.
"We, apparently there is a threat to Camelot. Guess you'd better go neutralise it. Only this time, you get help."
Merlin grinned flexing his fingers.
"You have no idea how good it feels to hear that…"
"So… Are you going to show me?"
"Oh… well, I- I guess… what do you want me to do?"
"I don't know…" Arthur shrugged, having no idea what to ask, and raised his hands, gesturing around the room. "Surprise me."
Merlin considered for a moment, then grinned. He hadn't had a chance to do this spell in a while…
He raised his hand to his mouth, and muttered under his breath, eyes flashing gold.
Then he pulled his hand away, holding it out towards Arthur, palm up. A small blue flame flickered in the middle of his palm and Arthur blinked a few times, staring at it.
At that, Merlin grinned and stared at the flame, relying on his elemental magic.
Immediately, the flames grew, raising into the air and splitting into two strands of blue fire. They danced through the air for a while before they morphed into the crest of Camelot. The flames flashed gold for a moment before retreating to his palm and vanishing.
Arthur blinked. He hadn't been expecting that… He had always assumed magic was for huge and dangerous actions. This small example, the blue flames dancing in the air and morphing into something so familiar… It was beautiful.
He watched as they receded into Merlin's palm and saw his manservant's eyes turn from a blazing gold to their usual blue, before looking up to him, cautiously.
Merlin's eyes faded back to their usual blue, and he looked to Arthur attempting to gauge a reaction.
He didn't expect to see a huge grin across the kings face.
"That was amazing… Not what I expected…"
"You did say to surprise you…"
Merlin grinned, and his eyes flashed again, the letters on the desk flying to his pocket.
"I still need to send some of those…"
"Is this what I'm in for the next few weeks? Flying objects?"
"No, of course not. I do have other things to do, you know."
"Aside from you and Gaius working me half to death? Let's see… Oh yes, contact people to find out about Morgana, contact more people to verify said information about Morgana. Come up with a plan of dealing with Morgana, who seems to be ready to make her move any day now, and go ask the advice of a dragon."
"That's all?" he said, sarcastically, and Merlin's eyes widened.
"Oh damn. I have to get my mother a birthday present too… I'd forgotten it was next week… Oh, and I need to see what Kilgarrah know about the location of Aithusa… She was missing for months after all… Then there's the dog statue that's still running around in the catacombs. I really need to find it. Not to mention the-"
He was apparently talking to himself, and Arthur sighed, choosing to ignore the apparently living dog statue from the last comment.
"Take a day off…"
"What? Arthur…? Did you hit your head or some-"
"What? I was just asking if-"
"Shut up and take the damn day off. Heck, take tomorrow as well."
"Good. Now go hide with Gaius until the council gets over the fact that you're a sorcerer."
"You're telling them now? But Arthur, it's past their feeding time…"
"Merlin! They are not animals…"
"Of course not Sire. The comment was strictly in regards to their health…"
"Of course it was. Anyway, yes, I am calling a meeting now, and yes, I am telling everyone now. So, unless you want Gwaine on your back…?"
Merlin cursed, looking terrified.
"All it'll be is unicorns and ale…" he said, clearly dreading the prospect, and Arthur grinned.
"I really have to find that dog… And the catacombs are very big and very dark and very secret…"
"Did you just say something smart Merlin?"
"Nope… Just that I have a living statue dog to find, and it may… take me a while."
Arthur grinned as Merlin dawdled from the room, before hearing him take of at a sprint in the direction of Gaius's rooms.
Then he sighed and got to his feet.
Merlin was a sorcerer and Morgana was back on the 'take over Camelot' front, possibly days away from attacking.
Oh, and there was a dog statue running round beneath the castle.
He should probably be far more worried about those things than he currently was…
He thought about that for a second, then shrugged to himself. Ah well, it was Monday after all…
Okay, so. Magic reveal, Attack imminent, Loose living statue dog and yeah.
How will everyone react? Seeing as Merlin reappears early Tuesday morning and they will all have had a night to sleep on it… or plan pranks and god knows what *cough cough Gwaine*
Oh, and the other person with the mini letters being Freya... I just wanted to give Merlin some way of being in contact with her. I will probably go into more detail in a later chapter.
For now though, please review and let me know what you think!
Sorry it's not up to my usual standard, but seeing as this was only a spur of the moment thing to keep me sane during the half term holidays… I kinda just went with it.