Well, this is a little reveal-story. After watching (again) the finale, I wanted to write not-angsty reveal.
DISCLAIMER: I own Merlin. Yeah, like anyone would believe that. It's called FANFICTION for a reason, isn't it?
So here it is!
Merlin had been feeling a little down on the day the king and his most loyal knights dragged him out for a hunt. He had been having nightmares during the past few days, most of them on his failings and his losses.
He had dreamt of Will and Lancelot, his amazing friends who had sacrificed everything for him. He had dreamt of Balinor, his long-awaited father who had been proud of him after a single day and had taken a sword in the gut for him, gifting him with a new and wonderful power. He had dreamt of the old Morgana, struggling for breath and with her green eyes betrayed and unbelieving. And he had dreamt of his beloved Freya, beautiful, shy, damaged Freya who could light up his world with her watery smile. And his heart ached for every memory that painfully came back to him.
The knights were on alert to find their future meal, the only noise being the chirping of the birds and their footsteps on the soft ground. The calming quiet of the woods gave Merlin time to think and to mourn everyone he had lost.
He had been quiet that day, and his companions had noticed, but had chosen to leave him be. After all, when you were hunting you needed "speed, stealth and an agile mind" and not a bumbling fool tripping on his own feet and scaring away all the animals in their reach.
After some hours, as the sky began to darken, they decided to make camp in a beautiful clearing illuminated by the moonlight.
They ate the deer Arthur had caught, much to his joy, in a comfortable silence. They had some mead, except Gwaine who drank way more than some, and chatted friendlily.
They went to sleep, apart from Leon who was on first watch and Gwaine who had passed out near the fire.
Merlin was tired, but didn't fancy falling asleep, as he still feared the nightmares. But even if he tried with all his might to stay awake, all the walking and carrying supplies of the current day, the working of the past ones, the lulling sounds of nature, eventually won over him. He was asleep soon after he had laid down.
He dreamt of Freya that night. Memories of her were probably the most painful. Their short time in the catacombs, memories of quiet laughs and tears and kisses and promises and hopes breaking his already throbbing heart. He began tossing and turning, breathing heavily, with his brow furrowed. He heard confused voices as he began to wake up. He jolted up with a gasp and wet eyes.
He could see the knights surrounding him, concerned for his health, but his still confused brain registered their presence as a threat, and he tried to back away from them.
"Hey, mate? You alright?" asked a voice, concerned.
"It was just a nightmare, Merlin. Don't be such a girl," said another voice, trying to calm him. But as soon as a hand was placed on the warlock's shoulder, the apparent calm that had settled around them broke as he screamed loudly, terrified.
The remaining of the fire lit up suddenly and his eyes flashed gold. Merlin, still dazed, tried to crawl back from the heat, trembling with fear.
There was a pause, not even the crackling of the now high fire breaking the stillness of the moment, as if the earth itself was holding its breath.
Destiny was waiting, her hands tapping away at her desk.
"M-Magic?" a quivering voice asked.
Several gasps and murmurings also reached the warlocks ears, yet the heavy pounding of blood and fear wrapped itself around him, making it difficult for him to decipher the low tones.
The scared young man saw someone slowly making their way towards him. He didn't see the raised hands, an evident sign of good intents, just the sword in its scabbard.
He gasped loudly, eyes flashing gold again, and he could swear that the fire had almost reached the sky.
"Merlin, Merlin. Calm down," someone said, soothingly, the voice breaking imperceptibly on the last word.
Two light touches on his shoulders did the trick. He began to compose himself, inhaling and exhaling slowly. He met the king's eyes briefly, but turned away from them, not wanting to see the shock and sympathy in those blue depths.
Arthur knew he was a sorcerer and now he had to die for it.
He imagined himself led to the pyre, as his friend watched him with hatred in his eyes, throwing a lit torch on the branches surrounding him. He felt himself being surrounded by the flames, the stench of burning flesh in the hair, his skin darkening as it turned to ashes...
His musings were interrupted as the king crouched down in front of him. "It was magic, Merlin. Do you know what it means?"
He nodded, eyes tearing up. "You'll kill me...?" he whispered, his words forming another question instead of an answer.
The blonde looked at him, an odd mix of shock, sadness, understanding and fear in his eyes. "You didn't mean to use it, did you?"
He shook his head again, for he would never use magic on front of the king purposefully.
Arthur smiled tentatively and laid a hand on his arm, squeezing it comfortingly. "Don't worry, we'll find a way to help you."
He didn't know if he wanted to laugh or cry, so he just kept gaping at the king with his mouth wide open.
"You don't have to be scared. We'll sort it out. I swear I won't harm you," he explained slowly, almost as if he was trying to approach a wild animal.
"Y-You won't...?" he breathed, still scared of what this man could do to him. What his friend could do to him.
"It wasn't a spell. It's obvious that you aren't studying magic and that you didn't use it on purpose. We just have... To help you control it. We could ask Gaius, right? I'm sure he'll be more than willing to help you," Arthur continued.
Merlin, still shaking, raised his head to meet Arthur's gaze.
He could only see acceptance, fondness and a tiny bit of fear. But not for himself, Arthur was too brave for that. The king of Camelot was afraid of what might happen to a sorcerer.
He then looked at the other knights. Gwaine gave him a thumbs-up, Percival smiled, Elyan and Leon shared a look and then nodded at the newly-found sorcerer.
And Merlin smiled. He smiled properly, for his friends knew that deep, dark side of him, and accepted it for him.
Only a few more tears were shared that night, but they were all happy tears, and not all of them were Merlin's.
They arrived in Camelot in a comfortable silence, all the knights agreeing on protecting their youngest brother.
After a year, magic was allowed and sorcerers and Druids alike were integrated citizens of Camelot.
Merlin found the courage to tell the truth about the origin of his powers the day after the ban was lifted, just to be forgiven and questioned on his accomplishments.
Destiny was fulfilled, and it took no more than a nightmare and bunch of friends to sustain the expectations of the long prophesied Golden Age.
And Merlin, well, he never had a nightmare again.
I hope you liked it!
A special thanks to InsanityIsGood25, my beta, and to Time's Quill for his suggestions.