Hey guys! I think every single person who reviewed asked for a chapter two, so here you go! Can I just quickly say thanks? The encouraging reviews and amazing support I got for just chapter one was incredible :) I've never gotten so much feedback in only a couple days, so it was just amazing and made my day. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Sadly, BBC owns Merlin. One day, though… *laughs madly*
Arthur stared at his servant, shocked to silence as Merlin explained his true identity and abilities. How he used his powers to protect the royal family. How he had received a prophecy.
Thankfully, Merlin didn't elaborate much. He told Arthur he'd saved his life before, but not when or how. He seemed to sense that Arthur was struggling to absorb this new information as it was, and didn't press his luck.
Arthur was praying for the whole thing to be a bad dream, or a lame joke. Merlin, a sorcerer- no, worse, a warlock (at least, according to Dicun.)
"Sire?" Merlin asked hesitantly, and Arthur realized that, for the time being, he was done explaining. The sudden silence in the throne room was almost suffocating, and the king desperately wished he were anywhere but here.
"No," Arthur finally said. "If this was true, you wouldn't have come to Camelot." The raw desperation in his voice was painfully obvious- he needed Merlin to be wrong.
"I told you," Merlin said. "Destiny."
"No!" Arthur spluttered in frustration, anger surging through him and replacing the numb horror that had previously overcome him. "This can't be right!"
Merlin, a warlock? No. No. He stood up from his throne, pacing in front of his rather nervous-looking manservant. People who practiced magic were evil- wasn't that what he'd always been taught?
But Merlin… Merlin couldn't be evil… could he? Arthur gave a growl of frustration, not even sure who he was angry at- Merlin, or himself. Really, it was obvious now. It explained everything. How could he have been so stupid? How could he not have realized the truth sooner?
Even as he mentally cursed himself, Arthur knew the answer to the silent question. He hadn't seen it because he hadn't wanted to. Before, things had been simple. Magic was evil, it had to be eliminated- it was black and white, clear as day. But now this new information had the line blurred between black and white, adding in gray and silver.
Good Magic? It wasn't possible… was it?
At the thought, a memory nagged him, and he recalled the orb of light that had helped him escape the spiders so many years ago.
"It was you," Arthur blurted out dryly, knowing it sounded impossible. Merlin had been dying. Yet he knew it was true.
"What was me?" Merlin asked, shifting uncomfortably. All these years, Arthur thought bitterly. My manservant has been living a double life right under my nose.
"The light in the cave, with the spiders. When I was getting a cure for you," Arthur explained, watching Merlin's expression carefully.
"Oh, that. Yeah," he muttered, making Arthur wonder what other adventures Merlin hadn't told him about.
"Who else knows?" Arthur asked, collapsing back into his throne, feeling drained.
"Um, not a lot of people. Gaius-"
"Of course," Arthur interjected dryly. "Gaius is lucky my father never found out. Who else?"
"Will knew, before he died. And Lancelot-"
"Lancelot knew?" Arthur interrupted, unable to stop the wave of hurt that washed through him. Merlin had trusted Lancelot with his secret, but not Arthur?
"I didn't tell him," Merlin said quickly, as if reading his friend's mind. "He saw me, when he fought the griffin."
"You killed the griffin too, didn't you?" Arthur asked, and Merlin's uncertain laugh was enough of an answer.
"Merlin," Arthur asked, running a hand over his face in exasperation. "Has there been any villain or threat I, or any of my knights, have successfully defeated without any aid from you?"
"No help from me at all?"
"Merlin!" Arthur cried, staring at him. "Please tell me you're joking. Have I done anything?!"
"Oh, yeah, loads," Merlin said, a little too quickly.
"It's like I've been in your little daycare ever since we meet!" Arthur grumbled, feeling rather disoriented. Merlin bit his lip to hide back his smirk, although he still wasn't meeting Arthur's gaze.
"I'll listen, you know," Merlin blurted suddenly.
"If you have me… you know, executed," Merlin's voice broke on the last word, but he took a deep breath and continued. "If you decide to have me arrested and…" he couldn't make himself say the word again, but Arthur heard it anyway. He knew exactly what Merlin was trying to say- If you turn on me, if you pick the laws over our friendship, I won't fight you. I won't escape. I'll respect your judgment.
It was such a Merlin thing to say that any image Arthur had of his friend- no, servant- as an evil sorcerer disappeared.
How much do you really know about him, though? He's a liar! He'll take advantage of any trust or mercy and kill you! Protested a voice in Arthur's head as he hesitated. It was funny- the voice sounded kind of like Uther. Arthur supposed it was something his father would have said, and the realization stopped him cold.
He was debating what to do with Merlin, his… dare he say it? His friend. His best friend- more of a brother, really (although Arthur would deny even thinking such a thing later!) He sounded like his father.
Hadn't Arthur always said that he wasn't his father? That he wasn't blinded by fear; that he wouldn't kill innocent people?
And what was Merlin, if not innocent? Dicun's words echoed in his head- If Emrys wanted you dead, believe me, King Arthur- you'd be dead. Merlin had had every chance to kill him, and had taken none of them. He'd saved his life, for goodness sake!
Could Arthur really send him to his death for a crime he hadn't committed?
"Uh, sire?" Merlin asked, twisting the hem of his jacket nervously. "Are you going to… you know…"
Arthur's eyes flashed over to the door. The guards were only a call away, just outside the throne room- a few words, and Merlin was a goner.
But there were also no witnesses in the room. He had the option to let his friend go, turn a 'blind eye.' Maybe even one day change Camelot's attitude (and laws) toward sorcery.
There had never really been a choice, if Arthur was being honest with himself. His mind was made up.
The guards were staying right where they were.
I hope that was a satisfying follow-up :) I was really worried about writing this, because I was scared I wouldn't get Arthur's attitude right (too angry, not angry enough, too forgiving, etc.) So, please leave me a review and let me know if I did all right! Until next time!