Title: Let You Go
Category: BBC Merlin, Gen, (Canon), Friendship, Angst
Characters/Pairings: Merlin, Arthur
Warnings/Ratings: K, maybe tissues
Summary: If you love someone, you set them free. And if they love you too . . . they'll come back.
Let You Go
Merlin looked up from where he was staring at his chained hands, the metal restraints glinting in the dark place. The cause for his sudden attention were the familiar sounds of those expensive leather boots thudding confidently against the cold dirty ground of the dungeons, nearing his cells with every second that passed. And the clenching sensation in his gut, as well as the warm rush of his magic through his veins (it always seemed to react in this way whenever in the presence of this person), informed him that he knew exactly who it was.
His heart began to pound violently with fear and nerves when his beautiful shade of blue eyes and handsome face came into view as he entered the room with the very same air of confidence, or preferably arrogance, that he saw in him the very first moment he had laid his eyes on him.
But this time, Merlin somehow knew.
That it was all an act, a facade, put up front for the sake of hiding his true feelings from his father and his people. To show that he was not being affected at all by the current situation they were both in.
Merlin knew him better than anyone else. Maybe it was a trick of their entwined Destiny, or how they are forced to spend a lot of time with each other, but he did. He knew when Arthur was only pretending, or when he was genuine and sincere and true. He knew every little detail about him, like how he would often sleep on his stomach because that was his most favorite and comfortable position, and he'd often sleep on the left side of his bed. How he loved cherries. How he would often run his eyes over all of his people whenever they were passing through the city, with a look of deep fondness and home filling his eyes. How he'd roll his eyes to Merlin's face after they'd have another one of their typical bickering and bantering sessions, and then a content and huge smile would play on his lips as soon as he thought Merlin wasn't looking. And after every bad day, their banters was what he would often turn to as a source of cheering himself up. How he would keep staring after Gwen until she disappeared altogether from the room whenever he saw her, because he knew it would be a busy day for him and he would rarely get to see her again.
And he knew that right now, Arthur was feeling anything but confident.
Arthur stopped in front of the warlock's dungeon cells and waved away the following guards dismissively.
And Merlin could see the touch of weariness in the gesture and the slight trembling of his fingers as he did so. There were dark shadows beneath his eyes, clearly indicating his restlessness at nights. And with Merlin knowing him so perfectly, he probably hadn't eaten as well since his lack of sleep is often associated with a lack of appetite.
As soon as the guards left them both alone, Arthur seemed to have lost all will of trying to appear strong as his shoulders and back began to slump. He gripped the cold bars in his hands tightly, his head falling wearily against them as if he couldn't hold it up anymore, his body weight leaning heavily against his arms supported by the bars as his knees trembled. He closed his worn and sad blue eyes, squeezing tightly against the burning of tears and exhaustion.
Merlin's heart broke.
"You're a sorcerer," he whispered forlornly, his soft and despaired voice as light as a gentle breeze in the spring.
It was a mistake. A purely stupid mistake.
The large doors of the throne room flung open, banging hard against the walls from the furious force it was thrown apart with.
The people in the midst of dinner, including the prince and king, barely had enough time to react in any other way except shooting up from their seats in shock of the sudden and loud entrance when the three newly arrived men lurched out their hands at them, each pairs of their eyes flashing gold as everyone in the room flew backwards by the force of their magic combined, held against the wall while their feet hung in the air.
Merlin felt his own back slam against the strongly built walls, and he felt his heart begin to hammer heavily from apprehension and uncertainty. Could he really take down three and, from what his own magic could sense in the atmosphere, powerful sorcerers on his own, and at the same time keep his magic a secret?
He looked at Morgana's face, who seemed completely unconcerned. And Merlin knew, by the look on her smirking face, that she was somehow a part of this.
The leading sorcerer smirked cruelly, almost mockingly, as he slowly began to make his way towards the king.
"Uther Pendragon," he snarled angrily, the note of hatred evident in his rough voice.
The other two merely smirked as well in the background, their arms still raised to hold the magical restraints.
Uther parted his mouth to yell for the guards, only to be cut off by the sorcerer, "Don't even try. It's not going to work. We've put all your little guard dogs within hearing range from here under a sleeping spell."
"Who are you?" Uther asked, his own level of anger and hatred competing with the sorcerer's.
Then the leader's face changed as he slapped his head in mock-realization. "Of course! Where are my manners? You may call me Fernar. Perhaps you do not remember me, but I used to live in your city. That was, until you beheaded my daughter for using magic."
"It was the law. She should have known that," Uther spat carelessly.
"She was sixteen!" Fernar bellowed irately, his face twisting in hate once again as his nose flared.
Then he sucked in a deep breath and his features relaxed, as if trying to calm himself, and then smiled tauntingly. "But I guess that shouldn't have mattered much to you. You have murdered children a lot younger than her."
Uther remained silent.
Merlin watched the interaction between them, and couldn't help the slight bit of disgust arising in him at the sorcerer's words about Uther's actions. And for a second, just for a second, he darkly contemplated allowing the sorcerer to kill him for all the children he had executed. For a second, he doubted if it would really be worth saving the tyrant's life.
But then he looked at Arthur, struggling hard against the magical hold, his blue eyes wide and features twisted in almost childlike terror as he watched his father nearing his death.
And he knew he couldn't let that happen. Not because of Uther, but Arthur. He would do this for Arthur.
His blue eyes wandered around the room. He was held in the center of the wall, exposed to everyone's eyes. If he used magic here, he could be risking getting found out.
"...Now I'm going to kill you," Fernar said, almost coming to the end of his speech. "Not just for my daughter, but for every innocent being you've taken the life of."
But Merlin knew he had to act fast when he saw Fernar raise his hand up at the king.
"NO!" Arthur's desperate voice rang out. Merlin could hear the helplessness in it, and that only proceeded to fuel his decisions.
Without thinking, he muttered a spell under his breath, his irises flashing gold just as Fernar was suddenly thrown back, the other two outlaws following as their heads slammed hard against the wall, enough to daze them, but not pass them out.
The hold on them was released as they all fell down, and Merlin looked around to make sure they were alright.
Uther was shocked and confused, as was Morgana. Their faces held a matching anger as well, though for different reasons. The king was obviously not happy to discover another sorcerer in his castle, never mind one that saved his neck. Whereas the witch was merely upset at the interference of her plans.
But when he looked at Arthur...
His enlarged eyes held an emotion, not of shock, but of horror.
And they were staring right at him.