Spoilers: Season 3 - The Tears of Uther Pendragon
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Merlin and no money was made from writing this.
Summary: Merlin spoke and Arthur believed.
A/N: This is unbetaed and written quickly after watching today's episode. I had to write it! If you see a mistake, feel free to point out it out to me. :D
“Look what we’ve got. You and me. I’m going to be at your side like I always am. Protecting you.”
Arthur really should have known then what Merlin had been saying, but he couldn’t think past the impending battle, the threat to Camelot while his father slept away his cursed affliction.
He hadn’t known then or hadn’t realized. More aptly put, he hadn’t let himself realize all that Merlin was and all that they would be. Together.
Merlin had told him again. A year or so later. And this time Arthur hadn’t scoffed. He’d believed him with his very soul.
“You and me. I’m going to be at your side like I always am. Protecting you.”
Arthur had fought until his muscles screamed and blood dripped in his eyes. Then he fought some more. All was not lost because he could hear Merlin by his side, mumbling words meant for no one’s ears. And Arthur believed.
The battle had been won, but a high price had been paid in human lives. This hard fought victory had taken him a step closer to the throne, and he knew it. He no longer feared the throne and the weight of the responsibility as he once had.
Uther lifted his goblet and toasted to the glory of Camelot. After Arthur had drained his glass, he felt Merlin brush against his shoulder as he leaned over to refill his wine. Not alone. Never alone.
“You and me.” Merlin had said as he prepared Arthur for a battle that they had no chance of winning. “I’m going to be at your side like I always am.” It wasn’t a promise. It simply was. Just as he was Arthur and Merlin was Merlin.
“You don’t have to say it anymore,” Arthur complained, tugging on his hauberk where it was cutting into his shoulder. “I believe you.”
“Protecting you,” Merlin finished as he stepped back to collect Arthur’s sword. Arthur raised his eyebrow curiously, and Merlin shrugged. “Yeah, well. I know you like hearing it.”
Arthur rolled his eyes and pushed past Merlin on his way to the battlefield. Outnumbered or not, Camelot would win.
Arthur didn’t despair as his sword sliced through the air, and he could hear the sound of the advancing army declaring a preeminent victory. Several soldiers attacked him at once, and he rolled away, his vision temporarily blurred by blood and sweat.
There were too many to count now, a sea of black swallowing up red. The colors of Camelot bleeding away to darkness. He never stopped fighting.
Arthur pressed his foot against the fallen enemy’s shoulder and pulled out his blade. He spun around, nearly swallowed by the advancing army.
For a second he caught a glimpse of Merlin, perched on the castle’s wall, eyes flashing gold and whispering words he knew he wouldn’t understand. Only he did understand. All of it. Not the words because they didn’t matter, but everything else. His future and his destiny. And Merlin.
And then the enemy burned at his feet.
“Tis a miracle, Sire,” Sir Kay murmured from somewhere behind him. By all rights, they should have been afraid, but they’d been winning battles by more than just brute force and strategic planning for awhile now.
Arthur ran to the castle wall, arms outstretched as Merlin topped backwards, utterly spent.
“At least you had enough sense to fall in the right direction,” Arthur muttered as he lowered Merlin to the stone floor. And if Merlin’s head happened to be cushioned on his thigh? Well, no one had to look. They’d just won a war, after all.
Merlin’s eyes widened, clearly surprised, as the last remaining gold was chased away. “Arthur –"
Arthur could taste his fear. His bumbling, loyal servant that could take down armies and defeat monsters was afraid. There was only one way to respond. “You and me, Merlin,” Arthur began quietly.
Merlin struggled only briefly, his body drained from the use of his powers. “I can explain.”
“I’m going to be at your side like I always am.”
Merlin froze, his head dropping against Arthur’s leg. “Oh.”
“Protecting you,” Arthur finished.
To whatever end. And if Merlin continued being wise, which was becoming a rather bad habit of his lately, it was going to be a glorious end.