Title: A warped reflection
Summary: Who is it he sees looking back at him?
Word Count: 479
Prompt: #12, Reflection
Author Notes: Back with another one. Is a tad gloomy, I must admit.
Merlin cupped the cold water in his hands and made to splash it over his face, determined to rid himself of the evidence of the battle he had just been in. But before he could do so, something stopped him.
Staring down into his cupped hands, the warlock frowned as he caught sight of his own rippling reflection. His eyes were haunted and sunken from where he had been forced to take more than one life to protect the king, the gold only just beginning to be fade away as his magic calmed down. Soot, grime and dirt were the only things that helped disguise the fact that there was blood on his face and neck. Not his blood though, the blood of Camelot’s enemies... Arthur’s enemies. Were they truly his enemies as well, or was there no choice in the matter because they were threatening his king?
Merlin felt his breath catch as he stared down at himself, barely noticing the water beginning to trickle from his cupped hands. Was this what everyone else had seen as he slipped in between the lines and used magic to make sure that nothing was going to hurt his destiny whilst the battle raged on? A man haunted by his own abilities, plagued by how easily he could kill?
Shuddering, Merlin scooped up some more water and quickly washed his face, ridding himself of all the signs of the battle. The water was cold and refreshing, and the scrubbing away of the grime made him feel like he was washing away what had happened, even if he knew the memories in his mind wouldn’t be washed away that easily. He had to try though, and it was with an almost baited breath that he cupped another handful and glanced down into the water.
This was not the image his enemies saw. This was the image that everyone else saw on a day to day basis. His eyes were firmly blue, the corners of his mouth looked ready to smile at any moment and there was an expression of sheer hope radiating out from his face. This was not Merlin the warlock, but Merlin the servant, the friend. The Merlin that was brushed aside, told to help Gaius when anything got serious. This was the Merlin that had the excuse to hide away and let the other side of him emerge.
Sighing, Merlin let the last lot of water trickle from his hands and leant against the wall, feeling exhausted. One day, he would look into his reflection and see the full man. Not one who had to hide away who he truly was, not one that had to act the part depending on what was happening. The whole of Camelot would see him for who he truly was, and when that day came, he would look into his reflection and smile.