Title: Truth will out
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: He had to tell Arthur the truth, no matter what.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: Enjoy!
Merlin was going to be sick. Nerves twisted and knotted his stomach and his heart skipped a beat every few seconds. Still, he forced himself to keep walking. He had decided to do this. No one had forced him. Gaius had tried to talk him out of it. But Merlin didn’t have a choice.
It was one thing lying to his best friend about who he truly was. It was another thing lying to his lover. His relationship with Arthur might have only shifted in the last month or so. But it had changed – the fact he had woken naked in Arthur’s bed more than once was proof of that. There was a look beyond fond exasperation in Arthur’s eye when he looked at him and Merlin couldn’t do it. He couldn’t base the next part of their relationship on a lie.
But he was terrified. He believed in Arthur, he truly did. But what if Arthur didn’t believe him? What if he thought it was all a big joke and wouldn’t see the anguish in Merlin’s eyes? Or what if he did believe him and decided he couldn’t trust him, sending for the guards and the executioner before Merlin had the chance to explain?
Merlin shuddered. He couldn’t think like this. His feet felt as if they were embedding themselves in the stone slabs on the floor, making it hard for him to take another step. He forced it though. Then he was running. It was as if once movement had been granted to him he couldn’t stop and Merlin sprinted down the corridor, yanked open Arthur’s door and all but fell in. The prince was at his desk, working on reports. But his head shot up and his hand instinctively went to his sword at the commotion.
“What’s wrong?” Arthur was on his feet before Merlin had regained his balance. The warlock softly shook his head and shut the door behind him.
“Nothing. Well, something.” He shook his head, frustrated. “Sit down, Arthur, there is nothing for you to worry about.”
Arthur sat but he didn’t turn back to his work. Instead, he was watching Merlin guardedly.
“Nothing.” It was so easy to slip the mask back onto his face, to shoot Arthur a grin and move out of his eye-line in order to fuss with the bed. “I thought I was late.”
“You never normally care.”
“Maybe I wanted to see you?”
“Girl,” Arthur scoffed. But he turned back to his work and Merlin stopped with a pillow in his hand. He didn’t have to do this. He could carry on pretending that nothing was wrong and not put himself through the agony of seeing the hate in Arthur’s eyes. He wouldn’t have to lose him… Merlin sighed as he stared at the back of Arthur’s bent head. If he didn’t tell Arthur the truth, he would still lose him. This couldn’t be kept a secret forever and the longer Merlin left it, the more hurtful it will be. He sighed again and put the pillow down.
“I was joking about you being a girl but if you carry on sighing like that, I might have to rethink that.” Arthur didn’t look around and Merlin bit his lip.
“There’s something I have to tell you.”
“It can wait, surely?
“No.” Merlin moved around the room and sat down opposite the prince. Arthur looked up, startled by how forward he was being. Merlin had never respected the lines between master and servant, but he usually let the prince work in peace. “I have to tell you now.”
“I’m not going to like this, am I?” Arthur put his quill down slowly, an intense expression on his face. Merlin couldn’t hold his gaze and dropped his eyes. He shook his head.
“Just promise you will hear me out before you react? Then I swear I will respect whatever decision you make, regardless of what that might mean for me.”
“Whatever you’ve done, whatever you think I’m going to do… We can work it out.” Arthur’s voice was gentle and he reached across the table. The nausea gripped him and Merlin yanked his hand away before Arthur could touch it. The prince frowned at him.
“Are you rethinking our relationship?”
“What?” Merlin gaped. “Of course not! No! That’s not it! Arthur, I…” The words lodged in his throat and Merlin coughed. Tears stung at his eyes as he mustered the courage to destroy their relationship forever.
“Arthur, I’m a warlock.”
It took him a long moment before he could look up to meet Arthur’s gaze. But then he did a double take. Arthur was looking bored.
“Is that it?”
“Arthur, did you actually hear what I said?”
“Yes. You’re a warlock. Thank you for telling me.”
Merlin stared at him. Pieces began to slot together in his mind and his stomach lurched. “How long have you known for?”
Arthur shrugged. “About a month. I suspected for longer than that though.”
“How?” Merlin had no idea what to think. It had never once crossed his mind in all the scenarios he had envisioned that the prince might already know.
“The first time we had sex. You opened your eyes. They were gold and my candlesticks were floating.”
“You… you aren’t angry?”
“How could I be?” Arthur reached across the table and Merlin didn’t move in time. Arthur gripped his wrist, his thumb stroking the underside gently and causing Merlin to shiver. Arthur smirked. “How could I be when I’m the one who can make you lose control after you’ve kept it quiet so long?”
“If you don’t have anything meaningful to add to this conversation, will you please let me get on with my work even if you are skiving off yours?” Arthur looked back down and Merlin stared at the top of his bent head. Slowly, he grinned. Then he beamed.
After all of that, everything was going to be alright. They were going to be alright.