Title: Time to act.
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Agravaine
Summary: Many things that had happened in Arthur's life had been avoidable. This was not one of them.
Warnings: Mentions of torture/murder (Modern AU, Uther getting rid of sorcerers.)
Word Count: 656
Prompt: #166 - Inevitable
Author's Notes: I was going to do something else, then changed my mind and also couldn't really think of a title. But I like this and hope the world building works! Also, Merlin's not mine :(
Many things that had happened in Arthur's life had been avoidable.
Becoming vice-CEO to his father's company – created to find and eradicate magic – had been avoidable, but not easily avoidable, so here he was.
Ending up under the tutelage of his sadistic and manipulative uncle, Agravaine, had definitely been avoidable, but somehow that too had happened.
Working out the real reasons behind his father's crusade on magic and what was really happening to the sorcerers they caught had been avoidable, and he could have turned a blind eye, but for choosing to spend an evening with Morgana and Morgause, and all the horrors had come to light.
Joining the underground movement against his father had definitely been avoidable, however, Arthur's sense of justice and honour had been too hard to ignore, and he had spent many long nights helping sorcerers escape the country to freedom.
He had wanted to avoid coming to this evening's events – a grotesque display of new technology used to literally force the magic out of people – but Agravaine had seen through his feeble excuses too easily.
And in the end, one thing was completely unavoidable. The inevitable fact that one day it would go too far and he would have to speak up.
Apparently, that day was today.
He wasn't sure if Agravaine had planned this. Arthur knew that Agravaine had had suspicions of Arthur being less than loyal to his father's cause, and that Agravaine was waiting for the moment to catch him out. As he watched a young boy called Gilli being led away, amid the mocking laughter of Arthur's father's supporters, screaming because his magic was gone, Arthur met Agravaine's eye across the room and knew all too well that he was being baited.
Agravaine had longed for Arthur's position in the company for a long time, had craved the Pendragon inheritance. All this was just a twisted trap which would remove Arthur from the competition.
Arthur wasn't sure how much longer he could keep himself from exploding.
“And lastly tonight,” Agravaine was saying, and there was a faint buzzing in Arthur's ears, red sweeping across his vision.
“We have the honour of seeing Pendragon technology at its finest, taking on the strongest of all sorcerers.” Agravaine was smiling, wide and victorious.
Something dropped in Arthur's stomach.
No. It couldn't be.
Guards marched in, Merlin restrained between them. He looked drawn and pale, his eyes darting everywhere in fear, cuffs round his wrists keeping his magic tamped down. Cuffs that would soon no longer be needed because there would be no magic left.
Rage roared in Arthur's ears.
Time to act. Oh, oh so typical that it would be Merlin.
Merlin would call it it destiny, Arthur thought grimly.
He was moving through the group, men and women done up to the nines who were completely clueless about everything going on here; who watched the slaughter of sorcerers with ease because they believed themselves to be better; who wouldn't speak out to stop the atrocities that were happening.
But Arthur would.
He got to the front just as Merlin was being pushed to his knees among a circle of curious, eager onlookers. A man in a lab coat approached with a circular metal device which he was about to lower over Merlin's head.
Merlin's gaze met Arthur's. Agravaine was smirking, he knew he'd won.
All the heads turned in Arthur's direction. Some looked confused; some looked amused, thinking it must be some kind of joke; others looked angry. Arthur didn't dare look in his father's direction. Only one face mattered anyway.
Yes. Unavoidable that one day he'd have to speak up, by Agravaine forcing his hand or something else.
Inescapable that Merlin would be the one Arthur would finally break for, would do anything to save.
Inevitable that Merlin would be the man he would fall in love with.