Merlin knew he'd made a mistake. After all, his mother told him time and time again that to keep his magic secret.
But Will was family, almost blood, able to keep secrets as well as anyone could. Even Hunith didn't know about old man Simpson, what they'd done. He knew he could trust Will with his life – had trusted him with it.
But his mum just turned those sad eyes on him, shoving his pack and a letter for his great-uncle Gaius into his hands. With a quick hug and a kiss, she waved him out the door.
Will hadn't taken it well, refusing to listen to Merlin's explanations, shouting that Merlin could live with him if it came down to it, that Hunith was being ridiculous. But Merlin knew better, knew in his heart, she was right.
In such a small village, things would only get worse. There'd be questions, lots of them, and the village elders would want to know why so many strange things were happening. Unexplained things. Magical things. Those questions could only lead to uncomfortable – dangerous – answers.
So he walked away, knowing that he couldn't stay.
He just hoped that Will would forgive him someday.