Title: On The Other Foot
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Knights
Summary: When the reveal actually happens, everything is completely backwards
Word Count: 616
Prompt: #218 - Forgiveness
Author's Notes: Unbeta’d
It had been a day. Only one day since he had revealed himself- one day since his friends had turned to him, betrayal written across every line of their faces.
Merlin’s eyes fell closed as he involuntarily recalled the day before, his left arm and chest still ached from the spell the enemy sorcerer had managed to land. He wished he could just drop back into unconsciousness, worry and obligation free.
He rolled onto his right, wincing, and letting his eyes drift to until they landed on his boots, any moment now Gaius would shout for him to get up. If the physician had known what had happened yesterday, he would have roused Merlin long before now, fear of a much different kind spurring his actions.
Minutes passed, dragging long and slow, but Gaius’s shout never came. Instead, he heard the footsteps of several people moving in the room below. Merlin wondered ideally if he would need to assist with some medical emergency.
Huffing out a sigh, he decided now was as good a time as any to get up and face the day.
Sitting up was an enormous effort, an effort that left Merlin shaking, but he managed it, before getting dressed and heading down into the main chambers.
Merlin didn’t see who else was there at first, instead rubbing at his eyes clear them, but he did hear the silence that fell the instant he stepped out of his room.
Freezing, he took a couple of seconds to compose himself before he let his hand drop.
Stood before him, crowded into the cluttered room, was Arthur, Gwaine, Leon, Percival, and Elyan. Gaius was sat off to the side, and Merlin only peripherally recognised his presence in there at all, too focus on those in front of him.
He swallowed heavily, fighting the urge to back away, to hide in his room and pretend he hadn’t seen them standing there, but he couldn’t. Something kept him rooted to the spot, voiceless.
Silence stretched between them, growing cold and uncomfortable, until Gwaine finally broke it.
“Merlin-” The knight cut himself off, blank expression suddenly becoming strained.
Whilst no one made to fill the new gap, Merlin suddenly found his own voice.
“Are you here to take me to the dungeons?” Merlin was surprised how defeated he sounded, and it seemed so were his friends, if the flash of guilt he thought he saw was.
“Of course we’re not.” It was Arthur that spoke this time, as the king took a step forwards.
Merlin’s head jerked up, he couldn’t possibly heard that right, yesterday they had been happy for the sorcerer’s blow to hit home, battering Merlin until he collapsed.
Who would care if a sorcerer was injured after all?
Apparently Arthur had been expecting some sort of answer from Merlin, for he closed the remaining distance between them, one hand stretching out as if to grasp Merlin’s shoulder, though he appeared to think better of it at the last second.
“Merlin, I- we’re,” he gestured behind himself. “We’re sorry.”
Merlin’s mouth dropped open.
In all the hundreds of scenarios he had run through his head, in none of them had Arthur been the one apologising. It was always Merlin begging his friends for their forgiveness.
Merlin opened his mouth, only to click it shut a couple of seconds later. He had no idea how to respond.
“Merlin, mate.” Gwaine was suddenly besides Arthur. “We royally messed up, and for all it’s worth we’re sorry.”
Merlin blinked, flicking his eyes over Arthur’s shoulder to see the other knights, who whilst remaining silent wore expressions of remorse.
Swallowing audibly, Merlin locked his eyes with Arthur.
“I forgive you.”