Always two sides of the coin
Summary: "Merlin, stay in the tent!" Arthur shouted as the warlock tried to follow him to battle. But Merlin couldn't escape the feeling that someone was almost at death's doorstep.
The wind howled as the servants set up the tents for the king and the knights. War would rise tomorrow as nothing would stop this greedy kingdom. They wanted Albion and, of course, Arthur who had just united it with Camelot wasn't going to let that happen. So he and his knights had set out to the battle fields, armed and ready.
Merlin, of course, had come too even through Arthur had tried to stop him. Even if Merlin was the court sorcerer, he shouldn't always be saving Arthur. They had come to an agreement that Merlin would have to stay in the tent during the battle. If Merlin was a sorcerer he could manage to help out whilst staying in safety, Arthur had said and through Merlin tried to explain magic didn't always work like that, Arthur wouldn't listen.
Merlin was slightly relieved as he wasn't the one for battles. He hoped that Arthur was right and Merlin would be able to protect Arthur from a distance.
But, of course, nothing works out as easy as that.
"Are you sure I should stay here, tomorrow?" Merlin asked for the eighth time. Or was it the tenth?
"Yes, I'm sure! Now stop asking me that, my answer is final." Arthur groaned as he sharpened his sword, frowning at the warlock. Why did he have to keep asking that?
Merlin sighed. He didn't know why he kept asking either. Something kept nibbling at his head and it was worrying him.
"I'm sure I be fine, Arthur."
"No, you'll probably trip up in the battle field and then what would happen?" Arthur growled.
"Look, I think I should come. Something doesn't seem right."
"Yes, the fact that my court sorcerer seems to like the idea of being killed."
"Jokes aside, Arthur."
"I'm not joking!"
Merlin gave up, knowing by his friend's tone that Arthur wouldn't give in. Merlin snuggled back down into the sleeping mattress and tried to sleep.
A black shadow watch the blood and gore as the battle unfold. Even through Merlin couldn't really see, he knew that a sly smile lit his features. He raise his hand and Merlin blood ran cold as he realise that someone was about to die.
Merlin jumped up, gasping. It was just a nightmare, Merlin tried to calm himself. But he knew it could come true.
Arthur was slinging on his armour, preparing. Merlin jumped to his feet, "Arthur, I'm coming!"
Arthur was surprised that Merlin was awake. It was early, Arthur had just gotten up in hope that if alone, Merlin would stay in the safety of the tent.
"No, you're not."
"Yes, I am!"
"Merlin, I am king, don't disobey me!"
"And I'm your friend and you jolly well know I always disobey you, when I know it for your own good!" Merlin got dress quickly, grabbing some armour from the side. Arthur grabbed it away from him. He tried to leave, hoping that without armour Merlin would stay.
"Merlin, stay in the tent!" Arthur shouted as the warlock tried to follow him to battle. But Merlin couldn't escape the feeling that someone was almost at death's doorstep.
Arthur pushed him back and Merlin knew if he carried on, Arthur would knock him out and then what would happen? So Merlin sighed and nodded.
Amazingly, Arthur didn't detect the lie and left Merlin with the armour. Merlin rolled his eyes and threw it on as he heard Arthur ordering the knights. Well, he had managed to keep his magic secret.
As Arthur gave a last speech to his knights as they face the opposite army, he didn't notice his court sorcerer at the end, hiding behind some bigger knights. Merlin was glad; they didn't have time for arguments. Another sorcerer was in the other army's mist, Merlin could sense it. If Arthur sent him away know, he would die.
Arthur gave out the single and the battle began. He sliced through the enemies, glad that he was the best swordsman in Camelot as some of the oncoming warriors proved a struggle. He felt eyes on him but didn't note them.
A shadowy man watched Arthur's every move. He had moved into the sidelines almost invisible. But Merlin could see him as he fought his way over. The fury roused in him as he feared that Arthur was about to be slain before he could even raise a finger to this dark sorcerer.
"Emyrs." The man hissed turning to Merlin. Merlin felt a drop of ice slide down his throat but paid no attention to it.
"You will not hurt Arthur!" He spat. The man laughed.
"Not while my main cause of coming to this battle is still alive."
Merlin felt the lump in his throat grow bigger as he realised who the man meant, "W-who's that?" he asked trying to play the dumb servant in hope to keep the man talking. But the man sussed the lie in an instant.
"I think you already know." He raised his hand and Merlin raised his.
Arthur felt the two blasts of magic hit each other from where he stood, almost on the other side of the field. He glanced up at the cause and felt his heart jolted.
Merlin and a man fought against each other, blasting magic so strong that it was hard for everyone to fight. But that didn't worry Arthur.
From the other side Arthur could still see Merlin's expression. Already it was tired, weakening.
He was losing.
Merlin heard the laughed the dark sorcerer uttered as he realised that he was losing. Merlin knew that soon he would fall and his friend would follow.
In desperation, Merlin focused on saving his friend rather than himself.
A sudden blast of magic burst out, causing thunder, lighting, trembles and darkness.
Water. That was all Merlin felt. He was sinking in dark murky water. He tried to open his eyes, tried to swim to the surface but he couldn't. It was too peaceful.
Merlin couldn't make out who was talking, he was too far under.
*Breathe, Merlin! Come on, breathe!*
Merlin wasn't sure how to breathe. He couldn't find any oxygen at all.
*Merlin, if you die, I'll make you regret it!*
Arthur. That was who was talking. In the back of his mind, Merlin snorted. Of course, his friend would always threaten him when he was scared.
*Merlin, please! You can't die!*
Merlin heard the emotion in Arthur's voice and he tried harder to find oxygen. Arthur shouldn't be sounding so scared and alone, he was a king. Merlin needed to get out of the water so Arthur wouldn't lose it.
Arthur woke up to smoke surrounding him. He groaned, his head banging as he tried to remember what had happen. Along side him someone else groaned.
"What happen? Where am I?" the king of the oncoming fighters moaned, "The last thing I remember was that dark sorcerer blasting magic at me."
Thanks for his experience and having magic on his side, Arthur knew what was going on, "I think you were enchanted or something to cause a war between us."
The king growled but Arthur paid no attention to his curses, "Take all the wounded to Gaius from both sides of the war." He said to a knight who had come to him. The knight nodded and helped the king up.
Arthur ran through the thick smoke to where Merlin had battled with the sorcerer. He hoped the boy had made it out alive and the villain was perished.
The dark sorcerer laid down, blood covering his face. He had been burned, struck by the lighting that had been brought upon him. Arthur sighed in relief, knowing that was one enemy vanquished.
But as his eyes travelled around the area, a sight made his heart stop.
Merlin lay faced down on the floor, arm still outstretched. A little blood trickled down his eyes.
"Merlin!" Arthur shouted rushing to his friend side.
He turned Merlin over and gasped. Merlin face was a mixture of dirt and blood, battered and weaken from the spell. His emotion was peaceful but there was grimness to that peace, one of death. Arthur tried to find his pulse. He couldn't.
"Breathe, Merlin! Come on, breathe!" Arthur shouted his servant's chest stayed still.
"Merlin, if you die, I'll make you regret it!"
Arthur forgot that he was king of Camelot, forgot the task that he would have to carry out no matter what happen to his friends. Tears form in his eyes as he tried to shake Merlin awake.
"Merlin, please! You can't die!"
A knight came over, Sir Lancelot. Although Arthur didn't want anyone near him, he knew that Lancelot was a friend to Merlin.
Lancelot bent over Merlin. When he looked up to Arthur surprised, there was a shadow of hope in them.
"It's faint but he's breathing." He whispered.
"Take him to Gaius." Arthur said, sighing with relief. Lancelot smiled and lifted Merlin up.
Pain. Pain wrung through Merlin now, burning him through the water as he tried to resurface. He wanted to give up, sink back into the coolness but he knew there was no turning back now. Gaius was now talking to him through the mist and Merlin couldn't let his guardian down.
He gasped and his eyelids fluttered open. He was back in Gaius' chambers, Gaius sitting beside him.
"You're awake at last." Gaius said relief filling his voice.
"Gaius, what happen?" Merlin tried to sit up but the pain was still there and Gaius pushed him back down.
"You fought with a sorcerer, manage to kill him and endanger your life and all of this was during the time you should have been in the tent." A cold voice growled as the owner made his way out of the shadows.
Arthur eyes flickered with fury and worry and Merlin knew he was in trouble.
"How many times have I told you-"
"-To follow your orders and don't endanger your life? About, oooh, the tenth thousandth time." Merlin interrupted, snickering. "And how many times have I not listened?"
"Not funny, Merlin." Arthur frowned but a smile played on his lips. "How are you feeling?"
"A little bit tired and sore." Merlin said and gave a yowl as Gaius tended his head wound. "Okay, a little bit more than a little sore."
Arthur groaned at his court sorcerer's jokes. He was in a lot of pain but of course Merlin just pretended that he was fine to lighten up the mood.
"So what happened when I was out of it?" Merlin causally asked. Arthur cold look returned.
"Well your spell seemed to knock everyone out for a bit. And cause a lot of smoke."
"I think I overcharged the spell..."
Gaius tutted as he banged Merlin wound and left to tend the rest of the patients in the hall. Arthur watched him go and then sat down in his place, arms crossed.
"And the other kingdom came out of a trance. It seems the sorcerer had plan the whole thing and they were under his spell. I've written to the families of those who had been lost, explaining and apologising."
Merlin face went into a mask but before Arthur could react, returned back to how it was before. Arthur wondered if he had imagined it.
"That was good of you."
"Yeah, well if we knew we wouldn't have gone to war with them. Anyway, I found the sorcerer dead and you..." Arthur voice trailed of.
"Was I that bad?" Merlin asked a hint of laughter in his voice that fell when Arthur glared at him.
"I thought you were dead! Honestly, you weren't even breathing and your pulse was undetectable. You even stopped breathing when you were on the mend and Gaius nearly had a heart attack, worrying about you. What were you thinking, disobeying me?"
"I...I kind of sense someone was going to die to a sorcerer. I thought it was you so I couldn't just stay in the tent."
"Merlin, for the tenth thousandth time, you don't have to keep protecting me. Albion has been created, magic is restored, I'm king and you're the powerful sorcerer I know and- wait I thought he was planning to kill me?"
Merlin face went red and he tried to scratch his head causing him to wince in pain, "Who said he wasn't?"
"You're the worst liar in the world. Who was he trying to kill, that he made up the entire battle so he can murder them?"
Merlin sighed. He knew Arthur would hit the roof but there was no way out of it. Just like when at last Arthur had realised his secret. "Me."
Arthur stared. A few years ago he would have been staring at Merlin because it was ludicrous for someone to want to harm Merlin. Now he knew who Merlin was and he was now staring at him in shocked as someone had come that close.
"Merlin! You went out and nearly got yourself killed when I would have been safe?"
"I didn't say he didn't want to kill you! He would have done but more of as bait or as another prize."
"And I didn't know until he suggested it. And I couldn't exactly run could I?"
"Just don't do it again."
Merlin smiled. "Afraid I can't promise that. If I had listened to that you would be long dead."
Arthur lightly slapped him but laughed. It was nice to have his friend back. As Merlin had told him, they were two sides of the coin and there was nothing that could change that.