edelweiss: (merlin: that look)
[personal profile] edelweiss


TitleBut nothing comes
Rating PG-13
Author [livejournal.com profile] brightedelweis
Word Count 1,262
Summary The aftermath of the reveal in which Arthur doesn’t yell, doesn’t accuse, doesn’t make any sorts of demands. It’s the worst feeling Merlin’s ever had.



But nothing comes


He would have been ready for the fists and the noise. He could have handled the aggression, the disappointment, the confusion, the fury. He could have handled piercing cries, accusations, full speeches of betrayal, and angry demands.

But nothing comes.

Instead Merlin feels like parchment that was left out in the rain. He feels transparent. He feels like eyes are looking right through him. He feels like he’s being torn apart. He doesn’t know if he wants to be put back together again either. The silence seeps into everything. Nothing moves. It’s as if the world as died and all that really exists is those eyes.

Deep blue orbs of disappointment.

They are eyes that seem dead and alive all at once, and right now Merlin cannot quite tell which is which. All he knows is that they’re staring at him, through him, and it is more painful than any injury by fist, sword or arrow. The injury goes so deep that Merlin does not know if it will ever heal. He doesn’t even know if it will even scab over. The wound goes so deep, and is so sharp, that even now it seems to expand.

Merlin wants Arthur to say something, but he knows, he senses, that nothing is going to come out of the prince’s mouth. The jaw is set and not in some sort of determination, but in a question.

Why.

It is part question, but it feels much more like a statement and all Merlin knows is that he owes…something.

He wants to explain, but finds that he doesn’t really have an explanation for himself. Everything he’s been telling himself, that Gaius has been saying, that the piercing cries of dying witches and wizards have been saying suddenly seem to be false. They’re not good enough. All of the possible explanations he could give – none of which Merlin really believes – pale in comparison to the possibility that maybe this is all about trust.

The thought stings, and Merlin attempts to push it from his mind and come up with something better. It doesn’t work and Merlin wonders if he is going to have to lie. He knows that would be wrong. It would be impossible as well, because not only would he have to lie to Arthur, but he’d have to lie to himself. It should be impossible too, because the entire reasoning behind those eyes, behind the weight of the silence, is that Merlin lied to begin with.

It was just one, but that’s enough.

It feels like everything. Merlin feels the eyes bore into them and wants desperately to move away, but somehow the connection – that invisible tether – has never felt more taught. If he were to look away Merlin knows that it would be as if he was being ripped apart, and suspects that something in him would break. He suspects that something would never mend itself.

Merlin wants to say so much. He wants to say that he has never used his magic for evil. He wants to say that he would never harm Arthur. He wants to explain that he is different than the others, but how is that possible to say? He wants to tell of all the times he has saved Arthur before. He wants to say that he asks for nothing in return. He wants to say that he has never wanted a reward and that he never will want one. He wants to say that all he has ever wanted is acceptance. He wants to say that he just wants someone who understands. He wants to say that he wishes the world worked differently.

He doesn’t want to say sorry, because he’s not. Not really. He’s sorry for this sense of…of nothing and everything. He’s not sorry about what came before. He’d never apologize for saving Arthur’s life. He’d never apologize for saving anyone’s life, but especially not in the case of Arthur. It’s something set in stone.

Even though this is a fact, their future seems to waver. They are at a dangerous crossing point: Merlin and Arthur. They are poised on a narrow ledge and there are two choices: rise or fall. The trouble is that the possible actions are not quite connecting with the possible results. Forgive and one could fall, condemn and one could rise.

Merlin opens his mouth to say something, but finds that it is dry. Instead all of the words that could and should be said die before they ever see light. They die before they ever meet Arthur.

Merlin tries to fidget, but finds that he is not capable of motion in his limbs either. He parts his lips again and can feel not only how parched his lips are but also how parched his soul is.

“I was born like this.” He says finally and swallows dry air. It comes out quietly and Merlin waits a moment, hoping that maybe Arthur will say something in return, all the while knowing that nothing will come. “I never asked for any of it…it just sort of was.”

Arthur’s stare does not intensify or weaken but stays just the same. Merlin wonders whether he’s been heard for Arthur shows no sign that he has absorbed any of Merlin’s words.

“Say something.” Merlin’s mouth feels drier, if that is even possible, and he licks his lips in an attempt to wet them. Arthur just continues to stare, and now Merlin starts to get a little bit angry, but mostly worried and frustrated. “Please say something, you look like you’ve died.”

“You’re a lie, aren’t you Merlin?” Arthur finally says. Merlin is struck by how much the words hurt, especially when he’s been waiting all of this time for Arthur to say something. “Everything has been a lie.” Arthur’s words have a way of convincing and Merlin suddenly wonders whether or not he himself is true or false.

“I – ” Merlin starts “I’m just Merlin.” He hasn’t finished, “I don’t know who I am.”

“You’re a lie.” Arthur’s words bite harder this time and Merlin hears a bit of contempt creep in to Arthur’s voice, but mostly he just hears betrayal. “Why did you lie?”

Merlin doesn’t answer. He still doesn’t know, not really.

“Why did you lie?” Arthur’s voice rises and Merlin sees him step forward. Merlin desperately wants to move back but finds that he’s routed to the spot and that no matter how much he wants to maintain the distance between them he can’t move at all. He feels like he’s on fire.

“Why did you lie?” The voice is louder and Arthur takes another step forward. He asks again and moves once more. He’s louder. So are Merlin’s heart beats. Arthur continues to ask and move, his voice growing louder but steady, his feet moving closer. Merlin wonders if he’s going to collapse. He almost wishes that he would because that would be so much easier.

Finally they are face to face, eyes still locked. Arthur’s voice is just below a yell and Merlin can feel his breath on his skin. It burns. “Why did you lie?” Something cracks and all that comes out is a whisper.

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this.” They say raggedly, and only afterwards notice that it was in unison, completely unintentional. Their foreheads meet, and while the sense of weight upon Merlin does not disappear, it also does not seem to matter.

Just this once Merlin doesn’t need magic or a special ability to know that everything is going to be all right.
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