Title: What Have You Done?
Word Count: 1240 (+song lyrics)
Disclaimer: I don't own them, nowhere near owning them, but yes, they're very pretty.
Warnings: Mentioned (not graphic) Bloodplay, Character Death
Summary: Arthur and Merlin's Doomed Relationship. Songfic to Within Temptation's What Have You Done?
Author's Note: This is very sad, and it's only because my mind is thinking about sad things. Written for the Songfic Fest over at carolinmescalin 's journal.
Would you mind if I hurt you?
Understand that I need to
Wish that I had other choices
than to harm the one I love
Arhtur watched him sleep, looked at the smooth, unscarred skin, and wondered what it would be like to take his dagger and draw designs into that surprisingly wide back, to watch the blood run onto the sheets in small rivulets, and felt a small wave of revulsion roll over him at the thought. This thing with Merlin was still new, too new to be thinking about indulging his sick fantasies on his new lover. And he did love Merlin, really he did, he just couldn't understand that smooth skin, that untouched canvas. He should hate himself for his thoughts, but he couldn't. It was a part of him, and he'd hidden it for far too long as it was. But he would wait, and he would ask, though he knew Merlin would say yes. Merlin never said no.
I know I'd better stop trying
You know that there's no denying
I won't show mercy on you now
I know, should stop believing
I know, there's no retrieving
It's over now, what have you done?
Merlin had waited for Arthur to ask, had seen the proclivity in him for violence, something that could usually be sated by a hard battle, but in these suddenly peaceful times, hard battle was something quite hard to find. And so Merlin had been waiting, but waiting was a hard thing to do as well, especially waiting for the bite of cold steel on his back, and for the inevitable scars that would fade completely in days, prompting an explanation he'd wanted to give for so long about the secret he would soon be forced to tell.
Arthur listened to the news that Merlin, his affable, baby-faced manservant, was a mage, with a barely concealed anger that was threatening to boil over as Merlin recounted every single time he'd helped his prince using the magic that was so irrevocably forbidden here, even given mitigating circumstances. Merlin kept talking, seemingly unknowing of his prince's growing ire, though Arthur knew the tension in Merlin's shoulders, had seen it many times before. Merlin was waiting for a blow, for the stab of a knife that Arthur was too angry to give him. If Arthur were to raise the dagger to him now, magic or no magic, Merlin would not survive the encounter, and so Arthur simply clenched his fists, nails biting into his palms in a bid for control that was rapidly fleeing.
And he finally saw the realization in Merlin's eyes, that a little blood wasn't going to fix this, fix them, and smiled viciously, motioning for the door. He didn't speak to Merlin, but he hoped, for Merlin's sake, that the sorcerer would be well away from Camelot before first light. Arthur could give him that much, for the love that still burned deep in his chest, nearly eclipsed by the bitter taste of utter betrayal in the back of his throat, choking all the words from him. Merlin fairly flew from the room, and Arthur finally shredded his sheets in a fit of rage, wishing that Cenred was still alive, still harassing his people, to give him something tangible to fight, rather than the phantom feeling of total hatred that was now overtaking his once-love for the dark-haired man.
Months later, he got his wish. Merlin had retreated from Camelot before dawn's fingers crept over the mountains, leaving nothing behind but a small dragon carving that Arthur now carried in his pocket wherever he went. It was a cold comfort, having a memory of Merlin that wasn't tainted with his new knowledge, but he couldn't bear to erase the man completely. And well that he hadn't, for when someone called to the castle, saying that they had discovered a sorcerer in their midst, he and his closest knights, the men that helped Merlin and him regain control of camelot and save his father, rode out immediately, angling to arrive well before they were expected. Lancelot and Gwaine, and even Elyan, were uneasy, an uneasiness that heightened when they found a starved and beaten Merlin waiting in the town's dungeon.
Would you mind if I killed you?
Would you mind if I tried to?
'cause you have turned into my worst enemy
Arthur saw him alone, spoke to him for the first time since that night, and tried to keep his feelings out of their conversation. He failed utterly, and was bitterly satisfied at the anguished expression on his former lover's face. Once he finished his very one-sided conversation, he ordered Merlin loaded into a cart to be brought back to Camelot for execution. Merlin had run, and fast, but not far enough. And not even their former relationship would be enough to save him now. If Arthur left the camp that night with no escort and nearly dented his sword by hacking at a tree with all of the bitter rage that he couldn't show to his friends, no one said a word.
You carry hate that I don't feel
It's over now
What have you done?
Merlin knew that he would die, knew that Arthur would never be talked into letting him go, even though the knights tried to reason with their young King. The blood between Arthur and himself was too bad, no pun intended, to allow it. Merlin had betrayed Arthur with his very existence, and Merlin knew that Arthur believed on some level that the love they shared had been false, an attempt by Merlin to save his own skin in the end. Of course, Merlin hadn't planned on it, had never wanted to fall in love with the Prat Prince, but because of his magic it would always be considered forced, fake in some way, even if Arthur never consciously thought of it that way. Arthur hated him, and there was absolutely nothing he could do to save them, or himself.
I, I've been waiting for someone like you
But now you are slipping away... oh
What have you done now?!
Arhtur watched as the flames leapt higher, and kept that dispassionate look on his face as Merlin finally lost his ability to hold in his screams, the sounds cutting through the nearly silent courtyard like a knife. Inside, that knife was twisting in his gut, part of him was screaming with Merlin, already mourning the bright light that would be lost to the world when the screaming finally ceased. That part of him, he knew, would always love Merlin, no matter the circumstances, and it was that part that believed that they would meet again, hopefully able to put the differences between them far behind.
Why, why does fate make us suffer?
There's a curse between us, between me and you
Even as he screamed, Merlin felt his soul's connection to Arthur strengthen, not lessen. He couldn't think, couldn't breathe, but that connection sang in his mind, louder than the screams, brighter than the fire that was consuming him. And the pain that wracked him became less as that connection brightened still more, the screams becoming a soft echo that he could almost no longer hear. And just before the light consumed his mind completely, he looked up to where Arthur stood, and saw an answering gleam, something that told him they would be together again, and never parted. Merlin died with a smile that was full of everything he'd wanted Arthur to know, and everything he'd been unable to say in life.