Wary yet somehow intrigued, he did so, and suddenly he could feel again, was bombarded by emotions both his own and not. Grief, anger, and betrayal swirled around him in a dizzying kaleidoscope, still familiar and raw, yet somehow muted. But beyond that…Arthur paused.
Grief. Remorse. Despair. Guilt. Relief. And the familiar sense of stubbornness and honor and faith that was the cause and effect of most of their day to day interactions and arguments. These weren’t his emotions–they were Merlin’s, Arthur realized.
“I had to do it.” Merlin’s voice echoed in Arthur’s head, more felt than heard, still charged with tightly leashed emotions. “Killing his father would have destroyed Arthur. You know that, Gauis.”
“Yes.” The physician acknowledged grimly. “But the longer Uther lives, the bigger the chance that someday, Arthur is going to be forced to choose between the two of you. Even more than king and prince, you and Uther cannot co-exist in the same world for much longer.”
“I trust Arthur with my life.” Merlin stated quietly, and Arthur felt the strength of truth in those words. “He will make a great king, and I will do everything in my power to put him on the throne. Beyond that, I have not seen, nor have the fates–or the Great Dragon–seen fit to enlighten me as to what will happen. All I know is that my destiny is entwined with his. We walk parallel paths towards the future–whatever it may bring.”
Arthur retreated back to his own mind, dizzy with revelation. The link between him and Merlin stayed open, however, and he could feel the younger man focusing his attention, though he could no longer hear his thoughts. There was another spark of gold and the link was severed abruptly with a flash of fear, leaving the prince alone in his head.
Arthur lay awake in the darkness for a long time, staring up at the ceiling of his four -poster. Finally he cursed in frustration and threw the covers off. He dressed easily without a candle, a sardonic smile twisting his lips at the reaction his man servant would have had if he had been there to witness such a feat.
The smile quickly disappeared as he buckled on his sword belt. He and Merlin were long overdue for a conversation about a few things–but first, he was going to go have a little chat with a dragon.