Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin BBC. I don’t own Frozen, either.
Merlin sat with his hands in front of a candle as he leaned against the door to his small bed chamber. He would wave to the left and a flame would spring to life, and he would wave to the right and it would disappear in a puff of smoke. Trumpets and bells rang outside of his window, but he didn’t flinch nor acknowledged the sound. A single tear fell down from his face as he continued to play with the wick in front of him.
The sound of the outer door opening alerted him to someone entering the larger chamber beyond, but he knew he was safely locked inside of the room. The large pounding on the wood stairs gave away who it was that was visiting as the door shook a bit on its hinges as the person leaned against it.
“Merlin…” the voice called out softly. It didn’t hitch like it had when the boy on the other side had visited his mother’s funeral. “We sent Gaius and my father off today… People… People knew Gaius had you in here…” this time the prince had to clear his throat before continuing, “I told you yesterday you were allowed to come. I was surprised to see you didn’t. Can’t you come out of there?”
Merlin didn’t answer and he continued on with his task of keeping control over the flame in front of him. Magic flowing freely through his palms made him not feel the deep grief inside of him.
“Well, alright then… I have made it clear that these are now your chambers. The new physician has agreed to just keep working from his own chambers in the castle,” Arthur said through the door. “We really only have each other, you know? Morgana has also locked herself away, and I don’t think I’d be able to really talk with her anyway.” The blond sighed, “Can you please clean up this larger chamber and set out what the new physician will need? I’ll have some servants come by in the morning to pick it up and bring you some food, too.” The door shuttered as the pressure against it released itself and the clomping sound signaled the prince was leaving the room again. Before the outer door shut, though, he called out, “Right now my uncle is in charge of the kingdom, but in two years I’m going to be king, Merlin. I want you there to see it, and I will not allow you to sit in here any longer.”
As the door slammed on the other side Merlin stopped his hand from creating the magic. In two years would he have control enough of everything to not show his magic in a kingdom that killed those like him? He balled his fists and felt his magic release suddenly. The candles in the room ignited and then exploded in a flying mess of melted wax.
Why did Gaius have to leave him? He wasn’t ready yet to do anything on his own.
Arthur didn’t visit again after that day. At first it was a relief to Merlin to know that he could really exit his bed chamber at any moment during the day and not run into the monarch, but he still was weary to avoid being seen by the servants. He practiced constantly to control every amount of magic inside of him, but some day’s things just couldn’t help but be broken. He was sure the guards and servants who came into the tower were reporting his “fits” to Arthur, but the prince never came to tell him off. Through the windows of the chambers he could hear Arthur in the court yard below practicing with the knights and he would watch as dignitaries from other kingdoms came and went as the years followed outside.
Merlin was very shocked, though, one summer day when the outside chamber door burst open suddenly. He had been in his bed chamber folding his now dry washing behind his closed and locked door. “Merlin!” the voice boomed out. “Merlin, come out! My coronation is this evening. I warned you about it two years ago, now come out.” He heard the boots stomping against the flagstone, but they didn’t ascend the stairs like they had all the years previous.
Merlin stood stock still. He didn’t know what to do. Gaius had warned him to never leave the room and he still knew that his magic was volatile on the best of days. He still held deep in his heart anger for the executions of magic users and the depression of losing his mentor. Right now he breathed in calming breaths as panic started to seep deep into his chest.
“Merlin, you have to the count of five before I just start to torch this tower,” Arthur threatened. The black haired boy’s blue eyes widened at the threat. He really hated fire and never wanted to be burned alive. “One…!”
Merlin ran for his door, hit the latch and ran down the steps to look at Arthur for the first time almost fourteen years. There in front of him was hardened blue eyes, now a touch of brown colored the once pure blond of his best friend’s hair, and the guy was covered in chain mail, the family crest, and a sword hung at his hip with ease. He looked like a knight of the highest regard and Merlin almost didn’t recognize him.
Arthur as well was surprised at what his friend looked like. Deep dark circles fell underneath his other worldly blue eyes, his black hair was cut in a horribly self shorn and sticking in many directions almost untamed. His clothing was simple, ragged, and he was looking desperately skinny underneath it all. As Arthur had filled out during the years, it looked like Merlin had been starved. He knew, of course, that Merlin’s meals would come back to kitchen at times uneaten during the years between the death of Gaius and this day.
“You wouldn’t really burn this room down, right?” Merlin asked uncertain.
“Of course not, but you have emerged finally from your room. If I had known all I had to do was threaten you with a torch, I would have done it ages ago,” Arthur smirked cockily. Merlin scowled.
“That was very cruel,” he grumbled. He crossed his arms and went to turn back to enter his room again.
“Wait, Merlin,” Arthur clomped to head off Merlin’s retreat. He stood between the smaller boy and the stairs. “You can’t go back in there.”
“I am going back to my room, Arthur,” he said as he lowered his arms to his side and glared at the prince.
“I am not letting you,” Arthur said as he crossed his arms to show himself larger than his friend.
“You can’t stop me,” Merlin said confidently. Inside, though, he knew he wouldn’t ever be able to fight Arthur. He couldn’t let his friend, the prince of this kingdom, know he had magic. The soon king would certainly burn him no matter what he had just said.
“You’re scrawny. I’m a knight. I’m the prince. I can do whatever I want and you have to obey me,” Arthur said as he leaned forward, turned Merlin around with force and pushed him out the chamber’s main doors. “And I am telling you, that you’re going to get cleaned up, in some new clothes, and be ready in one candle mark’s time for my coronation,” he used his right hand to continue to shove the smaller boy down the stairs of the tower as his left patted his friend’s shoulder.
Merlin willed his magic down as hard as he could as he was dragged to what he knew would be his death by the end of the day.