Arthur groaned when he woke up. His head was pounding and it took him a few seconds to realise he was in the dungeons.
A shiver ran down his back when he felt cold penetration, his skin from every side. Arthur forced himself to take a deep breath.
He swallowed and focus, trying to remember what had happened. His eyes flutter close.
Flashes of light. Merlin pushed him to the ground. A gutted scream, a man running to them. Merlin shielding him.
The panic of losing Merlin. The shield.
Arthur's eyes open with a start. He had performed magic. He pressed himself closer to the wall, knowing what was to come.
Uther had seen him use magic to protect a servant. Something he had no control over and did without conscious thought.
Arthur bit the inside of his lip. One of two things was going to happen and he hopes it would be one. Death would be preferred to the inhuman experiments his father had done on sorcerers.
There was a slight scratching sound to his left. When Arthur looked up was he surprised to see Merlin looking at him.
"Are you alright?" Merlin kept his voice low. The guards were distracted by the fact that Arthur was tossed in the dungeon where the sorcerers where normally kept and they were busy to discuss it.
Arthur nodded, all things considered, he wasn't dead yet and he only had a headache, this could be worse and he knows it.
Merlin quickly looked around before he crouched down again. "Uther had sent for a witchfinder. From what Gaius had said, it sounds like they want to forcibly remove your magic." Merlin's voice trailed off.
He had seen the damaged the torture can do to people. He would need to find a way out before Arthur was seriously hurt.
Arthur paled when he heard it. He sagged against the wall.
"Arthur, you need to not give in, no matter what. We are working on getting you out. I promise you. Just don't give up." Merlin cast a last looked at Arthur.
He could hear footsteps coming closer, he would need to be away before whoever is coming can see him.
"I will be back. I promise." Merlin gave Arthur a worried look before he hurried off.
Arthur froze up slightly when the door to his cell was opened. Aredian walked into the cramped space just looking at the prince.
There was a coldness to his eyes that filled Arthur's heart with dread. If he walked out of this cell alive he had a strong feeling that he would be nothing more than a shell of who he was.
Aredian's reputation preseeded him. He had no problem with torture and killing someone who had magic. Hell, he had no problem to do that to someone who he thought had magic.
Uther was standing slightly behind the witchfinder, his eyes were filled with disgusted as he looked at his son, but at the same time, a small part of him felt guilt for what he was going to put his son through.
"Do you think you would be able to get the magic out of him?" Uther's voice was neutral.
Aredian was silent for a few seconds before he answered. "Of course Sire, I know how important it is that the crown prince has no magic left in his body." He bowed to the king.
Hiding his wicked smile.
"Thank you for agreeing to help. As you can see my son is in a difficult position." Uther turned around before the man could say anything else.
Leaving them alone.
Arthur could feel his heart racing but he forced himself to put on a mask of indifference. He wouldn't allow the man to see how scared he truly felt.
Aredian was slow as he took out vials of potions and some other equipment. Arthur grew paler and paler with each weapon that was taken out.
He strained against the shackles holding him in place and pressed himself closer to the wall. For a moment he thought about praying but he never was a religious man.
Merlin almost slid as he ran down to the dragon's cave. He slid into the cave.
"Kilgharrar, I need that sword now." Merlin's voice was firm as he waited for the dragon to get down from the cave ceiling.
There was a rush of wind as the dragon settled down. His golden eyes almost look like it was glowering at Merlin.
"And why do you need a sword forge in dragon's fire?" The dragon almost sounded lazy.
"Arthur has magic, Uther had seen him cast a shield. He is planning on trying to forcibly remove the magic." Merlin looked at the dragon, there was something in his eyes that moved Kilgharrar.
With a swoop, he dove back up where the ordinary blade was lying in wait in a small clearing in the wall. With ease, he took it into his mouth.
He dropped the sword onto the floor by Merlin's feet. "Today your destiny would change for good, make sure your friend is saved." The last word was barely spoken when Merlin ran to the dungeon. He gathered his magic.
Today he almost wanted to say fuck you destiny. Let the whole world know he had magic. He would use it to protect his king no matter what.
Arthur bit on his lip to keep himself from screaming in pain. It felt like he was being boiled alive. He writ against the stone wall.
When Aredian walked closer with another vial, Arthur almost begged him to leave him just alone. Instead, he closed his lips as tightly as he could.
Turning his face away when he was grabbed. The fingers dug into his jaw, prying them open. Pain shot up into Arthur's head like a red rot was pressed against his skin.
The last push and his mouth were open enough for him to force him to drink. Arthur tried to force as much as he could out of his mouth, but some still went down his throat.
A slapped echo suddenly through the room when Arthur managed to spit the rest onto Aredian's face.
Arthur forced himself to take a deep breath even when it felt like he was being stabbed in his lungs with each breath.
When Aredian grabbed his knife, Arthur closed his eyes waiting for death and hoping it would come soon. He wasn't sure how much of this he would be able to take.
The blade was cool against his overheated skin and when it started to draw blood, Arthur just slumped down. Knowing no matter how much of a struggle he put up, there isn't really a way out of this.
"We will remove this tainted blood of yours, make sure you will have fresh blood," Aredian whispered into Arthur's ear.
When it felt like it was never going to end, was Arthur cover from his shoulders to his pelvis in small cuts.
Somewhere deep and others were swallow. A whimper left his throat when Aredian started to put salt against the wounds.
A scream left Arthur's lips when the first salt touched a rather deep cut.
Merlin felt his heart beating in his ears when he heard the scream. His magic flared up. The guards looked at him wearily.
"Either open up or get out." Merlin's voice was deadly. Someone was going to pay for what Arthur is being put through.
One guard could feel some respect forming for the servant. He had to see how loyal he was to Arthur, and here he was again. He would do anything to make sure that the prince was saved.
The other soldier rather ran to tell the king what was going on.
A deep-dived lay between the people. Some believed that Arthur would be a wonderful king and others said he would be just like his father if not worse.
Arthur pressed himself closer to the wall when the door burst open. It was a struggle to keep his eyes open and for a moment he feared that he had died when he saw Merlin in the doorway, sword in hand and golden eyes.
Aredian turned to the warlock. A nasty smile on his face. "So there is more of you." He grabbed a pair of cold steel cuffs but with a burst of gold were they gone.
Merlin didn't utter a word as he lifted the witchfinder tilting him upside down.
The man screamed in the background demanding to be put down. Merlin crouched down in front of Arthur.
His eyes scanned the cell for the keys and with a quick poke outside the guard handed him the keys to the cold steel shackles.
Arthur slumped forward when Merlin removed it. He was cold and boiling hot at the same time, with burning skin.
For a moment he closed his eyes wishing he was anyplace else. Merlin's hands were warm and sting slightly his skin but at the same time was it comforting to know that this was over.
The thought barely made it's way through his mind when he could hear footsteps. Arthur clumsily grabbed the sword that was with Merlin.
It took help from Merlin before he was able to stand again. The sword was heavy in his hand and Arthur knew that if he was in the normal shape that the sword would have been perfect.
Uther stopped dead when he saw his son, Merin was standing protectively in front of Arthur. For a moment coldness swept through Uther.
He had seen enough men with that look on there face. They would do anything to get revenge no matter what the cost.
"What have you done to Arthur?" Uther's normal cold cascaded was nowhere to be seen, now it was just pure fury.
"Nothing. I wasn't the one who locked him in a cell for having magic. I wasn't the one who had him torture because it is something he had no control over." Merlin could feel his magic swirling seeking a way out, wanting to punish.
"And it is the last time you will hurt someone with magic." There was a flash of gold and Uther fell unconscious.
Arthur sagged forward slightly. His mind was reeling.
Warm hands around his shoulder's kept him upright. Blue eyes met blue eyes. And Arthur could see the devotion in Merlin's eyes.
The sword fell from his limp hand as he crashed against Merlin. The younger man easily kept Arthur upright, before he helped Arthur to sit down.
Still keeping him close to him. The smell of blood was thick in the air and there was a hint of saltiness.
Merlin could feel his tunic slowly turning wet as Arthur cried into his shoulder. He didn't shush him or told him everything would be alright. He just held him.
Giving him time to work through his emotions and pain. For the next day that will come Arthur would need to decide the fate of his father.
When the tremors stop and Arthur pulled back slightly, Merlin gave him an encouraging smile.
"What are you going to do about your father and the witchfinder?" Merlin kept his voice low.
Arthur was silent for a few seconds. "It is time for a new reign. For now, they can keep each other company in the dungeon."
Arthur forced himself upright almost falling when his knees bucked under his weight. He turned to the guards.
"Lock them up, I will deal with them tomorrow. They are not to be realised no matter what they scream or threaten you with." Arthur's voice was firm even when it broke slightly at the end.
"Yes, Sire." A core of voice.
With Merlin's help, Arthur managed to get to the physician's chambers.
It was almost night when Arthur opened his eyes again. The room was dimly lit with candles. He could feel a warm hand around his.
A groan left his lips when he pushed himself upright.
"Rest Arthur, tomorrow is going to be a long day. You are going to need all your strength." Merlin's voice was soft as he gently ran his free hand through Arthur's blond hair.
Feeling him going limp again. "I love you, my king." A mere whisper into the night. Unknowing that the prince had heard.
I hoped everyone enjoyed this one-shot. Please tell me what you think of the story and constructive criticism is always welcome.
I can also be found on Tumblr lover-of-midnight