“It’s not my fault you were using magic,” Arthur said. “To save you, though! I was using it to save you, like I always did!” “Well, it was to kill my uncle, right then, wasn’t it?” Merlin’s face red with frustration and anger, his breathing more ragged. He was seething. “Yes, to kill your uncle. Think about him for a minute, Arthur, and then tell me why it’s me that you hate.” Merlin’s words were daggers deep in Arthur’s gut, and his eyes were delivering the same cruel accusations. There was no escape from Merlin’s reckoning, and Arthur hadn’t even known one was due. Whether he was more baffled or hurt, it didn't matter. His answer was the same. “I don’t hate you, Merlin. I could never—” “We hate each other, Arthur. You just—as usual—would rather pretend everything is fine and honorable.” Arthur sat as still as he could, trying to maintain at least that vestige of dignity, even while Merlin pointed it out it as his crutch in hard times. He needed it. He needed it or he might be sick, too sick to recover any time soon. He felt his jaw clench against the pain he was in, now as physical as it was emotional, even though there were no blades slicing him open, just Merlin in his chambers, telling him he hated Arthur. Just Merlin, hating him for finding him out.