I’m watching you Merlin Memory Month Prompt Day 2: Path II - Watching you Whenever Morgana loses control about her magic she shatters the windows in her chambers. Merlin on the other hand tends to lose control whenever Arthur tries to come closer to him and he blows up the whole castle… every time.
As soon as Merlin’s magic is revealed, Arthur’s response is “Don’t be ridiculous, Merlin.” “This is stupid, why would you say that?”, he refuses to believe what Merlin says it’s true. He knows Merlin. He would have told him. Arthur would have noticed. “I would know!” he says, and starts crying. After seeing Merlin’s magic his expression changes from heartbroken to afraid. Reality hits him, who is this person? Merlin’s confession turns Arthur’s world upside down. “I can’t let you die” means little to Arthur though. Merlin could just be loyal to the crown, to Camelot’s heir. The first positive response happens after Merlin admits “There will never be another like you, Arthur”.
Arthur’s eyes are full of warmth and he even smiles a little. There will never be another like him for Merlin. One of my favorite scenes in 5x13 is the next one, when Arthur asks “Why did you never tell me?”, and Merlin replies with “You’d have chopped my head off.”, Arthur barely moves, he doesn’t even look at Merlin. “I’m not sure what I would’ve done.“ “I didn’t want to put you in that position.” That sentence is what makes Arthur recognize his Merlin for the first time in that episode (not just a good man, but someone who cares about him, someone who loves him). “That’s what worried you”, he says, while staring at Merlin’s lips. Any doubt of Merlin saving his life out of duty goes out of the window when Merlin says “It’s not why I do it” and looks directly into Arthur’s eyes. Like I said before, Merlin doesn’t spend 5x13 showing Arthur magic is good, because sometimes it’s not and Arthur has seen that (maybe that’s why he’s afraid at first of Merlin’s true motives), he assures Arthur he’s still the same person, that he doesn’t have any hidden agenda, he just cares for Arthur’s well being. Last, but not least: “I don’t want you to change. I want you… to always… be you.”, he knows this Merlin, he doesn’t make a joke about Merlin’s many imperfections (because he loves all those little things about him, his clumsiness, the fact that he can’t shut up, how he’s always late…), he says he wants Merlin to always be him, to never change. Because magical or not, Arthur Pendragon loves every single thing about Merlin, his manservant, and it’s been that way for years.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate that in that episode where Morgause shows up for the first time, Merlin snuck a coil of rope into Arthur’s room to help him escape from the window, and the guards outside the door basically saw merlin going in and not coming out and they didn’t even question it until Uther stormed in the next morning