Merlin is forced to reveal his powers - not only to Arthur, but to the knights as well - when Arthur’s life is threatened in the middle of an incredibly dangerous mission. The knights look warily to their King, waiting for his reaction before betraying their own emotions. Arthur says only that there are more pressing subjects at hand, and they will discuss the matter later… But it never comes back up. When the mission is complete and their return to Camelot grows near, Merlin starts to pack his things, thinking it better to leave of his own volition before Arthur can sentence him to exile - or worse, death - but Arthur stops him and asks what he’s doing.
"I can’t return to Camelot as a known sorcerer, can I?"
"Where will you go now?"
"I, uh…" Merlin trailed off, laughing uncomfortably. He hadn’t actually thought about that. "I don’t know yet."
Arthur nodded slowly, letting silence settle back over the clearing. Merlin returned to his packing, and Arthur let his eyes take in the expressions of his knights. Most were of somber acceptance. Regardless of his powers no one wanted to see Merlin go, but they were all well aware of the laws and none of them were about to question the king. Making up his mind, Arthur quickly turned back to Merlin and added, "You know, if you really don’t know where you’re going to go… then you should stay."
Merlin looked up at Arthur, surprise clearly written on his face. "Sorcery is illegal, Arthur. Punishable by death. You of all people should know that."
Arthur shrugged. "I can fix that."
"What ever happened to ‘The law is the law, whether I like it or not’?"
Arthur looked down at Merlin incredulously and said with exaggerated disbelief, "I am the king, Merlin.”
And Merlin smiled at his king, his friend; gazed up at all the knights whom he’d imagined would persecute him had they known his true self, smiling at him now as if they’d never been happier to see him. Arthur bit down on the inside of his cheek, a failed attempt to hide a smile.
"Come on, Merlin. Let’s go home."