Because this afternoon, when Colgrevance had foisted Norvel on them, Merlin had not felt irritated at the circumstances, or even that hateful towards Colgrevance. As he had watched Arthur dismiss him and prepare to turn away, clearly willing to accept Colgrevance’s request without challenge, Merlin had felt desperation. It had been a familiar emotion, well known to Merlin from long months of helpless silence. He did not know why he felt it now, when the circumstances were so different and when the look in Arthur’s eyes had suggested he and Morgana would find a way to reverse the effects of Colgrevance’s request quickly. But Merlin did know one thing about desperation with certainty, and that was that once it took hold—whatever the reason for it might be—it was almost impossible to fight back.So he fought his rage and his frustration down, but focused on them, and was oddly happy to feel them, even as he did. Rage and frustration made you feel as if there were things to be done. As if you were in control of things, if only by virtue of knowing you weren’t in control. That was far preferable to the alternative.
“He said I only needed to look around his rooms once to remind myself precisely how patient he was. ‘Crockery on the table, hauberk half-dented,’ he said. ‘This shirt. This bloody shirt, with half a lamp-dish of oil spilled on it. This very shirt is patience, Merlin.’He had a point, but of course I did, too; we eventually agreed to just let it go, the way we sometimes have to. But I never threw the shirt out after that, despite the stain, which I suppose was a bit pathetic. Then again, he still wears it, sometimes, under his chainmail,” he finished.