Title: Da capo (Part 1)
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, ensemble cast
Summary: Merlin wakes up, alone, injured and with no idea what has happened.
Word Count: 880
Prompt: Suspense Month - "Why are you doing this to me?"
Author's Notes: Modern!AU, and the cliffhanger thing is fun, namely because at this stage even I don't know how it's going to end! 'Da capo' is a musical term to repeat the given phrase until ending on a final chord.
Merlin was jolted awake by harsh lights flaring up overhead. He blinked and rolled to the side, squinting at the brightness.
A rough groan worked its way out of his throat as he pressed a hand to his forehead.
He had something of a headache.
When he brought a hand away, he found it stained with blood.
He pushed himself up onto his elbows, looking around dazedly.
It was a small room. Empty save for a bed, table and chair and on one wall, a screen, boxed in and protected by a thick plastic cover. There were two doors.
He groaned again, trying to piece together exactly where he was and what had happened to him.
The last thing he could recall was the pub, with Arthur, Gwaine and the others.
They’d been drinking. It had been Gwaine’s birthday.
Merlin remembered sitting close to Arthur. Hands held with fingers interlocking. A kiss on the corner of his mouth, heavy with the taste of booze.
And then …
He couldn’t remember a thing.
He wracked his brains again and again, running through who had been there …
Valiant and Cenred were a surprise, but there wasn’t anything much any of them could do about it, and Gwaine was already drunk enough not to care.
Arthur tightened his arm around Merlin’s waist when he saw them, however, and Merlin had to distract him with kisses.
“Morgause brought them along,” Gwen said, grimacing slightly as Valiant turned his gaze on them. “No one wants to upset Morgause, because upsetting Morgause means upsetting Morgana.”
“Just as long as they keep to themselves,” Lance said. “They’ve got no reason to spoil our evening.”
Merlin had made it up from the floor, to discover one door was locked and the other led onto a small bathroom.
He had made it to the bed and had been lying there for some time when the TV suddenly flickered into life.
He shot up from where he was lying, ignoring the flare of pain in his head.
There was no sound, but Merlin didn’t need to hear what was being said.
He’d been there.
The shot was grainy and taken from a strange angle, perhaps around hip height if the person was sitting.
They’d obviously not wanted to be seen.
Merlin’s hands balled into fists as the camera zoomed in on a couple sat near the bar, one blonde, one dark.
Arthur and himself.
Arthur had ducked his head close, leaving soft kisses along the line of Merlin’s jaw.
“What is this?” Merlin demanded out loud.
Whoever was doing this must be watching him now. They must be able to hear him.
“Alvarr’s been watching us all evening,” Arthur murmured softly as he ducked his head close to Merlin’s. He left a trail of kisses along Merlin’s jaw.
“He’s-.” Whatever Merlin had been going to say was cut off as Arthur lips closed on his, his free hand cupping the back of Merlin’s head.
“And that Mordred’s here with Tauren,” Arthur continued when they broke apart.
He looked uncomfortable.
Merlin knew it hadn’t been the easiest of weeks, what with Uther’s court hearing, and the presence of so many enemies could only be increasing Arthur’s unease.
“They can’t do anything,” Merlin muttered, squeezing Arthur’s hand to reassure him. “And anyway, they’d have to go through me first.”
Arthur chuckled lightly.
“You couldn’t hurt a fly.” There was a note of teasing in his voice, somewhat dulled by the heavy tone of worry.
“I’ll have you know-,” Merlin was cut off as Gwaine appeared at the table, thumping beers down with an easy – drunk – grin.
The video cut to a street, a figure walking ahead of the camera.
Merlin would recognise Arthur anywhere.
Arthur had been alone then, after the pub.
Merlin stuck his knuckles in his eyes, desperately trying to remember what had happened.
The person who was filming closed the difference between them and Arthur, just as another figure stepped into frame, their back to the camera so Merlin couldn’t see who it was.
He saw them raise the heavy iron bar, however.
“No!” The hoarse shout tore itself out of his throat as the attacked brought the bar down towards Arthur’s head-
The screen went black.
Merlin was up from the bed, headless of his injury.
He laid his fist once, twice, three times against the plastic covering of the screen.
But whoever had said this up clearly had known what they were doing.
He didn’t even leave a mark.
He turned his attention to the door, throwing all of his weight against it, kicking it, laying punch after punch against the wood until his knuckles were raw.
It didn’t give.
A quiet sob caught in his throat as he stumbled back to the bed, clutching his hand close to his chest.
“What have you done to him?” he asked.
The screen flickered into life again but it was just the same two scenes again.
It jumped back to the beginning again at the end.
Merlin curled up on the bed, cradling his head in his arms, simultaneously unable to watch, and yet unable to tear his eyes away.
“Why are you doing this to me?”