Title: Cassadaga (Ch.2)
Pairing/s: Arthur/Merlin (Eventually), Morgana/Gwen
Character/s: Merlin, Gwen, Morgana
Summary: Merlin finally makes contact with the spirit disturbing his peace.
Warnings: Talk of ghosts, pseudosciences and creepy/weird imagery.
Word Count: 1K
Prompt: #248: We Need To Talk
Author's Notes: Continuation of this Cassadaga (Chapter 1)
Gwen's scrutinizing gaze causes his sense of uneasiness to grow in an instant and settle deep in his gut. He grabs onto the edge of the table, knuckles turning white trying to come up with a topic of conversation that won't revolve around spirits, readings or healing. A nearly impossible task given their line of work. Gwen's eyes never stray from him, as if she's trying to read something deeper than worry in the lines traced on his forehead.
"What?" He asks, immediately regretting his harsh tone. "I'm sorry, I didn't meant to." He hangs his head wholly done with the entire cosmos. Gwen touches his chin lifting his face, her touch soft.
"You look worn out, love," she says with concern, "Are you sure there's nothing I can help you with?"
Merlin shakes his head. He's spent fifteen days in a limbo. He's barely sleeping and last night he knocked on Gwen's and Morgana's door seeking asylum away from an invisible force that's wrecking havoc on Merlin's otherwise tranquil life. The worst part is that the entity has yet to respond to Merlin's attempts of contact. He's lost with no clue on whether it has unfinished business with him or Merlin simply needs to lend his help to the entity to move along to the other plane.
It's beyond confusing. His house is a mess of colors and sounds and memories that stem from invisible corners and he can't figure them out. His gift has turned into a nuisance.
"Here," Morgana says coming in from the kitchen, placing a bright blue porcelain teacup next to his uneaten breakfast. "You need it. Those bags under your eyes are telling me everything I need to know."
Merlin smells the concoction, then stares at Morgana. She couldn't be farther away from the powerful medium that makes people squirm in their seats with one of her patented loaded stares. In the morning she appears softer, approachable in her bathrobe and dark hair done up in a bun, her hand finds Gwen's blindly as she takes a seat next to her. He takes a sip not wanting to upset his gracious hosts anymore.
He scrunches up his nose, the liquid is bitter and inexplicably warm on his tongue. "What am I drinking exactly?"
"One of my brews, trust me, you'll be sleeping in no time."
Thinking there's nothing to lose, he drinks.
Morgana wasn't lying. Not even a half hour later he's deep asleep on their couch. His limbs hanging off and the blanket Gwen covered him with awkwardly wrapped around his middle. In his dreams he hears a voice, it comes with a warning, is asking him to listen carefully, but before he can reach it, it disappears and he's left on a field. A battleground where the souls of slain brothers rise to the heavens. Smoke and fire. The echo of swords. He's alone, pulled into the stillness of a moment fixed in time bound to be repeated as long as it's remembered.
Merlin doesn't want to be here, there's too much grief and emptiness and both feelings bloom from his chest taking home like they've belonged there for as long as he's lived. He can't breathe, he feels cut open, exposed. He closes his eyes. He needs to go. Fast. His mouth drops open with a chant of something old and foreign to his lips yet so familiar the words drift and engulf the world in a shining light.
When he wakes up he's resolute to find a solution and confront the spirit that got him in this predicament in the first place.
It's silly. He can't find a more fitting or truer word for it. Merlin needs to figure out how they convinced him. In the long run, being so easy to persuade poses a problem for his well being. At least they let him do it alone. He takes in a deep breath and sets to work.
The furniture in his living room has been pushed to the walls leaving an open space in the middle, where the ouija board is waiting for him. Candles light up his way. He sits down. Never before the need to resort to the spirit board had arisen. Nevertheless, he's willing to try this very amateurish version of communication with other planes of existence for his own sake.
He places his fingers on top of the heart-shaped planchette. "Okay, here we go."
Merlin attunes his senses to his surroundings, everything beyond his door is lost on him, the sound of the evening cicadas is distant, a murmur. "Are you here?" he asks, "Please, talk to me. I can help."
Nothing happens. There's no thunder and lighting or unearthly knocking. But the spine-chilling cold in the room is a hint. He's not alone. He tries again, quenching his desperation. It won't help him to despair. "I know you're here, I can feel you. Are you listening to me? I want to help. Are you listening?"
The planchette vibrates startling him, "Oh, God," he gasps. It worked. It finally worked. It lands on the word, YES.
"Okay, okay. What do you want? What do you need? Can I help?" In his elation at making contact he forgets about basic etiquette for conversations with ghosts, but the entity doesn't seem to mind because soon the planchette is moving under his fingers dragging over the wood surface, gliding from letter to letter. "W," Merlin reads aloud, "E, N, E, E, D..."
In the end, the sentence, We need to talk is burned behind Merlin's retinas. His breathing is heavy, he's excited, he's scared. His mind going over every possible outcome. He waits. The planchette doesn't move anymore. The board transforms into a piece of wood with numbers and letters that mean nothing. Nothing at all.
What if he imagined the whole thing? Maybe he used his paranormal powers unconsciously. He wanted to find a reason to be for the supernatural happenings in his house so badly he could've done it. He laughs, of course he did. Since when does the board is one hundred percent infallible? He moves the wooden planchette to cover the word GOODBYE.
He's about to blow the candles out when the distinct sound of footsteps above on the second floor stop him.