Title: Cassadaga (Ch. 3)
Pairing/s: Arthur/Merlin, Gwen/Morgana
Character/s: Merlin, Gwen, Morgana
Summary: Merlin has had a connection to the spirit world since he was a child, sensing and communicating with the afterlife. He leads a quiet and simple life in the Albion Community, a charming town home to a few hundred spiritually minded individuals. It isn't until a temperamental spirit starts messing with his peace that his life takes an unexpected turn. This chapter: The spirit won't stop playing around with Merlin.
Warnings: pseudosciences, weird imagery, talks of ghosts and the dead.
Word Count: 1K
Prompt: #252: Wait for It
Author's Notes: I still haven't forgotten about this :D Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. I'm not completely happy with how this chapter turned out tbh. Sigh.
The peacefulness he experiences when he's inside his bedroom is an odd one. It's like the dormant ocean prior to a tempest. The calm before the storm. Merlin hugs his middle in a protective gesture, darting a glance across the room, noticing nothing is amiss, not a single sign of the earlier otherworldly activity. As if the manifestation had been a part of Merlin's imagination after all.
The situation is confusing. He knows what he heard. What he saw the board spell out for him. It wasn't just wishful thinking. It couldn't have been. Then again, he did have his doubts at first.
Sighing he sits down on the bed, runs a hand through his messy hair. This is the first time he's struggled to make contact since he was a child learning to hone his abilities, asides from the ouija experiment and the noises the spirit likes to inconvenience Merlin with there's been nothing tangible. The spirit is playing tricks on him, making him work more than ever. This wouldn't be the first time he's faced with a trickster.
He considers going back to the ouija, desisting of the idea quite quickly. Maybe he just needs to wait for it.
The spirit could try to reach him at anytime.
Two days pass and nothing changes.
Merlin wakes early in the mornings to go about his day, today is no exception. He leaves the house and marches to his shop before he has the time to ponder about what went wrong, if there's a possibility he wasn't receptive enough and the spirit decided communicating with him is not worth the trouble, its energy. The noises have stopped almost completely and the only reason Merlin thinks the spirit hasn't disappeared are the cold spots around his house. A chill up his spine.
Also, the dreams. Those must be a sign too. He keeps having dreams of battlefields and wildfire. Every time he opens his eyes he experiences a sense of loss, it's like stab wound, slow and painful. He tries to ignore it most days but he walks around with a hole in his chest he has no idea how to fill.
He hides a yawn behind his hand looking up at the sky, blue and gray, the sun hidden by a couple of clouds. Albion's streets are almost empty, save for a few people whom like Merlin have the intention to open their business to the public and the ones looking to benefit from them. He sees Freya across the street, a camera dangling from her neck, a group of people gathering around her. He smiles at the sight. Her tours around town are always popular. People have the hope to catch some type of manifestation in at least one of the hotspots of spirit activity, like the old hotel and the cemetery.
He waves back when Freya catches sight of him and smiles nodding her head in acknowledgment.
He turns to resume his walk to his shop when someone calls his name, he frowns. The sound is muffled and he can't find the source. For one wild moment he thinks it's the spirit that's followed him, he takes a deep breath only to deflate quickly upon noticing Morgana knocking the window from inside Le Fay's trying to grab his attention.
"Good morning," Merlin says entering the shop, the strong smell of flowers and incense hits him. Morgana grabs his arm without a word and leads him upstairs towards the flat. She turns to look at him before she opens the door.
"Gwen is driving me crazy," she declares with a pained expression. "I need reinforcements."
Gwen is buried under a mess of tulle and what used to be their living room resembles the scene of a disaster.
"Merlin!" Gwen springs to her feet and hugs him all warm and familiar. She smells like lilies Merlin notes. A frown forms on her features once she's let go of him.
"What? Did I do something wrong?"
She shakes her head, raising one of her hands touching Merlin's cheek. "Your aura. I don't like its color."
"Um, thank you?" Merlin doesn't feel like discussing his aura and the reasons for its troubling appearance. Behind them Morgana also frowns but abstains from making a comment. She picks up one of the envelops on the coffee table and hides behind it.
Gwen lets him go with one last hug and a suspicious once-over. She takes her former seat on the floor, she asks for his opinion on music, decorations and wondering if a baby's breath crown is an acceptable thing to wear on her wedding day. Merlin tries to help though Gwen is not easily convinced. Then comes the seating chart, Gwen changes his brother's seat about a thousand times while Morgana wears the expression of someone who'd rather jump off a building than discuss once again why her family is not coming for the wedding.
"I only need one seat for my cousin. You already know that Gwen." Morgana's tone is clipped.Merlin can tell Gwen wants to discuss the matter with Morgana by the way she angles herself toward Morgana, mouth half open with an argument.
"Morgana, I have a reading at ten, if you wanted to grab breakfast we better hurry," he says hurriedly coming to Morgana's rescue. Gwen takes a deep breath. It's better if he gets them away from each other long enough to breathe and gather their thoughts.
"Oh, right, sorry. I almost forgot." She gets up from the couch and bends down to drop a kiss on the top of Gwen's head. "Do you want anything?"
"No," Gwen answers waving them goodbye and if she's suspicious of them she doesn't say anything. Probably knowing Morgana will be in a better mood when she comes back.
"Thank you," Morgana says once they're out on the street.
"Don't thank me. You're buying."
"Did you get anything recently? Perhaps an old chair, some antique, a family heirloom?" Morgana asks him after Merlin voiced his thoughts about the entity taking residence in his house. "It could be attached to some object and you might need to expel it."
"That's the thing. There is nothing new in the house. But I know it's there, I've heard it," Merlin says with conviction.
"As long as it's not violent," Morgana says trailing off. Angry, hostile manifestations are a nasty thing to confront.
He hopes it doesn't come to that. He doesn't want to deal with threats to his life from the afterlife.
Cold. It's so cold.
Merlin shivers. "Please, stop. I'm tired of playing games." Nothing. Silence is all he gets.
He is about to call to spirit again when something catches his attention moving out of his peripheral vision. He turns in time to see a cat. A fluffy black cat walking towards him, its yellow eyes intent on Merlin. It meows and comes to a stop in front of him, like he's waiting for Merlin to acknowledge its presence. It meows again. Merlin smiles, this wouldn't be the first time a stray adopts him. He always leaves a window open for them, inviting them to make themselves at home. Since he moved to this place he's been the host of a dozen of cats. They come and go.
Merlin kneels down,extends his hand towards the cat's nose hoping it will trust him. It smells him and licks at the offered hand. "You must be hungry," he comments, caressing it behind its ear, the cat closes its eyes and purrs a little. Merlin picks it up, bringing the cat to the kitchen. It jumps from his arms and settles on the floor, tail wagging. Merlin searches in the cupboards for food he might have left from the last time a cat crashed his house. "Wait, I'm sure I must have something here."
We need to talk.
Merlin jumps at the sound of a gravelly voice, his arms are covered in goosebumps. He spins fast around but nothing is there, only a cold breeze and the cat peering up at him. Yellow orbs burning into him.
We need to talk.
Merlin gasps, drops the can of food he's been holding.
"No, no, it's impossible."
The cat maintains its stance. His meowing a touch louder.
Are we going to talk, Merlin?.
Merlin thinks he might be on the brink of madness.