Title: Cassadaga (Ch.7)
Character/s: Merlin, Kilgharrah, Arthur
Summary: Spring brings new beginnings.
Warnings: talks of ghosts and the dead
Word Count: 1k
Prompt: #258: Artists Appreciation Month - Love Remembers All
Author's Notes: I don't even know anymore...The art was so pretty, loved it.
It happens too fast.
One second he’s running and the next the world’s stopped.His vision goes blurry, a vertiginous sensation takes over him making it hard to tell if he’s still standing, his limbs are heavy, bringing him down. Albion is eerily quiet, a loaded kind of silence he can feel down to his bones conceals him. And then—then it’s no longer Spring. There are no yellow flowers nor bright emerald trees. A thick layer of the whitest snow he’s ever seen covers the ground, his boots sink in, his steps heavy.
He’s watching himself, but it’s not, not really. It’s like being a witness to someone else’s dream. This Merlin looks like he lived hundreds and hundreds of years before him. He’s floating outside his body following the trail this Merlin leaves on the snow, he does so without trouble like this path is well known. They stop. Together. The same but different.
With great astonishment Merlin sees his past self muttering foreign words under his breath, his eyes a brilliant gold. Before him the snow rises and turns into perfect snowflakes, unique ice crystals dancing in front of his eyes. He can’t help it, he puts his hand out to collect them, snowflakes fall on his open palm. He laughs because he can feel them, cold and precious in their delicate symmetry.
This is one of those things he can’t fully comprehend. Is it a dream? A memory? An out of body experience? He’s here, in a present that looks like a past he might have known once before. It’s his body, his face, his arms, his feet. An ancient power coursing through his bloodstream, much like—
He gasps. Someone is standing behind him, the wind picks up carrying the snowflakes and his condensed breath away in a flurry. A prickle of anticipation runs down his spine, he shivers as two arms embrace him, a warm chest against his back, warming him from head to toe. It’s terribly familiar.
He falls backs into the embrace, closes his eyes. Hot breath tickles the side of his neck, lips against his ear, grazing the skin, a voice, a murmur, “Merlin.”
The snow melts, the universe collapses, the earth falls off its axis, oceans rise and flood. And Merlin’s choking, fighting for air.
He’s falling, falling, falling—
And there are arms, strong arms breaking his fall. Merlin blinks, the world coming into focus. He’s back in Albion, people laugh, crows fly overhead and there’s colour, so much colour, a striking blue peering down at him. Deep and inquisitive.
“You okay there, mate?”
It takes Merlin at least a full minute to register the question, and another one to shake himself out of his stupor. The stranger is still holding him, Merlin can't look away from his eyes. His blond hair falls over them.
“Yeah, yes. Um, could you—” Merlin makes a vague gesture, fingers bumping against his shoulder.
He frowns, keeps staring at Merlin with the bluest blue. “Huh? Oh, oh. Right.” He lets go.
“You’re welcome. Are you sure you’re feeling better? I thought you were about to faint.”
Merlin readjusts his scarf, once, twice, three times before he finds his voice again. “Yes, I don't know what happened. Everything went black. I was out of it, I guess.”
“I could tell. You ran into me,” he says, his arms are folded over his chest like he’s waiting for Merlin to admit something.
“And I’m sorry about that, it’s not as if I did it on purpose,” Merlin says, he runs a hand through his hair avoiding looking directly at him, it makes him uneasy. Instead he turns around trying to catch sight of Kilgharrah. He has some explaining to do. He gathers his energy, all he has left, conjuring up Kilgarrah's name on his mind. The seconds trickle by, and again those damned crows poise themselves on a tree branch near so Merlin can listen to their melodious cawing.
“All right, but maybe you should consider—”
Merlin tunes him out focusing on the meowing he hears like a distant echo, it starts getting closer and closer. “You little shit,” Merlin says, finally seeing Kilgharrah come out from his hiding spot.
“Sorry?” The voice sounds offended.
Merlin shakes his head hastily hoping to erase the disbelieving look on the stranger's face. “No, I didn’t mean you, I meant him,” Merlin says pointing down at Kilgharrah happily rubbing himself around the other man’s legs.
His face changes to one of surprise. “Hey, didn't see you there.” He bends down and Kilgharrah allows himself to be picked up, slotting himself in his arms. Merlin glares at the cat who apparently likes everyone but Merlin. “Who’s he?”
“Kilgharrah,” Merlin answers, “It was his fault I toppled over you. He ran away and I was trying to get him back, I really am sorry for
“Don’t worry. I already forgot such graceless spectacle,” he says running a finger softly down Kilgharrah’s head, his eyes closed enjoying the attention.
“Wait, wait, are you calling me clumsy?”
“You said it.”
They fall silent, the evening getting colder, air crisper and somehow it's easier for Merlin to breathe.
“I’m Merlin,” he says.
Arthur. He tests the words, rolls the syllables down his tongue. He extends his hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Arthur.”