Title: Turniphead in Love, Part 3
Pairing/s: Sophia/Arthur, Arthur/Merlin (all sort of)
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Sophia
Summary: Merlin's first Valentine's Day at the palace was looking like a lot of fun... that is, until Sophia showed up.
Warnings: temporary character death
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: A continuation of the story "Turniphead in Love" which was posted in CD last March. Here is a link to the first two parts on ao3: https://archiveofourown.org/works/10190072
“Stop!” he yelled, unable to think of anything more creative under pressure. The spies on the telly always made confrontations with bad guys look so suave. Great job, Merlin.
“Emrys!” Sophia hissed. “Come to save your lover boy? You are too late!” She stepped on Arthur's limp body, keeping him under the surface.
“Too late for what?” Even as he asked, he shook his head, angry at himself. He should be blasting that girl with magic, not making idle chit chat with her.
“Too late to save his soul! I have offered it to the Sidhe elders in exchange for my passage to Avalon.” As she spoke, Merlin edged closer to the pool. Maybe asking that question wasn't that stupid if it meant she would keep talking and be distracted. “They require the soul of a mortal prince. And how could I resist the soul of the Once and Future King? Without his future, the human world will be like a child's playground for the Sidhe… They will crown me princess and the humans will grovel at my feet!”
It all sounded like nonsense to Merlin. He had read stories of the Sidhe and the Lake of Avalon in one of Gaius’ books, but they were supposedly myth, not reality. And what was this about a Once and Future King?
And that bit about sacrificing a prince’s soul?
Not going to happen.
Whether he could stop Sophia was another question entirely. Arthur was still underwater, motionless. Merlin had to do something, now.
He concentrated on what Gaius had taught him and cursed his lack of more practical lessons. He held up his right hand and concentrated on the magic.
</i>“Swilte, gold beorþ!”</i>
Magic pulsed from his fingers. Yes! But when the energy reached Sophia, she waved it off with a laugh.
“Nice try, sprout. Once a buffoon, always a buffoon, I see. But it makes my job easier.”
Well, now she was just being insulting. Not that she was wrong.
Try again, try again… time was passing, he needed to hurry, he needed to get to Arthur now. Sophia was chanting again, and Merlin had to stop her. He decided to try a different spell.
She just waved it aside and continued chanting. Merlin yelled again, “Swilte, gold beorþ! Acwele!”
Fine, he'd just have to do it the hard way.
Merlin ran straight for Sophia. If he had to physically attack her, he would. Hadn't he had enough practice wrestling Arthur these past months? He should be able to take on a distracted girl. Arthur always made it sound like girls were wimps, anyway. Whenever he had Merlin pinned or in a headlock, he never failed to comment about what a girl Merlin was—as long as Morgana wasn't there, of course. Merlin secretly suspected she could take Arthur even without magic.
He made it as far as the steps that led down into the pool. The water was so clear he could see Arthur floating listlessly, slightly tangled in Sophia's skirts. He looked dead. No, no, he couldn't be, there was still time, Merlin could revive him, he would…
Merlin flew out of the pool and hurtled through the air in a heavy spray of water.
He smashed into the trunk of an early-blooming fruit tree and fell to the ground. A downpour of water droplets mixed with pink flower petals dumped on his head. Merlin spluttered and gasped for breath, trying to orient himself. His left side throbbed from the impact, and the left side of his ribcage creaked ominously when he tried to sit up. He groaned, but there was no time to check for injuries. Arthur, Arthur, he had to get to Arthur.
Merlin pushed himself up to standing, using the trunk as a support. He held out his hand, determined that this time he would get his magic to blast that girl straight to Avalon—and leave the turniphead right here where he belonged, exasperating Merlin on a daily basis.
Something inside Merlin snapped. It was as if his heart had split into two and half of it erupted in an agonizing explosion of fire and ice and pain.
Sophia laughed again, this time in a maniacal ecstasy. “It is done!”
The pain in Merlin's chest died away, leaving an unbearable void, an emptiness that would grow and consume him until there was nothing left.
No. Merlin would not allow that to happen. He would not let some power-hungry fairy princess wannabe take Arthur and destroy Merlin's life. It was not going to happen.
His magic boiled inside him, frothing and thrashing. He screamed, and all that power hurled outwards in all directions. Merlin was out-of-control, frenzied in a way he never had been before. Gaius’ voice echoed in his head, “Focus, focus! You must focus!”
Sophia. That's where he needed to focus. Merlin inhaled frantically, and then poured everything he had towards Sophia. There was a great shattering sound as the glass walls disintegrated into a hail storm of lethal shards, all aimed straight at Sophia. He could feel her magic repel them, but he pushed back, impelled by fury and desperation and heartbreak. Merlin felt as if his own soul was torn out from the very fibre of his being, launched in a furious assault, directing the overpowering force of his magic and sending it straight at the enemy.
He felt the moment his magic triumphed. Sophia wrenched out a strangled scream, but Merlin cared not. The cloud of glass and magic pressed through her protective barrier. Right before it tore her to shreds, a brilliant light flashed through the arboretum. Sophia had disappeared.
Thank all the gods!
But Arthur! What had become of Arthur? Merlin sprinted to the pool, where Arthur's body hung, lifeless. Merlin's magic pulled the prince from the water and set him on the tiled pool deck. Merlin knelt down, frantically checking for a pulse.
Nothing. It was too late.
Arthur was dead.