Title: Ever-fixed mark
Pairing/s: Merlin/William Shakespeare
Character/s: Merlin, William Shakespeare
Summary: William Shakespeare was brilliant in more ways than one.
Word Count: 400
Camelot_drabble Prompt: 351 – Romance
Author's Notes: Shakespeare's sexuality has been speculated upon for years.
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
William Shakespeare Sonnet 116
Merlin had to admit that Will had quite a way with words. Killer smile, a wicked sense of the droll, and Will could use his pen to skewer those filled into pomposity like no other. But when it came to love, oh, how Will captured the torment of it.
He couldn’t have known that Merlin had loved for centuries, that there was agony and ecstasy in those memories, that Arthur’s death killed something in Merlin, too. His tears had dried and Merlin had breathed, was still breathing, but there was no life in him, not without the man he loved beyond all else. Arthur had taken Merlin’s heart with him to Avalon and all Merlin could do was exist.
So when Will asked him how he liked the poem, Merlin could only smile his false smile, and wish himself far away. And take Will out for a drink or two or ten, hoping to turn from love’s poetry to something more serious, kings and crowns and the latest fads of fantastical codpieces and feathered hats.
But Will must have seen more than a smile, the perceptive git. He clapped Merlin on the shoulder and led him to his bed. The stroke of Will’s pen was nothing to the stroke of his tongue, and the crawl of ecstasy rising, rising was sunburst-brilliant.
Afterwards, there were tears and Will asking who Arthur was, and Merlin couldn’t do anything but shake his head and drive Will back into ecstasy. Anything to keep the memories at bay, anything to keep Will from asking about things Merlin would rather forget.
It worked. Will never asked again, although there were times he looked as if he knew Merlin’s secret, not magic but the only one that truly mattered. But Will never pressed, would just grin and tumble Merlin back into bed.
It was a kind of love, not one that lasts but warms a moment. Not an ever-fixed mark but soft and sweet, to ease the agony of waiting for someone who might never return.
For that, Merlin would always be grateful.
And as the centuries passed and William Shakespeare’s life faded into scholarship and near-myth, Merlin would read again the sonnet and remember Will’s smile and mourn not one man but two.