Title: With Smoke and Shadow
Pairing/s: pre Merlin/Arthur
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Gwaine
Summary: Arthur has been able to see the aura of the supernatural all his life even if he wishes he couldn't.
Warnings: supernatural elements, M.E Arthur, Necromancer Merlin, death (minor character), dead bodies, necromancy
Word Count: 1300
Prompt: 369: "I just want a nice, easy life. What's wrong with that?"
Author's Notes: Well this kinda got away from me and then exploded with plot. I'm aware I have a problem. So here, have a thing
One hour, just one more hour and Arthur can finally call it quits.
It’s been a long day, not particularly hard, but long. George called out sick—which alone was unusual given the man didn’t even like to sit down and eat a proper lunch if it meant he had to stop working. Morgana and Gwen had popped in around noon to deliver two bodies they needed rush-order examined for a high profile case they were working on. And on top of all that, his father had called which of course had turned into an hour long lecture on his life choices. All in all, Arthur is exhausted, to say the least.
Which is why when he hears footsteps descending the stairs into his medical lab, he’s already on his last frayed nerve.
And it nearly snaps when he rounds the corner into the main examination room and catches sight of the newcomers.
Gwaine is sauntering down the last few steps in all his cocky shit-eating grin glory, his deep dark red aura a strong pulse framing his body. He tosses his hair over his shoulder in a perfected move born from centuries of flirting and seducing innocent men and women into his bed. And sucking their blood from their veins.
But it’s the young man behind him that draws Arthur’s attention. He’s not much to look at, in his mid-twenties maybe, tall and lean and pale, dressed in fitted black jeans and a black tee beneath a simple leather jacket. Unruly dark hair frames his face, curling at his overly large ears and his eyes—well okay the blue is quite piercing, Arthur will give him that.
But it’s the ethereal black misting smoke aura curling around his torso and down his arms that gives Arthur pause.
“Aw hell no,” Arthur says, striding forward with sudden anger at his heels. “No no no. You lot, out.”
“Arthur, dear.” Gwaine holds out his hands as if for an embrace which Arthur studiously ignores.
“Jesus Gwaine, we had a deal,” he growls jabbing a finger in Gwaine’s direction. “Tuesday’s only. You’ll have your blood then.”
Gwaine has the decency to at least look a little sheepish, but it’s not nearly enough to quiet Arthur’s sudden burning ire. “I know, I know.” He holds up his hands in a placating gesture. “But this is a uh—special circumstance.”
Gwaine glances over to his friend who takes that as his cue and steps forward, hand outstretched.
But Arthur doesn’t let him finish.
“No, absolutely not.” Arthur crosses his arms across his chest. He knows exactly what the man wants. A necromancer in a medical examiner's lab, it doesn’t take much deducing to figure it out. And Arthur wants nothing to do with it. He walked away from that life years ago and he’ll be damned if he lets Gwaine or this stranger drag him back in. “You and your animating friend need to leave. Now, preferably, before I get fired.”
“You run the place,” Gwaine says with a knowing smirk, walking forward to slide a finger along one of the stainless steel exam tables. “Come on, Arthur. Babe. Sweetheart—”
Arthur shakes his head, strengthening his resolve. “Nope, I am not your beau, you can’t sweet talk me.”
“Damn,” Gwaine whistles, drawing out the word low and long, “you really are no fun anymore.”
That has Arthur bristling, quickly glancing over to the stranger when he shifts his weight. The man’s eyes are set, brow creased and mouth in a line as the black smoke aura expands and thickens around his body. Well on his way to pissing off a necromancer in a room filled with dead bodies, not one of Arthur’s best moves.
But dammit, Arthur can’t help it. “I just want a nice, easy life. What’s wrong with that?”
Gwaine just shrugs, a smug grin tugging at the corner of his lips. “Nothing at all. But you won’t get it if you keep providing vampires with blood, princess.” He waggles his eyebrows.
“Good point, I’ll be sure to put a stop to that.” Arthur starts putting away a few of his tools, cleaning up his work space in preparation to lock up. God, he just wants to fall into his bed with a bowl of pasta and some mind-numbing show droning on in the background.
“Arthur,” Gwaine pleads.
Arthur raises his eyebrows. “Gwaine.”
The stranger steps forward then, the crease in his brow having not eased one bit and Arthur prepares his defenses for an argument.
“Look, Arthur is it?” he asks, tone lower, but not yet completely threatening though Arthur can tell it’s a near thing. He nods toward the far exam table where one of the bodies Morgana and Gwen brought in earlier that day lies, a dark-haired middle-aged man with a large stab wound through his chest. “I just need to have a quick word with that man over there—”
“No,” Arthur cuts him off, slamming the tools in his hand down onto the hard metal table with a clang. He whirls around and steps forward to block the man’s path and his piercing blue gaze. “You will not be having a quick word with any of my bodies. Leave the dead be.”
He knew he made a mistake the second he opened his mouth and argued with a necromancer. But the cold steel that washes through the man’s eyes is certainly not something he had expected. Nor is the shiver that runs down Arthur’s spine as heat flares through his cheeks.
Well, shit he may need to recant his previous statement. The necromancer sure is something to look at now.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that,” the necromancer says, taking a threatening step toward Arthur, the dark smoke around him thickening, growing taut as it lashes outwards in a seductive wild invisible dance. Arthur finds himself nearly mesmerized by it. “It would be nice to have your permission, but honestly, I don’t need it. I’ve come for answers from that man and I’m not leaving here without them.”
“Okay okay let’s not be hasty here,” Gwaine says, stepping in between the two of them with his hands up. Arthur ignores him, glaring down the necromancer with all he’s got. “I’m sure we can come to some sort of agreement.” He looks towards the necromancer. “Merlin?” And then over to Arthur. “Arthur?”
Merlin. A powerful name for such a dangerous being. Arthur suppresses another shiver.
“No,” he spits out. He won’t subject a departed soul to something like that. It’s inhumane and degrading and frankly, unnatural. No matter how captivating the inquisitor might be.
Merlin takes another threatening step forward, pushing past Gwaine who gives little resistance.
“Someone is killing off my kind.” His words are low and menacing, promising retribution for wrongs committed and something in Arthur gives a little. Just a little. Merlin points to the body on the table. “And that man knows who it is so either you step aside or I’ll have the dead drag you down so far you’ll wish it was hell.”
Oh he is so screwed, in more ways than one.
Arthur takes a tiny step back in his defence. “How do you know he has your answers—”
“Because, he’s a necromancer and the most recent victim of this serial killer,” Merlin cuts in. He glances over at the man on the table, the lines of his face smoothing out, sorrow slumping his shoulders almost imperceptibly. It’s such a change to the menacing being a second ago that Arthur finds himself backing down, watching the man before him with intrigue rather than hostility. And when Merlin continues, his voice is softer, no more than a whisper, the words hitting Arthur’s walls and breaking them wide open.
“And he’s my father.”