Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: While on an archaeological excavation, Arthur makes an important find, but Merlin's discovery is even more significant.
Word Count: 700
Prompt: 419 Bingo Round 2, Prompt: Spooky
Author's Notes: Modern AU with a spot of reincarnation
"We really ought to call it a day," Merlin said, getting to his feet and stretching his tired back.
Arthur, still on his knees on a tarp next to the shallow trench their were excavating, didn't even look up. "We've got sufficient light. And there will be rain tomorrow. We need to secure this object, I believe it will be of vital importance."
Merlin sighed. Lord Arthur was head archaeologist of their prestigious dig at the ancient castle ruin. There was a theory that this site might, in fact, be the true location of Camelot. It would be a major feather in his professional cap if he could find proof that this was the famous abode of his illustrious namesake, and he drove himself and his assistant mercilessly.
Dusk was turning into night, and a chill breeze whispered along the old stone walls. The setting and atmosphere would fit a gothic ghost story, Merlin thought with a shudder. Still, he fully understood Arthur's intense dedication to the task. And they did still have sufficient light to continue into the night, since they were working under the bright lights of several large floodlights.
The big lump of hardened clay that they were currently excavating contained an object of metal. Their instruments confirmed as much, and they were eager to make it secure and bring it to the well-equipped laboratory back at the museum. Once there, they should be able to fully release the metal from its clay coating, and make it yield up all its secrets.
Merlin turned his head, surveying the site of the dig.
His and Arthur's shadows could clearly be seen on the nearest wall. It was almost as if the floodlights had been set up to project their shapes onto the old stones.
There was a gust of wind, which made the tarp flap and the metal tripods rattle. The fluttering leaves of the nearby oak-tree made the whooshing noise of an oncoming storm squall.
Disregarding the ruckus, Arthur muttered, "Is it free? I think I've finally got it."
"Good," Merlin wanted to say, but all of a sudden he was unable to speak.
He was still looking towards the wall. Suddenly he saw his own shadow moving, although he was standing perfectly still. He watched as the shadow version of himself stood tall, raising both arms towards the sky, and then reaching out towards Arthur. Arthur's shadow stood up in turn, even if the real man was still crouching over the excavation trench. His shadow on the wall wore a crown and hefted a distinct broadsword, sheathing it decisively at his side. Next, Arthur's shadow reached out to Merlin's. Their insubstantial hands met in a firm clasp.
There was another wild gust of wind, and the sound of a thunderclap in the distance.
Merlin swallowed, spooked at what was happening in front of his eyes. Where his and Arthur's shadow hands met, the shape of a large double-handled cup had appeared. The shadows held still for a moment, a vivid tableau, and then they started dissolving. Shrinking back, the shapes turned into nothing more than the proper shadows of the two of them.
Whatever had happened, it was over. Merlin shook his head and rubbed his tired eyes.
His mind went blank for a moment, before his consciousness flooded with memories. Merlin gasped.
"Yes! I've got it," Arthur exclaimed, tapping the hard lump of clay very gently, intending to release any last loose traces of earth and clay. Instead, the entire cocoon of mud and clay fell apart and turned to dust, revealing a magnificent two-handled golden cup, as pristine and untarnished as if it'd been made that very day.
"Merlin, look," Arthur whispered, awe in his voice as he lifted the gleaming vessel into the bright light. "This is amazing. I can't believe it. This could be the Cup of Life, the very grail of legend!"
"I know," Merlin said, turning around slowly to face Arthur. He felt strangely elated, his heart racing and his eyes burning as if they were on fire. "I know it to be true. Our history begins anew. This is the Cup of Life, my king."