Title: Mischief Part 16 – Full Moon
Rating: R for language
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Morgana
Summary: Arthur is a terrible person, according to Morgana and Merlin, too. And selfish as hell.
Word Count: 991
Camelot_drabble Prompt 483: Secret meeting
Author's Notes: unbetaed. Ivinghoe Beacon was the filming location for the first scene in Merlin. It is a 5000 years old trail with an iron age fort, many tumuli, and tons of history. Some say there are ley lines running through it. I've been there a number of times. It's a magical place. As for a full moon on Samhain, it only happens once every 50-70 years so it's unusual.
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Arthur tossed and turned all night. He missed the warmth of a little body against his, of Merlin lying on Arthur’s head at times while Arthur slept, of meows and scampering, of mischief and mayhem. Of golden eyes and soft fur rubbing against him. Of a thousand ways that Merlin had showed how much he cared for Arthur, and a thousand ways that Arthur loved him back.
But he knew he was wrong, and in the end, he couldn’t live with the guilt. No matter how much he wanted Merlin the cat to stay with him always, it was wicked, it was cruel, and it was so very selfish of Arthur to deny Merlin his freedom.
To love someone enough to let them go was the best part of love. And Arthur did love Merlin very much.
In the morning, he texted Morgana.
OnceandFuture: Will meet u at druid location. Have changed my mind.
For the longest time, Morgana didn’t answer. Arthur didn’t blame her. He had been a total prick about it, and she had every right to think ill of him. But finally, she texted back.
Queen_leFay: Merlin misses u.
OnceandFuture: I miss him more. Will do what is necessary. Won’t like it, tho.
Queen_leFay: Sending u coordinates now. Ceremony when moon rises. 4:53 PM, just after sunset. Don’t be late.
OnceandFuture: will be there. Hope it’s the right decision.
There was no reply.
Arthur had been to Ivinghoe Beacon before. He liked to take hikes, especially to historical locations, but hadn’t been back since he’d got Merlin from the shelter. Situated on a well-known trail, The Ridgeway, it usually had a crowd of visitors during sunny afternoons and there was an Iron-Age fort there at the top of the hill, although much tumbled down. Lots of ancient history, but Arthur had never heard about any Druidic associations there. He would have thought Avebury or Stonehenge would be a more likely location but what did he know?
Of course, he read up on Arthurian legends when he was younger—his name rather demanded that he know a little bit about it at the very least, and he named his cat Merlin in a fit of nostalgia. After all, who would Arthur be without a Merlyn by his side, just like in the Once and Future King? But he only had a cursory knowledge of the mystical side of the legends. Mostly he concentrated on the battles and places, and the Knights of the Round Table.
Now, standing on the hillock, he felt adrift. After all, he hadn’t needed to know anything about Druids or their practices, other than they did some ritual thing at Stonehenge every year and looked rather odd in their robes.
But waiting there, alone, he could almost hear the whispers in the wind, of old worlds and worship, of power and prophesy. He wasn’t cold but he shivered anyway.
Putting his absurd reaction to a simple case of foolishness, he wondered where the hell was Morgana? Had he gone to the wrong location? The hill was bare, there didn’t seem to be anyone around, and the sun was sinking fast.
Beginning to worry, after all, Morgana had been adamant about Arthur getting there before sunset and if he had got it all wrong, it would be too late to fix it.
Pulling out his phone, he tried to call her but there was no answer. He sent her a hurried text, then began to walk back toward the car park. He didn’t know what else to do. But as he plodded down the slope, a group of women, dressed in white, their robes flowing in the wind, were coming closer, following the chalk pathways up toward him.
Singing something that was lost in the distance, he could see unlit lanterns swinging in their hands, and Morgana among them, Merlin cradled in her arms.
Arthur stopped, then hurried down to meet them. Twelve women, none of whom he had ever met, and Morgana made thirteen. One woman, grey-haired and with the soft face of old age, was carrying a vessel, clear glass or maybe crystal of some kind with a dark liquid within, but the others were bare-handed except for the lanterns.
But Arthur wasn’t all that interested in what they were doing. He only had eyes for his cat. Reaching for him, Morgana pulled Merlin back, away from Arthur’s grasp. “Can we trust you in this? It’s not a game, Arthur. It’s Merlin’s life. If you change your mind at the last minute, it could be disastrous.”
“Morgana, I was… confused. I know I was selfish to even think it, but this whole thing has been bewildering.” Arthur hesitated, wincing at the glare Morgana was sending him. “But I’ll not fuck things up. There have been enough unexplained things going on with Merlin that I’ll have to accept I don’t have all the answers and maybe you do.”
“Maybe I do,” Morgana said, then gestured toward the summit, starting to walk again toward the top. The other women had already arrived and were talking quietly among themselves. “We’ll have to hurry. The sun is setting.”
But as she did, Merlin squirmed out of her arms and ran over to Arthur. Trying to scramble up Arthur’s leg, stretching up to remind Arthur that Merlin was still there, Arthur bent down and picked him up, then hurried after Morgana.
Purring like mad, Merlin rubbed his face against Arthur’s arm, and then twisted around so that he could stare into Arthur’s face as they climbed the chalk path. Arthur lifted him up slightly, then gave him a kiss into his soft fur. “I missed you, Lord Muckimuck. I even cleaned your litterbox. Although if this works, I guess you won’t need it anymore. Or the cat toys. Or me.”
Merlin butted his nose into Arthur’s cheek, before settling back down into his arms. Merlin ‘meeped’, then went back to purring.