Title: The World Will Start in Fire
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Merlin's been waiting for Arthur for thousands of years. Finally, he snaps.
Warnings: Slightly dark!Merlin
Word Count: 570
Author's Notes: Apparently I can't stop writing reincarnation...
Thousands of years came and went. Merlin had cycled through thousands of faces, thousands of versions of himself, but still no sign of Arthur.
At the start of every war, during every natural disaster, any time the world was in need, Merlin hoped that the time of Albion’s greatest need had arrived. But it never did. First, humans invented guns, and Merlin was sure that Arthur would return. Then humans invented bombs. And then the atomic bomb. But slowly, Merlin began to realize that there was no limit to the humans’ capacity to wreak havoc on the world. There would always be a disaster to come that would render the current catastrophe irrelevant.
Merlin despaired that Arthur would never return.
Had Kilgharrah been lying? Had he told Merlin Arthur would return to placate him? To stop Merlin from tearing the world apart at the seams to bring Arthur back? Because Merlin knew now as he did then that if he hadn’t been promised Arthur’s eventual return, he would have unraveled the world strand by strand until Arthur stood safe and whole in front of him.
In fact, that sounded like a great idea. He was Emrys, the greatest sorcerer who ever lived. If anyone could bring Arthur back, he could. After thousands of years, Merlin knew his own power. Knew he could destroy the world by plucking a single thread in the fabric of the universe. He saw that thread every day. It taunted him. It tempted him. But he always refrained from touching it, knowing that he wasn’t meant to destroy the world.
Now, Merlin stared at that thread, aching to reach out and hold the world’s destiny in the palm of his hand. But he didn’t. Instead, he stared at the array of interlocking strings that held together the world as he knew it.
Merlin’s eyes flashed gold. A string broke free. The tides rose until countries were submerged in water.
Merlin glared at a section of strings. They all exploded in a shower of fluff. Infernos burst into existence, consuming anything and everything in their path.
Merlin grinned darkly and flicked at another couple strings. They melted at his touch. Dark clouds gathered over the earth and lightning struck from the heavens, leveling mountains in their wake.
Merlin continued plucking at the strings that held the world together, laughing maniacally as he did.
He didn’t notice someone calling his name until a body barreled into him from behind, and a pair of arms wrapped themselves around his waist.
“Merlin!” a voice shouted in Merlin’s ear. “Stop! Stop it, Merlin! You’ve done it! I’m back! Look at me, you idiot!”
Merlin froze, the column of fire he was gripping turning into a tiny flame cupped in the palm of his hand. He didn’t dare turn his head. A hand reached forward and caressed the flame.
“Merlin. I’m back,” the voice whispered.
Merlin let out a shaky breath and turned around, staring into a pair of eyes he never thought he’d see again. “Arthur,” Merlin gasped and buried his face in Arthur’s neck, not caring about the hot tears that were streaming down his cheeks and into Arthur’s tunic. Arthur didn’t seem to care either if the wetness in Merlin’s hair was any indication.
“Merlin,” Arthur choked out, pressing a brief kiss to Merlin’s temple.
As the world burned around them, Merlin laughed for the first time in centuries.