28 April 2012 @ 12:14 pm
The Bitter Pomegranate  

Author: ms_notebook
Title: The Bitter Pomegranate
Rating: PG
Pairings: Merlin/Arthur
Characters: Merlin, Arthur, spirit Kilgharrah, spirit Nimueh
Summary:Where are you, Merlin?” says the creature that used to be his king.
Warnings: angst, reincarnation, slash, major character death, zombies (sort of), implied cannibalism
Word Count: 976
Prompt: surrender
Author’s Notes: standalone (but it can be considered a prequel to “The River Styx”, one of many parts to my “Immorality” series), thanks to everyone who set up the  4th prompt this week, it was pretty awesome!

There is a reason that he does not tell Arthur to seek immorality, to live alongside Merlin forever.


Where are you, Merlin?” says the creature that used to be his king.

He has to bite his tongue until it bleeds to stop the impulse of answering to the thing’s (Arthur’s) voice, as he always does. Instead he keeps his fists balled up by his sides, glued to the walls of the ruined castle, feels the sweat trailing down his skin, the heart that he has ripped in half.

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

A shadow moves, and Merlin knows that it is him, stalking the halls for the only thing that makes him feel alive anymore. He cannot feel anything anymore, no remorse, no laughter, no joy. He kills because he can. He feeds because he can. His eyes are hollow and cold, no longer the blue orbs that soften around his subjects, no longer the Arthur he knows. He cares for nothing but having Merlin now.

Laughter echoes through the corridor, making Merlin tense in fear. It is hollow and filled with hunger, a mere imitation of his lover’s former joy. It makes Merlin want to tear his own ears out and scream out, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please bring him back, please bring him back!

But he hears the thing that has replaced his king, chuckling, “You cannot hide from me, Merlin. I’ll always find you now.”

Merlin closes his eyes and hates himself even more. This is my fault. I shouldn’t have brought it up. I shouldn’t have asked him. I should have let it be. I should have listened to Kilgharrah and let everything be. But he hadn’t. And now his other half had become a monster that he did not know.


Immorality is a curse.

That is how Merlin comes to see it in the first few decades after Arthur’s death, after Camelot and in the first bitter years he spends waiting for his king to be reborn for the first time. It is the fate of Emrys, of magic reborn. He must live and witness all of time, intervene when destiny dictates. It is his nature, the magic has whispered to him many times.

He is not completely alone. He has the spirits of Kilgharrah and even Nimueh to keep him company when he goes into meditation. Often, Merlin questions if they are real, or if they are voices that he has conjured up to keep his mind from slipping further into madness.

“What would happen if I asked someone to become immortal for me?” Merlin asks them one day, after the third time that Arthur is reborn, after he watched Arthur die in the second reincarnation, Arthur asking Merlin why they had to be separated in death again.

Nimueh snorts, muttering that it is a stupid idea while Kilgharrah growls at him.

“Young warlock, it is not your place to change a mortal’s nature. The price of eternal life is too high for a mortal to pay. There are always fatal consequences, imbalance the natural order of things. As Emrys, it is your job to protect the nature of magic, of life. It is best not to ask such things again.”


But he asks anyways, on the fifth life, when Arthur is bleeding in a battlefield and Merlin cannot stand watching his king die again and again. His magic lashes out, cradling his lover gently in golden hues. Arthur looks up at Merlin with such (undeserved) trust and Merlin asks the (damned) question, “Do you want to live with me forever?”

He should have not have asked. He should have made his king refuse.

But Arthur, sweet, trusting Arthur, says yes.


The magic changes Arthur. But what awakes to greet Merlin, is not Arthur anymore.


It’s caught him, the creature that wears Arthur’s body and smiles in the same way (but his teeth are smeared with the blood of the others he’s eaten). But when he looks at Merlin, his eyes soften (no, no, don’t do that, stop looking like him) and he holds Merlin as if he is the most precious treasure in the world.

“There you are, Merlin,” it whispers in his ear. “I knew you’d surrender in our game eventually.”

He clings to the undead thing, feels it’s cold hands grasping at his hair, and begins to sob quietly.

I’m sorry, he thinks. I’m so sorry for doing this to you, for asking this of you. I’m so sorry that I love you so selfishly. I’m sorry.

“...The next life won’t be like this,” Merlin whispers.

His eyes glow gold, and before the creature notices the change, flames have escaped his fingertips and he holds the creature tightly, prevents it from escaping the heat forming around their bodies.

They burn together.


Merlin survives (as always) and takes a few days to recuperate.

The creature does not.


In their next life, Arthur remembers nothing. (The creature hadn’t truly been him after all, Merlin thinks in relief, or perhaps it is a desperate hope.) But he still has that ridiculously noble notion that he should become immortal as well, so that they can be together forever.

Merlin doesn’t tell him (can’t tell him) about the awful mistake he made. He doesn’t think he would be able to bear the look of horror on his king’s face.

So he smiles and tells Arthur he’s fine.

(And when he remembers the bitter taste of the creature when he kissed him one last time amidst the burning flames, he realizes that as long as Arthur is human and alive, that he really is.)


“I love you as you are now, for always,” Merlin will say when Arthur asks for immorality.

The words work to placate him, if only for a few more centuries.

Yenny: Merlin GIF-You are not alone!yenny2206 on April 28th, 2012 09:47 pm (UTC)
I just adore this line,

“I love you as you are now, for always,” Merlin will say when Arthur asks for immorality.

Great work hon!
you light the skyms_notebook on April 28th, 2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much (hugs) I'm so glad you liked it. That was my favourite line as well :)
Neyahneyah444 on April 28th, 2012 10:13 pm (UTC)
Aw, you broke my heart:( I just read the warnings after reading the drabble, I though Arthur became a vampire. But perhaps it's just my way of thinking. Beautifully written, and amazingly touching. ♥
you light the skyms_notebook on April 28th, 2012 10:52 pm (UTC)
Lol, I don't really know what to call what Arthur became. I envisioned a creature like a vampire/zombie. Something unnamed. I reread it and realized that the descriptions could fit a vampire too, so you're free to envision what you wish <3

Thanks so much for reading. I'm glad you liked it (hugs)
Deborah Henning-Huff: Tears in my Hazel Eyeshogwartsvixxxen on April 28th, 2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
♥ You made me cry this was heartbreaking. Thank you for adding kilgharrah I love him here
you light the skyms_notebook on April 28th, 2012 10:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the feedback (hugs) I can't imagine Merlin being immortal without Kilgharrah to keep him company. I think those two are closer than they appear and they'd be able to understand each other in a way no one else would be able to in the years to come.
Deborah Henning-Huff: Bear Hughogwartsvixxxen on April 28th, 2012 11:09 pm (UTC)
♥ You're welcome and I agree about Kilgharrah. :) *hugs*
you light the skyms_notebook on April 28th, 2012 11:51 pm (UTC)
Kilgharrah is awesome and I'm sorry but I must complement your icon, it is amazing (stares at the picture of teddies hugging each other with a silly grin on her face)
Deborah Henning-Huff: Bear Hughogwartsvixxxen on April 29th, 2012 06:29 am (UTC)
♥ Thank you *hugs* It's a Virtual Gift that someone sent me. :)
(ノ⊙ω⊙)ノ~『✧~~✧』fuckyeah on April 29th, 2012 04:40 am (UTC)
Holy shit this was creepy and chilling, but incredibly well done!
you light the skyms_notebook on April 29th, 2012 11:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the feedback (hugs) I'm glad that I managed to get the creepy parts of the drabble across.
archaeologist_d: Merlin seriousarchaeologist_d on April 29th, 2012 08:01 pm (UTC)
This is so darn sad. I loved that Merlin could see what his selfishness would bring but still, to be so alone. Great job.
you light the skyms_notebook on April 29th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I feel that Merlin is a rash person sometimes but he always learns from his choices. Sometimes they have drastic consequences because of who he is (Emrys) so its harder on him, poor guy. Thanks so much for the feed back (hugs)